For the past few months I’ve been experiencing intermittent connection issues with my home internet. The internet would stop working completely, on every device in the house, for a period of 10-15 minutes a couple of times a day. After a few months of experiencing this, I decided to finally start investigating. It was this past weekend when I finally noticed that about a minute after I plugged my iPhone into a charger, any charger, the internet would quit working. I was able to consistently recreate the issue. If I unplugged the phone right away, the internet would come back right away.
I figured out it was due to iCloud’s automatic backup when plugged in and on a known wireless network. So, when the phone starts to backup, the internet connection dies for all other devices while the backup is taking place, or tries to take place. Most of the time, iCloud backups on my home network fail 1. I did some searching on the internet to see if others have had similar issues and found a couple of posts, but no real solution. For a few days I thought I had fixed it by resetting the network settings on the phone. It looked like the small, but annoying problem, was finally resolved. Or so I thought.
While working from home yesterday, the problem returned. Plugged in the phone and the internet would stop working. Unplug it and internet is back. I’m not sure what the exact problem is. Is it a problem with the modem? The router? iOS? Last night I decided to update to the latest iOS 9.3 beta to see if backups become more reliable. So far, it does not look good. The phone was not able to backup to iCloud overnight. I will have to test more at home tonight to see if my connection dies the next time it tries to backup. I’m not sure what else to try at this point, besides disabling iCloud backups, but I’m not giving up yet. Suggestions welcome 2.
John Coates created a screensaver for OS X based on the new Apple TV screensaver. It is beautiful. You should check it out. The only problem I have with it right now is that it doesn’t support energy saver, so if you have it as your screensaver, don’t expect your monitors to turn off.
I’ve recently been looking for a replacement for Google apps. I wanted something that had reliable email and calendar. While Google does provide both of those things, I find myself wanting to be controlled by Google’s services less and less. I also wanted something that was reasonably priced (comparable to the monthly price of Google apps). That’s when I decided to give Office 365 a shot.
Now, I’m no stranger to Office 365. We use it at work and I interact at a daily basis. The web mail and calendar are good (or good enough to replace Google), but the real power is with my devices. Because Office 365 is hosted Exchange, mail, contacts, notes, and calendar events sync instantaneously. With Google I would often have to wait several minutes for the data to show up, especially with events. This always left me feeling a bit uneasy wondering if my data was actually there. This is not the case with Office 365.
The setup of Office 365 with my domain was incredibly simple. They walk you through every step of the way, even verifying that your DNS is set up properly. With Office 365, you also get more mail and OneDrive space than you get with Google (50 GB mailbox and 1 TB file storage for the Business Essentials plan). So far, a week into my trial, everything is running smooth. I never thought I’d say this, but I may actually not only use, but choose to use willingly, a Microsoft product.
My work recently adopted a flexible work policy in which employees could work from home at certain times. I get to work from home on Wednesdays. When the policy was announced, I knew I’d want to work from a laptop so I wouldn’t be chained to the Mac Mini on my desk at home. I wanted the ability to work from bed, the couch, or wherever I had a consistent internet connection. The problem was, my white plastic MacBook from 2007 was really slow and old. It only had 2 gigs of RAM and the battery wouldn’t last more than 2 hours. That’s when I decided to start looking for a replacement.
When I started looking for a new laptop I was unsure of what to get. The company I work for is a Microsoft shop, so our software and tools were developed for the Microsoft ecosystem. That made me consider buying a Windows laptop for the first time in over 10 years. So, I started looking at the higher end laptops that ran Windows and couldn’t believe how awful they were. On top of that, when I would build them with custom specs, the price wound up not being far off from Apple’s line of notebooks.
Tim Libert, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, has discovered that the vast majority of health sites, from the for-profit WebMD.com to the government-run CDC.gov, are loaded with tracking elements that are sending records of your health inquiries to the likes of web giants like Google, Facebook, and Pinterest, and data brokers like Experian and Acxiom.
From there, it becomes relatively easy for the companies receiving the requests, many of which are collecting other kinds of data (in cookies, say) about your browsing as well, to identify you and your illness. That URL, or URI, which very clearly contains the disease being searched for, is broadcast to Google, Twitter, and Facebook, along with your computer’s IP address and other identifying information.
It seems like every day I see a new article showcasing what little privacy we really have.