It’s been a busy year…

To say it’s been a busy year is an understatement…

…It all started in January with the Consumer Electronics Show followed by a trip to California for Knott’s Berry Farm and Downtown Disney. Then in February we went to LA to see WorkJuice Under Coverfollowed by Folf visiting for an epic photo shoot (brush brush brush); immediately followed by a trip to Boston for Anthro New England. We ended up back in Boston the following week for my grandfather’s funeral. Our Corgi friend visited in March and I had another California Trip to teach the California Department of Public Health how to test cannabis for aflatoxins. April started strong with Motor City Fur Con followed by a week long team summit in held in Nevada. Then it was off to Reno for Biggest Little Fur Con! After that I headed to Vancouver for the ICANN (Clap Clap Clap) GDD Industry Summit while Sean held an Aflatoxin Training session for Harris Ranch and P-R Farms in the California Central Valley. The next week we were at ChefConf in Chicago and now are in Minneapolis for another industry summit

June and July will be met with house guests, which is always fun. We really do enjoy cooking and sharing our home with friends and family.

August gears up for more travel with trips to Denver, Minneapolis, France, followed by San Jose, Phoenix, and Chicago.

What have you been up to the first half of the year?

GDD Industry Summit, May 2018 Recap

Greetings and welcome to my first blog post here at DNSimple. As Anthony mentioned in a prior post I recently joined the DNSimple team to assist with sales and marketing pursuits. One of core activities of the sales and marketing is attending industry events. Conferences, industry events, meetings, and trade shows can easily fill the calendar if one lets them. The crafty sales team picks and chooses each event with care with specific goals in mind. For my first event, it was the GDD Industry Summit held in Vancouver, British Columbia in May of 2018. My goals were clear, to meet industry leaders, attend sessions on a variety of topics, and learn from my co-workers. In addition to the GDD Industry Summit I had the opportunity to meet with prospects with one of our valued partners.

Tony Kirsch kicked things off for me at the Success Stories of New gTLDs: From Brands to Generics to Citiespanel. The session was packed full of examples of how new gTLDs can be used to focus a person/organization/company’s internet presence. When talking about brands and brand TLDs the primary advantage is brand image. That said, brand TLDs allow companies to create lots of second-level domains for campaigns and products. Take BMW for example, who use the .bmw TLD in their marketing (used next100.bmw to promote the next 100 years of BMW – it currently points to their .com home page). From a brand marketing point of view, brand TLDs allow for shorter and more memorable URLs. While not as popular as .com some generic new gTLDs are gaining acceptance including .blog, .cloud, .io, .shop, and .works.Perhaps the most important of the new gTLDs are those focused on cities. The .vegas TLD and .nyc TLD have worked in favor of both Las Vegas and New York City.Overall it was a very informative session. As more and more people and companies adopt the use of gTLDs their acceptance will grow. I envision a future where .blog, .works, .shop, and more (link to TLDs Page) are just as respected, or more-so as .com.

The next panel discussion I attended, Industry Led Initiatives to Improve Domain Name Adoption & Use: DomainConnect.org, id4me.org, and more, highlighted some of the things key players in the industry are doing to help end users seamlessly interact with their domains. Many of the services discussed are currently offered by DNSimple – our one-click-services (link to services) allow users to instantly connect popular services to their domains so they can be up and running quickly without having to manually create domain records. One of the things that I thought was interesting was an authentication scheme still in development, id4me. This is is an open, public, user-friendly Internet identity system that provides authorization of a user for access to any third party accepting ID4me identifiers and controlled communication of the user’s personal information to said third parties accessed by the user. (Link to graphic from slide at http://id4me.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/did-techbrief-concept.png.)

After lunch I attended a compliance session. Entire blog posts can be written about that hour and fifteen minutes – by someone not me.

My final round table discussion of the day was by far the most informative. Lead by Frédéric Guillemaut, the Marketing Premium Namessession went over the pitfalls and benefits of premium and reserved domain names.

Premium domain names are those that are already owned by a person or registry but are available for sale at an increased cost or those domain names held back from general registration by the registry due to their perceived higher value. Held back premiums are those that make the domain appear more valuable – such as fast.car, sports.car, double and triple letter names, and single character names for that TLD. Secondary market domains of high value are considered premiums due to the costs involved and the often need of a broker to handle the exchange between the current owner and the prospective owner. One of the issues discussed was the radically different pricing structure for these higher value names. Some charge a higher registration fee and then a lower annual renewal fee, others charge a higher than standard domain registration fee and then the same amount annually…others have multiple pricing tiers that have their own renewal fees. I guess the simplest way to talk about these special names is to say it’s complicated.

Other topics in the round table included early access periods for new TLDs, post payment vs pre-payments for registrars, and harmonization of the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP).

While I’m not a real fan of early access periods or domain name auctions, I do understand that these are components of the industry. I also understand that trademarks need to be honored and that the Trademark Clearinghouse is a vital component in the creation of new gTLDs. The Trademark Clearinghouse is the repository for validated trademarks for the purpose of protecting brands in ICANN’s new gTLD program (http://www.trademark-clearinghouse.com).

After the last session I met up with the rest of the DNSimple Team at the event and we shared what we had learned. Overall it was a very educational summit for me.

Yet another security issue…

https://9to5mac.com/2018/05/20/teen-safe-apple-id-password-leak/

Apple ID passwords included in teen phone monitoring app’s data breach

Apple has the tools to solve this, folks. Use Parental Controls and Family Sharing. Apple even offers classes on it – hit apple.com/today. 

And if you’re extra paranoid, call an ACN in your area for help to supervise your kid’s device and toss Jamf Now on it. 

At that point you may want to consider NOT giving your kid a device… no matter what they say, if you can’t trust your kids, they don’t NEED an iPhone.

Smart Luggage – Why do we accept bad engineering?

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/news/smart-luggage-takes-another-hit-1372250

I’m not surprised by the fear over bad batteries; it’s our own fault for poor engineering and consumer acceptance of a lack of UL certification. I actually picked the Away Travel bag specifically for the removable battery. http://fbuy.me/iVRGy

And for the “smart” part, I picked a simple Tile. http://ssqt.co/medN4d4

So far it’s worked pretty well; the Tile has let me know my bags are on board almost at the same time my Delta app has notified me they’re loaded

Home Meal Delivery Services – A Review

Back in 2013 a friend, let’s call her Amy, introduced me to the concept of Blue Apron (https://www.blueapron.com) and every week (except when traveling) since then I’ve received a box containing three meals for two people. The services has been excellent with only two meals being less than ideal and a handful of selections that I wouldn’t cook a second time. There are many that I have duplicated for friends and the cooking techniques imparted by Blue Apron have made kitchen time more enjoyable. I’ve shared Blue Apron with friends, though admittedly many have not stuck with the service as long as I have. Over the last two years I’ve expanded beyond Blue Apron to include Plated (https://www.plated.com), Munchery (https://munchery.com)  HelloFresh (https://munchery.com), and Smith’s (https://www.smithsfoodanddrug.com) into my kitchen: alternating weeks between the three dinner delivery services and using Munchery as a lunch service as needed and Smith’s to fill in the gaps on travel weeks. This has not eliminated the need for grocery shopping as these services are only replacing three meals a week, allowing my spouse and I to experiment or go out the remaining evenings.

The purpose of this post is to review each of the services as they compare to each other and my experience with each. The reviews will be in no particular order.

What Do These Services Offer:

Each of the four services send fresh ingredients with no preservatives to you home in a box packed on reusable ice blocks. Inside the box are the recipes to go with the foodstuff. Everything is labeled. Digital versions of the recipes are also available for Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Munchery, and Plated. Blue Apron has a social media (Facebook) integration allowing people to see tips from other users on a per recipe bases. They also include video tips and cooking techniques for the novice chef to learn how certain things are done, like chopping and egg separations. All of the services include nutritional information for each of the meals provided. To a lesser extent HelloFresh and Plated have similar offerings. Munchery also has an extensive tips and hints for many of their recipes. The Smith’s product offering provides only the recipe card in each box.

Now to review each service…

Blue Apron:

  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Food packaging: Everything is labeled, but loose in one box. Meats are individually wrapped.
  • Delivery: UPS and OnTrack (Depending on where you live)
  • Price: $59.94 (9.99 per meal – 6 plates total / 3 Unique Meals)
    • Offers a family plan for more than 2 people
    • Cooking Time: 45 – 90 minutes per meal.
    • Required Pantry Ingredients: Salt, Pepper, Oil

Summary:

By far one of the longest running meal delivery services Blue Apron always impresses me. There have been very few meals that disappointed us. Blue Apron requires a certain cooking skillset, but offers the tools to teach if one does not possess that skill set in the form of videos on their website.

Things to keep in mind, if you know where a recipe could use extra garlic or an onion that is not included in the recipe card, you’ll enhance your experience. Also note that an additional piece of protein can stretch almost every Blue Apron meal to three portions. This is not true of the other services.

All in all my favorite of the delivery services.

Munchery:

  • Skill Level: Novice
  • Food Packaging: Individual boxes containing all the ingredients for each meal. Meats are individually wrapped.
  • Delivery: UPS (Depending on where you live)
  • Price: $4.95 Monthly Membership – Pay per meal price, 15% off for members. Meal kit prices vary… Works out to be slightly more expensive than Blue Apron.
  • Cooking Time: 20 – 30 minutes per meal
  • Required Pantry Ingredients: Salt, Pepper, Oil

Summary:

Munchery is ideal for planning lunches. You get to pick everything that is delivered based on your pricing needs. Time to cook is the shortest as they have done all the work for you. It’s simpley heat and eat.

Plated:

  • Skill Level: Novice
  • Food Packaging: Individual bags containing ingredients for each meal, larger items are bagged separately. Meats are individually wrapped.
  • Delivery: UPS and FedEx (Depending on where you live)
  • Price: $59.70 (9.95 per meal – 6 plates total / 3 Unique Meals)
  • Some recipe selections are a slightly higher price
  • Add on dessert recipes are $4.00 per dessert
  • Offers a phone number to call if you are planning for a larger event and need more than two plates of the same meal
  • Offers a family plan for more than 2 people
  • Cooking Time: 30 – 60 minutes per meal
  • Required Pantry Ingredients: Salt, Pepper, Oil, The occasional Egg

Summary:

Plated is the most cumbersome of the services as they often require you to have things in your pantry that you might not have around – like an egg for batters and coatings. This means you can’t do that meal until you have said egg.

Otherwise it’s a very pleasant service.

HelloFresh:

  • Skill Level: Novice
  • Food Packaging: Individual bags containing ingredients for each meal. Meats are individually wrapped.
  • Delivery: UPS and FedEX (Depending on where you live)
  • Price: $59.94 (9.99 per meal – 6 plates total / 3 Unique Meals)
  • Offers a family plan for more than 2 people
  • Cooking Time: 30 – 90 minutes per meal
  • Required Pantry Ingredients: Salt, Pepper, Oil

Summary:

HelloFresh is almost exactly like Blue Apron.

Smiths:

  • Skill Level: Novice
  • Food Packaging: Individual boxes containing ingredients for each meal
  • Delivery: Local Pickup at grocery store only
  • Price: $16.00 per two meal box regular price, $8.00 per two meal box sale price if used same or next day (read: about to expire boxes).
  • Cooking Time: 30 – 45 minutes per meal
  • Required Pantry Ingredients: Salt, Pepper, Oil

Summary:

Smiths is a good service if you need something that day or the next day as you can go and pick up the box you need that day. No waiting on deliveries and if you need something else it’s right there.

Conclusions:

I very much enjoy these services. It adds a verity to my cooking with little thinking effort on my part. I will stick with Blue Apron as my primary, and continue to alternate through the others as needed.

In writing this I realized that these services are pretty much the same at very similar price points. I have over four years’ worth of recipe cards in binders on my cooking shelf. The meals I often repeat come from Blue Apron and HelloFresh. The services that have offered me the most education have been Blue Apron and Plated as their tips & tricks and education aids are far superior to the other services.

Bottom Line:

All the services are fun way to spend time in the kitchen with my spouse. We really enjoy cooking together and these services take the guess work out of that process. They take the thinking out of what to eat and provide the tools for success. The price works out to be less than going out to eat but more than grocery shopping (except Smiths). The portions are controlled so it makes dieting and weight management easier. We’ve never felt hungry after any of the meals we’ve cooked with these services.

For a slightly outdated photo blog of my cooking check out https://fox.rabbitvalley.com/Rifka/Rifkas_Cookbook/Rifkas_Cook_Book/Rifkas_Cook_Book.html

 

More passwords compromised…

Is it a day ending in “y”? Then it must be time for a brand new enormous company to announce they’ve been compromised!  This time it’s our friends at Twitter saying their programming mistake managed to copy your password in plain text into their log files.

Brilliant.

If you aren’t putting a unique password on every site, now is the time.  It’s easy with Apple devices.  Simply go to Safari -> Settings -> Autofill

Make sure User names and passwords is checked.  Now, when you visit a website, Safari will offer to save the password.  Here’s the best part.  Go change your dang’ed password!  Safari will offer a random password for that site AND remember it for you.

Sync that Stuff with iCloud!

If you’re a Mac user, you’re in luck with iCloud.  Go to  -> System Preferences -> iCloud.  Turn on Keychain.  This secure, encrypted password will now sync automagically to your macOS and iOS devices.  No more fat fingers with passwords on your iPhone, my friends.