People don't care about their privacy. Apple can change that.

Feb 16, 2019

People just don't seem to care about their online privacy.

...even if they used to, they've just given up at this point.

This is scary. But you also can't blame them. Your privacy is not something that you should have to fight for. 

Last week I was sitting next to someone in class when I saw them use Facebook Messenger. I pointed out that Facebook doesn't respect your privacy[1][2] and tracks you, to which they replied "Yeah, but so does everyone else".

And that's not something that I can argue with. 

Everything tracks you. Your phone, the apps you use, the ads you see, the websites you visit, the "smart" devices in your home...

However, it's not too late to fix this. The reason people don't appear to care about their online privacy anymore is because they don't expect to have any in the first place.

In my opinion, if you want people to care about their privacy, you make them realize that it's something that they already have, but are rapidly losing. You make them value it. And then no one will be able to take it away.

I'd argue that for this to ever happen, you need a company that respects the privacy of their consumers, and also has an incredible amount of influence, both on people and the tech industry in general.

 

...That's right. Apple.

 

Now there's quite a bit that I don't like about Apple as a company. But no one can deny that they're incredibly committed to their users' privacy[1][2][3][4]. More so than pretty much any other large tech company.

They can use this to bring about a revolution. Their commitment to user privacy is one aspect of their devices and products that they should really advertise. Make noise about it. Shout it out from the rooftops. They want to sell you their hardware, so it's a great marketing pitch for them in any case.

Undoubtedly, other companies will follow suit. They almost always do, when it comes to copying Apple[1][2]. They too would work towards more secure devices that respect the fundamental rights of their consumers, because that's what the consumers will want and demand.

And boom. It'll be the start of an era. One where privacy matters, and is something that masses care about. What I'm basically saying here is that Apple is the best company to (and possibly only that can) kick it off.

And I get that this perhaps comes off as overly optimistic, but we can't give up hope, right?

Reddit memes are defeating anti-vaxxers

Feb 03, 2019

Observations:

  1. Reddit has been flooded with memes making fun of anti-vaxxers over the past couple months of so. (see: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ...)
  2. We see a spike in the number of teens who've been asking on subreddits like /r/legaladvice about getting vaccinated against their parents' wishes (see: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ...)

 

Here's what's happening here: the aforementioned memes from Reddit frequently get posted to other social networks (most notably Instagram), where they're seen by millions of teens. Combined with the huge number of teenagers on Reddit itself, these memes have massive influence and reach. 

As an increasing number of unvaccinated teens see these, more and more seek out ways in which they can get vaccinated against their parents' wishes. I'd say that the dark nature of these memes also plays an important role here in conveying the gravity of the situation. Many of these teens seeking help on reddit specifically mention the memes as a reason why they're looking for ways to get vaccinated unbeknownst to their guardians.

This is amazing. This is incredible.

Because although in most places plagued by the anti-vaxx movement it's really hard for teens to get vaccinated, I'd be willing to bet that these teens will be among the first to get vaccinated as soon as they turn 18, and that the number of anti-vaxxers will go down soon.

There have been outbreaks of very preventable diseases like measles in some of the most developed parts of the world recently as a result of anti-vaxx movements. This is terrible. And while it's very hard to change the minds of adult anti-vaxxers, memes, of all things, are playing a major part in ensuring that the younger generation is aware of how ridiculous the whole ordeal is.

This just goes to shows how powerful memes can be in generating awareness and influencing the youth.

 

My music

Jan 28, 2019

As a (younger) kid, I learnt to play the Piano and Violin off and on over the years.

After a gap of a couple years, I picked up music again last summer, and have been (re-)learning to play the piano and keyboard, and also been experimenting with some digital stuff.

Most of my stuff is on my SoundCloud profile. If you're going to check it out, I recommend starting here:

varDx - Easy PHP flat-file storage

Jan 09, 2019

PHP allows serialization, which is cool, but how do you store and use this data? Sure, you could use databases (SQL, et al.), but what if you don't want to deal with DBs just to store a few objects?

A few months ago, I wrote varDx, a tiny library (~2KB, <100 lines) which solves this problem. It allows you to read/write objects to/from flat files easily.

Usage is as simple as this:

<?php
require 'varDx.php';

$dx = new \varDx\cDX; //create an object
$dx->def('file.dat'); //define data file

$val1 = "this is a string";

$dx->write('str1', $val1); //writes key to file
echo $dx->read('data1'); //returns key value from file

It has functions for reading, writing, modifying, checking and deleting data. Get the code from the Github repository, and see the README file for more documentation.

Software for the Gotek USB Floppy Emulator

Jan 04, 2019

I recently purchased the Gotek USB Floppy Emulator for use with my old Yamaha PSR-550 synthesizer. It works perfectly, but unfortunately, the software that comes with the emulator is in Chinese and impossible to navigate and use.

After some searching, I found this site, which offers a download for some software which appears to be identical to the one that comes with the emulator, except that it's in English - and actually works.

The software originates from a German company which used to produce a very similar emulator (that I suspect Gotek copied).

The German company's website it now down, but I've uploaded a copy of the software (which appears to be abandonware) to my server, and you can download it here

Also, if for some reason you require a copy of the original documentation and software that comes with the Gotek emulator, I've uploaded a copy of that too, which you can download from here.