Mark Twain once wrote that “there is no such thing as a new idea” and quite frankly I’m starting to agree with him.
I’ve spent the last month or so actively trying to come up with some ideas for projects/ blog posts to work on that would be interesting and useful. The issue I’ve run into is that almost every time I come up with something, I give it a quick search only to find out that it’s already been done (sometimes many times over). That means another idea goes on the pile to be abandoned since “there’s no point in doing it anymore I guess”.
Well that’s not a fun feeling to have.
The recent Twitter account takeovers that are all over the news right now are yet another entry in the long list of hacks, exploits and security problems that have hit major social media platforms over the years, but this particular attack was different and really piqued my interest. There’s a few reasons for that.
First of all, the number of incredibly popular accounts that were hit (on one of the biggest social media platforms in the world) is absolutely mind-boggling. These sort of takeover attacks have happened plenty of times before, but usually on a far smaller, much more targeted scale (such as the SIM swap attack that hit Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in 2019 for example). In yesterday’s case, these attackers managed to take over the accounts of some of the biggest companies and some of the richest people in the world on a scale I’ve personally not seen before.
Continue reading “The 2020 Twitter Account Takeovers and How They Were Different”
Important context/timeline for this post: I live in Guernsey, which went into a full lockdown at the end of March (although I started working from home about a week before that occurred). Lockdown was slowly lifted in phases which meant increasing ability to go out and see other people, with things largely returning to something resembling normal (being able to go out to shops, see friends casually etc.) around phase 4 (end of May).
If I’ve done this right this post should be published on the first day that I’m back in the office since this global pandemic started, which by my calculation means that I’ve been working from home for the last 16 weeks(?!). While it’s been a tough experience overall, I’ve learned a lot from it and wanted to get some of those thoughts out of my head and into a post.
Flexible hours were a game changer
One of the biggest and most notable changes when working from home was how flexible my hours became. Instead of trying to get into the office for a strict 09:00 start ever day, my schedule was based a lot more around what hours worked for me. Was I ready earlier than usual? I’d just jump online at 08:00 instead and finish earlier. Forgot to put on a load of washing? I’ll down tools for 10 minutes mid-morning and make that time up later on in the day. This is definitely something that is heavily dependent on/needs to be supported by your company, but I’m very lucky that the work I do is really flexible and that my manager is awfully accepting of my ever-changing work hours.
Continue reading “Working from Home in the Age of Lockdown”
Late on Sunday night a few weeks ago I was sat hunched over my computer. My girlfriend and I were going to be flying out the following morning on holiday and that meant that I was knee-deep in the task of printing out the reams of tickets we would need while we were away: flight boarding passes, hotel reservations, train tickets, event bookings etc. The only useful information on them is often just a QR code or a confirmation ID, but I always worry about forgetting important information and so I tend to just send it all to the printer anyway. The whole process takes ages, wastes paper and ink and generally feels unnecessary.
Although I was already most of the way through the printing, I’d been in the same position so many times in the past that I decided that enough was enough and it was time to switch to the alternative: digital tickets. Almost all of the documents that we needed could be downloaded as a PDF, and even those stubborn ones that demanded a printer could be fooled by printing to PDF as well.
I was quite anxious about trying this out; I’ve always relied on having physical tickets so this was an entirely new experience for me. While I kept copies of the most important print-outs, I decided that I was going to see if I could avoid using them for the whole trip and instead rely wholly on the digital copies on my phone.
Fun fact: I wrote most of this blog post on the two flights back home!
Continue reading “Can You Rely Exclusively on Digital Tickets When Travelling?”
Accessibility is such an important topic, but it doesn’t always get as much attention or focus as it should, often because people don’t realise how much of an impact it really has. As such, I wanted to write this post and cover at least a few of the reasons that accessibility is important and why you should care about it.
I originally wrote this with a mind towards the accessibility of digital content (such as documents, websites and software), but hopefully it proves useful to people looking at accessibility in other contexts too.
In no particular order:
Disabilities are more common than you probably realise
According to Jenny Lay-Flurrie (Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer) there are more than 1 billion people worldwide that have some form of disability. 1 billion! That’s more than three times the current population of the entire United States (approximately 328 million at the time of writing). You can’t afford not to care about accessibility; no matter the industry you work in, you almost definitely have customers or users that have some form of disability and you’re doing them a disservice if you don’t take steps to include them.
Continue reading “Why Should We Care About Accessibility?”