Control Google Privacy

It’s no secret at this point that Google is a data hoarding hamster, but some realize this after using their services for months, years and even decades. And lets be frank here, Google may offer controls for privacy, but they dug the controls deep into their settings where most users won’t even find or look for them. And no one can really audit if they do anything for real or how much of the data they already sold to 3rd parties and blocking or removing it makes any difference at this point.

But still, there are controls for it and you can use them to at least feel better in worst case scenario lol. Some panels may interleave or share parts of controls, but I’ve listed them anyway for faster direct access.

VIEW AND DOWNLOAD ALL YOUR DATA

Download ALL your data from Google

BASIC GOOGLE CONTROLS

Google Dashboard

Your Google Personal Info

PRIVACY CONTROLS

Google Privacy Controls

Google Privacy Checkup

GOOGLE ACTIVITY

Google MyActivity

Google Activity Control

3RD PARTY APPS WITH ACCESS TO GOOGLE SERVICES

Google Connected Apps

DELETE GOOGLE SERVICES / DATA

Delete individual Google products IRREVERSIBLE!

Delete Google Account IRREVERSIBLE!

I also suggest you sweep through all panels and look at every setting in there and decide whether you want them enabled or not. Also, be aware that controlling activity settings will also affect how their products work. For example, if you disable Youtube Watched Activity, Youtube won’t track what videos you’ve watched (at all) and it also won’t remember where you stopped watching videos if you stop watching them half way through.

What is also a bit worrying is the fact there is ZERO controls for GMail in particular, a service/product which stores by far the most of your personal data.

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MSI X99 Gaming 7 BIOS update 7885vHG is garbage

I was getting bizarre random system lockups, freezes, crashes, BSOD’s with things that just didn’t make any kind of sense like SoundBlasterX AE-5 drivers BSOD’ing on every cold system boot or games regularly but entirely randomly without any real meaningful pattern crashing the system like there was a power cut making it look like faulty PSU (which is impossible since I have a relatively new top of the line PSU from BeQuiet) and this was happening for weeks until I ran out of all software and hardware possibilities and looked at the BIOS that I’ve updated ages ago and which was designed to mitigate the Spectre/Meltdown nonsense. It’s version is 7885vHG and it seems to be the root of all these problems. I’ve downgraded it back to H.F version and all the mentioned problems disappeared. Not one crash, freeze, BSOD or anything.

I don’t know what the fuck MSI did here, but BIOS 7885vHG for MSI X99 Gaming 7 is absolute garbage. Not only they delivered it months after it should have been released, it’s also of terrible quality. And since Microsoft patched the vulnerabilities with OS microcode update, there is next to no reason to use this BIOS, especially since it’s such garbage. I also can’t believe my system is the only one experiencing these problems or people just never managed to figure it out it was MSI’s BIOS update doing this.

Well, now you know.

Tomb Raider: Legend NextGen Crash Fix

It has been ages since Tomb Raider: Legend was released and basically since day one we had to deal with random game crashes because of NextGen content that never got fixed by original developers. One moment you’re playing the game, next moment game crashes to desktop without any warnings. NextGen content enables quite neat graphics that still impress me even today, 12 years after game release, but these crashes were super annoying.

Until I found a fix for it. Decided to complete all “modern” Tomb Raider games, so naturally I had to start with Tomb Raider: Legend. And crashes annoyed me so hard I started digging. And found a fix by total chance which was apparently released in 2014 by user “if(TickRate==64){shot.Miss();} ” (yeah, stupid name lol).

But it seems to work perfectly. I was getting crashes in Nepal almost every few minutes, but after replacing the binary, no crashes in exact same spots.

Just download the EXE file below and replace the original in game folder. Patch is meant for Steam version of the game. I’ve checked it with Kaspersky and it seems clean.

DOWNLOAD:

Tomb Raider Legend NextGen Crash Fix

Vivaldi browser forums are run by fucking morons

So, few days ago I gave Vivaldi 2.0 browser a try, because I tried early versions and it was just too basic and lack of Sync was a huge no-no back then. It’s now generally pretty good, but still has tons of really weird design decisions so I wanted to help by giving feedback and telling them what should be improved and changed to make it better.

And that’s when the real shitshow began. Everyone started jumping on me like I’m taking away their fucking candy even though I clearly stated I don’t want things to be taken away, just changed by current settings still being available as an option in settings. After several posts of fucking defending myself for posting a honest feedback because you know, you want fucking browser to become BETTER.

So, today I posted a feature request for something, you know, like people there asked me to do and some moderator named Pesala whose IQ is apparently of average temperature in Siberia moved a browser feature request into Forum Feedback section and commented it with “uh oh tone down your language”. Nigga, what the fuck do you want from me? Are you retarded? I posted a feature request where you asked me to and described it as it is. The feature is fucking insufferably annoying and named in such retarded way it’s a fucking miracle anyone ever manages to find it. But who gives a shit about that bullshit annoying feature when someone’s fucking feelings got hurt. Fuck you, you retards at Vivaldi forums. Someone comes there with good intentions of making browser better by giving well meant feedback and everyone fucking curls up into fetus position because some fucking words hurt their feels.

I’m not Vivaldi’s enemy, their own fucking dumb fanboys are. So, good luck Vivaldi team, you’ll need it when you’re surrounded by morons like that.

I’ve deleted Vivaldi from my PC the moment this fucker banned me and I can say with 150% assurance I won’t be installing it ever again. Or recommending it to anyone. Excellent job Vivaldi forum moderators, brilliant work you’re doing there. Dumb fuck.

Don’t even bother with Vivaldi, go with Firefox or Opera. Far better browsers and their community actually fucking listens when you have suggestions or criticism and they don’t lose their fucking shit because someone said something over their fucking love child.

Enhance Android privacy with Blokada app

Are you privacy conscious, but you realized you don’t actually have any options? You can either use a dumb phone, a ridiculously overpriced iPhone or Google infested Android. There are literally no other options unless you sacrifice everything that makes a smartphone virtually “smart”.

So, you’re stuck with Android with all its Google shit. There is a cure for that. It’s called Blokada and it seems to be so effective Google removed it from GooglePlay because it was “going against their business practices” (which just means it blocked their ads and data hoarding). You can also grab it on F-Droid Android software store and if you still have doubts, you can also check Blokada source code

Blokada

Blokada_3_5.png

How does it work?

In an essence, it works as a local VPN, so you don’t have to root your device. Just install it from its webpage (you’ll have to manually allow installation of a 3rd party app, under Android Oreo it should give you access to controls for this directly with the popup, at least on my Xiaomi Mi5 it does) and fire it up. It’ll connect as VPN service, but it’s not really redirecting traffic anywhere, it’s just a neat trick to filter traffic without having to root the phone.

Blokada is using blacklists just like AdBlock, AdGuard or uBlock. It’ll block ads, trackers and even allow you to change DNS to whatever you like.

It gives you a huge selection of various blacklists as well as DNS servers and also has a whitelist where you can exclude apps from filtering in case they get broken or you want to support the devs of that app specifically by allowing ads.

Potential problems

In general, not many apps have problems with it even though I’ve removed most of predefined whitelist exclusions. Some banking apps may refuse to function when any kind of VPN is enabled and since those apps can’t differentiate from actual VPN or a local VPN like Blokada, you’ll at least know what is causing the problem and you need to turn off Blokada entirely for the time you want to use such apps. Whitelisting doesn’t seem to help since those apps seem to detect VPN of any kind is on and just plain refuse to work properly.

Does it work?

Can’t say for sure other than my battery seems to last for quite a bit longer now, I’m not seeing any ads anywhere, not even on Youtube (could be just that I watch videos without ads), but the notifications do show a lot of trackers being blocked and the number of total blocks is in the thousands after just few days of using Blokada. I guess it’s working alright.

Farewell to TechPowerUp

After being a part of TPU community for 10+ years I have today fucked off from it permanently.  TPU used to be great community lead by W1zzard who’s an amazing dude from Germany. He’s doing hardware reviews, codes apps like hugely popular GPU-Z and even made apps for companies like Sapphire. Unfortunately his community got infested by fucking snowflake moderators who are perpetually offended and have to compensate their small dicks by shelling out warnings and bans for every fucking little shit they see. My behavior was apparently fine for over a decade, but now I’m all of a sudden “toxic”. Fuck off. Usually they don’t seem to have any fucking clue about the discussion they are allegedly moderating, but they still feel entitled to warn users because some shit offended them or they can’t handle straight fucking facts. If they at any point use the word “toxic” you know they are full of shit and you’re communicating with the dumb snowflake. Only these idiots use word “toxic” to describe what we call A FUCKING NORMAL CONVERSATION where shit like ARGUMENTS happen.

It’s just a shame such cool community went straight down to the bottom of the dumpster in basically a matter of 1 year thanks to dumb moderators. I don’t regret anything, I just feel sorry for W1zzard because few idiots will fuck up everything he worked for for years and years. It’s how basically all forums I know went downhill. Every single fucking time. First there are tons of geeks and enthusiasts who literally compete who will help noobs the most. Then SJW’s arrive and fuck shit up. People start leaving and then community simply dies because there is simply no point in such forums even existing if they are a desolate wastelands. Oh, sorry, “safe spaces” without any “toxic” behavior…

I wished W1zzard best of luck and thanked him for all the service till this day. He’s really an amazing chap and I’ll still be reading his reviews, but that’s it. I’m now moving to Linus Tech Tips forums, so you might see me there a bit more. Lets see if they already have snowflakes for moderators there…

pCloud, a reliable backup storage

After reading weird stories about MEGA, I’ve decided to look for alternatives to store my backup data. And after digging through piles of services that had crappy space, crappy limitations or ridiculous prices, like Degoo, tons of space, but only 75 day inactivity limit, which means it’s not reliable for trusty backup. Until I found pCloud.

Free plan with pCloud gives you 10GB of space, you can get extra 4GB by completing few tasks in your account and collecting the reward. And you can expand it further by inviting others. To make things more interesting, they offer 500GB encrypted storage for 4€ a month or 8€ a month for 2TB which sounds quite reasonable. I still miss a 1€ a month plan with 100GB or something along those lines. They also provide lifetime plans though it should be up to you to decide if they are worthwhile.

They also have Android app that surprisingly works well compared to others which are basically all wonky and won’t sync photos and keep on bitching about WiFi connection or just won’t sync unless you open the app which is stupid. MEGA had that idiotic habit… And it’s smart to sync photos somewhere if you have a phone without microSD, if it dies, you’ll lose all photos. With syncing, they are kept safe regardless.

And lastly, the provider is located in Switzerland which has very strict rules for privacy, I ain’t trusting Google Drive coz they like to stick their fingers in everything.

Get 10GB pCloud free by clicking the link below. Using referrer link gives you extra 1GB and I also get 1GB. A win-win for both:

pCloud link with referrer

Link without referrer:

pCloud without referrer

Give it a try. Free plan is quite generous, you don’t have anything to lose. If you have any better offer or provider, let me know down in the comments, but I couldn’t find any that comes close to pCloud.