Author Archives: Tony

Download Your Google Reader Feeds

For those of you that use Google Reader, you are (hopefully) aware that the service will stop working on July 1st. Yes, that’s Monday. If you haven’t already, download your list of feeds by clicking on this link.

I have transitioned my reading to the Feedly service until a better solution arrives.

LinkedIn drops Xobni support

Like many others that work in IT professionally, I live in Outlook during the day. One of the plugins that has lightened the email burden is Xobni because it connects my contacts to their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles and also to Evernote. My favorite feature is how Xobni shows me all of the latest attachments from each contact for quick access. It is an amazing time-saver. Imagine my frustration when the LinkedIn integration stopped working a week ago. Now imagine my frustration when I searched for the reason and found that LinkedIn no longer allows Xobni access to my data.

This is so frustrating to me. Here is my short message to the Tent community:

Dear LinkedIn: Why did you drop support for Xobni? I realize you looked on with jealousy as >50% of my LinkedIn activity was through Xobni but I brought professional *to* you using them. Now you are just another data silo that I used to respect.

My social graph is in the hands of for-profit companies: LinkedIn for my professional life, Facebook for my personal life, and Twitter for the vast gray area in the middle. My social graph is not under my control. I’m ready to change that but haven’t found a mature-enough solution. Hopefully Tent will grow up in the next year or so and projects will begin to use this amazingly useful protocol.

How to Enable Two-Step Verification for Your Apple ID

Cody Fink at MacStories:

Using two-step verification is completely optional — you’re not required to use the extra security measure if you don’t want to. For those who opt-in, Apple gives fair warning that you’ll need your trusted device with you to access your account information. Apple does provide a printable Recovery Key in case you lose your iOS device or forget your password, but they won’t be able to help you if you lose it. I recommend storing the Recovery Key in 1Password for safe keeping. If you do lose the Recovery Key, you can generate and print a new key if you can log into your account.

This is an important step in making Apple IDs more secure. I just finished enabling two-step verification on mine and putting my recovery key into 1Password.

Eliminate the bi-annual time change caused by Daylight Savings Time | We the People: Your Voice in Our Government

If, like me, you find the twice-a-year time change less than helpful, sign this petition for the White House to eliminate it.

Daylight Savings Time is an archaic practice in our modern society.

The original reasons for the policies are no longer applicable, and the most cited reason for keeping DST (energy savings) has never been shown to be true.

Some industries still like DST (like sporting equipment retailers), but there are many more who dislike the changed hours (like television).

The real issue, however is not the later hours or extra sunlight. Studies have shown that changing the clocks is responsible for health problems (including increased heart attack and vehicular accident risks) and leads to hundreds of thousands of hours of lost productivity in workplaces across the country. Also: It’s really annoying.

We should either eliminate DST or make it the year-round standard time for the whole country.


IBM i V5R4 to V7R1

We are in the middle of testing every app in every LPAR to make sure that it all works. We have code written in Lansa, RPG, CL, and Java. Some apps are home-grown and some were purchased.

V6 is the behemoth update while V7 is much smaller. As you might be aware, the V6 upgrade process must touch every program object due to a new memory management system. This requires that every program object be observable. If any aren’t, they will no longer execute. This has been a challenge for us since we began with about 10,000 non-observable objects. Now we are at a much more manageable number.

BitTorrent Launches Syncing Service to Compete with Dropbox – Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter

Dick Eastman in his Online Genealogy Newsletter talks about the new, in alpha, BitTorrent Sync product:

Now BitTorrent Inc. has launched BitTorrent Sync, a pre-Alpha service for syncing files between devices. The new service is very much like Dropbox but with one major difference: it doesn’t store any files on anyone else’s servers. In fact, it doesn’t store any files anywhere in the cloud. It only copies files directly from one computer you own to another computer you own (or to a friend’s computer that you explicitly allow into your personal “network”) without intermediate storage anywhere else.

Distributed computing is a good thing and having protected access to your files is a very good thing.

Captain Kirk Tweets the Space Station (updated)

This feels significant. Like we are crossing the threshold from science fiction into non-fiction.

Great post from Universe Today.


[Update] The @SarcasticRover brings us this light-hearted addition.

2012 in Review

This is the time of year when we reflect on where we are and what we’ve done. I am no exception.

Professionally: I am making significant contributions at my current client.

Personally: My maternal grandfather passed away. As my wife says, many people experience the death of a loved one but it is a very personal, private, and lonely experience.

Spiritually: My mentor is the greatest teacher in all of history.  Our congregation has a new Student Pastor who is caring for and challenging our youth in wonderful ways.

Parentally: This truth is constantly reinforced: raising children is difficult and yet surprisingly rewarding.

2013 is only a couple of days away. Instead of making resolutions for the new year, I typically bring my existing goals and plans into focus and evaluate them.

There is one goal that does not have a plan. I’d like to write more. Patrick Rhone has committed to posting daily in 2013. I am not prepared to make that commitment but am looking for more outlets. Tent is helping.

The Sarcastic Rover

What is better than a rover doing science on Mars? A sarcastic rover that hates the planet but loves “doing a science”. Check out @SarcasticRover.

A few choice quotes:

Almost forgot about my awesome discovery… It’s carbon. I found some carbon. Not sure how it got here. YOU’RE WELCOME.

When humans land on Mars I hope their first words are: “Look out, it’s got a laser and free will!” Then burning silence.

Every science begins with a simple question… usually that question is something like, “I wonder why that didn’t kill me?”

Whenever I flip a rock over on Mars I always yell “SURPRISE!” – just in case

Why Tent

After a one month deep dive into the Tent protocol, I am coming up for air to let you know what I’ve found.

For me, Tent boils down to a swiss-army knife for social networking, communication, and storage. Tent improves communicate by structuring information and by making you the owner.

Try Tent

First, try it for yourself.

The team putting together the Tent protocol has created a business with a reference implementation. Head over to, create an account, and try out their first service: microblogging. Use a few different apps to get a flavor for the ecosystem. My app recommendations are Zelten and Essayist.

The average user will be a few layers removed from Tent so here are a few reasons why they should care about this thing they cannot see.

Own Your Stuff

The stuff you create on the web is yours. At least it should be. Tent enables ownership by first saving your stuff in one place; in YOUR place. You can then allow other sites to see it as long as they agree to your licensing terms.

This time, THEY have to approve YOUR EULA!

Your connections are YOUR connections. These people are your friends, family, and colleagues. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the rest should not own your social graph so store it in Tent. If sites want access to your connections, you can grant them access with specific licensing terms and you can revoke that access at any time.

Create Stuff

Tent can already accommodate microblogging and longer documents. In the coming months, it will support many more content types.

This is beautiful. If you need something that doesn’t exist already, you can create it yourself or hire it done. Keep this new thing to yourself or make it a proposal for the official protocol. It is up to you. What could you make? Team collaboration. Home and hab automation. Personal logs and repositories. Opponent matching for games along with high score boards.

Tent in Space

I am a space enthusiast and would like humanity to make it to the moon and Mars. I am passionate about pondering how technology will be part of that endeaver and then making it happen. This is why I volunteer as part of the team and why I’ve spent the last month helping the first Tent applications become successful.

As you can imagine, space travel and settlement have challenges.  Most of them we can’t imagine yet.  Our space explorers will need software solutions to help meet those challenges.

Let’s give them a tool and die shop for software with Tent being a prominent member of the tool belt.