noun: skills in many areas. a little of this and that.

PSA Newsletter 13: Privacy, Security, Automation!

Everything Leaks Eventually, Apple Watch Updates, and A Trip Back in Time...


Microsoft Outlook now(?) collects obscene amounts of data about you by reading the contents of your email and sells it to advertisers. This was big news when Google started doing it years ago. Now, it's just more of the same. I recommend Proton Mail or another privacy-focused email provider. [1]


The MOAB (Mother Of All Breaches) isn't an entirely new breach. Rather, it "includes records from thousands of meticulously compiled and reindexed leaks, breaches, and privately sold databases". There are 26 Billion records in this leak. The population of Earth is 8.1 Billion upon last check. It's safe to say that some of your information, who or whomever you are, is in there. Cybernews provides a data leak checker to confirm in their article. [2]

As if that wasn't bad enough, there were also Trello and Loan Depot breaches. If you use either of these services, head over to HIBP and confirm if your data was leaked. [3]

Automation Autonomy

The A in "PSA" is going to temporarily stand for something a bit different while some work on a new automation project is underway. Sometimes, having a little more control over your own devices can enhance both your privacy and security, in that you don't rely on external connectivity, infrastructure, or impossible to read EULA's. In these cases, a little Autonomy goes a long way. With that said, this is the first in a series I'd like to call "Newer Isn't Always Better".

This week's device or service was discontinued with limited fanfare almost two years ago. Its final form was a far cry from the original, more foolproof device that excelled so well at its mission that it created the wealthiest company in the world. Of course I'm referring to the iPod.

The 3rd Gen iPod was the first Apple device I purchased, and continues to function to this day. Think about that. An Apple device that runs for 21 years, dutifully performing its core functions, without a constant stream of bug fixes and patches. Used iPods (all generations) can be purchased from Elite Obsolete Electronics, new battery included. If you don't have the original chargers or sync cables, they can also be purchased there or on eBay. If you take it one step further and pair with a bluetooth transmitter such as the Twelve South AirFly Pro (or its cheaper siblings), you get a premium music player with wired or wireless headset functionality that doesn't spy on you or sell your data to the highest bidder. All that for about 1/5th of what it used to cost brand new, and much cheaper than newer devices that deliver a worse listening experience and require a parade of security fixes until their batteries inevitably swell. Once again, newer isn't always better.[4] [5]


Q: Is Apple still selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2? I heard on (insert social media here) that Apple is no longer selling those watches, or selling them with parts missing.

A: Apple is still selling the Apple Watch, with the same physical parts it has had until this moment. The only thing that's different is that new Series 9 and Ultra 2 Apple Watches have the Blood Oxygen Sensor disabled via software out of the factory. If and when Apple decides to settle with Masimo (the owner of the patent Apple's fighting over for the Blood Oxygen Sensor), those sensors will be enabled again via a software patch. Anyone claiming that Apple, on a dime, halted manufacturing, changed the Apple Watch factory tooling across the world in China, is lying to you.

Head's Up

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