deadCanary
Canary.is promote their product as an alternative to a real home security system. Nothing could be further from the reality. Here is the simple truth:

  • if the power goes out, you will get robbed (no battery backup, probably wouldn’t make a difference even if it did, because)
  • if your internet connection goes out, you will get robbed (more on this later)
  • if your internet upload connection experiences any slowness, you will get robbed
  • NONE of these things is true with a real home security system.

    You must understand that this is basically just a dumb camera unit that requires an internet connection to do anything. There is no local storage or functionality in the unit itself which means if your internet connection is out or slow, the Canary is absolutely useless. As a consequence, it is constantly trying to upload video for analysis (motion detection) — it can do noting on its own. Make sure you set it to ‘privacy’ mode when you are home to cut down on it hammering your wifi.

    I had one unit and it sort of worked, I added a second one and BOTH of them stopped working. The more units you add, the more of your upload bandwidth they suck up (and suck they do).

    Sadly, tech support is basically useless. At some point they will have you run a test on speedtest.net and if you EVER tell them you experienced an upload speed of less than 1Mbps, then, game over, that is THE problem and apparently the end of their sorry support script. It seems their ‘engineers’ are unfamiliar with data compression, efficient data streaming and error handling algorithms, etc — if you are .01 under 1Mbps (my case), then you are screwed, they won’t support their product (or allow you to return it because it says 1Mbps on the web site). It doesn’t matter if you can facetime or run google hangouts without any glitching, ‘the problem’ is your bandwidth, not their dubious implementation.

    Seriously, save your money and/or look for alternatives. This canary is dead in the coal mine.

    evernote-v-google-keep
    Evernote experience:

    1) create list in desktop app
    2) attempt to share it with my wife; sorry, have to upgrade to paid version for this
    3) finally share with wife, she attempts to edit shared list; sorry, she has to upgrade to paid version (screw that)
    4) remember a few more items on the go, add to list via mobile app
    5) attempt to sync from mobile; get loads of errors – sync fails
    6) only way to fix sync error is to copy note contents, delete note an paste contents into a new note
    7) repeat from step 2 or just give up

    Google Keep experience:
    1) create list on tablet using Keep app
    2) share with wife; no problem – she has access to it within seconds
    3) she needs to add items to the list – no problem; she adds them and they automatically sync with me
    4) edit list on mobile – no problem; list automatically syncs
    5) both of us run Keep app in grocery store, ticking off items from the list; no problem – list syncs automatically
    6) marvel at the superior user experience from Google Keep
    7) BONUS: I can set a reminder on the list that is a location; Google Now notifies me when I am near the store.

    Evernote just keeps getting worse and worse. About the only thing that keeps me using it is the web clip functionality in the browser. Come on Keep, add that and I can leave Evernote behind.

    GPSisWrong
    Seems obvious, right? And yet, stories like this are still relatively common place. What is really egregious in this case is that this faux pas was committed by a commercial tour bus driver.

    Confirm the address or location on a map (heck even maps.google.com). You will be disappointed if you arrive in Dayton, Ky when you intended to go to Dayton, OH.

    I am a little surprised that the sensors on your smartphone are more accurate than a dedicated wearable device for tracking activity. Besides, the phone has the advantage of not being a single tasker, like a wearable.

    This meme just keeps hanging on. If you are at all familiar with the node.js/io.js ‘forking’ schism, this video is particularly funny.

    I am just blown away that there are employees that would sell a user’s password for $150USD. Ii am even more blown away by the fact that they would admit to it.

    Screenshot 2014-12-29 at 11.09.09 AM
    This is a handy new development that allows you to run Linux (Crouton) in a window on a Chromebook. It also addresses some of the difficulties of copy and paste from ChromeOS and Crouton which is something I have been missing very much.

    Obviously, you can run Crouton without this plugin by switching between full screen Crouton and full screen ChromeOS, but these just feels more seemless and integrated.

    YubiKey Neo

    YubiKey Neo

    Outstanding detailed article on using two-factor authentication with the Mac OS X operating system. Note that there is a lot of good follow up in the comments section as well.

    I bought a yubikey neo back in October and have been using it with Google’s U2F implementation. I think that this is a smart way to go security-wise and I am glad to see that Google is making it easier to take advantage of. You can also opt for the less expensive yubikey standard if you don’t have a need for the Near Field Communications (NFC) capability on the yubikey.

    2014-09-01 14.41.53I found this posting to be a bit swear-y (you’ve been warned), but otherwise on the money.

    The final paragraph nails it (I have definitely seen my share of those ‘success’ messages:

    Above all else, have a wonderful holiday season and give your teams a break until the code freeze is lifted in mid-January. Then you can get back to shoving Agile on people, making them work 60 hours a week again and then having your directors send “we did it the Agile way!!!!” success messages after the project you executed took production offline, took twice as long to finish and cost 3 times as much.

    2014-12-13 13.16.52
    Happy New Year! 2014 was filled with ups and downs (as to be expected). Hopefully, 2015 will see projects successfully completed and new directions explored. Coming into the new year with a bit of flu has been kind of a drag, but things should start picking up again in a few days.

    It only shows up when you are off line (and currently only in the Chrome Canary builds). That would be fun for about 2 minutes.

    I saw that Google is testing a password generator for the Chrome browser. Hmm, I wonder if that means that they will stop storing passwords in clear text?

    Password-generating tools like LastPass, 1Password, RoboForm, and others are a mainstay of browser accessories, and are often recommended by security experts because they can help create and manage “strong” passwords. “Strong” refers to passwords that are difficult for hackers and computers to guess. Google’s effort, if it makes it into the regular version of Chrome, could encourage other browser makers to build password generators and make the field more competitive.

    1Password has the advantage that it is multi-platform and not tied to a single browser, which I consider to be a very good thing. Having each browser create its own incompatible password manager would be even worse that each browser having its own incompatible HTML interpreter.