Category Archives: IT

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How chromebooks can be a means of avoiding being IT support for your family

Chromebook image
This piece explains the logic behind getting certain relatives a Chromebook so as to relieve you of being tech support:  I bought my mom a Chromebook Pixel and everything is so much better now – The Verge.

Now your mom may be tech savvy and not need a Chromebook (my mom was). But for some people’s moms or dads or children, it can be a very good solution. Especially for people who don’t travel much with their computer and who have a stable IT environment (e.g. the networking set up doesn’t change, the printer is good).

Chromebooks may not seem good value. You might compare what you get from a Chromebooks vs a Windows laptop and think: I get more from the Windows laptop. If you are good with computers, that true. But that’s not how to look at it. Factor in the cost of the relative’s computer plus the time you spend solving problems with it. When you factor that in, the benefit of the Chromebook jumps out.

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iPhone 6s: still a great phone in the era of iPhone X

If you are skeptical about the greatness of the iPhone 6s, this piece makes a good argument for it: Reasons you should buy an iPhone 6S instead of an iPhone 8 or iPhone X – Business Insider. If money is a prime concern, you can find refurbished 6s phones for a fraction of the cost of a new iPhone 8 or X.

If you want an iPhone and you are fine with refurbished — and some places give good warrantees on such phones — then consider making an iPhone 6s your next phone. Or get a new one from your mobile phone carrier or buy one outright from Apple.

 

A little story about why I think Tile is awesome

I lost my keys the other day and I figured they’d show up but after a few days I concluded they were lost. Luckily I didn’t have to do a search of the house because I had a Tile attached to them. (Yes I should have used it right away.) So I opened the app and figured it would tell me they were in the house, but it said they were up the street, approximately half a kilometer a way.I used the app to go right to the location was: a gas station where I was getting my bike tires pumped up a few days earlier. The keys must have fallen out when I was doing this. Great! I went inside and asked if someone had turned them in. Clerk says: nope! I was sure they were there. I start the app and get it to play music on my key fob. I can hear them! Another clerk comes over and opens a drawer with a bunch of keys, including mine! So no thanks to the first clerk but thanks to everyone else including Tile.

Some thoughts on this:

  • Don’t assume that if someone finds your keys or wallet that they will turn it over to you if you show up. The staff may be busy, or someone may have misplaced the items, or maybe the person working there just can’t be bothered to look. Let Tile help you here.
  • If you think: I can’t afford a Tile, consider the alternative. Consider the time and money it costs to replace your keys, wallet, etc. Chances are it’s less than a Tile.
  • Even when the items you lost are nearby, having the Tile saves you a lot of hassle of going around looking for the item.
  • Consider attaching your Tile to a remote control if you have people in the house misplacing it all the time.

How to better understand Kubernetes networking

Kubernetes networking is a non-trivial thing to understand, but if you are going to get into the use of Kubernetes, then you need to understand it. This trio of posts is a good way to do that. Highly recommended.

  1. Understanding kubernetes networking: pods – Google Cloud Platform — Community – Medium
  2. Understanding kubernetes networking: services – Google Cloud Platform — Community – Medium
  3. Understanding kubernetes networking: ingress – Google Cloud Platform — Community – Medium

Are you afraid of Facebook tracking you? Do you use Firefox? Then read on.

If you are afraid of Facebook tracking you and you use Firefox then you want to consider this:  Facebook Container Extension: Take control of how you’re being tracked | The Firefox Frontier. 

If you are comfortable installing extensions you really want to consider this.

What to remember the next time you see a scary robot video from Boston Dynamics

The next time you see a scary robot video from Boston Dynamics, remember this: Marine Corps Shelves Futuristic Robo-Mule Due to Noise Concerns | Military.com. When you see the videos of their robots, they seem so impressive. In fact there are serious limitations with them right now, as the article shows.

 

Boston Dynamics makes impressive videos. Whether or not their robots are impressive in the field is not certain. You be the judge.

What happens when you fill your house with smart devices?

Just how bad is it to have your house filled with smart devices? Kash Hill attempted to find out by connecting many of them up in her house and then track all the data that they sent out. The results are fascinating. Some of them send the data out in the clear, which is terrible. But even the ones that encrypt your data and leaking things about you via metadata.

Essentially whatever value smart devices provide — and some of that value is doubtful — they are monitoring equipment that you set up yourself. Just how much they monitor can be seen here in her study: The House That Spied on Me.

It’s a great read, and for some, it will be a great revelation.

Image via Home Depot’s web site.