Don’t want your info hacked? Don’t put it online.

4 03 2013

The free and paid note-taking application Evernote was recently hacked, forcing the company to reset passwords for many users, including myself, and to require them to reset their passwords on all of their computers and devices before they could continue to use it. This has caused a small stir and some have chosen to enumerate some of its security failings.

Evernote iconI use Evernote every day and I love it. It is a great way to keep notes and documents synced between my computers and to see them on my iPhone. However, I still acknowledge that this is a web-based service because all of my notes live on a server somewhere else, a server that I neither own nor maintain. Since it is on the web, I approach it with a fair amount of caution. I use the same rule that I use for all my other web-based accounts on Facebook, Twitter, GitHub, Flickr, et cetera. I do not put anything into Evernote that I would not be fine with the whole world seeing. Everything else, I keep on my own drive(s).

The Evernote team certainly has their share of blame, with their lax attitude toward security and even encouraging users to put their tax documents on Evernote. However, the users have their share of blame. If you are willing to put any of your tax documents on a non-governmental web site, you are essentially accepting the consequences of sharing very sensitive documents with the whole world.

It may sound harsh, but there it is. If you do not want to see Evernote leak your personal information, do not give Evernote that information. It will not make it into someone else’s hands unless you give that information to them.


Hard to have hope

9 07 2012

I was recently asked what my hopes were for the future. Honestly, I had to think about it for a few minutes because it was a question that I do not ask myself very often.

If I were to have any hope, it would be hope that enough of humanity can come together to create and conserve an environment where future generations can grow and live in good health. I would hope that we use our knowledge and intelligence to avert disasters and minimize one another’s misery.

Unfortunately, that would involve other people, many others, most of whom are strangers to me and my worldview. Pinning one’s hopes on another’s actions or change of heart is ludicrous. The best I can do is do what I can from my end but not necessarily expect recognition or cooperation from others.

Perhaps the fact of the matter is that we are sad, tragic animals. We have our collective future in our hands but do not realize it. Maybe those of us who do genuinely realize the nature of our environmental and political situation are doing the best we can and it just will not be enough. There is no rule written that says the human race has to survive.

Any hope that we can make the world a better place is a hope that other people will practically do an about-face and make radical, difficult changes in their lives. There is hope and then there is false hope.

If had to hope for something, it would be that this blog post has been an illuminating and uplifting experience for you.

Things vs Wunderlist

27 04 2012

In the past, I have struggled with getting things done. I eventually resorted to a professionally-designed and developed GTD solution, called Things. Then its quality fell off a little bit. Then I started looking around for something else and I found Wunderlist.
Read the rest of this entry »

Traffic time sink

22 04 2012

What is the point of living in the suburbs or anywhere outside of a major city when you frequently have to return to that city on a regular basis? This really comes back to a big problem we are going to have to deal with as Americans. We are going to have to address the rise of the suburbs in the 1950s and 1960s and how they have affected our quality of life.

Riding near the canalI have lived in the northern suburbs of Indianapolis, Indiana my entire life. It’s a nice place to live but there is not much to do here and my university and, possibly, my next job are in downtown Indy, half an hour away.

Often, the opportunity presents itself to bike or walk while running errands. I have sometimes found myself zipping by stationary traffic on my bike, with an admittedly smug grin on my face.

Unfortunately, I cannot eliminate driving as a necessity in my life and I do everything I can to avoid traffic jams. I always try to avoid driving during rush hour and I tend to stay off the main streets during the day. It does not just save me gas and time, it saves my sanity.

I guess this may not be particularly Earth-shattering advice, but avoiding traffic jams will make your life a little better. Rather than wasting time just sitting in your car, you can go accomplish something you actually want to do. Trying to get a little smarter about how and when I drive has definitely made my life easier.

Protected: Calculus I was awful

13 04 2012

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Protected: Developers are not code monkeys

14 03 2012

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Hug it out or we’re all doomed

30 10 2011

I am trying to get a better grip on my own empathy. I have been narcissistic and self-centered in the past and I am trying to move past that because I have come to a realization. We are finished, as a species, if we cannot look at each other and realize that we are looking at other beings with similar thoughts, needs, and desires as ourselves. To realize that and to really grasp the fact that we need to be better than we are if we are going to survive is crucial.

I was recently listening to an interview with author Steve Almond, where he described giving a commencement address to a group of people my age who had mostly adopted a “body culture,” as he put it, and was representative of a society that placed little emphasis on existential thought or self-reflection. Read the rest of this entry »