Unusual shipping fail from Apple

I ordered a couple of Apple AirTags and keychain holders this weekend, and UPS dropped the package off on my doorstep a few minutes ago. The outer box had not been sealed in any way — no glue, tape, or anything: The packages inside were bent on arrival, likely from the warehouse: I hope this is an exception. If I were a new Apple customer, I'd be unimpressed with their vaunted first impression.

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Fact-Checking Snopes

I want to like Snopes but I'm not convinced that they weigh evidence correctly. As a personal anecdote, I found what I thought was a problem with their debunking of the myth that Marilyn Monroe had 6 toes. To be clear, I don't believe that she did. Or even care. But at the time, one of the article's supporting "facts" was that if she'd had a toe removed, she'd have to learn to walk again because it would throw off her balance and ruin her gait.

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GoDaddy Terminates Texas Spy Site

GoDaddy gives Texas abortion website notice: Find new host ASAP: The highly controversial and regressive Texas abortion law went into effect on September 1. With the law comes the Texas Right to Life group’s website where anyone can submit allegations that a woman had an abortion past the state’s six-week cutoff mark. The state’s new abortion law also allows private citizens to target anyone accused of helping facilitate an abortion.

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What HIPAA's Privacy Rule Says

As someone who deals with HIPAA's privacy compliance as part of my job, I don’t ever want to hear the word HIPAA again from someone who isn’t adjacent to healthcare. Almost no one understands what it is, but a hundred million people are explaining their wrong ideas of it to each other in a giant game of telephone. Here's a short summary of HIPAA's Privacy Rule, as described by the U.

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The Itanic Has Sunk

By today, July 29, 2021, Intel has shipped the last of its Itanium processors, the last holdout of a rough decade of their history. You'd be forgiven for not having heard of this unusual CPU as they carved a niche of a few supercomputers in the early 2000s and some legacy mainframe holdouts. In 1994, Intel and HP looked around and saw a wide variety of successful server CPU architectures like Alpha, MIPS, SPARC, and POWER.

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Opt-Out Tracking is an Awful Idea

Someone invented a new standardized way to opt out of telemetry for command line applications. This is a horrid idea. The existence of the setting establishes "tracking is OK!" as the default, and makes opting out the responsibility of the end user. With this in place, if a company collects the names of all the files in my home directory, it's my fault for not tweaking some random setting correctly. (For technical types: don't forget to set the "don't track me!

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Quackbooks.

It seems like Intuit is never any the news for anything good that benefits normal people. Previously: "Inside TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free". For more than 20 years, Intuit has waged a sophisticated, sometimes covert war to prevent the government from doing just that, according to internal company and IRS documents and interviews with insiders. The company unleashed a battalion of lobbyists and hired top officials from the agency that regulates it.

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Antivaxxers not owed a soapbox

In a new post in Science Translational Medicine's "In the Pipeline" blog, Derek Lowe announced that he's tired of antivaxxer spam: But – and you know where this is going – there have also been several commentators here who have for some time been abusing this site’s hospitality. I have mentioned to these people that they don’t have to be here, that starting constant wrangling arguments about vaccines, pandemic statistics, etc.

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Digital notes are better than paper

Techie people regularly rediscover paper and write about how they've created a good note taking system with it. I'm envious of them, as I've tried this many times but can't do it. I keep thinking I’ll like writing on paper, but I don’t and likely never will. A few years ago I started keeping a digital daily journal, not so much a diary with entries like "today I feel…", but a record like "changed the van’s oil.

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The Risks of Third-Party Email Clients

There are a lot of neat third-party email applications available for Mac and iOS. From an end user perspective, many of them are amazing and useful. From an information security, privacy, or legal perspective, many are horrible. For example, Readdle makes a popular email client, Spark. Now, to be clear, I think Readdle is a good, competent, well-meaning company and that Spark is a nice app. My problem with their product isn't because I don't trust them, but because I have to trust them, and unnecessarily.

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