ITHCWY: Robert Ellison's Blog

Resist Report

Resist Report

My February resolution was to do something to #Resist Trump every day. Here's the breakdown:

Calls to Congress: 77

Non-profits donated to: 15

Failing media subscriptions: 4

Protests attended: 2

Advocacy sites launched and promoted: 1

I'll ease off a bit and try something else in March. But the routine of doing something every day has been really helpful. I've gone from saying I really should do something to actually getting in the habit of actively resisting.

Drone School

DeepCoder

DeepCoder

New Scientist hypes DeepCoder:

"Software called DeepCoder could allow non-coders to simply describe and idea for a program and let the system build it"

Coding is nothing but simply describing an idea for a program. As simply as possible but no simpler. Won't be really useful without an AI product manager.

Corporate Goddesses

Corporate Goddesses

Catfood Weather 2.30

Catfood Weather 2.30

Catfood Weather is a free taskbar based weather forecast app for Windows that includes a seven day forecast and severe weather alerts. It uses National Weather Service data and works for any US location (by ZIP code or latitude and longitude).

This update fixes a problem calling the National Weather Service API, so please install 2.30 if you're using a previous version of Catfood Weather. To get alerts for new releases follow the RSS Feed or sign up to the ITHCWY Newsletter.

Download Catfood Weather 2.30.

(Previously, Previously)

Get an email if your site stops being mobile friendly

Get an email if your site stops being mobile friendly

Google just released an API for the mobile friendly test and so I've whipped up a script to send an alert if a web page violates their guidelines. This will run the test as often as you like and send you an email if it detects a problem. Alternatively if you're not mobile friendly it will keep emailing you until you fix any problems which might be a good motivational tool.

First start a new apps script project in drive and paste in the code below:

var urlToMonitor = '';
var alertEmail = '';
var runTestKey = '';

var runTestUrl = 'https://searchconsole.googleapis.com/v1/urlTestingTools/mobileFriendlyTest:run?key=';

function mobileFriendlyMonitor() {
  try {
    
    var postBody = {
      'url' : urlToMonitor
    };
      
    var options = {
      'method' : 'post',
      'contentType': 'application/json',
      'payload' : JSON.stringify(postBody)
    };
    
    var response = UrlFetchApp.fetch(runTestUrl + runTestKey, options);
    var json = response.getContentText();
    var mobileFriendlyResult = JSON.parse(json);
    
    if (mobileFriendlyResult.mobileFriendliness != 'MOBILE_FRIENDLY') {
      sendEmail('Mobile friendly test failed for ' + urlToMonitor + ', check https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly for details');
    }
      
  } catch (e) {
    sendEmail('mobileFriendlyMonitor failed for: ' + urlToMonitor + ' with error: ' + e.message);
  }
}

function sendEmail(msg) {
  MailApp.sendEmail(alertEmail, 'Mobile Friendly Monitor Alert on ' + Utilities.formatDate(new Date(), "GMT""yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss'Z'"), msg);
}

There are three variables you need to set, urlToMonitor is the full URL of the page to test, alertEmail is your email address (or whoever needs to be pestered) and runTestKey is the API key for the service. To get this go to the Google API Console, click Enable API, search for 'Google Search Console URL Testing Tools API' and click enable. Then click the Credentials option and generate a browser key.

Once you've configured the script choose 'Current project's triggers' from the Resources menu in apps script and set up a schedule for the mobileFriendlyMonitor() function.

#Resist

February resolution: do something to resist Trump every day.

Today I renewed my membership with KQED (which I had shamefully allowed to lapse after moving house) and for the first time ever subscribed to the failing, fake news New York Times.

Out of interest the signup flow for a LastPass devotee with a reasonable password policy is:

"Please provide a password that is between 5 and 15 characters in length."

Fiddle with settings...

"Passwords can contain only letters, numbers, periods, underscores, and hyphens."

Fiddle with settings...

"We're sorry, but we're having a technical issue right now. If you continue to have problems, please call Customer Care at 855-698-8545."

So my NYT password is a bit retro and easy to guess. Maybe Trump is on to something with this one...

Updated 2017-02-03 00:10:

Today I called my Senators (Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris) to oppose the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Updated 2017-02-03 21:00:

Donated to the ACLU.

Then doubled it via donation matching at work. And tripled it via matchingdonations.us. Satisfying!

(Turns out to not be a tax deduction and not eligible for matching, so only doubled. But no regrets.)

Updated 2017-02-04 21:53:

#Resist

No Ban No Wall

Updated 2017-02-05 20:41:

Donated to IRC, doubled with work donation matching.

Updated 2017-02-06 23:38:

Donated to Planned Parenthood. Again, doubled via the magic of work matching.

Updated 2017-02-07 21:07:

Called Representatives Matt Gaetz, Thomas Massie, Steven Palazzo and Barry Loudermilk to ask them to withdraw HR 861, a bill that would terminate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Updated 2017-02-09 00:42:

Donated the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Doubled with work matching.

Updated 2017-02-09 15:52:

Contacted my Representative (Nancy Pelosi) to oppose HR634, the Electoral Assistance Commission Termination Act. Read more here.

Updated 2017-02-10 13:56:

Today's action is a little self serving, but they might just goad Trump into impeachment: purchased season 42 of Saturday Night Live.

Updated 2017-02-11 19:49:

Resist Trump - Now!

Resist Trump - Now! at Ocean Beach.

Updated 2017-02-12 23:55:

Donated to Let America Vote.

Updated 2017-02-13 21:14:

Donated to FairVote and doubled with work matching.

Updated 2017-02-15 00:24:

Launched democracy.vision, an advocacy site for the National Popular Vote.

Updated 2017-02-15 21:13:

Via the magic of Fancy Hands called all the Republican members of the House Oversight Committee and asked them if they'd care to investigate  the circumstances leading to Michael Flynn having contact with Russia’s Ambassador and the Trump campaign’s alleged contact with Russia last year.

That's Representatives Jason Chaffetz, John Duncan, Darrell Issa, Jim Jordan, Mark Sanford, Justin Amash, Paul Gosar, Scott Desjarlais, Trey Gowdy, Blake Farenthold, Virginia Foxx, Thomas Massie, Mark Meadows, Ron Desantis, Dennis Ross, Mark Walker, Rod Blum, Jody Hice, Steve Russell, Glenn Grothman, William Hurd, Gary Palmer, James Comer and Paul Mitchell.

I was expecting and mostly got either a refusal to comment, or the party line that the Intelligence Committee should be the one to investigate. There were some more promising responses though.

Representative Rod Blum's office said "The Oversight Committee's priority is to investigate Michael Flynn. Since this is a fairly new occurrence in the last 48 hours, no statement has been released with details."

Representative Jody Hice's office said "A hearing will take place on the matter."

Representative Steve Russell's office said "It will be all over the news once it comes out."

This is my people talking to their people so third hand intel at best, but maybe something will happen.

Updated 2017-02-16 23:10:

Just donated to the Natural Resources Defense Council. And of course doubled with work matching.

Updated 2017-02-17 21:08:

Called the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs to oppose the appointment of Steve Bannon to the National Security Council.

Updated 2017-02-18 21:07:

Donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center. This is a good one as you can donate in honor of someone and have them mail a card. You might be able to guess where mine went. Also doubled via work matching.

Updated 2017-02-19 18:24:

Donated to the League of Women Voters.

Updated 2017-02-20 20:14:

Just donated to the Sierra Club.

Updated 2017-02-21 23:50:

Donated to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and doubled with work matching.

Updated 2017-02-22 22:59:

Donated to the International Refugee Assistance Project, doubled with work matching.

Updated 2017-02-23 23:45:

Donated to Trans Lifeline (and yes, doubled).

Updated 2017-02-24 21:00:

Called Representatives Bob Goodlatte, Jim Sensenbrenner, Lamar Smith, Steve Chabot, Darrell Issa, Steve King, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, Ted Poe, Jason Chaffetz, Tom Marino, Trey Gordy, Raul Labrador, Blake Farenthold, Doug Collins, Ron Desantis, Andy Biggs, Mike Johnson, Ken Buck, John Radcliffe, Martha Roby and Matt Gaetz to ask them to support Jerrold Nadler’s Resolution of Inquiry into President Trump’s potential ties to Russia. Which apparently they're going to try and bury on Tuesday.

That's every Republican serving on the House Judiciary Committee. Thanks again to Fancy Hands.

Updated 2017-02-26 19:30:

This one is for yesterday, because sometimes you just drink too much Tannat and then forget to resist for one night. Subscribed to The Washington Post.

Updated 2017-02-26 19:35:

Donated to Human Rights Campaign.

Updated 2017-02-27 23:58:

Donated to NORML.

Updated 2017-02-28 11:00:

End of February finale - one more push to actually investigate Trump's ties to Russia. Representative Darrell Issa actually came through on this so the list is one name shorter. Called Representatives Bob Goodlatte, Jim Sensenbrenner, Lamar Smith, Steve Chabot, Steve King, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, Ted Poe, Jason Chaffetz, Tom Marino, Trey Gordy, Raul Labrador, Blake Farenthold, Doug Collins, Ron Desantis, Andy Biggs, Mike Johnson, Ken Buck, John Radcliffe, Martha Roby and Matt Gaetz to ask them to follow Representative Darrell Issa's lead and appoint a special prosecutor.

Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada

Risky

Risky

The World Economic Forum has published a risk/reward matrix for 12 key "emerging" technologies. You'd think this would be pretty good, because:

"The report’s conclusions on risk are heavily based on its Global Risks Perception Survey, which gathers the opinions of the World Economic Forum’s multi-stakeholder communities of leaders from business, government, academia and nongovernmental and international organizations. Members of the Institute of Risk Management are also consulted."

For some reason IoT devices are the second highest risk. Ahead of biotechnology (we're all dead from an engineered virus), nanomaterials (we're all dead because we're now gray goo) and space technologies (we're all dead because we provoked a violent alien civilization).

The least benefit comes from Geoengineering. Because with Trump in power I'm sure we're going to solve Global Warming via emission cuts. There is apparently more benefit in Virtual Reality and even more in 3D Printing.

(Image from World Economic Forum)

If You Give a Browser a Cookie

If You Give a Browser a Cookie

If you give a browser a cookie, it’s going to ask for local storage.

When you give it the local storage, it’ll probably ask you for a list of system fonts. When it’s finished, it’ll ask you for your screen resolution.

Then it’ll want to look to see if Flash cookies are supported. It’ll probably create a local shared object.

When it’s finished with the local shared object it’ll want more things to hash. It will hash your timezone and language. It might get carried away and hash every supported plugin. It may even end up hashing the platform and user agent.

When it’s done it’ll probably want to check out your WebGL. You’ll have to tell it your WebGL vendor and renderer. It’ll probably ask you to open a HTML5 canvas.

When it looks at the HTML5 canvas, it’ll get so excited it’ll want to draw it’s own hidden image. Then it’ll want to hash the image as well.

Looking at the image will remind it that it should store the hash somewhere. So it’ll ask for local storage.

And chances are if it asks you for local storage, it’s going to want a cookie to go with it.

(With apologies to Laura Numeroff, and you may be a snowflake yourself).