Trying to publish 100 posts on my personal blog, as part of 100 Days To Offload(https://100daystooffload.com/).
These posts can be about anything, but the point of 100 Days To Offload is to just write.

I’ve deleted my Polywork account – and maybe you should too

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How do companies make money? They sell a product, service or their time. How do social media companies make money? By selling your information for advertising.

What if a social media company doesn’t tell you how they make money? That should raise suspicion, yet I don’t see anyone publicly raising suspicion about Polywork (if you know someone who is doing this please let me know).

Polywork recently raised $13 million from investors. While that is great for them to be able to use that money and do more (including getting more users), it got me thinking about how they plan to make money and are going to be able to pay back their investors.

Investors always look to get their money back, it could be by the company going public (also known as an IPO), the company having enough money to buy out their investors, or numerous other ways.

If the investors don’t get their money back then they could do many things to the company, including firing the founders, or changing the company in numerous ways. If the company fails then the investors take that as a loss and move onto the next company.

Yes there are some early investors who stay on the company for the long-term, but those are the exception.

How does Polywork plan to make a profit? I reached out to Polywork through their support email and through Twitter DM for their response, and after giving them 17 business days they didn’t respond. Which most likely means that they have no idea, which isn’t a good long-term idea.

I’ve deleted my Polywork account because they don’t see how they are going to make a profit, which I don’t agree with. I also don’t need to be on more social media profiles.

As for what am I going to do with everything I posted on there? I’ve created a highlights page here on my website where you can go and see any awesome highlights that have happened in my life.

This is post number 76 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingI’ve deleted my Polywork account – and maybe you should too

I wasn’t sure about Monsters at Work but I will keep watching

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There will be spoilers for the Monsters Inc movie, and may be slight spoilers for the first episode of Monsters at Work which released on July 7th 2021, a show currently on Disney+.

You may know about Monsters Inc., the wildly popular movie released in 2001. There have been a prequel (called Monsters University) and even other media, from shorts, to comics, to video games, to ice shows, and now a television series called Monsters at Work.

The premise of the show (Monsters at Work) is that now that the Monsters Inc factory has determined laughter is ten times more powerful (than scares) and they need the monsters to be funny. And with Sulley and Mike in charge (Sulley is named CEO at the end of Monsters Inc), what do they do?

They basically need to retrain the monsters, and that doesn’t help when a new graduate has gotten a job at the Monsters Inc factory and is so confused by all the changes (along with every other employee).

I was sort of confused when seeing the new character, Tylor, like where did he come from? He wasn’t in Monsters Inc. But as the episode goes along you get to know a bit more about him. What I didn’t realize until reading Wikipedia was that Tylor was accepted into the factory the same day that Watermoose (the old CEO of the factory) was ousted and the company switches to laughter. Basically, this almost picks right up from where Monsters Inc leaves off.

The first episode does seem a bit slow pace but that is because they have to introduce the new cast of characters and set the premise. I do appreciate that many of the voice actors from Monsters Inc came back to voice their characters, the executive producer said to CBR, “It’s been my sort of experience that when actors have created the character, they really feel ownership of the character. So when you ask them to come back and be those characters, they all want to do it, given their availability. Sometimes there’s more volume, but they all want to do it. So it was fantastic. [Crystal] and [Goodman] just slipped right back into it. It was incredible, honestly.”

I will continue to watch the series and see where it goes. I plan to binge watch the series so I don’t have to wait every week for another episode (they released the first two episodes on July 7th and are going to do one episode a week afterwards). I don’t plan to do any other blog posts on this show so you can enjoy the series spoiler-free (that is if that’s your sort of thing).

This is post number 75 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingI wasn’t sure about Monsters at Work but I will keep watching

Adding a blogroll to your WordPress site with no plugins required

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Do you know of other blogs that are related to yours? Or other blogs that you read and think other people would enjoy reading? Instead of posting them on social media you can put them on your WordPress site.

Most of the time these blogroll’s are on a separate page so they don’t take up too much on a sidebar or another area.

How do you do this?

First you need to create the page, WordPress.org has a guide on how to do this if you don’t know how to do so.

Once you have that page and you are editing it, you will want to add the Custom HTML block (if you are using Gutenberg) to the page. Where it says Write HTML you want to copy the following:

<a href="https://test.com">My Favourite Blog</a>

That tells WordPress you want it to have My Favourite Blog be a link to test.com. If you want it to link to a different website then change test.com (make sure to keep the quotes) to that other site. And change My Favourite Blog to the name you want it to show.

If you want to add multiple blogs then add <br> <br> at the end of each </a>. Which tells WordPress you want two lines between that link and another one. Hit save, then your page is live for everyone to read.

There you go. You have created a blogroll on WordPress without any plugins.

Thanks to Ultimate Blocks for inspiring me to create this post.

This is post number 74 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingAdding a blogroll to your WordPress site with no plugins required

Twitter is trying to become something it isn’t

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Twitter is known as the place you go to write posts in 280 (used to be 140) characters. But it’s been acquiring and changing itself into something else. And I think it should go back to what it was most known for.

That is being a place where you can post tweets, getting people to follow you, and interacting with people. That still does happen a ton on Twitter but it now has newsletters with both Posterous and Revue, streaming video, “fleets”, Twitter Spaces, Tip Jar and it’s working on much more.

Why are they doing this? Because they have been going between making a positive net income (their net profit after revenues, incomes and expenses) and making a loss for many years. They want to keep making a net income. And to do that, it means getting more advertisers, getting people to have paid accounts, and making more money somehow.

With all these new features will it get more people to use Twitter? Yes I think so, just by looking at my timeline I can tell people are spending more time on Twitter (by doing things like Twitter Spaces) and people will sign up for it because it has “all these features”.

However, I think it’s alienating it’s current users. All they want to do is tweet, interact with who are following them and who they are following. The current users don’t need something else showing up on their menu, or getting an alert about something else that Twitter now offers.

This is post number 73 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingTwitter is trying to become something it isn’t

Don’t respond if I give you a negative or no reply to your cold email

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I get cold emails every day, they range in what they want or offer, and 99% of the time I consider them spam as I didn’t ask for the email (that is the definition of spam, unsolicited). I also report them to their email provider using SpamCop.

Sometimes that person keeps “reminding me” or keeps sending the same email multiple times to see if I got it. I very rarely reply to these emails. In fact every time you do this to me it’s another spam report. Sometimes I even blacklist entire websites from emailing me because I’ve gotten too many spam emails from them.

On the off chance I do reply, either it’s something I’m interested in, or it’s a negative reply (which is very rare).

I saw a post from Lilach Bullock on what she thought to reply if you get a negative reply to your cold email (no I’m not going to link the post as I don’t think people should read it, but it’s easy to find if you search online for it). I completely disagree with her approach.

If I send you a negative response it means I hate that you are contacting me and I’m telling you to stop contacting me (even if it’s not explicitly mentioned in the email). Lilach is saying to get past the sales rejection and reconnect, “it’s up to you to strategize and win your prospect back”.

But you can’t win that prospect back if they already dislike you enough to send you a negative email, or not to response at all. I understand emailing back once or twice to see if they got that email, but stop after that.

If you do think your being ignored then look into sending “The Magical Email” which is one sentence that I have had used and people have replied back very quickly. If they don’t reply to that then move on.

Lilach does include some ways to write an effective cold email, but she doesn’t ask you to think about the person you are sending the email to. Do they prefer another contact method, what’s in it for them, and why you.

While I understand cold emails can be effective for some people, it is also seem as spam to others, and some may send you a negative reply and that’s when it’s time to cut your losses and stop contacting them.

My friend Kev Quirk also did an post on cold emails which I encourage you to read. Even Troy Hunt got tired of people cold emailing him asking him to place a link on his site.

This is post number 72 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingDon’t respond if I give you a negative or no reply to your cold email

How to show off JavaScript Fetch API Object results on page

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If you need to fetch something from an API that is inside of an object and display it on your website without any clicks as well and want to use just JavaScript and HTML then read on. If you are using something else (like package manager, build tools, framework, or static site generator) you can use this as an basis but the code may not be exactly what you need.

If you just want to get straight to the code then I posted the code on Github Gist. Otherwise you can read on which explains part of the code.

For this example, I’m going to use https://fakerapi.it, but you can use any API you want. The results for Faker API return an object, which not every API does (I would encourage you to test the API using something like CodePen before it goes to the live, public site).

You first need to create the page, if you are coding this then either use a template that you are given. If you don’t have a template consider using HTML5 Boilerplate.

After that, you will need a div where the results are going to be shown. For this example, the div is going to be named nameHere, so the code will be

<div id="nameHere"></div>

You can use any name for the div, but I thought nameHere made sense for what’s going to be shown there (people’s names). If you do change this name you will have to change it in at least one other place in the code.

Next, you want to tell the webpage you are now going to do JavaScript, it is most likely done by doing

<script>

at the beginning and

</script>

at the end. All the JavaScript will go between them.

Fetching the API is done based on how the API wants you to fetch it, you may be required to have a key or anything else required. For our example, no key is required.

fetch('https://fakerapi.it/api/v1/persons?_quantity=4')

You can change the number at the end to how many or few you want, but I figured 4 was a nice number to be able to clearly see it work.

You need to convert what you fetched to json, because what you get from the fetch is a HTTP response, not the actual JSON (according to MDN). The way to do that is

.then(response => response.json())

Now let’s understand what that does. The .then(italic) says after you have fetched then do this. In this case it’s to take the response (that you got from the fetch) and convert it to JSON. If you are interested in reading the details on this then MDN is a great resource for that.

Now I use a function after that, you may not need to use one but it helps to break it all up and make it readable. In this case the function is going to call the function called appendData, and it’s going to bring in dataIn. dataIn contains the JSON from the API.

.then(function (dataIn)
{  
  appendData(dataIn);  
})

I will talk about the function a bit later as we aren’t finished with what is going to happen with the fetch.

To finish the fetch you can catch any errors that appear. That way if the API stops working, or you didn’t provide something needed in the fetch, it can let you know. The way you do that is with a .catch. Some say you can do this in one line using

.catch(error => console.log(error) );

For readability, I put it into it’s own function which brings in the error and that is run right then.

.catch (function (err)
{  
  console.log('Error: ' + err);
});

Notice the semicolon after the right bracket at the end? It tells the fetch that this is the last thing you want to do.

That part may be finished, but there still is the appendData function that needs to be coded. You can create that doing

function appendData(dataIn)
{

then I use a for loop to go through each of the items in the dataIn object. There are probably other ways to do this but I felt this is best for readability.

for (var i = 0; i != dataIn.total; i++)  
 {    
   document.getElementById("nameHere").innerHTML += 'Name is: ' + dataIn.data[i].firstname +  ' ' + dataIn.data[i].lastname + '<br>';  
 }  
}

Let me explain what it does. You need a variable to do the counting (which I set as i) which is set to 0 since JavaScript starts counting at 0. Then you need something that says once it’s false stop the for loop. In this case I’m saying once i is equal to the dataIn (remember from the second .then) then stop the for loop. And every time the for loop completes add 1 to i.

The (i)document.getElementById(“nameHere”).innerHTML(/i), says inside the html, look for an element that has the id of “nameHere”. At this point you may think to only have an equals sign then whatever text you want to show up, but since it’s in a for loop that would only show the last record (plus whatever text you want to show). If you do +=, it says to add the next text to the right of the text that was just placed. You can look up addition assignment if you are confused with my explanation.

Since the API is bring in names I thought it was appropriate to add something before the record is shown. In this case I have said show “Name is: “, did you notice the space after the colon? That is because you want there to be a space between the colon and the name from the API. If you don’t put it in there it doesn’t happen.

There is a plus equals sign between them because that is saying, in addition add this.

dataIn.data[i].firstname is saying that using the object (dataIn), use the number from the counting variable, and get firstname from the array (in this case it’s inside of an array called data, that is inside of the object) that resembles that counting number. For example, if the counting variable was 1 then it would grab the second array (inside of the object) and grab firstname to show.

What looks like two single quotes after the plus sign, is a space since there is a single space between those single quotes. Telling the page to add a space between firstname and lastname.

dataIn.data[i].lastname is very similar to dataIn.data[i].firstname, the difference is that it’s grabbing lastname.

Since multiple names are being shown it’s nice to space them out, you could put a couple of spaces between them, however to see them better I put each one on a new line.

We end this for loop using a semicolon.

You need to end the page, remember that </script>, and body, html, or anything else you need.

If you have any comments about my code, or want to fully see it again, it’s on Github Gist.

This explanation wouldn’t have been possible without many websites which helped me to understand how to do this, and what it all meant. EDUCBA and JavaScript Tutorial helped to understand the fetch API in general. Mark, Amirmohammad Moradi, Abubakkar, and Jonathan Lonowski on Stack Overflow for answers questions that were related to what I had thought of. MDN Web Docs for the numerous pages I read that helped me understand what I coded.

This is post number 71 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingHow to show off JavaScript Fetch API Object results on page

The WordPress Acquisition Market

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Nathan Wrigley put out a tweet that got me thinking about acquisitions that happen within the WordPress market.

When something is created for WordPress it tends to go in one of many directions,

It either gets shut down after a while, this could be due to lack of funding, lack of free time, lack of passion, or many other reasons why that thing is no longer being updated.

It stays independent, which is great but the creator can’t keep doing it for free forever so pivots to a paid version, asks for donations often, or they start to slow down on doing other things (like promotion, or support), or they find a way to get more people and money to work on it. You don’t tend to hear about this in the news since the creator will slowly work on this and doesn’t have the huge team to be able to do all the promotion.

Then there is the one that this tweet was prompted by, acquisition. A plugin gets acquired by one or many companies and that company runs the plugin for a while and either after a while shuts it down, or changes their pricing, or builds into their the other products/plugins they offer.

We don’t often hear about the companies that keep running that plugin, we just see that the plugin has been updated recently. We hear about a plugin getting acquired, or it being shut down, or built into another product.

The big WordPress companies are acquiring many WordPress plugins & themes, and until we can figure out a way to support the independent creators and keep them independent then this is going to continue to happen.

Thanks to Kev Quirk for his notes on this which inspired me to write this post. This is post number 70 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingThe WordPress Acquisition Market

Why I use Bitbucket and GitHub

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There are many places online to put your code so it can publicly be seen, talked about, and worked on. Most of the ones you may have heard about are Bitbucket, Gitea, Github and GitLab.

There are a variety of reasons why someone may have an account, or upload their code to one or more of these websites. It could be for work, or personal, or any number of reasons.

I do have a number of reasons why I have both a Bitbucket and GitHub account, but I don’t have all the same code on both sites.

I originally just had a GitHub account, but when GitHub was bought by Microsoft in June 2018 I blogged about why I didn’t like the acquisition. And I went searching for another place to put my code. I was originally going to use GitLab but so many people switched to it after the GitHub acquisition that I decided not to. But many people like Tyler Hall, rubenwardy did switch to Gitlab.

I came across Bitbucket, saw it was owned by Atlassian which is a publicly traded company in 2015, not for sale, and based in Australia. That day I moved almost all my repo’s to Bitbucket.

I also like the decentralization of not every project being on GitHub. If it goes down then every project on there is also down. It has happened as you can see on StatusGator.

When I first started to use Bitbucket they also had unlimited private repo’s for free. GitHub in January 2019 introduced unlimited private repo’s for any plans (including free).

On every GitHub profile there is a graph that shows how much work (commit’s) has been done on each day. And while many people love it, I find it to be weird and creepy. Like not everyone needs to see how much work you have done each day.

What do I do with these two accounts? Bitbucket is where most of my code goes (besides being on my computer) and Github is used to show off the highlighted projects and to do comments/pull requests for projects that are only on GitHub. That way in some cases there are 3 copies on my code.

This blog post was inspired by Ru Singh’s post on moving back to GitHub.

This is post number 69 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingWhy I use Bitbucket and GitHub

Did I fail 100DaysToOffload?

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100 Days To Offload was started in April 2020 by Kev Quirk to get people to publish more on their personal blog.

The “challenge” was to get people to publish 100 posts on their personal blog in one year. And there are also other guidelines listed on the website.

By the time of publishing, you may have noticed that it has been more than one year since the start of me doing #100DaysToOffload and I haven’t published 100 posts.

Did I fail this “challenge” by not publishing 100 posts? No. The point of 100DaysToOffload is to get to post more on your personal blog. Did that happen? Yes it did and I’m proud of it. Not every post has been the greatest quality or length but the point is to just write and to have your own place online to write.

Thank you Kev for the 100DaysToOffload. I will continue publishing as part of 100DaysToOffload. After I’m done I will continue to publish on this blog, where I own it and I’m not relying on any social media algorithm.

This is post number 68 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingDid I fail 100DaysToOffload?

7 ways to send large files by email

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If you need to send a large file to someone else you can’t send it over email. Most don’t allow files over 25mb. If you have a file over that size how do you send it to the other person?

1. WeTransfer (up to 20GB in size)

WeTransfer is one popular and well-known option. Their free option offers up to 2gb, and their pro plan offers 20gb.

2. Dropbox (up to 2tb in size)

Dropbox (referral link) is another well-known option. Currently their free plan offer 2gb (with the ability to get more space), and up to 2tb for their family plan.

3. Box.com (up to 5gb in size)

Box.com is very similar to Dropbox and they offer up to 5 gb file upload, and 100gb of storage in their personal pro plan.

4. Google Drive (up to 2tb in size)

Google is known by so many people and people tend to trust google drive links. If you use Google services a ton then this may be best for you. Their free plan currently has 15gb and you can upgrade to 2tb.

5. OneDrive (up to 1tb in size)

If you have a Microsoft account, or use Microsoft Word then you can use this. If you have a free Microsoft account then you have 5gb of storage and 1tb if you have Microsoft Word (or now known as Microsoft 365 (US affiliate link) (Canada affiliate link). If you know the sender is using Outlook or Microsoft then consider this method to make it easier for the person you are sending the file to.

6. MEGA (up to 16tb in size)

You may have heard about MEGA as a “secure cloud storage with end-to-end encryption”. While it does offer that, it has a place where you can store and share your files. Currently MEGA only allows you to download 5gb over 24 hours. If you know the person you are sending the link to uses MEGA then it could be a quick ways to transfer the files. Their free plan currently allows 50gb, and up to 16tb on their highest pro plan.

7. FileTransfer.io (up to 6gb in size)

There are many websites that allow you to transfer files, and I’ve found FileTransfer.io to be one that allows you to send up to 6gb files and they store the files for 21 days (or up to 50 downloads). I think this is a good balance between big file size and keeping the files long enough.

There are many other alternatives, and I encourage you to find what works best for you. If you are looking to send files to a client or someone in the business space I suggest you read my business post on this.

Thanks to CSS-Tricks for the inspiration for this post.

This is post number 67 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue Reading7 ways to send large files by email

Yikes at the recent changes at Basecamp

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I realize I have some privilege as a straight while male, and this is my own views and opinions and don’t reflect anyone except me.

Basecamp quietly announced some changes (and they made some changes to the post without saying) that have made many people go “Yikes” and here’s my views on those recent changes.

No more societal and political discussions at Basecamp, this simply can’t happen in today’s world. There are so many things that are connected to politics and other social events that by saying this Basecamp is saying, we don’t care about what else is going on in the world and we don’t want any of our employees to talk about it at work. It also creates an echo chamber, where people will only talk to those whose view points they agree with. I’m not sure how to fix this, but I believe Basecamp should allow some discussion about issues that will affect their company and their employees. What happens if an employee needs some time off because of a recent political issue, but they can’t tell their boss they need the time off because of it.

No more paternalistic benefits, they already offer tons of benefits but they believe by offering this they are going too deep into someone’s personal choice. Unfortunately, work does tend to mix into personal, even if the employees work remotely. That is today’s day and age.

No more committees, basically instead of people from different departments to get together and discuss something. The responsibility now goes back to just three people, which creates an echo chamber.

No more lingering or dwelling on past decisions. I understand why they are saying this but everyone looks back at their past to think about what they could have done differently. By looking back it allows some people to change how they are going to do something in the future.

No more 360 reviews, instead of an employee being told as part of a review what they need to improve, they are now told whenever the manager wants. Having set reviews allow everyone to prepare for a review ahead of time, get in the proper mindset, and get a different point of view. By getting this feedback whenever, the employee has to spend more time reading and responding to the feedback they get. And peer feedback most likely will happen less, or not at all.

No forgetting what we do here. aka; stay in your lane. In this world it simply can’t happen anymore. If you are quiet about an issue it either means you don’t know enough about it to mention it, you don’t want to raise your voice because you know there are others doing so, or it means you don’t care about it. Everyone, no matter their age, gender, sexuality, race, or anything else, should be allow to speak about an issue and if they are wrong then professional and respectful communication should take place to let them know and what they may want to say instead.

Basecamp is a whole company of privilege, you work anywhere in the world you want, as long as you get your work done, and they hire the best. Looking at their team page it looks like everyone is white, which creates an echo chamber. I understand not everyone will work at Basecamp but by posting these changes it is saying work is work, and home is home but that can’t happen anyone especially if someone works from home.

Other view points you may want to read:

The other Basecamp co-founder’s post regarding sociental politics at work

The head of design at Basecamp (Jonas Downey) is sad and upset with the changes.

Jay Miller’s tweet on what privilege looks like

Jocelyn’s Harper tweet on this issue

Marco Roger’s tweets on this

“Some straight white men feel that they should be entitled to all the benefits of society without being a part of it. Classic capitalism. Must be nice to enjoy the privilege of ignoring everything that isn’t earning you money.”

Aria Stewart’s tweets on this

“here at tech company, we’ve listened to your concerns. we know that the world is changing, and we have to change too. after reflecting, we’re ready to implement the current changes: 1. fuck u lol”

Kate Taggart’s tweets, on how you introduce yourself and using pronouns can be seen as a “social/political” discussion.

The podcast by Basecamp (run by Basecamp employees) is going on pause for an unknown about of time due to the changes.

This is post number 66 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Edited April 27th at 12:55pm (UTC-4) to add link to changes that the original post has done, as well as links to other employee’s thoughts.

Continue ReadingYikes at the recent changes at Basecamp

EngageBay Review

  • Post author:

Dislosure: I signed up for EngageBay on my own, after doing my own research. Nobody from EngageBay knows I have written this review. This review reflects my views at the time of writing. I'm currently using their free plan, and I have not included any EngageBay refer links on this post so I can show I'm open and not just trying to promote this.


EngageBay provides a ton of tools on their website. They say it's all in the name of helping you market better, sell faster, and support smarter. Which basically means they do tons of things, the question is how well (or how bad) do they do those things. There are some good things about it, and some not good things about it.


There is a free plan for you. If you go to the pricing page you will see a number of different options (All-in-One, Marketing, CRM & Sales Bay, and Service Bay) and each of them have a free plan. Which is great so you can get started on it, and not have to worry about paying unless you want to upgrade (or you need something which the upgrades offer).


When you signup it requires a name, you may think you have to use your real name. You don't, you can use any sort of name or username that you want. If you are going to use EngageBay with a team you may want to use your real name so your team knows which account is yours. The password you use to signup must be 20 characters or less, but the real kicker is that it doesn't tell you anywhere on the signup process how short your password much be. This also encourages everyone to use a password which is short and easy to remember which makes it easier for someone to break into your account.


Soon after signing up, you are required to give your phone number. You can't give a number with all 0's (believe me I tried) so it requires a real phone number. They don't say why they require this, other reviewers say this is so EngageBay can call you and answer any questions you may have. But, a phone number should never be required, and the site should be stated why a phone number needs to be entered.


When you go into your dashboard, it works completely with an adblocker which is great. The marketing dashboard has a "Getting Started with Marketing" checklist which you can't remove. At the very top is also a banner offering 20% off a paid plan. You haven't even gotten to know the free plan yet and they are already encouraging you to upgrade.

In the settings, then domain settings, allows you to change the domain name which is useful if you change company names and send out emails using the EngageBay system. However if you want to change it, or any other setting in domain settings, you have to enter a complete address and while they do somewhat explain about how it's needed for anti-spam laws. They forget that some people aren't going to be using their system to send out emails so why should they be required to enter their address. To get around this and allow me to continue to use the entire software, I entered an address which isn't near me.


After the time I had noticed those two things, I checked my email and had 2 emails that were to my EngageBay email address (I used a separate email address so I could easily tell when an email was related to EngageBay). One was from EngageBay, the company, welcoming me to their service, and providing links to guides on their website. The other email from a person, repeating many of the same things in the email that I got from the company, including 20% off (if you let them know you wanted that, and again you haven't really gotten deep into the tools and they already want you to upgrade), but it also included a link to book a time for a call. I looked at the link and it has many UTM tags at the end of it so that person would know exactly how I got to clicking on that link.


When you are logged in, at the bottom, there is a banner that says you can send a select but low number of emails using their service while it warms up. Basically they don't let you use all of the branded emails per month (that is included in your plan) until you start sending out a select number. You then have to contact the support team in order to get the select number to be increased. I understand why they do this, to ensure that someone doesn't use it to spam emails from their service. But it forces people to contact support in order to get their full number of branded emails. You also can't close or exit this banner, however if you use an adblocker you can block this (by blocking ##.content, and ##.account-limit-noty).


They hide being able to add two-factor-auth to your profile (it's in the preferences, profile settings, advanced settings. They only have a small number of date format (they don't allow you to add your own if there isn't one you like).


You can easily get overwhelmed with everything that EngageBay offers, and I think one day EngageBay will limit what they offer to focus on their best options like many companies have done.


One major thing I'm unsure of is that the company has a US address, but according to LinkedIn, most of the employees are based in India. It seems like the founder is based in the US and he has hired people in India to do the work. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, but I think EngageBay should be more transparent with this on their website.


Overall, EngageBay is a good service with a nice free plan. It will be interesting to see how the future of the company & the product turns out.

This is post number 65 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingEngageBay Review

My thoughts on Firefox changing Referer policy

  • Post author:

You may think that there is a spelling error in the title, but that it the correct way to write it. If you wish to learn why then you can read HTTPWTF.

If you use Firefox, and let’s face it not many people do (W3Counter estimates Firefox is only used by 4.5% of people) there is a change coming in Firefox 87. It won’t matter if you are using it, but it matters in terms of privacy and for website owners who have analytics.

What is that change? In non-technical terms, it slightly changes how websites know what website you came from. The new “policy” is that the website will only know you’ve come from example.com, it won’t know you’ve came from example.com/blog/example. If you are technical then you may want to read Mozilla’s security blog which covers this in greater detail. This is both good and bad and there is a major reason for this change.

The major reason for this change is because Chrome has had it since version 85 which came out in August 2020 and Firefox is now keeping up with the “standard”.

This is good for privacy, because then a website analytics can’t spell out exactly what the reader what previously doing.

However it’s not so good for website owners because now their analytics are going to be missing something. They won’t be able to tell on what page their website was linked on. They don’t get to know what content you just read so they can make something similar. Once this goes into effect, analytics are still going to be showing information but they are going to be missing that crucial piece that could be something that some companies rely on.

There is some hope, if you use Firefox you can change this setting. It’s not something the average Firefox user may do but it’s available for those who want to change it. Privacy International has a guide on how to change it and MDN Web Docs provides details on what the number means.

While this change isn’t one that I, as a website owner like. As a privacy advocate, I agree with this change.

Ru Singh inspired me to write this post and you can read her thoughts on her blog.

This is post number 64 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingMy thoughts on Firefox changing Referer policy

Highlights are only what you see

  • Post author:

When you are online you will see people posting. Those posts are usually only the highlights of that person, a majority of people don’t post online when something bad happens to them or when they are doing their normal schedule.

Why are people doing this? Because they want to show off how awesome they are, how proud they are of something happening, and to get others to congratulate them. It’s a major dopamine hit.

Some say they post to encourage everyone to try and do better, when in fact many people say when they see positive posts they hate themselves more because they aren’t doing something so cool.

I encourage you to think about why you are posting something online before you post it. Yes it will mean less posts from you but that isn’t a bad thing.

This is post number 63 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingHighlights are only what you see

“Facebook will test a reduction of political content in News Feed for some users”

  • Post author:

It's funny that Facebook is doing this during a time when there very few elections going on in Canada, Brazil, Indonesia, or the US.


Facebook is doing this just to show that it's still good, and that people should continue to use it like they always have been.

For those who use Facebook for political content, after they find out they are going to see less of that content they will move onto another social media site.


As Facebook says in their official press release, "COVID-19 information from authoritative health organizations like the CDC and WHO, as well as national and regional health agencies and services from affected countries, will be exempt from these tests. Content from official government agencies and services will also be exempt."

Facebook said also, "But we’re always trying to make News Feed better, and this means finding a new balance of the content people want to see." Personally, I think the news feed should go back to the way it was. Showing the most recent content first as in my news feed I tend to see the same people over and over again.


If Facebook had done this back in January 2020 (or earlier) then some people would say Facebook is doing the right thing. Now Facebook is just doing it because they want to, or they are feeling pressure from others.


What do you think about this? Let me know by email, Twitter, or Mastodon.


Other or similar articles online about this:


Reducing Political Content in News Feed | Facebook News
Facebook to temporarily reduce political content for some users in few countries | Reuters
Facebook might cut down your news feed's political content | CNET
Facebook Will Temporarily Reduce Visibility Of Political Content For Some Users | Forbes
What Facebook Gets Wrong About 'The Social Dilemma'
Why You Shouldn’t Use Facebook | Kev Quirk


This is post number 62 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue Reading“Facebook will test a reduction of political content in News Feed for some users”

How many companies rely on AWS?

  • Post author:

To make it short: a ton of companies do. Because it’s cheap and easy for them to use.


Now for the details:


What does AWS stand for? AWS stands for Amazon Web Services, which is owned by and run by Amazon. They provide computers that companies (and people) can rent out when they need, which are located in multiple places around the world.


Wait, it’s owned by Amazon. Like amazon.com? The very same company. Amazon doesn’t just run the name brand Amazon site, they run many other things.


How many companies rely on AWS? That number is hard to say, as Amazon doesn’t give exact numbers so we are left to estimates. Synergy Research Group estimates just over 30% of the worldwide cloud computer service spend is on AWS, which may seem like a lot until you see that “Others” is a bit more than AWS at anywhere from 38 to 40%.


What are some big and well-known companies that use AWS? Netflix is a huge one (and is listed on the AWS website), BBC iPlayer uses it, Slack uses it for processing and delivery, Twitter uses it for their timelines.


Why do companies use AWS? Amazon has tons of computer power around the world and they have [99.99% monthly uptime agreement])https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_availability#Percentage_calculation) (except when they go down and half of the internet seems to go down as well). It doesn’t require any companies to have their own data centre, or pay someone to do all the maintenance and updates on those servers. AWS is cost-effective (they can be as cheap as $0.0061 per hour). Amazon does have very high security and they take your data very seriously, and there are also many best practices. Companies can quickly add more computing power if they need (then stop using it once they don’t need it anymore).


Why should you care how many companies are using the same company for their hosting? You should care because it means if AWS has any sort of issues then many (or all) of the websites you use will be down. It’s always best to decentralize as wide as you can so that if one major player goes down it doesn’t mean everything goes down. This is hard in practice as most of the time people don’t care where the website they use is hosted, as long as it’s up. If you care, to make sure not every company you use is hosted by the same company, you can use a site like WhoIsHostingThis.com.


What alternatives to AWS are there? There are many alternatives, which all depends on your needs and budget. Some of the more popular AWS EC2 alternatives are, Heroku, DigitalOcean (affiliate link), Vultr, Linode, Microsoft Azure (affiliate link), Google Cloud Platform, OVH, Scaleway, Cloudways (affiliate link), Luna Node (affiliate link), Alibaba Cloud.


Many companies rely on AWS because it’s easy and relatively inexpensive and they are one of the most popular companies that rent out computers. But there are many other alternatives that should be looked into.


This is post number 61 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingHow many companies rely on AWS?

How is Clubhouse making money?

  • Post author:

Clubhouse is an audio-only app (that is currently just on iOS) that allows people to have a room to talk (about almost anything). As of the time of writing it is invite-only and you can apply to be part of their wait list (or if you know someone with an invite they can invite you).


There are so many people using it (there isn't an specifics available but many people are talking about it on Twitter) that their servers are consistently going down.


It launched in April 2020, and already has at least $12 million in VC money. On January 24th 2021 they announced another round of money (it is estimated that $100 million was raised, the exact money wasn't disclosed at the time of writing), but that leads to a question that many probably aren't thinking about. How are the VC's going to make their money back.


They aren't any ads on Clubhouse, and they aren't selling anything that happens in the conversations, so how do they plan to make money (and pay back their VC's)?


I reached out to Clubhouse by email to see if they would explain how they plan to make money and pay back their VC's. I didn't receive a response after giving them 5 business days to respond.


In January 2021 I’m trying an experiment, I’m going to be posting at least 2 blog posts per week. This is not only to see how the engagement is, but how my writing goes over during the time. As always you can contact me directly if you have any thoughts or opinions on this or what I’ve written on. This is post number 60 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingHow is Clubhouse making money?

Removed Webmention / Indieweb from this site

  • Post author:

Just a quick note for those that may care, I have removed Webmention / Indieweb from my website and I have removed it for many reasons and at this time I don’t plan to bring it back.

Here are some of the reasons I removed them, the big one (at the one that prompted the removal) is that the community has said mean things about similar projects (like Aral Balkan and his Small Web) and I simply can’t support that.

The main aspects are made by only a couple of people, which means they have a big influence over what changes are made (and what is accepted or not). Yes it’s open source and ultimately someone has to decide what goes in and what doesn’t but they want this to be used to everyone which means more people should have influence.

Currently one of the people who does many things is employed by Google. I understand everyone needs to draw a salary and keep a living, but this seems a bit counter productive. Google wants everything to be owned or run by them and one of their employees is working on something that is trying to do the opposite. I fear one day Google will come down and either destroy Webmention / Indieweb or have a major influence or own it.

Webmention / Indieweb is finally just to hard for the average person to use. As Kev Quirk said in a blog post, if you have a WordPress site is takes around 7 plugins just to have everything related to Webmention / Indieweb up. I had fewer plugins but still didn’t feel like it was enough to be fully used. And because it’s hard to use it only means select people will use it and it will become exclusively use by that group, and they will develop functions only for them.

I thank everyone who has included my site in a Webmention / Indieweb and I thank everyone who has spent their time developing for either of those. If you do a blog post (or anything similar like a social media post) in the future I would appreciate an email to let them me know, or a tag on that social media.

Other posts related to this by others:
Praxis and Indieweb

This is post number 60 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingRemoved Webmention / Indieweb from this site

Why we only read information we agree with

  • Post author:

The internet is vast, and there are many points of view. We don't have time to read everything, so we pick and choose what we read.


How do you choose what to read? Most of the time it starts from a trusted source, then you go and keep reading more from there. Sometimes we may read something that challenges our regular point of view.


If you are reading political articles, a study has found that people spent 36 percent more time reading articles that agreed with their point of view than they did reading text that challenged their opinions.


Reading something you agree with is also called Confirmation bias, the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one's prior beliefs or values.


You may not even realize you are doing it, for example, Boing Boing has a left bias (according to Media Bias / Fact Check). Sky News Australia has a right bias (again according to Media Bias / Fact Check). If you read either of those sites then you get a completely different view of the news and may agree with one site over the other.

You may read the opposite view point and think it's not true, or maybe misinformation. The headline and context may be changed slightly to fit that point of view, and if a website doesn't have a good history of reporting something factually then you may wonder why they are doing that. It's only misinformation if the reporting isn't factual, is telling you about things that all the other sites don't tell you about (they could be the only site with that information, or those things could be completely untrue), and is adding opinions within the reporting. Opinions should always try to be separate from reporting facts.


Try not to be stuck inside an echo chamber, read information you will disagree with, as you may learn about something that others aren't telling you about.


This was inspired by an NBC News article on someone being brainwashed by the internet. In January 2021 I’m trying an experiment, I’m going to be posting at least 2 blog posts per week. This is not only to see how the engagement is, but how my writing goes over during the time. As always you can contact me directly if you have any thoughts or opinions on this or what I’ve written on. This is post number 59 as part of 100 Days To Offload.
Continue ReadingWhy we only read information we agree with

Is a disclosure required at the top or bottom

  • Post author:

Disclosure: I’m not a legal expert, and these requirements and guidelines change all the time. This is simply meant as a reminder and to link to the relevant laws / guidelines where they can be found.

It all depends where in the world you are located, which requires where a disclosure goes. This doesn't just apply to blog posts, this applies to anything which would require a disclosure (like sponsoring of a video, reporting of a company that is owned by the company that is doing the reporting, etc).


If you live in, or your company is based in the US, then the FTC requires that the disclosure be placed "where it easily catches consumers’ attention and is difficult to miss" and that a consumer may miss the disclosure if it's at the bottom. It's your exact choice where the disclosure goes, but the FTC makes it clear that it can't be difficult to miss.


If you live in, or your company is based in Canada, then Ad Standards are what you have to follow (it is a non-profit self-regulatory body). Disclosure should be clear, it should catch the viewers' attention and be placed where they are not likely to miss it. Disclosures should be specific about the brand, product and what was given. Disclosures should be clearly communicated.


In the European Union clicking on a link that ties back to the person who put in the link and that may collect someone's personal data, (under GDPR) you will have to disclose any such links that the links will collect someone's data.


In the UK, the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) set the guidelines. If it's an ad of any sort you need to disclose that it is an ad.


China doesn't have the strict set laws that most countries do, however according to Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer there is a patchwork of laws and regulations for online activity that have been used to enforce various disclosures and various other requirements.


India does have an advertising standards council ( The Advertising Standards Council Of India), however it is self-regulatory and a voluntary organization. Their principles are, honest representations, non-offensive to public, against harmful products and fair in competition.


Where should you put the disclosure? I think if you want to be honest, transparent, and show that you are following the law then put it at the top, or just after the first paragraph or two. The disclosure may be at the bottom when the editorial guidelines say so, or you don't feel the disclosure is completely relevant but you are putting it there just in case.


Thanks to VAMI Creations for links to some of the resources that are linked here.

In January 2021 I’m trying an experiment, I’m going to be posting at least 2 blog posts per week. This is not only to see how the engagement is, but how my writing goes over during the time. As always you can contact me directly if you have any thoughts or opinions on this or what I’ve written on. This is post number 58 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingIs a disclosure required at the top or bottom

Github made a mistake firing someone, now what?

  • Post author:
I originally posted this on my tech news Twitter account as a thread, now I'm posting it as a blog post and adding more detail.

Github made a mistake of firing an employee and almost a week later is seeking to rehire them. Let me try to go through the timeline of events and speak on what Github should be doing different (not just seeking to rehire).


On January 12th, there was an exclusive post on Business Insider that Github fired an employee who posted on the company Slack (on January 6th) telling employees to stay safe (due to the violence happening in DC), and two days later they were terminated (HR cited unspecified "patterns of behaviour").


Once employees at Github found out about this, 200 people (out of around 1,700 employees at Github) signed an open letter to Github (which I have not found on the public internet) "asking management for answers about the firing of that employee" and they also asked Github to take a firmer stand against anti-Semitism and white supremacy.


On January 11th the CEO of Github sent a letter to employees to denounce the siege on the Capitol, and that they were looking into the circumstances surrounding the employee's termination (which is published in full on the Github blog). On that same day Github hired an outside company to conduct their own investigation.


On January 15th the investigation revealed many errors of judgment and procedure, and the head of HR took personal accountability and resigned the next morning (January 16th). They are also seeking to reverse the firing decision.


However it looks like the former employee won't want to be rehire if offered, the fired employee said to TechCrunch "This type of stuff had been said before. It happened with the ICE stuff where the company said let’s have discussions but then if you mention ICE, you get fired. I used to believe in this company, but now I don’t."


TechCrunch also reported (in the same article) that as the fired employee kept talking about the lack of diversity at the leadership level, they said they found their job at risk. “When I kept talking about it, I got threatened being fired in October,” they said. “Both my managers had to come completely to my defence and beg them not to fire me when I pointed out how the sales team maybe has just two people of colour.”


However, "upon their termination, the former employee said the company gave them two paychecks and sent them on their way. They said they would be open to some form of reconciliation, whether in the form of damages, healthcare coverage or something else." And added “If I had a magic wand, I’d love for the employees at GitHub to be able to have a union and represent people from marginalized communities.”


This doesn't just happen so quickly out of the blue, this sort of thing comes from the top down or is a ways that people are trained to work at the company. As well, Github wants this all to be done quickly so that they can continue to not be in the news for bad press. If their isn't any bad press about them, then more people will sign up which of course means for money for them.


What should be done different? The firing shouldn't have been done so quickly, and they talk about diversity on their website from the former employee they don't practice what they talk about. They should also end their contract with ICE (United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) immediately.


Github is still going to be the place many coders go and will continue to go because it's so well known, but I really hope everyone at Github (from the leadership all the way down) learn the mistake and do better in the future.


Huge thanks to the former employee for speaking out, to the journalists & reporters for covering this, and the current GitHub employees for raising their voices in an open letter and saying this isn't right. A majority of the time when something like this happen it happens quietly and nobody cares.

In January 2021 I’m trying an experiment, I’m going to be posting at least 2 blog posts per week. This is not only to see how the engagement is, but how my writing goes over during the time. As always you can contact me directly if you have any thoughts or opinions on this or what I’ve written on. This is post number 57 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingGithub made a mistake firing someone, now what?

What do early risers not understand about night owls?

  • Post author:

Early risers are those who typically wake up anytime between 3am and 9am. Night owls typically go to bed anywhere between midnight at 8am (or later). You may be one of these, or you may be a combination of both. As someone who is a night owl here are some things that those who wake up early don't seem to understand.


Aren't you tired at 11pm? Sometimes night owls are, but sometimes they are wide awake. Remember while you have been up for around 16 hours at that point, a night owl have only been up for around 12 hours meaning they still have a wide period of time where they can keep doing things before they get tired.


It's time to shut down and not be so productive. It may be time for you to start shutting down, most night owls find night time the most productive because they can get work done and nobody will be distracting them. Night time is peak performance for a night owl.


You need to wake up earlier because you are grouchy when you get up. Night owls are grouchy first thing because they fully need to wake up. If I told someone who is an early riser to stay up until 2am then they would be grouchy as well if they woke up at their usual time.


Society is built for those who wake up earlier, so you should wake up earlier. The world is mostly built for those who work 9 to 5, it doesn't mean a night owl needs to adjust their sleeping and waking up times. As long as the night owl can do what they need to for the day, they should be able to wake up or go to sleep anytime they want. Night owls don't care that the regular working hours does't work for them, they will do what they need to in order to get what they need done. In fact having the regular working hours as they currently are, are slowly killing night owls.


You need to get up in order to have breakfast since it's the most important meal of the day. You may be a breakfast fan and feel you need to have it. But night owls may not. There are mixed studies on whatever breakfast is actually good to have for your health, when someone should eat what they want when they are hungry.


When do night owls have their quiet time? Night owls may have their quiet time when they first get up in the morning like many early birds do, they may get it while everyone else is asleep, or they may have a sleep routine they do which allows them to get some quiet time.


Night owls are lazy. Just because you don't see what they do doesn't mean they are lazy, they may get all their work done while you are sleeping so they can not have to wake up as early as you do. Night owls just have a different schedule than you do, and that's ok. As long as they are getting their work done and attending the meetings they need to it doesn't matter when they get work done.


Night owls will grow out of it, or will be required to be morning birds. A night owl may never grow out of it due to numerous reasons. Their body clock (also known as Chronobiology) is tuned to being more awake at night. There are ways for night owls to turn into a morning person, but someone may not want to if they want to stay as a night owl.


Everyone has their own sleep and wake up schedules, as long as everyone gets their work done let them work whenever they want and best suits them.


Sources / additional reading:
Early Riser or Night Owl: Why It Doesn’t Really Matter
New Office Hours Aim for Well Rested, More Productive Workers
Being a Night Owl in an Early-Rising World Is Killing You
Extreme night owls: ‘I can’t tell anyone what time I go to bed’
How To Hack The Day As A Night Owl
Explain Like I'm Five: Why are banks only open during the most inconvenient hours?
City-data forum | Never understood why so many stores are only open during hours people are at work
Sorry, There’s Nothing Magical About Breakfast | New York Times
Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?
Stop calling night owls lazy, we're not
Night Owls Rule! Why You Don’t Need to Get Up Early to Be Successful
Night owl (person) on Wikipedia Morning person on Wikipedia
Can You Hack Your Body Clock To Become A Morning Person? I Tried It Out
A (Former) Night Owl’s Guide to Becoming a Morning Person
I Tried to Be a Morning Person for 30 Days. Here's What Worked (and What Didn't)
One ping after another: why everyone needs a notification detox
Why developers like to code at night

In January 2021 I’m trying an experiment, I’m going to be posting at least 2 blog posts per week. This is not only to see how the engagement is, but how my writing goes over during the time. As always you can contact me directly if you have any thoughts or opinions on this or what I’ve written on. This is post number 56 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingWhat do early risers not understand about night owls?

Should You Use A VPN When Editing Website?

  • Post author:

Disclosure: I’m not a complete expert in VPN’s, and I’m not claiming to know everything. This isn’t a review of any VPN company, and I’m not employed by any. To remain unbiased I’m not including any VPN affiliate links. I encourage you to do your own research and thinking to see if a VPN is right for you, and which one (if any) you may want to use. These are just my thoughts and opinions.

If you want to edit your website, or someone else’s website you may be wondering if, or when, you should use a VPN. As with everything in life, the answer is, it depends.


You have to take everything a VPN company or sponsored person (by that company) says with a grain of salt, as not everything that is said will be 100% truthful.


If the website uses https, or is an iPhone app that has been updated since 2017, or an Android app since 2018, then the only thing that anyone along or on the network can see is the website that you go to. They can’t see your username or password. If you are editing on a website that doesn’t use https then you really should get them to upgrade to https.


Many VPN companies claim to have great encryption, and while they may, it honestly doesn’t mean much. Some even claim to rotate encryption keys after a period of time to lessen the chance someone could crack that encryption. However the VPN company still has all those encryption keys (with the history) and they could be forced to hand them over to a government agency.


If you think someone or a company or a government is watching what websites you are going to, then you may want to use a VPN. Or if you are going to be blocked getting onto the website then you may want to use a VPN.


Do you trust everything? The computer you are using, the internet provider, the government, the website and who is hosting it? If you don’t trust it then you may want to use a VPN. You also have to use a VPN company that you trust.


Do you care about logs? Almost everything online has some sort of log (including the website you are editing), if you want to lessen the chance that the logs can directly identify you then you may want to use a VPN.


Is there a 100% fool-proof way to ensure you aren’t caught or logged in anyway? No. People use a VPN for many different reasons, and it just provides a little bit of protection against you.


In the end, if using a VPN makes you feel a bit safer and secure, then go ahead and use one of your choice.


If you want to use a VPN which one should you use? There are so many to choose from, I have used AirVPN, Mullvad, TunnelBear, Perfect Privacy, and cryptostorm in the past and they worked for me and my needs. I encourage you to do your own research, and you can start by reading That One Privacy Guy’s VPN comparison.


Sources / Additional information:
Tom Scott | This Video Is Sponsored By ███ VPN
Apple will require HTTPS connections for iOS apps by the end of 2016
Android P Will Default to HTTPS Connections for All Apps
What Is HTTPS, and Why Should I Care? | How-To Geek
5 Reasons Your Site Should Be HTTPS | Blue Corona
VPNs are Lying About Logs | Restore Privacy
VPN Provider’s No-Logging Claims Tested in FBI Case
Private Internet Access’ “No-Logging” Claims Proven True Again in Court
Police Seize Two Perfect Privacy VPN Servers
The cost of shilling VPN companies is your reputation | Louis Rossmann


In January 2021 I’m trying an experiment, I’m going to be posting at least 2 blog posts per week. This is not only to see how the engagement is, but how my writing goes over during the time. As always you can contact me directly if you have any thoughts or opinions on this or what I’ve written on. This is post number 55 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingShould You Use A VPN When Editing Website?

What news broadcasters were required to do on November 11th 2001

  • Post author:

November 11th 2001 was a day that America will never forget. Estimates by Nielsen Ratings say at least 80 million Americans (about 28% of the US population according to the 2000 US census) watched the evening news that day, while University of Georgia estimates two billion people (or about 7% of the US population at that time) watched the news in real time. According to the Guardian 16 million people (around 27% of the population at that time) in the UK tuned into TV.


When did the stations intrupt their broadcasting to go live to talk about what's happening? WNYW-TV Fox 5 was almost immendiately live, CNN had a live feed on the Twin Towers at 8:49 (barely three minutes after the first plane hit), then the rest of the stations followed suit shortly after. If the tv network didn't have live anchors then they carried a sister station that did (like MTV carried CBS, and ESPN carried ABC).


By the afternoon most stations were either showing news, or suspended broadcasting. Food Network & HGTV both suspended broadcasting in the afternoon that was replaced by the simple music and a message (which at the time were both owned by Scripps Networks Interactive). Luckily, both of these have been captured and put on YouTube. From some of the comments I have read online, both these stations continued to suspend broadcasting until around September 15th, which was also when most TV stations went back to their regular broadcasting.


Some stations continued like normal, E! network, Sci-Fi channel and other similar stations played their normal block of tv (they did edit it slighty to remove any reference to violence). From the various information online, a major of TV stations had news (or carried a sister station), some suspended broadcasting, and kids stations continued to air like normal.


Why did kids stations continue to air like normal? Because the first lady of the US at the time said " don't let your children see these pictures over and over. Try to protect your children from these pictures of destruction, especially your young children but even elementary school age children shouldn't watch this all the time. It — I think it's too frightening for them, and so I hope parents will turn off the television and think of something constructive to do with their children ."(source) They did of course not play anything related to violence or bomb-related.

How long did these news stations have 24-hour coverage? Most reports say it was close to four days straight of coverage, and none of these news stations aired commericals during that time. This was so that everyone who was watching knew what was going on, although some tv stations did say things which turned out to be false during that time but that is the nature of being always live.


To be clear, none of the tv stations were required to do any of this. Stations also freely shared coverage with each other. They just did because they felt it was the right thing for them to do at that time.


Related videos:
Dish TV Channels During Morning of 9/11 Attacks
September 11th Seen from Space | Space Week Live | Channel 4
Eyewitness News at 11:00 p.m. on September 11, 2001 | ABC7NY
November 12th and 13th in NYC
9/11 as it happened… on NYC local TV
9-11 Synced broadcast of major networks combined
Today Show 9-11-01 – Live on NBC as Tragedy Occurred
The Early Show 9-11-01 – Live on CBS as Tragedy Occurred
September 11, 2001 – Surfing DirecTV channels during 9/11
CBC 9-11-2001 News Coverage
BBC (09:16am-11:21am) – September 11th 2001

In January 2021 I’m trying an experiment, I’m going to be posting at least 2 blog posts per week. This is not only to see how the engagement is, but how my writing goes over during the time. As always you can contact me directly if you have any thoughts or opinions on this or what I’ve written on. This is post number 54 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingWhat news broadcasters were required to do on November 11th 2001

What happened to the top 12 most funded Kickstarter projects?

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This post was written in early January 2021, and the most funded projects may have changed by the time you are reading this. All this information is public, I’m not related to or funded any of these companies (I have bought 1 of these which I will mention when I talk about them).

Many people know about Kickstarter, a place to put your project online and hope you raise enough money to fully fund it, and once you do then you have to get work done and give the people who funded your project what they wanted. There are many projects that don’t raise enough money and simply don’t happen at all, then there are the projects that raise so much money they become the most funded Kickstarter projects of all time. What happens to those projects, and companies, after the funding, no just right after, but years later. It’s time to examine what has happened to the top 12 most funded Kickstarter projects of all time.

1) Pebble Time: “Color e-paper smartwatch with up to 7 days of battery and a new timeline interface that highlights what’s important in your day“, they raised $20.3 million (of their $500,000 goal). This was the 3rd watch that the Pebble company was funding and making. They ran the Kickstarter in 2015, and it was released to the public on May 24th, 2015 (with the Pebble Time Steel being released on August 6th of the same year). People said it was good, but it wasn’t enough of a change of their original watch.
I did buy this watch after it was released to the public, at regular price, based on a recommendation from a friend.

2) Coolest cooler: “The COOLEST is a portable party disguised as a cooler, bringing blended drinks, music and fun to any outdoor occasion.”, they raised $13.2 million (of their $50,000 goal). According to Wikipedia, the initial shipping date of February 2015 was too close so they pushed it to July 2015. The first bunch of cooler’s were shipping by July 2015, and they hoped to clear their large backlog by April 2016. In March 2016 the owner announced that production had stopped because they were seeking extra money. In April 2016 they said the backers could spend an extra $97 to get expedited shipping and they said even if you didn’t pay the extra you would still get it. And enough people gave that extra money so production started back up again. In September 2016, the Oregon Department of Justice said they were investigating them due to possible violations of the state’s unlawful trade practices act. In June 2017, they entered into an agreement with the Oregon Department of Justice to fulfill the remaining Kickstarter rewards. In December 2019, they announced they were closing up shop and would be complying with their agreement from the Oregon Department of Justice. When you try to go to the website now it is for sale. Which means while some people got their cooler, many didn’t and would be out their full cost.

3) Frosthaven: “Euro-inspired dungeon crawling sequel to the 2017 smash-hit board game Gloomhaven“, they raised $12.9 million (of their $500,000 goal). The campaign launched on March 31, 2020 and ended on May 1st 2020. Their timeline (set out in their Kickstarter description) says they should complete everything around March 2021. As we always know, things take longer than expected. But as of the time of writing they say they are a bit behind, and there is no clue if this project will actually be a huge success or will fail. Only time will tell.

4) Pebble 2, Time 2 and Pebble Core: “Two affordable, heart rate-enabled smartwatches and a hackable, 3G wearable for phone-free running with GPS, music, and Amazon Alexa“, they raised $12.7 million (their goal was $1 million). This was the Kickstarter they did after the Pebble Time, but while they did manage to ship every Pebble 2 they could, they didn’t make the other products on this Kickstarter and refunded all unfulfilled rewards. This was due to financial issues, and any intellectual property was purchased by Fitbit. Then Pebble starting closing down and now everything redirects to Fitbit.

5) Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5: “A cooperative nightmare horror game experience. Hunt intelligent monsters and develop your settlement through a self-running campaign“, they raised $12.3 million (their goal was $100,000). This was the last Kickstarter that Kingdom Death has done currently. They shipped the first wave of rewards in October 2017, and they expect everything from their Kickstarter to be delivered by the end of 2020. They don’t currently sell Monster 1.5 on their website, but they are on BackerKit and you can preorder Monster 1.6 (which is very similar to Monster 1.5, in fact so similar that they say if you own 1.5 you don’t need 1.6).

6) Travel Tripod by Peak Design: “A full-featured tripod in a truly portable form“, which raised $12.1 million (their goal was $500,000). They say on their Kickstarter profile that they are entirely crowdfunded, and it seems to have paid off for them. You can buy the Travel Tripod from their own website along with tons of other similar products. On their website is also a small number of blog posts with their Kickstarter 101 which may help others who are looking to use Kickstarter to fund their next project. They seem to be doing well after all their Kickstarter projects.

7) Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special: “Critical Role’s The Legend of Vox Machina reunites your favorite heroes for a professional-quality animated special!“, which raised $11.3 million (their goal was $750,000). Their stretch goals included 10 episodes and a one-shot GM’d why someone, which was funded. They have been publicly doing updates and they haven’t released one episode yet, mostly due to the pandemic, and how long it is taking to localization and many other related things. They don’t even know when it is going to be released, all they can say is “We do not have an exact date to share quite yet, but as soon as we do, you’ll be the first to know”. They have also not sent out any survey’s for their backers yet, or shipped any of their rewards. Which means it will be a while before anything related to this Kickstarter comes out. You can read more about this and Critical Role on Wikipedia.

8) Pebble: E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android: “Pebble is a customizable watch. Download new watchfaces, use sports and fitness apps, get notifications from your phone“, which raised $10.2 million (their goal was $100,000). This is the original Pebble watch, after some difficulty they managed to begin shipping them in January 2013, and by December 2013 shipped 300,000 watches. But we know what happened with Pebble, after shipping more units and doing more watches they ended up with financial issues and ended up being sold to Fitbit. You can read the whole story about Pebble on their Wikipedia page.

9) TRAVEL JACKETS with 15 Features by BAUBAX: “TRAVEL JACKET with built-in Neck Pillow, Eye Mask, Gloves, Earphone Holders, Drink Pocket, Tech Pockets of all sizes! Comes in 4 Styles“, which raised $9.1 million (their goal was $20,000). This was their first Kickstarter and out of the 6 they have created only one was cancelled because they say they needed to go back to the drawing board. Currently their website sells many items and they seem to be doing well.

10) The Wyrmwood Modular Gaming Table: Coffee & Dining Models: “A revolutionary table that evolves over a lifetime. Innovative, yet affordable, with magnetic accessories. Crafted without compromise“, which raised $8.8 million (their goal was $1 million). Wyrmwood has had a good history and success on Kickstarter as well they have done at least one more Kickstarter project after this one. They have been regularly doing updates, both on Kickstarter and on their YouTube channel. They even did a video when they put this project on Kickstarter and their reactions. Since it’s such a big project and the tables are something they have never done before it’s going to take a while before they get to backers. However, I believe it will get to backers at some point.

11) Exploding Kittens: “This is a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats“, which raised $8.7 million (their goal was $10,000). The Kickstarter ended on February 19, 2015 and by September 2015 basically everyone who backed the game got it and they’ve launched two other games with good success. One of the co-founders talked with Vox on why many companies (including themselves) keep going back to Kickstarter, which you can watch on YouTube.

12) OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console: “Cracking open the last closed platform: the TV. A beautiful, affordable console — built on Android, by the creator of Jambox” which raised $8.5 million (their goal was $950,000). It was a console that promised to do many things, basically instead of having to buy many parts and many games, you could do it all there. All games on that system were initially required to have some sort of free-to-play aspect, but this was later removed. Despite being released to public in June 2013 (backers got theirs in March 2013) the sales weren’t what was expected and it caused financial issues for the company. In July 2015 the software assets were sold to Razer and they announced the discontinuation of the console with everything else shutting down in June 2019. If you want more information about Ouya you can read Wikipedia or XDA Developers.

Now here are a few honourable mentions:

Fidget Cube: A Vinyl Desk Toy $6.4 million raised but there were so many knock-offs due to shipping delays from the original one.

Bring Back MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 with $5.7 million raised, which brought a 11th season (with 14 episodes) and another six episodes, both of which were released on Netflix. If you want to read more about this you can go to Wikipedia.

Bring Reading Rainbow Back raised $5.4 million but ultimately didn’t end up well. In August 2017 WNED (which originally created Reading Rainbow) filed a lawsuit against the Kickstarter creator and his company (this was well after the Kickstarter had finished), and in October 2017 readingrainbow.org the site had a page which said “Recent legal disputes between WNED and LeVar Burton/RRKIDZ have been resolved and RRKIDZ no longer licenses the Reading Rainbow brand from WNED. WNED is currently working on the next chapter of Reading Rainbow and will continue its mission of fostering education for a new generation.”

ZNAPS – Connection is just a snap away which raised $3 million ended up being a complete scam. They never ended up giving their backers what they promised, and instead they sold directly to the public. This is a reminder that you can’t believe everything you see on sites like Kickstarter.

To close, there are many cool and successful projects on Kickstarter, but not everything will be as successful as this, in fact according to Kickstarter 11% of projects never get a single pledge, and you can go to their stats page to see how many projects were unsuccessfully funded.

In January 2021 I’m trying an experiment, I’m going to be posting at least 2 blog posts per week. This is not only to see how the engagement is, but how my writing goes over during the time. As always you can contact me directly if you have any thoughts or opinions on this or what I’ve written on. This is post number 53 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingWhat happened to the top 12 most funded Kickstarter projects?

Why I don’t think Toastmasters should just be ‘pass’ for every speech

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Members of Toastmasters International are expected to give speeches to their club (which could be local, or they could work at the same company, or they can meet entirely online). How often someone gives speeches is entirely up to them.

Usually the speech revolves around a project, or an objective. When someone speaks they are expected to hit their project or objective marks. Even if they don’t, even if they entirely miss the point of the speech, the speech is still considered a success (or a pass). Which means they can move right along to their next speech, however it is encouraged to take the feedback from the speech and use it in future speeches.

Some people try to complete every speech as fast as they can, and they don’t care if they meet the objectives. They just want that prestigious DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) award which is completed by more than just doing speeches. The point of Toastmasters isn’t just to get that award (that is the point for some people), the point is to improve your communication (speaking, leadership, and whatever other reason they joined Toastmasters). The point is someone has put in the work to speak and in return here is something that is given to them for doing that.

Why do I think someone shouldn’t pass every single speech? Sometimes someone’s speech is just so bad that it doesn’t hit the objectives, or goes completely over time (if a speech is 5 – 7 minutes, the person talks for 20 minutes) which doesn’t help them to be a good communicator (or speaker, or leader). Toastmasters is always a supportive environment, but that doesn’t always happen in the real world. If someone messes up something it could mean real negative actions. While in Toastmasters it does give someone the confidence to do more, if we continue to be so supportive it could hinder someone later. It also tells the person that you can’t complete everything easily and sometimes things need a redo (currently someone is always welcome to redo that speech they want at anytime, they could also do a different speech but use the same objectives).

Who should determine if the speech fails? I don’t have the full answer to that, but I don’t think it should come down to the person who evaluates the speech. With every speech there is someone who evaluates the speech and comes up later in the meeting to present their evaluation. It shouldn’t be just one person who determines if the speaker passes or fail’s as they may have a grudge against the speaker, it should be a group of people.

If the person then fails that speech what do they do? They should learn from their mistakes and present the speech again (either exactly the same speech, or a different speech but still meeting the objectives and timing). Yes it will mean someone takes longer to get to the DTM award, but that award isn’t meant for everyone (and in fact there are people that don’t take all the steps needed to get that award and they are perfectly ok with that).

To close, currently every speech given in a Toastmasters club meeting is considered a ‘pass’ or a success. I think that should change, I’m not entirely sure how but it should be changed. However, every speech you give is an opportunity to gain skills and confidence.

Other related articles:

Why Steve Pavlina quit Toastmasters
Why failure is worth your attention
10 Speaking Failures and 10 Lessons Learned

In January 2021 I’m trying an experiment, I’m going to be posting at least 2 blog posts per week. This is not only to see how the engagement is, but how my writing goes over during the time. As always you can contact me directly if you have any thoughts or opinions on this or what I’ve written on. This is post number 52 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingWhy I don’t think Toastmasters should just be ‘pass’ for every speech

Why I’m going to try and finish reading 1 book in 2021

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The world is abuzz on trying to finish 50, 100, 200 (or more) books in a year. This year I’m going to try and finish 1 book, and hopefully that gives me the encouragement to read more.

In 2020 I finished 8 books, some people are probably thinking that 8 books isn’t very much, and some people are thinking that 8 books is a ton to be reading in a year. Some of them were short books that I could finish in a day and some required a couple of weeks (or longer) to finish. There are even some books that I started reading in 2020 but haven’t finished yet.

I understand why people challenge themselves to read more books, it reminds them to read, as in 2015 one in four Americans didn’t read a book.

By challenging to read a ton of book it encourages people to quickly read through books so they can get onto their next book and to stay on track. The reader then doesn’t remember the book.

It does take willpower to read a book, people have a short attention span and for some when they go back to reading it help breaks their short attention span.

I’m going to challenge myself to finish 1 book so that I can spend longer on each book, and willingly take on longer books and not have to force myself to rush through it or to put it on the back burn and get a shorter book just to hit my goal.

Remember, nobody is forcing you to read more books, except yourself. Yes, posting about it and joining something like the Goodreads reading challenge does help but you shouldn’t be forced to do something just because your past self thought you should do it.

If I finish 1 book then I will start the next one to keep the habit going, there are always new books coming out so we can all definitely find a new (to us) book to read.

Other related articles to read:
Reading One Book a Week Won’t Make You Successful – Aytekin Tank (posted on Entrepreneur)
Skim reading is the new normal. The effect on society is profound – The Guardian
6 Scientific Reasons You Should Be Reading More – Mental Floss
How to Read Long and Difficult Books – Art of Manliness
Why We Don’t Read – ThoughtCo
The Goodreads Reading Challenge Is Both a Blessing and a Curse – StudyBreaks

In January 2021 I’m trying an experiment, I’m going to be posting at least 2 blog posts per week. This is not only to see how the engagement is, but how my writing goes over during the time. As always you can contact me directly if you have any thoughts or opinions on this or what I’ve written on. This is post number 51 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingWhy I’m going to try and finish reading 1 book in 2021

Binging TV vs One Episode A Week

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Traditional TV had it set for many years that if you wanted to watch a new episode of your favourite TV show, you had to tune in at a specific time, date, and channel to watch it. And there would would be one new episode that would air at that time, if you wanted to watch another new episode you had to wait until next week to watch it.

But with the rise of streaming services some companies that released the entire season of new episodes at once, so you can watch them when you want. But which is better? It all depends on what you want.

One new episode a week: the TV networks knew that you would most likely watch the episode next week as you wanted to know what happens (52.5 million people tuned into the Friends final episode), the problem is that by the time the next episode rolled around you may have forgotten what has happened, sometimes the networks would air this new episode multiple times during the week so if you couldn’t catch it at one time there were still multiple times you could watch it, but if you couldn’t watch it at any of those times then you missed the episode for the week and either had to have your friends catch you up on what you missed or just miss the rest of the season (since future episodes won’t make as much sense).

Binging the full season: they know you will watch the season then if it was good tell others about it which generates more revenue for the service, you can watch it whenever you want (as long as you have access to the service, and if they don’t, some people can get around it), when services started releasing an entire season people weren’t sure if they wanted to watch it at once since they had other things to do (at the time it wasn’t something that was done), but now more people than ever are binging a season, when you finish the season you can easily find another show to watch (since services offer recommendations), if you miss an episode you can easily go back and watch it again, you can also watch the season or any individual episode as often as you want (or until the service takes it down), you have to pay for another service to use (this most likely isn’t included in your TV subscription, or is an additional addon cost).

There are many pro’s and con’s to one new episode a week, vs binging the entire season on a streaming service. If you prefer to do one over the other than that is fine, and that is why both exist.

In January 2021 I’m trying an experiment, I’m going to be posting at least 2 blog posts per week. This is not only to see how the engagement is, but how my writing goes over during the time. As always you can contact me directly if you have any thoughts or opinions on this or what I’ve written on.

This is post number 50 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingBinging TV vs One Episode A Week

Why ‘The Sound of Music’ Isn’t A Christmas Movie

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There are many movies that are considered Christmas (or holiday) movies to everyone, Miracle on 34th street, How the grinch stole christmas, National lampoon’s christmas vacation, Scrooged, and there are many, many others. There are also movies that some consider to be a holiday movie, when others don’t. I don’t consider the sound of music to be a holiday movie.

Most of the movies that are considered Christmas movies are based (or happen) around Christmas time, the sound of music doesn’t. Nowhere in the movie does it happen around Christmas, or mention presents or anything similar.

So, why do some people consider it a Christmas movie? Because tv networks air the movie during the season when families are all home and have nothing better to do. Since it always airs around that time many consider it to be a Christmas movie.

Some also say it’s a holiday movie because one of the songs (my favorite things) appears on many holiday albums. Billboard all the details for this if you want to know more exactly why.

Ultimately, while the movie really isn’t a Christmas movie, you can watch it during the holiday season and at anytime during the year.

This is post number 49 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Continue ReadingWhy ‘The Sound of Music’ Isn’t A Christmas Movie

Why local web developers aren’t cheap

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So you want to hire (or pay) a local web developer, or web designer. You contact them (or the company, I will use these interchangeably) and after they find what you need they give you a price. You may be shocked at how high the price is. Here are a number of reasons why that price is high.

One of the most important reasons is because they focus more on quality over quantity. They do fewer projects, but they take longer to do and pay better. When they do that they also tend to be focused on the type of work they do, so they may only work with select audiences and only do certain things. This may frustrate you as you may have to go to many different companies to get a quote, or you may have to many different companies to get all the work done you want.

If someone cares more about quantity they tend to do the work for very cheap and to have it be done quickly so they can move onto the next project. They may also ask very few questions and want stuff like logins as quickly as possible.

The price is high because the company (or person) has expenses they have to pay, and those expenses would be higher than a 3rd world country. They have to pay their fair share of taxes, they have to pay their employees (if they have any), they have to pay for things that are required to do what you want, they have to pay for where they work, and much more.

When you get a higher price it also means the person (or company) have a higher rate / salary, or their time is worth more. They may also charge per project or per hour so the total may be really high.

Most of the time when you pay a higher price you get better quality, you get more time spent on your project, you pay for a good track record, and you pay them for the years it took them to get to this point.

I’m sure you may be thinking that you can contact the company that gave you the high quote price and haggle to a price that you think is more responsible. Please don’t do this. The price that was given to you is the price that the company will do it for. If you haggle, it shows you don’t respect the company that sent you the quote. As well, a majority of the time the company will just reject haggling out right and say something along the lines, that if you don’t like it then go find someone else who will do it for a price that is more in your price range. If you are thinking about haggling, don’t. Just say thanks to the company for the quote that the price is higher than you can afford right now, then go and find a company which fits more into your price range.

These are some of the reasons why a local web developer, or web designer, or anyone local has their price has high as they do. If someone’s price or quote is outside of your price range then ask them for another quote to do the couple of major things you need help with, then come back to them later for the complete list of things. There is always the option of hiring someone in a 3rd world country to get the work done for you but that isn’t something I would suggest.

This is post number 48 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

Additional reading / sources:
Why Quality Matters Over Quantity in Business – BBN Times
How Quality Over Quantity Could Change Your Life – Zaid K. Dahhaj
How To Work Out What To Charge Clients: The Honest Version – Smashing Magazine
Why Do Freelancers Charge Higher Rates? – Ed Eubanks
The Value of Time: How Much is Your Time Really Worth? – James Clear
The Value of Time – How to Charge What You’re Worth – Morten Rand-Hendriksen
The Great Pricing Debate: Hourly Rates vs. Project Pricing – Bidsketch
Low-Cost Web Development: Why Cheap Websites Aren’t Worth It – Red Letter Marketing
Avoid the Pitfalls of a Dodgy Web Developer – Topical Coast Web Design
Mistakes to avoid when hiring a new web development firm – Siftware
13 Ways to Tell Your Web Designer Is Ripping You Off – Jonroc
How to Avoid Web Design Scams – Nuts and Bolts Media

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Can you create content just using FOSS?

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Note: this “guide” may not be 100% FOSS and there may be some things in here you don’t agree with (or find to be not free or open source). I understand but I’m not going to going into the deep details of Javascript not being FOSS, or finding a company that runs everything on FOSS. I encourage you to channel any anger you may have, to write your own blog post about this (or something similar). Or don’t. That is 100% up to you.

FOSS stands for free, and open source software. If you aren’t looking for it you may not think there is any free and open source software on the internet to download and use. Or you may have seen it but decided to go with other software since you knew the brand name or it was easier for you to use. Open source software can be used in many ways, and for many things. But here is how to create content using FOSS.

First we need to know the definition of content, according to Merriam-Webster content is “the topics or matter treated in a written work” or “the principal substance (such as written matter, illustrations, or music) offered by a website“.

If we are going with the first definition then you need an FOSS operating system, Windows and Mac aren’t FOSS, so what is available? You most likely have heard of Ubuntu or Debian and while some people (the Free Software Foundation) may not consider these to be FOSS operating system they are well known enough that they could be considered FOSS (and I don’t want to go deep into the details of some drivers not being FOSS, or other related things). I’m not going to guide you through the install as every operating system is different. Once you have it installed most have some sort of text editor that you can use. If you type into there then you have created content (even if it’s just for yourself) using FOSS.

The second definition “the principal substance (such as written matter, illustrations, or music) offered by a website“, requires not only the operating system, but a server to run it on, and a website. If you don’t want to setup your own website and server then consider something like Write.as where you can have a blog / create content that is run on FOSS. In write.as’s case that FOSS is their software called WriteFreely.

If you want to setup your own website and server then you could set up your own server in your house, but if you have more money than time then you can buy a server from many companies that offer it. Many people have heard about DigitalOcean (affiliate link), however I encourage you to find a local company that have a virtual private server (VPS) you can rent and rent it from them. You may, or may not, get a choice of an operating system. Most Linux operating systems are FOSS, so choose the one that is best for you (or that the hosting company selects by default). Once you have that installed you need something to show off your content, WordPress is one of the most popular ones (and the one this website runs on), or there are so many other options based on what you want or need.

Once you have the server, you need a website. These are mostly called domain registrar’s, and there are so many available (sometimes they come free with a server). My favourite’s are Namesilo (affilate link), Gandi.net (affiliate link), Sibername (affiliate link), and GlowHost (affiliate link). You then need to attach the website to the server (ask customer support for details on how to do so as this depends on what the website company has).

The server and website are now attached, you should be able to go to your website and see something. You then need to put your content on there (how you do this depends on what you put on the server) then you have content created using FOSS that is public for others to read and enjoy.

This was inspired by Jake’s post on him going from user to contributing to FOSS. This is post number 47 as part of 100 Days To Offload.

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All This Noise

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When was the last time you didn’t hear anything? I don’t mean in the middle of the day when there is nobody in the office. I mean hearing absolutely nothing and taking the time to appreciate the sound of nothing.

Companies try to engineer the right noise when you use their product, when you close a car door for example, it makes a sound that sounds like the door actually closed and isn’t too loud or quiet. If you use a vacuum cleaner you may notice some of them are very noisy and some are quiet. This is all done on purpose. If you hear a vacuum cleaner sucking up the dirt then you know it’s doing it’s work.

With all this noise how loud is too loud? The three deciding factors are, sound level, how long and the distance from the sound. Experts say anything under 70 decibels is safe for any length of time. Most people would say something along the lines of “Well that doesn’t really help me since I don’t constantly measure the sound level around me. How about something practical?” A lawnmower is around 90 decibels, a car horn is around 110 decibels, and a gunshot is about 140 decibels.

Now that you know that you may be wondering how long is too long? For around 90 decibels you shouldn’t be unexposed for more than 2 hours. For 110 decibels no more than 2 minutes. And for 140 decibels (a gunshot), you shouldn’t have any unexposed hearing. Basically the safe listening time is cut in half for every 3-dB rise in noise levels over 70 dB.

What about distance you may think, sound decreases by 6 decibels every time you double your distance away.

We are all used to noise, but what happen when we experience silence? Some people love the sound of it, and some hate it, and sometimes it can be used in a powerful way. For example, Fred Rogers (or more commonly known as Mr.Rogers) accepted the lifetime achievement award at the 24th Emmy awards. During his acceptance speech he asked the crowd to take a short period of time to think about each person who is proud about where they have gotten to. During that time the camera shows off the audience and you couldn’t see a dry eye.

Most award shows like that there is constant noise, I’m sure many people who were in attendance appreciated the quiet.

You may have noticed that some people can work in a noisy environment but some need a quiet place. Some people can tune out all the background noise in a noisy environment, but they can’t tune out intermittent speech where they will only hear a few words here and there. In some noisy environment’s you may notice people wearing headphones so they can tune out everything, some studies say background music can have a good impact (hard paywall). One study also says that the effect of background noise is different on introverts and extroverts (hard paywall). While you may be able to filter out all the background noise the person right beside you may not be able to, so please take your own noise into consideration at all times.

Now often do we have silence in our lives? It’s not as often as you may think. In your normal day you may only experience silence when you get up and go to bed. Sometimes there may be moments on silence on special occasions like Remembrance Day. If you want to get more silence then you have to carve time out of your day to purposefully be quiet.

I encourage you to take more time in life to just hear the sound of nothing.

Other related articles to read:
That Racket? It’s the Sound of Suburbia
Why Everything Is Getting Louder
How to reduce noise in any room
Restaurant Noise: Levels and Temporal Characteristics – hard paywall
Noise Problems in Restaurants – hard paywall
Is There a Happy Medium for Restaurant Noise?
Making noise in favour of silence
How Restaurants Got So Loud
Why restaurants became so loud — and how to fight back
How the sound in your home affects your mood

I’m posting this as part of 100 Days To Offload (post number 46). You can learn more or join in by going to https://100daystooffload.com/.

Continue ReadingAll This Noise

Quibi’s paltry downloads aren’t just due to COVID-19, it’s more than that.

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October 22nd update: According to the Wall Stret Journal & Quibi’s blog, Quibi is shutting down after only 6 months of operation. It will be interesting to see if they manage to license / sell the shows they created.

If you don’t yet know about Quibi then let me briefly tell you what it is, it is a new streaming services, but it’s only available on phones, and each new episode is only 10 minutes long (which they call “quick bites“). There is a new episode of each show every weekday.

Now that you know briefly what Quibi is, let me talk about why I’m talking about paltry downloads, Nicole Sperling for the New York Times did a story where she talked to the founder of Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and how he is blaming COVID-19 for the rough start of Quibi. But I feel it’s not just COVID-19 which is causing his app to have less downloads than he wanted, it’s more than that.

To start, there are already so many streaming services, way too many to list here so I will refer you to MacRumors and ScreenRant for a list of the majority of current streaming services. When there is too many streaming services people don’t want to subscribe to a service just for one or two shows, then have to cancel. There is what many are calling ‘subscription fatigue‘ which we already had already hit in December 2019 or even earlier.

If you do want to use Quibi after the free trial you have to decide which plan you want, which just adds another step to the process that the user has to take. They have to decide if they want to pay $5 per month to get access, but get ads that can’t be skipped. Or a user can pay $8 per month for no ads.

Quibi also has each episode be 10 minutes or less which is unique to Quibi, but most aren’t sure if this will be a good model in the future.

With many streaming services users can take screenshots so they can share a part of the show with someone, but at the time of writing Quibi doesn’t let you do that. As Paige Leskin pointed out, it’s stopping Quibi from going viral and getting more subscribers.

Finally, Quibi is doing something no streaming service has done before, only being viewable on a phone, so it’s going to take time for users to adapt to it, and some may not adapt. COVID-19 isn’t the only thing that caused low downloads, it’s all of these reasons and more

Read more: Techdirt, Deadline, Techmeme

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. I won’t be posting everyday but you can join in yourself by learning more and visiting https://100daystooffload.com/.

Continue ReadingQuibi’s paltry downloads aren’t just due to COVID-19, it’s more than that.

Why I Stopped Using Cloudflare On This Website

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Disclosure: I was a free customer of Cloudflare for many years because they have free SSL (a previous hosting provider I was using made you pay for SSL if you wanted it). When I moved to a hosting provider with free SSL I just simply didn’t want to take the time to get off Cloudflare.

There aren’t 100% accurate numbers on how many websites are using Cloudflare (only Cloudflare will know those numbers but doesn’t publicly share them). W3Techs estimates Cloudflare is used on around 15% of all websites in the world. This may not seem like a big number until you read on W3Techs that out of all the reverse proxy services that W3Techs tracks, Cloudflare is used by over 80% of them.

The thing about using such a popular company is if they make a mistake and bring down something they will bring down a huge number of websites. Which has happened many times. I stopped wanting to be one of “those websites” that went down when Cloudflare was having issues.

You have to change your DNS records to Cloudflare, now CloudFlare gets to control who gets to view your website. You can go into the settings of your dashboard and turn things off (or to low) but ultimately Cloudflare makes that final decision. I didn’t want Cloudflare to make that final decision of who can view this website, now I get control over who can view my website. Ultimately, some people like the control of who gets to view their website and some people don’t want to worry about that.

In getting control over who views your website, Cloudflare blocks anyone who is using Tor from accessing any website behind Cloudflare, or makes it very difficult for that person to view the website. Tor has many people using it to get online without censorship and if Cloudflare is blocking Tor then those who are using it are unable to view many websites.

Not many people think about if a company is profitable before using them (you can use a site like Crunchbase to find out if they are raising money). If a company isn’t profitable then a company will have to keep taking money from investors, and the investors will want their return on investment back and if the company can’t give them their money back the investors may take over the company. As of the time of writing Cloudflare is not profitable and has raised around $330 million. There aren’t any public documents detailing how CloudFlare plans to become profitable.

Website speed is very important and when tested on a staging website, this website was actually slower when on Cloudflare (vs not).

This are some of my reasons for no longer using Cloudflare on this website. What are your reasons for (or against) using Cloudflare? Let me know on Twitter or Mastodon.

Other related articles to read:
Why I Stopped Using CloudFlare – Review Hell
Turns out half the internet has a Single-Point-of-Failure called “Cloudflare” – easyDNS
Cloudflare considered harmful – Hugo Landau
What Is Cloudflare And Should You Use It? – HostingReview
Don’t use Cloudflare CDN: build in speed quality instead. – Pagepipe
why you shouldn’t use Cloudflare – tiq’s tech-blog
The Great Cloudwall
Why Should You Use Cloudflare Like I Do – Kevin

I’m posting this as part of 100 Days To Offload (post number 45). You can learn more or join in by going to https://100daystooffload.com/.

Continue ReadingWhy I Stopped Using Cloudflare On This Website

Everything should be closed on election day

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On polling day (or some call it election day) a majority of people who are eligible to vote (that depends on where in the world you are) get the chance to vote. But not everyone gets to vote.

There are many careers where they must have someone there 24/7/365, everyone who works at a hospital (hospitals will stay open during almost anything), firefighters, some grocery store & restaurant workers, and there are many more places. It isn’t fair if they have to work and don’t get a chance to vote on voting day. Yes some may work shifts, or be able to take some time out of their working day to vote, but there are some that must be there 24/7 or are the only one working there during election day.

Getting all these people to vote doesn’t just mean that more people will vote overall, it gives everyone a fair chance to allow their choice to be represented.

It may mean the voting places would be more busy, but there are ways to ensure it doesn’t get busy. By having election officials come to the work places of those places so they can vote while working. Or there could be more election places, sometimes there is only one election / voting spot in an area and if someone isn’t given the time off to vote then they don’t get the chance to place their ballet.

If everything were to be closed it would have to be announced ahead of time, and there would have to be some self-serve options so people can still get stuff like gas.

I understand that this wouldn’t work 100% in the real world, but this was a thought I had.

I’m posting this as part of 100 Days To Offload (post number 44). You can learn more or join in by going to https://100daystooffload.com/.

Continue ReadingEverything should be closed on election day

What if there was no internet during a lockdown

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For some parts of the world that were in a lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19, the internet was used much more (but also the place for news). What would have happened if there was no internet during this lockdown and future ones?

People may try to see more people (but stay distanced) compared to with the internet we can chat with anyone (from around the world) without leaving our home.

The telephone (and by extension text messaging) would be used more if in-person couldn’t happen. AT&T alone has seen voice traffic go up anywhere from 20 to 40% (archive copy) during COVID-19.

If there was no internet it would have meant less people to talk to (unless you want to go out in in-person, or use the phone) which means you could enjoy not having to talk with anyone who isn’t at your home. Some have said that since there would be less people to talk to, an extrovert would have a worst time but it seemed like some are using it to their advantage during COVID-19.

During this lockdown many companies started doing virtual tours but without the internet there would be no tours, there would also be no way to donate to those places (without going in-person) so there would be some places that have to shut down or take huge losses.

If there are no internet there would be no social media (of which 72% of the public uses), while it does offer an easy way to be keep up with the latest news. It has also become a place for false information (or misinformation) which can easily spread.

I’m glad we have the internet to keep us company during any lockdowns, but we could live without it.

This post was inspired by Life Before the Internet on dorset.tech.

I’m posting this as part of 100 Days To Offload (post number 43). You can learn more or join in by going to https://100daystooffload.com/.

Continue ReadingWhat if there was no internet during a lockdown

Maybe You Shouldn’t Self-Host

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Many people in the privacy community self-host because they don’t trust the big companies, and that is a valid reason but there are many reasons why you shouldn’t self-host.

Time to dedicate to it: When you self-host you have to spend time doing all the maintenance related to the server. From stopping DDoS attacks, to ensuring the software updating, and more. If you simply don’t have the time to dedicate to doing this then self-hosting isn’t for you.

Don’t have 24/7 power: There are very few places in the world that have power 100% of the time, so if your house loses power so does your server and everything you run on it. Some applications will keep trying to access the application you host, and after some time it may just give up.

Don’t have to pay for new hardware: If a piece of hardware on your self-hosted system dies then you are financially responsible for replacing it. If you rent from a company then they have to pay and replace that hardware.

Backup is still required: You could backup on your self-hosting but many in the backup community swear by 3-2-1 backup rule. You will still have to backup everything you self-host.

All in all, deciding to self-host depends on many factors and if you can afford (both time and financially) to self-host or not.

I’m posting this as part of 100 Days To Offload (post number 42). You can learn more or join in by going to https://100daystooffload.com/.

Continue ReadingMaybe You Shouldn’t Self-Host

July 18th to 31st need to know tech news

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Why am I telling you about the technology news I think you need to know? Because I’m trying to present it in an unbiased way as possible. There are many websites doing something similar but they don’t tend to present unbiased news sites.

Apple vows to be carbon neutral by 2030, supply chain included

Google’s Project Zero team won’t be applying for Apple’s SRD program

Garmin outage caused by confirmed WastedLocker ransomware attack

The CEOs of Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook face a hostile USA House antitrust subcommittee

I’m posting this as part of 100 Days To Offload (post number 41). You can learn more or join in by going to https://100daystooffload.com/.

Continue ReadingJuly 18th to 31st need to know tech news

What is a journalist’s job?

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Note: I have centre-left bias, I’m trying to present this in an unbiased way. If I link to a website I will do my best to label each websites bias so you can have an informed decision. Some of the sites linked do have a paywall in which you can use a site like archive.org or archive.today to read the content if you don’t have any account on that site.

According to Merriam-Webster(unbiased) the definition of a journalist is “a person who is engaged in journalism (especially a writer or editor for a news medium), or a writer who aims at a mass audience.” A journalist doesn’t have to be someone who works at a news company, it could be someone who posts about news of any sort anywhere.

Now that we have the definition it’s time to ask what is a journalist’s job? A journalist mostly posts about the news, that could be in written, audio, or even video form. Some journalist’s find their own stories to publish which could mean spending a ton of time finding a good story(least bias), talking to insiders(unbiased), asking for comment from those involved in the story (left-centre bias) and writing a complete story (unbiased). Some journalists also get press releases(unbiased) and write about it. Journalist’s also talk what has already been posted by another journalist and rewrite it slightly.

As with everything in life, not everyone will be happy with what you do. When a journalist writes something positive about a company, then their competitor hates the journalist. If the journalist writes something negative about a company, then the company hates the journalist. If the journalist writes about a group of people negatively then that group of people hates the journalist. Sometimes when someone hates someone else like a journalist they go on and rant or harass that person, most likely through any method including social media(fact checking), email (right-centre bias), phone calls (unbiased), and by mail or in-person (unbiased). “and all reporters, should be able to do their jobs without facing harassment”, says Choire Sicha who is the editor of the New York Times Styles desk (left bias).

Being a journalist isn’t easy, but I encourage every journalist to continue to report the facts, dig deep and find stories that others aren’t reporting do a story on them, take all comments with a grain of salt (unbiased), and be bold.

I’m posting this as part of 100 Days To Offload (post number 40). You can learn more or join in by going to https://100daystooffload.com/.

Continue ReadingWhat is a journalist’s job?

Why I don’t self-host my email

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If you have a domain and you want to send emails from it there are many ways to do so, you could sign up for a provider like Google Suite, Microsoft 365 Business, and there are many others. You can also host the email yourself, you will need a server and you can use a software like Mail-in-a-box, Mailcow and many others.

People in my circles say you should self-host your email, and I have not done so at this point, and I will probably never do so. Here’s why:

Reliability: it is best if your email provider is up 24/7 so ensure you get all the emails that come into to you, and if you have to make sure it’s reliable then it won’t be as reliable.

Time to maintain / update it: if you have your own email then you need to maintain the server, do all the updates, but if you use another provider then all you have to do is make sure your payment details are accurate and change your password when you feel like it.

I’m not in control: if you are control of something then you spend more time checking it, but if you aren’t in control then you get no say when it is up or not.

I don’t host my own email because I don’t trust myself with doing that is required to have a good self-hosted email server. I will leave it up to those who know more than me and will happily pay them to keep up a good email provider.

Other related articles to read:
Jake Bauer’s month-and-a-half of self-hosted email
Dugite-Code on why they still host email themselves
Jan-Lukas Else on why he no longer host emails himself
Why Jeff Kee thinks self-hosting emails are dying out (and why they should)
Micah Lee writes about Helm, a home email server
Gilles Chehade on you should not run your mail server because mail is hard

I’m posting this as part of 100 Days To Offload (post number 39). You can learn more or join in by going to https://100daystooffload.com/.

Continue ReadingWhy I don’t self-host my email