"Save me, oh God, from people who have no sense of humor."
— Ludlow Porch

Text-Talk is Inappropriate for Business Communications

It's actually inappropriate for any communication, that's not a battle I'm willing to fight at this time. Suffice it to say that f u tlk 2 me lk ths n a txt, thn ill dlt ur txt.

With prejudice.

I recently ordered some charging cables for my daughter, who's cell phone only came with a male-male USB-C cable, so she can't plug it into a standard USB-A port to charge it, like on her laptop or in her car. That's annoying Google!

After placing the order for three USB-A to USB-C male-male cables, I get this email from the EBay seller...

"Thanks for your payment,we will arrange the shipment for u in 48 hours (no included weekend and international holidays). Then we inform u for the shipping information when the item is sent out to u.
Pls reply the message directly if you have any problem for the item."

I replied thus...

"Thank you.
Professional businesses don't use "u" in place of the word "you". When you are texting with your drug dealer, or meeting up at a rave, then that's acceptable. Otherwise it's not."

They replied and thanked me. They are a Chinese company and don't really understand English, so they were doing their best. They said they were "greatful" that I would take the time to help them improve their automated customer service system and that they would fix it right away.

They did seem concerned that their email may have offended me. I assured them that it's not offensive, just not appropriately professional for corporate communications.

Why do smart CS Grads want to become back-end developers?

I recently received a question in my Quora bucket. It was,

"Why do the smart CS graduates want to become backend developers?".

Well I’ve a degree in Physics with a minor in CS, and I have been a software architect for thirty years.

Grogg’s argument is thoroughly cemented into my reality. I’m a back-end developer/architect because I love solving difficult problems. I’m not a UI developer because I don’t care how many pixels this prndl is from that swoopy, ephemeral, ghosty thing.

In fact, I don’t even give a crap about what a “PIXEL” is and where it lives, unless I can re-define it against a new dimension.

As long as I can exercise my software with an array of unit tests and stick to purely algorithmic expressions of complexity, then I am happy.

How one chooses to reflect that to the masses is not my concern.

Raspberry Pi 3. Get one.

So. One of the guys in my class this week sold me on the Raspberry Pi. A friend of mine has been running the Colorado Springs ATC feed on a Raspberry Pi for years. I've always wanted one, but didn't pull the trigger until today.

Today, after leaving my client's site at around noon, I drove to the Micro Center in NoVa, and bought a Raspberry Pi. He told me that they are now about $30, but when I got there, I decided to buy a package with the necessary hardware for about $70. I also bought a wireless keyboard and trackpad for about $30, as well as a 64GB MicroSD card for about $35. I didn't need the 64GB SD Card and you probably don't either, since the pi comes with a 16GB flash drive. I bought the 64GB drive, because I wanted to be able to boot my device into OSMC from the flash device, have lots of room for the videos, and not have to delete Raspbian from the flash card that the Pi came with.

Clickbait. just... don't


Ok, I'm not rolling on the floor, laughing my @55 off. I just got carried away with the Internet jargon; but seriously...

OMG! Why are you people clicking on clickbait? When you see it, I promise, you will not be "astonished". You will easily believe what you read. nothing you see in clickbait will leave you "speechless", or "breathless". It will be dull and boring and you won't regret it if you just pass. I use OpenDNS and keep my block lists current so I don't normally see this crapfest. When I travel however, I use hotel wifi and am constantly barraged by an unending slew of BS. Take for example this single screenshot...



I mean, really?! There's something there for everyone. For instance, I'm having a bit of an issue not experiencing the best fight ever. I mean... what's the harm in ... NO! Don't click it. That only leads to more of it. When you click on clickbait, YOU become the problem. Don't be the problem. Be the SOLUTION!

By the way, NOBODY in Germany is hot. Especially not ANY German cops. Don't click on it. Seriously. Don't.



Wow... Getting scammed much?

So... I get this email this evening and have my "SCAM" switch flipped on like mad. People like me, who are computer security experts and software security consultants (I call myself a hacker) immediately see the frankly, juvenile attempts of a non-english speaking script kiddie, attempting to fleece "rich 'mercans" - Notice I said "'mercan" and not "Merkin" - of their ill-gotten gains... and are shocked that anyone would ever fall for this bullshit.

I mean, seriously. Would this entice you to enter personal information into ANY website?

... I tried for like, eight seconds to get my Snagit for Mac to do a scrolling capture so that I could post the whole thing, and gave up quickly. Getting Snagit to capture a scrolling region on Mac, Linux and Windows is as difficult as - trying to come up with a simile for difficulty. Suffice it to say, "not easy"... so I gave up and captured what I could see.

I mean... seriously. The bad guys are clearly asking for your, "Personal Information". If you respond to an email like this, then please send me your ... oh what the hell. Money. All of it. Send it to me now.


GitHub gifts paid subscribers with unlimited private repositories!

I used to run my own Subversion server, but with my latest endeavors I am an advocate and evangelist for cloud computing. Focus on your business domain and let Amazon take care of the infrastructure. So a few years ago I moved my active projects to a paid subscription on GitHub. Only my active projects though, and not all of my source code, because at the time GitHub only allowed you five private repositories, and I didn't want to give all of my work away to the world for free.

Today GitHub announced that they are changing that policy and now allowing paid subscribers to create UNLIMITED private repositories! now I can finally take down my old SVN server, which is still running on an old server in my office, and move all of that to GitHub!

I also have some repositories on GitLabs that I will move over to GitHub. This was a long time coming and I'm glad that GitHub finally is moving in the right direction here.

For more information, read their official statement.


Let's Encrypt!

SSL has always been a good idea but has always been a hassle to configure, and can be expensive. If you run a number of websites like I do, then SSL is easily the most expensive piece of the puzzle, so most of us forego securing the pipe like we should.

Riding to the rescue is LetsEncrypt!

LetsEncrypt solves the issue of SSL certificates being expensive, but doesn't so much to solve the "hassle to configure" issue. Oh well.

To use LetsEncrypt, follow the instructions here...

There are rate limits to the service, as discussed here, but if you aren't developing a client for the service then you won't likely have any issues with limits. If you are developing a client, then use the staging service, which is unlimited.

I'll be exploring generating a new SSL certificate and deploying it to an Amazon S3 instance that I am developing located here. I'll cover that later in this series of articles.