NosillaCast Logo

NC #830 Parallels Toolbox Update, Meteobridge for Weather Station, Security Bits

Hi, this is Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast Apple Podcast, hosted at Podfeet.com, a technology geek podcast with an EVER so slight Apple bias. Today is Sunday, April 4, 2021, and this is show number 830.

mp3 download

Chit Chats Across the Ponds

With a 15+ streak of never missing a weekly episode of the NosillaCast, I will move heaven and earth to make sure I never miss a show. Luckily for me, Chit Chat Across the Pond isn’t quite as much pressure, so I’ve been a little bit more relaxed with only producing a podcast when I have a guest I’m really excited about talking to. We’ve missed a few Chit Chat Across the Pond Lites lately because I don’t freak out if I don’t find a guest. The flip side is that relaxed attitude lets me double up on episodes when I want to. This week I did a Chit Chat Across the Pond Lite and an episode of Programming By Stealth – two for the price of one!

CCATP #678 – Matt Campbell on Accessibility Overlays & Cloudflare Remote Browser Isolation

Matt Campbell, co-founder, and chief technology officer of Pneuma Solutions, is an accessibility expert and asked to come on the show to talk about two big concerns. His goal is to increase awareness on these problems in hopes that the message will get to people who can head off the problems. The first is Accessibility Overlays.

Accessibility Overlays are intended to help companies pass accessibility standard tests, but according to Matt, they often actually make websites less accessible. He’s written an open source browser extension for Chrome and Edge called Accessibyebye that will disable these overlays if they make your web browsing problematic.

The second item is with Cloudflare’s new service entitled Remote Browser Isolation. This technology is designed to help companies protect their employees from browser-based attacks, replacing VPNs. But the way it accomplishes this is problematic for accessibility. The idea is that your employees browse to a website but the URL request goes to Cloudflare instead, where it navigates to the site.

Cloudflare renders the site, and then sends only JavaScript draw commands to your browser. This means the original elements are not sent to your web browser, which means screenreaders have nothing to read, and mobility tools have nothing to connect with. Matt participated in the beta and warned Cloudflare about the problems, but the service came out of beta without concern for accessibility in spite of his efforts.

Matt is hoping that the IT folks amongst us can keep their collective ears to the ground within their own companies and make sure that this tool doesn’t get implemented without understanding the implications for accessibility/

After my conversation with Matt, I signed up to test Cloudflare’s Remote Browser Isolation myself so I could watch what it’s doing in the JavaScript console. I haven’t figured out how to make it “go” on my own yet so I’m going to need Matt’s help with that. I did reach out to Cloudflare about the problem, using their “press” link. I got a response but since it was a technical question, the salesperson responded with, “Thank you for bringing this to attention, we will review this specific case on our side as we aim to make these products accessible to everyone; I have pinged our team.”

I’m not sure if this means, “Go away, you bother me” or if it means, “We’ll be back with you soon.” I’m going to keep pinging my contact until I find out. You can be sure I’ll report back on this.

CCATP #679 – Bart Busschots on PBS 113 of X My First Git Remote

Update on Meeting My Stand Goal with Help from Parallels Toolbox

Last week I told you about all the new, cool tools added in Parallels Toolbox, one of which is called Break Time. It’s a little applet that dims your screen and locks you out of playing at intervals you define. I wanted to see if it could improve my success at meeting the 12 stand-per-day goal of the Apple Watch. I’m happy to say that it definitely has improved my awareness of how often I just sit for extended periods of time. I set mine for every 50 minutes, for a duration of 3 minutes. When it goes off, it usually lets me finish typing a sentence, or I can snooze it, or I can tell it to skip this break. Most of the time I do as it tells me.

I often have little chores I need to do, like putting away folded laundry, or filling the pet food containers which take just a few minutes. Instead of letting those nag at me, I use the break time reminder to get them done. I also have started purposely getting off my backside to tell Steve things instead of our usual method of texting each other inside the same house. It’s especially good if he’s downstairs and I’m upstairs.

Break Time gives you full credit for these unreminded breaks as well. Unfortunately, as I suspected, it gives you credit if you just sit there and don’t play with your keyboard or mouse, so if I watch a video for 3+ minutes I have to remind myself to stand up and run around a bit.

I’m quite pleased with Break Time from Parallels Toolbox and plan to continue to use it.

One more thing on Parallels Toolbox. I wrote to the folks about the accessibility issues and my contact, Aleksandr Patsay told me that they would definitely look at it, and acknowledged that they kept pushing accessibility improvements back in the schedule due to other important tasks. I think my bringing it to his attention might nudge it forward.

He also told me that they’re coming out with a redesign really soon! That’s always my luck, right after I review something a new version comes out. Aleksandr said it’s really nifty and he hopes I’ll test for accessibility and give them feedback and invited me to get my blind friends to test it as well. Stay tuned.

Blog Posts

Transferring Ownership of a Weather Station Using Meteobridge – a Tale of Adventure

Support the Show

I often talk about how awesome the people are who help keep all the shows at the Podfeet Podcasts available without ads, including those who do it through Patreon. This week I’d like to highlight two people in particular. Bruce is a returning patron. At some point, Bruce stopped contributing but then came back. I love that he was able to do this because it’s all about YOU being in control of your money and what you’d like to support. I do thank everyone when they contribute, and I never even go LOOK at who stops. So it’s a fun little surprise when people like Bruce come back. The second person I’d like to thank is Ryan, who decided to up his pledge. That to me is a super great vote of confidence. If you’d like to support the shows through Patreon, you know where to go because you know everything good starts with podfeet.com – it’s podfeet.com/patreon.

Security Bits — 4 April 2021 Including Deep Dive on Firefox’s SmartBlock

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to top