EDIT. Did the pics get Kinja’d? Or is it just showing that way for me? And also not showing that for me, because if I try editing the post they show up fine and then don’t and AGHHH! I HATE KINJA!

These are just minor tidbits that may (although I wouldn’t hang my hat on that happening) will be elaborated on further come Wednesday but they seemed too good to not share today.

Moxie Marlinspike, a man you should know about and why you should

First off, the Wall Street Journal had an amazing piece up yesterday on Moxie Marlinspike titled Moxie Marlinspike: The Coder Who Encrypted Your Texts.

For those unfamiliar with who he is, from the Wikipedia page on him, he is a computer security researcher whose “research has focused primarily on techniques for intercepting communication, as well as methods for strengthening communication infrastructure against interception”.

He authored a great piece for Wired that I’ve mentioned and shared a few times here on the Odeck entitled “Why ‘I Have Nothing To Hide’ Is The Wrong Way To Think About Surveillance” and I highly recommend everyone read it in full.

For those who might not feel like reading either piece I’ll give you the highlights.

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The first piece, which focuses specifically on him, just touches a bit on who he is, what little is known about him (since his name is actually a pseudonym) and covers a bit of his background. Namely how (the Android version of) Whatsapp after being acquired by Facebook implemented an encryption program that he created. (The same encryption is going to be added to the iPhone version eventually.) Also that Signal, an encrypted texting and calling app he’s created, has come up in White House meetings, not the least reason of which is due to Edward Snowden being quoted as saying people should use anything Moxie releases. Said “endorsement” being quoted as being “a little bit terrifying” according to Moxie himself. Which honestly made me laugh when I read that in the article, if why that’s hilarious isn’t readily apparent feel free to say so and I’ll explain further. But basically, the guy sees in current encryption methods an issue to be addressed: namely that most implementations aren’t user friendly. And that’s something that he’s working on changing with his various apps and encryption protocol implementations.

I mean that’s basically a summed up version of the article. For what it’s worth I personally use TextSecure, which is the precursor to and Android version of Signal. Minus the voice calling feature, but that’s available via a separate app called RedPhone. I don’t have that one installed, but mostly because TextSecure meets my needs to talk to a few people and keep prying eyes out of conversations that are none of their business. (I grew up with a slightly paranoid, for a good reason I learned years later, father who basically got me interested in all this kind of stuff from an early age.)

The second piece, the one from Wired, basically puts in so many words the argument against that put forth by people who say “I have nothing to hide” in support of government surveillance. That argument is pretty simple: You only think you don’t have something to hide and given all the laws on the books it’s likely you’ve broken at least one worthy of being investigated over. Now imagine a lifetime of emails/phone calls/text messages/etc that the government can peruse... still think there’s nothing in there that they won’t be able to charge you for? On top of that, it’s already known that the government and law enforcement abuse their power, so combine them having everything possible on you stored away somewhere, with that knowledge and they can basically come after you at any time they please. So fight back, even if doing so is by simply using tools that would foil or limit their ability to keep tabs on you. It’s your duty to do so, else they can do as they please and you’re effectively letting them.

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I mean there’s more to the piece than that, but again just giving you all the highlights and summation of it. And as I’ve pointed out to a great many other people online: “You’re not important enough to keep tabs on” is a bullshit response to “I care about my privacy, period.” In keeping with Moxie’s thoughts on the matter, go look up a little FBI project which took pace from 1956 to 1971 known as COINTELPRO. It’s exactly what he’s talking about. The FBI went out of their way to find out everything and anything about anyone they deemed “subversive” (and my goodness their definition of subversive basically meant “anyone and everyone they felt like keeping tabs on, not all of whom were truly ‘subversive’”). And you know what they did with that information? Kept it, went over it, made use of it to discredit and blackmail people (among other things).

[looks back at all he wrote] Damn. That might be a lot more than the quick little blurb/write-up I expected it to be.

Speaking of encryption, coming soon to the Nexus 5: Copperhead OS

I discovered that via reddit and there wasn’t much info on the post itself, I had to click on through to the link included to learn a bit more. [adjust tinfoil hat] It seems like an OS to keep a watch on. Because reasons. *whispers* I can’t say more, they are listening in. [coughs and resumes speaking normally] But ahem, how about this weather? Freaking hot, amirite?

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But seriously, this is why I love Android and Android devices. The ability to do things like this. Create forks of Android from the source code itself that result in a version of the OS that can be put on a device and which focuses on security and encryption. Now I just need a Nexus 5 so I can eventually play with this on, since it’s not currently available. (Not that that stopped me from signing up to be notified once it is available.) Anyone wanna donate a Nexus 5 to me? I can give it a loving home. I promise!

ASUS seemingly comes out of nowhere with some very wallet friendly tablets

I’m specifically referring to the fact that I had not heard about these tablets at all until just right now. Which is insane.

You can pick up the ZenPad 7” ($99.99) at this link and the ZenPad 8” ($199.99) at this link. As far as I can tell there’s no info whatsoever on whether or not either has a microSD card slot. A part of me takes this to believe that they do not in fact have one.

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These don’t look that bad, aside from the potential lack of expandable storage. If they’re anything like the ZenFone 2 then they’ll likely be quickly rooted (if they haven’t been already) and that means any bloat on them will be easy enough to remove. I’m almost tempted to get that 7” one next week with my spare check for the month (since we get three this month it means one gets to remain entirely in my pocket for once, well minus the whole “my birthday is on the 22nd and I expect money for a new purse” thing that my mom’s been on me about). Assuming I do I’ll report on my findings of it, cause that’s impulse buy territory right there.

And seriously, where the heck did these come from?! No news on them at all until they appeared on Best Buy’s site earlier. What the heck?! Do you all know how rare it is for something like this to happen? That’s like end of the world stuff right there! [places paper bag over head and proceeds to lie down on the floor]

And because I know a few of you are looking at getting a decent and affordable phone soon

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Tere are some more pics of the upcoming Moto G. (Including the grill which is still ugly AF according to a certain someone.)

EDIT. I tried adding the post to the pics but Kinja being Kinja screwed up the formatting royally and it made a huge mess of things. So just visit the link below to see the pics in their original form without appearing tiny and/or messing up this post entirely.

If anyone wants to see the pics a bit bigger please visit the original link I got these from (which were reshared to imgur from a non-English link shared on reddit early this morning, which I can’t for the life of me find at the moment).

And that’s all I have for you all today.

A few minor tidbits to contemplate for the weekend. [points at the stuff written above] That’s what I mean, not the stuff below. The stuff below is just me ranting out loud/in writing.

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On an unrelated note I just learned that Agent M from Tsunami Bomb (aka Emily Whitehurst) has a new band called Survival Guide. Mind blown! I hadn’t even thought of Tsunami Bomb in ages, although they totally rocked and I’m reasonably certain I’ve seen them play live (it was during a time ages where a lot of illicit things were imbibed regularly, so I don’t really remember but I’m pretty sure I did see them am not just remembering wrong and imagining that I did). Here’s “Take the Reins” which was the song of theirs we freaking loved at the time.

And here’s her cover of “Straight Up”, originally by Paula Abdul. BECAUSE I LIKE THE SONG! (And by “I like the song” I mean the original Paula Abdul version and yes I know all the lyrics and can be caught singing it from time to time.) Blame my mom for my liking of that song, she loved that album when it first came out. As in “listened to it all the time while ironing while I’d be reading in the room somewhere”.

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Agent M, why did you get older?! Do you realize that means I’ve gotten older too?! As in I’m almost 30 now and the realization has hit me again for the second time this week! [proceeds to drop to floor in second existential crisis of the week related to his upcoming age while whistling “Straight Up]

Yes, I know. I’m a horrible person. : )