16 April 2019

Password advice

1. Use a password manager. You can make mini databases for both a personal and project stance. For example, KeePass, which is free, has an in-built password generator and can automatically enter your username and password into websites. There are mobile app versions as well for using your passwords on to go, without relying on cloud-based password managers, some of which have been breached before, such as LastPass, Dashlane, 1Password or Chrome Sync. You can find more alternatives here: https://alternativeto.net/software/keepass/

2. If you can't use a password manager, then make pass phrases instead of passwords. This XKCD article has a good example https://xkcd.com/936/

3. Have I Been Pwned is a useful renowned website for letting you know if any data have been leaked. You can enter either your email or password, and it will do a search on the leaked data and let you know which accounts are vulnerable. https://haveibeenpwned.com/

Being an LGBT+ Ally

What is an ally?

Allies are those who are typically not LGBT+, but would like to show their support and help others. LGBT+ people can be allies to each other as well. Anyone could be unfamiliar with certain terminology, and may not know what topics are safe to talk about, and there are also people who would like to help out, but don’t know how. So here’s some suggestions you can incorporate into your personal approach to help you be more inclusive, welcoming, and supportive of your colleagues, network, and the wider LGBT+ community.

1. Read and learn: There are many online resources available to learn about being LGBT+. Even if you’re already LGBT+, there may be more things you can learn about other orientations and gender identities. Check out Young Stonewall for an introduction, Stonewall for terms & history, the It Gets Better Project for stories (also one featuring myself), the UK Government plan, Wikipedia for a range of topics, and LGBT+ films, books, magazines etc.

2. Listen to and respect others: Everyone has their own set of experiences, backgrounds, hopes, feelings, beliefs and opinions. The most important thing you can do to help others is to make yourself available to hear other's thoughts and provide a way for them to breathe and be themselves. Coming out may sound trivial in today’s age, but nearly one third of countries in the world still treat homosexuality as illegal. For most people coming out is a huge deal, so it's important to respect each other's confidence. When it comes to terminology, we do all makes mistakes, and so might not get everything right all the time, so the best way to respect others is keep an open mind and be willing to accept things at face value - and stay objective.

3. Show your support: Stonewall ‘Get Over It’ posters, T-shirts and stickers – anything with a rainbow is great, even rainbow laces. You can also show your support on social media, by taking part in LGBT parades and events, volunteering or donating to charities, or even just defending people from discrimination and bullying and encouraging reporting it (if you don’t stand up against injustice, it means nothing changes).

8 March 2019

Windows 10 - Spinning icon with blue background (lock screen issue)

Possible solutions/causes:

  • Any connected devices (USB, HDMI, etc.). Don't have them connected during boot.
  • Press Enter / click left on mouse multiple times in succession until the lock screen comes back
  • Windows Event Logs
  • Antivirus logs
  • Run sfc /scannow
  • Run DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
    • To shrink the disk, run Dism.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup /ResetBase
    • Dism.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /SPSuperseded
  • Disable startup items
  • Disable Windows telemetry e.g. O&O ShutUp10 or reclaimWindows10.ps1

3 March 2019

Changing addresses (UK)

As PO boxes are not currently a cheap thing (about £300 a year through Royal Mail), it's necessary to update your details in many places so you don't lose your post. Here's a checklist of things you probably need to change your address on:

  • Government records
  • Work
  • Hygiene
    • Dentists
    • Opticians
  • Utilities
    • Internet
    • Electricity
    • Gas
    • Water
    • Insurance
  • Payments
    • Banks
    • Online banks like PayPal
    • Mobile phone or SIM contracts
    • Website and domain hosting
    • Charities
    • Boxes (Graze, Ocado etc.)
  • Online ordering
    • Amazon
    • eBay
    • Ticketmaster
    • Fundraising websites (Indiegogo, Kickstarter)
    • Takeaways (Deliveroo, Just Eat, Uber Eats)
    • iTunes, Google Play, Microsoft Store, Xbox Store, Playstation Store
  • Retail
    • Loyalty/rewards cards
    • Store credit cards
  • AI
    • Siri
    • Google Assistant

1 January 2019

The facts on Brexit

I'm writing today with a simple idea in my mind: co-operation. The joining of two or more entities to work in tandem for mutually-assured survival and harmony. Co-operation can be found in every aspect of life: the cells of our bodies, in symbiotic relationships between different species, friends, partners, lovers, companions, neighbours, allies, guests, visitors. All have the potential to provide benefits on both sides. Co-operation also brings together enemies when there is a mutual threat. It is the strongest bond in nature.

Cancelling Brexit is the best option for the following reasons:

1. Co-operation (working with Europe, and not against it) is mutually beneficial. Remaining in the EU has several multi-speed parts: 
  • the Schengen type 3 agreement (about 10,000 European Arrest Warrants per year) [BBC]. We could also lose access to details on 1.2m prisoners [Prison Studies] and all known criminals (24m) [Europa]
  • the EEA (freedom of movement, trade and free laws, easy travel, and cheaper telephone bills) - the largest economy in the world, and raised the value of GBP by 12%. EU money goes towards infrastructure and social development.
  • the CSDP (1.5 million troops) - we would be left with only 200,000 troops of our own and some of them may lose their jobs [Europa]
  • shared patent law (2.6 million filed since 2008) [EPO] - without this, any patents we make will not be protected in other countries, and R&D is vital if we want to be independent or seen as an innovator or leader in the world
  • It also gives us access to a satellite network that is worth £9bn [QZ], and means we don't have to rely on the US, Russian or Chinese data systems for accurate positioning.
2. Many of the arguments for Brexit are not well founded - may even be fake news:
  • EU is undemocratic / we are ruled over: We actually have 73 MEPs in the European Parliament, and 2 MPs in the EEP (maximum that any country has is 4 per party), among various other elected representatives
  • A second referendum would ignore the vote: A second referendum would be a different question, and it would align with other countries that have joined (e.g. Norway) once a proposal (deal) is made
  • We are not in control of our laws: We still have sovereignty, we decide how to implement laws, can make our own, and directives still require Royal Assent. There are regulations, and these serve a greater purpose like preventing disease or protecting rights
  • A second referendum would be undemocratic: Referendums are, by their nature, democratic. Switzerland have had 10 in 2018, and they have the best economy and quality of life in Europe. [Wikipedia]
  • The NHS is strained because of immigration: The impact is actually very minimal compared to austerity and slow repayments [FullFact]
  • We pay £250 million a week to the EU: This is a complete lie [FullFact]
  • We are not in control of our borders: We are not in the Schengen Area type 1 or 2, so we still have control
  • We are not in control of our economy: We are not in the Euro
3. There will be further impacts:
  • The value of GBP, which has not recovered since, has reverted to 2009 levels [Google] or 1985 levels [WeForum]
  • Stockpiling is the government-proposed "solution" to a no-deal Brexit [Guardian]
  • Businesses are moving to within the EU and government have provided advice for corporations to do so [Independent]
  • It costs some UK taxpayers about £27 a year to remain in the EU (less than 1% of tax contributions) [Twitter]. Total contribution of UK tax was 0.7% to the EU (£4.7bn in 2016/2017). [UK Gov]. For that, we get a variety of benefits, including European Arrest Warrants, freedom to work and travel, cheap telephone bills, an extensive militia, patent protection, rights, protections in the form of legislation, infrastructure, and accurate and reliable global positioning. The best deal Theresa May came up with would cost taxpayers £100bn by 2030 [BBC], which is £300 per year per taxpayer (about 10% of tax contributions) [BBC]. (£100bn / 30.3 million taxpayers / 11 years = £300.03/year)

4. Theresa May has finally admitted the country is divided - it is not the strong and stable country she promised. She acknowledges this, but has failed to take action on this [BBC]