Personal Projects

I’m starting to gear up for some personal tech projects – there’s a number of itches I want to scratch, and the itch is getting stronger. Part of the motivation was running across the “12 factor app” website a few days ago, and thinking about how to design modern IT and web services. Anyone who works in IT doing app or website development, please take a look. Much like RESTful API development, this isn’t a how-to, but more of a cultural framework of why you should build you apps in specific ways. A lot of it has to do with preparing yourself to scale out instead of up, and help you retain service and platform portability.

Nine Years

Today is the ninth anniversary of my photo-of-the-day photoblog. It’s not always been a photo of the day (I skipped Saturdays and Sundays for the first few years), and I took some breaks now and again. It’s always fun for me to look back and see how much I’ve improved over the years.

Heartbleed OpenSSL and Password Management

In the wake of the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug, I think we need a new feature supported in all password managers – the ability to en masse flag all passwords as compromised. Once this happens, when you visit a site with a flag password, you are prompted to change it. Further, you could look at a list and doing some js magic, auto-open tabs with each impacted site, one at a time. As you change them, the flag is cleared in the password manager, and you can easily track how well you are keeping yourself covered.

From my limited investigation, LastPass.com‘s password manager and the iCloud Keychain do not support anything like this.

This Is Such Crap

Google, please stop trying to make us sign into everything under the sun (on iOS) with our Google accounts. I understand Mail and Drive, but Google Maps was trying to push me into using a Google Account recently. Today’s attempt to make me sign in is YouTube, by putting the “Use YouTube without a Google Account” link behind the “Select another account” link. In what world is not using an account considered signing in with a different account?

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I don’t mind the option to sign in – but please make it clear that you don’t have to.

Mechanical Keyboards

For the second time in my life, I have a real keyboard. I didn’t much appreciate it the first time around – I was too young to understand why people loved the Apple Extended Keyboard II with it’s Alps key switches and unbeatable durability. Sadly, they are in short supply (having been discontinued for 20 years now) and require ADB->USB adapters to make them work on modern computers.

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For Christmas this year, I got a Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate.

This time around, I know what I have. It’s really a world of difference for people who use the keyboard to interact with a computer all day long, as I have done professionally for almost 15 years now. (The sad hipster part of me wonders how I ever got by with the rubber membrane keyboards or the laptop-style keyboards that Apple sells). It’s such a difference that I’m probably going to buy another real keyboard to take to the office with me, even though they cost $100+, and go up quickly.

As a side note, the new keyboard doesn’t have printing on the keycaps. So, looking at the keys really doesn’t help you at all. I’ve become a significantly better touch-typist over the last two-ish months that I’ve been using this keyboard.