How Well Do You Read Other People?

A happy person

I love online quizzes. If you’re like me, check out this one on how well you read facial expressions.

I’ll lay down the gauntlet with my 17/20. ;)





How to Break the Habit of Typing Two Spaces After a Period

I learned the habit of typing two spaces after a period when I first learned to type on a typewriter. I’ve decided to break the habit, but it’s been really hard to do on my own. The extra space is ingrained in my muscle memory and I keep typing it, even as I’m writing about stopping.

In order to help me break the habit, I added a rule to my AutoHotkey script.

Here is the code.

; Break the habit of typing two spaces after a period.
:*?:.  ::
  MsgBox No extra space!
return

It removes the period and two spaces and pops up a message box reminding me to stop typing the extra space. This is to give me practice typing one space.

Here is the frustration process in action.

Me typing two spaces after a period.

You could use the following code to get rid of the extra space automatically, but that probably won’t help you break the habit.

; Turn a period followed by two spaces into a period followed by one space
:*?:.  ::.{space}

As to why I’m stopping, it’s more efficient and it’s a relic of a bygone era. Even with a typewriter, a single space after a period looked fine. Frankly, I’m not sure why I was taught to type that way.

I’m curious how long it will take to stop seeing that message box after every sentence. :)





Don’t Use SHA-1 for SSL Certificates

This week I helped a client re-key their SSL certificate due to having lost the private key. In the process, I was given the option to use SHA-1 or SHA-2. I figured 2 is better than 1, but then I read up on how SHA-1 is gradually being phased out in Google Chrome because it’s no longer considered secure.

Today I got an email from Namecheap (the best option for a cheap SSL certificate) letting me know SHA-2 would be used from now on, and I could reissue older certificates with SHA-2.

I checked my grade on SSL Labs and found it had dropped from the coveted A+ to an A due to the use of SHA-1. I’m pleased to see they’re keeping the test updated. My grade dropped without having changed anything since I got the A+.

Which gives me an idea for a service. It would be a security subscription service that would send you a monthly report card for all your SSL sites so you’d know when you needed to take action. It could also let you know about urgent updates when vulnerabilities like Heartbleed and POODLE were discovered.

Anyway, I recommend reissuing your certificates to use SHA-2. If you’re using Namecheap, here’s how to do it.

Step 1
Login to namecheap, and expand the menu on the top left and select Manage SSL Certificates. Click on the Reissue link of the Active certificate you want to reissue. All new certificates will be issued using SHA-2, so you don’t need to select any other options.

Step 2
Create a CSR following the same steps you used to create the initial certificate, using the same responses. Paste the contents of the CSR file into the Namecheap text area and click on Next. Keep on clicking Next, but make sure the defaults are okay.

Step 3
Click on the link in the confirmation email, then click the Approve button. Shortly after you’ll get your new certificate by email. Replace the existing files on your server, restart the web server, and boom, you’re back at an A+.

My coveted A+ score for SSL





Review: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Ben Horowitz’s book, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things“, takes you from his start with Marc Andreessen in the 90s to the present day with his successful VC firm.

My main takeaway was: being a CEO is really, really hard.  It’s easy to share successes, and Ben has plenty.  But he chose to share the much more valuable stories of his inner turmoil and struggles.  I don’t know if the lessons he shared are something you can necessarily avoid yourself.  It’s entirely possible that they’re the kind of thing you can only learn from hard experience.  But I’m still grateful he shared them.

I had a different view of the Opsware / HP story than the typical reader.  As a software engineer at HP, I joined the Opsware team after the acquisition.  I worked extensively on the code base in different project areas, from the back end server management, to the front end and even on the client code deployed to each server.  I was impressed with both the architecture and the architects.  The developers and managers I was fortunate enough to work with were competent and helpful.

I believe the quality of a company is directly tied to the quality of the employees.  In the book, Ben explains his method of hiring great people.  After seeing the results firsthand, his methods worked quite well.

Shortly before he left HP, he called a meeting of maybe 20 random people out of the thousands he managed.  I was fortunate enough to be one of the attendees.  What impressed me the most about Ben was his authenticity.  I can tell when people are being genuine, and Ben was 100% authentic.  This is a rarity, especially in the corporate world, and it made him stand out.

If you haven’t had a chance to read the book, I highly recommend it.





Chrome Tab Position Customizer 2

When I middle-click to open a link in Chrome, I like the tab to show up right next to the tab I’m on, not all the way at the end of the row of tabs. The Tab Position Customizer extension worked great, then it disappeared from the Chrome Web Store. For the past few months I’ve been using the development version of the extension that I salvaged. But it’s gotten annoying to have a pop up window asking if I’m sure I want to use the development extension every time I start Chrome.

Install it here

Tab Position Customizer 2 extension for Chrome

So I published it in the Chrome web store for all to use. I only use the open tab on the right option. I have no idea if the rest of the options work as advertised. If you want to make any changes, the code is on on Github.





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