SURPRISE EERO HARDWARE END-OF-LIFE

Amazon is ending software support for 1st generation eero devices at the end of September 2022. That's fine. You can't support old hardware forever, and five years is a decent run. But it's not OK that I got less than a month's notice that it was happening, and no email or app notifications. I happened to open the eero app for unrelated reasons and saw a banner telling me my hardware will be obsolete later this month.

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TRYING (AND FAILING) TO HACK THE WALL OF SHEEP

The Wall of Sheep is a popular exhibit at DEF CON. Participants run packet sniffers on an insecure Wi-Fi network and try to catch people logging into unencrypted websites and other services. If they see that happening, they post the person's username and password on a giant display. It looks something like: That's an excellent reminder to be careful when you're connected to an unknown network, and not to send your login credentials out in the open.

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HOW QBASIC JUMP STARTED MY CAREER

When I was an enlisted sailor in the US Navy, I spent an awful lot of time on a deployment hacking away on our ancient laptops to write QBasic programs to automate some of our completely-not-computer-related work. For instance, I wrote a little program to format short text messages in a particular way and write them to a floppy. Then I could hand that floppy to the ship's radioman, and he'd run a program to load the messages and broadcast them over a packet radio to the MARS radio network.

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SLACK WAS BROADCASTING HASHED PASSWORDS FOR 5 YEARS

I received an email from Slack on Thursday, 2022-08-04: We’re writing to let you know about a bug we recently discovered and fixed in Slack’s Shared Invite Link functionality. This feature allows users with the proper permissions to create a link that will allow anyone to join your Slack workspace; it is an alternative to inviting people one-by-one via email to become workspace members. You are receiving this email because one or more members of your workspace created and/or revoked one of these links for your workspace between April 17th, 2017 and July 17th, 2022.

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NOT UPGRADING FOR STAGE MANAGER

Apple's iPadOS 16 features a new multitasking mechanism called Stage Manager, but only on very new iPad models equipped with Apple's M1 CPU. The ludicrous reason Apple gave for this limitation is that the recent M1 chip is the first iPad CPU capable of using swap space. If you listen quietly, you can hear millions of computer science graduates rolling their eyes at that ridiculous excuse. Far less capable computers have supported swap space for decades, and I won't bother going into details of how nervy Apple's claim is.

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HOW TO GIVE COMPLIMENTS

It's fun to receive compliments. It's as much fun to give them! That can be intimidating, though. "What if I say the wrong thing? What if they take it wrong? What if they get angry?" Relax! Saying something nice can be easier than you'd think. First, the ground rules: Don't be a pest. If someone's talking to someone, chatting on the phone, reading a book, or otherwise occupied doing something they probably don't want want to be interrupted from, then don't.

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DON'T BUY A CHEAP APPLE WATCH SERIES 3

Don't buy an Apple Watch Series 3. Many recent articles enthuse about its current wonderfully low prices, but it's a trap. The Series 3 is slow, technologically obsolete, and unsupported by the upcoming watchOS 9. Anyone buying it as their first Apple Watch will be disappointed by the awful performance. I could only recommend it for someone who broke their newer Apple Watch, wants something to tide them over until the new Series 8 is released, and can recycle it or donate it to someone who'd be OK with a dead-end device.

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THE DYNAMIC RANGE OF EMOTIONS

"Dynamic range" describes the difference between the softest and loudest bits of a musical recording. If the sound was recorded poorly so that the soft and loud parts are similar, it stops being interesting. Imagine the 1812 Overture where the cannon fire was at the same volume as the brass, or Skrillex without the drop. Without softness to compare it to, you can't have loudness. I was thinking about a loved one who passed away, and about the ebb and flow of happy memories mixed with tragic moments.

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INTERNET EXPLORER IS FINALLY DEAD

I was working the night shift at a motel while going to school during the day, when my parents saw a help wanted ad for a local ISP. This was in the late 90s when public use of the Internet was starting to take off, and that sounded like a lot more fun than balancing books every night. It was. Although I technically worked in tech support, at least at first, in a small shop everyone learns how to do everything.

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DO NOT USE READDLE'S SPARK EMAIL APP

I've written before about Readdle's Spark email client, which is popular, highly rated, and a beautifully powerful app. It's also too dangerous to use. I recommend dropping it immediately. Readdle is a good, reputable company. I respect and appreciate them. However, Spark's design is fatally flawed: to use its advanced features, your email username and password (or token — same thing) have to be stored on their servers so that they can access your email account on your behalf.

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