25 September 2018

Bi Visibility Day

It was Bi Visibility Day on 23rd September so I've made a blog to help answer any questions you may have.


What is bisexuality?

Bi or bisexuality is an umbrella term used to describe an emotional, romantic and/or sexual orientation towards more than one gender. Some people might be equally attracted to both men and women, or they may have a preference towards one gender (and this preference may vary over time).

Pansexuality refers to a person whose emotional, romantic and/or sexual orientation towards others is not limited by their sex or gender.  Some people consider this to be a more inclusive term, as it goes beyond the gender binary.

Why do we need bi visibility?

Bisexuality is typically invisible as it may be mistaken for a gay, lesbian or straight relationship. Bisexuals struggle to feel accepted as some people try to categorise them into gay or straight, and deny that bisexuality exists. Studies show bisexual people are more likely to remain closeted, consider suicide more, and are more likely to be homeless than their lesbian and gay counterparts (Science Daily, Taylor & Francis, MAP, Stonewall).

What issues do bi people face?

Bi-erasure is the downplaying of people or characters who are bi so that they are not given the same treatment as straight or gay people. For example there are very few bisexual public figures and role models, and there is a trend of characters in fiction (including LGBT+ films) where bisexual characters may be mentioned in books or by filmmakers off-screen, but when it comes to the actual film, they are sidelined or their bisexuality not mentioned at all (e.g. Love, Simon and Thor: Ragnarok).

Biphobia is the assortment of prejudices faced by bisexual people, such as the belief that bisexuality is synonymous with promiscuity, or that bisexual people are confused, in denial of homosexuality, or just greedy.

Some people consider that a bi partner cheating on them with someone of the opposite sex would be less problematic than if they did the same thing with a same-sex partner – suggesting that bisexuality is not equal to other sexualities. Bi people are being forced to believe that they’re technically gay with gay people, and technically straight with straight people – which is not the case.

What are the reactions to people coming out as bi?

Some negative reactions to bisexuality are actually negative responses to homosexuality, and a catch-all form of same-sex discrimination. Parents may wrongly perceive bisexuality to be a phase/experimentation, and that the end game will be a conventional heterosexual relationship. Many bi people will feel pressured to pursue this, with their relatives treating bisexuality as a lucky close-call with the horror of homosexuality. Meanwhile bi people who are in relationships that appear outwardly heterosexual will be made to feel excluded by close-minded gay people, who wrongly accuse them of retreating into ‘straight privilege’, and may be judged for being part of the lesbian and gay community.

How do we help people to be more accepting of bi people?

If someone states their sexuality, the best thing to do is to accept it at face value. Regardless of your personal understanding of that identity, the person insisting upon it has decided that it’s the identifier that best fits them, and that should be good enough for anyone. Acceptance is the kindest and most decent response, lifting potentially years of anxieties from people who have had to find the courage to make a statement of their sexuality.

Acceptance also happens to be the best path towards more dialogue. Ask questions, engage with that person, get involved and take an interest. Just by doing that you not only stand to make that person feel more comfortable and respected, but you’re even helping to tackle wider bisexual issues within society. Whether it be a conversation with a friend, or a fleeting supporting character in a movie, acknowledgement and appreciation of bisexuality can mean a whole lot to them.

What are some good resources?

Final thoughts

For someone who is curious and unsure about their identity, I would always encourage reaching out, and being proud of realising your sexual identity. Coming out means not having to hide your feelings, having a personal sense of achievement, and the fact that coming out helps to resolve long-term issues as well, such as visibility, representation, and acknowledgement.

This blog was written with generous help from Josh Scully.

1 September 2018

Addiction



In particular response to addiction of video games:

Games are an escape from reality. But games are also a form of play. Both are important to be a functional human being. Technology has evolved a lot in the last few years and I think we are just beginning to scratch the surface. Addiction in general has become a problem with technology, not just games. Social media, movies, series, games, dating: many vices and sins are now easier to accomplish than ever before.
This Kurzgesagt video explains addiction well among other videos they've done on drugs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao8L-0nSYzg and this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qS6LoRYUdhw

Modern Day Sins (source)


Mental Health

But I think the real problem here is actually mental health and the generalised problem of addiction itself. I'm not sure if it's best to blame video games. I'm more inclined to blame technology. But I feel most that any addictive behaviour is detrimental. What we really need is to reduce addiction on a much bigger scale. If we properly recognise and incorporate mental health awareness into society, and get everyone to feel completely unburdened to talk about their mental thoughts - even to a stranger standing next to you in a queue - then, and only then we will actually be on top of the wider issue of mental health.

Vulnerability

To do that we need to break down some stereotypes of masculinity (not showing vulnerability). To other species it's normal to hide vulnerability, but in this modern world, vulnerability can mean life or death when it comes to mental health issues. The world simply does not suit this innate compulsion to display self-confidence, charisma, and high self-esteem at all times regardless of how you actually think or feel. And this isn't just a throwaway first world problem. This problem actually kills people and that means it really is a serious issue. Sometimes these issues go unlooked as well. PTSD can haunt people their entire lives and never recover (just look at the Hillsborough disaster). Unfortunately, we can't yet erase memories, so we must have after-care.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (source)


Education

I don't blame video games. I blame the education system for not adequately preparing kids for how to live in a modern day world with modern day problems. There is a huge range of subjects that kids need but just don't get (common sense, finance, communication, presenting, respect, owning problems, mindfulness, proactiveness, etc.) This link has some great ideas for example https://successfulstudent.org/20-life-skills-not-taught-in-school/ (except guns of course).
And if we look after our children, all of the gaps that society has to fill will become far less problematic, and then they will know better how to look after themselves. We should arm our children with all of the best weapons to deal with whatever life will throw at them, based on the current modern day issues.

Creativity

We also have to 'preserve' that creativity that kids have - modern day parents are scared of letting their children play outside alone, meaning they spend more time indoors. But it's so important that kids do have time to play and have fun - not just for exercise or energy release, but for mental well-being: it builds up skills in team-working, and doesn't have to be as serious as sports. Play is crucial to development. See this most popular TED video for reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY

Overall

Video games, in principle, and on their own, are good. Addiction is not good in any form. Society must be reshaped to deal with all addictive outlets and properly prepare children for modern day issues. Fear of showing vulnerability must end. Communication is key.

24 July 2018

Using Proxies with browsers

Downloading Chrome
To download the full version of Chrome instead of the .Net installer (in case you get the error message), use this link instead:
https://www.google.com/intl/en_hk/chrome/?standalone=1
Or try the MSI version (Chrome Enterprise) - it's the same thing, just installed vi MSI instead of EXE.

IE
In IE you can change it under Internet Options, but if an Administrator has blocked editing, you can change it with a regedit - save the following to a file with .reg as the extension and run it to merge.

---
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings]
"AutoConfigURL"=""
"MigrateProxy"=dword:00000001
"ProxyEnable"=dword:00000001
"ProxyHttp1.1"=dword:00000000
"ProxyServer"="http://proxy.myserver.com:80"
"ProxyOverride"=""
---

Chrome
Make a copy of a shortcut to Chrome, and under Properties, set the Target to:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --proxy-server="http://proxy.myserver.com:80" --proxy-bypass-list="localhost"

Firefox
Proxy settings are specific to this application so just change it under Options.

13 July 2018

Troubleshooting tips for a few things

Slide Masters in PowerPoint
If the slide master is not updating a property such as a date in the footer:

  1. On the slide, go to Insert > Header & Footer, then untick the Date or other field no longer needed and click Apply
  2. Repeat the step to re-add the property, it will be re-read from the master slide.

There is no way of getting the total number of slides, so enter this manually into the master slide, then repeat the steps above (adjusting for 'Slide number') to re-add the new format.

Stop Chrome running in the background
https://www.omgchrome.com/stop-chrome-running-in-background-windows/

Firefox is not opening

  1. Try a new profile manager – edit a copy of the Firefox shortcut to “firefox.exe –P”
  2. Use C-Cleaner or BleachBit to clean the temporary files of Firefox
  3. Try Firefox in Safe Mode (with Add-Ons Disabled)
  4. Try resetting Firefox
  5. Try under a different user account
  6. Try running as admin
  7. Reinstall Firefox
  8. Scan your machine for malware


Windows Spotlight images not being updated

1. Try disabling it, restarting and turning it on again via Settings
2. Try deleting the files mentioned here https://www.cnet.com/how-to/where-to-find-the-windows-spotlight-photos/ 

10 July 2018

Locking down Windows 10

This GNU article has a good list that explains the privacy issues with Windows 10 along with many other O.S.es and devices.

There are a lot of sources that can help with this:


  • TronScript has a telemetry-disabling script that will turn off a lot of call-home features, including privacy-recording KBs, services, scheduled tasks and other registry keys.
  • The Unattend file from my last blog disables a lot of settings as well but only works if using sysprep and there may be newer settings in the newer Windows 10 that also need locking down.
  • Some third party tools offer privacy protection, e.g. this list, however they may not be legitimate and I don't endorse them. How To Geek explains the right thought process on these.
  • Group Policy can disable a lot of things. Common Criteria hold a security level known as a Protection Profile that can be added, intended for corporations.

30 June 2018

Windows 10 Unattended Install

Sysprep allows you to prepare the machine before imaging.
Sysprep has 2 modes - Admin Mode, and OOBE. Typically when you choose OOBE, all of the prompts will appear e.g. setting up a username, picking a language, keyboard layout etc.
This can be avoided by providing the option /unattend:unattend.xml when configuring it.

Here's a copy of an unattend file intended for Windows LTSB 1607 Anniversary Update x64 that will:
- Prevent any questions during install
- Keep any configured users
- Keep drivers to target for the same hardware
- Set the time to UTC and keyboards to en-GB with fallback to en-US
- Set the IE homepage to about:blank
- Disable Remote Assistance
- Skip Activation
- Disable Windows Defender
- Put the PC in high performance mode
- Disable telemetry (for more, see TronScript)
- Set the network location to Work

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1QHR-d4XTSSIAZKR2WS4bWzfjCk2iZzjI

22 April 2018

Modern Day Sins

Source: Facebook Wix
To extend this out to all aspects of modern day life, my list would be:

  • Pride = Politics
  • Greed = NASDAQ, FTSE
  • Lust = Red Tube
  • Envy = Facebook
  • Gluttony = McDonald's
  • Wrath = Twitter
  • Sloth = Netflix

20 April 2018

Android vs iOS (UI)

Test devices:
Google Pixel 2 with Android 8.1.0 vs iPhone 6S with iOS 11.3

To be updated with more info as I discover it.


  • Settings Menu
    • In Android, all the settings are nicely grouped and have small summaries of the settings in each section.
    • In iOS, the settings are groped all over the place and in a seemingly nonsensical order.
    • In IOS, if you want to search settings, you have to scroll down and then scroll up to get the search box to appear. Android just shows you the setting as soon as you open it, and can show you recommended settings, or special override settings you've currently got enabled and quick actions for them.
  • Mail program
    • In Android, to search for mail, there is a dedicated search button on the Gmail app.
    • In iOS, to search, you go into a full, pull down to refresh, and then the search box will appear - it's not visible without doing this action first
  • Navigating between apps
    • Android has a dedicated back, home and switching button - very easy to get around and you can snap windows top and below
    • iOS - to go back, you have to tap the very top-left of the screen. Home is the home button, and switch is double-tap.

Android Oreo Settings menu













14 March 2018

Comprehensive guide to Windows Update




  • About
    • Windows Updates come out every second Tuesday of every month (Patch Tuesday or Update Tuesday). 6PM UK time is 9am for Microsoft in the USA though, so the UK won’t get the updates until Tuesday evening – so depending on your work shift, you may get the updates through on the 2nd Wednesday of every month.
  • Advice beforehand
    • Set System Restore to enabled and create a point before installing them
    • Check Twitter for issues here and here
    • Check for issues on the MSRC blog here
    • Check for issues on the Release Notes
    • Check the Windows forum
  • General advice
    • Build update issues and solutions blog here
    • 'Which?' introduction to security and updates here
    • Life cycle fact sheet here
    • Update history for Windows 10 here
    • Cyber Aware here
  • Settings
    • Windows 10
      • Settings - Update & security - Restart options - Show more notifications - recommend enable
      • Change active hours - recommend setting to best times for you here
      • Choose how updates are delivered - recommend disabling
      • Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows. - recommend enabling
      • Metered connection - for mobile networks or preventing automatic downloads here and here
      • Defer upgrades here
    • Windows 7
      • Prevent updates being installed on shutdown: how-to
      • Prevent updates being downloaded by changing settings (Do not check for updates)
    • Disable Microsoft Store updates here
    • Aggressive option
      • Disable Windows Update in services.msc
      • Reset script here
  • Troubleshooting
    • Windows 7/8
      • Stuck on 'Checking for updates' here
      • Cannot check for updates Fixitblog
      • Windows Update Troubleshooter Fixit
      • Cannot get other products from Microsoft here to add IE11 to compatibility mode and trusted sites
    • Windows 10
      • Built-in troubleshooter in Settings
    • Various error codes Fixit and here
    • Couldn't complete the updates - reset Windows components here
    • Roll back drivers here
    • Microsoft Store issues here
    • Cannot connect to internet blog
      • Start, type “cmd” and right-click the Command Prompt result, then click Run as administrator
      • Enter the commands:
      • ipconfig /release
      • ipconfig /flushdns
      • ipconfig /renew
    • Manual reset of Windows Update
      • Start - Run - services.msc
      • Stop the services ‘Background Intelligent Transfer Service’, ‘Windows Update’ and 'Update Orchestrator Service'. If you can't stop them, set them to Disabled, and reboot, so they don't start on boot
      • Go to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution, and delete everything in the folder (but not the folder itself) (make sure you have 'Show hidden items' and 'Show operating system files' enabled so you can see and delete all files)
      • Restart the PC and run 'Check for updates' again
    • Bootloader problems here
    • Total identified Windows installations: 0 here
  • Show me a funny here

25 February 2018

My favourite movies/films

Not an exhaustive list, but it’s a start.

Generally in order of which ones I've either seen the most, have fond memories of, would recommend the most, or simply think are the best. Not including horror movies on this list, as that's really a different category/goal of film.
  1. Spirited Away
  2. Matrix
  3. Truman Show
  4. WALL-E
  5. Monsters, Inc
  6. Inside Out
  7. Iron Giant
  8. Matilda
  9. Hot Fuzz
  10. Shaun of the Dead
  11. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2
  12. Moon
  13. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 
  14. Princess Mononoke
  15. Coraline
  16. Donnie Darko
  17. Butterfly Effect
  18. Day The Earth Stood Still
  19. Groundhog Day
  20. Lion King
  21. Aladdin
  22. Back To The Future
  23. Terminator 2
  24. Inception
  25. Arrival
  26. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  27. Toy Story
  28. Toy Story 3
  29. Up
  30. Pan’s Labyrinth
  31. A Beautiful Mind
  32. 12 Years A Slave
  33. Beauty and the Beast
  34. Incredibles
  35. Oblivion
  36. 2001 Space Odyssey
  37. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  38. It's a Wonderful Life
  39. X-Men Days of Future Past
  40. Fifth Element
  41. Shawshank Redemption
  42. Clockwork Orange
  43. Godfather 2
  44. Kill Bill 2
  45. Elephant Man
  46. Bedazzled
  47. Bruce Almighty

Horror

  1. Jeepers Creepers
  2. Shining
  3. The Fly
  4. The Thing
  5. Insidious
  6. Annabelle
  7. Signs
  8. Split
  9. Sixth Sense
  10. Saw
  11. Se7en
  12. It Follows
  13. Babadook
  14. Requiem For A Dream
  15. Ghost Stories
  16. Lights Out
  17. It
  18. A Quiet Place
  19. Grudge
  20. Ring
  21. Paranormal Activity
  22. Rec
  23. Blair Witch
  24. Alien
  25. Unfriended
  26. Drag Me To Hell
  27. Mist
I don't find scary:

  1. Exorcist
  2. Nightmare on Elm Street
  3. Loved Ones
  4. Funny Games
  5. Carrie
  6. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  7. Hereditary
  8. Any zombie films
  9. Jaws
  10. Get Out