Securing Windows

Twitter security celebrity1 SwiftOnSecurity maintains Decent Security, providing some nice detail on how to securely install your Windows machines, and then how to maintain and recover them (particularly useful when your relatives call wondering why their browser is exploding):

This is a guide to bi-yearly maintenance for Windows 7 and higher. Although this isn’t a computer disinfection guide, it will remove many viruses and repair their damage.

Some of the info is incomplete, but it’s an excellent starting point.


  1. Talk about niche ↩︎




‘Money laundering for bias’

Maciej Cegłowski, easily one of the best writers and thinkers on privacy, on the problems with big data:

Instead of relying on algorithms, which we can be accused of manipulating for our benefit, we have turned to machine learning, an ingenious way of disclaiming responsibility for anything. Machine learning is like money laundering for bias. It’s a clean, mathematical apparatus that gives the status quo the aura of logical inevitability. The numbers don’t lie.

His six proposals to restore sanity sound exactly right.




Classic mistake

It’s not only pop music that is stymied by record company madness. Graham Abbott hosts a popular and educational series Keys to Music on ABC Classic FM each week, delving into particular styles or composers or eras. It’s only an hour long, so he plays excerpts from works during the show to illustrate the points being made. It’s the kind of show that would be great to download for schools and people wanting to learn more about classical music. And, like the Countdown documentary, it’s a terrific primer for people to go and search out more music or the full works being discussed.

But of course the industry won’t allow it because they want to be paid. Further evidence of the music industry being stuck trying to relive their glory days, in the process missing opportunities that are right in front of them.




Do Yourself a Favour - or, if you’re the music industry, don’t

A colleague recently tweeted about the availability a great Countdown documentary ‘Do Yourself a Favour’:

Hey @ABCShop, looking for a DVD of Countdown: Do Yourself a Favour and can’t find it online. Is it ever going to be available for sale? @JaneHolley48 2 Feb 2016

Given there is currently a wave of Countdown nostalgia due to the Molly rockumentary, it would seem like the perfect time for a release. However:

sorry Jane, it won’t be sold on DVD due to the cost of music rights. @JeremyBoylin 2 Feb 2016

2016 and the music industry still don’t get it, withholding rights for a show that spent its entire run promoting and hyping the very same industry. Sales of a DVD highlighting classic bands and artists makes people go and seek that music out. They should take Molly’s advice just like we all used to.




Popping the web advertising bubble

Following on from his entertaining Website Obesity talk, Pinboard maestro Maciej Cegłowski delves a little deeper into the possibility of a web advertising implosion:

The problem is not that these companies will fail (may they all die in agony), but that the survivors will take desperate measures to stay alive as the failure spiral tightens.

These companies have been collecting and trafficking in our most personal data for many years. It’s going to get ugly.




Moral cryptography

Phillip Rogaway, professor of computer science at the University of California, interviewed in The Atlantic about the failure of the cryptographic community to address moral implications of universal surveillance:

Waddell: What led you to understand the political implications of your own work?

Rogaway: I myself had been thinking increasingly in these terms when the Snowden revelations came out. Those revelations made me confront more directly our failings as a community to have done anything effectual about stemming this transition of the Internet to this amazing tool for surveilling entire populations.




Signal Desktop

The EFF recommended private messaging tool Signal has released a beta desktop version. Android synch only at the moment, but it’s getting closer to a universal (sorry Windows phone) secure messaging platform.