Why We Encrypt

Great post from Bruce Schneier from June 2015:

Encryption should be enabled for everything by default, not a feature you turn on only if you’re doing something you consider worth protecting.

This is important. If we only use encryption when we’re working with important data, then encryption signals that data’s importance. If only dissidents use encryption in a country, that country’s authorities have an easy way of identifying them. But if everyone uses it all of the time, encryption ceases to be a signal. No one can distinguish simple chatting from deeply private conversation. The government can’t tell the dissidents from the rest of the population. Every time you use encryption, you’re protecting someone who needs to use it to stay alive.

Private/group messaging and calling with iOS or Android? Signal is fantastic. For email, James Huff uses ProtonMail.

Noizio

Noizio is a slick, flexible, and free(!) app that plays ambient sounds. I just installed it on my Mac and iPhone to use when listening to music isn’t proper for the task at hand.1

The current version offers fifteen ambient sounds. I dig the simplicity and ability to mix the various sounds at different volumes. Saving different “Mixtures” will be fun to try.

If you’re a fan of Coffitivity, Noizio is worth checking out. 🙂

Just turn on the sound and allow yourself to become engulfed in the tranquil sounds of nature. Whether you wish to feel as if you’re sitting near a fireplace under a cozy blanket, or that you’re meditating on a desolate sea shore as gusts of wind ruffle your hair, Noizio will be there to set the mood. With this ambient sound equalizer, not only will you be able to relax, but you will also increase your productivity, as you’re trying to concentrate on your work!


  1.  Playing in the background while I write this post: Campfire, Winter Wind, and Deep Space. 

Signal: Installed!

My pals, Paul Ciano and Ash Rhodes, recently posted about Signal for private messaging and calls with iOS and Andoid. I’ve had it for a few months (thanks to a nudge from James Huff), but Amy installed it today! 🎉🤓

We verified our fingerprints, and successfully tested a call. Exciting and comforting to know that messages and calls sent with Signal will only be seen by us.

Update: My mother-in-law set it up on her iPad, and called Amy. Pleased as punch.

Apple Family Sharing woes

When trying to accept the invite to Family Sharing on Amy’s phone, I’m stuck at the step “Share your location with your family”. Trying to continue with either of the two available options (Share Your Location, or Not Now) results with:

Cannot Complete Action

This action cannot be completed at this time.

Sadly, I’m not finding any solutions when searching DuckDuckGo or Google with the terms:

“cannot complete action” “family sharing” apple

Looks like I need call Apple Support. I’ll make sure to update this post. 🙁

Update 2015-11-24 16:25 PST: Amy just upgraded from an iPhone 5s to an iPhone 6. Fortunately, she was able to accept the invite this time! 🙌

See ya, Rdio

When I opened Rdio today, I saw a link to the message following message: Important information about your Rdio account. I learned about the beginning of their end a couple of days ago through sad colleagues and friends on Twitter. I started using Rdio in 2012 after a recommendation by Andrew Spittle, and I’ve had fun listening to new music.

Gary Pendergast wrote about replacing Rdio. Referring to his post, our three must have items are:

  • Offline sync to mobile.
  • Ability to play from my Mac.
  • Family accounts.

After I read Macworld’s Apple Music FAQ, I started the Apple Music three-month trial, plus Family Sharing for Amy and myself.

Switching from Rdio to Apple Music might mean scrobbling to my Last.fm account will be inconsistent, which makes me sad because I’ve been tracking since 2007. 😢

On July 8, 2015, Florian Eckerstorfer posted, “Apple Music and Last.fm: Does it Scrobble?“. I have Last.fm installed on my Mac, and I just installed QuietScrob – Background Last.fm Scrobbler. Fingers crossed.

Increasing use of Siri

I’ve been experimenting with using Siri more often. When I use compatible verbal commands, they’re faster than manually typing my requests. Some ideas:

  • Set alarms or timers.
  • Add an event to your calendar.
  • Add to-dos to Reminders. (e.g. Remind me about this email/webpage tomorrow.)
  • Add a to-do to a specific Reminders list (e.g. Groceries). Bonus tip: If you want to add another item to the same Reminders list, you can tap the microphone icon and continue. For example, “Also add spinach.”
  • Check weather.
  • Open apps. (Perhaps they’re buried beyond your home screen, and will take more than a few swipes.)

Some people mentioned Siri recently, which prompted me to give this a try. In the Back to Work podcast, Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discussed iOS 9 and improved Siri functionality earlier last month:

Nick Momrik mentioned a few handy examples. Apple also has a few iOS 9 tips and tricks for iPhone.