If you search YouTube (iOS app, at least) using a link to a video or the unique (approximately) twelve characters from the URL, it should always give the correct video as the top search result. It doesn’t.
Wemo App: Dark Mode
I’m up in the middle of the night. I need to walk to another room of the house. I go to use the Wemo app to remotely turn on lights, so I don’t wake my wife by turning on the lights in our bedroom. Unfortunately, when I open the app, I’m greeted with a whole screen of white. It hurts my eyes, and my wife stirs in her sleep. Dark mode is nothing new, and a light switch app is all about keeping things light or dark at the appropriate time.
Bonus rant: Wemo switches need a dark mode themselves. When they’re off, they still have a white glowing circle on them. That’s fine for common areas of the house to make them easier to find in the dark. But in the bedroom, I need a setting to turn that light on the switch off, so I can sleep in a dark room. My workaround has been white electrical tape to cover it, but that’s a ridiculous solution.
Threema. The Secure Messenger
I’m moving my friends and family who use Android phones away from SMS/MMS, Facebook Messenger, and Voxer. We’ll be using Threema to send messages, photos, and videos instead.
For my friends and family who communicate with me using iOS messenger, I’m not asking them to change anything. It’s very user-friendly, but the security and privacy are still strong enough for normal conversations.
I started using apps instead of SMS/MMS after it became a headache because it doesn’t always work well between iOS and Android. Plus it over-compresses media, and it is not secure.
Facebook should be avoided as much as possible, so I wanted to find an easy app to use for my friends and family who have been using Messenger to communicate with me.
I considered running my own element server, but haven’t had the time to learn all about doing it right.
I looked at some of the top alternative messaging apps such as Whatsapp,Telegram, and Signal, but ruled them out for various reasons. Whatsapp was acquired by Facebook at some point, so it’s out. Telegram and Signal make you use your phone number and upload your contacts in order to use their apps, and I have no plans of doing either.
Although Voxer is free and convenient, it has more and more things that annoy me. Voxer isn’t a major player in the messaging app world, but it was what a couple of friends were already using, so I met them where they were.
The most in-your-face problem with Voxer is that it (almost) always has notifications that cannot be cleared, so there’s is always a red 1 in the corner of the icon. Also it’s annoying there is still no dark mode as of November 2020. And it’s a bummer that older messages disappear unless you pay for a Pro subscription. It’s nice they offer a paid version, but being able to read old messages shouldn’t be one of the perks. It is nice that you can use Voxer in an app or on a desktop web browser, but that’s not enough to keep me as a user.
So what’s so great about Threema. The Secure Messenger anyway?
Threema is an accessible way for anyone to start using end-to-end encryption to send messages to friends and family. You may have nothing to hide, but that’s no reason to let strangers listen in on your private conversations.
A couple nice-to-have features are dark mode and custom alert tones, so it can match or be different from your phone’s message alert.
It’s not a feature, but I appreciate that Threema is a paid app. You pay up front, so there’s no nagging to upgrade to a paid version. Since they have a revenue stream, it increases my confidence that the app will continue to be developed and improved. Also, I don’t have to worry whether I am the product since I’m a paying customer.
After my concerns with Telegram and Signal, I was relieved to find that not only do I not need to hand over contacts or telephone number, but you can have a completely anonymous account with Threema. The app provides a way to backup your account securely and privately, and you can easily nuke your account if you decide to.
When I set up my account, and when I help set the app up for my friends and family, I will start them off with the most private option. The downside is if they don’t backup their account, and something happens to their device, they’ll have to create a new one. That part is easy, but you have to scan the QR code of all your contacts if you want to be 100% certain it’s them when adding them to Threema. This prevents a man-in-the-middle attack.
I decided on security/privacy over convenience because it’s easier to loosen the security/privacy later if convenience outweighs the (minimal) risks than it is to try to undo the less-secure options.
If you decide you want a little more convenience, you can create an account tied to an email address to easily move your account from one phone to another by just logging in. You can also sync your contacts if you want to, so you can start messaging other Threema users who have done the same. But both options are totally optional.
Threema is available in the iOS App Store, the Google Play app store, or directly from Threema’s website:
It drives me nuts that the iPhone snooze interval is 9 minutes.
- How did they get this number?
- Why can’t you set it yourself?
“How to nap” (Boston.com) seems to show an optimal minimum time of 20 minutes, so that’s what I’d like it to be. But it would be even better if everyone could go to Settings and set it to any number they want.
“The Best Gear for Travel” • The Wirecutter
Traveling well can be one of life’s great pleasures, whether you’re alone or with friends and family. But what does it mean to travel well? The Wirecutter staff offered a few themes: Avoid hassle, ..
Edit 2023-01-05: I just noticed I had posted about this problem over six years ago, and it has been fixed somewhere along the way. Here’s a screenshot of a photo in iOS 16:
Unfortunately, iOS on the iPhone doesn’t natively support the display of photo filenames or metadata like Photos (and iPhoto before it) on the Mac.
According to Apple Support, it’s a built-in feature to display a photo’s file name in the Photos app on the iPad. In iOS 8, there’s enough room next to the sharing icon, the heart, and the trash can for the ⓘ symbol that leads you to the photo’s filename on the iPad. It should be there, and it should show additional metadata as well.
If Photo Investigator would sell a Pro version (instead of in-app purchases: since in-app purchases can’t be shared through Family Sharing), then I would just recommend that as a workaround. It still would be inconvenient to be in the Photos app, deciding to sort or share photos, to have to pop in and out of Photos and Photo Investigator just to get the info you want.
Auto Question Mark?
Have I posted this yet?
On iOS, when you press two spaces after a word, it puts a period to end the sentence. Why doesn’t it add a question mark automatically when the sentence starts with a question word (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How)? In most cases it would be correct, and in others it should be easy to detect if a period is correct instead.
My suggested features:
1. Allow contacts to be set as emergency numbers and also allow to be called in addition to 911. Update 2014-09-15: This can now be done in Apple’s Health app on iOS 8.
2. Allow contacts to be added without unlocking. This poses no more risk than photos being shot without unlocking. It allows you to hand your phone to some one you just now want their contact info, but you’re not comfortable handing them your unlocked phone, so they can type in their info for you.
3. (added 2014-10-12) Allow the Control Center (swipe up from the bottom of the screen) to be customized, so (for example) I can have a Personal Hotspot icon instead of Bluetooth since I leave Bluetooth off all the time anyway.
Reasons Adobe drives me crazy:
1. Every time Flash updates, it won’t remember that I want to be notified of updates but not automatically install them.
2. After every Flash update it opens my browser automatically without being asked to. Opening a browser is my job.
3. This took me over six months to diagnose: http://helpx.adobe.com/creative-suite/kb/acrobat-failed-launch-30-days.html You’d think there’d be an automatic update for this.
4. Like most big companies, there’s no way to get this message to someone who will do anything about it.
Etymology Guess: Loo
I haven’t googled this yet to see if it’s true, but (I was going through old notes and found my thought process) I wonder if this is the etymology of “loo” for restroom:
l’eau = water (in French)
water closet = bathroom (in UK)
“loo” = bathroom
(update: It looks like the source is unknown, but there are two guesses that are similar to mine: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=loo)
Still A Fan Of Netflix
I have been a Netflix customer for a long time. I’m so glad they decided to keep “partitioned accounts” after announcing they were going to get rid of them. In the past, they reversed a price increase. Recently, they did not back down after splitting disc and streaming plans (but that one didn’t bother me even though it costs me more). Today, I found out their plan to turn the disc plan into Quickster has been abandoned. This is the third major reversal that I have been happy to watch Netflix make. Read the Netflix blog post announcement.
Ad-free site to check my IP address
Piracy Is Lending, Not Theft
I’ve said this for a long time, but my audience is very small, so I’m glad someone with a bigger audience agrees (video below). I’m not ripping off artists if I download their works for free. I don’t think (m)any are. The way I look at it, I give as much as I can. Does that mean I should be barred from the rest? No. Frankly, if the completely legitimate practices of lending and time-shifting are combined, then what we’re doing is totally fine. There’s no way that all of us listening to our collections all at once can add up to the amount of playtime that accumulates from the CDs that have been bought and are just sitting on shelves somewhere. File sharing isn’t theft; it’s (the high tech version of) lending plus time shifting — both of which have been vindicated in U.S. courts.
Neil Gaiman talks to the Open Rights Group about how the internet affects the books and publishing industry
Now if only we could get people to realize copyright (and intellectual property rights) are a big deal. It affects starvation, disease, war, etc., and needs to be reasonable.
ps.mu noise music iec5010
A project from more than a few years ago finally surfaces on the web.
A “Real” Artist Gets It
The bit about being inspired by those artists that step before you was interesting, but I’m glad to see Francis Ford Coppola pondering the same idea (of artists making a living) I wrote about a couple years ago:
Francis Ford Coppola On Art, Copying And File Sharing: We Want You To Take From Us
… who said art has to cost money? And therefore, who says artists have to make money?
I’m a Magnatune lifetime member. First thing I wanted to know was how to login to the iPhone app, so I don’t have to hear the spoken message at the end of each track (placed there because every song is free to hear for non-members). It took me a bit, but it’s mentioned on a blog post about the iPhone app: Magnatune iPhone app (but not on Magnatunes page for the app).