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All items from April 2020

25 Apr 2020 : Reducing my carbon footprint #
I'm trying to reduce my environmental impact, but it's hard. In an attempt to make progress I've decided to try measurement and goal setting, and next year I'll probably have to extend this to public self-shaming. You can read about my carbon footprint situation (spoiler: it's not good) on my blog.
22 Apr 2020 : libcontrac Contract Tracing Library #
After discussing the Google and Apple Covid 19 Contact Tracking API on my blog, I've now put together a library, released under the GPLv2, that implements the cryptographic specification of the protocol. See the libcontrac page (really just a holding page right now) and the API documentation for more info.
18 Apr 2020 : Making websites privacy-respecting #
Are you a webmaster who also cares about privacy? Then you're a rare specimen indeed. Here are my 6 easy steps for how to make a privacy-respecting website.
18 Apr 2020 : Waste data dump #
Another fortnight's worth of waste data has been added to my waste page. It's been another week working, eating, sleeping, doing everything at home, but I've managed to keep my waste output to an acceptable level despite that. My average daily output was 148g, slightly up on the 133g average a fortnight ago, but still well below, in fact around half of, my 300g daily target. What's also interesting is that over the last 6 weeks while I've been stuck at home, my waste output has been far more consistent than it was before. I'm not sure of the reason for that.
18 Apr 2020 : Indexes (indices?) are now a thing #
This is more of a technical detail, but it changes the site slightly, so I'm calling it `news`. I've added the ability to add indexes to posts on the site. So far, the only place I've enabled it is on the new blog index and the Sailfish OS page. You can see relevant posts, but now only the title is shown and you have to click-through to get the full story. It's a small change, but I think it makes the Sailfish OS page more usable and prevents the downloads getting pushed so far down the page they get lost.
11 Apr 2020 : How the privacy-preserving contact tracing actually works #
This privacy-preserving contact tracing specification Google and Apple released yesterday is particularly interesting to me, given it seems quite easy to understand and could be relatively straightforward to implement. However, while the companies provided a high-level overview alongside the technical specs, there's nothing that seems to capture the middle-ground between them. Here's my attempt to explain how the system works underneath, but in an easy-to-digest 10 minute read.
10 Apr 2020 : The "privacy-safe contact tracing" specification #
Apple and Google have just announced a joint protocol to support contact tracing using BLE. I'm interested in whether it really achieves the privacy they claim, and also whether it could be implemented on Sailfish OS, or other alternative operating systems. Have a read of my blog post on the topic to see my initial thoughts based on the specs provided.
7 Apr 2020 : Whoami? #
Over the years I've kept the about me page up-to-date by adding to it and amending it as needed. As a result, it's gradually turned into a list of places I've lived and worked. I didn't like it very much. So to remedy this I've completely re-written it to try to capture who I am, rather than what I've done. There are also new photos, since the last ones maybe weren't an accurate reflection of my aging features any more!
5 Apr 2020 : URLs simplified #
The backend for this site has always been designed to simplify the way pages are referenced and it's always been my desire to have the site URLs presented in this same simplified form. This has been my plan for over a decade (which is over 25 in computer years). Now that this site is being served by apache and I have access to mod_rewrite, I'm finally able to make it happen. So, starting now, URLs that used to look like this will now look like this That's undoubtedly a big improvement. The old URLs all still work fine, so inward links are unaffected, but there may be other wrinkles I'll need to iron out over time. I have to say, it's pretty thrilling for me to finally have this work as intended after so much time.
4 Apr 2020 : Waste data dump #
I was expecting a terrible result for this fortnight's waste output, given my increased coffee, snack and food consumption working from home. And my compost really has gone up a lot again (even more of those coffee granuals), but happily a reduction in paper waste makes up for it. My daily average this fortnight was 133g/day, slightly down on last week, which I'm pretty proud of.