Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Dec 2021)

Morpheus with agent smith

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed how Google & Deepmind used patients data without permissionhow aesthetics has dominated technology reviews and comparing social media’s effects to alcohol.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with seeing the EU’s first steps in creating a Interoperable Marketthe open source approach to solar power and the understanding technology won’t solve the coming climate collapse.


The metaverse is a zoo and a silicon valley surveillance dream

Ian thinks: I have many thoughts about the metaverse, but there is so much about the matrix which is apt for Silicon Valley’s metaverse, Agent Smith says “I hate this place, this zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you want to call it.” While Morpheus says “What is the Matrix? Control.” Both fitting.

The absolute importance of trust and accountability

Ian thinks: As more and more of public services go online, the absolute importance of trust and accountability needs to be established. We can’t leave it to private enterprises as you see with meta, to provide trusted services

Rushkoff & Javis’s invite to redesign the internet

Ian thinks: I like the idea of the course, the reading list is very good. With such heavy weights I’m keen to see what may come from it?

What comes after the social feed?

Ian thinks: Its good to see some early positive public research about aspects of social we all take for granted. Look forward to further development.

The goldmine of data on our phones

Ian thinks: The EFF’s latest podcast on what the police and malicious actors do with the data on our phones once they have it for a short while is quite something to hear and think about.

Is Venture Capital as harmful as we suspect?

Ian thinks: The Freakonomics give a balanced view on venture capital. I’m less positive but also hopefully with some of the details in the podcast.

Can crypto provide wealth to black communities or is it all a trap?

Ian thinks: I’m personally deeply conflicted about crypto but very concerned at how its being pushed as a way to rebuild generational wealth within the black community. Especially by the community its self. Crypto and the Neo-liberalism narrative doesn’t seem to fit neatly.

Whats the difference between Sky, Whatsapp, Anom, Signal, etc?

Ian thinks: Sky suing the US Government is a interesting point of reference, but also begs the question of whats ok and not in the encrypted messaging future.

The enemy in the home breaking relationships?

Ian thinks: The amount of IOT device in our home and their impact on our homes and human relationships is a ongoing concern, with no little good outcome on the horizon. On a similar branch Stacey outlines her problems with her IOT home.

 


Find the archive here

I joined Wire… slightly under peer pressure

Wire on Linux

I looked at Wire a while ago but stuck with Signal. Some friends think I’m insane when I say I’m not using Whatsapp, but I have many reasons.

Herb asked me why I use Signal and not Wire, then a few people at Thinking Digital put the final shot in the social cannon. So I re-looked at it again and installed it alongside Signal.

They are quite different, for example Signal is very tied to a phone number while Wire is but isn’t (well you can only register one phone number which is a shame). I can login with the email across devices and it doesn’t seem to offer its self as a sms/mms client. While Signal does offer to be a sms/mms client if you accept it. But you can’t run Signal on multiple phones as it locks to that phone number.

I originally didn’t see the 64bit Ubuntu/Debian package, so ran it through Wavebox which makes websites act like native apps. But today I saw the deb.

Generally I’m thinking of Wire as something more like Ubuntu, while Signal is more raw like Debian. I’m sure some will hate that comparison but I look forward to seeing where they both go next, both are secure, open and run across all platforms.

Whisper disappearing messages

But as they move forward with features, will they keep the same data ethics (privacy, security, data ownership, identity, permission) in mind? I really hope so..

Updated

Old friend Gabby has been talking to me on Wire and pointed me at this blog post which pretty much sums up the difference I found with Wire & Signal.

Wire vs other intant messeagersOne of the biggest differences compared to other secure messengers like WhatsApp or Signal, is that Wire does not require a phone number to sign up. Anyone can register with an email on desktop or tablet and then decide if they want to use the same account on their phone or not.

How to run two Whisper systems Signal clients on Linux side by side

Running two signal clients on Ubuntu
Running two signal clients on Ubuntu without the stress, made one d.ark and other light themed to remind me which one is which

I’m very sure I’m not the only one with 2 mobile phones (heck I really have 3 actual active SIM cards in 3 phones but thats another story).

I have chosen not to use WhatsApp as their EULA doesn’t fit well with me, so instead I always suggest Whisper Systems Signal client. I have many reasons including a linux web client but I have been wondering why one client couldn’t support multiple accounts? Especially since you can easily and securely verify the phone to the desktop client, using a generated token.

I’ve been wondering if I could run two signal apps or run them under different system users… then it dawned on me, its using Google Chrome’s app framework, maybe I could use Open Source Chrome aka Chromium to do the same? Surprisingly without having to setup another user account for the Chrome store, I was able to download Signal again and make Chromium launch it.

Now I have 2 completely separate signal apps which are linked to different phones but using the same Ubuntu desktop environment.

I know it might seem obvious but there seems to be a few people asking for multiple users using a single signal desktop app. I also saw if it could be installed in Firefox, but it looks more tricky that just hitting install from an app store. Sure my tip will work for MacOSX and likely Windows too?

Little tip for friends and followers which I thought was worth sharing… Now get yourself on Signal