Grey Knights Work in Progress, pt 3

I’m back to work now, so progress has slowed considerably. Tonight I painted the force weapons on the Grey Knights, and continued chipping away at the red areas such as weapon casings and the Librarian’s robes.

The swords were painted with Forge World’s Eidolon Purple clear paint, over a metallic gradient (Burnt Iron to Silver), focussing the purble towards the base of the sword. Hammers were painted in a similar manner, but with general highlights rather than a pronounced fade effect.

Purple is a common spot colour throughout most of my Imperial collection – the SIsters of Silence I completed in December have purple gems, for example – so I decided to use it here for the swords as a way to tie them in with the rest of my collection.

Twitter Trolls Should Lose Ability To Include @Names in Tweets | Hunter Walk

Hunter Walk with a neat idea for dealing with Twitter trolls I’ve not seen suggested anywhere else:

Basically the concept that when an @name is inserted into the tweet, it becomes targeted, the difference between just expressing an opinion about a person and the desire for that person to see the opinion. For example imagine these two tweets:

“Hunter Walk is an asshole” vs “@hunterwalk is an asshole”

The former doesn’t appear in my mentions. The latter does. I never see the first unless I’m actively searching for my name on Twitter. The latter does regardless of my desire to interact with the sender. Accordingly, once an @name is included, the standard for harassment should be lower, because intent can be assumed.

Source: Twitter Trolls Should Lose Ability To Include @Names in Tweets | Hunter Walk

Grey Knights Work in Progress, pt 2

From the base coat of Burnt Iron [which I keep wanting to call “Dark Iron,” because I’m used to that from World of Warcraft :)] I airbrushed Steel, leaving the Iron in the recesses and shadows. The beauty of the Metal Color range, I find, is that a colour might not be all that lighter than the one before it, but because of how it interacts with light, it can appear brighter. In this case, Steel isn’t that much lighter a paint than Burnt Iron, when poured out of the bottle, but it reflects more light, giving it a noticeably brighter finish.

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I then gave the armour a very light airbrush of Silver, from almost directly above. The swords were given a fade effect, from Steel/Iron at the base, to Silver at the tip. I’m planning to put a Forge World Clear paint over the top, but I’m not sure which colour yet.

 

The iPhone camera is really struggling with the shininess of the finish, so the pictures aren’t the best.

The last bit of progress I made up to this point is to paint in the various text areas with Metal Color Gold, then block in some of the red areas with Khorne Red (to match my other “Imperial Agents”).

The Gold probably needs a wash over it, to “punch up the colour” and define the text better, but I kinda like the more muted colour as it is, and would just want to increase the contrast/definition. I’d prefer to use Seraphim Sepia, but doesn’t come in a gloss variant, so I’ll need to go with Agrax Earthshade (most likely thinned a bit). The rest of the armour will most likely get a recess wash with Nuln Oil Gloss for a similar reason.

Getting Started with Online Privacy and Security in 2017 – First Steps

So after the preamble, which should give you a frame of reference to what I’m aiming to do in this mini-series of posts about improving my online privacy and security, this short post will talk about the first steps I’m taking to tighten everything up. As this is all at the very beginning of my learning journey, all of these might change in the future. If they do, I will update the post and add a comment below.

In this post I look at two of the fundamentals of privacy on the web: the web browser and search engine. I’m mainly looking at the desktop for now, rather than mobile, mainly because it’s simpler to focus on one thing while I wrap my head around this stuff!

A Change of Browser

I’ve been using Chrome for years, after it usurped Firefox as the “fast, alternative” browser for Windows. These days, Chrome has become seriously bloated – it’s routinely consuming multiple gigabytes of RAM on my desktop. It may be (usually) fast despite of that, but it slows the rest of the computer. What’s more, it’s so deeply wired into Google’s ecosystem that it’s arguably as much a data hoover for Google as it is a browser.

So I was in the market for a new browser to begin with, and I was looking into alternatives like Chromium or Opera. But once I started diving into things a bit more, pretty much every recommendation for privacy-minded software recommended good-old Firefox, so that’s what I’ve gone with. I followed the configuration guide at PrivacyTools.io, as well as:

  • Turn on Do Not Track
  • Set Firefox to never remember my browsing/download/search/form history
  • Never accept third-party cookies
  • Only keep cookies until I close the browser
  • Never remember logins for sites
  • Turned off Firefox Health Report, Telemetry, and Crash Reporter

Extensions

Most of the extensions I had installed in Chrome were privacy-minded anyway, so were equally applicable to Firefox. Some additions came recommended. At the moment I am using the following:

Mobile

The situation on mobile (in my case, iOS) is a bit less clear. For now I’m not using the Chrome iOS app, reverting to Safari with the addition of a content blocker.

Downsides

The biggest issue with the above setup is it removes a few conveniences: remembering pinned tabs between browser sessions; having to login to websites every time you visit; having to retrace your steps to find a page in the future, if you don’t bookmark it at the time… that sort of thing. I might do a little tuning on this, relaxing the settings a little, but overall I think this might be one of those things that I need to live with.

A Change of Search Engine

Apart from a brief flirtation with DuckDuckGo a few years back, I’ve always used Google as my search engine. It’s constantly been the most reliable, fastest, and all-round best at what it does.

Even so, I’ve never been 100% happy with the fact that Google collects just about every data point they can, that it’s all wrapped up in your Google account, linked to everything you do in their other services, and made available for advertisement targetting (amongst who knows how many other things). As someone who’s had a Gmail account since they were invite only, I know Google has a fucktonne of data on me already; the genie is well and truly out of the bottle in that regard.

That doesn’t mean I can’t stop giving them more data. Sure, they’ll get the odd bit here and there when I use YouTube, or the odd email that hits my old, pretty much unused Gmail account, but that’s really it – if I change my search engine to somewhere else.

The obvious thing to do would be to revert back to DuckDuckGo, as I already have experience of it, and it’s accurate enough… but I wanted to try something different for the moment, while I’m still in the learning phase of this little project.

I tried all the recommendations at PrivacyTools.io. Searx generally gave me terrible results, but is an interesting idea; Qwant gave me some decent web results, but the included News results were mostly irrelevant, and I couldn’t find a way to turn these off. StartPage had been recommended in other places too, and overall was the best performing of the bunch – possibly not surprising, as it’s effectively a proxy for Google search, so seems like a win-win in this case. For now, I’ve set it as the default search engine in Firefox.

Mobile

For searches on my iPhone, I’ve set the default search engine to DuckDuckGo, as it’s the best of those available.

Grey Knights Work in Progress, pt 1

I’m battling with bronchitis, so I had a bit more of a chance to make progress on the Grey Knights than I expected. (In between sleeping and coughing up large quantities of neon gunk)

Let me just say straight out of the gate just how amazing the Metal Color range from Vallejo is. These are without a doubt the best metallic paints I’ve ever used. They apply so smooth, and don’t look like glorified glitter paint like some ranges. In the hands of someone more skilled than me, I believe they could look like the model was actually made of metal.

The pictures above are the base coat of Burnt Iron, over the gloss black primer. I applied the paint mostly from the bottom-up, so I could be sure of hitting the recesses. The gloss primer really helps the metallic paint shine, so the finish was a little brighter than I was expecting, when held under the painting lamp.

Getting Started with Online Privacy and Security in 2017 – Preamble

In 2017 I’m trying to be be a bit more privacy and security-minded when using the web (on all devices). I’ve been increasingly interested in these areas for a few years, and especially since the Snowden revelations, and recent events like the IP Bill, aka the “Snoopers Charter,” in the UK have pushed me further towards them. Over the next few weeks I’m going to look into (and try to document here) various things I can do to increase my security, decrease the amount of information applications and services can collect on me, and generally “take back control” of my online privacy.

I work in the tech industry, I’m fairly conscious about this stuff, and understand a few of the elements and technologies, but it’s really a very basic understanding. What I do know might be out of date. At this stage it might be too little too late… right now I don’t really know.

Upfront: I fully recognise that if the police/MI5/NSA/FSB/whoever really wanted my data, nothing I could do would be able to stop them.

security

Also upfront: even with that in mind, whatever I put in place won’t be considered “perfect.” What I’m looking to do is balance convenience, practicality, and security. If something is too difficult or fiddly to use, it will end up not being used.

Thinking specifically about the IP Bill, far too many agencies for my liking will have complete, unfettered access to what I get up to on the internet. Beyond that one example, the amount of web ad trackers we have to contend with nowadays is snowballing, as are the services amassing data to pay for those “free” apps we enjoy.

While it might be that none of these data collectors have nefarious purposes in mind (if you’re trusting), data security breaches are becoming bigger and more frequent. Data being stored is likely to leak or be stolen at some point, so the best you can hope for is to limit the amount of potentially harmful data1 being held.

On a lighter note, here’s a great spoof from Cassetteboy about the IP Bill

So all this is a bit of a long-winded preamble to saying look out for the future posts where I talk about what I have learned, how I’m applying it, any recommendations I have, and how you can do the same. The first post on some of the basics, and links to reading materials will be coming today/tomorrow. In the meantime, are there any tips or good sources you’ve come across? Feel free to share in the comments.


  1. Insert definition of what you would consider “harmful data if leaked” 

What Is Going To Happen In 2017 – AVC

Fred Wilson on what he’s predicting for 2017 (with a bend towards to tech industry)

Happy New Year Everyone. Yesterday we focused on the past, today we are going to focus on the future, specifically this year we are now in. Here’s what I expect to happen this year:

Out of the list, this one stands out to me as the “sleeper” we might need to pay more attention to:

  • Cyberwarfare will be front and center in our lives in the same way that nuclear warfare was during the cold war. Crypto will be the equivalent of bomb shelters and we will all be learning about private keys, how to use them, and how to manage them. A company will make crypto mainstream via an easy to use interface and it will become the next big thing.

Source: What Is Going To Happen In 2017 – AVC

Building the Grey Knights, pt2

Not much to say here… built up the 2nd Terminator squad, then got both squads and the Librarian primed.

I’m trying out the new(ish) Metal Colour range from Vallejo, so everything was primed with their Gloss Black primer, instead of a normal matte finish primer. The theory is the gloss finish makes the metallic paints “pop” more. Apology for the bad picture – the iPhone camera seems to throw a hissy fit when trying to take a picture of highly glossy surfaces:

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