Sunday, September 13, 2020

Teams in the Tank

Shortly before the Coronavirus hit the world in early 2020, Microsoft had it's own crisis.

Microsoft was pushing its Teams platform heavily, even running TV commercials during the NFL playoffs.

Then just after 9AM EST on February 3, 2020, it all stopped.

We've determined that an authentication certificate has expired causing users to have issues using the service.

Microsoft let a certificate expire.

Around noon, Teams was mostly back up. Microsoft confirmed the fix was successfully deployed around 4:30PM.

Maybe they should have put a reminder on their Outlook calendar.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Chrome Tab Hover Cards

Google's Chrome 85 has lots of new bells and whistles. One I've been playing with is Tab Hover Cards.

Although I have Chrome 85, this specific feature is not enabled. Google tends to roll these out in waves.

If you want to see it now, go to chrome://flags and search for "tab-hover-card". I intentionally omitted the "s" at the end so you'll see both flags.

For each entry, click on the blue box and change the setting to "Enabled".

"Tab Hover Cards" has choices for "Enabled", "Enabled B", and "Enabled C". These affect how quickly the preview pops up.

Then you'll need to relaunch Chrome.

This is what the preview looks like.


Not all of the previews come up immediately. It seems that Chrome is building them in the background. It may take a few minutes before all the previews are ready.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Trillions with a "T"

 In late 2019, Accenture Strategy did an assessment on "Securing the Digital Economy."

Topics included:

  • The Internet Just Can't Keep Up
  • The IoT Effect
  • Identities in Crisis
  • No Flow Versus Free Flow
  • The Cost of Insecurity
  • Keeping Tabs on Cybersecurity Investments

Then they gave recommendations for actions in the following areas:

  • Governance
  • Infrastructure
  • Technology

This is a great read.

But I want to emphasize just one of their findings - The Cost of Insecurity

Here's their chart:

In the private sector, over the next five years companies risk losing an estimated US$5.2 trillion in value creation opportunities from the digital economy

Yes, that TRILLIONS with a "T."

If that's hard to get your head around, this will help you apply this to your company.

This translates to 2.8 percent in lost revenue growth for the next five years for a large global company.

Worry. React. Invest.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Dashcam Wiring - OBD Power Cable

I got a new dashcam for Father's Day so I had one to "trickle down."

I'd always wanted to put a dashcam in my Honda S2000.


But the S2000 is a different animal. I didn't want to tackle the power like I had done on my newer Hondas. But the cigarette lighter in the S2000 is on the bulkhead behind the seats.

Then I came across some OBD power cables. There are a variety of alternatives with various connectors, e.g. mini-USB, micro-USB, USB-A.

But the OBD port supplies power even when the ignition is off. Some of the OBD power cables have a "smart" switch that gives 2 different modes. The first is always on, at least until the battery runs down. Unless your dashcam has a motion sensor that will cut it off when no motion is detected, that's not what you want.

The other mode on these "smart" switch OBD power cables is called "ACC". It kills the power 5 minutes after the car is turned off,


But I'm cautious of recommending it just because of the seller. The seller is in China which normally takes several weeks for delivery. But that seller offered "Local Express Shipping" with expected delivery in 1-2 days. I opted for that.

It didn't work out so well. The shipping took 3 weeks. When I tried to contact the seller, the e-mail address that Amazon had failed. But it did arrive and it was well packaged.

Overall, the cable does exactly what I wanted it to. There are several observations to add, though.

The OBD connector doesn't have any mechanism to secure it to the car's OBD port. I'm not sure that that is even possible but since my car's OBD port faces downward, I'm worried that the connector will just fall out.


Similarly, the mini-USB connector seems loose in the mini-USB port of the dashcam.


But it hasn't fallen out.

I'm using the "ACC" mode.


The other consideration I ran into as I researched these OBD power cables was that sometimes they interfere with the normal operation of the OBD system, even sometimes affecting operation of the car.

Toward this end, this OBD power cable only uses 3 pins.


So far, so good.

This looks like the exact product from an on-shore seller. This one has a USB-A port so you could power anything with a USB-A cable, e.g. a GPS or a cell phone.

This has also led me on a quest for other uses of the OBD port. Since the S2000 sits in the garage all winter, I have a battery maintainer for it. But the battery maintainer uses alligator clips that connect to the battery terminals. This means that to connect the battery maintainer I have to open the hood.

This cable plugs into the OBD port and has a connector for the battery maintainer!

I wonder what else I can use the OBD port for?

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Microsoft Editor for Chrome

Have you ever used Grammarly for Chrome? Me neither. Grammarly has a free offering but the meat of their product is $23.96 per month. Microsoft Editor's premium features are included in Microsoft's Office 365 offering for $7 per month.

You can get Microsoft Editor in the Chrome Web Store for free. It does require you to login to the extension with a Microsoft account (MSA). After that it doesn't nag you anymore.

You get a couple of choices of what you want to enable and whether it is active on a particular web page.

Then as you're creating text, it watches your input and makes suggestions with a blue underlining.


Hover over the underlined word and you'll get a pop-up with hints. Click on the pop-up to accept the suggestion.

Just incidentally, that example was of capitalization in the subject of an e-mail. Microsoft Editor treated it like a title. I have a favorite tool for checking capitalization of titles. It looks like the New York Times could use that tool.

And while I'm off topic into writing tools, check out the Hemingway Editor.

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Nothing Is Simple

Why do developers make things so hard? Do you remember the good old days when the browser's address bar simply showed the URL?

Not so much any more. I wrote about Google removing "trivial" sub-domains here and the problems that caused with a Delta Vacations representative.

Now Google is removing even more of the URL.

So let's imagine that you are really pedantic and want to see the whole URL. With Chrome 83 and later you can!

All you have to do is browse to chrome://flags and search for "Context menu show full URLs". Set this to "Enabled" and restart Chrome.


You can just ignore the big red warning "WARNING: EXPERIMENTAL FEATURES AHEAD".

But wait, the full URL doesn't show even then.


You still have to right-click in the address bar and choose "Always Show Full URLs".


Finally!


That was easy, wasn't it?

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Essential Lineage

Previously I shared that Essential had shut down effective February 2020. And that I was using an iPhone X. I don't give up that easily.

Finally, Lineage has published an Android 10 release of their ROM for the Essential PH-1. They are dropping nightlies that are stable enough for a daily driver.


I followed the Lineage instructions for Essential (mata) here. The phone I was using already had an unlocked bootloader and an old system image, i.e. before February 2020.

The whole process went well but there are a couple of tips I want to share.

While the instructions are accurate, there are subtleties here and there that even a non-noobie like me needs help on.

For example, there are a couple of times where the instructions say to hold down a specific key combination. Then the next step is "Once the device is in..."

Uh, when do I release the keys and in what sequence? How do I know that the device is in the desired mode?

Here's the detail for Fastboot from Essential Support:
  1. Press and hold the Power and Volume-Down buttons.
  2. When you see the Essential logo on the screen, or you feel the phone vibrate, release the Power button (but keep holding the Volume-Down button).
  3. Release the Volume-Down button when Fastboot Mode appears.
Another place is "Once the device is in fastboot mode, verify your PC finds it by typing: fastboot devices".

And THEN what should I see?

Well, I didn't get ANY response from adb which I figured wasn't good.

It turns out that I had to update the Essential device drivers AGAIN while the phone was in Fastboot mode. The instructions are here.
  • Open device manager
  • Find Unknown "Android" device (likely listed under Other devices with an exclamation mark)
  • Update driver
  • Browse my computer for driver software
  • Let me pick from a list of devices, select List All Devices
  • Under "Android device" or "Google Inc", you will find "Android Bootloader Interface"
  • Choose "Android Bootloader Interface"
  • Click "yes" when it says that driver might not be compatible
After flashing the Lineage ROM, I flashed Open GApps micro for ARM64. As it was flashing I got messages on the phone about "zip signature verification failed".

What did that mean? Was it bad?

The answer to that is here.

TWRP (LOS recovery in my case) would need to incorporate a copy of LineageOS's public keys in order for its signature verification feature to work properly.

So, not to worry.

Whew! I'm glad I had done this before so when I stumbled I at least knew to go looking for answers.