Honeypot.net

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!

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Pain-free with a Logitech MX Vertical Mouse

When I spend my days programming, I don't often use a mouse. I have a nice keyboard and use as many keyboard shortcuts as possible so that I rarely move my hands away from it. I'd been doing a lot of non-programming work lately, though, involving clicking around in a lot of spreadsheets and the like. All that mousing and clicking had been killing my wrist. I'd been using an Apple Magic Mouse that I use to like, except that using its touchpad-style "buttons" required rotating my hand inward to place my hand flat upon it.

Read more

Bing is censoring Tank Man search results

Bing is censoring images of the Tiananmen Square "tank man" image. DuckDuckGo, who uses Bing's search backend, is too. Here's the result of a Bing search for "tank man" with safe search on the default "moderate" setting: Perhaps the image is too graphic and safe search is hiding the results? No. Turning safe search off gives the same answer: At first, DuckDuckGo was returning 4 images of men next to tanks:

Read more

Uniquely bad identity branding

My company has an account with a certain identity provider so we can test that our single sign-on feature works. Today one of my coworkers asked for an account with the IdP before he started working on that part of our code. I tried to create his user but got an error that the "username must be unique". Huh. I double-checked our user list to ensure we didn't have an account for him.

Read more

How I get things done

After years — decades — of experimentation, I've learned this about myself: when I follow a certain workflow, I'm happy and productive. When I don't follow it, I'm stressed, anxious, and unproductive. There's no in-between state. If I want to feel good about all the cool things I'm doing, I have to trust the process and follow it rigorously. These are the things I use to stay sane and productive.

Read more

Tripping on a Cracked Sidewalk

Amazon Sidewalk is a new project which allows Amazon devices (like Alexa, Ring doorbells, etc.) with different owners to share their Internet connections. In short, your Alexa talks to your neighbor's Alexa. If your Internet connection goes down, your neighbor's device will relay messages for your device so that it can keep working. Similarly, if your Ring doorbell is closer to your neighbor's Alexa than to your own WiFi router, it can send alerts to you through their Alexa.

Read more