Google Scholarship

I’ve been revising my essay questions since I first submitted the application almost a month ago. Tomorrow is the deadline so this is my final draft. I really, really hate “tooting my own horn,” job interviews, etc. but I’m posting these here because I feel like they’re my new Mission and Vision statements.

What do you hope to accomplish through this program?

I want my creative groove and mojo back. My field, Instructional Design, used to be the coolest job in the universe. When Flash died, so did my field. With Flash, you were limited only by your imagination. Now, it’s all quasi-neo-powerpoint apps. I need to be stimulated and challenged again.  Programming does that for me. I am, once again, only limited by my imagination. I’d like to do it for a living rather than a hobby.

At work, I redesigned our LMS and automated what little I could access.  I’ve loved making stuff that does stuff – I miss it. I’ve also always loved teaching even moreso – ID was only a means to that end until it became the end.

I’ve volunteered with Coding Dojo, Hour of Code, Code for America and Mil-OSS. I’ll continue giving back, living something I learned from Kahn Academy: “Learn. Create. Teach. Repeat.”

Why do you deserve a scholarship?

This isn’t a hobby or “maybe it will work out” for me. This is what I desperately want and have been pursuing on my own for 17 months spending every spare moment with books, tutorials, meetups, and a healthy combo of Lynda, StackExchange and Reddit. Just added Udemy’s Web Dev Bootcamp course (update: added three more during their Black Friday sale) to my existing studies and side-projects/work to optimistically prepare for this.

The scholarship will not be wasted on me. I am super-low risk. I promise to be the poster-boy of why you give scholarships. You’ll be proud to say I was a recipient.

Also, I could use a little help. I am 48-years-old so I need skills and creds that far exceed people (at least) half my age for any job. This would really, really help. I am a father of three with a student wife (as in she’s finishing college, not like she’s in Wife School) as well so a scholarship would rock our financial world.

If Google and Amazon pick Detroit as their home and this was a springboard to get a job with either (Google would be my first choice, of course), my wife could be convinced to move back home. To Detroit, that is. And I want to go back home. The NY Times just called Detroit “a haven for visionaries and creatives.” Please help me go back where I belong – among visionaries and creatives – even if it means staying in icky Tampa. #MoveTheWorld

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S is for Security

Google‘s gMail security is so amazing. I’ve gotten warnings before but today’s was like, wow.
See a similar previous episode: gMail Security Roxor My Soxor
I’m working on my app and testing an email function for which I was using a temporary gMail account. I uploaded the file to (what was until a few minutes ago) a public GitHub repo with the address/username and password fully visible.
In less than a couple minutes, the red band across the top of my gMail page appeared, telling me somebody in the Phillipines had my password and just tried to get into my account! Immediately, I …
  • Changed the password to that gMail account
  • Turned off “Allow less secure apps” (I had it on while troubleshooting)
  • Added my cell phone number to that gMail account for recovery purposes
  • Upgraded to a paid* GitHub account and made that repo private
  • Changed the database user’s password for that app
  • Setup two-factor authentication for my host’s control panel

*Yeah, security is worth the investment. A point made by the caption, “Think security is expensive? Try [getting hacked].” Click comic below for the source of that quote and the comic.

commitStrip-english650-final

GeoLocation Testing

My little app uses geolocation to record the user’s location when submitting data. When reviewing the data, the user sees a marker on a Google map.

I’ve noticed that, depending on the browser and operating system, that location is different even when the user (me) is sitting in the very same cubicle each time.

Using Chrome on my Android mobile phone:

TGH_Android.png

Using Safari on an old iPhone (iOS):

TGH_iPhone.png

Using Firefox Developer Edition on my Ubuntu laptop:

TGH_Laptop_FirefoxDE.png

Each of those are spot on.

Using Internet Explorer on my Windows desktop:

TGH_Desktop_IE.png

That’s Northeast of where I’m sitting. A little bit north (am I capitalizing these correctly?) of the upper-right corner of both previous maps.

Using Chrome on my Windows desktop:

TGH_Desktop_Chrome.png

That’s South of my location. About the same distance away as the IE coordinates just almost exactly the opposite direction.

If I do multiple tests for each device/browser, the results are consistent.

First time trying Chrome on my Ubuntu laptop:

TGH_Laptop_Chrome.png

Don’t hate on Windows quite yet — I’ve noticed varying coordinates when using my equipment (including my Mac) at home as well so I’ll test the two mobile phones, the Mac, and my Kindle there later. I don’t think the Ubuntu laptop fared as well at home as it did here just now.

Disappointed

Recent Google Chrome Changes Alienating Hardcore Users gets added to the pile of unpleasant surprises. Chromium is open source, right? Open Source means user freedom, right? We’re, like, grownups, right? We can make our own decisions … right?

The second shoe fell or, rather, the second boot kicked me in the stomach toward the end of the article …

These changes weren’t made in Chrome alone, but are also reflected in the Chromium project, used as the base for other browsers, such as Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, and others.

gMail Security Roxor My Soxor

Tried to log in to gMail only to be told for the second time in the last few months that, due to suspicious activity, I was forced to change my password.

But here’s the kicker: this time the suspect actually used my password when attempting to log in! Fortunately, since they are, apparently, cracking my shizzle from the Bat Caves of Malaysia, Google was like, “No, I don’t think so, man.”

batcaves.png
Google even provided a map (not this one) in the notification which was extremely amusing.

Notice the time in Kuala Lumpur–they were up to no good in their own wee hours between midnight and 4am!

badGuys.png

I’m such a nerd. I’m so proud that it’s all Mac and Linux except for my day job and the bad guys. The bad guys use Windows. Gotta love that (as my son would say).

badGuys2.png
Note that bad guys use Chrome.

The initial notification specifically said, “Someone has your password” and that they used it to try and access my email. Of course I wonder from where they obtained it or if some script/app gave it to them. It could be that when … was it Amazon? … a few weeks or months ago sent me an email stating somebody had pilfered their users’ information and I should change my passwords elsewhere if I used the same one for multiple apps/sites. No, that couldn’t be it because I’ve changed them since then. Hmm …