Ben Tasker's Blog

Why I won't have an Amazon Echo

I was recently asked to explain in a bit more depth why I'm not willing to have an Amazon Echo (or, more specifically - Alexa), so I thought I'd write an answer down too.

Although the question was specifically about Alexa (being the best-known), the answer applies to alternatives like Google Home and Sonos One.

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Protecting Identity and Copyright Online

At times, it really feels like the world is completely fucked. We've got a US president who somehow manages to be enough of an arse to fall out with Canadians flying off to meet a nuclear armed mad-man. We seem to be witnessing the increasing rise of a foaming mouthed racist alt-right, and have long since mourned the death of quality journalism in the media. Israeli defence forces are so focused on justifying murder of unarmed civillians that they now tweet about executing people for throwing a stone.

Yes, at times, it seems like the entire world is off to hell in a hand-cart.

Underneath it all, though, politics doesn't seem to be that different behind the scenes. Politician are still trying to implement many of the same stupid things that we've seen raised again and again throughout our lives. 

As fucked as the world may seem, it's important that it not act as a distraction from the issues we can do something about. Trump, for better or worse, is here to stay (at least until his KFC infested diet catches up with him).

But we can do something about fuckwits in Government once again suggesting that implementing the ability to control and track what everyone does online is in any way a positive. We also can do something about fuckwits from many Government's who think it's beneficial for humanity for them to take a bended knee before Copyright cartels and screw the lot of us in the process (otherwise known as Article 13 of the EU Copyright Directive).

This post isn't about the things that have become big, but about the things that will become massive infringements on our lives if allowed to pass unchallenged.

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Changes to BenTasker.co.uk

I've recently made a few changes to BenTasker.co.uk, with some more in the pipeline.

This post gives details on the changes made so far.

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Google, Cloudflare and GDPR - my quandry

Just like most of the internet, I've been working hard making sure my site and services are GDPR compliant. For the most part, on the technical front I already was, and it's mostly been a case of making sure the documentation is up to scratch.

However, in one area, I've had to revisit a  decision that I've gone over and over after the past few years - having ads on (some) of the sites, compared to the alternatives.

I decided I'd create this post for a couple of reasons - partially because I suspect others may be in a similar situation, and also to try and help lay it out so I can spot alternatives to those I've already considered.

 

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An Open Letter on Medicinal Cannabis in the UK

Today, I watched as one of our representatives denied the opportunity to even debate the benefits of Medicinal Cannabis. Such was his disregard for those suffering, he seems to have acted to prevent simple discussion of the pros and cons.

I'm ashamed to say that he's the MP for the Town I grew up in. For years I've watched people fruitlessly try to convince our MPs to listen, today was too much and I've decided that I need to put my head above the parapet and share my experience in this area.

Below is an open letter which I've sent to the leaders of the 3 main UK political parties

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