Monday Technical Public Holiday.

Today is Waitangi Day (Feb 6th) Mondayized so it is a public holiday.

On the blog front, I have worked out how to green light people who are being kicked out by clean talk as spam, so if that happens email me: pukeko60 at protonmail dot com. I have disconnected google analytics from this (and I've checked the analytics web page) and I have moved everything to the trash can. This is part of the long term degooglification of what I am doing.

Which is needed. In the meanwhile, twitter is continuing to purge "conservatives". Anyone based is already gone. I don't do facebook. Kea does: she and my sisters run a family group on Facebook. This is how the Zuck keeps us in check -- we use one tool and it then becomes habitual. I have managed to switch her to Telegram , which means I don't use facebook messenger and we are able to talk to each other fairly easily.

Back it up yourself

I have access to a series of Microsoft 365, which includes a pile of things that measure worker productivity. Metrics seem to appeal to micromanagers.

Workplace Analytics provides quantified numbers and stats on workers' activities down to details like which component of the Office Suite 365 was used at however much frequency. On top of that, Microsoft says managers will have the ability to track "productivity scores" and "set up, implement, and measure long-term customer adoption, change and transformation initiatives." This kind of obsession with benchmarks may not necessarily boost productivity but it certainly demonstrates how OK Microsoft is with the invasiveness of surveillance methods like this one.

'MEASURE PRODUCTIVITY' — The tool is particularly obsessive about the itty bitty of day-to-day activities. If a manager chooses to, they will be able to count the number of emails an employee sent or the frequency of Yammer messaging.

There are charts, percent scores, graphs, comparison indexes, and other metrics that expose a worker's virtual movement without truly explaining the complexities and nuances of remote work. In other words, Workplace Analytics will do the spying for you but it won't explain that a worker may have turned away from the computer to tend to their children or pets. It won't explain that an employee may be under significant stress, especially during these circumstances, so their attention to workplace programs may not be optimal.

There are some things you should do.

  1. Firstly, back up your data yourself. Do not rely on the employer's cloud. Put a hard disk on the back and use rsync or time machine or something else. If the cloud goes down -- and Parler being kicked of Amazon Web Services shows it might -- then you still have the files you need
  2. Secondly, paper rocks for planning and brainstorming. You use the computer to document and communicate. You don't use it for thinking because then it will end up on the server and might be discoverable. This has got people into trouble when first drafts of replies to legal beagles have got out in discovery. If you don't want it found, don't put it on a computer
  3. Thirdly, use the ecosystem. Office is following you? Use Libreoffice. Yammer is being monitored or Teams? Talk face to face or telephone. Your browsing is monitored? Use a VPN and Brave.
  4. If your work gets too micromanagement, get a cheap computer and put Arch or Ubuntu on it and use that for everything personal.

This will not help my productivity. I will spend time keeping my ideas out of the system until they are needed, and then I will use the tools that I need to communicate. Most of the design tools are open source. Apple and the windows boxes are for corporate communication, of which I do as little as possible.

So, back up your own stuff, build your own websites, and keep the side gigs away from work.

The fun of lockdown preparation.

At the moment, unlike the most of the world, NZ is not in lockdown. Praise God. Most of the COVID 19 cases are in managed quarantine, but every couple of weeks someone tests negative in quarantine then gets sick afterwards. This means that the government and employers has decided that:

  • The border will remain shut until 2022. Unless you are a refugee or the Wiggles. The PM's daughter loves the Wiggles, and the PM does what the UN tells her to on refugees.
  • We are under orders to bring home our gear on the weekend. This is a challenge, as at work I use a bunch of gear to make the laptop tolerable, and it is a bit of a mess
  • Be prepared to work from distance at minimal notice, but work in the office right now.

This is what I use at work. It is a fair amount of gear, and I'd need to take most of it home if and when there is a lockdown. Then Kea would have to find a place where I can work without getting in her way. Last time I used part of her office.

This takes up the back seat of the car. I commute by bike. With 24 hours notice I can turn things around if I can use a car. Otherwise, I'll not be as efficient.

Hardware

The RISC 5 boards coming out are getting cheaper, but they still require a lot of integration to become a functional system. At present, if you want cheap, use a raspberry pi or Pine 64, but watch this space.

Laptops at the moment are very hard to get if you are looking for large screens (we need 15 to 17 inch for photos) and enough grunt for photo processing (kea) and analysis (me). I'm hoping that waiting a few months will fix that issue.

And mail order is not working that well right now. Hoping this improves over the next few weeks.