Deutschland Über Alles Once Again? | Bahrain Grand Prix Recap

There are glimmers of hope that a German in a Red Ferrari may once again be at the top of the motorsport world. Ever since moving to Ferrari in 2015, Sebastian Vettel has wanted to emulate his idol – Michael Schumacher – and bring home championship glory for the red cars from Maranello. A good sign is that since Alain Prost did it in 1982, nobody winning the first two grand prix has failed to secure the driver’s championship. Though, those were the days before 20 or 21 race seasons. A lot can happen between now and November.

That being said, the Bahrain Grand Prix was exceptional. Here’s the run down:

Red Bull

About the only significant thing missing this race was Red Bull. Max Verstappen got a bit big in his britches and tried to get round through Hamilton. The contact caused a puncture from which the imbalance caused his rear differential to get wrecked. This found him rocked up at the side of the track, unable to continue. Danny Ric inexplicably suffered a shutdown of his car. All of this happened within the first 2 laps and resulted in no points for the outfit from Milton Keynes.

Renault

The Hulk with a good solid drive for this race. Surely Sainz will be annoyed having ended up one place outside the points. While a move to Renault seems smart, my worry is that Hulkenberg just will never find room on a top tier team. He’ll forever be remembered as a reliable mid-field driver that should have been more.

Force India

If you’d have told me that FI ran this race, I wouldn’t have believed you. It seems to me that Renault is their main competition right now and if they don’t get some good development work in, that 4th place finish they’ve had the last couple seasons isn’t theirs any longer.

Haas

Well look at that – the wheels stayed on! Great race from Magnussen. K-Mag is definitely showing he’s got the fight should he find himself in a reliable car. Though full props on Grosjean for showing some muscle to his team mate during that scrap early on in the race as well. Unfortunately for RoGro, it would appear that K-Mag is emerging as the #1 driver, complete with an untimely pitstop that compromises your strategy. Though, from the team’s point of view, I could see wanting to split them up before it all ended in tears and a second race with no points.

Toro Rosso

Ho-lee-shit. From out of (basically) nowhere here comes Pierre Gasly. We knew he had some skill coming in, but nobody expects a 7th F1 race driver to score mega points. His drive could go down as heroic as Jules Bianchi’s finish at Monaco. I’m positive that Honda is going to get good and drunk to celebrate a race that their engine did not fuck up a good result for. Hartley also drove well though his 17th place doesn’t say so.

McLaren

Oddly enough, McLaren did quite well. Their qualifying session was basically awful but both Alonso and Vandoorne managed a great haul of points. I truly want to see McLaren keep going forward.

Sauber

Well fuck. I guess having scored points now for the first time in 50 races means that we keep seeing Eriksson around the paddock. Nice enough guy, shit driver. Fat wallets must be amazing – I wouldn’t know.

Mercedes

Seriously, all Valtteri Bottas needed was 1 more lap. One. More. Lap. and he’d have had that red Ferrari. It’s hard to remember that Bottas is still relatively new to the team. Mercedes has put in such dominant performances over the past few years that you just expect them to win with Hamilton at the front. Having Bottas bring home more points is a nice change of scenery and I rather enjoy it. Frankly, I want to see Lewis bin it into the wall at Turn 1 every damn race, but that’s just because I want to see something exciting vs him winning every damn Sunday. But, I’ll settle for Lewis in third.

Ferrari

Jesus Christ do the Italians have a flair for the drama.  Ferrari starting on pole and second? Drama and injury in the pit lane causing the retirement of a world champion driver? 10 laps to go, holding the lead, and tires just might fail? Coming up!

Wow, just wow. If these were the Pirelli tires of 2013 Vettel’s tires would have exploded with 15 laps to go and Bottas and Hamilton would have gone on to a 1-2 finish, potentially with Bottas letting Hamilton by at the end. More durable tires that can go 40 laps? Yes, please! Who says that’s not exciting – Ferrari and Pirelli just proved it to be so.

In sadder news, a failure of the pit release system caused Kimi Raikonnen to be prematurely released and drive into a mechanic who hadn’t finished changing tires. Mechanic Francesco Cigarini has had surgery to repair two broken bones in his leg and is on the mend. Looks like he’s out for the season, though. Best wishes that he recovers well.

If half the races to come are half as exciting as this one, we’re in for a great race season. See you in Shanghai.

Locking Down a Leaky Browser (read: Google Chrome)

Everyone has their browser of choice. Myself, I prefer Safari as it functions closest to how I expect a Mac application to function. However, I do find myself using Chrome more and more. There are a couple of things that I do prefer Chrome for. In particular, containing the dumpster fire that is Adobe Flash, but also because Chrome has a rich extension ecosystem. Apple should be jealous. Hardly anyone makes extensions/add-ons for Safari.

This post is intended to take Google’s default options, and modify them such to leak less information to Google. After all, with Google you are the product. There is nothing altruistic about Google. They are an advertising company first, a tech company second. Your data is how they make money. That being said, there are good technologies that Google creates, and their security team hunts bugs at a voracious pace so I can totally respect that. That being said, let’s lock down Chrome as it comes out of the box.

Upon first launch, Google asks you to log in. HELL NO. This is the #1 step to prevent Google from tracking all that you do in your browser. No thanks is the option to select here.

Next, run on over to DuckDuckGo – the search engine that won’t track you. When you go there with Chrome, it will ask if you’d like to install the DuckDuckGo Chrome extension. Absolutely do this.

DuckDuckGo’s Chrome extension does a few things:

First, it will change your search engine within Chrome from Google to DuckDuck Go.

Second, it will stop sites from running tracking scripts and will actually rate sites on their privacy. For instance, here’s CNN:

DuckDuckGo takes CNN’s D rating to a B by blocking 19 unique trackers. It’s incredible just how pervasive tracking is across the internet.

Lastly, DuckDuckGo’s Chrome extension will force HTTPS connections.

Don’t worry, you can still do Google searches with DuckDuckGo, and you can do it very easily. Have a look at all their bang shortcuts for quick searching various sites. The ones I use all the time are !w !a and !yt

If you do nothing else in this post, you’ve already greatly increased your level of online privacy. Continue on for additional tightening up of your shit. I realize that we’re now going to get into functions that you may find convenient. Some of these you may want to keep enabled, and that’s fine. Privacy and security is always a tradeoff with convenience.

Next, let’s look at Chrome’s default privacy settings. Open up Chrome’s settings. (If you’re using Chrome, that settings link will work. Otherwise go to the … menu at the top right of the browser window and click it. Then Settings.

Scroll to the bottom of the settings window and click Advanced. Next find the section called Privacy and security.

The first three options you want to disable. Use a web service to help resolve navigation errors, Use a prediction service to help complete searches and URLs typed in the address bar and Use a prediction service to load pages more quickly.

The “service” that they’re referring to is Google. What you type is sent to Google, it’s analyzed, and they return something that may be helpful (depending on each of these options). I don’t like this kind of help. I don’t need this kind of help. Just let me use my web browser.

Like I said, you may like this help, and that’s fine. Just be aware of what Google’s hoovering up by default. Next select Content settings and you’ll see this window:

Open up the Cookies section.

The third option, Block third-party cookies is the one you want to enable here. So just what is a “third-party cookie?” Let’s say you go to CNN.com. It may set a cookie such as which edition of CNN you prefer. US vs International for instance. A third-party cookie could, for example, be a cookie that CNN’s ad agency uses to lay on your browser so that it can track your activity as you travel to different websites. The reason Google doesn’t block these by default is because, like I said previously, Google is an advertising company and by setting this setting on by default, they’d effectively be blocking their own products from functioning. So, “third party” refers to websites or services that you didn’t explicitly navigate to, but may be embedded into the site you did navigate to.

For the record, Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox enable this setting right out of the box. Mozilla and Apple’s privacy stories are miles better than Google’s.

Next click See all cookies and site data:

WOAH. Look at what comes right out the box with Chrome. REMOVE ALL. In the words of Strongbad, BA-LETED.

Next, open up the Extensions area from the … menu -> More Tools -> Extensions:

 

Note all of the Google extensions. If you have no need to use Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc, remove them all. (Or at the least disable them.) I don’t know for certain, but I suspect that they will report information back to Google. It’s on my to-do list of things to investigate.

Now, if you’ve gone this far and go no farther, you’re even better off than those quitters up above who stopped after installing the DuckDuckGo extension. I have a question for you, however. Are you ready to go full retard on this?

In this case, we’re going to.

Open up this link. (“chrome://flags” if you prefer to type it in on your own.) You’ll get a big, giant long list of options like this:

 

I’ll be the first to admit that you’re probably not going to know what a lot of these things do. I don’t either. But, have a look through the list and what I’d suggest is that if any leap out at you as, “Hey, I wonder if that needs to send information about me or my computer somewhere…” you may want to throw that setting’s name through your search engine of choice to find out. That search engine is DuckDuckGo, right… RIGHT!?!? (Full disclosure: I am not compensated in any way by DuckDuckGo. I just really like them is all. There are plenty of non-Google search engines.)

Here’s what I’ve modified within chrome://flags:

  • Hyperlink auditing – Disabled
  • Mark non-secure origins as non-secure – Always mark HTTP as actively dangerous. (As an aside, Google will be treating HTTP this way within Chrome by default beginning in July 2018. May as well get a jump on it.)
  • Show in-form warnings for sensitive fields when the top-level page is not HTTPS – Enabled
  • Enable tabs for the Clear Browsing Data dialog – Enabled
  • No-State Prefetch – Disabled
  • Speculative Prefetch – Disabled
  • Enable new preconnect predictor – Disabled

So, there you have it. If you’ve got other tips for locking up the information sieve that is Google Chrome, let me know via Twitter.

Why I must walk away from football

We New Englanders have it good when it come to football. We have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. They are among the greatest ever on their own, but together (and with a cast of supporting characters) they have built a dynasty that modern football has never seen. The Belichick system is so good, that any player can be plugged in and it’s just going to all work out.

  • 4 game ban for Tom Brady? No problem. 3-1 through those first 4 games.
  • Go 5-1 in the division and 11-1 in the conference? Sure, we’ll trot our way to yet another Super Bowl appearance.
  • Down 28-3 with 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter at the Super Bowl? Time to humiliate Atlanta right into the record books.

Football is a spectacularly entertaining sport – especially with emotional roller coasters like Super Bowl 51. However, the medical evidence in combination with the NFL actively avoiding any acknowledgement or responsibility for CTE means that I cannot in good conscious be a fan.

The NFL and team owners making millions upon millions of dollars on the backs of players whose lives are irrevocably changed for the worse is barbaric and morally abhorrent.

I will not watch any longer.