Download Your Google Search History

Macworld has an great article on just that

Next to email, there’s nothing in your Google account that’s more revealing than your search history. Your personal collection of keywords can reveal the status of your personal relationship, the last time you were sick, if you’re looking for a career change, and where you’re planning to go on vacation.

Check it out, but only if you want to know what Google already knows about your search habits.

That Going Dark Problem

from TheHill

A quote from Robert Anderson, who leads the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch,

In the last two to three years, that whole ‘going dark’ thing went from a crawl to a flat-out sprint because the technology is changing so rapidly,

It’s not that technology is changing so much as people are reacting to ongoing massive surveillance. People don’t like being spied upon. What the FBI seems to ignore is its roll in that surveillance effort.

Remove Flash

Brian Krebs, still reporting on 0Day attacks regarding Adobe flash, has this to say,

For the third time in two weeks, Adobe has issued an emergency security update for its Flash Player software to fix a dangerous zero-day vulnerability that hackers already are exploiting to launch drive-by download attacks.

Now Adobe Flash has been with us for how long? And 0Day attacks are still being found?

Luckily Google’s YouTube defaults to HTML 5 video. I think it’s not only safe to remove Adobe Flash from your system but it is vital to your security that you do.

[Update: Cory Doctorow has a different view here on Eff.org]

I guess we’ll see if DRM in the form of the “Encrypted Media Extension” is useful or not. Historically it hasn’t worked out very well.

Apple Security Amounts to Trust

Macworld has a very reasonable article on whether you should trust Apple’s iMessages and it’s other security features such as FileVault2.

Basically…

However, iMessage and these other options aren’t open to outside review or “code auditing,” which would allow unaffiliated parties to examine the software both to confirm that there are no intentional back doors and to find and help repair any flaws that were missed.

It’s the lack of 3rd party scrutiny that is concerning. Apple’s closed door policy is really hurting it on security issues.

Review: Xbox One

Background
I picked up an Xbox One for my son and myself on Black Friday, 2014. I purchased the Assassin’s Creed $329 version of the unit from BestBuy.com. I’m a dedicated sci-fi fan so I have no interest in Assassin’s Creed and that game did not entice me to purchase the unit. My purchase was based on only 2 factors:

  1. My son wanted an Xbox One and I wanted to be on the same gaming platform that he was on.
  2. Price, since I had to buy two units, I wanted to limit the damage.

I haven’t bought any new hardware in years and the Xbox 360 was doing me fine. So what does the Xbox One bring me?

  1. A new menu structure that is arcane
  2. Superior graphics for sure
  3. Continued availability of Bungie’s Destiny
  4. Master Chief Collection

Initial Impressions
The Xbox One runs fine, not like the early 360’s that had so many heat and performance issues. While the unit is larger, it isn’t massive and comfortably rests on little shelf from Offi.com (no longer available, sorry).

My Setup
I use a wired connection for my Xbox One. It’s ethernet cable plugs right to my Airport Extreme. My NAT is now OPEN and performance seems solid on a Comcast 20MBPS download 6MBPS upload “Performance” connection. The unit comes with a wireless controller. I’ve added the Microsoft controller adapter and plugged my Astro A30 directly into the controller adapter, losing the 2012 Astro Mixamp in the process. This setup reduces the number of cords on my desk significantly and I like that.

UI
The Xbox One UI seems wedded to the idea that you would communicate with the unit via Kinect; that is, via voice control. I do not have or want an Xbox Kinect. So, given that I have to use a game controller to interface with a set of boxes, representing menu choices, it is understandably clunky. Some players complain about the clunky UI and I don’t blame them. Simple actions like inviting your entire party to a game is hard to find. Initially, I had a hard time finding my game invites but fellow gamers helped out there. There’s a tiny box in the upper left that if you highlight and press ‘A’ gives you a stream view of your invites. The Xbox One tutorial is quite useless.

Destiny
There are transitional load pauses in Destiny when crossing areas such as from ‘The Divide’ to the ‘Rocket Yard’ that I did not experience on the 360. This seems odd since the Xbox One specs are so much higher than the 360.

Master Chief Collection
I’m one of those players that prefers to play agains the AI rather than human players, although I do both. So I’ve only played Spartan Ops on this game so far. One of the reasons for not playing humans yet is that the controls and the visual depth of field seems so different from the Xbox 360 version. I’m still getting used to it after about 8 episodes. My son, 18, has no such issues and has dived right into matchmaking.

Conclusion
If you’re an Xbox 360 gamer your upgrade path will lead to the Xbox One at some point. To enjoy your games you don’t have to purchase this hardware. But it is the next generation console so it’s only a matter of time. And the graphics are noticeably better, so why not?

MacWorld joins others on encryption theme

MacWorld just published the first part of a series of articles on how to encrypt everything. They have a very reasonable bottomline:

…any method by which a government agent can access our data is a conduit for thieves, companies, and other governments to use as well. Law enforcement has to adapt; we need to protect ourselves, as they cannot.

Given that cell phones cannot be searched without a warrant and now that Apple and Google have taken a stance on cell phone encryption, I hope this is the beginning of mainstream acceptance that individuals can act even while Congress cannot.

The iCloud Mental Model is Mental

From Apple’s support page

An unsaved document created with any of Apple’s Documents in the Cloud apps is automatically saved to iCloud in these circumstances:

  • The document is autosaved when you first create the document and edit it.
  • The document is periodically autosaved as you continue to edit the document.
  • On iOS devices and iCloud.com, the document is autosaved when you close the document or close the app.
  • On Macs, the document is autosaved when you close the document, but only if you opened the document from iCloud or manually saved it to iCloud.

Who on Earth thinks like this?