Three of the greatest things of all time… this week…

This past week I’ve made three minor tech-adjacent discoveries that have the potential to change my life in small but important ways.

None of these are groundbreaking on their own, but together they’re actually making me a little excited about “tech” again. In sort of a strange way.

Stoop

I’ve always had two related problems with email newsletters. They clutter up my inbox and I never end up reading any of them. Because of this I actively avoid subscribing to newsletters and often unsubscribe to newsletters randomly. Stoop solves this problem in the best way possible.

Stoop in an app for reading newsletter. Like a podcatcher but for text.

Stoop gives you an @stoopinbox.com email address, which you’ll use to sign up for newsletters. It then receives in them like any other email services, except with a UI tailor to newsletter consumption.

It goes a long way to de-clutter your inbox and gives you a distraction free newsletter reading experience.

Get it here →

Kindle Fire Tablet 7th Edition

A couple of years ago my two boys each received Kindle fire tablets as Christmas gifts. As kids do, they promptly forgot them and abandoned them in a pile of clutter.

I’ve been meaning to read more, for years and year. I’ve only been meaning to read more books proper; but also all those Pocket links I stow away and forget about; and those cool newletters everyone is always recommending 😉

Digital reading has always been a bit of a Goldilocks problem for me. Desktop computer screens are too big; iPads are a little big (great for magazines though) and too heavy to hold up in bed for an hour; phone screens are too small and distracting.

Then I remembered the Fire Tablets.

They’re prefect! Roughly the same height, width and most importantly weight as a paperback novel. Battery life is great and screen resolution is acceptable. You can side-load the Google play store and get most apps. But I’m keeping mine limited to reading apps to maintain a distraction free, reading-focused environment.

I’ve been making a conscious effort to pick up the Fire instead of my phone whenever I want to read Google News or that sort of thing.

Its only (minor) shortcoming is speed. The hardware is old and sluggish. Web browsing is a pain, changing context is slow. But flipping and scroll pages is fast enough. And you could almost spin the sluggishness as a positive, since it discourages you from change contexts and helps focus on what you’re currently reading.

Apparently you can still but the Fire 7 →

KOHO

I can assure you this is not an ad! But I do have a referral code ZL5RTDVQ if you end up using this.

I feel a little weird talking about a financial product, so I’m going to keep this a short as possible.

I was chatting with Internet Good Guy Levisan around the time the Apple Card “unboxing” videos started popping out, commenting on how r/latestagecapitalism they were. He mentioned KOHO, on account of it also having a metal card.

KOHO is an app-based prepaid VISA that offers 0.05% cashback on all purchases (2% on some purchases if you pay for “premium”) and has none of the lame fees that you’d expect from a one time used pre-paid visa you might buy as a “gift card.”

It also offers a “virtual” card in the app for online payments. One that you can turn off if your accounts get pwn’d. AFAIK virtual cards have been rare in the Canadian market before now.

Also you can feed the card with Interac E-transfers.

KOHO feels like it might be a way to get some of the benefits of Apple’s Credit card, without burring yourself even deeper into Apple’s ecosystem.

It’s early days but I’m optimistic that this will improve my financial health. Especially since it’s pre-paid only and there is no way to carry a negative balance.

Get it here →


There you have it. Three things that are blowing my mind this week. 🤯🤯🤯

What’s exciting you right now?

Sunday Links: Deep-Sea Diving, Spotting Fake Reviews

Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

In 2010, artist Damien Hirst funded an undersea exploration of a mysterious ship wreck, seemingly on a whim. Netflix just released a documentary about the expedition that ended up uncovering one of the biggest finds of ancient art ever seen. Growing up I loved watching afternoon CBC documentaries about this sorta thing and this film is one of the best I’ve ever seen. If you’re looking for something to scratch that Jacques Cousteau, Steve Zissou itch, I’d highly recommend this one.

Spoiler alert: there is actually a very huge twist that is so well done, I did not fully understand it until Googling specifics about the film before writing this blog post. If you’ve never heard of this one, definitely do not research before watching and absolutely do not read this article.

Fakespot.com

Ever wonder if Amazon product reviews are legit? Wonder no more. Fakespot.com uses an algorithm to give a product review section a confidence grade. As i find myself buying more and more things on Amazon, I think I’ll be using this more often.

Sunday Links: Hackers, Hot Dogs and Rhinos

A scary story, a funny video and an interesting photo for your Sunday afternoon pleasure.

Scary story.
Hackernoon contributor writes a very plausible story about how a bad actor might go about injecting password/credit card stealing code into any number of websites. In a way that would be extremely undetectable. Spoiler alter: It relies on NPM.

Looking back on these golden years, I can’t believe people spend so much time messing around with cross-site scripting to get code into a single site. It’s so easy to ship malicious code to thousands of websites, with a little help from my web developer friends.

I’m harvesting credit card numbers and passwords from your site. Here’s how. by David Gilbertson.

Video.

I’m not really int to prank videos, but this one is supremely funny and so innocent.

Picture.

Elasmotherium

A giant unicorn rhinoceros named Elasmotherium roamed the plains of Siberia 29,000 years ago. In many ways, I find these prehistoric animals much more interesting than  dinosaurs. (I couldn’t track down the original source of this photo unfortunately)

Links for Today: Passwords

Today I am reviving an old blogging tradition of posting some interesting or useful links with little or no context. Today’s topic: Passwords.

4 fatal flaws in deterministic password managers
Sync-less password managers are trending again, Tony Arcieri breaks down some reasons why they suck.

NIST’s New Password Rules
For developers: I pull this article from the link above, there are a few counterintuitive suggestions in this doc.

TLDR – Just use 4 easy to remember words