Apple Watch “Stupid-ass” Links (not smart at all)

Apple still refusing to give product owners a way to disable Apple’s ineptly executed “smart” links is unfathomable. Its annoying on a Mac and an iPhone, but inexplicably stupid on Apple Watch.

An 8 digit product number – obviously not a US phone – gets highlighted as a phone number, tap it and it just places a call to…  well, NOT to the USA.

Ditto a 5 digit zipcode, also highlighted as a phone number link to call who-knows-where.

But is the actual URL in the text message clickable? Hell no.

Morons.

Another great support feature ruined by marketing assholes (GoDaddy)

If you own domains, there are situations where you would certainly want to be alerted if an issue arises… for example if a domain registration renewal failed due to an old credit card number.

So it’s a great idea for a registrar like GoDaddy to offer a text message – in addition to the usual email – if something is expiring, for example.

Until the marketing assholes decide to force you to also accept marketing messages if you want important tech/admin messages.

When you use those cheap overseas web developers, double-down on Testing

One of the larger sites for finding and hiring Filipino virtual assistants is Onlinejobs.ph (headquartered in Utah).

Not surprisingly, the site uses Filipino workers to build and maintain their own website… artists, support staff, programmers, etc.

No doubt they save a lot of money by using Filipino developers.

But if you’re going to save money on developers, for goodness’ sake double-down on Testing. (“Testing” in a broad sense to include for example functional specifications.)

As an example, here’s an incredibly stupid bug I found today on the very popular Onlinejobs.ph site… which as I write this is adversely affecting the site’s utility for both employers and workers. (And no telling how long it’s been broken, perhaps since day 1.)

The website hosts job postings from employers, and resumes of job seekers, and offers employers a way to keyword search for job seekers, and offers job seekers a way to keyword search for job postings.

So the fundamental CORE of their service is SEARCH so employers/workers can find each other. The rest is window dressing.

But in an example of inept programming PLUS inept testing, their search is fundamentally broken in the sense that if a job post is open to “any” type of worker (full time, part time, or freelance) a job seeker searching for full-time will NOT SEE that job post. The only job seekers who will see that job post are ones who ALSO specify full time AND part time AND freelance.

(In other words, their search should “OR” the job post work type -but it stupidly does an “AND”.)

Hey, that kind of bug can happen, especially when you save money hiring cheaper and less experienced developers.

Which makes it all the more important to NOT skimp on testing methodology implemented by someone actually thinking about the test cases. It would have caught this bug before it failed untold times to correctly match workers and employers.

(Another bug on this site is the ongoing inability of their PHP programmers  to figure out “escaping/unescaping” submitted text so job posts containing a percent symbol or an ampersand symbol render correctly. But those at least are obvious by proofreading unlike the search bug.)

A book review the algorithm-centric nazi bastards at Amazon rejected

I finally terminated my Prime membership … the last straw was the heavy-handed and arrogant non-support at Amazon.

I’ve posted 69 prior reviews.

Tried to post the following review of an outstanding new novel I purchased on Amazon, which review Amazon rejected. Their chat support claimed it was a technical error that would be fixed, but the next day I got an email saying “Amazon is unable to post the customer review because some of the details of this account indicate a relationship to sellers, publishers, or other reviewers of the product.” I asked for specifics, heard nothing back.

Heavy-handed and authoritarian.

My review of “Deep River” by Karl Marlantes:

Move over, Michener.

I can only make time to read a couple novels a year, but my interest piqued by the favorable WSJ review, I downloaded this to my Kindle before a trip and was amply rewarded.

This beautifully crafted saga is an epic view of the melting pot that was America during the tumultuous early 20th century… families compelled to leave their ancestral homeland, and how in the process of making America their new home they made America so much more than the sum of its parts.

Marlantes’ writing is a joy to read, richly nuanced characters and historical detail, punctuated with gem-like aphorisms such as “Aino’s first impression of America was elbows and noise.”

 

 

Canceled Consumer Reports Because of TrueCar

The current Consumer Reports “member pricing” offer for buying cars is bullshit… eg, TrueCar.

The first thing they ask is your phone number. And notice there is literally NO explanation of what they will do with your phone number, or what the overall process is. Unless of course you want to wade through pages of legalese in their privacy and terms of service pages.

Let me simplify it… they’ll give your number to dealers, including out of state dealers, including dealers who do not have the make/model you want, who are free to hound you via phone. According to multiple online complaints about TrueCar.

Shame on you Consumer Reports, and Goodbye, after decades of my support.

OWC: “own it” when you ship a broken item

I have two OWC thunderbolt external drive units sitting next to my Mac. But they will never be joined by any more OWC products.

I believe that when  company ships a defective product that they are nuts not to bend over backwards to “right” the problem, immediately, and without asking their customer to “loan” them more money while the replacement and return are being sorted.

I ordered an OWC Aura Pro X upgrade SSD kit for a Macbook Pro late 2013. It arrive on time, but an incidental item was damaged upon receipt (an external case that lets the original SSD be used as an extra external drive had a LED broken off and rattling loose inside the case).

Took photos. Called OWC. Offered to send them the photos. Within 10 minutes of the item begin delivered.

OWC was “very sorry” but flatly refused to put a replacement case in the mail until either I returned the bad one, or prepayed for the replacement to get a credit later. They said they could not ship a case “for free”.

Free?  They had my money. I had a broken case. There’s nothing “free” about that.

So at that moment in time OWC did have 100% of their money, but I did not have 100% of what I paid for.

So the notion that it was my problem to eliminate their perceived risk that I might fail to return a case that costs them maybe $20 to make one seems ridiculously short-sighted.

But so be it. Entire $400 order was returned with an RMA the same day for what I expect to be a full refund.

Macbook Pro 2013/Sierra as fast as Macbook Pro 2018/Mohave for Rspec/Docker/Rails Dev

TLDR; An old 2013 2.3GHz quad core Macbook Pro 15″ w/ 16GB running Sierra (10.12) is as fast as a 2018 2.6GHz 6 core Macbook Pro 15″ w/32 GB under Mohave (10.14). A Mac Mini 2018 (32gb) running Mohave is 21% faster than both.

My trusty 2013 15″ MBP has been a reliable workhorse for a  range of development tasks, but as we have moved to using Docker in our dev environment, but with only 4 cores, 16GB, and a 500GB SSD,  I considered both the 2018 Mac Mini and an Apple-refurbished 2018 MBP, both with 32GB RAM, faster processors, and 1TB internal SSD.

Admittedly, I had visions harkening back to 1984 when, as a grad student/developer, I hocked the farm to get one of the first IBM “AT” computers to hit Palo Alto, and watched the compile times for my educational app plummet from 20 minutes to about 4 minutes.

I even convinced myself I could tolerate the MBP touchbar / trackpad / keyboard since the vast majority of the time I’m at a desk using an external keyboard and trackpad.

But I was disapppointed how modest the performance gains (if any) were.

Unfortunately, the new Mac hardware under the new Mac OS is not a compelling value proposition.

When the 2013 MBP is running Sierra, and the 2018 Macs are running Mohave:
Mini2018: 5:02,  MBP2018: 6:07, MBP2013: 6:13

When the older 2013 Macbook is upgraded to Mohave, the 2018MBP is 17% faster than the 2013 MBP. (But no escape key.)

So apples-to-apples-to-apples under Mohave, the Rspec runtimes are:
Mini2018: 5:02,  MBP2018: 6:07, MBP2013: 7:20

Test setup: A suite of about 800 RSpec examples running in Docker Desktop v 2.0.0.3 for Mac… a web container with a Heroku-16 stack for a Rails 4.2.10 app with ruby 2.4.5, and a database container with Postgres 10.5. Tests were run 3 times on each platform and the times averaged. (Docker preferences set to 2 cores, 4GB RAM, 1 GB swap)

Verdict: the Mac Mini and the 2018 MBP both go back to the Apple Store tomorrow within Apple’s generous 14 day return window.

Fortunately, while I do need an 1TB internal SSD drive for the 2013 MBP, Apple did not completely future-proof the 2013 MBP and the internal SSD can be replaced.

Just don’t even think about buying a Fitbit Versa

Or at least, buy it from Costco, and try to remove / replace the band before leaving the parking lot, so you don’t have to make an extra trip to return it… because you WILL return it.

Google “fitbit versa band problems”.

Seriously, worst wristwatch band in history. Tiny little bend/breakable pins and a bizarrely difficult ‘push down to release band’ pin that can’t be reached because the band is in the way.

(Oh yeah, still no calendar… “so-Called-Smart” watch with no calendar. Still does not allow you to change the volume on some devices like Apple AirPods when listening to music.)

HemmorrAndroids even more painful than IOS

Daughter called from a borrowed phone because her Samsung Galaxy S9 bricked itself during a routine update. So she gets to drive an hour to the nearest place that can re-flash her Android ROM.

Yes, apparently that shit still happens in Android-land.

Now don’t get me wrong, I despise IOS since IOS 9. And Apple’s jack-booted-thugs killing the ability to install older versions of IOS that actually worked. Especially because Apple software quality has gone right into the shitter.

But I guess Apple can get away with it as long as Google/Android continues to suck so bad.