Categories
Apple

Airtags, DHL and North Korea

Fun project, and crappy customer service from DHL.

Categories
Hardware Networking Software

Xiaomi Phone Shipped With Censorship List

This summer, the Lithuanian government went public with an astounding finding. A Xiaomi phone sold in Europe — the Mi 10T 5G — could censor approximately 450 words and phrases, it said. The blocklist wasn’t active, but could be activated remotely. It was filled with political terms, including “Democratic Movement” and “Long live Taiwan’s independence.”

[…]

The accusations, which Xiaomi disputes, clarified just how fraught the West’s relationship is with China’s growing technology power. As China-based tech companies like Xiaomi and TikTok flourish, there’s still no playbook in North America or Europe to deal with their potential to censor or steer culture via algorithms.

“Western countries,” Abukevicius said, “are more and more reliant on technologies, and a big part of those technologies comes from countries which are not friendly, which we don’t trust, and it poses risks.

Source.

Categories
Apple Google Hardware

Custom CPUs

Google developing own CPUs for Chromebook laptops“.

Interesting to see that many years after Apple started creating their CPUs for the iPhone (and now laptops/desktops), so many companies are following. Google is not new to building their chips (TPU, Titan (used in security keys and as encryption module for servers/Pixel phones), and likely more), but quite new to more generalised computing CPU for phones and laptops.

And it makes sense — a lot of the generic CPUs were too generalist and not that great at their job (and are plagued with bugs). It came with heavy power usage. Having a ML/AI chip, a GPU chip, a generalist CPU chip (or two, one focussing on high performance, and one on efficiency, like the M1), one for security/encryption (Titan/T2), etc.

Curious to see how much of a head start Apple really has, and very eager to finally see some real innovation in the CPU space (sorry AMD with Ryzen: too little, too late).

Let’s see if Intel and AMD will be able to adapt and reinvent themselves and what it means for ARM (and the ARM IP issue in China), and if other architectures like MIPS are making a chance.

Categories
Travel

Hong Kong housing

Video from 2018. Since then, we’ve seen the riots (revolution?) in HKG. Suddenly, the HDBs in Singapore make a lot more sense, and we should credit the SG Housing Board for their solution (sure, HDBs are not perfect, but compared to those cages…).

Living conditions in Singapore in

Categories
Hardware Linux Networking Software

Ideal travel router: GL-AR750S

Right. With the pandemic and all none of us are going to travel much but still…

About a year ago I purchased myself an OpenWRT router to use on the plane and in hotels.

And so far I really like both the device and the Hong Kong based brand (launching new and updated products, and releasing relatively regular updates for older products). Pick a device that fits your needs (USB powered? LTE? Small form factor?).

The GL-AR750S aka Slate is fully customizable but runs a few nice things out of the box: WireGuard (with a physical button to turn it on or off), OpenVPN, shell access, Tor (requires the latest firmware), IPv6, DoH (Cloudflare only for now), multiple SSIDs (i.e. Guest WiFi), and more.

Oh and I specifically picked this version (compared to other or cheaper ones) because it had both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, as well as 3 Gbit ports (1x WAN, 2x LAN).

Pick whatever works for you…

I use the device on flights, where I connect to the network once in the air, purchase WiFi or use iPass “for one device” and then connect to the interwebs behind my NAT-router from my iPad, phone(s), laptop(s), and even Shan‘s devices if she is travelling with me.

In hotels, I either connect it to the wired ethernet, if still available (tends to be more stable), or connect it to the guest WiFi and then connect my devices to the router: saves me from connecting to a new network and typing the room number and login/password/family name on every device. And once again hides the true number of connected devices; quite handy trick for those pesky hotels providing free access only to two devices.

Sure it takes a bit of setup every time: find a working USB port, sign in to the web interface, search for new networks if this is a new hotel or I haven’t travelled on this airline, connect to said network, sign in with iPass, and optionally enable VPN)…

And once in a while some fiddling with VPN or DNS that’s borking up or being blocked by overzealous firewalls.

Also, some in-flight entertainment USB ports don’t provide enough power (and/or are often broken — looking at you Lufthansa in economy) so be sure to carry a couple of these (US-plug works best) — I’ve already forgotten one on my last flight from MUC-SIN on LH, but luckily I have pretty easy access to these.

If you travel a lot it’s totally worth the money.