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Burn After Reading - Issue #4

Burn After Reading - Issue #4
By Kristian Glass • Issue #4 • View online
Hello and happy 2019 - I hope the year’s treating you well so far!

Currently making headlines, the question: Will Jeff Bezos Get Half of MacKenzie Bezos’s Fortune in the Divorce? Except most places aren’t quite addressing it that way. Penelope Trunk looks at divorce and how stay-at-home spouses are so commonly and frequently undervalued.
January seems to be a common time for many workplaces to do “Annual Performance Reviews”, which lots of people claim are A Good Thing ™. Kyle Coberly looks at what you might do if you wanted to do A Bad Thing for the workplace, and, well, he paints an interesting picture.
Nicole Kobie has an excellent article at TeenVogue about why you might want to cover the cameras on your devices. It’s an exemplary piece of writing about security, looking realistically at the impact and implications, attack popularity, tradeoffs, comparable threats, and more. Don’t let the “Teen” bit put you off. I use a stick-on cover with sliding screen for most of my cameras - a cheap low-effort way of providing me with some reassurance and damage mitigation.
I’m looking at doing more teaching and training in 2019, so Chelsea Troy’s post on Planning a Lecture was very timely, looking at a whole bunch of aspects.
Finally, you may have experienced the joy that is Baby Shark - I hope you enjoy The Definitive Latin Translation of “Baby Shark” as much as I did, courtesy of Sarah Scullin, “Woman with Small Children and a PhD in Classics”!
I think I bailed on being taught about Fourier transforms, because as I recall, the teaching was very much “here is some maths, oh and by the way it might be useful for some things” - a style which never really worked well for me. Jez Swanson’s Interactive Introduction to Fourier Transforms goes into what they are - as well as uses ranging from practical to pointless - which left me wanting to go back and dig into how they actually work. I haven’t yet, but I want to…
Hynek Schlawack’s talk on How to Write Deployment-friendly Applications is full of excellent thoughts on a subject close to my heart, having spent a lot of time at the intersection of “dev” and “ops” - I was in the front row for it at EuroPython 2018 and really enjoyed it.
The principle of least privilege is definitely wise. But when it comes to AWS IAM permissions, far too often it can seem like a battle between spending weeks of trial and error for every new role to determine a truly minimal permission set, or granting it full access to everything. Wherever you draw the line, it can easily feel like you could cut back more, if only you could work out what. CloudTracker claims to help you “find over-privileged IAM users and roles by comparing CloudTrail logs with current IAM policies”, and frankly, that sounds sorely needed!
Spend any time online and you’ll inevitably hit a bunch of gigantic drop-down fields, e.g. the next time you need to enter the country of, say, an address. The Baymard Institute - “an independent web usability research institute” - has a great article on the usability of drop-downs, when you should and shouldn’t use them, and better alternatives.
I’m keen on automating my home, but my wariness of anything requiring the internet to function means that it’s a slower process than it might be otherwise. Stories like this from Sam Biddle at The Intercept, of Amazon Ring cameras “allowing unfiltered, round-the-clock live feeds from some customer cameras”, only serve to encourage my caution.
I hope this finds you well - as ever, feedback is greatly welcomed, and if you enjoyed it and think others would too, then please pass on the subscription link:
Thanks, Kristian
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Kristian Glass

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