The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Stubborn March weather

After having the 4th-mildest winter in 70 years, the weather hasn't really changed. Abnormally-warm February temperatures have hung around to become abnormally-cool March temperatures. I'm ready for real spring, thank you.

Meanwhile...

  • ProPublica reports on the bafflement inside the New York City Council about how to stop paying multi-million-dollar settlements when the NYPD violates people's civil rights—a problem we have in Chicago, for identical reasons—but haven't figured out that police oversight might help. (One Daily Parker reader suggested taking the money out of the police pension fund.)
  • A bill moving through Florida's legislature would address suburban sprawl by redefining it. (Want to bet a real-estate developer lobbied for this one?)
  • A ransomware attack a few weeks ago has affected up to 130 organizations, according to researchers and online boasts from the attackers.
  • United Airlines wants to start air-taxi service between the Loop and O'Hare by 2025, using electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) airplanes.

Finally, I laughed out loud at the YouGov survey that found 46% of American men who have never flown an airplane think they could land an air transport with only some help from Air Traffic Control. I laughed because I do know how to fly a plane, and I don't think I could land a 787 well enough to use the plane again under any circumstances without a few dozen simulator hours. In fact, I would probably spend several crucial minutes trying to figure out how to change the radio to 121.5 and the transponder to 7700. But hey, the United States put Dunning and Kruger on the map, so this seems about right to me.

OK, Boomer, try a different password

Chicago mayoral candidate and Fraternal Order of Police endorsee Paul Vallas blames "hackers" for his own choices to use a weak password and not to use multi-factor authentication on his Twitter account:

Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas on Friday blamed unnamed hackers for his Twitter account liking offensive tweets over the past several years as he faced criticism from rival candidates over the social media posts.

The comments came after a Tribune review this week found that Vallas’ Twitter account, @paulvallas, had liked a series of tweets that used racist language, supported controversial police tactics like “stop-and-frisk” or insulted Mayor Lori Lightfoot in personal terms.

Vallas earlier this week disavowed the tweets as “abhorrent” and said his campaign was investigating. But in an interview with CBS-2 Chicago on Friday, Vallas said it was “obvious we got hacked,” and in a statement a campaign spokesperson late Friday said there was “unusual activity on the account as recently as last night.”

“The campaign is working to identify who is responsible for ‘liking’ these tweets,” the statement said. “Because the account pre-dates and was re-purposed for the current campaign, numerous volunteers have had access to the account in recent years, including some who are not currently associated with Paul or the 2023 campaign. The scope of the challenge was reflected in the fact that we have seen unusual activity on the account as recently as last night even after an initial round of curative steps including changing passwords for security purposes. As a result, the campaign is investigating a possible breach of the account as well.”

I'm so tired of people blaming "hackers" for crap like this. If you can't keep your Twitter account secure, either through choosing appropriate security measures or trusting the right people to manage it, how can anyone trust you with a city of 3 million citizens?

Current mayor Lori Lightfoot thinks the real culprit might not be a "hacker" after all: “Every single time he gets caught … he says, ‘What? Oh not me. This time, it was somebody else. Not my fault,’” Lightfoot said. “Well, at some point, you’ve gotta say, ‘Come on, Paul. Come clean. Tell the truth about who you are.’”

Why doesn't the AP want me to give them money?

I spent way more time than I should have this morning trying to set up an API key for the Associated Press data tools. Their online form to sign up created a general customer-service ticket, which promptly got closed with an instruction to...go to the online sign-up form. They also had a phone number, which turned out to have nothing to do with sales. And I've now sent two emails a week apart to their "digital sales" office, with crickets in response.

The New York Times had an online setup that took about five minutes, and I'm already getting stuff using Postman. Nice.

Meanwhile:

Finally, I've got a note on my calendar to check out the Karen's Diner pop-up in Wrigleyville next month. Because who doesn't want to be abused by servers?

When, in the corset of human events...

Let's start with combat-actor Jill Bearup explaining how the Netflix-ITV-BBC ban on corsets solves entirely the wrong problems:

Meanwhile, in the modern world:

Finally, I missed an anniversary yesterday. On 22 February 2003, Saturday Night Live aired this bit of Tina Fey's genius:

Taking a break from heads-down coding

I spent the morning going over an API for standards and style, which will result in an uncomfortably large commit before I leave the office today. I prefer smaller, more focused commits, but this kind of polishing task makes small code changes all over the place, and touches lots of files.

So while I have my (late) lunch, I'm taking a break to read some news:

Finally, the Securities and Exchange Commission has fined the Mormon Church $5m for failing to disclose its holdings as required by law. As the Church has some $32 billion in holdings worldwide, that $5m fine will sure sting.

Big sprint release, code tidy imminent

I released 13 stories to production this afternoon, all of them around the app's security and customer onboarding, so all of them things that the non-technical members of the team (read: upper management) can see and understand. That leaves me free to tidy up some of the bits we don't need anymore, which I also enjoy doing.

While I'm running multiple rounds of unit and integration tests, I've got all of this to keep me company:

Finally, you may not want to know what the CBP beagle squad has found in baggage at O'Hare.

Time-boxed research

I've got an open research problem that's a bit hard to define, so I'm exploring a few different avenues of it. I hope reading these count:

Since none of these has anything at all to do with my research project, I should get back to work.

Lunch links

My burn-up chart for the current sprint has a "completed" line that nicely intersects the sprint guideline, so I can take a moment this Monday morning to eat lunch and read some news stories:

And closer to home—like, less than a kilometer away—the City of Chicago has made some recommendations to improve a stretch of Clark Street that could be a model for other streets in the city.

So much warmer!

It got practically tropical this afternoon, at least compared with yesterday:

Cassie and I took advantage of the no-longer-deadly temperatures right at the top point of that curve to take a 40-minute, 4.3 km walk. Tomorrow should stay as warm, at least until the next cold front comes in and pushes temperatures down to -18°C for a few hours Thursday night.

I'm heading off to pub quiz in a few minutes, so I'll read these stories tomorrow morning:

OK, off to empty the dog, refill the dog, and scoot over to Sketchbook Skokie for a shellacking. (Our sports person can't make it tonight.)

Will tomorrow be sunny too?

I have no idea. But today I managed to get a lot of work done, so I'll have to read these later:

Finally, if you live in Chicago and look straight up and slightly north with binoculars tonight, you might see a little green comet that last passed Earth 50,000 years ago.