How to tether the Nexus 6 on ATT

It annoys the crap out of me that carriers charge you for tethering your phone. They call it a “hot spot” and charge you a fee for using it even though the functionality is already built into your phone and you already pay them for your data allotment.

It’s like if you went to starbucks, bought a cup of coffee, took a couple of sips and give the rest to your wife. But your wife has to pay for another cup of coffee even though she’s just drinking yours.

It’s freaking perverse and I hate it.

On the Nexus 6, there are ways to enable tethering if you root your phone. However, I don’t want to root my phone, so here is a simple trick to tether your Nexus 6 without root

  1. Eject the SIM card
  2. Enable hot spot
  3. Re-insert SIM card

Enjoy!

Rails test fixtures and foreign_key

I learned something about rails fixtures that took me a while to figure out:

So the standard fixture reference example is

# In fixtures/categories.yml
about:
name: About

# In fixtures/articles.yml
one:
title: Welcome to Rails!
body: Hello world!
category: about

But what if I had in my model

class Articles < ActiveRecord::Base
belongs_to :category, foreign_key: :subject_id

I was thinking that since my Articles object only has a subject_id attribute, I would have to specify subject_id in the .yml

But nope, apparently you can just use category and rails will automatically put it into the correct foreign_key field, which in this case, is subject_id

Yahoo mail is terrible

I’ve been using Yahoo Mail the last couple of days, and that shit is so terrible, I had to write this blog post about it.

1. It’s slow as snail — Something is definitely wrong with the javascript engine on yahoo mail. Clicking between folders is significantly laggy and sometimes it just bugs out and won’t load

2. Mail delivery and receiving is not instant — I’ve had mail that did not arrive for over 10 minutes. WTF… I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this on any other mail program I’ve used.

3. The default font is like 7pt. What the hell.

4. Spam filtering is bonkers — They put half of my mail in spam. I keep marking things as not spam, but it doesn’t seem to change anything.

5. Why the fck do they keep asking me to create a public profile?? — This is like that whole G+ fiasco. I just wanted to change the name on my email, but I could not do it until I signed up for their public profile.

Stop using Yahoo Mail. It’s terrible.

Rails SSL – certificate verify failed

Woke up one morning to find the outbound ssl connections my app (Ubuntu / Apache2 / Ruby on Rails) was trying to make, are no longer working (it was working just fine yesterday) with the following errors:

OpenSSL::SSL::SSLError: SSL_connect returned=1 errno=0 state=SSLv3 read server certificate B: certificate verify failed

It took a frustrating couple of hours digging around, and ending up on several unhelpful stackoverflow answers, for me to come to this conclusion:

The trusted SSL certs for my servers were out of date:

/etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt

The fix: Find the latest version of ca-certificates.crt and replace it.

How to tether the Nexus 5 on T-mobile

On the Nexus 4, you could easily tether on tmobile by enabling the hotspot.
On the Nexus 5, they disabled it. If you connect to the hotspot and browse, it will redirect you to t-mobile’s website.

Here is how to get around that. (Credit: xda-developers)

  1. Download the Android SDK
  2. Enable debugging on your phone: Settings > About Phone and then tap on ‘Build Number’ 10 times.
  3. Connect your android to your computer
  4. Find the program “adb” in “platform-tools” and run the following commands
  5. # get your device's serial number
    adb devices
    # load adb shell for the device found above
    adb -s <serialNumber> shell 
    # in adb shell run this magic command
    settings put global tether_dun_required 0

That’s it. Your phone can now tether.

This technique is awesome because it does not require rooting your phone and you are only using official tools provided by Google itself. No third party apps necessary.

Who has my student loans?

I have auto-pay for my student loans. Today I got a letter in the mail from “Great Lakes” saying I owed them money.

I was like, WTF is this, “Great Lakes”? Is this some sort of phishing attempt?

Nope. It’s a legit loan company. Some how my student loan got transferred to them.

Ok fine. So I have other student loans, how do I find out who owns those loans.

So to google “Who has my student loans?”.

This seems like a legit place to start: https://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/SaFinLoginPage.do

Opened in Chrome

student-loans

What the heck is this? They want me to play a game? “If using arrow keys, move mouse off of grid so it does not conflict with keyboard. Use the up and down arrows to move to desired number within column; use right and left arrows to move between columns.”

As a seasoned web developer, I can’t begin explain to you how absolutely RIDICULOUS this is.

But you what, it is what it is. I’ll play along… BUT….. The fields look broken. How am I going to play this game if you can’t even display it correctly?

Alright, maybe they don’t like Chrome. Let’s try Safari. Nope. Alright, how about Firefox? Nope.

I guess I am going to have to get Internet Explorer. Nope, I am on a Mac, no IE today.

But let me get this straight, to be more secure, I should use Internet Explorer? Nope.

I am done.

Man, the government IT departments are run by monkeys. Monkeys with knives.

President Obama and the new HealthCare.gov site

This problem pisses me off so much I am writing about it again. Today President Obama made a speech acknowledging many of the problems with the site, but he still did not provide any explanation or adequate solutions.

If I had a direct line to Obama, here is what I would say:

  1. President Obama should have reached out to his friends in Silicon Valley. Just a couple of years ago, he had dinner with all the big shots in the Valley: Facebook, Google, Apple, etc… Those people know a lot about running high traffic websites. He should have reached out to them for help.
  2. They should have stressed test and BETA tested the site. Seriously, how hard would it have been to open the site to BETA testing. One easy way to is just post a link on reddit. You will instantly get thousands if not millions of visits. Let real, internet savvy, people poke around. All of these stupid problems they are having would have been unearthed within seconds.
  3. There should have been a better workflow. They keep complaining that the system was complicated because it has to communicate with so many different services. You know what I do when I have to rely on third-party connections? I run all of that in the background. Away from a live user session. They should have done this. They should have created a SIMPLE registration system to collect user information. That system would not need to be archaic and backward compatible with anything else. It could have been build with the latest and greatest technology, made to scale easily, and independent of all other systems. This system could have, at the very least, registered the user and store their contact information. Then if they can not provide the user with real-time quotes or enrollment, it could tell the user to check back at a later date, or wait for an update. This way, they could have run all of the heavy processing in the background away from the heavy traffic. This is like basic computer architecture!

The CoveredCA website sucks

It’s one thing to hear about the government wasting money on something you know little about, but it’s doubly painful when it’s something you are very familiar with.

Today I learned that the state of California paid Accenture $359 million to build coveredca.com – California’s online health exchange.

http://newsroom.accenture.com/news/accenture-chosen-to-implement-california-health-insurance-exchange.htm

The site did not work at all for the first day I tried using it, and it was down about two weeks after, when I tried to use it again.

This is complete bullshit, considering that they only had

987,440 unique visitors
16,311 applications completed
27,305 applications partially completed

http://blogs.kqed.org/stateofhealth/2013/10/08/week-1-for-covered-california-16000-applications-complete/

I looked at some of the front-end HTML of the site and judging by how bad it is, I can only assume that the back-end is equally terrible.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/10/08/230424841/health-exchange-tech-problems-point-to-a-thornier-issue

How to get Google Apps for free

Note: This post is about how to get google’s business productivity suite — not google play apps. If you are here for Google Play apps, you’re in the wrong place, sorry.

A while back, google shut down their Google Apps Standard tier account. It was a great service that allowed you to easily mange services for your domain — mainly email — for free. It was a really sad announcement, because there are no similar free alternatives, until I learned that you can still get it for free, and here is how.

Untitled

  1. Sign up for google AppEngine
  2. Create an app (or use an existing if you already have appengine)
  3. Go to the app’s manage page, under “Administration » Application Settings”
  4. Then find “Add Domain”
  5. Then click “Sign up for Google Apps Standard” (refer to screenshot)

There you go, free google apps standard. I hear they limit you to one user account, but that is still better than nothing.