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

Can’t hire? Pay more.

Many recent news stories feature companies having a hard time hiring workers. In capitalism, this means one thing: they’re not paying enough. Period. It’s that simple. The law of supply and demand says that if demand for a resource outstrips its supply, then price for that resource increases. If a buyer wants to purchase that resource, they have to pay more to compete with the other people who want to buy it.

Read more

Wisdom of the ages

The iOS App Store recommended that I check out a meditation app named "Calm", featuring "Wisdom from Shawn and Camila". Shawn is 22 years old; Camila is 24. With due respect, Apple, I’m not expecting a lot of wisdom from a couple younger than the sweater I’m wearing. There are many wonderful things youth can bring. Experience of a life long-lived is not one of them. I don't want to sound curmudgeonly, but they're 22 and 24, and I expect they'll have little to offer on mid-career thoughts, or watching one's parents grow older, or coming to grips with mortality.

Read more

Taking one for the team

Scene: Nick's intermediate league baseball game. Bottom of the last inning. Other team at bat. 2 outs. 2 on base. Winning hitter at bat. Fly to right field. Nick makes a beautiful diving catch and comes up with the ball, ending the game for his team to win… …then runs off the field holding his arm. One rushed trip to the office for x-rays later, and it's confirmed: he broke the same wrist that he broke last year when he fell off his skateboard.

Read more

Signal was cheeky, but right

In her article "I Have a Lot to Say About Signal’s Cellebrite Hack", the extremely qualified Riana Pfefferkorn argues that Signal's blog post, "Exploiting vulnerabilities in Cellebrite UFED and Physical Analyzer from an app's perspective", could have been a bit more serious and professional: On the other hand, although this was serious work with a serious point to it, the unseriousness of Signal’s tone in the blog post and video hampered public understanding of the point they were making.

Read more

Review: Jellycuts

Jellycuts for iOS and iPadOS is 2 things: A text-based language for writing Shortcuts, A compiler that turns the text language into "real" Shortcuts, and An IDE for writing the language. As a programmer, this is super exciting to me because it feels like I spend too much time fighting against the limitations of the visual language. Now I can use the programming tools I work with every day to write my little applets, and store them in version control so that I can track changes and roll back mistakes.

Read more

Review: Apple Fitness+

I've been using Apple's Fitness+ service since it came available. It's still a young product and has lots of room to improve, but its fundamentals are solid. This is what I like and dislike about it. What I like: doing the exercises First, the workouts themselves are excellent. They offer exercises I'm not used to, and I've found that working with a trainer, even a pre-recorded one that isn't talking to me personally, motivates me to push harder than I do when I'm working out alone.

Read more