How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Apple Pay

You get a call from an unknown number. You ignore it. But they call again, and again, and again, and sometimes they leave you a silent voicemail. Spooked, you google the phone number. There are several reports saying the callers are credit card scammers, but there are also comments saying that the callers really are your credit card company.

Unsure, you decide to check your credit card statement online. You see strange charges: a subscription to a Latvian gaming site, a deluxe membership on a porn site, five subscriptions to Christian Mingle. And if you’re really unlucky, a motorhome.

If you actually use your credit card, a variant of the above scenario has likely happened to you. Possibly several times. It occurs because a business you used the card with didn’t protect their data and got broken into, and in the process, your personal details and card information were stolen.

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Publishing to WordPress from Google Docs

Google Docs is great for collaboratively editing. You can share files, make comments, have conversations around specific areas, and make suggestions, all in real time. But it’s not so great for posting to WordPress. Yes, you can just copy and paste a post from Docs into WordPress, but in the process, you lose images and the formatting and spacing goes all weird. It’s definitely not plug and play; there’s a lot more fuss than I’d like.

I recently changed my workflow to collaboratively write in Google Docs and then publish in WordPress. I tried three different Google Docs add-ons, all of which claimed that they’d transfer articles to WordPress: none worked. So naturally, I was happy to see that the WordPress team have picked up on the problem and offered a solution: I can now draft using Docs and port my work right into WordPress. This means that I can spend more time writing and less time tinkering (procrastinating) with image and format settings.

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Science Is Happening All Around You

What do you imagine when you think of “science”? White coats, test tubes, beakers? Crazy hair and bowties? Musty books of facts?

How about a rainbow? Or the blue of the sky? Under it, grass, green, absorbing energy from the sun. And the sun, its fires lasting hundreds of millions of lifetimes, its planets rotating on their axes, revolving around it, as it describes its own arc in its galaxy of a hundred billion other stars.

We often think of science as a body of knowledge or set of rules, when “science” refers to a process of discovery: observe the world, develop theories about how it works, test them.

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Original photo by Chris Makarsky - Creative Commons ShareAlike license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Customer Service and Security: What Not to Do

I recently signed up for a financial service so I could pay my awesome editor and writing coach, Matthew Sweet. Matthew is in the UK, but I’m in the US, and while it should be easy to pay someone on a different continent, it actually isn’t. The simplest ways incur huge fees, major delays, or both. I’d love to just pay him via Square, but they don’t currently support global payments.So we’re trying out a different service. One we’d never heard of before. One whose sole purpose is to facilitate international payments while keeping fees down. Sounds great!

We both created accounts and the company collected our bank account information. There were no glaring security issues. Pages and links were encrypted. And since I didn’t feel like trying to break into a financial service’s website, there was no way to tell what was going on in the back end.

A few days later I received an email from the company. They told me that my bank account didn’t match the name I’d provided, and asked again for the name and address on the account.

As I read the email I noticed that the page collecting the information was served over HTTP, not HTTPS. It wasn’t encrypted. I then checked the link the form would be submitted to. That was also not encrypted. This meant that the form could be tampered with before I saw it, and that the information I supplied could be eavesdropped upon and tampered with.

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All Your iCloud Accounts Are Belong To Us

When a group calling themselves “The Turkish Crime Family” threatens to wipe hundreds of millions of Apple devices unless they’re paid a bizarrely small amount of money by April 7th, 2017, what do you do? If you’re Apple, you give the offenders a corporate-speak version of the middle finger: we do “not reward cyber criminals for breaking the law.”

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