Sunday, May 17, 2015

Protecting your privacy

While at the urgent care center for suspected strep throat, I read an interesting article on Time Magazine's site about the group Privacy Grade. This project, based at Carnegie Mellon University, looks at smartphone apps and grades them on their level of privacy violation.

There are highly granular tests that are performed, and links to third party libraries are documented for the "worst case scenarios", but the permissions given are all very real. You have to decide if getting that extra spin in a game is really worth ad networks finding out how often you are playing, and who your friends are and, in some cases, your call history and web browsing history.

Many of the apps are GooglePlay versions, which makes me think there are few if any iOS apps in there, but the ad networks accessed give the most access, and all it takes is permission, even if you think the app developer is okay. Once those gates are opened, the information is out there, whether it's used or not. And there's money in it for someone.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What took you so long…?

Having lived in Durham, NC for the past two years, I've been relentlessly exploring new places to eat, drink, hang out, and generally enjoy the vibe of this progressive and incredibly diverse Southern town. Over the past few days, I've looked around the lesser-known blogs and Twitter feeds to find things beyond the obvious. One place I've seen time and again, but missed because it's a bit off my usual stomping grounds is the Old Havana Sandwich Shop.
The owners of this downtown lunch spot are committed to making the space friendly, tasty, and welcoming. I stopped in today, between snow storms, to grab a bite and try out their coffee. I'm happy to report that both are wonderful!

Unfortunately, the sandwich, (El Caney - pork, avocado, cheese, mustard, and the ever-present mojo sauce) disappeared before I even thought about taking a photo. My after-lunch Café Cubano and Mantecaditos, however, stayed around for a few minutes.

While I was enjoying the afterglow of my repast, the owner came in and spoke with one of the guests, obviously a friend. I caught the pic below just because the hat, stance, and background decoration so perfectly captures the ambiance of this eatery.

If you're in the downtown area between 11 & 3 on a weekday (closed Mondays), you owe it to yourself to try it out. I'm going to bring the Lovely Bride here on a Sunday for brunch and see if I can tear her away from our usual breakfast-y haunts. I'll report back here and let you know how it goes.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

"He's the best dog!"

We all say it. We're scratching the grateful ear of a canine, talking in falsetto about this dog's ranking in the list of all dogs worldwide. It's a silly thing, but almost universal.
My Lovely Bride and I just celebrated thirty-three years together as husband and wife. During this span of years, we have owned 4 dogs - three Shelties and a Rough Collie. The latest addition, Jack (shown above), came to us almost by accident. We have a local breeder, from whom we had gotten our previous Sheltie, Duncan, over a decade earlier. Duncan had been a tough cookie, and I think I was the only one truly saddened when he finally passed. He had no real health issues, got around well, and, other than being mostly deaf and quite nearly blind, was just fine. He was just cranky to most folks, other than me. But, one morning, he didn't stir when The Lovely Bride went into the kitchen - so it goes.
So, a few months after speaking with the breeder (who works at our vet's office) when we took in Duncan's remains, she called and asked if we were still interested in getting a male puppy. I replied yes, without even asking TLB. This pup, I was told, had beautiful markings, a great personality (as best one can tell at six weeks!), and, like all her dogs, a phenomenal pedigree. But, at his first puppy checkup, the vet noted that he had an underbite, so would not be show quality. The breeder was quite upset, because she had mentally already started to "grow him out" for show and breeding. Her loss was our gain.
Jack is, by far, the best pup we've ever had. He's been sleeping in our bed, (as all of our dogs have done) since just a few months old. He has a cautious friendliness to everyone he meets, human or canine. He has a way of sitting underfoot when I talk with friends or repair folks that just warms my heart. He's sitting by my chair as I write this, even though it's a rocker on the front porch. He'd rather be beside me, close enough for an occasional ear skritch, than off by himself, rockers be damned.
He is, it turns out, the Best Dog in the World!

Saturday, December 13, 2014


It's not exactly a new thing, but it' still far from mainstream. Sites like KickStarter and IndieGoGo enable normal folks with (what they think is) a great idea the ability to "pitch" it to the whole world, and see if they can get funding to move on to the next step. I've supported several, from those wanting to assist inner-city young women of color to experience the joy of creating a working software project (Black Girls Code) to things as simple as the latest one I've backed, the "Loopy" a multi-tool for your belt loop.

My favorite coffee shop started out as a KickStarter project, and has raised money for a second location that way as well. We've seen several other café's, food truck to diner conversions and such in Durham over the last year or two, in addition to the huge number of shops and businesses that have started, or failed, due to funding.
I encourage anyone who has an interest in funding the future of American commerce and industry to look though these sites and find something that you would love to see flourish. You may just be helping the next Apple or Google. Or you may just feel more a part of your local coffee shop when you walk in and they serve your latte in a mug they keep on the shelf for "Our Founders."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cold, cold, cold!

I'm becoming a wimp. I used to thrive in cold weather. Give me a coat, wool socks, a scarf, and a pair of gloves, and I could deal with anything. Lately, however, I've noticed that I'm much happier over 30° or so than I am below. And once you get into the teens, well, forget it!

Sitting outside with a friend at Cocoa Cinnamon (which is, appropriately enough, at 420 West Geer Street - you can't make this stuff up), he and I were both zipping up jackets, pulling collars up, and generally less than comfortable, even though the setting sun was lighting up the place. As soon as I saw there were seats available, I suggested relocating, and he jumped at the chance. It's much nicer in here!

I took the plunge a few days back and bought an iPad Air 2. After the last post, it even surprised me. So far, it's not that much different, except for TouchID and ApplePay. The slight improvement of TouchID is one of those things that, until you use it and get used to not entering a passcode, seems like nothing big. Once you pick up a device that doesn't have it, however, you start to see just how pervasive biometrics will be. I still try to open my work iPod touch by just touching the home button.

ApplePay on the iPad, while slightly limited, is great, in that all transactions on your card are immediately reported to your device. Last night at the iOS user group meeting (Check out our group page!) I got a notification as the waitress rang up my order. Sitting here among all the glowing 's of student MacBooks, as soon as I got on wifi, my order showed up as a notification. I can't let the Lovely Bride get hold of this!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, November 10, 2014

Still amazed at this two year old powerhouse

It's been a while since I posted here, but I'm still traveling about using my iPad. I guess since I no longer leave home for work every day, maybe I haven't been out quite as much, but I have certainly been spending a fantastic summer and fall enjoying the weather outside of coffee shops and cafes around the area!

Tonight is our annual Apple Update at TMUG, and I'm a bit dizzy from how much has been released in the past six weeks! And yet, I'm still only moderately tempted to trade in my third-gen iPad for a newer model. It's not that I don't think they're wonderful machines or not worth the money - far from it. But this unit was just replaced under AppleCare Plus at the end of the summer, and shows no sign of slowing down. How can I justify getting a new one in a new form factor when this one does everything I want? (I know - first world problems. Sorry.)

So, killing time before the meeting, enjoying a cuppa joe at Cup-a-Joe, along with a nice cookie, I casually updated the club's web site, read a bunch of news and email, and wrote this post.

And, yes, I busted out the keyboard.

Don't know if you read the news or not, but it seems there are cracks in the monolithic wall that is Microsoft. They have just announced that, not only is their new software available for iPad and iPhone (Android coming soon), but personal use of their Office 365 online storage (which is required in order to actually edit files - FAIL!) is now free. This from the company whose former CEO maintained to the end that only "real" PCs could use office and do "real work." I still haven't tried any of their Office apps, since iWork and the other connected apps I use long ago convinced me of the opposite - that you can and should create content from a mobile device. It's nice to know that their new CEO is starting to remember that they are, at the end of the day, a software company, and they need to offer their software on the platforms that their customers use, not try to force customers to use their platform in order to pay for the privilege of using their software.

In other news, I hear Hell has frozen over.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, September 26, 2014


I'm still wanting to use my iPad as my sole content generator. Here on Blogspot, that's perfectly possible, in spite of the fact that I can't type worth a durn. But on Wordpress, it requires an act of congress to get my posted photos from my iCloud account to the host for a web post. Why is this? It's frickin' 2014 already! C'mon, Wordpress, join the post-PC generation and allow full posts from iPads!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Memory Ln,Durham,United States