In this episode I look at the many facets of unintended data, Google’s messaging journey, happy birthday Linux, and much more.


Chris Ward 0:14
I’m Chris Chinchilla Welcome to my podcast. Thank you for joining me, you can find more including show notes at Hello, again, it’s been a while I needed a few months break, I think I think many of us did. And I wanted the opportunity to relaunch the podcast. Strangely kind of back more how it used to be a random kind of geeky squeak over things that took my interest and things I’ve been up to, and things, things, things like that. So thank you again for joining me. It’s good to be back. I hope you welcome me back to and it’s time to get started. First, let’s begin with birthday wishes, Happy 30th birthday to Linux, a side project that no one including its creator expected much of and 30 years later, it is running a lot. It isn’t on the desktop, as much as everyone always expected and thought and hoped it would be. But it is certainly omnipresent. Behind the scenes, if not in your face, at least. This was of course reported in many, many outlets. And there’s not much more I can say that hasn’t been said already, I did see a really nice post on Zed D net from, as always Steven j vond, which had some really nice screenshots of variants of Linux throughout the years, many of which I think he had tried and used himself. And also reflections from mailing lists, and then things like that. And it’s also really interesting to see when the scale kind of hits, and it’s sort of more recent than you may think, I guess in the past 10 years is where things really ramp up in some respects with sort of containerization of infrastructure. And in other respects with with Android. And I don’t always know, when it comes to analytics of usage of Linux, if the different use cases are separated out to know what actually has the most impact. Is it things like containers? Or is it things like Android actually has the biggest impact on those? Those numbers? I’m not completely sure. I, I guess I use Linux every day. I’m not running it for my own kind of machine. But I do use it every day. And I have an Android phone. So I’m using it there I suppose. But I did, I suppose in celebration in attempt to experiment again. I downloaded Kubuntu Yes, I kind of like messing around with KDA. I don’t know, it just appeals to me more. I like a nice gooey. So I have that running again. And I’ll experiment some more become especially interested in seeing what kind of desktop software I can get up and started with. Actually, I have been experimenting. My own little use case with a little bit more. And I’m working on a blog post covering what I have been doing the past few months with a Raspberry Pi I have a Raspberry Pi 400 now set up at home serving as a kind of media center for various things, including next cloud caliber ebook library, mini dnla for Media Library, and kind of an archive drive that I can access from multiple places. I’m just putting the finishing touches to a blog post about that. So you can look at my experiments where the flavor of Linux there. I think I’ve been experimenting with it for so long. Sometimes it was hard going back and revisiting what had already done. Because sometimes you can’t remember how you got to where you are now but you could afford to that to that will come up on Kristin soon. Something related and I guess transitioning from Linux as a desktop operating system into aware it is probably most widely utilized in the container ecosystem. This is actually another article from Steven J. Vaughn on Zed D net but I came across this myself as well. As I put together I’m now putting together a monthly newsletter for my employer chronosphere which is a monthly look back at things in observability and cloud native. You can also find links to that on Christian but this is about ebpf BPF is a kernel level

module, I suppose, in Linux that enables a kind of hot swapping, I suppose of various features, meaning that you can add things into the kernel without having to recompile it. And this is especially useful for something like observability, for monitoring what’s going on in the kernel without having to keep recompiling every time you add a new, I suppose a new source, new metric, and ebp F is something explicitly around that sort of use case. And it’s become so popular, actually, in the past year or so. It now has its own kind of spin out website. And now its own foundation, there’s a couple of companies kind of with a vested interest in promoting ebpf. So I suppose it’s I thought it was a good tactic to get a foundation together to have a more diplomatic and neutral perspective on the development of the technology. In fact, one of my old format, version 1.0, I guess we can call it interviews, back in February

was with

Neela, Shaq of ISO, Vaillant, talking about psyllium, which is actually one of the ebpf Technologies. And before that, back in November last year, I spoke with the two founders behind Pixie another ebpf technology, which is now part of New Relic, so you can get some more background and context on the technology from those two episodes. If, if that interests you at all. transitioning into some thing, a little different here. This is an article on wired from Alessandra brigante. from earlier in August, about Serbia and its new smart city. Now, suddenly, I note I actually. So Belgrade is the capital of Serbia. It’s one of my favorite cities in quote, unquote, Europe, it’s not in the European Union, but it’s definitely in the European continent. Because it’s not in the European Union. It has an interesting kind of relationship with various world powers, shall we say, and has attracted quite a lot of investment from Chinese companies as well as Arab countries. Because it is on the traditional Silk Road, and China and certain parts of the Middle East that are somewhat trying to recreate that. But there has been so much investment in in, in Serbia from China, I’m pretty sure I read something a few years ago, even to the point where when Chinese tourists were traveling to Europe, that’s a strange phenomenon to think may never come back. There were so many on the streets they’re visiting, or business people, I suppose, as well, that the Chinese police work, either and this is where I can’t remember the details on the streets of Serbia, or of Belgrade or other cities, or training the police that I can’t remember, it’s an important difference, but still kind of fascinating. And unsurprisingly, China has been heavily invested from a technology perspective, but also money and resources perspective, into Serbia’s attempt to create smart cities. And this has caused some concern. its proximity to Europe and US European activists, especially so. And I suppose the points of concern are around that technology partners who are Huawei, and I do recall seeing quite a large Huawei building on the banks of the river in Belgrade a few years ago. And there’s obviously controversy around Huawei. And some vagueness around the relationship between the deals that have been signed. And I suppose it’s it’s interesting here, because some could argue that in a country where government is confused, corrupt, underfunded, whatever words you choose to use, maybe those points of vagueness or those deals are intentional, maybe it’s something else, maybe it’s unintentional.

It’s really hard to say, and it’s a lot of conjecture, of course. And there’s been a lot of backtracking. And this has turned into a bit of a political hot potato between the two countries and the European Union where now Serbia is somewhat kind of torn between the two of them between its close political, quote unquote, ally neighbor, and it’s far away but heavily investing Chinese friend and who to keep happy and who to annoy, and who to take investment from and this is an issue kind of in that whole region, but especially in Serbia and I find it quite fascinating around that’s that that region, especially to know how this is all gonna play out and, and it’s happening in Montenegro and in a few other countries too. And the European Union is kind of trying to keep numbers The Safe buffer states, but when it’s they’re not members, so they’re going to do so much. Well, how do they enforce these ideals and what they want when not necessarily giving anything back? This kind of leads to a past debate where lots of those countries were attempting to join the European Union. And that has kind of gone a bit cold recently, and is that a carrot dangle, etc, etc. Anyway, we’re getting somewhat into politics now. But I think it was interesting to see how China’s kind of rolling out these technologies all over the place, and Africa is probably another collection of countries to look at a continent to look at, where we’re not entirely sure what these companies are collecting and doing here. It’s who knows. And they kind of possibly explain some of these inaccurate inadequacies in these countries, governments and infrastructure and oversight bodies to well, to who knows what game and looking at this aspect of data from a different perspective. And kind of flipping it on its head, I suppose. This is another article from wired from Chris stoeckel. Walker, back, also around the middle of August. Obviously, Afghanistan has been big in the news, but this was specifically looking at where a lot of Afghan is had worked with the US and allied forces and interfering with with good reason, as we sort of discovered in the weeks after that, that any information connecting them to working with the Allied forces would not would be negatively viewed by the now Taliban authority. And just the extent that they had to go to in kind of digital and non digital data and destruction of, and those things that are around social media post and all this, you know, that there’s, there’s, there’s data that you kind of know, you have access to, or you have, or you know, what it is, or there’s one copy of it, or something like that, and the social media data that for various reasons, is kind of hard to get rid of. And there’s archives of it and, and snapshots of it and things like that, and, and trying to get rid of it all, when someone who is really motivated to find it can probably find it as well. And it might be on other devices, just because you get rid of it on your computer, for example, doesn’t mean it’s not somewhere else, or someone else has another copy and etc, etc. And this kind of tangled web, of trying to remove yourself from from sources of data. And I think that somewhat ties into the previous article I was mentioning. Because, yeah, you start to see these unintended potential future unintended consequences of data being collected, that you don’t always know who by and where it’s going and when and why you might want to remove that. And of course, some could argue that there’s sometimes good reasons for that. I mean, this is a case of people who have one perspective in history. We’re working with people who are perceived to be doing a good thing. And now they’re perceived to be working with an opponent of a new government. And of course, there’s myriad perspectives on the right and wrong here. But you know, I suppose there’s arguments to say that there’s other cases where allowing people where it’s more clear, more black and white to use a phrase around good and bad. Do you want people to be able to remove that data? And this this obviously ties into news from Apple with the the I think it’s c c span has it?

policies as well. And the you know, there’s a there’s a mechanic they’re being used for, quote, unquote, good, but what else could it mean in the future? And yeah, and I feel like those sort of three news stories I’m not really going into detail on the apple one but those three stories kind of taken together, show you these different facets of what data collection can mean. And how it can get so tangled around you without ever you expecting it to. Food for thought. Okay, let’s let’s lighten up a bit. Let’s let’s go into some kind of more general geekery. This is actually from a couple of years ago, may 2019. But just because I only just discovered the wonderful increment magazine, which is published by stripe strangely, and they had an issue in 2019 on this was an issue on open source and a wonderful article on law tech. One of the technologies a lot of people love to hate my cat. I love it. I don’t know why I like it’s weird, esoteric syntax and this kind of very opinionated way. It produces largely PDFs from markup. And he I tried to make a board game using it several years ago,

which was

not something I do again. But it was an interesting experiment anyway. Yeah, it makes it roughly just over 40 years old, which is quite amazing for a technology. Well, that’s from its origins to now, anyway, lotic itself. And this is an article from Poornima apti, talking about a history of Logitech from Donald Knuth. And kind of how it got there, what it built upon and where it’s going now. And it’s still very, very active development, I think that makes it Well, let me just have a quick read and taut up the dates was around the 80s. At some point, it’s kind of trying to figure the data a little bit. And but it also actually helped tech, which is what it built upon. And just to clarify to anyone who isn’t familiar with these words, this is la te x. So a lot of people may mispronounce it as latex or latex or whatever. But it’s actually law tech. And then Tex is tech. slightly confusing. But that was a kind of underpinning that wasn’t so well known wasn’t so popular in law tech kind of produced a more user friendly way. user friendly and 80s computing style anywhere anyone looking at it now we’ve been on earth is this but user friendly for the time, shall we say. And of course, it was something of a competitive to Adobe creating similar ish in a different way tools for for output as well. And it’s always been wonderful for documents that involve a lot of mathematical syntax and formula and things like that. But I also find it great as a cross platform way of creating PDFs of creating consistent reliable PDFs that are well formatted and well structured. I actually hit this time and time again, especially on kind of marketing style PDFs, where they have no table of contents, no clickable links and kind of in a PDF is supposed to be a standard. But not all PDFs are created equal, shall we say. And some are pretty bad. And you get kind of text PDFs that are not really text and all these sorts of things. And I find it sometimes frustrating, and he kind of just wish everyone would use law tech or something nice like that. But anyway, take a read have a look at the league. Yeah, take a trip down memory lane with me to a wonderful piece of technology that’s still with us today. At another technology post, just to throw in before I move on, is from Ron Amedeo, on Ars Technica, a highly, highly detailed but a fairly detailed overview. As we find ourselves on the cusp of a nother Google messenger platform in the form of RCS which from reading this is not as new as Google may like to, to imply a wonder down historical archives and trash cans of history of Google’s various attempts at messaging platforms. And actually I forgotten about some of it’s quite wonderful. You know, it’s been a running joke. And sometimes you forget how many there were. And not only that, but how many options for messaging, there were in other products. This seemed to be a thing that Google went through for a period of time is adding messaging to everything without even really thinking about it, and the mistakes they have made over and over again. And I always love looking at this from an American perspective, because

I find in Europe, no one really cares about

SMS and in America they do it always seems to be people talking about iMessage. But most people I know use telegram or WhatsApp. There may be because I don’t have an iPhone. But even those of us who do they tend to still use WhatsApp it’s it’s so kind of ubiquitous along with telegram kind of rapidly biting its hills here and signal it, it feels that we don’t even really think about these other options. But yeah, if you want some reminding and some wonderful screenshots of what things used to look like, you know, near 10 years ago, then have a look at this post and cry, remorse, celebrate what is and what isn’t with us anymore in the world of Google messaging. And finally, an article from a on magazine from a recur on current. Why and get the title here because it’s a nice title. It’s called typos, tricks and misprints. Why is English spelling so weird and unpredictable. And I I really love digging into this kind of stuff. I’ve been spending a lot of the past year, working my way through the very epic history of the English language podcast, which started in 2012. And I think I’m currently at two episodes from about 2015. So I have a long way to go yet. It’s a very detailed look at the language and actually fills in a lot of the background and history to this post and TLDR it’s a lot of it’s because of the influences on the language, from French, and Scandinavian languages, and Germanic languages and Latin languages, and all these various inputs that kind of create this wonderful mishmash of nonsense and in consistencies. But then also, I found quite fascinating. Some of it comes from typesetting, when English went to being typeset, and printed, and that certain letters weren’t available or weren’t so common. And they would buy printers from Germany and things like that to actually kind of change bits of spelling to make printing easier, which is wonderful. And you kind of see similar things happening now, with abbreviations with emojis, because that is the format we have now have available to us. So when people say, you know, messaging systems are ruining the English language, you can kind of say, well, the type press was their first buddy. And, you know, technology has a way of always evolving and changing things. And some would say ruining, some would say improving. I’ll just say changing and evolving. But you know, there’s always reasons behind things. And sometimes I find this sort of entomology histories. I don’t know. I love it. I love understanding the meanings of words. And and sometimes they’re quite wonderful. And sometimes they have such historical context. And yeah, it’s just a wonderful sort of trip down some of the justification for that. And then go and have a listen to the history of English podcasts if you’ve got a spare 10 years. And he’s very, very regular. Still going to get a bit more what a lot more depth around the subject as well. That was my my links that I wanted to discuss in this episode. And for me, I have been on holiday for a couple of weeks, I’ve actually got quite a bit that I feel like I was telling you, I was working on lots of things several months ago on the last episodes, but then who knows what they were such a long time ago, I’m just gonna start afresh. So I’ve been working on my novel that’s coming along, I think I’m about 60 to 70% through my first draft, maybe I should do a summation of it at some point soon. And I have a couple of blog posts that have come out for various clients you can find on my website. Also some experiments with next cloud kind of a tangent from the what I was mentioning earlier, and actually have a big post that will be coming out next week, I think about the seventh of September. on that. Actually, no, that’s gonna be on my streaming setup that will be coming out in two weeks. I have a post on my streaming setup coming out. Next week, my podcasting, video production and streaming setup will be out next week, a blog post and then a video to follow. And then in two weeks time will be the Raspberry Pi setup post. But I have a post and a video coming out I think tomorrow, that a Thursday actually might be the same day as this podcast episode, going through me then experimenting with taking next cloud to Kubernetes to do your public cloud using service mesh and ingress and things like that. And I’ve actually been doing a lot of editing of some posts as well. I’ve got a new interactive fiction

game, I really want to call it you can find on my website, a link on my website and my each page which is europop vampire, you might enjoy that. Then a couple of other games I’ve been working at through lockdown actually, you can find that on my games page. I also have a new support page. So if you like what I do, what you hear what you see on various things, and yeah, I’ve been very very busy on my YouTube channel. You can find all sorts of videos from gaming to tech there as well. Probably more regular than then this show actually. You can find all the details on my website, Christy chill, calm as well. So please, if you if you enjoy what you hear, subscribe, tell a friend. Leave a comment wherever you hear always appreciated. And drop a small donation through the ways you can find by a little bit of merchandise, t shirts and all sorts of things. If you enjoy it, you could also sign up for the newsletter version which will be coming back same time as this. If you prefer to read instead of Listen, but I don’t know why you’d want to do. And yeah, it’s good to be back. And I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you all come back to listen next time and indeed this time. And yeah. See you again soon for another chinchilla squid. Thank you for joining.