1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. 2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. 3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”
Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt
It’s commonly known that younger generations tend to be more enthusiastic adopters of new technology. It’s easy to see why – younger people are more hungry to learn, are still forming habits, and have more to gain (and less to lose) from technological revolution.
So it’s worth casting my own resistance to crypto through this lens. I have always been an enthusiastic adopter of the internet and technology, and that attitude has served me very well; I owe my livelihood to it. It would be easy for me to jump on the Web3 bandwagon and go all-in on crypto.
Development basically ceased in 2020 when the team joined Zoom.
This means no further improvements, including support for Apple Silicon.
This was a skills acquisition for Zoom no doubt – they needed the talent after they were taken to task over the state of their security before the pandemic. I’m sure the Keybase team has made a huge contribution to their product. But I highly doubt they have any commercial interest in continuing the Keybase project.
I’ll miss the encrypted git feature. And the Stellar Lumen giveaway was neat. But every problem it solved for me is easily solved with other tools today.
Our company uses Perkbox as an employee benefits program. It has some nice freebies, but on the whole I find it’s mostly marketing – I.E. “benefits” that make little sense except as paid promotions.
So while I was happy to see a “get a case of craft beers delivered free” as one of the employee perks, I was fairly skeptical going in…
The catch is that you have to sign up to monthly deliveries from Beer52 which are very much not free. Not free, to the tune of £24 per month. And that’s a pretty price to pay for 8 beers.
I didn’t want to be “that guy” who just orders the free case and cancels, so I decided to let it run for another month and cancel after. But of course I ended up letting it run for about 5 months, because, hey, it’s beer! But when I did decide to cancel, I found a cancellation process designed to be as sticky as possible.
Firstly – you can’t cancel until the first box is delivered. OK, fair enough I guess.
Secondly – you can’t cancel online. You can do everything else – order beer, pause your subscription for a month, switch to 2-monthly deliveries, update payment details, all the usual stuff. Except cancel, of course.
Nope, to cancel you have to phone them up, sit in the hold queue (it took 15 mins for me), answer a question on why you want to leave, listen to two offers (I was offered an £8 discount on the next box in exchange for not cancelling), and only then will they cancel your subscription for you.
In doing so they hope you’ll carry on paying £24/month after the discounted one, just like you did after the free one.
Getting the most out of it
Sign up with a “free case” code. Log in. Switch to 2 or 3-monthly deliveries. Skip the next one. All this can be done online as soon as you’re signed up.
That way you won’t be automatically paying for a case for about 3 months, which is plenty of time to cancel if you just want the free box. And if you want more, you can order an extra case at any time, which is better than having it sprung on you when you don’t.
Making customers phone to cancel is asshole design
There is no reason for it, other than customer retention. Retention, of customers that would rather not spend their money on your product.
Don’t feel bad about canceling after the free case.
I didn’t expect to get anywhere near 6 years from the mac, as it’s not exactly upgradeable (you can replace the SSD, but that’s it). Modern macbooks are even worse – even the SSDs are soldered. Thus, you’d better anticipate your needs over the lifetime of the machine, because once you click buy, that’s the specification it will have for life.
The Latitude E4300 I had before it lasted 5 years, which was also very good. Back then, laptop technology was improving noticeably with each generation, but it’s fair to say that Intel’s dominance and complacency in the x86 CPU market resulted in marginal gains between generations. You could skip 3 generations and barely notice a performance increase.
Fortunately things have now changed. AMD’s release of its Ryzen processors a couple of years ago gave Intel a much-needed kick, and now we suddenly have 4 and 6-core designs in 15W power envelopes. The improvements over Sandy Bridge and Haswell are now substantial and easily warrant an upgrade.
Thus, the Macbook is starting to feel slow. It’s specs are:
Core i5 4288U 2.6ghz (dual-core)
8GB of ram is what I’d consider the bare minimum – acceptable for browsing but not really software development or content creation. The 512GB SSD is still serviceable, but at ~700MB/s read and write, it is rather slow compared to modern NVME drives which can top 3,000MB/s in ideal conditions. But the performance of the 28W dual-core i5 is probably what’s driving this upgrade the most.
So in late-2019 I started shopping for a new portable laptop to replace the macbook. My requirements are:
At least 4-cores
At least 16GB ram
At least 512GB of SSD storage (pref 1TB)
To cut a long story short, this time around I have gone back to the future and bought a Dell Latitude instead of another Mac.
At work we have a very large and highly active repository which contains the majority of our company’s code. Despite regular pruning and garbage collection, this repo can get rather slow, and the asynchronous git commands run by zprezto often get in the way of actual work, like commits, by holding locks at inopportune times.
Thus, selectively disabling the git prompt for some repositories makes a lot of sense, as the cost outweighs the benefit if it’s constantly getting in the way.
I couldn’t find direct instructions for doing this online, but fortunately the code is easy to parse; there’s a check for a git config option here.
As git configuration can be on a per-repository basis, all you need to do is run the following command from your giant repo to disable the git prompt:
git config --bool prompt.showinfo false
And you’ll still see the git status information on other repositories without this config option.
Note, this will obviously work only for themes that use the built-in git module, but that should be most of them.
FlexPlus is Nationwide’s premium paid-for current account. For a fee of £10, which increased to £13 in 2017, you got mobile phone insurance, travel insurance, no-fee ATM withdrawals overseas, and 3% interest on balances up to £2,500. It’s been MoneySavingExpert’s recommended premium account for years now, and until recently was a great deal. Possibly a bit too good to be true.
A while ago I wrote a post about my backup solution and replacing Crashplan – a once great product I was a happy user of. It served pretty much all my backup needs in one product, but alas it was too good to last.
Eventually I settled on Duplicati on my home server backing up to Backblaze, and Urbackup to back up my various devices to the NAS. But since then a few things have changed:
The upgrade to Ubuntu 18.04 broke the Urbackup installation on my server. I never really got around to fixing it, so my device backups have been manual. Fortunately the server hosts the important stuff, and I don’t keep much on my devices that aren’t saved elsewhere, but it’s still not ideal.
Perhaps somewhat mitigating this for Mac clients, the Samba project released version 4.8.0, which includes support for MacOS time machine (see “Time Machine Support with vfs_fruit”).
Dropbox have started being dicks.
Er, yeah. Despite writing “I think that you should never use Dropbox for anything remotely private or sensitive”, words that I stand by today, I have not only been using Dropbox… but for private and sensitive things.
Today I read an article on Arstechnica (Right-wingers say Twitter’s “bias” against them should be illegal), and, as hot-button political topics such as this so often do, it spawned an interesting comment thread. Ars is a thoughtful, rational, and evidence-based site, so it should come as no surprise that the majority of commenters are of the same persuasion. So much so that the comment threads are occasionally more interesting than the original article.
The argument you often hear from the far right, is that refusing to publish or listen to their hate-speech amounts to censorship. By “censoring” their speech, the supposedly “tolerant” society is behaving like the Third Reich. Godwin’s law aside, this latest attempt by Trump and Co. to stop Twitter and other social media companies “silencing conservative voices”, runs along similar lines; they are arguing that bias in suppressing “conservative voices” should be illegal, in the name of free speech.
For some time now I’ve been a happy user of Adobe Lightroom. I brought it back when Lightroom 4 was released, skipped version 5, then paid to upgrade to 6.
Since then, Adobe has discontinued the perpetually licensed version. The only way to legally obtain Lightroom is by paying £120-240 per-year for one of their Creative Cloud subscriptions.
Unfortunately the new subscription model is a rather poor fit for my needs.
I want to state upfront that I don’t object to subscription-based pricing models for software in general. It makes a lot of sense from a development point of view, as maintenance and support costs don’t go away once the product is shipped. But in my opinion Adobe has reached too far, and is trying to steer customers towards cloud solutions for reasons that don’t really align with their best interests.
If you’re reading this and don’t know me personally, you’re probably aware that Crashplan decided to “sunset” their Crashplan Home offering on August 22nd last year. No new subscriptions are being taken, and it will cease to exist from August 2018. Unfortunately, my subscription expired in December.
I was hugely satisfied with Crashplan, and thought it was by far the best online cloud backup solution in the market for the average home user.
It offered free peer-to-peer backups which meant I could backup my devices to my own server, or even trade encrypted backups with friends.
The client to backup to your own devices was free, and the cost for online cloud backups was a very-reasonable $150 USD for 12-months of unlimited backup storage.
By virtue of being written in Java, the client was available for Windows, Mac and Linux (I have all 3).
It supported headless operation, albeit with a bit of jiggery-pokery, i.e. editing the client config file to point to another agent via an SSH tunnel. This meant I could run it on my home NAS device, which naturally stores my important data (Photos mainly).
No limits on the number of devices that were backed up, or charges per-device.
Naturally, I was disappointed when they announced they were discontinuing it. “No worries!” I thought, there must be something else out there. As it turns out, Crashplan Home was almost too good to be true. Continue reading →