Biggest Current iOS Gripe

The barrage of notifications for calendar invites that you’ve seen and dealt with on other devices when you unlock your phone for the first time in a while is so horribly annoying. It’s caused me to inadvertently decline invites when I’m trying to swipe the notification away.

The calendar knows I accepted the invite. Why is it giving me this blast of prompts? I think this started in iOS 10, but I hate it.

If You Aren’t Already Using a VPN, Time to Start

I mean, everybody wants to make sure their ISPs can sell their data, right?

I was particularly saddened to see Rep. Massie on the list of those voting for this measure. Having worked for him (years ago), he is certainly smart enough to understand the technical implications here, but voted out of the idea that the free market was already doing a good enough job of this (i.e. Comcast won’t sell your data without your permission, for fear that you’ll leave for a competitor).

The problem is that, in great portions of this country, there’s no free market for ISPs. In most locations, it’s a local monopoly. I’m lucky: in my city, we have two cable providers, plus high speed fiber (fios). In the town I grew up in? One cable provider. And then DSL, if you live in the right spot. The house I grew up in? No DSL. No options.

Anyway, use a VPN. Most sites are using HTTPS these days, which is helpful, but your ISP will still know what name you looked up, what IP came back, and how long you were on the site. If you want to be careful, switch to an open DNS provider, and use a VPN. Most DNS providers will also use your data, but they will at least give you the option to opt-out. (As backwards as this sounds, I’d recommend Google Public DNS).[1]

For VPN, both Cloak and TunnelBear are reasonably cheap (probably less than you pay for 1 month of internet) and easy. Or, if you’re so inclined, roll your own.

  1. Google’s DNS privacy is pretty clear—“We don’t correlate or combine information from our temporary or permanent logs with any personal information that you have provided Google for other services.”  ↩

The end of CAPTCHAs?

Looks like Google has figured out how to use a “CAPTCHA” (those awful “what are these words”, “which ones are numbers” tests) without actually using one.

CAPTCHAs have always been a bad solution to a real problem. I’m assuming this new solution is some set of client-side/user-agent evaluation, IP reputation, and behavioral (i.e. how does the mouse move on the page). This is probably going to be a similar solution to what CloudFlare does, where they’ll let traffic through to your site automatically if they trust the reputation of your IP/browser, might delay you if they need more data, or ask you to fill in an old-school CAPTCHA if they can’t tell.

While CloudFlare got there first, Google’s reCAPTCHA is so much more widely used that it could greatly reduce how often those awful (but, often, necessary) CAPTCHAs show up.

(Via Ars Technica)

A Tip for Recruiters

I work with a lot of recruiters (particularly tech recruiters). The vast majority of them are incredibly nice people who really are trying to help me fill a spot on my team. They’re able to get a job listing out and do the legwork of sourcing candidates, and after some trial and error, we can usually zero in on a candidate.

Some recruiters, however, are just awful.

There’s one recruiter right now (and, if you’ve ever talked to me, or had me return an email, it’s not you), who I will never do business with. Let me lay out the scenario, and see if you can figure out why.

  • Office phone rings, don’t recognize number, ignore and wait for voicemail
  • Cell phone rings, same number, no voicemail
  • Office phone rings, different number, ignore and wait for voicemail
  • Cell phone rings, that same number, no voicemail

That was within 2 minutes.

I did some googling, and it turned out that the number was a recruiter’s office I’d worked with before, and the other number seemed to point back to a particular person. Linkedin confirmed that person was a recruiter in that office.

Ok. Douchey, but I figured this person would leave a message or send an email, and then we could go from there.


A few hours later?

  • Office phone
  • Cell phone
  • Office phone
  • Cell phone

This repeated every day for a week. And now it’s every other day or so. That’s just lazy. How hard is it to leave a voicemail, or send an email, or even send a stupid Linkedin message?

I’ve blocked the numbers on my cell phone. Shortly, I’ll do the same on my office phone. There’s enough recruiters who are willing to make my life easier (in exchange for the opportunity to make their company some money, and build a relationship). If you’re just trying to annoy me into answering the phone, why would I ever work with you?


Man, what a shit year, right?

I’m way behind on my end of year music list, but I have some time off next week and hope to work my way through it. There’s so much music I haven’t listened to (my “to listen” list is 40 items long), that I’m hoping to get through at least some big stuff (Beyonce, Car Seat Headrest) in the next few days. I probably also need to give a relisten to the new Childish Gambino album (liked it, but it just didn’t resonate with me) and this year’s Angel Olsen album, which I think I liked, but honestly, don’t remember.

I do have a bunch of stuff that I’m pretty sure will end up on the list (really liked Haley Bonar, Lucius, Nada Surf, Frightened Rabbit), but I need to spend some time just listening.

In the meantime, a couple of recommendations for podcasts:

The Bugle came back this year, minus John Oliver (what, is he busy?) but with a bunch of guest hosts (Nish Kumar has been the best so far, but they’ve all been pretty great).

The West Wing Weekly is a weekly rewatch of The West Wing, but it’s so much more than that. It’s funny, is a great lens on current events, and is generally just a happy hour each week. I rewatched The West Wing a couple of years ago, and it is still so relevant and fresh.

Science vs. is one of Gimlet’s many podcasts, and I think it’s easily the best. It’s clever, funny, and is not afraid to tackle tough issues. I’m guessing that, like most things, folks who disagree with the outcome of the discussion will chalk it up to bias (the gun episodes, in particular), but for a 30 minute listen, it really does strive to cover the facts. Also, Australian accents.

Anyway, year end music list coming soon.

American Airlines Launches Real-Time Tracking For All of Their Lost Bags

“‘It’s something our customers have been asking for [for] a really long time, and we’re excited to make this available to them,’ American Airlines spokeswoman Laura Nedbal tells the Tribune.”

Really, what customers want is to have their bags show up at their destination. That fact that we’ll now know in advance that American lost our luggage is some sort of improvement, I guess.

(Via Consumerist.)