Notes from a 8-bit legal aid lawyer

@rb

| 8-bit Legal Aid Lawyer | Migrant Rights | Human Rights | Tea Drinking Vegan | "Preguntando caminamos" | Green | ๐Ÿต๐ŸŽง๐Ÿ“ทโœ’๏ธโœŠโœŒ๏ธ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ—บ

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On Hold

This is my "on hold" page.

Still loving Standard Note + Listed.

Not blogging at the moment for personal reasons as life is too chaotic.

I will blog again soon.

Always tweeting with DMs open @ryanbestford

PWAs

These are my recommended PWAs. Hit install.


Twitter


https://mobile.twitter.com/home



Spotify


https://open.spotify.com/browse/featured?pwa=1


Pinterest


https://www.pinterest.co.uk


Duo


https://duo.google.com


Messages


https://messages.android.com


Headspace


https://my.headspace.com


The Independent


https://www.independent.co.uk


The Atlantic


https://www.theatlantic.com/world


"...let's get back to Hydra and be poor together."

A letter from Leonard to Marianne, 11 February 1963 

My Tweets Deletes

After much pondering, I activated an app to delete my tweets.

For the record, there's nothing amongst my backlog of tweets that I wouldn't have said at the time of tweeting. I decided that the world didn't need a random collection of my 140/280 character thoughts.

I was my a tweeter of record. I didn't maintain threads. My conversations were sparse and probably vastly improved by my absence.

I will continue to tweet, but my tweets will only have a three-month lifespan and then they will vanish into the ether (and on to a collection of cache websites).

But my tweets will deletes.

Sunday Working - In Need of a Quiet Day

(Kinda humming Nighswimming while writing this.)

So it's just gone 9:00 am and I'm on a train to Manchester. It's a Sunday! WHAT AM I DOING?

The sad truth is that I need a quiet day in the office and colleagues just don't offer me that quiet time. It's a compliment, I guess. They respect my opinion on matters of law and IT. I'll take that way until offered evidence to the contrary. It's either that or my know nothing approach gives them a sense of calm. Ask a silly question and we'll work out the answer together.

Anyway, this actually takes up a lot of my time and energy. I am a man of many focuses( or easily distracted?).

If you've followed my tweets for any period of time, you'll have read about my mountain of paperwork and my fear it will collapse and kill me one day. There are moments when I can envision its disappearance but my job is mostly reactive. I can control when I open a file but after that, the final decision is always with the Home Office or the Judge. The only way I can try to close it is with the brute force of the law, threats of legal action regarding the delay. Sometimes effective by themselves, often rely on a Judge's agreement or a sensible Government lawyer.

But it's the paperwork that gets in the way. The constant need to operate within office policy and to various standards imposed upon us (often for legitimate reasons) by outside bodies and regulators.

So on this quiet Sunday, I'm heading into work because I want an easier life for the rest of this week.

Also, free coffee and tea.

Chao!

Ryan

Ps. First thing I did was put on my music. But it's still a quiet day.

Communicating

Thinking about communication today.


I've been trying to learn Spanish for a long time. Failing but trying nonetheless. Language exchange is a feature of modern language learning. As a result, I've realised how little I know about my own language. I know that I can express myself in at least 280 characters - thanks, Twitter. Frequently string together sentences. But can I identify a progressive perfect verb within one of those sentences?


If you're learning a language, it's kinda important that you've learned the rules of your own language first. At the very least, possess a degree of awareness of the rules.


With that in mind, I decided to try the Khan Academy course on grammar. Should I be embarrassed by my lack of grammatical knowledge? My answer is no. The course is taught by a grammarian and associate historian called David Rheinstrom.  He has a very engaging teaching style, signing off each video with the line, "You can learn anything. David out".


So far, I've completed the noun and verb modules and I've started the pronoun module. Happily, I already know a lot of the rules. Maybe I couldn't have named them, but I knew them and I use them. However, I have learnt a few things. It's possible somebody else taught me these a long time ago. If they did, I apologise for forgetting them. 


Last ten minutes of the football...


Chao!

#100Days of Writing

Challenge accepted.

https://listed.standardnotes.org/@Listed/5202/100-day-writing-challenge

As a lawyer, people expect me to be many things. A natural talker, a competent writer and to know every law ever drafted ever.

People who know me will confirm that I possess none of these skills. Thankfully, my clients are patient and tolerant.

By accepting this challenge, I hope to discover whether I have a voice beyond legal writing. There's no pressure on me to complete this. No prizes will be offered on the 100th day. It is very much a personal assignment. I will be judge, jury and executioner.

I don't expect anybody to read what I write. Many years ago I realised that I am nothing special. There's a reason why I opted for an encrypted note app over something like Simplenote or Evernote. I didn't want people to discover precisely how dull my thoughts really are. But this challenge is your opportunity to do just that.

Regardless of your reasons for finding yourself in front of my writings, thank you for reading this far and enjoy the monotony of the next #100Days of writing.

Extension Review: Simplify Gmail

Simplify Gmail may just save Gmail for me. From the co-creator of Google Inbox, Michael Leggett, Simplify Gmail brings the beauty of Inbox to Gmail. Google has already introduced some of the tools and tricks of Inbox to Gmail, but it kept the goddamn awful looks of the original site. Also, the adverts.

My friends and family + my professional contacts already know to contact me via Protonmail. But as a Chromie, I need my Google account to access my Chromebook. It is also the account I use for mailing lists, social media, forums and other similar types of email.

Website

Extension



Also check out another beautiful extension by Michael Leggett - New Tab Clock

New Year Resolutions 2019

  1. Meditate daily.
  2. Learn Spanish.
  3. Code.
  4. Budget to save.
  5. Do more offline.
  6. Read more.
  7. Write more.
  8. Travel more.
  9. Think more.

Leonard Cohen's tear (or why I cannot write about music.)

I gave up writing about music when I realised that I couldn't write about music. It is a difficult task to interpret the vulnerability of another, and ultimately, with each review I wrote I was actually disclosing more about myself than the singer or the song.

Live music is especially difficult to cover because there are so many elements that contribute to a performance - the venue, the crowd, the alcohol, the music, and the musician.

I realised that I don't read music reviews. I couldn't tell you the last review I read because music is an experience. I can map out my life with the songs that I have played on repeat, with the YouTube playlists I've crafted and deleted, with the CDs I've hidden or given away. I have a library of over 5000 LPs, EPs and singles. All in digital format, backed up across various drives. Come the apocalypse and the digital meltdown, will I lose all this music? Probably. But the important songs, the albums that mean the world to me, those singers on the stage before me,I carry them with me always.

Two things I like to do at live shows when I am not watching the stage, I will watch the audience. Attempting to see the music through the faces of others. The lights reflecting off their faces, but the chords striking their hearts. Are they holding someone special, or just a pint? Smiles, or tears?

And, if I am not looking at faces, I am closing my eyes. I'm letting the music create something vivid, decorate my mindscape like a Goddess creating a world.

So I was and am unwilling to present this vulnerable side to the world. I cannot give an explanation for the works of the creative and I am not myself a creative. I am just a passenger, sitting in the corner of a room, drinking coffee and learning more about myself through the words of others than I am comfortable with.

The musical hangover that follows is enormous. And then, there's Leonard Cohen's tear.



'Shut up and write'

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on identity and travelling with a Nigerian passport. If you don't know her books, change that ASAP.



Why I love Standard Notes

So I signed up for the Extended Package today and I wanted to write a few words about why I like Standard Notes. 

I am not an Evernote refugee. I've played with Google Keep but I've never been able to forget/forgive the Google Reader massacre. SimpleNote is lovely but I've always worried about privacy. So when BoingBoing mentioned Standard Notes in a blog post, I pocketed the article for later. After a few days of use, it became my go-to note app. 

Why do I love it? I love notes. I take notes all the time. I collect bits and pieces of information throughout the day. Sometimes, I see a useful paragraph in a case and want to keep it for future use. Other times, it's a cool Kickstarter gadget that I want to purchase later. Occasionally, I have an original idea that I need to capture before it disappears into the ether. And then there's the classic never-ending to-do list. But, ultimately, end-to-end encryption is key. 

It is nice to know that even the most pointless of note is protected. As a Chromebook user, despite my best efforts, I know that Google is always watching. Storing documents is Google Drive is a risky business. I don't mind them knowing that I own most of the Lana Del Ray albums, or seeing some of my more obscure art house movies ripped from DVD. But I don't want them to know my 2FA passcodes, or my deepest thoughts about the meaning of life, or how I am coping with existence. Some things are best-kept secret (or, at least, as secret as possible in this IT age of wonderment). Standard Notes blends in perfectly with my app collection. Alongside ProtonMail, Signal and Wire, Standard Notes ensures that my secrets are better protected. 

The other nice feature is the note sharing options. I can decrypt a note and share a private link with a friend or colleague. I've already done this with a standard paragraphs document that I used for work. Also, the link in my Twitter bio is a disclaimer note stating that my views are my own, a retweet isn't an endorsement, etc. Being able to share a note is nice. 

But blogging is better. I really didn't expect to like it so much, but the ability to jot down my thoughts and share them with the world in note format is awesome. I don't need to worry about making it all pretty. I can focus on the words. This is the most I've blogged in the last five years. It's nice. It doesn't matter if nobody reads this. I don't care about comments. Alongside my Twitter account, Standard Notes allows me to define my understanding of the world in a public forum. 

My notes are safe when necessary, and shared when I decide. That's pretty awesome.

Greater Manchester MPs - MPs or Border Guards?

So far the following Greater Manchester MPs have pledged to be MPs and not border guards:

Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth (Labour)
Sir David Crausby, MP for Bolton North East (Labour)
Yasmin Qureshi, MP for Bolton South East (Labour)
James Frith, MP for Bury North (Labour)
Joanna Platt, MP for Leigh (Labour)
Yvonne Fovargue, MP for Makerfield (Labour)

Not pledged:

Graham Brady, MP for Altrincham and Sale West (Conservative)
Angela Rayner, MP for Ashton-under-Lyne (Labour)
Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley and Broughton (Labour)
Chris Green, MP for Bolton West (Conservative)
Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South (Labour)
Mary Robinson, MP for Cheadle (Conservative)
Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish (Labour)
William Wragg, MP for Hazel Grove (Conservative)
Liz McInnes, MP for Heywood and Middleton (Labour)
Lucy Powell, MP for Manchester Central (Labour)
Afzal Khan, MP for Manchester Gorton (Labour)
Jeff Smith, MP for Manchester Withington (Labour)
Jim McMahon, MP for Oldham West and Royton (Labour)
Tony Lloyd, MP for Rochdale (Labour)
Rebecca Long Bailey, MP for Salford and Eccles (Labour)
Jonathan Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde (Labour)
Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston (Labour)
Ann Coffey MP for Stockport (Labour)
Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan (Labour)
Barbara Keeley, MP for Worsley and Eccles (Labour)
Mike Kane, MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East (Labour)

The MPs are taken from this list: https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/general-election-2017-27-mps-13160942

The Global Justice Now "MPs not border guards" pledge list is here: https://www.globaljustice.org.uk/mps-not-border-guards-pledge-signatories

Letter from Leonard Cohen to Marianne Ihlen

โ€œWell Marianne itโ€™s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that Iโ€™ve always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I donโ€™t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.โ€

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/aug/07/so-long-marianne-leonard-cohen-writes-to-muse-just-before-her-death

ChromeOS Setup



I like to reset my Chrome Sync and powerwash my Chromebook every so often and set it up fresh. It is more of a habit than for security reasons. It allows me to time to consider whether my current setup is working for me. I use all these extensions. Can I be more focused? This setup guide is for my own personal reference.


Importing Bookmarks

As I have reset my Chrome Sync, I've lost all my bookmarks. So I download my "Settings" folder from Google Drive. It contains a PDF version of this guide, a bookmarks.html folder, exported settings for my favourite apps and my go-to avatar photos.

Setting up the settings

Next up I tune my Chromebook settings, in line with the student guidance offered by EFF, as follows:

  1. Encrypt all synced data with own sync passphrase.
  2. Set DNS as follows:
    For IPv4: 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1
    For IPv6: 2606:4700:4700::1111 and 2606:4700:4700::1001
  3. Set DuckDuckGo as search engine.
  4. Require a pin to wake from sleep.
  5. Restrict User Sign In.
  6. Block third-party cookies and site data.
  7. Keep local data only until you quit your browser.
  8. Allow the appropriate cookies.
  9. Do not allow any site to track physical location.
  10. Block protected content.
  11. Add additional languages - Portuguese (Brasil), Spanish (Latin America)
  12. Set startup to โ€œOpen New Tab Pageโ€


With the settings tightened, I move on to the extensions directly from the Chrome Web Store. And, yes, I used all of them - I wish I didn't. I haven't included the games here because I don't want to encourage fun.


Flags


I like to enable flags. You can find the flags here: chrome://flags


Chrome Web Store Apps & Extensions

I install the following Apps and Extensions




Extensions:



Apps:



Themes:


I like to tweak the theme with Dark Theme v3.


Google Play Store Apps (Android)


I keep my application selection limited. One of the reasons that the Chrome OS is an ideal operating system is because it is so lightweight. Android apps can be a little heavy for me. 


I'll always install Bitwarden, Pocket, ProtonMail, ProtonVPN and (now) Standard Notes. I also install a selection of games (see above regarding the encouraging fun). 

Finally, I organise the extensions, launcher and shelf so it is both practical and pretty. And that's how I set up my Chromebook. It takes about an hour. But once it is done, it is done.





Progressive Web Apps (Optional)

I recommend installing Headspace, Messages, Spotify and Twitter as PWAs.