From the Electronic Frontier Foundation: How to Enable Advanced Data Protection on iOS, and why you should. I’d like to set this up among all of the devices we have here, but we run a lot of older gear that won’t be covered under this seup—and the idea that if I do enable this, we’ll lose some functionality on things like the Apple TV or this old laptop doesn’t thrill me.

Date posted: May 25, 2023 | Filed under apple, geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Andy Baio has made many amazing things for the internet, one of which is/was called Belong.io, which was a tool using the Twitter API to scrape interesting links from the feeds of a bunch of interesting people daily. With Phony Stark blowing up the service and charging for the API, he’s shut the whole thing down:

Truth be told, it was already dying as those interesting people slowed down their Twitter usage, or left entirely in the wake of Elon Musk’s acquisition and a series of decisions that summarily ruined it as a platform for creative experimentation.

bummer.

Date posted: April 27, 2023 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

The Washington Post did a deep dive of the dataset used to train popular AI models like ChatGPT, and as you might expect, the big websites got crawled heavily. Interestingly, IdiotCentral here didn’t show up at all, but billdugan.com ranks 1,078,227th.

Date posted: April 20, 2023 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

The Verge: Best Printer 2023: just buy this Brother laser printer everyone has, it’s fine. I have a Brother printer in the same basic family; it scans, it prints. It’s a pain in the ass to connect to the wi-fi correctly. In the comment section of the post I found this on, a helpful user goes through the steps for setting up a fixed IP address and most crucially, setting up the printer correctly to pick that IP address up. I figured this out myself several years ago after wanting to throw the fucking thing out the window. Whatever happened to HP printers? they used to, um, just work.

Date posted: March 17, 2023 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

I’ve noticed Conway’s Law mentioned twice in different places this last week, and it has a lot of bearing on some current strategy I’m involved with at work: it basically states that organizations design systems that mirror their own communication structure—essentially organizations build things that mimic their own worldview. I saw this repeatedly when I was doing IA for higher education websites, and I see it now at the NGO. 

Date posted: February 9, 2023 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Here’s a great recap of how Netscape begat Mozilla and Shepard Fairey created a dinosaur logo based on Russian Futurism with roots in the 1987 movie They Live. I look back on those wild days of the web with fondness.

Date posted: January 23, 2023 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

When we were in New York before Christmas, one of the things we showed Finn on our way past Madison Square Garden was the big sign on the corner of 7th Avenue and 33rd Street where I’d designed the billboard for Deutsche Bank back in the day. It was blocked by scaffolding when we walked past—we kind of had to point around all the construction to show her—but I think she understood the scale of the thing.

Over the weekend, while trying to replace a power strip behind our office cabinet, I found a couple of Addy programs from 2009 that had fallen behind other books. Figuring we’d saved it for one of Jen’s projects, I thumbed through it and suddenly remembered that we’d won Silver and Gold Addys for that campaign. I don’t see anyplace on my LinkedIn profile to add awards…

* * *

In the meantime, I’m about 75 passwords in to a migration away from LastPass and into Keychain. I’m doing it manually because I don’t want to go through Chrome to convert everything, and also because I have to change all the passwords out anyway. And having used LastPass for 7+ years, I have a lot of old records that I haven’t used in years that I’m happy to delete. It’s a slog but I’m telling myself it’ll be worth it.

Date posted: January 4, 2023 | Filed under art/design, geek | Leave a Comment »

So apparently, LastPass, the password manager I’ve been using for 5+ years, got hacked for the second time; they’re now saying that encrypted user databases were stolen from company servers. LastPass has been declining in usefulness since Apple changed Safari’s extension architecture a couple of years ago—one of the best features was password autofill, and that was disabled with those changes. So I’m looking at updating and then moving 470+ passwords to Keychain, which has no easy import function; apparently I have to go from a CSV file -> import into Chrome -> import to Safari, which then adds everything to Keychain. The benefit here is that it’ll all be shared across my Apple devices the way God intended.  I’ve resisted Keychain for decades because the interface blows and the sharing features were janky; we’ll see how this goes. In the meantime, I just updated the master password.

Date posted: December 27, 2022 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

I never really understood the lure of Twitter, and only posted there twice. Elon bought the whole thing yesterday, and apparently the tech world is abuzz. I think the best summation of the situation comes from Nilay Patel over at the Verge; the whole thing is one big quotable chunk, but he offers the best summation of what it is I’ve seen, and what the future holds for the platform.

…the tech stack is not the valuable asset. The asset is the user base: hopelessly addicted politicians, reporters, celebrities, and other people who should know better but keep posting anyway. You! You, Elon Musk, are addicted to Twitter. You’re the asset. You just bought yourself for $44 billion dollars.

Have fun with that, buddy.

Date posted: October 28, 2022 | Filed under geek | Leave a Comment »

I upgraded the PHP engine behind idiotking from 7.3 to 8.0 and apparently it made the hamsters mad and they are on strike. One of the key plugins I use for the sidebar is apparently the culprit; the author wrote it 17 years ago and apparently doesn’t want to update it anymore, so it’s officially EOL. I’ll have to spend some time figuring out how to fold the sideblog entries into the main feed, but for now things will be a bit broken.

Update: Got it working again; there was some legacy code I was using to denote the Scout syndicated posts that I need to sort out. For now, all of the sidebar posts are showing up in the main feed, which isn’t a huge problem.

I’ve been using this template for over a decade, partially because it’s not overcomplicated and also because visually it’s very simple. But it’s getting creaky as the years move onward; there are some newer templates that offer the same visual simplicity without featuring a shopping cart, integrated twitter feed, and product carousel (WordPress ceased to be a true blogging platform a decade ago). The idea of refreshing the site makes me tired, but I suppose I need to really consider it.

technical difficulties

Date posted: October 28, 2022 | Filed under geek, housekeeping | Leave a Comment »