Thank You, Tim Cook

Casey Newton on the Verge:

So "move on," if Cook’s essay today makes you so uncomfortable. Return to talking about his fastidiousness, or his supply-chain management, or whatever. But there’s no moving on for me, not today. This I’m going to savor.

So should we all.

Stuff You Missed in History Class - Beast of Gevaudan

This is the perfect pre-Halloween podcast. Grisly deaths; heroic figures, people who attempt to rise to "hero" status, but make themselves look like fools; supposedly supernatural monsters; all in late 18th century France.

And, the best part? After you listen, you can watch Brotherhood of the Wolf with a fire and a glass of wine. That's exactly how I'd like to lead into Halloween.

Unblock-Us and Netflix Update

Nick wrote in with a good note regarding my Unblock-Us + BIND setup:

I noticed after setting up the netflix.com zone that unblock.us resolved most of the Netflix addresses to a CNAME, e.g.:

 secure.netflix.com.   86400   IN  CNAME   secure-1848156627.us-west-9.elb.amazonaws.com.

My ISP’s DNS server did not know about the address secure-1848156627.us-west-9.elb.amazonaws.com, but the unblock.us DNS server resolved it successfully. So I just added another zone for amazonaws.com, and forwarded those requests to unblock.us. That seems to have resolved it - Netflix now works. Not ideal, since the rule is a bit general, but I’m happy to have it working.

Good investigation, and little things like this may resolve some of the issues I was seeing with this setup, last year. I don't have the patience to keep up with it, but I'm certain some of you are more patient people than I am.

The Horror of a 'Secure Golden Key'

An extraordinarily clear and understandable post by Chris Coyne that explains exactly what's wrong with the idea that by protecting our data, Apple (and Google, and other service providers) are only serving to protect the guilty. In fact, they're protecting us all, and in many ways.

Beyond all the technical considerations, there is a sea change in what we are digitizing.

We whisper “I love you” through the cloud. We have pictures of our kids in the bath tub. Our teens are sexting. We fight with our friends. We talk shit about the government. We embarrass ourselves. We watch our babies on cloud cameras. We take pictures of our funny moles. We ask Google things we might not even ask our doctor.

Even our passing thoughts and fears are going onto our devices.

Time was, all these things we said in passing were ephemeral. We could conveniently pretend to forget. Or actually forget. Thanks to the way our lives have changed, we no longer have that option.

This phenomenon is accelerating. In 10 years, our glasses may see what we see, hear what we hear. Our watches and implants and security systems of tomorrow may know when we have fevers, when we're stressed out, when our hearts are pounding, when we have sex and - wow - who's in the room with us, and who's on top and what direction they're facing*. Google and Apple and their successors will host all this data.

We're not talking about documents anymore: we're talking about everything.

You should be allowed to forget some of it. And to protect it from all the dangers mentioned above.

As I increasingly use my various devices as an outboard brain (which I do, a lot), I need things to be ephermal. I need to be able to tell my outboard brain to forget stuff with only slightly more difficulty than my real brain forgets stuff. And I want to know that eg the NSA isn't creeping on stuff I've already forgotten.

Cheaters to launch an SSH Session

I'm a stalwart Terminal fan for my Engineering tasks. I don't understand why so many colleagues prefer a Terminal emulator like SecureCRT when we have native SSH built right into the OS. Something a lot of SecureCRT guys hold over my head is the nested folders with saved SSH sessions.

It dawned on me this morning that I could duplicate that functionality in something I'm already using: Brett Terpstra's Cheaters.

I won't get into an in-depth review of Cheaters, here. Simply put, it's a small app that launches a web view of a locally-hosted set of websites. Brett's suggestion is to use it as a place to keep cheatsheets (hence the name), like a virtual cubicle wall.

I used a little grep and sed on our existing hosts file, and came up with a Markdown list of links to the hostnames of our devices, using the following syntax:

[hostname.domain.com](ssh://hostname.domain.com)

I spent a couple minutes sorting the list into a reasonable hierarchy, then I used this nice little tutorial to create expanding lists using CSS and jQuery. I ran my Markdown list through Brett's own Marked 2, and copied the HTML to a new cheatsheet.

I took the CSS and javascript from the tutorial linked above, and dropped them into the appropriate folders inside of my Cheaters folder. In my new cheatsheet, I linked the specific CSS and javacscript:

<head data-preserve-html-node="true">
    <link data-preserve-html-node="true" rel="stylesheet" href="css/expandolist.css">
    <script data-preserve-html-node="true" type="text/javascript" src="js/expandolist.js"></script>
</head>

I didn't need to worry about jQuery, since Cheaters already uses it. I added the appropriate ID's to the div that holds the list, and to the first ul element. That's really all there was to it. Now I have a nice, organized, expandable list that lives in my menubar, which I can use to launch SSH sessions right in Terminal without having to remember specific hostnames. Not bad for 45 minutes of effort.

My Cheaters SSH list

My Cheaters SSH list

Considering iPhones

Two great reviews of the new iPhones dropped in the past couple days: John Gruber's and Matthew Panzarino's. Both are thoughtful and fairly deep. And while they both touch on the software, they focus almost entirely on the hardware. Interestingly, their conclusions about the biggest (no pun intended) question about the hardware was very similar.

Regarding the size question, here's Gruber:

  • If you simply want a bigger iPhone, get the 4.7-inch iPhone 6. That’s what it feels like: a bigger iPhone.

  • If you want something bigger than an iPhone, get the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. It feels more like a new device — a hybrid device class that is bigger than an iPhone but smaller than an iPad Mini — than it feels like a bigger iPhone.

And here's Panzarino:

The iPhone 6 Plus is a great option for people who don’t have or want an iPad — or simply don’t want to carry it. Where the iPhone 6 is a great upgrade to the iPhone line, the iPhone 6 Plus is a fantastic ‘computer’.

I fall decidedly in the camp that doesn't want to carry an iPad. I've had iPads since the first one. I loved it. I've carried an iPad Mini for the past two years, and I love it ad a device. But I live on my phone. If I can get more room on my phone, I think I can give up my iPad. The idea of a new, The iPhone Plus is closer in size to a paperback than the iPad Mini is, and I'm quite comfortable reading a paperback at length. I read and send significantly more email from my iPhone than from my iPad. I more frequently use my iPhone to SSH to routers, switches, and my computers to help in troubleshooting. It seems very compelling to get more screen size, higher resolution, better battery life, and a marginally better camera all on the device I most often use, while trimming the number of devices I carry by one. When I need more oomph, I'll get my laptop out.

On the other hand, my wife doesn't have a computer, and she uses her iPad nonstop. She saw the cutouts I printed at work, and decided she wanted my 5s, and willingly offered up her upgrade. I think that's largely because she's very happy to use her iPad at home, and her iPhone while she's out of the houe. Where I "step up" to a MacBook Pro, she steps up to an iPad Mini.

I'm kind of rolling the dice. I haven't held the phone in my hand (or to my head). The closest I've gotten is holding a paper cutout that approximates the phone to my head. But, hey. Worst case scenario, I decide it was a mistake, and replace it in two years.

A Watch Guy's Thoughts On The Apple Watch After Seeing It In The Metal

Benjamin Clymer:

Will anyone be trading in their Lange Double-Split for an Apple Watch? Certainly not. But, will the average Lange owner buy an Apple Watch, wear it on the weekends, and then, after a great workout with it, decide to leave it on next for a vacation to the beach, and then maybe on casual Friday to the office? It's possible. Apple products have a way of making someone not want to live without them, and while I wasn't able to fully immerse myself in the OS yesterday, what I saw was impressive. So while certainly not direct competition for haute horology watchmaking right now, the Apple Watch is absolutely competition for the real estate of the wrist, and years down the road, it could spell trouble for traditional watches even at a high level. When you realize you just don't need something anymore, there is little desire to buy another.

This is basically how I'm thinking about the Apple Watch. It's another watch to add to my (small) collection of mostly inexpensive but nice looking watches. I may find that I love the features it brings with it, and I may wind up wearing it a lot.

I still think the 3D emoji are butt-ugly, though.

iPhone 6 and 6+ PDFs

Sized to be accurate when printed at 100%. If you or someone you know is debating about which phone to order, this is a great way to get a feel without waiting for the phones to show up in the Apple stores.

The Terminal

Craig Hockenberry put together a really good list of Terminal tips and tricks useful for developers. Many of these require only a little thought to Be useful for network engineers, as well. Being able to do stuff like this is a big part of why I've always been a fan of using Terminal directly, in OS X, to ssh to remote devices, as opposed to using a GUI like SecureCRT.

TL;DR - An Imperfect Match

This episode is a few weeks old, but I don't think the information or view points go stale. There were outbursts of surprise when it Facebook published their paper about potentially being able to manipulate people's emotions by adjusting the "mood" on their Facebook timelines.

Christian Rudder of OkCupid talks us through how using measurable testing on real users means a better experience for all users of OkCupid.

My take? It seems naive to believe that this kind of testing isn't happening on every service we visit. Maybe especially so on services where our attention is ostensibly the "product".

Source: http://www.onthemedia.org/story/32-ok-cupi...

J.J. Hardy and the Quick Turn

J.J. Hardy is one of the slickest fielding shortstops in the major leagues and his work around the bag on double plays is a leading reason why. Jonathan Schoop isn’t bad around the bag either and has a cannon for an arm to go with it. Put the two together and you have the best double play tandem in the MLB residing in Baltimore.

Hardy has been good the whole time he's been in Baltimore, but seeing him surrounded by good middle infielders, and good corners, and we've been getting to watch something special.

How to Be Polite

People silently struggle from all kinds of terrible things. They suffer from depression, ambition, substance abuse, and pretension. They suffer from family tragedy, Ivy-League educations, and self-loathing. They suffer from failing marriages, physical pain, and publishing. The good thing about politeness is that you can treat these people exactly the same. And then wait to see what happens. You don’t have to have an opinion. You don’t need to make a judgment. I know that doesn’t sound like liberation, because we live and work in an opinion-based economy. But it is. Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life’s riches.

Perfect. Less a guide, and more a justification of being polite in an increasingly less polite world.

Mindful Browsing

Great Safari extension for blocking the time-drain websites in your life. Giving you the ability to schedule when your restrictions are in place, and the ability to temporarily permit yourself to go to the site, anyhow.

I've used hacks to accomplish something similar in the past, but this is a better fit, in my opinion.