Day One encryption

I have been using Day One for going on three years now. One concern I’ve had is that journals by default are encrypted but with Day One holding the encryption key. This means that someone at Day One might be able to access my journals. Journals with Standard encryption are also exposed to a data breach or security glitch. This has caused me to limit what I write in them.

Now, after reading Shawn Blanc’s ”Best Journaling App for iPhone, iPad, and Mac” on The Sweet Setup I’ve taken his advice and enabled End-to-end encryption for all my journals.

Shawn Blanc:

End-to-end encryption is not turned on by default for providing the best type of security for your journal entries, as users must maintain their encryption key at all times to unlock journals if necessary. As Day One’s FAQ puts it:

When using end-to-end encryption, it is essential you save your encryption key in a secure location. If you lose your key, you will not be able to decrypt the journal data stored in the Day One Cloud. You’ll need to restore your data from an unencrypted locally-stored backup.

We recommend turning on end-to-end encryption whenever you create a new journal to ensure your data is always kept safe and secure. Save your encryption key in an app like 1Password or a locked note inside Notes.app and never lose the key.

Now no one has access to my journals without the encryption key. I keep it in 1Password.

Getting the link for an Apple Mail Message

This post by David Sparks aka MacSparky from a couple of days ago provides an Apple Script that he uses to get links to Apple Mail messages anywhere using TextExpander.

It’s easy to understand and there’s also a video that shows you how and why you would want to use it.

After reading the post and watching the video I decided that this would be something that I would use. Only one problem. I don’t use TextExpander. So after thinking about it for a few minutes, I figured I could accomplish the same thing using a Keyboard Maestro macro.

Here’s the macro:

This Keyboard Maestro macro works the same way as David’s TextExpander snippet. Now type “;elink” in any app that can take a URL and you create a link to the currently selected email message. I’m primarily using it in Things 3 and Bear.

Here’s the AppleScript if you want to copy and paste it:

(*
  Returns a link to the first selected Apple Mail message
*)
tell application "Mail"
  set _msgs to selected messages of message viewer 0
  if (_msgs is not equal to missing value) then
    set _msg to first item of _msgs
    set _msgID to do shell script "/usr/bin/python -c 'import sys, urllib; print urllib.quote(sys.argv[1])' " & (message id of _msg)

    return "message://%3C" & (_msgID) & "%3E"
  end if
end tell

 

How I fast charge my iPhone

Here’s a trick I learned a while back.

There are times I want to fast charge my iPhone. By the way, I’m still using my iPhone 7 Plus. The 5W charger that comes with most iPhones is not able to fast charge and it’s also not able to charge other devices like my iPad.

Now, here’s the trick. Most iPads come with a 12W charging block. So to speed up charging on my iPhone I use my iPad charging block. According to Apple charging your iPhone with the iPad charger block won’t harm your iPhone.

Next time you want to speed up the charging time on your iPhone give this a try.

What you need to know about the tech giants Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple

I just finished reading Kashmir Hill’s series of articles Life Without the Tech Giants. Here’s what I learned. It’s impossible to get along without them even if we’re boycotting their apps. Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple dominate the internet in ways I never realized.

This should be required reading for everyone who uses the internet. It is an education in the way the internet operates and how dependent it is on these five companies.

This is a story of how, over six weeks, I cut them out of my own life and tried to prevent them from knowing about me or monetizing me in any way—not just by putting my iPhone in a drawer for a week or only buying local, but by really, truly blocking these companies from accessing me and vice versa. I wanted to find out how hard it would be—or if I could even do it—given that these tech giants dominate the internet in so many invisible ways that it’s hard to even know them all.

To keep my devices from talking to the big five’s servers, and vice versa, Dhruv a technologist built a custom virtual private network, or VPN, for me, through which I sent all my internet traffic. He then used the VPN to block my devices from being able to use the IP addresses owned by Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and/or Apple, depending on the week.

Week 1 Kashmir blocks Amazon
I Tried to Block Amazon From My Life. It Was Impossible

After reading this, news broke that Amazon purchased Eero the WiFi router that I personally use. This had made a lot of people unhappy. They don’t want Amazon sniffing all their internet traffic. I think Zack Whittaker’s TechCrunch article What Amazon’s purchase of Eero means for your privacy frames how we should think about this perfectly.

Everyone seems to forget Amazon’s massive cloud business. Most of the internet these days runs on Amazon Web Services, the company’s dedicated cloud unit that made up all of the company’s operating income in 2017. It’s a cash cow and an infrastructure giant, and its retail prowess is just part of the company’s business.

Think you can escape Amazon? Just look at what happened when Gizmodo’s Kashmir Hill tried to cut out Amazon from her life. She found it “impossible.” Why? Everything seems to rely on Amazon these days — from Spotify and Netflix’s back-end, popular consumer and government websites use it, and many other major apps and services rely on Amazon’s cloud. She ended up blocking 23 million IP addresses controlled by Amazon, and still struggled..

Week 2 Kashmir blocks Facebook
I Cut Facebook Out of My Life. Surprisingly, I Missed It

Week 3 Kashmir blocks Google
I Cut Google Out Of My Life. It Screwed Up Everything

Week 4 Kashmir blocks Microsoft
I Cut Microsoft Out of My Life—or So I Thought

Week 5 Kashmir blocks Apple
I Cut Apple Out of My Life. It Was Devastating

Week 6 Kashmir blocks all 5
I Cut the ‘Big Five’ Tech Giants From My Life. It Was Hell

Additional reading by technologist Dhruv Mehrotra the person who built Kashmir’s custom VPN.
Want to Really Block the Tech Giants? Here’s How

Gmail design update for iOS is rolling out soon in the App Store

I abandon Gmail a few years ago but I’m sure many of you who read my blog are using it. That said, Google has announced that its mobile apps for iOS and Android are being updated to bring them in line with the design changes and new features that are now available on the web. My last experience with Gmail on mobile was disappointing at best so I’m sure this is welcome news for you Gmail folks.

Nikolus Ray
Product Manager – Gmail

This update is part of a larger effort to make G Suite look and act like a family of products, designed in the Google Material Theme with ease-of-use in mind. We’ve already updated the web experiences for Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and most recently Google Docs and Sites. In the coming weeks, you’ll see the new mobile design in Gmail on Android and iOS, with more G Suite mobile apps to follow later this year.

Local programming for cord cutters

One of the problems with cord cutting is getting local programming. When we lived in Southern California we were able to get it using a Mohu HDTV antenna.

One of the limitations of HDTV antennas is that they have an average range of 30 to 65 miles. Living in Central New Jersey now we are too far away from our local market, which is New York City, for an HDTV antenna to pick up the signals. So, we have been without local programming until now.

The other day we got an email from Sling TV, to which we subscribe, introducing Locast for local programming. Locast is a new live TV streaming service that offers access to local stations including ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. Locast recently added support for Roku Players and Roku TV. So, now we can stream local channels for free on our Roku using the Locast Roku Channel.

If you’re interested, Locast local programming is available for free in the following markets.

  • New York
  • Philadelphia
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Houston
  • Dallas
  • Denver

Watch out for Apple Phone Phishing Scams

Security researcher Brian Krebs on his Krebs on Security blog recently outlined one of the latest phishing scams he’s seen, where an incoming phone call appears to be from a legitimate Apple support line. I’m writing about this to make you aware so that you don’t fall for the scam. Please take the time to read the blog post so that you know how the scam works.

Brian Krebs, writing for Krebs on Security Apple Phone Phishing Scams Getting Better — Krebs on Security

A new phone-based phishing scam that spoofs Apple Inc. is likely to fool quite a few people. It starts with an automated call that display’s Apple’s logo, address and real phone number, warning about a data breach at the company. The scary part is that if the recipient is an iPhone user who then requests a call back from Apple’s legitimate customer support Web page, the fake call gets indexed in the iPhone’s “recent calls” list as a previous call from the legitimate Apple Support line.

Jody Westby is the CEO of Global Cyber Risk LLC, a security consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. Westby said earlier today she received an automated call on her iPhone warning that multiple servers containing Apple user IDs had been compromised (the same scammers had called her at 4:34 p.m. the day before, but she didn’t answer that call). The message said she needed to call a 1-866 number before doing anything else with her phone.

Apple support also offers a document on how to Avoid phishing emails, fake ‘virus’ alerts, phony support calls, and other scams – Apple Support