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NC #718 Ring of Security, EyeQue, Votion, Axis Gear, GUNNAR Optiks, Security Bits

In this week’s show I’ll start out with the tale of how I got instantly improved vision by cataract surgery. Then we’ll get into more tradition tech with a CES interview of EyeQue, an in-home vision testing system that is supposed to get your prescription and your pupillary distance, eliminating the need to have a vision specialist do it for you. Then we’ll talk to the folks at Votion who have their own HomeKit-compatible ecosystem of Home Automation devices and who help other companies become HomeKit compatible. We recently installed the Ring Alarm system and I’ll tell you all about that. We interview a company called Axis with their Gear product designed to automate opening and closing your curtains or blinds. Then GUNNAR Optiks shows us their stylish line of eyeglasses designed to help reduce eye strain and block blue light from your eyes. The security world didn’t sleep in the last two weeks so Bart Busschots brings us three Security Mediums along with Security Bits.

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Hi, this is Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast Apple Podcast, hosted at, a technology geek podcast with an EVER so slight Apple bias. Today is Sunday, February 10, 2019, and this is show number 718.

Before we dig into the show I wanted to tell you about something amazing. I have worn glasses since I was around 12 years old. I’m nearsighted, so I can’t see distance. Over the years I’ve been informed that I had a pretty bad astigmatism in my right eye. For many years I wore a toric contact lens.

Toric lenses have a different focusing power on the vertical and horizontal axes, to compensate for the distortion of the astigmatism. The tricky bit is that the lens has to be weighted so it stays aligned properly. That works reasonably well … unless you try to lie on your side to watch TV or read! The best part though is that they’re super expensive.

Anyway, after about 20 years of wearing contacts, I got old and started to lose my close vision too, so I had to wear glasses over my contact to see up close. I got weary of that and went with just glasses. But about a year ago when I got new prescription sunglasses, I explained to the optometrist that they hadn’t made them properly because my vision wasn’t clear out in the sun. The non-sunglasses they’d made with the exact same frames were fine. We all assumed it was because they hadn’t gotten the axis rotated correctly to compensate for the astigmatism.

It turns out that wasn’t the problem. I had actually gotten a cataract in that eye that was getting worse. The effect of the cataract is to scatter light, so when I looked at a stop light, for example, I would see an entire second light a full diameter away from the real one.

But this is actually fantastic news. I’m sure you’ve heard of cataract surgery and you probably know someone who has had it done. Last Monday I had the cataract removed, which means they actually take out the whole lens. I’ll admit that it was a bit creepy to think of someone putting a knife in my eye and pulverizing the lens and then vacuuming it out, but in reality there was zero pain.

Astigmatisms can be caused by the lens itself, or the cornea that covers the lens. If you’re lucky it’s just in the lens so they pop in a new, man-made lens and you no longer have an astigmatism. I wasn’t that lucky, it was also in the cornea. The good news is they can put in a permanent toric lens, which removes the astigmatism entirely.

I have to tell you, my vision is amazing now. I chose a focal distance of 50mm, which is around 19 inches in freedom units, which is computer distance! I can see the screen like I’ve never seen it before. I feel like I went from a standard def TV to an OLED 4K TV. I can see people’s pores! I took a photo of Tesla the other day and I frowned at it because it looked like Apple’s algorithms had seriously oversharpened it. I showed it to Steve and he said, “No, that’s normal Al!” It’s unbelievable.

On Programming By Stealth, about every 2-3 episodes I complain to Bart about his website’s design. It was designed nearly a decade ago and isn’t responsive. But worst of all his font is wee tiny and you can’t embiggen it without the text falling outside of the fixed width of the main content. He’s been redesigning it (all using Bootstrap of course) but I still whine at him all the time. But get this, I can see it now! I can even shrink the font! I told him I will continue to push him though for everyone else who hasn’t just received instantly improved vision.

The only problem with cataract surgery is that it takes about a month for your prescription to settle out, so for the next month, I can’t get new glasses for distance vision. I obviously can’t wear the old ones because it’s not my prescription any more – it would be like wearing someone else’s glasses. For now, I’ve poked out the right lens so it looks really dumb!

I can’t really do that on my sunglasses, but get this. The vision is so good in my right eye that when the pupil narrows in bright light, I can actually see distance better in my new eye without correction than I can with the left eye WITH correction. Guess why? Because my left eye has a cataract too! Now all I have to do is convince my surgeon that it’s bad enough to do that one too and then I will truly have bionic vision.

As you can tell, I’m super excited about this! If you come to the live show, I don’t want you to be confused as to why I’m no longer wearing glasses.

Chit Chat Across the Pond

This week’s Chit Chat Across the Pond is another installment of Programming By Stealth. In this episode, Bart Busschots spends most of the time walking us carefully through each of the methods he used to solve the challenge from last time. He does a great job of reminding us of things we’ve learned, in some cases more than a year ago, and showing how they were applied for this particular problem. I’m quite proud of one little thing I discovered that Bart didn’t know had been introduced in HTML 5. After he’s done walking through the challenge, he introduces Bootstrap Spinners. Spinners are a visual indicator to the user that some operation is going on that will take some time and let them know that things aren’t just broken. The whole episode was great fun.

If you’d like to get on the Programming By Stealth train, just look for it in your podcatcher of choice, or use the link in the show notes to listen along at

SMRpodcast #403: Crystal Clear

This week I was a guest host on the SMR Podcast with only Rod Simmons in attendance. We talked a lot of home automation, we discuss Facebook’s heinous behavior with their “research app”, the scary Keychain bug Bart will be telling you about in this show in Security Bits, how much Rod loves his new iPad and complains about Apple. Check it out at the link in the shownotes, or look for SMR Podcast in your podcatcher of choice.

Blog Posts

Speaking of vision and glasses this next interview from CES is pretty interesting:

CES 2019: EyeQue In-Home Vision Testing

CES 2019: Votion Smart Home Ecosystem

Do You Need a “Ring of Security”?

CES 2019: Axis Gear Smart Shade Controller

CES 2019: GUNNAR Optiks


This week I was helping my friend Diane figure out whether she needed a new MacBook or whether she should spend her money on new iPads for her and her husband. We’re pretty sure getting her old Mac repaired is the way to go, but that meant she would be without her computer for a couple of weeks. I suggested that she borrow one of my spare Mac laptops. They’re not great but if she booted to an external SSD with her own OS and apps and data on it, it would certainly be workable.

I suggested that she get the 1 TB Samsung T5 external SSD for $218, and run a full clone backup using SuperDuper! From Shirt Pocket. Then I got to thinking, this device comes with a USB-C connector or a USB-A connector. If she got the USB-A version and eventually upgraded her Mac, she’d have to use a dongle for a very long time. Maybe it would better to buy the USB-C version so she could future-proof, and buy a dongle for the short term. I found the Elabase USB-C female to USB-A male adapter which is only $9 on Amazon for a pair.

I’m not sure what she’s going to do since I’m just making her spend even more money when she was trying to save money but I thought it was an interesting solution. It also gave me the excuse to give her (and you) a bunch of Amazon Affiliate Links to the products I recommend!

Security Bits – 8 Feb 2019

That’s going to wind this up for this week. Don’t forget to send in your Dumb Questions, comments, and suggestions by emailing me at [email protected], follow me on twitter @podfeet.  Remember, everything good starts with,,,!  And if you want to join in the fun of the live show, head on over to on Sunday nights at 5 pm Pacific Time and join the friendly and enthusiastic NosillaCastaways.   Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.

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