Friday, November 20, 2020

No thanks to Google banking

The new Google Pay app is reported to have peer to peer payments and acts more like a banking app than a payment app.

Those who know me know that I'm not in favour of most Google stuff. I struggled a LOT with my move from Apple to Android because I don't trust Google at all. Banking with Google, therefore, is off the table for me. But, perhaps not for the reasons you'd think. 

I definitely do have a concern with Google being involved in my financial affairs, but I use Google Pay to tap. Albeit, I do it out of a "burner" bank account that is not at my main bank, and that bank account only exists to transfer spending money into so I can tap to pay. My main bank handles my payroll deposits, retirement and brokerage accounts. I don't like Google handling my payments, but I can accept it by limiting Google's visibility into my financial affairs to only what I buy and not how much I get paid and save, what stocks I move, etc. 

But there's another reason I don't see myself opening up more of my financial affairs to Google. And that's because of the other reason I don't trust Google which is it can't be counted on. Google routinely kills off projects that people rely on. Google Plus, Keep, Buzz, Reader...on and on. Google doesn't give a second thought to closing stuff down even if it has a huge user base and I don't feel like having my financial works go into limbo if Google decides to do so. 

There's also a deep concern about getting locked out of the Google ecosystem. That happens. A lot. Google it. People who rely on Google too much can have their entire lives shut down by running afoul of Google and being locked out of their account. 

It's an easy decision for me because there's really no advantage to using Google for anything other than tap. Perhaps that's because of the robust nationwide Interac system we have in Canada that allows anyone to send money to anyone else with a bank account already. I don't know if the US has something like that, and if not, maybe that's why Google sees a market there.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Multihomed switch configs and remote work

Working remotely is one thing - I have done that exclusively since 2016. But that does not mean that I've done everything remotely. For example, I have always gone onsite to bring up new equipment and therefore I've spent very little time building our remote deployment capabilities. Now, like everyone else, I can't travel so the time has come to spend some cycles on that.

One of the things that always causes problems onsite is that transit provider ports are either configured wrong on the transit provider's side, or the cables are connected to the wrong patch panel or switch ports. I can't do much about incorrect transit provider configs, but I can hedge my bets against the wrong cable/port issue. We use Arista switches, and Arista EOS supports multiple "secondary" IP address allocation for each interface. I know the IPs we've been assigned from our transit providers and usually we assign one per optical port. But this time. I am assigning all our IPs to the only optical port I can configure in my home office/lab. My reasoning is that while it is likely the cables are not connected to the correct switch ports, it is also unlikely that none of the cables are connected to the first optical port on the switch. 

This type of thing:

interface Ethernet49/1
no switchport
ip address 1.1.1.1.1/30
ip address 2.2.2.2/30 secondary
ip address 3.3.3.3/30 secondary
ipv6 enable
ipv6 address 1:1:1:1:1/126
ip access-group uplink-in in
ipv6 access-group uplink-in6 in

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

CAA records work

I was setting up a new domain today and I created a CAA DNS record to only allow letsencrypt to issue certs for my domain. I then made some config changes whereby another CAA received a request to issue a cert for the domain. 

And it failed! That's awesome because that is how CAA records are supposed to work. But in my experience, most of the security bolt-ons we've developed over the years do not work. 

I can't be too happy, though. The onus is on the CAA to check for CAA records. This one did but I can't be sure all of them do, but it's a good start. 

Friday, November 6, 2020

The US election in Canada

Some people ask me why I care about an election in another country. I care because I've watched far (far!) right conservative ideological groups grow in Canada during Trump's reign. While Canada is strong and independent politically, we are weak culturally. We are very American and when the US is behaving normally, we're fine. But when a racist mysognistic dolt like Trump takes power, not only do the pent-up racist groups in the US become bold, so do the ones in Canada. 

Things will be much worse in both the US and Canada if Trump carries a win because it will validate these far right ideals and racism will continue to rise. It's imperative that Trump lose to show these groups that's not something we support as a country - either country. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

TIL 20201103: Space Guns, Nostrils, and Buckets of Sludge.

Project Babylon was a project to launch satellites into space using a giant, really giant, gun. After running out of believers in North America, the inventor eventually built one in Iraq under Saddam Hussein's rule. 

Nostrils plug and and unplug in a cycle. This ensures that one nostril retains the ability to humidify incoming air which is one of the important functions of the nose. 

Origami is extremely important in the field of programmable matter; that being the idea that you could just carry a bucket of sludge around with you and reach into it to pull out whatever tool you need at the time. The matter reorganizes itself into whatever you need. Origami gives the best clues at the moment how to take something light and easy to carry and turn it into a variety of useful shapes and then return it to its original form for reuse. 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

13 WPM

I'm up to 13 words per minute with the Dvorak keyboard. I do 80 or so on QWERTY but I've been using that a hella longer. This is a lot more work than I expected. 

I also learned that my desktop keyboard boots into qwerty which caused me a little panic because my drive is encrypted and needs a password to boot in addition to logging in. Both assume a qwerty layout. I am hoping to discover a bios setting for keyboard layout otherwise I need to rethink those passwords because they're some of the few that I still type regularly. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

It's Dvorak keyboard time

 I've been interested in switching to the Dvorak keyboard layout for some time. Today, I was looking through my phone's keyboard settings for other reasons and saw that it supports the Dvorak layout. So I turned it on.


The premise of the Dvorak keyboard, invented in the 1920's, was that it puts the most used keys on the home row. Studies show that 70% of the keys typed in a Dvorak layout are in the home row, whereas the number drops to 32% with our traditional QWERTY keyboard. Obviously, I am slower than crap at the moment because only the 'A' key is where my brain expects it, but I will get better.

I ordered a few sets of keyboard stickers so that I can change the layout of my existing hardware keyboards without spending too much money on a dedicated Dvorak keyboard. I may end up not liking it, so I don't need an expensive unused keyboard lying around.

Although, come to think of it, I have a mechanical keyboard so I can just move the keys around. 

No thanks to Google banking

The new Google Pay app is reported to have peer to peer payments and acts more like a banking app than a payment app. Those who know me know...