I'm Josh Goebel, the creator of Pastie, Invoicie, and Snag the Flag. I make a living writingam a Rails pro and also dabble in photography and other geek stuff.

Running Blind

running blind... we are all running blind.

This is Running Blind. Enjoy.  

 
I'm Josh Goebel, the creator of Pastie, Invoicie, and Snag the Flag. I make a living writing Rails and also dabble in photography and other geek stuff.
Ask me anything

July

Tue
29

How to Flawlessly Predict Anything on the Internet

This is a modern update to a classic confidence game—find a risky scenario with limited possibilities, bet on every single combination, and then hide your failures. The result is that you look like you’re either psychic or a goddamned genius.

Variations of this scam have been used for centuries in finance, magic, and gambling.

Great read. I’ve seen this scam on TV shows before.

Via Michael Tsai

Tue
29

It’s 2014. Why doesn’t Chrome support Emoji?

It’s 2014. Emoji is the standard emoticon format, widely supported on on Macs, Windows, iOS and Android.

In every browser, except Chrome.

Chrome, a browser which now has the highest usage share of any single browser, still does not display the color Emoji characters that are provided by Windows 8 or OS X natively.

I used to think Chrome and Safari might be tied for best browser on OS X - use whichever you preferred. Now I see that Apple is truly always going to have better integration and better support for their platform. It’s been two whole years now and Chrome can’t display Emoji without help? That’s just sad.

Note: Seems Chrome struggles on other platforms also, not just OS X.

Tue
29

Why Tesla Motors can't sell cars in most of the United States

A great read for anyone wanting to come up to speed on the whole Tesla drama:

To protect themselves, car dealers formed associations. Laws were enacted, and it’s those laws — meant to protect car dealers — that are interfering with Tesla’s ability to sell cars directly to consumers. Here’s the logic of the argument against Tesla: If Tesla can sell cars directly to consumers, what stops the rest of the car industry from doing that? That is the heart of this, so let’s be totally clear:

The entire argument against Tesla selling cars directly to consumers is that car dealers might have to face competition from the companies they currently represent.

That’s it. It’s not really about Tesla, or electric cars. It’s about money. It’s an argument against competition that may or may not even manifest in reality.

I don’t think these are completely empty fears. If companies did sell cars direct to consumers I bet the experience would be significantly better. The companies would be more directly accountable for customer service than they are now.

If I were a dealer I would be worried about this happening too - especially if Tesla shows the model can be successful. Imagine customer service from a Toyota Direct store than was on par with Toyota quality… now that would be a force to be reckoned with.

Full disclosure: I bought a new Toyota Camry once (long ago). My experience was awful, my sales person was actually fired during the process, and I had to argue with the sales manager on which options were available for the car I was buying. I was right, he was wrong.

July

Mon
28

Introducing Realm

Today we are very proud to introduce Realm, the first database built from the ground-up to run directly inside phones, tablets and wearables, and the fruit of several years of labor since we came out of YCombinator. Realm uses very little resources, is incredibly easy to use, and lets you interact with your data faster than any current alternative.

Need to keep this in mind for the future. Looks nice. Via inessential.

Mon
28

​Sorry, The White House Won't Help Tesla Sell Cars

Instead of showing the sort of leadership exhibited by senior officials at the Federal Trade Commission who declared their support for consumer freedom of choice, the White House merely passed the buck to Congress and trumpeted its advances in promoting vehicle efficiency. Given the economic and environmental principles at stake, we would have hoped for stronger leadership and more action.

It really would be nice to see Congress step in here. Dealerships need to stop their whining and provide a better experience to consumers if they want to compete.

Mon
28

Yahoo Japan will erase your digital footprint after you pass away

What happens to your online life after you’ve passed away? Unless you’ve left your passwords in the will, those Facebook and Twitter profiles will linger on for years to come. If you’d prefer your digital life to be as neatly tidied up as your real one, then Yahoo Japan is offering the solution. The outfit is offering Yahoo Ending, a service that’ll help locals prepare for their funerals in the real world, as well as closing down their social media profiles after notifying followers and friends of their demise.

Not something anyone wants to spend much time thinking about, but probably a subject services should think a little more about. Glad to see Yahoo putting some thought into it.

July

Sun
27

Google Search On Mobile Now Warns When A Site Won’t Work On Your Device

The company has announced that it will now flag to its users when websites listed in their search results may have elements that will not show up on a users’ device. That unsupported code today typically results in missing elements and blank screens.

To be clear, Google does not say that it will leave out those sites altogether in its search results, or bar you in any way from visiting them. But I suspect a lot of sites that are written with un-supportable code (even in part) will see a drop in their traffic as a result of those warnings.

Bad news for such sites and great news for users. Hopefully this would put pressure on those sites to finally kill their Flash and switch to better technologies.

Sun
27

Robot Writes Torah at Berlin's Jewish Museum

"In order for the Torah to be holy, it has to be written with a goose feather on parchment, the process has to be filled with meaning and I’m saying prayers while I’m writing it," said Rabbi Reuven Yaacobov.

Yep, I’m sure the goose feather and parchment contribute much to the holiness of the final product.

Sun
27

#154: Something You Are Proud Of. - Developing Perspective

It matters that you can make a living — but it matters more how you make your living.

Worth a listen. Been thinking about this a lot lately.

From the podcast:

I’m not doing this to make money. Making money is a result of the work that I do but that’s not the goal of what I’m doing. I’m trying to do something that I’m proud of. I’m trying to do something where I can work with integrity and be an example of that to the community.

July

Sat
26

Lab-grown 'real' cheese made without milk

The SF-based iGEM group say it’s made from baker’s yeast. The team is able to make cheese proteins using genetic sequences found in mammals, inserting the DNA blueprints into the aforementioned yeast, and it’s all vegan-compatible because it doesn’t need animal products to make the proteins.

In what sense are “genetic sequences found in mammals” not animal products? I guess it depends on how much of a purist a given vegan is? Or maybe I really don’t understand the whole vegan culture at all.

Sat
26

Data thieves want to track what you type at hotel business centers

You may not want to use your hotel’s business center to check email on your next big trip. The Secret Service has warned the hospitality business that thieves are installing keyloggers on hotel PCs to steal guests’ data. In a recent Dallas area bust, authorities caught multiple people swiping account logins, banking info and other personal details from travelers typing away at compromised business center systems.

I always wondered if I was paranoid for never logging into websites on the shared office computer at our apartment complex. (I don’t have a printer at home.) Sounds like my paranoia is somewhat justified. I guess I’ll now extend that paranoia to hotel business centers also - though I’ve never really had a reason to use one.

Seems like the only true safe thing is using your own hardware and software that you can vouch that no one has tampered with.

Sat
26

What are you drawing, Lily?

I was watching my nieces the other day, Madeline and Lily. Madeline is 3. Lily is 4. They both sat there eagerly making things. They didn’t have excuses that they didn’t have the right markers or the right paper or the right idea.

I had run out of blank printer paper, so they started making paper airplanes out of magazine inserts. Madeline was thrilled to draw with whatever utensil she could get her hands on. Lily had found a pink ribbon someone had dropped on the street. She picked up the forgotten trash and later turned it into a kite.

I think most of us could benefit a lot if we could re-discover some of that child-like sense of wonder and joy that seems to fade with age.

July

Fri
25

LifeLock CEO’s Identity Stolen 13 Times

Apparently, when you publish your Social Security number prominently on your website and billboards, people take it as an invitation to steal your identity.

LifeLock CEO Todd Davis, whose number is displayed in the company’s ubiquitous advertisements, has by now learned that lesson. He’s been a victim of identity theft at least 13 times, according to the Phoenix New Times.

That’s 12 more times than has previously been known.

Should I feel like a schmuck for paying for this service for a few years now? They used to actually remove you from mailing lists and request yearly credit reports and a few other useful things. The reduction in junk mail alone was worth $10 a month the first year. Over the years it seems like the service provides less and less.

Evidentially they aren’t allowed to request your removal from lists on your behalf now (or they stopped doing it for some other reason - I can’t really remember). I think they still request credit reports but the credit agencies just send a letter acknowledging the request then telling me I need to make the request myself “for my protection”.

Safer or not… I used to get a warm fuzzy feeling that I was protected… but I think the feeling has now faded… I guess it’s time to find out what stupid hoops they are going to make me jump thru to cancel my service - seems you can’t simply do it online.

Fri
25

John Voorhees' sweet Mac setup - The Sweet Setup

My Mac computing is split between an aging 2008 13-inch MacBook and a 2011 iMac. About a year ago I breathed new life into the MacBook with a replacement battery and a 240 GB SSD from Other World Computing. While it is amazing how much snappier the SSD made my MacBook, the battery life still leaves a lot to be desired.

I don’t understand why otherwise smart professionals with (I’m assuming) plenty of income would choose to use such outdated equipment [referring to the HDD Macbook]. I mean I’m not saying to upgrade just for upgrading’s sake - if you’re happy with what you’re using, stick with it… but if you have complaints… a new Macbook Pro Retina loaded is only a few thousand (tops).

Fri
25

Hacking into Internet Connected Light Bulbs

AES, being a symmetric encryption cipher, requires both the encrypting party and the decrypting party to have access to the same pre-shared key. In a design such as the one employed by LIFX, this immediately raises alarm bells, implying that each device is issued with a constant global key. If the pre-shared key can be obtained from one device, it can be used to decrypt messages sent from all other devices using the same key. In this case, the key could be used to decrypt encrypted messages sent from any LIFX bulb.

There is really no hope for the average consumer to understand security implications. I consider myself proficient in software, security, Internet, web apps, etc. yet I almost bought one of these bulbs the other day and would not have thought twice about whether it was introducing a huge security vulnerability into my network.

If someone had asked me to specifically think about whether it could be introducing a security issue I might have been able to reach the conclusion “possibly” but my regular, every day semi-paranoid “security is important” self never even thought about it. Reading the linked article I completely understand the problem of pre-shared global keys - it’s just not something I even thought about when considering the bulb.

…and even if I had thought about it - how would I have confirmed it was secure or even checked into the issue thoroughly? I’m certainly not going to purchase my own 802.15.4 6LoWPAN wireless mesh network testing gear and then do my own packet sniffing. Inquiring of the company would have also done no good since I’m pretty sure the answer would have been simply “all bulb communication is securely encrypted”…

Sometimes the future scares me.