Moves data
#369 Henry, Tuesday, 03 July 2018 10:28 AM (Category: Apps)
(Tags: moves app)

The Moves app now comes with a note that it is going to be shut down at the end of the month, together with a link to the website where they suggest you can download your data.

I was annoyed that the app is going to be turned off, but suddenly a number of things hit me. The app is owned by Facebook. All my data has been transferred up to the Moves servers all these years, where presumably it is accessible by Facebook. Now that I think back, I vaguely remember that I knew it had been acquired by Facebook back in 2014, and I vaguely remember that I downloaded my data from the Moves website back in 2015, but the consequences of these two things combined had escaped me. I am not happy about the tracking data being sent back to the remote servers that Facebook has control of. I can understand why Facebook bought the company now. So now, I am no longer annoyed that the app is going to be turned off. It's a good reminder to me that things change, often insidiously behind the scenes.

So now I am looking for an alternative to Moves, but one that doesn't transfer my data off my phone. I don't want to share my data. And I will do an audit of the deep owners of all the apps I use, and any apps owned by Facebook will be deleted, and the other apps will be checked to see where the data goes, and I think I will reduce my app footprint a lot.

I feel strongly about this, and it will give me something to do in retirement. I will attempt to write my own iPhone apps that do the things I want to do on my phone, but safely and privately. I doubt if I will earn anything from apps, but if they give me an alternative where I control my data, then I will be happy. Only old curmudgeons like me care about this stuff, and I only started caring about it in the last few years, and clearly I have let a lot slip through my fingers. That's on me, but I will be far more cautious from now on.

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#368 Henry, Tuesday, 03 July 2018 9:13 AM (Category: Apps)
(Tags: app moves)

I'm looking for alternatives to Moves. Found this site that has crowdsourced alternatives to apps. Called AlternativeTo

I will look for alternatives to a number of apps.

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Moves to die at end of month
#367 Henry, Tuesday, 03 July 2018 9:04 AM (Category: Apps)
(Tags: facebook moves app)

My brother, Chris, introduced me to the Moves app back 20th April 2014. I have been using it ever since for self-surveillance. I use it with Momento to track where I've been. I use it every single day to see when I arrive at work, when I leave, how long I've been at work, what my travel time is. I use it every day, all day. It might burn through the battery, but it's been well worth it.

Moves was bought by Facebook in 2014. And today, Facebook announced they are shutting Moves down because of "low usage". Well fuck you, Facebook.

This is not the first time that an app I use a lot has been shut down. ANd every time an app I use a lot is shut down, it makes me more reluctant to try anything new. What's the point? If it's useful to me, it seems like it won't be useful to anyone else, so they shut it down. I think I will stick with the core Apple apps from now on, and not bother experimenting with anything new.

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Eric Raymond - Defect Attractors
#366 Henry, Thursday, 21 June 2018 10:49 AM (Category: Programming)
(Tags: software defect retirement)

I follow Eric Raymond's blog via RSS - Armed and Dangerous. He has a lot of extremely good information for programmers. He is always worth reading. One of his recent posts was about Defect Attractors.

Here at work, stupid ideas often surface. When they do, I get tingles. "Avoid this", I say. "Why?" they ask. "I can't say right now, but I know it's a bad idea." and that's as good as I can tell them on first glance. It takes a while for my memory to throw up why things are bad ideas. I recognise them as bad because of past experiences. It takes time to remember and explain why. But some things will always be bad. They attract defects. They make it easy to build in problems.

I'm in my final years here. I'm working with two young programmers who are slowly taking over all my old code. I have 2.5 years to have it all handed over to them. When I retire, they will have it all and they will be responsible for it. I will be able to walk away and not be called back in the middle of the night for emergencies. But working with young programmers can be frustrating. They have great ideas that are clearly Defect Attractors, and I can't immediately explain why they are bad ideas. They regard me as an old programmer, fearful of new technology.

At this point, I give them advice which they ignore and laugh about as soon as I leave the room. I let them. They are not interested in learning from an old programmer, who they regard as a too-safe, fearful, old ninny. Fine. Clearly, they will only learn from personal pain, just like I did. When I was learning, I was self-taught. I had very little access to other programmers, books, magazines, in the late 1960s and early 1970s in North Queensland. So I made all the common mistakes, over and over, and I learnt from my pain. But once I got access to books and magazines and had access to good programmers, I read and improved and studied and learned. I still do. I don't see that in the younguns working with me. They are static. They learned a bunch of stuff in college, and believe they have knowledge and experience enough to last their entire careers. Oh well. If they will only learn from personal pain, fine by me. And they mostly see their careers as lasting about 8 to 10 years before they retire or move into management. They hate the idea that they could still be programmers in their sixties and seventies, like some of us here. Personally, I don't think of them as programmers. They are, what? Bean-counters, number jugglers, static constants? Come in for the money, learn nothing new, find the money is not there for newbies, jump into management at first opportunity. That's not being a programmer. Ten years ago, I would have said it was being a programmer, but not being a hacker, but the media has sure fucked up the meaning of the word 'hacker'.

After I retire from here, I have a bunch of projects I am going to continue with. I will continue to program for myself, I will continue to learn, I will continue to get better, and I will have more fun. My current plan is to move into Rust. Eric Raymond says it good enough to replace C. I like C, but Python makes things very easy. Raymond has a three-part series - The long goodbye to C, The big break in computer languages, and Language engineering for great justice. I want to get into Rust and rewrite my home apps. And I have a whole bunch of Perl I use for my workflows at home, and I will rewrite them in Python. I am going to have a lot of fun in retirement. And I am not going to care if the younguns make a lot of mistakes at work, that's going to be a cause for snide laughter.

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Did we learn nothing from Y2K?
#365 Henry, Thursday, 21 June 2018 10:39 AM (Category: Programming)
(Tags: date y2k)

Yesterday, a Jira ticket came past my desk.

"patient's date of birth is 5/31/32, but it will not accept - it says patient DOB must fall on or before 04/02/18 (right now or earlier). 1932 is well before 2018. Even if I use the context key and manually scroll to the year 1932, it presents this same error."

And yes, we obviously learnt nothing from Y2K. Our Java programmers are allowing them to enter two-digit years, and have added value tests so that if it's less than 50 it's 20xx, and if it's greater than 50 it's 19xx.

One of the sensible suggestions was to force 4-digit years in the data entry. But that got shouted down.

I have seen stupid ideas come up about every 15 years. Over and over again, the same stupid ideas surface, get implemented, face enormous problems, get fixed, and then resurface 15 years later. No-one pays attention to the past in programming. Stupid ideas persist forever, and it seems like every new generation of programmers ignores the past and reimplements stupid stuff, and has to go through pain.

I stayed out of this argument. I was here for Y2K, and I did a huge amount of work refactoring everything so we would continue unscathed when 1st January 2000 ticked over. We didn't fix everything - a bunch of small stuff screwed up, which we fixed over the next few days. The new guys don't care. They probably assume they won't be here when 2100 rolls around, or the company won't be here. Either way it will be SEP - Someone Else's Problem.

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