9 April 2021


Duck Duck Go audit and Searx

Thanks to Aral Balkan: https://source.puri.sm/toolauditor/CEAP/-/blob/master/audits/ddg.md
This is crazy; no one should use them.

My default search engine is already Searx (search.disroot.org); though:

  • occasionally Google blocks it;
  • returning to the search page via the browser's back-button produces a "Confirm Form Resubmission";
  • DDG or Google's results are sometimes better;
  • Smart answers, like "$20,000 in Euros" don't give results.

Anyway, I've deleted DDG from my browsers. I will try to do more research on Ecosia, StartPage and others.


I helped behind the scenes with another Zoom event: an interview with the principal and vice-principal of our binational primary school. The only technical hitch was caused by me. S. hadn't set up her Zoom to automatically admit new participants, and she had also allowed people to unmute themselves. There is one special guest user, of a tech guy who had come in to manage the photography and the software; he probably was using mainly OBS, though I didn't ask him. Anyway I accidentally muted him when trying to admit and mute somebody else; so we lost audio for a minute or two in the middle. I know, we should buy the equipment and learn how to do these events myself so we don't need to hire someone.


Birth year palindromes

The birthday of one of my sons the other day produces a numeric palindrome of his birth year (born in '83 and now '37). It's the same for me this year, as I was born in 1956. I think almost everybody has a chance of that happening once; though for those who were born in 1999, though those whose birthday year ends in a 9 are advised to lead a healthy lifestyle.


So many bad things happening around the world right now: the attrocities in Myanmar; a Russian build-up on the Ukraine border; disturbances in N. Ireland; racism in Australia;, Israel's mining of the Iranian ship; settler violence against Palestinians...

Biden restores $200m in US aid to Palestinians slashed by Trump | US foreign policy | The Guardian
"The US will restore more than $200m (£145m) in aid to Palestinians, reversing massive funding cuts under the Trump administration that left humanitarian groups scrambling to keep people from plunging into poverty."
This at least is good. The Trump administration's bid to blackmail the Palestinians into doing Israel's bidding failed. But the US should be wielding its influence on Israel to help solve the problem.

3,000-year-old ‘lost golden city’ of ancient Egypt discovered | Egypt | The Guardian
“Within weeks, to the team’s great surprise, formations of mud bricks began to appear in all directions. What they unearthed was the site of a large city in a good condition of preservation, with almost complete walls, and with rooms filled with tools of daily life.”


There's a search engine called searchencrypt.com that claims to be more private than DDG. I took a look. I couldn't find an explanation of where their search results originate from, who they are, what their business model is, where their money comes from, or why they want us to install a browser extention that has access to all our data. I think it's possible to create a default search engine without installing an addon, and the only addon I've installed in Waterfox is PrivacyBadger.

I see from their "about page" only that the company operates out of Limassol, Cyprus and from their "terms of service" page that the software is copyrighted. Without more information, I don't think I will be using this one.


I've eventually chosen searx (about) as my default search engine for my Waterfox browser, using an instance of it hosted by Disroot.org. Steps to do this:
1. opened https://search.disroot.org/
2. clicked on the down arrow next to the search box.
3. chose the option to add SearX to the list of search engines.
4. clicked on "search preferences", (which takes us to the right place in Preferences.'
5. clicked on searx to make that the default search engine.
I also made searx my home page.