I’m glad I’m not an Aussie, or use Aussie servers.

I do not live in Australia. The servers that this site are on are not in either Australia or New Zealand. It would be easier for me to have them run by my local ISP, but I choose to pay more — considerably more, for them to be at a robust place. In part because of our parliament.

You cannot trust the Australian or NZ Parliament.

Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2021

Amends: the Surveillance Devices Act 2004 and Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 to: introduce data disruption warrants to enable the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) to disrupt data by modifying, adding, copying or deleting data in order to frustrate the commission of serious offences online; and make minor technical corrections; the Surveillance Devices Act 2004 to introduce network activity warrants to enable the AFP and ACIC to collect intelligence on serious criminal activity by permitting access to the devices and networks used to facilitate criminal activity; the Crimes Act 1914 to: introduce account takeover warrants to enable the AFP and ACIC to take over a person’s online account for the purposes of gathering evidence to further a criminal investigation; and make minor amendments to the controlled operations regime to ensure controlled operations can be conducted effectively in the online environment;

Parliament of Australia.

I use a handle fairly consistently across this site, when I comment on other sites, and on social media. However, these are being monitored. Locally.

Tens of thousands of New Zealanders have been congregating online, sharing misinformation and conspiracy theories about Covid-19 and the resulting issues the pandemic has caused.

Vaccines and mask use are common topics, but mandatory contact tracing is now in their sight lines.

In closed forums RNZ has gained access to, people have discussed how to avoid scanning in, and say they have been using fake names and phone numbers.

They said that would continue if scanning was made mandatory.

“If individuals choose to provide false contact information, they are directly jeopardising the ability for contact tracing to occur quickly and accurately. This could put their health and the health of others at risk,” the DPMC spokesperson said.

“We ask that everyone do their bit to support shops, services, cafes, restaurants and venues – and the staff working at these places.

“Contact tracing is one of the strongest tools we have to stop the spread of Covid-19, minimise lockdowns and keep friends and whānau safe.”

Police have a number of tools to monitor groups on social media, like the ones RNZ has gained access to.

They would not reveal what kind of monitoring is happening over Covid-19 issues.

A police spokesperson did say providing false information to a medical officer of health could be an offence which may lead to a prosecution, but writing false details in a contact tracing book does not reach that level.

“Entering accurate personal information in a contact tracing book is, in practical terms, based on good faith and voluntary cooperation,” they said.

“To provide false details in a contact record book is to place the person giving those details, and to friends and whānau, at risk of being unaware of contact with a deadly virus, and unaware of the risk they in turn could pose to others.”

If people do enter false information into contact record books, Ministry of Health officials have other means to try and track contacts, but it is much harder and takes far longer.

The government is expected to publish its level 2 order today, which may include updated contact tracing rules for businesses.

Radio NZ

Your social media profile is monitored. It can be used against you. One of the reasons that I basically don’t have a social media profile is that it has been used against me. If you have been using your real name and you are in NZ or Australia, you better be completely antifragile: not requiring registration to any authority to earn your income, not requiring to be in a big city (Karen central) and not requiring loans. You will need to have multiple cards with multiple banks and multiple funds. You will need to practice pirate finance. If you don’t live in Australia and NZ you have more freedom. For now.

Hardware comments.

In other news, the linux laptops are getting much better. At present, my advice with hardware is wait. Unless it breaks, don’t replace it. Getting hold of what is available will involve compromises. There are significant shortages of chips.

Having said that, this is where the KDE slimbook is at now.

The Slimbook is the first Linux laptop where I haven’t had to do any manual tuning. The fans rarely come on during regular, day-to-day use, including when playing video, a common issue on Linux laptops. Even when the fans do come on, their sound isn’t whiny and high-pitched, but more a soft whooshing sound that doesn’t bother me at all. As you can clearly tell, I am terrible at describing sounds and noise, so I hope this makes sense. The end result is that I don’t even feel the need to mess around with power profiles and fan settings, since the defaults work just fine for me.

The Slimbook comes with a fairly standard BIOS, but it does have one interesting feature: it gives you the option to disable things like the camera and microphone at a firmware level. Sadly, the BIOS is not open source, and the laptop does not seem to use software like Coreboot like some other Linux laptops do, such as those from System76.

I make a point of not turning Linux laptop reviews into distribution reviews, but with this being the KDE Slimbook, I do have to say a few things about how the operating system is set up. It comes preloaded with KDE Neon, which is, for all intents and purposes, the official KDE Linux distribution, based on Ubuntu. You get all the latest KDE software, and new KDE releases become available as updates much quicker than in many other distributions.

There are a few niggles about KDE on the KDE Slimbook, though. First and foremost, KDE Neon uses something called offline updates, which I find an anti-feature instead of a feature. Offline updates make it so that once updates become available, they are downloaded to disk, and then installed upon the next reboot. This theoretically limits possible cases of update problems, but ti also makes the updating process a lot more cumbersome than what I’m used to. Why do I need to reboot my computer for a new version of Firefox and some other non-essential updates?

By all means, mark certain updates as offline updates – new kernels, X or wayland updates, in-use libraries, whatever – but making you reboot for every single update is not a pleasant user experience, and brings back terrible memories of the awful macOS and Windows update experiences.

Speaking of Wayland – since this is an all-AMD machine with AMD graphics, Wayland is fully supported and works great. You can use plain old X.org, too, of course, but it’s good to know this machine is entirely ready for the switch to Wayland. KDE itself has made immense progress on this front, too, and I haven’t run into any issues whatsoever (I ran Wayland exclusively on the KDE Slimbook).

OS news

The ARM space in particular is worth watching. Nvidia has just bought ARM (despite the Chinese having nicked most of their Intellectual property) and they are promoting ARM based notebooks. The ARM version of Manjaro looks fairly good already. Again, watch and wait.

Blog news.

Less traffic this week: mainly because less rants and more good things. I am now collecting mindbleach as well as memes: the good stuff including Arktoons, Dogs and Cats will not be with the political snark.

We are slowly moving out of lockdown, so the week will end up more structured. To remind the newbies, the one post that I really, truly try to do is the lectionary one. Everything else moves around a bit, but generally.

  • Sunday is Poetry. At present, working through George Herbert’s poetry.
  • Tuesday is Admin.
  • Wednesday is Poetry — Kipling or something Victorian
  • Friday is Theology. The main thing I should be working through is the Institutes of the Christian Religion from John Calvin, but I often get distracted.

I have not worked out what day to post mindbleach and memes.

I have not posted wisdom from the scary devil monastery for a while. But at this time we need such.

Ultimate recovery stalks us all, no need to succour it.  Quit or
	take a leave with or without pay (or permission), stop seeing him
	or her, recognise that the cat or dog does rule you, call in sick
	and spend the day in the big blue room, it's only money and can
	be earned again, all the pictures will be posted again, call the
	local professionals if you really feel that way...

	And if all else fails?	Lawn mowing.

While we stand, we can do good. Then blog.

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4 months ago

Glad to hear your lockdown is easing.
Here restrictions are supposed to be tightening, but most people, even at the local government level, are ignoring them.

4 months ago

Hey RNZ, now do Islamic terrorism!