Categories
tv

The Office Matrix

Fan of the US Office? Check!
Fan of the Matrix movies? Check!

Here’s a never-before-seen cold open from the US Office that was only released on January 1st 2021!

Categories
Tech

Just use Signal

Just use Signal, the privacy first messaging system.

What’s in it for Signal? They’re a non-profit. Money isn’t their main goal. Read about their very interesting history on Wikipedia.

(But if they ever break that trust I’m going back to SMS texts!)

Update a few days later: This post was obviously prompted by the move WhatsApp made to change their privacy policy and ultimatum they gave users to “accept it or go away”. They have since announced the changes won’t take effect until May this year.

This Gizmodo post is the best yet at explaining what changes are to come. It’s a long article worth reading but in summary (and I’m open to correction if I get this wrong), your messages to friends and family were never in danger of being revealed to Facebook. Businesses who use WhatsApp have a special way of using the platform (a business API) and they may use an outside agency to help them deal with this messaging. As soon as that happens the outside agency can see the messages back forth between you and the business so the messages could in theory be stored by that agency. Someone else can see those messages then.

What I’m left wondering about is if companies have been doing this for years already why is a change in the privacy policy required now? Is it because a business can manage this messaging through Facebook.com?

I checked and I didn’t opt out of WhatsApp sending “anonymous data” (which is never really anonymous) to Facebook in 2016 for whatever reason. Maybe I didn’t start using WhatsApp until after this date. I wonder if the GDPR stops this data transfer?

Categories
Ireland

Putting Accents on Characters on Mac

Accents, everyone has one but some characters have more than one, and writing them on a Mac can be hard unless you know how.

I really only need one type of accent, the “sine fada” in Irish that goes over the vowels. They look like this: á, é, ó, ú and í.

For a long time I used Option-key using an Irish keyboard map I got off Justin Mason years ago. I haven’t used it for some time now and every now and again I wonder if there’s a better way of doing it using the standard keyboard maps on a Mac.

Turns out there is.

This page explains how to use the accent menu, but you can also use “dead keys” to type accents.

The accent menu is dead simple. Press the key down for a little longer than usual and a menu will appear with the accents required. Press the corresponding number and your accented character appears!

The dead key approach is probably faster however. Use the keyboard viewer to see your keyboard layout. I have a large split Microsoft keyboard and I’m using the British PC layout now so when I hit the Option key the accents are highlighted.

If I want to type “I like to eat cake” in Irish, and not “I like to eat shit”, I must use “Option-e” followed by “a” to get “á” in one word:

“Is maith liom cáca a ithe.”

I’m sure by now you’ve realised just how important accents are in daily life. It’s the difference between delicious chocolate and something that looks similar but tastes quite different. Yeah, you really needed that mental image didn’t you? Sorry. 🙂

Categories
Photography

Pick your best photos faster

James Popsys explains how he picks the best photos from his shoots. Video is pre-pandemic. It’s refreshing to hear someone mention going out to photograph and not mention social distancing.

  • “In the field” shoot a black image if you see “the one” that works.
  • In Lightroom import your photos immediately. Do not sort and choose when you get home.

He uses stars in Lightroom. In the first round he awards up to three stars:

  • Single star – photo must be interesting and sharp (in the right places)
  • Another star – does the composition work?
  • Another star – is it exposed correctly?

For the second round, he only shows photos that have two stars or more. So that should show photos that are interesting and sharp, and either composition works or exposed correctly. In this round he changes composition by cropping and/or fixes exposure. Should have a few more three star photos.

At this point he’ll do more editing, and the best photos get another star. The very best get five stars.

I’m blogging this because I’ve had this video open in my browser tabs for months, meaning to try out this technique but I learn a process like this better if it’s written down. Hope it helps somebody!

Categories
General

A week into 2021

Happy new year! As if living through a pandemic wasn’t bad enough, and Ireland is worse than ever with more than 7000 confirmed infections yesterday. Christmas and New Year celebrations really did a number on the country. Last night the US Capitol was stormed by Trump supporters. Check out Saul Loeb‘s photos of the event. I grabbed screenshots of the pages. Getty has more photos here.The contrast between politicians and rioters is striking.

The FBI is seeking information related to the rioting. There will be arrests, especially when they documented themselves so clearly!

I despair at what’s happening in the world. I don’t have anything insightful to say about what’s happening now except the obvious:

“Stay at home!”

On a brighter note, it snowed last night. Looks lovely.

Categories
Linux

Infinite Bunner

Don’t need A PS5 or the latest Xbox, whatever it’s called, to have fun. Playing around with the Pi400. 🙂

Categories
Comics

No coal for Calvin this year

Categories
Life

It’s after 8am

Is it ever too early for chocolate on Christmas Day?

Categories
Facebook

I was permanently banned by Facebook

My Facebook account was permanently banned on Wednesday along with all the people who take care of the Cork Skeptics page. We’re still not sure why but it might have something to do with the Facebook algorithm used to detect far-right conspiracy groups.

When your account is disabled you’re given the opportunity to upload some form of ID. That is the price of requesting a review. Unfortunately if you are permanently banned you will only be informed after uploading the photo that permanently banned accounts cannot be unbanned. It’s a particularly evil but clever way for Facebook to gather real world identifiable information about a user who may be desperate to get back into their account.

The good news is that our accounts were restored last night after two days in which we tweeted about it and contacted everyone we knew who might be able to help. Thank you to everyone who RTed, liked or commented on those tweets, or helped in other ways behind the scenes. I really do not know how this decision was reversed so don’t bother asking, sorry. We’re not the only group to be banned in error. It happened to a group of seventeenth century historical re-enactors who were banned but then unbanned.

The first thing I did when I logged in again? I downloaded all my information so if it happens again at least I have a copy of what I posted there. I haven’t come across the photo of my ID in my downloaded information however, though it might be there. I haven’t looked at all of it yet. Thank you GDPR.

If you have a Facebook account you should download your information too because it could happen to you too, even though you did nothing wrong. Go here and click the “Create File” button now.

Yeah, I know you won’t do it but you really should.

People say the age of personal blogging is over because everyone is on social media but I beg to differ. At least I won’t be banned from my own self-hosted blog any time soon.

Inchydonney Beach, December 12th 2020.
Categories
Ireland

Signs of the Pandemic

No mask on your face, big disgrace.

I can’t imagine going into a restaurant or pub for a long time still. The lockdown in Ireland has managed to reduce the infection rate of Covid19 in the country dramatically compared to levels last month but it hasn’t gone away.

Unfortunately the lockdown itself has decimated many businesses and put medical procedures on hold that would normally happen. I hope people take more seriously the advice to wear masks in busy public areas so we can avoid another lockdown in January but it’s almost guaranteed we’ll have another one in the new year. 🙁

Posted on Reddit today.