A carrion crow on a railing. Immediately behind it is the River Thames,
and on the far shore are buldings and a construction site with cranes and

A crow on the Thames, with the Supersewer construction site in the background

It was the last week of anything approaching normality for a while. I booked a storage locker nearby in Deptford, and booked a van and driver to help move things there. We aren’t emptying our house completely, but they’re going to start with the upstairs, and there isn’t room downstairs for everything that’s currently upstairs.

This week, I’ll be sorting and packing ready for the van on Friday, and then moving what remains upstairs, downstairs.

The storage building is only accessible via an app (groan). The storage building is also a large metal box, i.e. a Faraday cage, so the signal was too weak and I had to go outside and stand in the street to download the app. It seems like you have to open the app somewhere with a signal first, and then it’s possible to use it indoors. It took me ages to get it to work to let me out again.

I don’t care whether or not an app’s available, but I resent being forced to use one. It’s always a worse experience than something simpler and integrated, like a smartcard. Mobile signals still aren’t reliable everywhere, and likely never will be.

The backdoor in xz affected me as I have two computers running Debian Testing, and both had the vulnerable version. However, neither of them were accessible from the wider internet, and I was able to patch them as soon as I knew.

It’s been called a “supply chain attack”, but open source isn’t so much a supply chain as it is like furniture left out on the street with a sign saying “please take me”. Much of it is good and usable, but some of those sofas definitely have bugs.

Nonetheless, I’d still rather take the uncertainty that open source software might be subverted over proprietary systems and the certainty of Tim Apple or Satya Nadella preventing me from using my computer as I wish. I don’t need the intervention of supranational regulators to be allowed to choose which app I use to browse photos, for example.

Indeed, the lack of meaningfully open smartphones is one of my chief dislikes of them. Even with a free and open source build of Android on my phone, I can’t avoid Google’s services if I want to install the apps I’m nowadays obliged to use, and I know they’re reporting more data back to Google than I would prefer (that would be none). And because I installed LineageOS in place of the ancient and unsupported stock Android, my phone is now considered insecure and I can’t use some financial apps or phone payments. Not because they wouldn’t technically work: I am not permitted.

Besides all that, proprietary systems also definitely have backdoors. Perhaps you’re less likely to find them, and perhaps they’re more likely to be put there by the USA’s spooks than the PRC’s. I don’t really trust either.

I was annoyed enough by having to manually type in transactions from Aldermore into FreeAgent that I decided to do something about it.

The five-month tyranny of GMT is over. Instead of wasting daylight before I’ve even eaten breakfast, we have it in the evening when it’s useful.

Currently reading: The Aleph and Other Stories by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Andrew Hurley.