Tools of Trump’s Fixer: Payouts, Intimidation and the Tabloids – The New York Times

This article does a good job of explaining what Michael Cohen does for Donald Trump. What the article does not do is explain how dangerous this is.  This is right out of the organized crime playbook, but instead he is the president.  That is having a lawyer who is not doing any legal work, but instead just uses his degree as a way to try and keep some information privileged.  The courts have not been kind to this in the past, but Michael Cohen and Donald Trump are still living in 1970s New York.  

Also it’s really something that we have people in 2018 that look at Roy Cohn as some kind of heroic figure.  That said Nathan Lane will be playing him on Broadway starting in late March in “Angels in America: Millennium Approaches” and I am 100% interested in seeing it! 

The FaceID Only Conundrum

New tech is not always better just because it is new.  Over the last year while rumors of FaceID becoming reality on the next phone were out there, we also heard how Apple was working on getting TouchID working on the screen.  Well they didn’t, and now it’s FaceID only on the iPhone X.  
Judging by the first reviews this move will be a tad controversial.  I have two worries.

  • Checking the phone discreetly is now impossible.  If you are in a meeting, out for a meal, or just walking down the street a great feature of the iPhone was unlocking it while taking it out of your pocket and just peeking down at the screen. The phone never had to get a few inches outside your pocket and you had the ability to respond quickly to message, read a note, etc.  Now if you want to unlock it, the phone has to see your face.  
  • The other worry is Apple Pay. I know there is a new gesture (double tap power button) to launch Apple Pay, but again your face to authorize?  This is where the previous home button was perfect.  

Both of these issues can be resolved if you use an Apple Watch with your phone.   I wonder if Apple starts pushing the Watch as the “needed” accessory to get the everything working as it did before.  I know it would not be Apple like, but I wish they just put a fingerprint sensor on the back like Google did and let you unlock with your finger or your face.  We will all find out in just a few days if my worries are founded.

Live Look at the Oval Office

The media told us General John Kelly was going to be the new grown up in the White House. He was the new moderating voice.  Well this is who is the Chief of Staff is, and I wonder how some like Maggie Haberman would have covered the closing scene of “A Few Good Men” if it was not fiction and she was assigned to cover?

via GIPHY

48 Hours With the Samsung Note 8

I have been using iOS as my main phone for a few years, but I always have a line with an Android device on it for testing and playing (I also had a third line for Windows devices, but alas that is no longer needed).  I have had Nexus devices, the original Moto X, as well as two from Samsung.  So it was time to replace the S6 with a newer Android device.  So now I have a Note 8!
I am going to write more about this after using it for a few more days, but a few notes.

  • The screen on this phone is breathtaking.
  • Samsung has finally figured out Android.  While the tech press goes on and on about “vanilla Android” and devices that run it they miss a huge point.  Most people are not tech nerds, and they want a finished product out of the box.  This is why Google has now started adding their own differentiators on the Pixel devices whereas the Nexus devices did not.  Yes you can still change defaults, but if you don’t you have a device that works and works well.
  • A big concern I had going in was Bixby. Again after reading about the device online all I kept reading about was how Samsung has Bixby instead of Google Assistant when Assistant is better.  Turns out this is not true.  First the phone has Assistant and Bixby turned on by default when you get your phone.  They have different trigger words, but holding the home key down launches Google Assistant the same as it does everywhere else.  It also turns out that Bixby and Assistant do different things and have different uses.  Imagine complaining your phone came with the Gmail app because it comes with a browser that can also access that Gmail.  That is pretty much what is going on here.

I am going to put my phone through the paces, but here is my home screen as I start my first work week using this phone as my main device.  The second image is from a Samsung slide over feature.  You swipe in from the right edge and you get a list of apps, people, or tasks that you always want access to. I have put most of my messaging apps there and have been using it a lot.  This was a feature I thought I was going to disable.

Update: One thing I was rightfully worried about with this phone was the awful location of the fingerprint reader. Well it’s not great, but once I put a case on I found it much easier to use. I was also plesantly surprised how well the iris scanner works.  I had only used this before on a Lumia 950 and the process was slow and clunky so had low expectations. Samsung also offers facial recognition to unlock, but it’s not secure so just skip that.

Amazon Link to case: Spiegen Thin Fit for Note 8

More to come……

How to Handle All That News

So much news, so many sources, so much to read, so where does one start? If you are a news junkie as I am this is the ultimate question of our times (tad exaggeration).
My system for trying to keep up is not complicated, but it works for me and something similar might work for you. First I have 3 “old media” sources that I subscribe to so I read those as you would have in 1950 at the kitchen table. Those would be The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. These three are also the only news apps that I allow to send me notifications on my phone, breaking news only of course!

The next bit is how I take in the rest. It pretty much works like this. I see a link in a number of places and save it to Pocket. There are a few services that allow you to save items to read later, but Pocket works everywhere and has the best tools. Then a few times a day I go into Pocket on my phone or PC and read away.

I have two primary ways to find stuff I want to send to Pocket. That would be my RSS app (RSS explainer) and Twitter. Since the death of Google Reader I have used Feedly as my RSS service. I do however use third party apps to use Feedly though they provide more than adequate first party apps. On the MAC and iOS I use Reeder, and on Windows I like Nextgen Reader. Both apps do a great job of syncing with the Feedly service and most importantly make it easy to save to Pocket. For Android I still have not found anything better than Feedly for Android.

Those that know me understand I like and use Twitter a lot. While the social stuff is fun, I have found it be a useful place to see what news is breaking in the now. With the right Twitter app you can save anything that looks interesting with one quick click. On the Mac and iOS I use Tweetbot, on Android I like Talon, and on Windows I like Tweetium.

While a setup like this can take time to curate it is quick and easy to use. During the day or when I am busy I just quickly scan my Twitter and RSS feeds. If I see a headline or lede that draws my attention, I just click save to Pocket. Then when I have a few minutes I open Pocket and read!

Like anything the news is only as good as the sources you choose to follow and read. Don’t just read the sites and authors who you know you will agree with. Push your boundaries, remember there is a world outside of the borders you live within, and become an informed citizen.


Apps and services mentioned above:

The Time for the Gun Debate Was Yesterday

What to Bring to the Gun Fight | Crooked Media

Republicans have defined the terms of the debate on guns and instead of trying to change those terms, we have resigned ourselves to playing on their turf. The Democratic approach to guns is one of the last vestiges of the mushy strategic applesauce that dominated 1990s DLC-style centrism—the only way to beat Republicans is to try to sound more like them. It is a defensive posture borne of a defeatist mindset that is more a product of Democratic psychology than of political reality. Democrats speak softly and carry a small stick to the gun fight because they have convinced themselves that Republicans have the law, politics, and a presumption of victory on their side. The truth is less daunting, but unless Democrats come around to that truth, the presumption of Republican victory will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Glad to see a group of writers actually writing. This is an important read.