About admin (Royce)

The short version? I’m an IT expert that’s addicted to cigars, Whataburger, and tech stuff. Howdy!

One Login password manager hacked

If you use One Login for your password storage, get ready for a bad weekend. The company announced their services have been hacked.

In an article on Ars Technica, the company said hackers compromised “customer data… including the ability to decypt encrypted data”.

If you have used One Login to save your passwords, you need to go through what you saved with them and change your password for all accounts they have.

On a side rant, using an online password manager is always a bad idea. Sure, it is convenient, but that also makes it a much bigger target for the bad guys. Thousands of unique bank accounts, account passwords and “real world” information like social security numbers and home security codes all in one place? I recommend using a local offline password manager instead.

New research site shows your city and state spending

There’s a new website that lets you check on the demographics, government spending, financial overview, debt, and general information of any city and/or state in the United States.

Head over to cleargov.com and type in any place you want information about. Some locations will have multiple years to choose from and additional information available if you are a government employee.

According to the information on the “about” page, the site was “launched in June of 2015 with the goal of helping average citizens better understand how their tax dollars are spent and how their local government is performing. Our vision is that through better understanding citizens will want to get more involved in their local government and help drive positive change.”

What the iPhone 7 could have done to be different

The iPhone 7 is a definite “meh”. Same look, same system, same Apple repackaging of last year’s tech.

Apple keeps missing opportunities to innovate, and if they keep this trend going, more and more Apple fanatics are going to jump ship.

Off the top of my head, here some things I would like Apple to do with their iPhone line…

  • Move the top camera behind the front screen so selfies and Facetime chats are “centered” and not focused on someone’s chin or forehead. The camera would “read” the colors in front of it (whatever pixels are on the display) and correct (ie: remove) them in the output. The camera would be invisible to the user and there would be no “black dots” on the screen. Video chats would finally look like they do in the movies where people look at the screen and not at the camera four inches over it.
  • Open a mid-level API so advanced developers could make “high end” apps for the iPhone. Nothing that would tweak the core iOS, but things like real system theme changes, control over zooming and scaling, changing the mail fetch interval, reading tower signal strength, etc. All the new apps that use the mid-level API would be in an “advanced” section of the app store. If any of the apps caused problems, mid-level apps could be disabled in SETTINGS.
  • Offer a battery enhanced model of all iPhones. They would be thicker than the “normal” versions, but with 300% more battery life. Bonus points if the battery could be hot-swapped for a “new” battery and a smaller internal battery would keep the iPhone working during the switch.
  • On a related note, wireless charging for “standard” iPhones would be a long-overdue addition, but also add charging transfer for the battery enhanced iPhones to “standard” iPhones. Imagine being able to transfer power from one fully charged iPhone to another iPhone if they were touching back to back.
  • Keep the existing microphone on the bottom of the iPhone, but add one microphone on the top to allow for “stereo” recordings. Put a built-in app that shows “left channel/right channel” sound editing for extra credit.
  • Add a micro SD card port for storage and photo/file transfers already.
  • Boost iCloud’s storage to half the iPhone’s current capacity. By default, 128s would get 64 gigs of cloud storage, 64s would get 32 gigs of storage and 16s would get 8 gigs of storage.
  • Color changing LEDs have been around for awhile, so why not have the LED on the back of the phone that’s just a “white flash” change color too? Blue, yellow, soft white, etc. Add intensity control and the ability to specify color changes in the camera as the photo is being taken and Instagrammers will go bananas.
  • Open AirDrop to all phone manufacturers so it becomes the standard for phone-to-phone wireless exchanges.
  • Finally, a minor tweak to the iTunes store – allow for apps, movies and music purchased online to be completely transferred to another account once every five years.

Like I said, just off the top of my head, there’s a lot of things Apple can do to keep their iPhones popular and far ahead of their competitors. Releasing the same design with trivial changes isn’t going to be a sustainable business model no matter how much liquid cash they have in reserve.

Concern over headphone based DRM on the iPhone 7

To paraphrase Han Solo, “I’m away for awhile and everybody gets delusions of grandeur.”

Apple just announced a new iPhone, and instead of being excited, I’m kind of worried. By removing the old fashioned headphone jack in the new iPhone 7 and making all audio go through their DRM enabled lightning jack, Apple has placed a HUGE hardware audio lock on all consumers.

Putting it in a really simple way, standard headphone jacks don’t have a guard at the exit door. Any sound can come out. Lightning jacks on the iPhone 7 DO have a guard at the door who can decide what sounds get to leave and what sounds can’t. The new guard may not let some sounds out unless there’s a specific ride waiting for them.

As for the sounds themselves, if the sound has to call home every time it wants to exit and play, if their home doesn’t answer or if their home says “you’re not supposed to be there”, the guard won’t let them out. 

Sounds that play already should be ok, but with this new guard at the door, more “homes” concerned with making money and keeping their sounds safe might demand calls home all the time. 

There’s no legal way to circumvent the guard, and since the guard is part of the hardware, he’s not going to move without a major undertaking.

This is a huge loss of consumer control. Apple can now lock out headphones, speakers and even audio formats if they haven’t paid the appropriate bribe to Apple in advance.

Did I say bribe? I meant licensing fee.

The really sad thing is that since Apple has set this as their new normal and Apple fans typically buy new iPhones in record numbers, other phone manufacturers will pick up on this new source of income and run with it.

This just might wind up in a class action lawsuit in a few years.

In other news, my world has changed for tremendously better, and this blog might maybe spin slightly in a new direction. It’s all good, though. Happiness is infectious!

March 31st 2016

There are days that not only change everything about your future, but also how you see everything from the past.

Days that are the start of something brilliantly new and breathtakingly wonderful.

Days where you get to finally see what is truly important, and watch the trivial burn away to nothing.

Days you are genuinely, soulfully happy.

Days you wish would never end.

Today, March 31st, 2016, is that day for me.