The personal blog of Stuart Breckenridge

H.R.861  

The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.

That’s the entirety of the Bill.

Shameful. Watch Planet Earth.


WWDC 2017 Announced (Already)  

WWDC 2017

A very early WWDC announcement this year. (I assume because it’s in San Jose for the first time in 17 years.)

Technology alone is not enough. Technology must intersect with the liberal arts and the humanities, to create new ideas and experiences that push society forward. This summer we bring together thousands of brilliant minds representing many diverse perspectives, passions, and talents to help us change the world.

San Jose, CA, June 5 - 9

Is it just me or is the artwork quite horrid?

Update 2017-02-17: Apple Moves WWDC Back to San Jose via Daring Fireball.


Yahoo's 2013 Data Breach Expanded to 2015 and 2016  

The timing and frequency of Yahoo’s announcements in relation to their myriad data breaches makes it extremely difficult to follow just what’s going on. I’ve tried to summarise the history below.

Date Details Links
December 2016 Yahoo announce data breach of over one billion accounts. These accounts were compromised in August 2013. Link
September 2016 Yahoo announce data breach of 500 million accounts. These accounts were compromised in 2014. Link
August 2016 It was revealed that details of 200 million Yahoo accounts were being sold online. These accounts were compromised in 2012. Link

Today, in relation to the December 2016 announcement, the Associated Press is reporting:

Yahoo is warning users of potentially malicious activity on their accounts between 2015 and 2016, the latest development in the internet company’s investigation of a mega-breach that exposed 1 billion users’ data several years ago.

Yahoo confirmed Wednesday that it was notifying users that their accounts had potentially been compromised but declined to say how many people were affected.

There have been data breaches each and every year from 2012 through 2016, affecting over 1.7 billion accounts. In December of last year I wrote:

While Yahoo are taking steps to invalidate forged cookies, invalidate unencrypted security questions, and forcing users to change their passwords, I am of the opinion that having an account with them is somewhat of a liability. As such, I’ve taken the decision to terminate my account and have it deleted. If you wish to do the same, simply log in to Yahoo and then visit edit.yahoo.com/config/delete_user and follow the instructions.

I’d just go straight ahead and delete your account.


FATCA Packets

For the second day in a row here’s a new app, FATCA Packets. It is the .NET implementation of the FATCA IDES Preparation tool, which you can use to create, encrypt, and validate IDES payloads. It was built following the instructions available the IRS’ GitHub site.

You can download the source code from GitHub or download a ClickOnce deployment from here. This is a code-signed application, however, SmartScreen may prevent the application from running unless you allow it to and/or it builds up enough reputation1.

  1. Reputation is established by SmartScreen® service intelligence algorithms based on how an application is used by Windows and Internet Explorer users. Reputation may be based on the downloaded application or can also be assigned to the publisher based on digital certificate information. Only Authenticode Certificates issued by a CA that is a member of the Windows Root Certificate Program can establish reputation. ↩︎


Solids for Mac

Solids for Mac

I’ve uploaded a small sample app to GitHub called Solids for Mac. It lets you change the your macOS background in almost the exact the same way you are already able to do using the Apple provided background changer. Nothing new, just a bit of fun.

Update 2017-02-14: You can also download a zip file containing the app here

  • MD5: f5ceeb5d09ce22307ffa10c3bc771e8d
  • SHA1: 1d717e3061a4393dcf4deaa9c95e11801df9008d


Thoughts on Webfont Subscriptions

For the last few years I’ve subscribed to Cloud.Typography. Whitney is my favourite sans-serif font — it is part of my webfont package and I own a desktop license. However, like all subscriptions, mine is coming to an end and I’ve decided to stop using Cloud.Typography on my website.

The general complaint about webfonts is that they slow down your website. While true, this issue can be mitigated through various optimisation strategies, so it doesn’t bother me1. Instead, my issue is with the business model that requires me to subscribe to a webfont service.

I want to buy a font once, per domain, and then serve it from my own server. With Cloud.Typography this isn’t possible. Indeed, the expectation is that after using 1GB of development bandwidth, you will serve the fonts from your own production server while continuing to pay for the privilege of using the fonts. I don’t think that’s fair.

Therefore, I’ve been searching for a new font for my site, and I’ve settled on a serif: Guardian Egyptian Text. You may recognise it from The Guardian newspaper. I was thinking of using Charter (Mac) and Georgia (Windows), but Guardian Egyptian is very, very nice (see the difference).

From a licensing perspective, I pay for it once per domain and for a certain number page views. It’s precisely what I wanted.

  1. This website has a performance grade of 100 from Pingdom. ↩︎


Wikipedia Bans Daily Mail as Unreliable Source  

Jasper Jackson, reporting for The Guardian:

Wikipedia editors have voted to ban the Daily Mail as a source for the website in all but exceptional circumstances after deeming the news group “generally unreliable”.

The move is highly unusual for the online encyclopaedia, which rarely puts in place a blanket ban on publications and which still allows links to sources such as Kremlin backed news organisation Russia Today, and Fox News, both of which have raised concern among editors.

The Daily Mail editors must be proud.


Circles.Life

Yesterday, I ported my number from StarHub to Circles.Life, a new mobile network1 that launched in Singapore in 2016. I wanted to write briefly about why I’ve switched networks.

Here’s the tariff comparison (data in bold I have as part of my allowance with Circles.Life):

  Starhub (4G 4) Circles.Life Comments
Base Data 4 GB 4 GB  
Porting Bonus Data None 1 GB  
Loyalty Data None 500 MB Added every 6 months
Referral Data None 200 MB Per referral
Circles.Life App None 1 GB  
Talk Time 350 min 100 min  
SMS 1200 Pay-as-you-go  
Cost $62.90 $28  

As you can see, the Circles.Life tariff is data oriented with significant ongoing bonuses, doesn’t contain an SMS allowance (since iMessage, WhatsApp, et al. came onto the scene, who needs a large SMS allowance on a smartphone tariff?), and, importantly, is over 50% cheaper than StarHub.

In terms of network performance, I’ve had downstream speeds ranging from 44Mbps to 69Mbps, and upstream speeds ranging from 23Mbps to 42Mbps. StarHub performance in the same areas of the city ranged from 32Mbps to 35Mbps downstream, and 12Mbps to 20Mbps upstream.

If you are a data heavy customer, I’d recommend Circles.Life. If you want a $20 discount at checkout you can use my referral code EWMGO.

  1. Technically, a Mobile Virtual Network Operation (MVNO), that operates using M1’s infrastructure. ↩︎


App Updates: v1.4 of Baby Feeds and v1.3.7 of FFI List

Available today are a few updates to my apps.

Baby Feeds (formerly Baby’s Milk1) has been updated to v1.4, and this update brings Swift 3 conformance.

FFI List has also received a minor update (v1.3.6 to v1.3.7) which resolves a crash that may have occured when tapping on a feedback link.

  1. Including an apostrophe in the app’s name caused issues with Cocoapods and the Xcode test targets. ↩︎


FFI List v1.3.6  

FFI List v1.3.6 is now available on the App Store. Other than updating some support links (Twitter and Email), this version contains no new features.