noun: skills in many areas. a little of this and that.

PSA Newsletter 15: Privacy, Security, Automation!

Walmart Buys Vizio For Their Customer Data Stash, The GoldDigger Trojan Comes to iOS, Paper Beats Rock (Silicon), and more...


Vizio, among others, has transformed into an ad company disguised as a TV hardware company, which is bad news for several reasons. This is unfortunate not only because it skirts the golden rule of Privacy (If you aren't paying for it, you're the product being sold) by getting people to buy a product that they expect to be private by design, but also because its purchase by Walmart shows other TV manufacturers that they can successfully move to ad models instead of focusing on selling good hardware. This is the worst kind of race to the bottom, because it makes the entire industry that much worse. Official recommendation: Avoid buying a Vizio TV at all costs. [1]


An iOS Trojan (remember those?) is making the rounds in SouthEastern Asia, but can spread beyond very quickly. Thankfully this requires user action to spread, but is still a serious threat. As a general rule, NEVER install a .mobileconfig file or "Profile" onto your iPhone, iPad, or Mac UNLESS under the strict supervision of your company's IT department. If still in doubt, send an email to with a screenshot of the screen asking you to download or install said profile. [2]

Automation Autonomy

The humble Moleskine notebook. Several behavior studies done by the NIH and others have pointed to distinct advantages of handwriting over typing for learning and memory retention. Anecdotally, I'm inclined to agree. To get the best of both worlds, type out your notes afterwards, or take a picture of your pages and save them (locally) to your Notes app. iOS Notes does a decent job at recognizing your handwriting and making it searchable or converting to text. Another obvious benefit is no charger is required to take notes, although you may need to buy an ink refill or pencil sharpener. Highly recommended. [3]


I hope it's obvious, but in case it's not, please understand the following:

  1. All opinions expressed are solely my own and do not reflect the views or opinions of my employer, my dog, or anyone else for that matter.
  2. If you buy something I suggest and it doesn't work, please reach out to the vendor for supoort first.
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