User feed for Aaron Parecki


I absolutely love how all late night TV hosts have become baby YouTubers and...

I absolutely love how all late night TV hosts have become baby YouTubers and @davemaze is here with a 💯 parody on it 👍 https://youtu.be/ZM7CPVYJrKs


This morning I gave a talk to 600 people while sitting on my couch...

This morning I gave a talk to 600 people while sitting on my couch drinking coffee. ☕️ I could get used to this virtual conference thing. #Oktane20 #JustQuarantineThings


"Cryptography turns hard security problems into hard key management problems" @cperciva at #Oktane20

"Cryptography turns hard security problems into hard key management problems" @cperciva at #Oktane20


Digital Spring Cleaning

Well, it's Spring, and we're all stuck inside! 😃 So why not use this time to do a little Spring cleaning and declutter your digital life. We all have things we know we should do that we keep putting off. Here are a few things you can do to tidy things up and improve your online security in a time when most of us are interacting only online. Backups If you aren't backing up your data already, now is a good time to start! If you are already backing up your data, then now is a good time to check those backups to make sure they're working! Here are some ideas for how to back up your data: Buy an external hard drive (it's only ~$65 for a 2TB drive or ~$95 for a 4TB drive) and set up a weekly reminder to copy your laptop onto it, or use Time Machine if you have a Mac Set up Backblaze ($60/year for unlimited storage) to back up your computer to the cloud continuously Use a cloud storage service like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, or One Drive and sync your computer's files to their services Buy a NAS for your home or office (like a Synology or Qnap) and set it up as a Time Machine destination or set up a file syncing service on it Bonus: Back up your backup! If you're backing up to an external drive or a NAS, set that up to back up to another device or off-site! If you've already got an expert backup solution in place, then now is the time to double check that you can actually restore from your backup! Try restoring a few random recently created files from your backup to make sure that your backup is up to date and actually working. Organize your files Do you store all your files on your desktop? Do you have a pile of SD cards on your desk and you aren't sure of what's on them? Time to organize! Here are some ideas to get you started. Clean up your desktop and sort your files into a place where you can actually find things Download the photos from your camera SD cards and sort them by date or by event Make a place to store digital copies of your bank statements and bills, and scan your mail, then switch to digital statement delivery Digitize everything Get rid of that paper clutter in your life! If you have a stack of statements taking up a file drawer, scan everything! Once you've got a place to store your files and back them up, you probably don't need paper copies of everything anymore! You don't even need a fancy scanner to do this, a smartphone can do a surprisingly good job of scanning these days! Try an app like Dropbox or Tiny Scanner Plus to turn photos of your documents into scanner-quality digital versions. If you do want to spend a little money on a nice scanner, I highly recommend the Brother ADS-2800W sheetfed wireless scanner. It can scan directly to your email or a network drive without being connected to a computer. It'll chew through a stack of paper, scanning both sides, in just seconds. Clean up your inbox Whether your goal is inbox zero, or declaring email bankruptcy, your inbox is a great place to tidy up this month! The biggest think you can do to decrease your inbox clutter is to unsubscribe from all those newsletters you're getting that you just hit "mark read" for the last year! Unsubscribe from these emails and don't look back! Delete unused apps from your phone If you have 5 screens of apps and only use the first 2, maybe consider whether you really need those other apps! Before you delete the apps from your phone, open them up and check if there are any online accounts associated with them that you should delete first. Open each app, log in, download your data if you care about it, and request the account be deleted, then delete the app! Password Gardening Everybody loves passwords, right? 🙄 Unfortunately, it's a regular occurrence by now that companies are hacked and their password databases are published online for anyone to download. This means that if you're reusing passwords between accounts at different services, there's a good chance someone will find a password at one service and log in to your other accounts that haven't been hacked. Here's what you can do to clean up your passwords: If you are using the same password on more than one service, change those passwords now Check if any of your emails or usernames have been part of a data breach by looking them up in haveibeenpwned.com. Yes, this is a legitimate service run by a reputable person in the security community. Use a password manager! This will let you generate strong unique passwords for each account without having to remember them. Two good services for this are 1Password and LastPass. Your browser likely also has a built-in password manager, but the dedicated apps are a better solution since they are portable between all your devices and are easier to manage. Once you're set up with a password manager like 1Password, you'll get a bunch of tools for helping maintain good password practices going forward! 1Password has a feature to show you any accounts that are using the same password, and can keep track of which services you use have had data breaches so that you can go update your passwords at those services. It will also let you know if any services you use support multi-factor auth and recommend setting that up, which takes us to the next section! Enable Multi-Factor Authentication Multi-factor authentication means requiring something more than just your password to log in to an account. Since password database breaches are so common these days, it's a good idea to add multi-factor authentication to your accounts if they support them, so that hackers can't just steal passwords from one service and use them to hack your accounts at another. Adding multi-factor authentication means a hacker won't be able to log in to your account if they steal your password from a data breach. It will add a small step when you're logging in to things, but the security benefit is worth it. There are many types of multi-factor authentication such as fingerprint verification from your phone, face recognition, SMS verification, hardware devices like a Yubikey, or code generator apps like Google Authenticator or Authy. Any additional factor is better than none, so don't worry too much about which one to use. Often a service will support only one or two different kinds anyway. Go through your critical accounts like your banking and personal finance apps, your email and social media accounts, find the ones that support multi-factor authentication and enable it. If you're using 1Password, then it will give you a list of accounts you have that support multi-factor authentication where you haven't enabled it yet. Turn Digital Spring Cleaning into a routine While these can seem like overwhelming tasks if you have to do them all at once, remember it's never too late to start, and you can always make slow incremental progress too! Add new accounts you create to a password manager, and slowly add your existing accounts as you log in to them. Unsubscribe from email newsletters as they arrive in your inbox. While Digital Spring Cleaning is a good chance to tick off a lot of the boxes at once, it's worth it to set up these practices so that you can maintain them going forward! By making a little progress over a long time, you'll avoid ending up needing to spend a full day or two cleaning up a mess at the end of the year.


Just published a talk I gave at a virtual conference: How to Hack OAuth...

Just published a talk I gave at a virtual conference: How to Hack OAuth It's been fun to be able to "speak" at conferences in a highly edited format instead of winging it on stage! I hope it's more fun to watch as a viewer too! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU9RsE4fcRM


Just meal prepped a bunch of food for the week from stuff in the...

Just meal prepped a bunch of food for the week from stuff in the cupboard 👍 #JustQuarantineThings


At least I can still earn Nook Miles until I can fly @AlaskaAir again...

At least I can still earn Nook Miles until I can fly @AlaskaAir again #AnimalCrossing #JustQuarantineThings


Donut pickup for anomalily

Donut pickup for anomalily


at Little Big Burger


Every cocktail is a Quarantini now

Every cocktail is a Quarantini now


Here are some tips and my favorite tools you can use to improve your...

Here are some tips and my favorite tools you can use to improve your remote meetings and presentations! https://aaronparecki.com/2020/03/24/4/tips-and-tools-for-remote-meetings-and-presentations


Tips and Tools for Improving your Remote Meetings and Presentations on a Budget

Lots of people are suddenly finding themselves working from home, and need to join video conferences from their living room or home office. Here are several tips to improve your virtual meetings and presentations on a budget! I'll start with some things you can do for free to improve your Zoom meetings. If you're recording virtual conference talks from home, or hosting live webinars, you'll definitely want to upgrade to a nicer camera, so take a look at my recommendations for the best video kits under $500 and under $1000! Table of Contents Improve Your Audio for Free Improve Your Video for Free Upgrade Your Audio for Under $100 Upgrade Your Video for Under $100 Complete Budget Video Kit Under $500 Complete Video Kit Under $1000 Free First, here are some things you can do to improve your meetings and presentations without spending any money. Improve Your Audio for Free Mute yourself when you're not talking. This is probably the #1 recommendation especially for people who are new to working remotely. You would be surprised how much of a difference this makes for everyone else on the call. It can be hard to recognize this since you don't hear your own audio on the call, you can't really tell how much your background noise is spilling into the call for everyone else. This costs nothing, so there's really no excuse not to. Sit inside your closet. Really the goal here is to reduce the number of flat surfaces around you. Flat surfaces will lead to more echoes, so whatever you can do to reduce the number of large flat surfaces the better. Sitting inside your closet will surround you with the soft non-reflective surfaces of your clothes and you will sound much better! Even the professional radio hosts are recording from their closets right now. If you can't fit in your closet, then you can hang blankets up on your walls to reduce the number of flat surfaces in your room. Here's a recording comparing the audio quality between recording in a room with flat walls and recording in a closet. This was recorded from the built-in microphone on my laptop. Listen to these with headphones so you can hear the differences better! Room play Closet play Improve Your Video for Free Here are some tips for improving your video quality without spending any money. And it turns out that these tips also apply even if you have fancy cameras! Use a window as a light source. Sit with your face towards a window so that it illuminates your face, or sit parallel to a window. The goal here is to use the light from the window to get some light on your face. Left: a photo of myself lit with a large window from the built-in webcam of my 2019 13" Macbook Pro. Right: a photo showing how the photo on the left was taken. Whatever you do, don't sit with your back to a window, because you'll be horribly backlit and will look like a silhouette. Left: a photo of myself backlit from the built-in webcam of my 2019 13" Macbook Pro. Right: a photo showing how the photo on the left was taken. Avoid bright lights in the background of your video. Bright lights in the background like ceiling lights or windows will make the camera struggle to get a good exposure on your face. Set your camera at eye level, not below. Set your computer or phone so the camera is at approximately eye level so that we're not staring at a view of the underside of your chin. Avoid a cluttered background. This one can be a trick to balance with the idea of avoiding bright lights in the background depending on the layout of your room. And my photos above are not a good example of this at all. But if you can find a place where the background of your video is relatively plain, like a flat wall or closet doors, the camera will have a better time focusing on your face, and people won't be distracted by looking around your room. Upgrades Under $100 If you're ready to spend a bit of money, here's what you can do for under $100. Disclaimer: Many of the links in this post are affiliate links which means I get a small commission if you buy items from these links. I am very selective about products I recommend, and I have not been paid to endorse any of these products. Upgrade Your Audio for Under $100 Use headphones. Using headphones, even ones without a microphone, will significantly improve your calls, since it will make sure the sound coming from your computer can't be picked up by the microphone. A classic problem with video conferences is if your computer sound can be picked up by your microphone, other people in the call will hear an echo of themselves, which is incredibly distracting. Again, you won't be able to tell that it's your fault this is happening, because you don't hear your own audio on the call. Literally any headphones will do, in fact you probably already have some sort of headphones so this may not cost you anything additional anyway. I'm not going to give you a specific recommendation on headphones because anything is better than nothing. Use a headset microphone. The next best thing you can do is to use a separate microphone other than the built in computer microphone. Moving the microphone closer to your face will pick up more of your voice and less background noise. Anything is better than nothing in this category, plus a headset microphone will usually come built in to headphones, so you get the previously mentioned benefits as well. This $30 pair of headphones with built in microphone is a pretty affordable option! By no means are these the highest quality headphones or microphone, but again it's better than not having it! Generally headsets around this price range will be best for cutting out background noise on your end, even though the audio may sound "tinny" compared to a better microphone. Remember, when you're on a call, it's more important that your voice comes across cleanly without background noise rather than sounding like podcast-quality audio. Headset Audio play Your iPhone EarPods will work too. Of course if you already have AirPods or fancier noise cancelling headphones, those are fantastic options too, but since they're more than $100 they aren't my top recommendation in this category. AirPods play Bose QC35 play Upgrade to a studio microphone. The Rode NT-USB Mini is a $99 studio-quality USB microphone. Plug this into your computer and you'll instantly be able to use it in recording apps like Garage Band, or use it as an audio source in Zoom, or even use it as a microphone in browser-based video conferencing software. This microphone sounds fantastic, and is a huge upgrade compared to headphone microphones. You'll want to make sure you sit a few inches away from the microphone to get the best sound out of it. Here's an audio sample from the Rode NT-USB Mini microphone. For $99 this is hard to beat. play Upgrade Your Video for Under $100 Get a good webcam. The best you can do at this price is upgrade to an external webcam instead of the built in laptop webcam. This will give you a significant boost in quality, but only if you have also followed the advice in the "free" section above to make sure you have good lighting! Two solid options for external webcams are the Logitech C920 and C922, they're roughly equivalent, so get whichever one happens to be in stock, since they're both pretty popular right now. There's a handful of other cameras in this category, ranging from $50 to $300, but frankly you won't get that much better video out of the more expensive ones, so if you're interested in spending more, I'd recommend saving up for a more significant upgrade. Photos from the MacBook Pro webcam compared to the Logitech C920 webcam I have noticed that the Logitech camera tends to overexpose my face when there's a bright light on my face, but regardless, the image is much sharper and has less noise than the built-in webcam. Plus it's easier to avoid staring up your nose with an external webcam that can sit on top of a separate monitor. Use your DSLR or mirrorless camera as a webcam. If you already have a DSLR or mirrorless camera with clean HDMI out, then you can use it as a webcam by buying an HDMI capture device. The best option at this price range is the Elgato CamLink 4K, if you can find it in stock anywhere. You can usually find it for between $99-$129. This of course assumes you already have a nice camera, but if you don't yet, that takes us to the next section. Complete Budget Video Kit Under $500 So, what does $500 get you? Now we can upgrade a few different parts, and add some lighting as well! The next upgrade from a webcam is the camcorder style cameras. A Canon Vixia R800 ($210) will get you a much better picture than a webcam, but you'll also need to spend money on an HDMI capture device to get the video into your computer. Comparing the Logitech C920 webcam to the Canon Vixia R800 camcorder You'll notice a sharp increase in the image quality with a camcorder compared to a webcam. It does a much better job with the exposure, and there is a lot less noise in the picture as well. If Sony is more your thing, then you might check out the Sony CX405 Camcorder, a similarly sized and priced camcorder to this Canon, however the CX405 doesn't have a microphone jack so you'll have to use a microphone connected to your computer instead. You can also attach external microphones to the Canon Vixia to get good audio without having to wear a headset. You'll want to get the microphone as close to your face as possible, and a great way to do that is to mount the microphone on a scissor arm so that it floats just above your head out of the frame. We can even throw in some LED lighting and still come in under $500! Adding an LED panel will give your video a boost when you don't have good natural light from a window. Comparing overhead lighting with an LED panel light next to the camera. Both pictures are from the Canon Vixia R800. You might notice the harsh shadows on the backdrop now, but that's because I'm sitting only a few feet away from it. The farther away you are from the backdrop the less shadows you'll see. However, this is one of the drawbacks to these kinds of small LED panels compared to using a large window or larger LED light. Canon Vixia R800 ($210) Elgato Cam Link 4K* ($129) Movo VXR10 Shotgun Microphone ($39)(the Rode VideoMicro is good too, but it's almost double the price, and I think the Movo sounds better anyway) Neewer Microphone Suspension Arm ($14) Thread Adapter 5/8" to 1/4" ($5)to mount the microphone on the suspension arm 8-Foot 1/8" Audio Cable ($7) to plug the microphone into the camera Iwata GS-01 Bi-Color LED Light ($46) 2x 40" Selfie Stick Tripod ($34, $17 each)one for the camera, one for the LED light Total: $484 View the kit! You'll be able to go a long way with this kit! You can even use this for doing pre-recorded conference talks, or high quality streaming on Twitch. The nice thing about using camcorder-style cameras is they're optimized for long-running recordings and being plugged in to a power outlet. While you can definitely get better quality video out of a DSLR or mirrorless camera, you'll need to add an external power supply, and make sure there's no issues with the camera overheating when being in video mode constantly. Keep in mind that using the Elgato Cam Link (or really any HDMI capture card) requires a pretty fast CPU. The Cam Link specifically requires at least a quad-core i5 processor. The Movo shotgun microphone is a very different kind of microphone compared to the Rode NT-USB Mini. For one, this has an 1/8" output and is made to connect to cameras rather than computers. It's a shotgun style microphone, so it will capture your voice even if you're farther than a few inches away, although it's extremely directional so if you turn your head away from it the sound will drop off sharply. play If you need a slightly taller and more stable tripod, I would go with this 54" Selfie Stick Tripod, although it's big enough it's really not practical to use as a selfie stick anymore. The 40" tripod holds up the camera fine if extended only about half way, but starts to get a bit unstable once it's at its full height. The 54" one will hold it up no problem at the full height. Why do I not recommend GoPros? GoPros are optimized for being action cameras, which includes things like being waterproof, shooting high frame rates and slow motion, and downloading footage into smart phones. These are not features you need in a camera for live video, so it doesn't make sense to pay the premium for them. Also, while they do have an HDMI output, it's not necessarily realtime, and will be delayed anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 a second, plus you'll still need an HDMI capture card to get the video into your computer. Complete Video Kit Under $1000 If you're willing to spend another $500, the next things I would upgrade are the camera and the lighting. Cameras can quickly eat up a huge chunk of any budget, it's just a matter of how much you want to spend on them. In order to stay under our $1000 target, I would go with the Lumix G7 camera for $500 with the kit 14-42mm lens. This is a fantastic entry-level mirrorless camera, and hard to beat at that price. You will notice a huge difference in the image quality with this compared to all our previous cameras. Comparing the Vixia R800 with the Lumix G7 under the same lighting conditions You'll notice another sharp step up in quality between these cameras. There is again much less noise in the picture from the Lumix, and it's a lot sharper as well. It also tends to do better at worse lighting conditions. Both of these photos were lit with the 1'x2' LED panel linked below. Once you start getting into this range of cameras, there will be some other things that we'll need to upgrade as well. For example we're going to need a stronger tripod, and also will need an external power supply for the camera so that we don't have to rely on its batteries. Lumix G7 with 14-42mm lens ($498) USB Power Adapter for Camera ($23) 2x 56" Aluminum Tripod ($114, $57 each) one for the camera, one for the light Elgato Cam Link 4K ($129) Movo VXR10 Shotgun Microphone ($39) Neewer Microphone Suspension Arm ($14) Thread Adapter 5/8" to 1/4" ($5) to mount the microphone on the suspension arm 8-Foot 1/8" Audio Cable ($7) to plug the microphone into the camera Rollable 1'x2' LED Panel ($160) Total: $989 View the kit! This light is a 1x2-foot LED panel that rolls up into a small case for travel. Using a large light like this placed relatively close to your face will give you much softer light than a small light source. It's also of course far brighter than the small LED panel we looked at before as well. With this kit, you'll be the best-looking participant on your remote meetings, you'll have fantastic quality livestreams on Twitch and YouTube, and you'll have a high-quality setup for recording videos that you edit on a computer later. This is already a fantastic upgrade to your home office video rig. If you already had some of these items and have some extra money to spend, here are the next things I would recommend upgrading if you can afford it: This $60 Innogear microphone arm is a lot sturdier than the $14 Neewer arm, and is worth the little bit extra. Replace the $129 Cam Link with the $300 Blackmagic ATEM Mini, which is a 4-input HDMI switcher that has a USB port that acts as a webcam. It's unheard of for a device like this to be so cheap, typically these kinds of 4-input switchers are $1000 or more. If you're interested in learning more about how this device can make your live virtual events much more dynamic, check out my video on YouTube! Upgrade the lens from the 14-42mm kit lens to the 15mm Leica lens ($448). This lens opens up to f1.7 so you can lower your ISO and get a nice blurry background. This is the lens I use in most of my YouTube videos. Mount everything to a single pole arm on your desk and ditch the tripods. This will require about $200-300 of mounting brackets and various accessories, but Caleb Pike made an excellent video tutorial on all the parts you'll need. If you want to take your home studio to the next level, check out my video on YouTube for a complete behind the scenes tour of how I host remote workshops from home! I hope this post has given you some ideas on how to make better videos from home! Follow me on YouTube for more tips and tricks for getting the most out of a home office studio! @aaronpk youtube.com/aaronpk .post-text figure { margin: 0; margin-bottom: 1em; } .post-text audio { width: 100%; } .post-text aside { font-size: 1em; } .img-float-right { width: 45%; float: right; } @media(max-width: 600px) { .img-float-right { width: 100%; float: none; } } .social-links { display: flex; flex-direction: row; width: 100%; margin-bottom: 1em; } .social-links a { flex: 1; text-align: center; } .social-links i { font-size: 80px; line-height: 80px; }


all the #IndieWeb meetups went online this week! so cool! Thanks @zoom_us! https://twitter.com/indiewebcamp/status/1241126135473168384

all the #IndieWeb meetups went online this week! so cool! Thanks @zoom_us! https://twitter.com/indiewebcamp/status/1241126135473168384


Going live in about an hour at Spring Live, doing a talk on how...

Going live in about an hour at Spring Live, doing a talk on how to hack OAuth! Join here ➡️ https://connect.tanzu.vmware.com/Spring_Live.html Welcome to the new world of virtual conferences!


Being socially distant

Being socially distant



Aaron Parecki originally shared this post: Shared It’s only Quarantine if it’s in the Quarante province of France. Otherwise it's just Sparkling Isolation. by Vikram Paralkar It’s only Quarantine if it’s in the Quarante province of France. Otherwise it's just Sparkling Isolation.


Feeling pretty silly about having just ordered this big stack of business cards I...

Feeling pretty silly about having just ordered this big stack of business cards I was going to be using on all my upcoming trips.


Since we're all gonna be working from home for a while, including those of...

Since we're all gonna be working from home for a while, including those of us who do talks at conferences, here are some tips and tricks for giving a high quality talk or workshop remotely! https://youtu.be/yNzU-TPdxR4


The first draft of OAuth 2.1 is out! Thanks so much to @tlodderstedt and...

The first draft of OAuth 2.1 is out! Thanks so much to @tlodderstedt and @DickHardt for their work on this! https://aaronparecki.com/2020/03/11/14/oauth-2-1


First Draft of OAuth 2.1

I'm happy to share that Dick and Torsten and I have published a first draft of OAuth 2.1. We've taken the feedback from the discussions on the list and incorporated that into the draft. tools.ietf.org/html/draft-parecki-oauth-v2-1-01 A summary of the differences between this draft and OAuth 2.0 can be found in section 12, and I've copied them here below. This draft consolidates the functionality in OAuth 2.0 (RFC6749), OAuth 2.0 for Native Apps (RFC8252), Proof Key for Code Exchange (RFC7636), OAuth 2.0 for Browser-Based Apps (I-D.ietf-oauth-browser-based-apps), OAuth Security Best Current Practice (I-D.ietf-oauth-security-topics), and Bearer Token Usage (RFC6750). Where a later draft updates or obsoletes functionality found in the original [RFC6749], that functionality in this draft is updated with the normative changes described in a later draft, or removed entirely. A non-normative list of changes from OAuth 2.0 is listed below: The authorization code grant is extended with the functionality from PKCE ([RFC7636]) such that the only method of using the authorization code grant according to this specification requires the addition of the PKCE mechanism Redirect URIs must be compared using exact string matching as per Section 4.1.3 of [I-D.ietf-oauth-security-topics] The Implicit grant ("response_type=token") is omitted from this specification as per Section 2.1.2 of [I-D.ietf-oauth-security-topics] The Resource Owner Password Credentials grant is omitted from this specification as per Section 2.4 of [I-D.ietf-oauth-security-topics] Bearer token usage omits the use of bearer tokens in the query string of URIs as per Section 4.3.2 of [I-D.ietf-oauth-security-topics] * Refresh tokens must either be sender-constrained or one-time use as per Section 4.12.2 of [I-D.ietf-oauth-security-topics] tools.ietf.org/html/draft-parecki-oauth-v2-1-01#section-12 I'm excited for the direction this is taking, and it has been a pleasure working with Dick and Torsten on this so far. My hope is that this first draft can serve as a good starting point for our future discussions!


Page created: Fri, Apr 03, 2020 - 09:05 AM GMT