Dear diary 2020 edition

I’ve seen this all over FaceBook, but not anywhere else, hope the original author can eventually be identified and attributed.

Dear Diary 2020 edition

In January, Australia caught on fire. I don’t even know if that fire was put out, because we straight up almost went to war with Iran. We might actually still be almost at war with them. I don’t know, because Jen Aniston and Brad Pitt spoke to one another at an awards show and everyone flipped the f—out, but then there was a thing happening in China, then Prince Harry and Megan peaced out of the Royal family, and there was the whole impeachment trial, and then coronavirus showed up in the US “officially,” but then Kobe died and UK peaced out of the European Union.

In February, Iowa crapped itself with the caucus results and the president was acquitted and the Speaker of the House took ten years to rip up a speech, but then WHO decided to give this virus a name COVID-19, which confused some really important people in charge of, like, our lives, into thinking there were 18 other versions before it, but then Harvey Weinstein was found guilty, and Americans started asking if Corona beer was safe to drink, and everyone on Facebook became a doctor who just knew the flu, like, killed way more people than COVID 1 through 18.

In March, shit hit the fan. Warren dropped out of the presidential race and Sanders was like Bernie or bust, but then Italy shut its whole ass down, and then COVID Not 1 through 18 officially become what everyone already realized, a pandemic, and then a nationwide state of emergency was declared in US, but it didn’t really change anything, so everyone was confused or thought it was still just a flu, but then COVID Not 18 was like y’all not taking me seriously?

I’m gonna infect the one celebrity everyone loves and totally infected Tom Hanks, but then the Dow took a shit on itself, and most of us still don’t understand why the stock market is so important or even a thing (I still don’t), but then we were all introduced to Tiger King. (Carol totally killed her husband), and Netflix was like you’re welcome, and we all realized there was no way we were washing our hands enough in the first place because all of our hands are now dry and gross.

In April, Bernie finally busted himself out of the presidential race, but then NYC became the set of The Walking Dead and we learned that no one has face masks, ventilators, or toilet paper, or THE FREAKING SWIFFER WET JET LIQUID, but then Kim Jong-Un died, but then he came back to life… or did he? Who knows, because then the Pentagon released videos of UFOs and nobody cared, and we were like man, it’s only April…

In May, the biblical end times kicked off historical locust swarms and then we learned of murder hornets and realized that 2020 was the start of the Hunger Games but people forgot to let us know, but then people protested lockdown measures with AR-15s, and then sports events were cancelled everywhere. But then people all over America finally reached a breaking point with race issues and violence. There were protests in every city, but then people forgot about the pandemic called COVID Not One Through 18. Media struggled with how to focus on two important things at once, but then people in general struggled to focus on more than one important thing, and a dead whale was found in the middle of the Amazon rain forest after monkeys stole COVID 1 Through 19 from a lab and ran off with them, and either in May or April (no one is keeping track of time now) a giant asteroid narrowly missed Earth.

In June, science and common sense just got thrown straight out the window and somehow wearing masks became a political thing, but then a whole lot of people realized the south was actually the most unpatriotic thing ever and actually lost the civil war, and there are a large amount of people who feel that statues they don’t even know the name of are needed for … history reasons….. but then everyone sort of remembered there was a pandemic, but then decided that not wearing a mask was somehow a God-given right (still haven’t found that part in the Bible or even in the Constitution), but then scientists announced they found a mysterious undiscovered mass at the center of the earth, and everyone was like DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH IT, but then everyone took a pause to realize that people actually believed Gone With The Wind was like non-fiction, but then it was also announced that there is a strange radio signal coming from somewhere in the universe that repeats itself every so many days, and everyone was like DON’T YOU DARE ATTEMPT TO COMMUNICATE WITH IT, but then America

reopened from the shutdown that actually wasn’t even a shutdown, and so far things have gone spectacularly not that great, but everyone is on Facebook arguing that masks kill because no one knows how breathing works, but then Florida was like hold my beer and let me show you how we’re number one in all things, including no Not Corona Beer, Corona Virus. Trump decides now is a good time to ask the Supreme Court to shut down Obama Care because what better time to do so than in the middle of a pandemic, but then we learned there was a massive dust cloud coming straight at us from the Sahara Desert, which

is totally normal, but this is 2020, so the ghost mummy thing is most likely in that dust cloud, but then I learned of meth-gators, and I’m like that is so not on my f-ing 2020 Bingo card, but then we learned that the Congo’s worst ever Ebola outbreak is over, and we were all like, there was an Ebola outbreak that was the worst ever?

In July…. Aliens? Zeus? Asteroids? Artificial Intelligence becomes self aware?

Anyone remember Usenet news groups? I wonder if they’re still around.

I don’t know why, but I found myself thinking about Usenet news groups and was wondering if anyone remembers them, or if anyone knows if they’re still a thing?  For those that aren’t aware, there used to be a system called Usenet which enabled people to have discussion-style conversations on thousands of topics.  These topics were hierarchically arranged by groups, called news groups.  I used to love Usenet groups back in the early-mid 90S as I could use any number of Reader applications to participate in the groups.  While today web-based forums seem to be the popular norm, the nice thing about the older news groups was that, for me at least, I had a standard way to participate in the discussion regardless of the group.  In contrast, I personally struggle with web-based forums, each of which seeming to have its own interface: I find them often complex and I get distracted with how to participate so much that I don’t actually wind up participating at all.  mailing lists are another discussion method that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed for the same reasons, but with many users becoming overwhelmed with Email and/or not understanding how to configure filters, these too have sadly fallen off in popularity.

 

So, does anyone out there remember Usenet news groups?  Does anyone else miss them?  For those wanting to learn more about Usenet, there’s a great Wikipedia article discussing its history which is really a fascinating read.

Now that I have microblog posts integrated into WordPress the way I thought I wanted, I realize I may not have really wanted things configured this way at all. Back to the #drawing-board

Do I have this new status post thing working? Can I finally go to bed? Sorry for all the spam, hopefully it is done.

I had a really good day and I thought you all should know

As I think about going to bed, I just wanted to let you all know I had a really good day today. I got most of my project work done by 9 AM, I got to attend meetings that were productive, got to help others smile and laugh, got to eat some really good food, got to experience some pretty good weather, and now I get to sleep knowing that I accomplished everything today I had hoped to accomplish and more. So, why am I posting this? It seems that almost everywhere I look on social media these days, all I see are negaTive posts, or posts in which people are just complaining about something and so I figured that while I can’t change all of social media, I can change a small part of it, my part of it, and fill at least my small corner with some positive. Maybe I won’t be able to fill my corner with positivity tomorrow, but right now I am able to and so why not take the opportunity? And who knows, maybe someone reading this will have a similar opportunity and maybe that someone will post something positive and then there will be yet another corner of positivity on social media, can you imagine? Thank you for reading, be well, be safe, and good night.

The surprising accessibility possibilities of mobile check deposits

Recently, I had a conversation with a blind friend of mine who finds herself in an interesting situation.  She has received paper checks, however because everything is locked down, depositing them has become a real issue.  That got me to wondering how accessible mobile check deposits might be; it seems that just about every bank offers this option, but is it an accessible one?  Thinking it over, a few possible challenges immediately came to mind:

  1. Knowing exactly where to endorse the back of the check and writing “for mobile deposit” or similar which many banks now require.
  2. Aligning the camera so that the front and back images of the check are properly captured.
  3. Knowing one way or the other that the deposit has been accepted.

While I certainly can’t test every banking app out there, I did try a test with Wells Fargo’s app and was extremely impressed.  Wells Fargo has somehow implemented camera guidance, so that VoiceOver helps the user position the camera correctly for the check image to be captured.  Even better, when everything is aligned, the photo is automatically taken and, before final submission, the user gets notified if the photos need to be re-taken because of quality or other factors.  

So, how does it work?  First, the app asked me to capture the front of the check.  I discovered that I needed to hold my phone in portrait mode (left to right) which is something I hadn’t expected.  Since a check is small, I assumed — wrongly it would seem — that the phone could be held in portrait orientation.  As I lifted my camera away from the front of the check, VoiceOver started providing me with guidance information, “move closer” “move right” “move down” and finally, the picture was taken.  The process then repeated itself to capture the image of the back of the check.  Unfortunately, the part that remained inaccessible for me was properly endorsing the back of the check and writing “For mobile deposit only” which the bank requires.  Maybe this could have been accomplished with the help of a service like Be My Eyes or Aira?  

 

I was surprised that the process of mobile check deposits, at least with Wells Fargo, was not as inaccessible as I feared.  Unfortunately, I tried with a few other banking apps and met with very different results.  I also did not test with Android.  In summary though, the process of mobile check deposits can be made mostly accessible as demonstrated by Wells Fargo’s app.  If you try this with your bank and meet with different results, it might be worth sending them a support message and encouraging them to further investigate the possibilities of making their process more accessible.  While the technical details surpass my development abilities, my understanding is that Apple makes various APIs available to developers who want to incorporate camera guidance in their applications.  

Has anyone else tried mobile check deposit recently?  If so, what have your experiences been?

 

Tap tap tap, is this thing back on?

If this actually publishes, then I have successfully moved this blog to its new home at https://www.steves.life .  Surprisingly, beside the somewhat complicated-looking list of steps I needed to follow, the process went relatively smoothly.  I do want to send out a special thanks to the extremely kind folks at JetPack Support who calmly and patiently walked me through one particular technical issue.  For those unfamiliar, JetPack is a free plugin that adds additional functionality to WordPress and they offer plans that come with various levels of support.  

 

I want to thank those of you who have continued to follow me — despite my lack of posting activity — and to anyone new who has decided to follow, welcome to my blog in its new home.

Hey I’m back!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged on here and honestly, I’m excited to be picking it back up again.  It’s been fun going through some of my old posts and seeing just how much has changed in what has relatively been a short amount of time.

One of the many things I will be changing as I pick up blogging again is the domain on which this blog is hosted.  Since I tend to blog more about technology and generally things going on in my life, I will be moving this site from https://steve.sawczyn.com to https://steves.life .  Not only is steves.life an actual domain, but it’s way easier to spell than steve.sawczyn.com . :). According to the “easy-to-follow” instructions I have, moving my blog should really be no trouble at all and I should expect to be up and running in no time at all.  I’m rather dubious, but will be sure to post as soon as everything is transferred and properly set up.  If you receive Email notifications of new posts, I’m told that you will not need to resubscribe, everything is supposedly going to transfer, and this being web-based technology, what could possibly go wrong?

I’m excited to be blogging again and am looking forward to re-engaging with all of you, especially those who have been wondering, “whatever happened to Steve?”