iOS swipe action configuration for gmail account is nuts.

First, change Gmail advanced settings from archive to delete.

Then, in mail swipe settings, correctly interpret these baroque directions: “Accounts that include Archive as a default action for swiping left will offer Trash for swiping right.”

Then in Swipe Left settings chose Move Message.

Then in when browsing swipe right archives and swipe left deletes.

There’s more broken stuff like this in iOS. Articles on “new features in iOS 11” irritate me. There’s a lot of unfinished work in iOS 10.3.

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Apple family sharing and device limit

I think apple’s 10 device limit for one account applies with family sharing. 

So the limit is 6 family members or 10 devices, whichever is less. Not 10 devices per family member!

I tried adding a family member and exceeded 10 device limit. Got purchase notice of invalid payment when I tried to download an item. I think that error message is a bug. Real issue was device limit. 

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There are no good digital picture frame (slideshow) apps for iPad

This is mind boggling. Water water everywhere — and not a drop to drink. With the demise of picmatic (now a squatter app) there’s no longer a digital picture frame app for iPad.

The original lock screen app from Apple is long gone. The slideshow has very obscure settings and no randomizer. was flaky in my testing.

That’s it. There’s nothing left.

The iPad has the smell of week old fish these days.

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El Capitan Notes only seem to work with iCloud

Only relevant for holdouts like me, but El Cap Notes don’t reliably sync with iCloud. They seem too, but I think there are issues with rich text notes and shared notes (of course you can’t see which are shared or unshared in El Cap). There’s also something odd with sync of those that do work, I had to toggle Notes on/off in iCloud to force a sync update.

If you’re on El Cap you need to use iCloud Notes via a browser.

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Non-geek computing 2017: Apple uber alles.

Bend the knee. Apple has won for now. 

If you are not a geek, as of years ago, you have only one somewhat safe choice. It would be better if Apple hadn’t screwed backups, but your best choice is current iOS. On Apple hardware of course. 

In a year maybe Windows S on Microsoft hardware. Eventually Android “S” on Google hardware, but Google missed the boat. Arrogance I suppose. 

Chromebook – if Google backpedals on Chrome/Android integration. 

Dangerous is macOS run as non-admin on, of course, Apple hardware. One version behind is fine. 

Very dangerous Windows 10 with constant updates. 

Insane the rest.

Eventually devices will deactivate when their OS is unsupported.

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We cannot believe we chose Mussolini to rule us. We say it, but do not mean it. Pride I suppose. 

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Password generators suck

For a book project I had to review the current state of password generators, including the Schneier vs. GRC vs. XKCD/diceware wars.

Bah. Humbug. The memorable vs. random debate is obsolete. The real criteria is tappable. A password needs to be tappable on a twee iPhone virtual keyboard that shows only one character at time (Yes, I use 1Password. I still find lots of times I have to type and tap.) I can’t tap a long random string. I even have a hard time tapping an 8 word string — and I don’t have the patience for it.

I think the obscure and much maligned Apple keychain ‘Memorable’ password generator strikes the right balance. A mixture of (pseudo) randomly (I hope) selected pronounceable strings with some extra characters. I usually tweak the words to be less English (but still memorable) and I toss in “extra characters” that don’t require too much keyboard shift/swap. I generally stop at around 16 characters.

It’s too bad Apple’s password generator is so hard to access. On OS X I use an ancient and now vanished app called “Password Assistant” (2006, codepoetry – don’t try the domain, it was lost long ago) that invokes it. I can’t believe nobody has put something like this on the Mac App store. On iOS there’s no easy way to access it, you only see it when entering a password on a web form (again, why no app to invoke it? Too bad Siri can’t access it.)

Sure, the NSA could crack these too short and too englishy passwords in a few hours. But a serious hacker team wants my stuff, much less US border security, I’m screwed anyway. For most criminals I just need to be have something well above average. That’s not hard …

PS. I think Atwood came close to me in his 2015 essay: “passphrases … are exceptionally painful to enter via touchscreen in our brave new world of mobile – and that is an increasingly critical flaw.” Alas, he seemed to have forgotten this in his 2017 essay.

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Idiocracy: Trump admin medical technology expertise

The GOP is a cognitive wasteland. 

via Politico: “Speaking of new administration staffers: John Fleming, the former member of the House of Representatives and new deputy assistant secretary for medical technology, had some interesting views on drugs and addiction, BuzzFeed reports. In a 2006 book, Fleming speculated that tattoos might lead to drug use, and called opioids potential proof of the existence of a higher power. “Only a higher power and intellect could have created a world in which substances like opiates grow naturally,” he wrote.”

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Cram school America 

At a gathering of graduates of “elite” private schools I met a woman who counsels upper class teens on college applications. 

She teaches and revised essays. Structures good works to craft an appealing history. Advises classes and direct applications. 

All necessary, she says, in the new world. 

It sounds like a less democratic version of the Korean cram school. 

I think, at root, like Trump, it is about AI,  what DeLong calls “Peak human”, and I call “mass disability”. A fear that is not understood but is real. Scrambling for lifeboats on a sinking ship. 

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How to make your iPhone useless with one swipe.

Do this while driving in bright light. 

  1.  Have music playing.
  2. Swipe up from bottom to show Bluetooth etc panel. 
  3. Swipe to swap to sound but accidentally move brightness to nothing. 

Phone is useless. Display is too dim to see in daylight. Reboot won’t help. Siri won’t adjust brightness. 

Need to find dark bathroom at gas station to enter passcode and adjust.  

I think I might also have had some iOS “night shift” state confusion and a miscalibrated auto-brightness that made things worse.

Would be good to have a fix of some kind…

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iOS has “collections”

Bored I played with I learned things! There is always more. 

On my 6 there were @17 base tips. My work 6s had a few more – for force touch. 

Surprise was to find “collections” at the end, including a “genius” set. 

Yeah, I read manuals too. 

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When I travel, what can I leave on my phone?

This is not good.

I’ll be visiting my father in Canada this weekend. The safest thing is to leave my laptop behind and use an adapter to put my i6 SIM into a sterile 4s from our emergency phone bin. Which would be an interesting digital detox experience.

Or I could try to clean my i6. I could change passwords on my primary Google and Twitter accounts then remove them from my phone. That’s troublesome though.

I think the sterile 4s is the best bet. I can put music on it then use one of my dormant iCloud accounts for email. I’ll have to bring my dSLR.

I am annoyed by those who say “things will be alright”. They are already not alright.

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iOS 10 parental control bug?

#1 son tells me that turning on automatic downloads in iTunes and App Stores defeats the restriction setting that requires a password for free downloads.


I’ve yet to validate this — no time tonight. Even if it doesn’t work the way he thinks, the auto download is a restriction gap when an iTunes password is shared by family members (old school method, predates family accounts – iCloud and iTunes credentials can differ). If anyone with the shared iTunes account downloads an app it will be downloaded automatically even to phones where the password requirement is set.


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China’s Foxconn incentives: keeping automation at bay. 

Reflecting on China’s massive Foxconn incentives it is important to consider the alternative. 

If China did not subsidize Foxconn, and thus the iPhone, Apple would still make them. 

They would be designed for robotic assembly so they’d look different. They wouldn’t change as often. They would probably be the same price. 

The big effect of China’s subsidies is to keep automation away. It is an employment intervention. 

An example worth considering. 

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Russia’s successful attacks on EU & US: pushing on a broken door.

In its own way Russia’s far right success is as startling as the fall of the Berlin Wall. 

In a very short period of time history is changing. 

Russia pushed on a locked door and discovering the hinges had rotted out. In the US the GOP’s voter driven spiral into fact and value free hate and attack broke more than we knew. An aspect of a process that is much bigger; the stress of globalization and technology and culture transformations. 

It is all so cartoonish, too preposterous to credit. The villains carry “Dr. Evil” cards, they can’t be taken seriously. So we don’t take them seriously.

Now would be a good time to start taking them seriously.

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Another deceptive Amazon listing.

Not quite counterfeit, but almost.

The product description includes the word ‘compatible’, but it also says ‘by Sears Craftsman’. Didn’t actually work, return fee, no return postage, etc.


I remember when Amazon was less scuzzy than eBay.

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Google Wallet requires a debit card

Google has relaunched “wallet”. It requires a debit card for use — credit cards not accepted, bank accounts not supported, no way to create “Google Cash” for the account.

I don’t think I have a debit card; I use a non-debit ATM card.

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Google has screwed Blogger users with custom domains.

Blogger doesn’t support https for blogger users with custom domains. Google has severely deprecated search indexing for non-http domains.

So people who use blogger with a custom domain are kind of screwed.

My old Google Custom Search engines no longer find posts of mine I’m looking for.

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