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Gmail automatic message purge

I've been running an AppleScript to automatically purge messages in specific IMAP folders (aka "labels") for quite some time. This approach works most of the time, but really puts a heck of a load on the Apple Mail client and makes the interface effectively unusable while the script goes through the motions. This wasn't a problem when the script finished in a few seconds. However, it now takes several minutes; not good. Also, the AppleScript assumes a blanket expiry age for all IMAP folders. Want one folder with a different expiry? Too bad. So with the interface problems and lack of flexibility, I decided to smash something out this morning using Google Apps Scripting.

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Father's Day

Today is Father's Day in Australia. I thought it might be an opportune time to commit to text some thoughts about fatherhood that have been percolating in the back of my mind for a while. Thoughts that have spurred me to action to ensure I can be the father my daughters deserve.

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Passwords may be a necessary evil...

I have banged on for quite a while now that reusing passwords is a bad idea, using dictionary words for passwords is a bad idea, using personally identifiable information as a password is a bad idea...you get the picture. I hear the refrain from users regularly "but remembering passwords, especially good ones, is hard!" and I agree with you! Here's my secret though; I don't remember my passwords at all. My Facebook password? No idea. Twitter account? Pfft, wouldn't have a clue. Flickr account? Couldn't tell you. They are all randomly generated strings of letters, numbers, and symbols exceeding 20 characters. Who the heck can remember that?! Better still, how the heck do you crack or guess it either?! And that is the entire point :) Using a password strength checker like "How Secure Is My Password" reveals my Facebook password would take "a desktop PC about 14 duodecillion years to crack your password"...however long that that is, but pretty sure it exceeds the heat death of the universe!

So how do I do it? I make the computer do the work for me. In my case, I use a program called "1Password" which is great for me. The idea is, you remember a single, good password to unlock all the other passwords. So whilst I don't know what most of my passwords are, I remember the one password that my computer uses to securely store my passwords. This is a great concept and provided that one "master" password is secure (mine is an entire sentence with extra "bits") your passwords are safe.

The down side is, 1Password isn't free and buying it can be a stumbling block for some users. However, I've come across a great tool called Dashlane Password Manager. Not only is it FREE but it has nearly complete feature parity with 1Password! The more advanced features, like cloud backups etc, are a paid option but for home users, this shouldn't be a huge problem.

So now there's no excuse to be using those crappy passwords on every site you visit! GO GET Dashlane Password Manager!!

New Beginnings

Most people who know me, know I have spent the last 3 years working hard in various projects for my employer. This has been a wonderful experience where I learnt a lot, made heaps of new friends and achieved some great things. I spent time working in the USA, and got to explore some great landmarks on both the east and west coasts! It has been a good ride.

However, as they say, all good things must come to an end and for me, the good times dried up over a year ago. I have persisted in trying to rekindle that spark, but the reality became my work/life balance was more a "work=life" equation. I was spending progressively less time with my wonderful family, and even less time with my friends or indulging in activities I value and derive a lot of pleasure from, such as SCUBA diving. So I made a tough decision and resigned.

My original plan was to use the time between work commitments to fulfil a long-term goal (some might say "dream") to become a SCUBA instructor. The course was booked, arrangements made, travel planned and paid for. We were going to Port Vila, Vanuatu! Note all this is past tense. Less than one week from signing off at my last job I had an accident and badly broke my shoulder. All plans cancelled.

So now there is this void between what I had planned, and the reality of the current situation. I can't even tie my own shoelaces or drive a car at the moment, let alone engage in anything as onerous as diving. Consequently I have entered a bit of a holding pattern whilst I wait for my body to heal. I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do with all this free time, but overhauling my personal website has been on my to-do list for a while. Mind you, typing with one hand for short periods has meant it has taken the better part of 2 weeks to do what should've been possible in a few hours!

The next chapter in my life has been hidden behind a veil of injury at the moment and I eagerly look forward to seeing what, and more interestingly, how that chapter unfolds!

Welcome to the new site!

Anyone who has been to this site in the last year or so would've noticed it's a bit stale. Ok, it's a LOT stale. One of the problems I've had is the time it took to make changes to the site was more than I had available and offline editing was a pain. Instead of going with an all-singing, all-dancing website with all sorts of features that no-one except myself really cared about, I've made it very simple. We have articles, news, blogs, some photos....and that's about it.

Given the online world we all live in is largely centred around "cloud" services, such as Facebook, Flickr and the like, I've simply made this site fill a gap in my own use case and scratch an itch. That's all. Hopefully this will allow me to update more regularly.

If you would like to see the old site, it's been put out to pasture over here.

In the meantime, here's a panorama from a recent trip to Honiara :)

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