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A while ago my iPad played up, forcing me to reinstall it through iTunes. Since I do not keep much data on the device itself, this wasn’t much of a problem, except for the time lost with a bit of tinkering and figuring out how to do it correctly – it was the first time I had to resort to this measure.

In the course of the procedure I was asked to enter my “iCloud Security Code“. I take great care to register all my passwords, as I explained in “Minding your own password business“. But my files showed no knowledge of such a code. Strange: could I have forgotten to write it down?

Searching on the Internet helped to clarify things. Matthew Green is a well-known cryptographer, and his article titled “Is Apple’s Cloud Key Vault a crypto backdoor?” not only tells you that the iCloud security Code is (usually) identical to you iPad passcode. It is, in fact, a rather comprehensive yet clear overview of how Apple handles your passcodes and crypto keys in the iCloud Keychain. Good reading material for when you have a clear mind ;-)

Just a quick notice, to inform all SGS7 users in Belgium that Samsung made a system update available in Belgium. This update brings Android on the SGS7 up to the Android security patch level of June 1st, 2017. We can only hope that Samsung will increase the number of updates in the near future. Oh, and they might offer us Android 7.1 as well, of course – if they wait much longer I will be requesting Android 8 rather than 7.1 !

This is what my machine now tells me about the operating system

Isn’t there a saying about the truth coming from a child’s mouth?

“I stood in front of them and said, ‘If someone is mean to you online, you have to be meaner back,’” an almost verbatim echo of Sanders’ and Melania Trump’s discourse. Aftab wanted to see how the kids would respond. “This one girl with bright red hair took her books from her lap and slammed them on the floor. She said, ‘No, it’s wrong, it’s just wrong!’ And I said, ‘Well, why is it wrong? We do it in New York.’ And she looked at me and said, ‘Well this isn’t New York. This isn’t the United States of America. This is Canada, and we’re nice to people here.’”

Aftab laughed. “We need to listen to that fifth-grader and remind ourselves about what’s right and what’s wrong. … Feeding fire with fire just means you’re going to burn down the town.”

It’s worth reading the whole article titled “How the Psychology of Cyberbullying Explains Trump’s Tweets“.

On June 16th, 2017, the Aboriginal Art Museum Utrecht (Utrecht, Netherlands) closed its doors. The AAMU was a private initiative, started by a few collectors, and supported by a few sponsors and lots of volunteers. My wife and I visited the AAMU last year, and appreciated it for its wide range of works. According to the last annual report, there wasn’t enough money to keep the museum open, and an arrangement was found to transfer the collection of some 800 works to the National Museum for World Cultures.

Just a sample of one of the works of the AAMU, as shown on the remaining homepage of the site today…

Sadly enough, such a transfer of the collection ignores the fact that the AAMU was so much more than a collection. The museum also included an art shop, a small video theatre, and a little bar plus terrace. Not to mention the fact that it was located in the historical centre of Utrecht, smack in the middle of the busy centre of the town. We had intended to go back to the AAMU, to check out the new offerings of the museum ánd the shop. That plan will no longer work. I guess we’ll have to return to Australia…

The weather was very dry last month in Belgium, and our farmers don’t like that. In terms of sunshine, the month was rather average. Our solar panels registered 102% of the average solar energy production for June over the previous 7 years: better than expected after the low numbers so far this year, but far from exceptional.

On to July and the summer holidays!

Call me stupid, but I don’t understand why American politicians think that people can do without health insurance. Just read Eric Meyer’s plea:

Without insurance, even if we’d been able to get the insurer’s rate, we’d have gone bankrupt. All our investments, our house, everything gone. If pre-existing conditions had prevented us from being covered, or if we’d been less fortunate and unable to afford premiums—bankrupted.

In which case, Rebecca’s brother and sister would have suffered her death, and the loss of their home and what precious little remained normal in their lives.

How many families live through that double hell? How many go completely broke trying to save their child?

How many families will have to go through that double hell in the future? According to the Congressional Budget Office, many – here is their evaluation of the current proposal…

Ken Norton has a story to tell as well…
Click the image to read it on Twitter

It may be true that a certain style of living can help you stay healthier; one of the best ways to make that happen is, of course, making sure that our environment isn’t polluted. Anyway, getting ill isn’t something you do by choice, and no sane person goes to the doctor just for fun.

Dave Winer has another take on the subject, but comes to the same conclusion:

I’m not going to go into all the detail here, but every way you look at it, disease follows the pattern of a natural catastrophe. So the only reasonable way to fund treatment is to pay taxes, and that’s it.

I have been a fan of science fiction literature since my youth. It started with a few books in Dutch when I was a teenager, with books from Paul van Herck and Carl Lans. I currently own 300+ titles, almost exclusively in English – going to the source seemed the best way to enjoy the genre.

So after talking about 1984, allow me to introduce another literary classic (which I haven’t yet read in its entirety, alas), commented by Cory Doctorow in a Slate article titled “I’ve Created a Monster! And so can you.“:

Frankenstein warns of a world where technology controls people instead of the other way around. Victor has choices to make about what he does with technology, and he gets those choices wrong again and again. But technology doesn’t control people: People wield technology to control other people.

People wield technology to control other people” – how true. Machines, be they constructued in hard- or software, don’t do anything, unitl guided by people. But is Cory Doctorow talking about the Facebooks and Twitters of this world, or about the NSA and other hackers? Both, probably. It remains remarkable how this insight was captured in a book more than 100 years ago.