So earlier I wrote about the Covid Tracing App. If you haven't installed it yet, now is your chance, check it out here. You lose nothing, you gain a lot.
Yesterday I got my first results. 124 codes in my list, none of whom have identified they have tested positive. Yay me! Now, the 124 codes doesn't mean 124 people, since their codes change over time. It just means that >0 <124 people I was near ran the app, I cannot figure out who they are, I cannot figure out where that was. But, none of them got the test and clicked the button.
In a nutshell, you get a crypto-graphic identifier that rotates, so does everyone else. It never shares that w/ the network: your phone keeps track of the id of those nearby. Daily it checks a list of which ID have self-identified they have tested positive, and notifies you that one or more of your contacts have.
This is the type of data you get, i blurred most of my code, you get the picture.
Now, I am amazed by the number of people who refuse to install it, sight unseen. They assume it uses your GPS and logs you like a character from your favourite show. Well, the code is available, have a look, but, in a nutshell,
It never logs your location, it never logs you to the network until you click the "I tested positive" button. I know a lot of people who refuse to install it just do so on principle not facts. Get the facts. You are not being tracked, its a tool for *you* to track yourself.
Years ago there was this Medical Doctor, Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis. He invented the concept of handwashing after observing that childhood wards run by Doctors had 3 times the mortality of those run by Midwives.
He found that simple antiseptic behaviour (hand washing) reduced mortality to below 1%.
Because this conflicted with the luddite's of the day (who felt that hand washing was beneath them) he was locked up in an asylum and beaten, where he died.
A few years later Lous Pasteur came along and confirmed the existence of germs. A bit late for poor Iggy.
But not too late for you. So wash your hands and ignore the anti-maskers, leave them for Darwin, another contemporary of these folks.
You see, I am a huge fan of 2-factor authentication. Something you have and something you know. And one of the methods I use is a USB device called a YubiKey.
Recently my desktop got updated to an AMD 3990X. 128 threads. With an AMD RX-Vega 64. Beefy. Tied to 3 monitors.
Nearby is a rarely used multi-function printer, samsung scanner/laser, that sort of thing.
How does this tie together you ask? Well, they are all involved as co-conspirators. You see, when i plug in my YubiKey, its not uncommon for the circuit breaker to trip and require a trip to the basement. Why? Well, you see, the printer driver requests a service called colord. This is something that snoops on your devices and looks for colour profiles. E.g. when you insert a camera, it sees the type of raw jpg, etc.
Now, any USB device might be something with a colour profile (for some reason). So inserting the YubiKey wakes up the colord. Colord in turn sends a broadcast out. (Note: long open issue, feel free to vote!) which is picked up by the Scanner. Scanner responds by waking up, firing up the laser drum and heater, you know, just in case its time to print something (I print about 2 things per year). Takes a surge of power.
Well, you add that, the monitors, the new PC w/ the big beefy silicon. Throw in a mix of the fancy new lamp from the great de-purpling of the lamp. And, well, sometimes the surge is just too much.
So, there's about a 1 in 3 chance that inserting my YubiKey to authenticate to some web site throws the breaker, and leaves me in the dark. Today I had a word w/ colord. It has agreed to stop starting up. Problem solved!