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.

    Skitch Stability Error
    “Stability enhancements” result in (wait for it) “an error during installation”

    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.

    cincyHistorical
    Happy Birthday, Cincinnati. A quick tour through all things Cincinnati.

    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.

    2014-12-13 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.

    2014-11-30 13.25.40-2

    UPS delivery fail

    UPS delivery fail

    2014-11-11 16.25.48

    IBM’s Watson is not just good for game shows – apparently it takes a turn at bartending: This Cocktail Concocted By IBM’s Watson Isn’t Half Bad

    TL;DR version:

    What You’ll Need:

      1.5 oz. coconut milk
      3 oz. white rum
      3 oz. banana juice
      4 oz. pure pineapple juice
      1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
      10(ish) drops blue food coloring
      2 USB sticks for garnish (optional)

    To Finish:

      5 oz. Sprite or similar soda

    Interestingly, top coffee drinkers are from countries that probably couldn’t grow their own coffee if they tried.

    America might be famous for running on coffee, but it doesn’t run on much. Not compared to a handful of other countries, anyway. When it comes to actual coffee consumption per person, the US doesn’t even crack the top 15.

    I think this is an interesting approach to gesture control of a device that does not require a camera. It uses changes in wireless signals.

    The challenge is going to be making this work in an area occupied by multiple people (and with multiple devices). How do you ‘cue’ a device that it should react to a gesture? What do you do about mis-cues?

    It seems like only yesterday it was 2013.

    2013 ended in a bittersweet way for my family. Here is hoping for more positive events in the coming year.

    And maybe an element of #reboot.