Monday, July 4, 2016

A Special Script

var family = [mom,dad,sim,chel];

var rootlet3 = {
Name: 'Evan Joshua',
eat:function(){return true;},
sleep:function(){return true;},
poop:function(){return true;},
       window.setInterval(, 3600000);
       window.setInterval(self.sleep, 3600000);
       window.setInterval(self.poop, 3600000);


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Nifty Things from Build 2016

Ionic in VS Code (not sure if this is Build-related, but still, useful):

MS is really pushing this “bot” concept.  The implementation is pretty cool- you build a web api and register it with MS.  They handle all the goo of connecting to Slack, SMS, email, Skype, etc.    Should be fairly easy to write bots that work in all the things.

A bunch of free (for now) apis for doing complex stuff like parsing natural language, recognizing things in images, search

Of course, hololens.  Somebody get me an excuse and 3k to get one of these:

Freaking native linux bash shell and binary runtime on windows:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

My Short List of Non-Scammy Online Finance and Business Resources

The internet is rife with plenty of people telling you how to get rich quick and what to do with your money.  It's difficult to weed out what are legitimate, useful resources and what is snake oil or worse. Amid all the noise and fluff, there are real people who really do have some useful information for those looking to earn an income online and retire before they are 92.   Below is my "short list" of resources that are not scammy and have high-quality helpful content we can learn from and use.

Pat Flynn is one of my favorites right now.  His blog posts and podcast are really some of the best free content on the subject of online business.  His new book Will it Fly is a perfect example of the type of short, practical, actionable advice that just about anybody could use to start a business online. He's genuine and transparent- actually posting income statements each month!

Mike and Lauren is a new one for me, but one I really enjoy.  They are a young couple employing the Early Retirement Extreme principals in a unique transparent YouTube channel that is a blend of finance information and DIY workshop videos.  I first found Mike's workshop videos, but have gone back and watched their other ones and now look forward to seeing their next adventure - an RV across the country.

Dave Ramsey was my first introduction to financial literature, and kept me largely out of debt after college.  Some may see his advice as "dated", but even if you don't follow him 100%, his practical 10 step plan to get out of debt and get ahead is solid.  Coupled with some of these other resources, you have the recipe for real success.

Get Rich Slowly is a great blog with just the right sort of attitude toward this stuff:  there is no such thing as a free lunch, but you also don't have to settle for working a 9-5 until you're 92 just to scrape by paycheck to paycheck.

Early Retirement Extreme I really want to like. The gist is, if you go to the extreme of saving and investing 80% of your income and living off of 20%, you can retire in 5 years, regardless of income. That means living _way_ under your means of course, and I can't say I'm ready to be as extreme as this, but I do like having his perspective.  If nothing else it's a push in the right direction.

Mint  * Is free online tracking of your finances and budget all in one place.  Now, a warning:  If you're not the customer, you're the product, and Mint does advertise fairly heavily.  Still, I think the service they provide is worth it.  I firmly believe you can't improve what you can't see, and Mint helps me see my finances.

Wave * is to business accounting what Mint is to personal finance.  Free online accounting for small businesses.  I haven't had occasion to use all of their services - not having a payroll to run for my small LLC, I mainly use it to track business expenses.  But, I have been impressed with the clean interface and useful tools.

*There are some who will object to keeping financial information "in the cloud" like this. My response is: there is risk, but online is likely safer than desktop apps on your own device and network.  Plus, your banks and credit cards regularly keep your finances online.  Unless you have PCI compliance for your home PC, benefits of online tools (with obvious due diligence) generally outweigh the risks.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Peaches and Scotch

LastPass was just Hacked, Here's Why I'm Still Using Them

A coworker emailed me that my favorite password manager service, LastPass, was just hacked.  I read through the alert and followed the instructions to change my master password.  At first blush, this is bad news.  A company whose primary job is to protect access to every account I have was hacked.   Even if they _say_ nothing was stolen: Oh crap.

But, after a a little reflection, I realized this is still better than no password manager or even rolling my own.   First, I do take them at their word that no credentials are ever stored on their servers unencrypted, and that encryption used is secure.  The only way that somebody can steal my passwords would be to download my encrypted passwords and know my master password.  If you want my bank login so bad that you'd hack LastPass and then torture me to give up the master password, you must be looking at different bank statements than me.  

More importantly, though, LastPass is monitoring proactively and doing the right thing when they detect anomalies.  That to me is way more than any paper or home-rolled service can provide.  If you are not using a password manager, you are likely either writing them down on paper or using the same ones everywhere.  The latter is instant hacksville. The former is as secure as what you are writing them on.  Do you have staff monitoring the post-it notes you write your passwords on?  Do they notify you when something remotely suspicious happens related to your passwords?

No, I still enjoy the bliss of generating random passwords that even I don't know, and letting LastPass ensure they are relatively safe.

That said, there are some things LastPass could do better:  Notification for me came through reading a blog post three days after the hack.  I would have liked earlier notification and to have had it in the LastPass app as well as email.

So, if you are not using LastPass (or _some_ password manager), don't be scared off by recent events. If you are, change your passwords and move on.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

El Cheapo MP3 Players Have Come a Long Way

We recently got one of these Tecsun MP3 players for our 3 year old's birthday. Loaded up with all of her favorite songs, she totes it around all day singing along.  Unlike most MP3 players, this has a speaker built in.  The sound quality is excellent for what it is, the retro design is fun, and most of all she loves it! It doesn't display song names, so it's not what you would want for a personal player (besides, isn't that just our phones by now?). But for a fun beach or poolside player, or for your favorite music-loving munchkin, it's hard to beat an el-cheapo MP3 player.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What If Is Out! What If Is Out!

Comic genius Randall Monroe has published a new book What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. With Monroe's trademark simple comic style and witty but well researched answers, "What If" is sure to be an entertaining read.