SMS is still the only universal messaging

… or should I say, the most universal messaging. It won’t reach someone without a mobile phone.

I’m responding to this tweet that stated:

Re: SS7. Some infra is too old and widespread to secure; you have to pave over it. Cellular voice and SMS are going the way of dodo anyway.

That, in turn, was in response to the 60 Minutes show that demonstrated that hackers only need your phone number to spy on all your text messages and calls.

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OS X runaway process bug redux

It’s back! This time I created a movie of how the cfprefsd process hammers my disk. The times are in microseconds so this must be happening a thousand times a second.

Expand to full screen to see the details.

Update 2016-04-25: It turns out it was related to the threads I had in my Messages app. When I deleted all the threads, my Mac stopped getting slammed at random times for hours on end.

OS X runaway process bug fixed?

Update 2016-04-25: Yes, but not because of what you read below. See this post.

I’ve been experiencing this bug in OS X for so long that I don’t remember if it arrived with El Capitan, or earlier.

Four processes decide periodically to consume a combined 250% CPU: UserEventAgent, launchd, cfprefsd, and mds_stores. The fan starts blowing and the file system is being hammered hundreds or thousands of times a second by cfprefsd.

The Terminal command: sudo fs_usage pid <cfprefsd’s pid> shows lines screaming by on the screen with a .plist file being accessed every few microseconds, a new one created with a temporary suffix, and then renamed back to .plist. I don’t know if that’s happening on the hard drive or the SSD, but if it was on the SSD it’s probably lost a lot of life given how frequently this bug crops up and how long it runs. I often reboot after 12-16 hours and that sometimes fixes the problem—temporarily.

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The @NeatCompany cowardly discontinued support

of their buggy Neat desktop scanner s/w without informing their customers. Their “announcement” is buried on a support page that you have to know is there and go looking for it. No email to registered customers. No tweet on their Twitter account.

It’s so bad that their El Capitan support page (as of 2016-04-05) not only doesn’t acknowledge that they’ve dropped support, it says,

Neat Engineers are continuing to work diligently on issues that have presented themselves with the new Mac 10.11 release.  In an effort to resolve some of the key issues, we are offering users a PRE-RELEASE download of the next full Mac version, 4.5.

Update 2016-04-25: They since released a “fix” that is really just an older version from an unregistered developer. Sigh.

Well, that pre-release has been out since January 31st and they didn’t fix the crashes that make it very iffy to actually get your scans done. So Neat didn’t have the decency to end support after they had a stable product. And they’re too lazy to even update their support page. Wow!

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The @Netflix_CA vs @Unblock_US war

I removed my payment method from Unblock_Us so they can’t auto-renew. My Netflix subscription will be held after the queue is depleted.

So Netflix is winning the geo-blocking war with Unblock-US and similar services. For now—maybe forever. Given Netflix’s resources, I think they’ll win this battle and I’ll be out 9 months of my yearly subscription fee* because Unblock-US will just fold. Twitter is on fire already with angry people who can’t get a response from Unblock_US let alone a refund. Any technical solution Unblock_US finds, Netflix will be sure to thwart in a short time.

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Apple Notes

I’ve moved my 7,552 Apple-related tweets from Twitter to a Google calendar to make it visible how bad things are. This will keep my timeline less of a bitch session that’s pushed at people. People can now look at the calendar when they’re interested and marvel at the number of problems, and how frequently one person experiences them.

@RBC_Canada’s credit card purchase alerting system problem

I’m disappointed @RBC_Canada isn’t concerned about a serious problem with their credit card purchase alerting system.

I called to report what I consider to be a serious problem and was told by the agent to “turn it off and on again.” Fans of The I.T. Crowd TV series will find that particularly amusing.

Details follow, but it turns out there were two problems. The first is that the text message I received immediately after making a purchase listed the wrong store location. Oops! The second problem is that a second alert received two days later, although for the correct store number, was spurious. No purchase has been recorded online today.

When a credit card alerting system is providing incorrect information and then an incorrect alert, it’s a serious problem IMHO. If it’s crying wolf then the alerts for unexpected purchases would soon be ignored and then the system is worthless. Hey RBC, this needs to be taken seriously and fixed.

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I will never buy another iPad magazine subscription

I’ve only ever purchased two magazines. I’ve unsubscribed from one, and the other I cannot update the app.

I’ve already unsubscribed from Consumer Reports after being a subscriber for 19 years because they held my content hostage for 14 weeks over 3 incidents. They never acknowledged it, when called they blamed Apple, they never compensated for the outage time, and they never apologized. Simply the worst customer service from an organization that holds other companies to a much higher standard than themselves.

The second magazine app is quite poor. The content is designed for the print magazine so many articles are spread across two pages requiring constant zooming and scrolling. It doesn’t remember which issue you’re reading. If you bookmark a page there’s no way to remove the bookmark. Turning to a new page on an iPad 3 takes 8 (eight) seconds. I’m not kidding.

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The Watch doesn’t suck

I demoed and tried on the Watch and came away impressed. I wasn’t expecting to be so after reading several reviews, and taking the fanboy reviews with a grain of salt.

For a first gen watch, this is amazing technology. Being a previous owner of an MSN Spot watch (loved it right up until Microsoft killed the broadcast service it depended upon), and a Pebble owner for two weeks before I returned it to the store, and a long time dumb-watch user, I have certain expectations.

Right up front I’ve got to say though that the pricing is just too rich for my blood. That’s not a criticism. I think when you pack this much effort into the design of a wearable device, it’s not going to be cheap. No, I’ve never used an Android Wear watch so I can’t compare. Sorry.

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