The Truth About Generation X.

We often hear about Baby Boomers versus Millennials. But what about us Gen Xers? I’m solidly a Gen X and quite proud of it. Here’s a fascinating video talking about Gen Xers.

Connecting.

Social Media is suppose to be the epitome of human connection but it’s not. Mark and Sheryl and Jack and Biz would all like you to believe that we can connect to each other easier and without a care in the world today versus even a few years ago, but the anonymity of it all just lends itself to screaming, carrying on, assorted hissy fits, and just all around crankiness.

I was flipping through old photos this evening and found the screen cap as shown at the top of this blog entry. Back in the days of AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), Yahoo! Messenger, ICQ, iChatAV and the like, you’d chat away in group chat boards and then if you wanted to see someone face to face (sometimes for racy reasons, sometimes not), you’d fire up your connected webcam and say hello. Group chat was kind of rare but one-to-one chat was medium-well and it generally felt like you could make friends hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Social Media has kind of ruined the human connection element of technology and that’s sad to me. We could have done great things with a focus on quality interaction one-to-one or few-to-few instead of moving into this “make a duck face in front of a gravestone and post it on the inter webs” thing we have going on today.

Perhaps the network cord will swing back in a saner direction.

Commitment to Privacy.

A recent Macworld article highlights Apple’s commitment to user privacy in this digital day and age. An interesting read for all, but especially for the geek minded. The article also highlights the importance of “Sign In with Apple”, the new sign-in initiative from Apple I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

But convenience is only part of what makes Sign In with Apple such an excellent feature. Apple has baked privacy and security so deep into Sign In with Apple that it won’t work unless your account is protected with two-factor authentication. It uses Face ID or Touch ID on the iPhone and iPad. The coolest feature of all: you can opt to use a fake email address that forwards to your real one so the service you’re signing into won’t have access to your contact info.

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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”.

No Privacy.

Image from techcrunch.com

A recent article in The Daily Dot outlined Facebook’s true stance on privacy: there is no privacy on Facebook.

A lawyer for Facebook argued in court Wednesday that the social media site’s users “have no expectation of privacy.”

According to Law360, Facebook attorney Orin Snyder made the comment while defending the company against a class-action lawsuit over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

“There is no invasion of privacy at all, because there is no privacy,” Snyder said

I look forward to the day when a disrupter can truly disrupt Facebook. Until then, proceed with caution.

Balloons.

Photo from WDEF.com

Trump is visiting the United Kingdom for a State visit. There really isn’t any policy discussion going on while he is in the U.K.; he’s over there to do niceties with the monarchy and maintain the special diplomatic connection the U.S. has with the U.K. Protestors have welcomed him with the “Baby Trump Balloon”.

Trump has already called Megan Markle “nasty” and called the mayor of London a “stone cold loser”.

That’s great language for a diplomatic visit. As I read on my Twitter feed this morning, the man has “throne envy”.

My apologies to the United Kingdom.

Rebound.

It’s amazing how much move improves every time I fly. I feel like more aviation opportunities are now available to me since our move to Chicago nearly two years ago. This is really making my mood much better.

I’m a guy that needs to fly.

Portrait.

I know folks like to talk about how Apple is falling behind the innovation curve. I’ve talked about this as well, after all, during the latest round of Google I/O they talked about a lot of things they’re doing to push technology forward, while at their last event Apple talked about TV shows, games, and credit cards.

I’m really hoping that Apple will surprise us in some small way during Monday’s WWDC Keynote. I look forward to see what they have in store for us.

One thing that I do find amazing about Apple’s efforts is the ease of use their baking into the camera app offerings on their iOS devices. I just snapped this photo using my iPad Pro as I’m writing this blog entry. Using the user-facing camera (I get mixed up with front facing and back facing), I just selected portrait mode, adjusted the angle of my iPad slightly and I was able to take this decent photo of me.

Earl is in the process of switching from his old iMac to a brand new 2019 MacBook Pro with touch bar. As we are going through the files on his old iMac we are coming across photos that we haven’t seen in nearly two decades. We are finding things he created back with his first “lampshade iMac” from the early 2000s when we lived in our first house. While they’re wonderful memories and they make us smile, looking at the quality and how we created those photos to where we are today shows us that Apple is indeed innovating, perhaps so where we really need to innovate.

The company that focuses on privacy and data security for all at an affordable price, and brings us what to celebrate life, work, and our human connection, is the company that is truly innovating, at least in my eyes.

As I said, I’m looking forward to what Apple brings to the world at WWDC starting on Monday. Let’s hope I’m not disappointed.

Hell.

Earl and I were recently watching “The Red Line”, a CBS mini-series about many things, including the storyline about a gay couple and their adopted daughter. One of the dads is fatally shot, leaving his husband and their daughter behind. As the story unfolds, their daughter has the opportunity to meet her birth father. He claims to have changed since he ran out 17 years ago, as he found God and religion and he is now in a wonderful place in his life, all because of his new found faith.

During one of their meetings, the birth father mentions his sorrow for the loss of his birth daughter’s dad, and that it’s a shame that he is in hell because of his chosen lifestyle.

The daughter asks him to leave and never, ever contact her again.

The mini series is well written and something I found quite interesting, and I recommend folks watch it if given the opportunity.

While I was watching this episode, I couldn’t help but reflect on all of the family, friends, and co-workers I’ve had over the years that claimed to have been saved through their faith, said they were perfectly fine with who I am, but some still told me that I was going to burn in hell for choosing to be gay. While I don’t have an adopted daughter and all of the trimmings of “The Red Line” storyline to go with it, I related to what the young woman was hearing from her birth father. I’ve been told I’m going to hell on more than one occasion, in fact, a man I hired many years ago for an open position that reported to me told me that he thought I was great but that I would burning in hell for being gay. He told me this during his first week of employment with the company. There was no HR department to report this to. I just had to deal with it. Naturally the owner of the company hired the guy’s equally faith-based sister and she liked to talk about The Flood and The Arc. Apparently the unicorns missed the boat.

I have far flung family that have friended me on Facebook and the like even though I haven’t seen them in decades. Like many of my friends in high school, if I follow them long enough I’ll probably be able to collect every damnation verse from the Bible courtesy of their daily prayer updates. While they profess love and kindness and acceptance, I can help but notice the clutched pearls when it comes to brown people and their fervent support of Trump. Perhaps I go to extremes, but I see MAGA hats as a pseudo-socially acceptable version of the KKK hood. Under the veneer of pledges of light, happiness, and the eternal way, I can’t help but think that if given a dose of “Truth Soup” they’d be telling me how I’d be burning in hell at the next family or high school reunion. (For those that keep score, I’m not talking about my city side). I know they love me, but they love me in spite of me.

It’s kind of crappy when you think about it.

When I was still aged in my single digits I asked my mom what “hell” was. She was honest and told me it was probably made up, then she mused that we were probably in it together. My mom has always been hip like that. The question was prompted because a woman at a church we had been going to told me and my sister that we weren’t properly baptized because we had been sprinkled instead of dunked.

We stopped going to that church. Thank God.

My belief, my truth, is that if I screw this life up bad enough, I’m just going to reincarnate as someone else to learn what I should have learned this time around. If I do it right, I may choose to reincarnate again sometime down my road to experience something new, after spending some time on the Other Side, celebrating life with all the others that did good in their last existence. I look forward to hugging Shirley MacLaine again, just like I did the last time.

At this age I’m not in the mood to tolerate fake compassion, willful ignorance, or false teachings. If you want to believe I’m going to hell, go for it, just don’t tell me about it or try to change me into something I’m not. The universe made me as I am. It’s a undeniable, unalterable truth.

Don’t try to make me live in your hell.

Curious.

Something is going on with Truman today. He’s hanging out by the front door and being very vocal today. I’m wondering if a dog or cat walked by in the hallway or if the constantly changing weather is bothering him or something.