Thursday, 5 July 2018

macOS - The Dark Side with Mojave

Dark UI has always excited me. It brings a touch of sophistication to the products. For example, Final Cut Pro has a dark interface and so does trading terminals. And finally, with macOS Mojave, it is official that macOS includes a dark mode. And dark mode in Xcode 10 is superb. Playground is getting better for ML works as notebook. Can't wait to the official release of these.

jamf Saga Continues but Little Snitch to the Rescue

In my previous post, I was explaining on jamf and its privacy implications. jamf is very configurable. Since writing to disk is a potential problem, as the user can readily inspect, the alternate technique is to ping the command and control center every time the computer unlocks, wakes from sleep, boots, and such. It is a network call and unless one does outbound traffic monitoring, one does not know about this event happening. And there is nothing better than Little Snitch in my humble opinion to monitor such activities. This is the missing firewall for macOS which gives me peace of mind, knowing that there are no intruders on my local system. The default firewall does wildcard inbound and outbound checks, but the level of granularity is only app based. Little Snitch has got much better granularity (IP, domain, app, time based, profile based, inbound, outbound etc.). The network gateway monitoring is a story on its own, which requires a different technique.

A faster option would be to just set the domain the jamf pings in /etc/hosts to loopback on the local interface, though I am not much sure if jamf will honour that. This is if one does not want to use Little Snitch. Care must be taken because the Little Snitch database logs all the network calls. So any secure access that needs to be not logged has to be removed from its database which can safely be done from the UI. Even though, the database is encrypted and the encryption key is securely stored in the Keychain.

Using ProtonMail with Apple Mail App

ProtonMail has transparent encryption and decryption of emails leaving and entering the local system configured for Apple Mail app, using the ProtonMail Bridge. However the caveat is that only one ProtonMail user profile should be present per account under Profiles. If there are multiple ones, Apple Mail gets confused and is not able to pick one among them, taking the mailbox offline. In case you change account details in ProtonMail website, then use the latest profile and remove the older ones under System Preferences -> Profiles.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Ambling on a Sunday Evening

It is not that there are very many people that I know who enjoys ambling through ruins. A very strange hobby if I may say. I do enjoy long walks, alone. A rather boring evening that was today when I decided that I would have a walk without any specific route in my mind to start with.

In the mist of evening drizzle, I ambled my way to the park enjoying the drops of sprinkle, the lovely breeze whispering, empty pavements through the horizon, leaves dancing, a breath of fresh air to soothe the mind, bringing colourful memories.

I sit by near the tree, watching the winds make the water dance, the waves playing music. As time pass by, I came to the realisation of certain understanding which was rather misunderstandings, and that some things are better left alone, and no matter what I could say, there is no way to change the past. As the evening pass by, another page in history was written and memories woven.




Dedicated to a very special person, of whom an admirer I am.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Design Fundamentals from NID NODE

I had registered for Design Fundamentals course from National Institute of Design's NODE program last year. It took quite some time to actually finish the course as I was caught up in many things. As the title suggests, the course is more on theory aspects of design. The course amount has almost doubled now, nevertheless, it's worth it. Of the many lessons, I think Analytical Drawing is cool and so is Composition. And among the background music, I liked Stop - Ghost K (cheesepuff piano remix) the most. If one is already a design practitioner, this course helps as a refresher.

Monday, 18 June 2018

SimpleMind for Mind Mapping

SimpleMind is an amazing mind mapping software. An example of a mind map created using SimpleMind is given below.



SimpleMind updates their apps for macOS and iOS with new feature and enhancements. iOS app can sync in local networks with macOS app without having to sync with a third-party cloud service. This does not work with Android app however. So I guess they use bonjour protocol.

I have looked into other mind mapping software, but I find this app to be more simple, powerful and robust. The UI is smooth and the mind maps produced are even more nice. The themes, customization are also rich enough that I don't miss anything that a mind mapping software requires.

Mind mapping is a visualisation tool for those who prefer having ideas noted down that way. The mobile app helps to quickly brainstorm, visualise ideas and at the end we can see the whole interconnection of topics, which is lot easier to keep in mind than reams and reams of texts.

The .smmx is a proprietary file format for storing SimpleMind mind maps. We can export in other formats like OPML, but it will lose any rich content information, in case one needs to use another app. But I don't see a need for that anyway.

Conference Summary - Building Data products at Uber

This is my summary of HasGeek Open House conference on Building Data Products at Uber, by Hari Subramanian held on 15th this month.



1. Data size is in petabytes.
2. Results found in staging is not quite the same when using the same model in production due to various factors.
3. For deep learning, tensor flow is used. Results found in AWS and GCP are different.
4. They have build their own BI tools for visualisation.
5. Hive is extended in-house. Hive and Spark overlaps to a certain extend. There are few map-reduce jobs still used which is why Hive is used.
6. Uses own datacenter.

The talks was a high level overview of how Uber uses ML.