“Hey Siri! Is SEPTA F*cked?”

I’m happy to announce that I’ve created shortcuts in IOS so that Siri can now tell you if SEPTA is fucked!

Before you can get started, you will need to configure IOS to allow Untrusted Shortcuts. There are more detailed instructions on Apple’s support website, but it comes down to doing these two things:

  1. Go into Settings > Shortcuts
  2. Turn on the setting that says “Allow Untrusted Shortcuts”.
“Hey Siri, Is SEPTA Fucked?”

If you don’t see the setting mentioned in Step 2), you will need to open the Shortcuts app, run at least one shortcut, and come back to that screen. (Thanks, Apple!)

If you need further help allowing Untrusted Shortcuts, this writeup is more thorough and includes screenshots.

Anyway, once you have enabled Untrusted Shortcuts, you can click on any of these links to add shortcuts to Siri that will query the website’s API and report back on the status of Regional Rail, Busses, or both:

Once a Shortcut is loaded, you can run the shortcut by either tapping on the Shortcut in the Shortscuts app, or simply by asking Siri the question mentioned above.

Feel free to try this out, and let me know in the comments how it works for you!

Special thanks to @RadioColin over on Twitter for the initial draft of the shortcut!

The Decepticons Get Drunk on Energon

This one isn’t so much a kick in my childhood as much as it is me wondering what the writers were thinking:

The dialogue in this scene is just… so hilariously out of character for the Decepticons it’s surreal. By this point, the series made it clear that the Decepticons were evil villains, yet in this scene they’re portrayed as a bunch of silly drunks. Why? Just, why?

The Importance of Having More Than One Backup

Many years ago, I wanted to make sure my data was secure, so I purchased a fireproof media safe from a (now defunct) company called FireCooler. I thought it would be a good idea to have a UL 125-rated safe which could keep an internal temperature of less than 125 degrees over an hour long fire. I regularly made backups to DVD and stored them in the safe.

Well, sometimes the best laid plans can go awry, and that was the case the other day when I went to put something in my safe, and found that it was flooded with water:

IMG_3372 IMG_3374

How did this happen? Did something in the safe suck in tons of moisture? Did the basement somehow flood and not cause water damage elsewhere? To this day, I am still not sure. I did not see any evidence of flooding in my storage area–nothing else was damaged.

Before I switched over to WordPress, one person pointed out that the safe my have been insulted with “water glass”, specifically from US Patent US7459190:

Outer wall composed of water glass sodium silicate solution that is 40% solids, 60% water, and having a silicon oxide:sodium oxide ratio in the range of 2:1 to 4:1, calcium chloride, and an additive chosen from calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide […] After curing, water released from the solidified insulation can migrate to and leak from pinhole defects which sometimes occur in the plastic shell.

Patent US7459190

So that’s a possibility, but I am not a chemist, so proving such a thing would be beyond me.

The takeaway here is that I had backups stored elsewhere so no actual data was lost. I recommend that everyone reading this, if they care about their data, to do the exact same thing. Here are a few resources for backups:

Happy Backups!