The legendary Bruce Schneir penned an excellent short article on surveillance capitalism.
Just watched Computerphile‘s excellent video on Wheeler jump! Without spoiling too much, it’s about jumping into and out of subroutines in really old computers.
Moi vs Elisa, a mobile phone operator comparison (updated 2018-02-23)
For a year or two I’ve been a very satisfied customer of Moi, a Finnish mobile operator. This week I received an offer from Elisa, tailored specifically to Moi users. Below are the basic numbers.
Moi vs. Elisa comparison
|Monthly fee||6,00 €||2,90 €|
|Max 4G speed||100 Mbps||50 Mbps|
|Calls||0,055 €/min||0,069 €/min|
|SMS||0,055 €||0,069 €|
Let’s go through the numbers. In the monthly fee category Elisa is the clear winner. The offer is for two years so the total savings are going to be 74,40 €. Elisa is clearly going after Moi here; Elisa’s normal monthly fee is 24,90 € and this offer is valid only for transferring numbers from Moi to Elisa.
My phone is on my home or work WiFi basically all the time, so the the data allotment doesn’t reallly matter to me. I have never gone over Moi’s 4 GB limit. My always-on-WiFi usage also means that both companies’ 4G speed is more than sufficient for me. I consider the maximum speeds that companies advertise to be basically lies, especially when you live in the woods like I do. I ran SpeedTest over Moi at home and got around 40 Mbps. I might add more measurements to this if and when I remember and have the time.
Elisa’s calls and SMSs are clearly more expensive, but on the other hand I don’t use those much. I made a spreadsheet of my past 12 months’ phone use to get some actual numbers on this. On the average I speak on the phone for 30 minutes/month and send 7-8 texts. With those numbers, Elisa is still 2,5 € cheaper/month. Over two years that would be 60 €. So, one would think this is quite clear?
Nope. There are several things about Elisa that bug me (hopefully not too much in the “installing covert microphones” sense, though).
What’s not mentioned in the offer is that Elisa charges a 3,90 € starting free. And also 5,90 € or 6,90 € for delivering the SIM card (to home and post office, respectively). On the other hand, those can be considered covered by the 20 € S-ryhmä gift card that’s included in the offer. The Elisa subscription also accumulates S-ryhmä bonus, but with these figures that’s like cents or fractions of cents so I’m not going to include that in the calculations.
More annoyances that weren’t mentioned in the offer: Elisa’s subscription includes advertising pushed by Elisa and its partners. If you want to be removed from their advertising list, it’s going to cost you 1,00 €/month. I basically loath most kinds of advertising so this is what bugs me the most. For the record, Moi doesn’t do this kind of bullshit.
Elisa is also really agressive in pushing their services. During the chat about the phone subscription they offered Elisa Viihde, HBO and F-Secure. A free month of those is included in the offer.
A side-note: our company used to use Elisa/Saunalahti’s phone services. After we left them about 6 months ago, they have been calling me like every two weeks and sending emails about their Oma Elisa admin trainings (none of which they sent when I was actually using them). They also seem incapable of getting their billing info correct. For several months we have been getting reminders of bills we never actually received. So that might have an effect on my opinion of them.
I did end up taking the offer. It is supposed to be about 60-80 € cheaper during the next two years after all. But I’m still regretting the decision and kinda disappointed with myself: I should have paid the extra euro or two per month and stayed with the company I actually like.
I wonder what kinds of data slurping Elisa does? And if they share that data with S-ryhmä? Wouldn’t surprise me in the least.
Update 2018-02-23: I did some anecdotal tests with SpeedTest at home and at work. Elisa’s network seems really crappy where I live and work. So the only thing going for it is the special offer on the monthly cost. Otherwise I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.
My current Firefox configuration
This is a post about my current Firefox configuration and usage. This was mainly motivated by me noticing the Containers feature and the change into Firefox Quantum which prompted some chances in my usual extensions.
Containers is a neat feature that lets me separate different accounts, e.g. I can be logged on to my personal Gmail and our club’s Gmail at the same time without using different browsers or private windows. On my Fedora laptop this seems to be baked into Firefox but at my Windows-running work laptop I had to install the Firefox Multi-Account Containers add-on.
- uBlock Origin is what I use for blocking ads
- Cookie AutoDelete deletes cookies and such automatically when I close a tab, like it says on the tin
- HTTPS Everywhere tries to run as much of my traffic over encrypted connections (HTTPS) as possible
- Gesturefy lets me use mouse gestures for many common browser tasks. At least on my work laptop, my personal laptop rarely has a mouse connected…
On the Themes side I’m currently on a “dark period” so I’m just using the default Dark Theme. I’m also using Firefox Sync. It used to be quite handy when I was using both a desktop and a laptop, but currently I’m mostly syncing between my laptop and mobile phone. It’s also nice to have a backup of my browser settings for when I decide to do a reinstall etc.
I have a habit of running into interesting articles and bookmarking them, never to actually read them. It might be an interesting experiment to use Pocket to save those pages and then never read them.
EFF’s Privacy Badger might be a worthy addition to uBlock Origin, or totally redundant. Might take a closer look some day, or not.
I should totally hand in my geek card, but I’ve never used NoScript Security Suite.
Sometimes I’ve used the Image Search Options and Video DownloadHelper, but currently I don’t even have those installed. I started to use youtube-dl to a while ago and haven’t really looked back. I need to download stuff from YouTube so rarely that it’s simpler to use the command line than install a plugin, configure it and maybe even wander around in an ever-changing user interface before getting the job done. youtube-dl also has cool options for downloading entire playlists.
Meltdown and Spectre CPU vulnerabilities
xkcd has the best layman-term explanation of Meltdown and Spectre. Bruce Schneier speculates that hardware attacks are going to get even worse in the future.
Friday night Android madness: unlegacy + Haven
I was going to try out Haven, an Android “burglar alarm” app by Freedom of the Press Foundation and Guardian Project. This mini-project spun right out of control.
First, I had forgotten my PIN code (or rather, unlocking pattern) for my old Galaxy Nexus. I guess you could reboot the phone to bootloader and wipe/reinstall it, but I decided to do a remote wipe using my Google Account, since I haven’t tried that before. That was actually quite simple and uneventful, which is good to know in case I really need to use it some day.
Since I ended up reinstalling the phone, why not go all the way and update the ROM? So, after the remote wipe I reinstalled the phone and activated the USB debugging mode. I downloaded the latest versions of TWRP, Android-Unlegacy and Open GApps Pico Variant. A full phone wipe and a couple of sideloads later I’m running Android 7.1.2 with a minimal amount Google stuff on a six-year old phone. Nice!
I did actually install Haven in the end, but testing it will have to wait for a while…
Me and My Shadow’s Data Detox
Mozilla/Firefox suggested a nice way to begin the new year: Me and My Shadow‘s 8-Day Data Detox. It’s a quick run-thru about how Google, Facebook and your smartphone track you. As the name suggests, they recommend using 30 minutes/day for eight days but you can do it at your own pace too.