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Sign In With Apple.

Image courtesy of CNET

So Apple’s Developers Conference, called “WWDC”, which stands for “Worldwide Developers Conference” is underway in San Jose, California. The event is kicked off with their annual WWDC Keynote, which outlines the plans Apple has for their Operating Systems for the foreseeable future. This year Apple announced updates to all of their operating systems, including bringing iPad its own operating system called iPadOS. This will help separate the iPad from the iPhone experience a little bit.

In recent years Apple has doubled down and gone the extra step with their privacy efforts. Their built-in web browser, Safari, has plenty of privacy options. When shared with an application, location information is anonymized by default. Photo processing is done locally on the device and iCloud data is encrypted by default, without scanning for advertising opportunities.

One of the way ad-based Internet companies track you is by having you use your sign-in information with their service across third party apps. Most Internet users are familiar with message boards with “Sign in with Facebook” or third party apps like Dropbox with “Sign in with Google”. These services are convenient for the user; you don’t have to remember multiple passwords. However, it’s a tracking opportunity for the company providing the sign on service, plus it often forms a two-way information sharing opportunity for the sign on service and the third party application. Things like your name, nickname, email address, birthday, etc. could be shared across this connection. Plus, how many times have you received an email with advertising after using these credentials for a service that is at best vaguely related to the third party offering?

“Sign in with Apple” is a new way of signing in on your Apple devices. Tied with FaceID or TouchID (or other authentication methods, depending on the device), Apple will authenticate your identity and that’s it. If the third party service requires an email address, Apple will generate a random email address that forwards to your address. And that random address is used only for that service. Sick of emails from them? Delete the random address. You don’t need to change your real email address.

This is awesome.

One of my biggest pet peeves of today’s Internet is the amount of tracking and advertising. “Sign in with Apple” will be a great way to help combat that issue.

It’s just another reason I call myself a “Crazy One”.

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Iowa.

We haven’t had much in the way of sun in these parts of the last week or two. There’s a little bit of sun peeking through the clouds today, but the sky still feels quite heavy. I find it oppressive. I’m ready for blue skies, puffy clouds, pleasant breezes and warm sunshine.

In 2004 I drove from our home in Central New York to Emmetsburg, Iowa for a work-related training class. That week was my first time in Iowa and I instantly fell in love with the landscape. The folks in Emmetsburg seemed quite friendly and I felt like I could open my arms wide without bumping into neighbors or trees or a suburban housing development. I was keenly aware that I was visiting tornado country as evidenced by cautionary signs and sirens and the like. The sunshine was warm, the sky had puffy clouds and the atmosphere felt hospitable.


Image from miss604.com

One of the things I love about the Iowa countryside is that you’d see a group of trees with a house, maybe a barn or two and other evidence of that spot being a residence. That little bit of land would be surrounded by farm land. The nearest neighbor appeared to be a mile or so away. The drive into town was on purpose. Though I have little evidence to support this, the vibe just seemed friendlier. A little slower. A lot less hectic. Simpler.

Perhaps I’m ready for a Green Acres experience.

The company I work for has a large presence in Iowa; I could easily move to the state and keep my current gig. The issue is that I have little to no hope that I would ever convince Earl to move to The Hawkeye State. A couple of years ago when we drove across part of the state along US Route 20, I told him how much I would enjoy living in Iowa and he didn’t seem to share the sentiment.

Perhaps another visit is in order.

My daydreaming about relocation is spurred on by the development of the land adjacent to ours at home; more trees have come down in the past 48 hours and now there’s digging and such going on. The activity seems to indicate that something is going to be built there soon. I find this a little suffocating.

I just want to open my arms wide and enjoy the sunshine without hitting a neighbor in the nose.

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Decency.

Jamie was in a car accident yesterday. He was headed home to Chicago along the Ohio Turnpike, driving in the center lane when I car in the left lane cut in front of him, pushing him into a tractor-trailer in the right lane. Luckily, he hit the cab of the tractor-trailer and didn’t hit farther back, where his Cooper Countryman probably would have slipped under the truck. That would have been nasty and I try not to think about it. Aside from a bruised up wrist, he is OK. Three other drivers, along with the truck driver, witnessed the accident, made sure he was OK and stayed behind to provide information to the police. The driver of the vehicle that cut him off spun out a little bit, righted his vehicle and took off.

Aside from being scared out of my wits over this news, I have to admit that I am very angry. I am grateful that witnesses stayed behind to provide the story for the police report. Apparently when the trucker jumped out of his truck the first thing he said was “that guy cut you off!”. Unfortunately, no one got the license plate of the indecent human behind the wheel of the vehicle that caused the accident in the first place. And I am angry that someone doesn’t have the balls to own up to their mistake.

Someone could have been injured or even killed. The thought that someone made a mistake that created this sort of mayhem and then just fled the scene is not helping my increasing belief that our society, and personal responsibility in general, is headed down the crapper. What has happened to watching out for one another, ‘love thy neighbor’ and all that stuff? Are people so narrow minded and concerned of only their little speck of existence that they don’t care what happens around them?

Horrible!

Jamie’s car is somewhere in Ohio, towed to a shop and awaiting a visit from an insurance adjuster to determine whether the car will be totaled out or repaired.  Personally I’m hoping for repaired because that’s an awesome little car. Earl drove out to Ohio last night to pick Jamie up and take him to Chicago so he could finish his school semester. I’m at home keeping the home fires burning and doing what I can to be supportive.

I still shake my h dad in disbelief that someone could knowingly create such an accident and just drive away from the scene. I really need something to restore my faith in American society (notice I didn’t say “restore my faith in the world”) because I don’t like the direction we seem to be headed toward. 

But most importantly, I’m just happy that Jamie is OK.

Relaxation. 

Earl and I are sitting in our local Barnes and Noble cafe. This is the closest thing we have to a Starbucks in that all the drinks are branded as Starbucks product but the pastries in the case are from the Cheesecake Factory.  So in a way, this is the closest thing we have to a Cheesecake Factory as well.  All of this is in a Barnes and Nobles built to three-quarter size, because all the stores in this big box center are built to three-quarter scale when compared to similar outlets elsewhere.  Except Wal*mart (Always White Trash, Always).  That store in this plaza is huge.  So, aside from the Wal*mart, I like to think of this plaza as “Barbie’s Dream House Plaza and Playset” because it tries to be quaint with its smaller sized stores. Contrary to a stray thought in my head, I believe the books in this Barnes and Noble are still full sized books. They don’t rip out pages or anything.

I have no idea where the weekend went. I opted to not fly tonight as my head just wasn’t in the game. It’s been a little windy today, which would have made for a bumpy ride but it would have still been manageable. I was originally in the mood to fly an excursion of some sort, but the airplane was reserved before our reservation today, so there wasn’t really time for a jaunt. I was in the mood for a jaunt, not a ride. I’m already planning a jaunt for a future weekend.  I want to go places. 

I’ve spent some of the day “relaxing” trying to get my Linux laptop working again. There’s something to be said for Apple’s “It Just Works” philosophy, even when it doesn’t just work, as it’s easier to get it to work versus the other options out there. By the way, I’m typing this on my iPad because it just works. 

Maybe I need to just give up my legacy computing ways and embrace the future. And the inevitable. 

I wanted to relax outside this afternoon but cooler winds prevailed and did not lend to the atmosphere that one is looking for when one wants to bask in the sun. 


Since there was no basking in the sun, Earl and I are relaxing at the aforementioned Barnes and Noble before calling the weekend a wrap.

And that’s not so bad after all. 

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Interruption.

I’ve been trying to get to my website to write this blog entry for the past 90 minutes. The site wasn’t loading, then it was, then it wasn’t again. I called the customer service line of my web hosting company, MacHighway, and waited as first in line for a technical support technician for 10 minutes. I had a chat with the specialist, who escalated to tier 2 as she couldn’t find an issue. She did, however, admit that she couldn’t get my site to load.

I have been with MacHighway for many years. They recently moved to a new data center and things have been a little wonky. I had to do some hacking magic to keep the blog running once they implemented new security procedures; the process has not been painless. Because of my longevity with the company I will maintain a relationship with them, but I don’t feel as warm and fuzzy as I used to about the stability of my web space.
With so many personal blogs closing up shop these days I strive to keep things running because, well, I don’t really know why. I’m an exhibitionist? I like talking about life? I like sharing with the world behind the safety of an LED screen? (My introverted ways don’t lend themselves to small talk and the like). I enjoy writing and I feel stifled when the web site is a little off kilter.
Who knew such a thing could be so important?

DL 3893. 

I’m on my way to Greenville, S.C for work. Greenville is rapidly becoming my “second home”. I feel comfortable there, though I do miss my family when I’m away. I’ll be there until Thursday. 

Mother Nature decided to remind us as to who is really in control this morning. We were greeted by lake effect snow squalls. Driving to the airport this morning kept me on my toes; I drove in four wheel drive most of the way and couldn’t safely get over 45 MPH on the New York State Thruway. Several others tried to go faster and I passed six or seven cars off the road during my journey of 45 miles. One of the cars was a state trooper vehicle. 

The flight pushed back from the gate on time but de-icing delayed takeoff by nearly an hour. Folks on the airplane were getting a little antsy. One woman declared that the snow and ice would just blow off the airplane on take-off. I’m happy she’s not sitting in the cockpit because she doesn’t seem to have a good grasp of aerodynamics and the effect of ice on an airplane. Icing changes the shape of an airplane making the aircraft aerodynamically unpredictable and unsafe. I’m happy we took the time to de-ice. 

The lone flight attendant on this CRJ-200 is extremely pleasant and full of smiles, despite the many inquiries and occasional complaints for the passengers. Her name is Tracy. When I encounter exceptional service on a flight I always make a point of letting the airline know. I’m sure the airlines are barraged with complaints; saying nice things is always a good thing to do. Spread the positive vibe. 

I’m always fascinated by flying above lake effect snow squalls. They tend to stay close to the ground and usually you can see the clear bands stretched out below the airplane. It takes just a few moments for an airplane to get above a white out and I think that’s rather nifty. 

Pzizz.

  
I’ve mentioned before that I am a fan of Binaural Beats. If you’re not familiar with the term, binaural beats are audio tracks that you listen to with headphones. The binaural beats are two different frequencies, one in each ear, tuned so that they create a certain “beat” in your brain. Binaural beats are best listened in tandem with a music or other ambient noise kind of track, listening to just the beat can become quite tedious.

Back when I was power napping in the Jeep during my lunch hour (due to the fact that my days were extra long because work was 59 miles from home), I would use the Pzizz app on my iPhone to help guide my body through a 15 minute power nap. Pzizz started out as a Mac application and then when the iPhone and its siblings came around, the app was developed for iOS. A year or two ago the separate nap and sleep apps were merged into one app.

Over the past month I’ve been using Pzizz to fall asleep at night. Pzizz combines binaural beats with very stereophonic music that is very lullaby-esque. There’s also an option to have a voice guide you to sleep. The male voice is pleasant with a slight MidAtlantic accent and his voice becomes more subdued as the experience goes on.

To effectively sleep with Pzizz, I have a cheap pair of very comfortable ear buds. I believe they are called “jellies’ or something like that. The soft rubber is not uncomfortable at all and I wear an extension cord so that I’m not tied tightly to the nightstand. I usually pull the headphones out in my sleep, I’m guessing around 1:00 or 2:00 a.m.

My night’s sleeps have become absolutely fantastic and my mood and work productivity have both been positively affected.

If you’re looking for something to try, I believe the Pzizz nap is now free. I recommend giving it a whirl and seeing if it helps you find a better night’s sleep.

Cheesecake.

  
Earl and I are currently at a local eatery enjoying a dessert after a delicious homemade supper. The local eatery has a decent reputation in these parts. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, it’s called “Café Florentine”.

We don’t have Starbucks within 50 miles of the house. Actually, that’s not true. There’s a Starbucks on the Thruway Service Area about 15 miles from the house, but you’re suppose to get on the Thruway, stop at the service area and then exit the Thruway, paying the appropriate toll along the way. And since the Thruway Starbucks is a service area, it’s not a “real” Starbucks, but rather just a stand in the middle of traveler amenities such as Burger King, S’barro and a mini mart that sells bottles of water for $4.00 a pop. I’m not sure on the price of actual pop.

The Café Florentine display cases featured many delicious desserts this evening. A peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake caught my eye, it looked like regular cheesecake with graham cracker crust, a peanut butter topping and sprinkles of chocolate nuggety goodness. In the mood for such nuggety goodness, I ordered a slice. Earl ordered a raspberry “pusty”, which in these parts is short for pasticiotti.

Earl’s pusty was delicious, judging by the speed in which he consumed it. In reality he didn’t eat it that fast, I’m just consumed with writing this blog entry and that shifts my perception of time a little bit.

The cheesecake with graham cracker crust, peanut butter topping and sprinkles of chocolate nuggety goodness did not meet my expectations.  The cheesecake itself was quite good. The graham cracker crust has a great sweetness to it.  But the peanut butter topping was not what I expected it at all. In fact, I believe the peanut butter was a large, painted swath of Jif or Skippy, as it had the taste, texture and consistency of that which a choosy mother would put on her six-year old’s sandwich. Now, I do enjoy peanut butter, but sandwich peanut butter and cheesecake peanut butter should be two entirely different things. And to add fuel to the fire, the chocolate nuggety goodness tasted a little stale.

Now, I’m not one to complain (well, I guess I really am), but when you’re in the mood for something like a peanut butter laced piece of cheesecake and you get half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich plopped on top of a piece of cheesecake, your senses feel assaulted in a less than orgasmic way. (Mind you, I refuse to talk about “mouth feel” but I don’t mind describing a taste sensation as orgasmic.)

On a scale of one to ten, I’m giving this cheesecake experience a 4, one for each seat, including the extra kitchen chair we never saw, on “The Golden Girls”. No points for the stool that Sophia always dragged to the table.

Perhaps Café Florentine should stick to Ear Salve on Linguini (now known as Pesto Sauce).

Flight. 

I took Earl on his first flight to Watertown, New York. It’s about a 45 minute flight startup to shut down each way. It was a beautiful afternoon to fly.