ER

Blue eye for Bluetooth

Dear Reader,

Posts about computers are not very popular on diablog. One could even say, they are unpopular. Yet, for your own safety, please, bare with me.

One of the reasons for the lack of popularity might be, that a lot of people are unaware, how often they are using a “computer”.

Prime example, do you use a smartphone? Great, that’s a computer. Do you own a smart TV? That’s a computer. And so is your car, and probably you fridge, and your internet router, and your electricity and/or gas meter, and, and ….

Why do I bother you with that? Because today it was revealed that Bluetooth has major security holes.

Blue what?

Bluetooth is a wireless technique invented in 1994, 23 years ago. It is in use heavily. Bluetooth is in almost all smartphones and laptops. For years now it has been bundled with WiFi on the hardware level. So Bluetooth is pretty much everywhere.

And today a research company published security holes in Bluetooth. Unfortunately, Bluetooth did not go with what is called “Opt-in”, where you have to activate it. Bluetooth is active by default. You have to ppt-out, so to speak.

If you own a laptop or a smartphone, please turn off Bluetooth.

 

If you do not know how, please ask someone who does.

You and we all will have enough problems with all the “internet of things” devices, where one cannot turn off Bluetooth easily. We do not want a gazillion hacked smartphones and laptops on top of that, do we?

Please, do it now.

Thanks in advance,

Engine Room

ER

This weekend

Dear Reader,

Everybody here at diablog is wondering, where the heck is Glynsky?

Maybe I have an answer.

This weekend is Goodwood. Somehow I forgot, whether Glynsky attends Silverstone, or Goodwood, or both?

In any case, this year you, I, and everybody else can follow Goodwood via live stream. It all is on Youtube and one can watch it here:

Goodwood Revival Live Stream 2017

If you happen to see Glynsky in the crowd or on the track, let me know.

Stay tuned,

Engine Room

 

ER

Watch The Walk

Dear Reader,

The last few years have been pretty hard on movie goers like me.

I understand the need for children movies, but how many Disney princesses can one watch?

I also understand the reason for action movies, but no story line and eight sequels?

Obviously the new players in the fight for our eyeballs – Amazon, Netflix, .. is HBO still around? – have taken bigger risks and attracted better stories, creating better movie experiences at home, outside your normal cinema. But then, if your competition is a gazillion Marvel and kiddy films, it does not take much, does it?

One movie stood out in 2015, and sadly I did not manage to watch it then. A few days ago I was able to do so, and I can truly recommend it. If you have a chance, please go and see:

The Walk

If you cannot see it on the big screen, it is worth renting a beamer for this. The cinematography is that excellent.

The movie tells Philippe Petit’s story, a French guy who wanted to walk on a wire – more like a cable – between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The pictures are brilliant, the story is very well told, it has you gripping your arm rests. Or getting sweaty palms, when he steps onto the cable.

The movie also brings back fond memories of standing up there, overlooking Manhattan, your spirits and dreams uplifted.

Stay tuned,

Engine Room

 

ER

Bad luck – good luck

Dear Reader,

My love for espresso is well documented here on Diablog. A few weeks ago my espresso machine died. First the gasket went. I had pushed too much, my fault. Yet, after some hustle I bought a new gasket from a small lovely store. The gaskets I had ordered online previously never arrived. So much for that.

Nevertheless, replacing the seal was easy and things were fine again. I was back on my drug.

And then the machine died for good. The on/off switch did not work properly anymore, and steam was coming out of strange places. This was far beyond my repair capabilities. And after almost six years of constant use, I was not too sad. Remember, I had paid a mere $20 for it.

When I had bought the gasket, the shop owner informed me, that what I thought was an AEG machine was in fact a DeLonghi. It seems, DeLonghi is selling its espresso makers under various labels, like Krups, AEG and what not.

So this time DeLoghi machines were included in my flea market hunt for a new/old machine.

And my luck, I found:

a DeLonghi ECP31 at a bargain of $25.

It is dead simple, easy to use, has high pressure of 15bar, and most importantly makes absolutely delicious espresso.

Bonus, when a friend dropped off the old machine at the recycling center, one of the employees asked to have it for repair.

Consider me a very happy camper again, going to make an espresso now,

Engine Room

ER

Palemoon instead of Firefox

Dear Reader,

What is your favorite web browser?

For as long as it has been around I have been using Firefox by the Mozilla foundation. And prior to Firefox I used its predecessor, Netscape Navigator.

Microsoft Internet Explorer was used only to install Firefox. Apple fanboys are using Safari quite often, but that’s their problem. The market leader today is Google Chrome. And it is just as bad as Microsoft Edge, which is what Microsoft calls its Internet Explorer now.

Why do people use Chrome? Why would you hand over all your personal browser data to an advertising company??? Beats me.

Occasionally I see friends using Chrome. And there, a lot of websites are so plastered with advertising, that they become almost unusable. It has gotten so bad, that Google is threatening to include an Ad Blocker in its web browser Chrome. Imagine, the advertising company number one complaining about too much advertising. Oh, the irony.

In any case, I never wanted advertising, And Firefox has had Ad Block extensions for many years. Those were among the first things to install.

Unfortunately, Google has been very successful in pushing people to use Chrome. Partially because of its smartphone operating system Android. There Chrome is the pre-installed browser and mobile web browsing counts for half the internet traffic by now. In response websites are following what Google demands And the Mozillla Foundation has been following Google for a while now in its quest to maintain market share. So the Firefox browser is becoming more and more of a Chrome lookalike.

Could Mozilla have known better? Yes. The most popular extension for Firefox is CTR, Classic Theme Restorer. It makes Firefox look and behave like, well, Firefox.

Now besides making Firefox as bad as Chrome, Mozilla is screwing with extensions. And CTR will not work after November 2017. What to do?

Luckily, Firefox is Free Open Source Software. And even better, knowledgeable people have been upset with Mozilla for a while. They took the source code and built what is called a fork.

Say hello to:

You can get it here Pale Moon

Pale Moon is based on the old Firefox. It looks and behaves like Firefox (should). And equally important, the must have extensions work.

Just in case you don’t have those yet, get uBlock Origin and uMatrix. uBlock is the best advertising blocker around, and uMatrix blocks trackers. Don’t go online without them!

Stay safe,

Engine Room

ER

domain extended

Dear Reader,

Glynsky’s last post here dates back to March 17, almost six months ago. Pete, the other naming patron, went missing in January 2014 already.

A big thanks to Philippa

who stepped up and submitted posts.

Yet, the original idea of Glynsky and Pete isn’t fulfilled. So, when a few days ago the domain administrator asked, whether the registration of glynskyandpete.com should be extended, I wondered: should it?

Well, at least for another year diablog will remain online. After almost seven years I’d be sad to see it gone.

The always impatient,

Engine Room