Want to read: The Future is Disabled: Prophecies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (ISBN 9781551528915)

Delightful music re-discovery: Emancipator. Good chill, electronic music to work to. Currently listening to 2022’s 11th Orbit.

In reply to: https://puz.fun/@dave/111775037845102000

m o o d

Ooh, this should be good: A Stop Making Sense Tribute Album teaser. First track by Paramore.

I filed a complaint with the CA Department of Insurance shortly after writing about the Geico adventures. These are some of the key parts of the complaint:

On December 4th, I received postal mail from Geico. Their letter was dated November 28, 2023 and was requesting additional information to process the application (vehicle registration, copy of a recent utility bill). It stated "You must provide this information no later than 11/30/2023 at 11:59pm Pacific for us to process your request to purchase a policy. If we do not receive these documents and/or information by this date, a new application for insurance with GEICO is required." Obviously I could not meet this deadline since the mail had not even reached me until December 4, 2023

[attachment: copy of the Geico letter]

I believe GEICO is engaging in unfair business practices and setting up impossible-to-meet requirements in order to avoid taking on new risk in California. I would like the state to investigate and take whatever actions are appropriate to prevent this in the future for other people. I have already chosen to use another insurance provider, so I don't need any particular resolution to my problem described above.

I did send Geico the information they requested on the chance they might approve me quickly, despite their impossible deadline, but I also wasn’t about to wait around. I immediately started the process with AAA. Geico did eventually respond in late December (around the 18th, I think) that I was approved and needed to call to make payment. Surprising, but I already had AAA coverage by that point and was happy to leave Geico behind.

On January 5th, the Department of Insurance responded in part:

I have information indicating your problem is resolved. According to GEICO General Insurance Company, your application has been approved and a payment is required to begin coverage.

Technically correct? Sure. Today I wrote back:

I am responding regarding file number [redacted]. I am not satisfied with Geico’s response in this matter.

I remain concerned that Geico is setting up impossible-to-meet hurdles for CA residents in an attempt to avoid underwriting new customers here. As the documentation in my initial complaint shows, Geico sent me mail requesting additional information after their own deadline.

I still sent Geico the additional information they requested on the chance they would approve me, but I had no reason to believe it would be accepted since their letter clearly said I would need to make a new application after the deadline. Based on the already-poor customer experience, I had no desire to wait around to find out, so I sought and eventually secured coverage from AAA.

I would like to emphasize that the 14-day underwriting process for coverage with AAA was completed before I heard back from Geico approving my application. By contrast, Geico took a month from my application to approve me and had only requested the additional information halfway through that period.

I am not currently interested in receiving coverage from Geico, but I hope you will consider this incident in a potential investigation of unfair business practices by Geico.

I have a work project that requires adding DKIM and DMARC. I was familiar with both, but hadn’t actually set them up myself yet. Thankfully, PHPMailer seems to have pretty good DKIM support built-in, as well as an example script to set up the public/private key pair.

I made a couple small changes in that example script. First I set up a full path to where I wanted the PEM files to be saved.

define('KEYFILE_DIR', '/replace/with/full/path/');
$privatekeyfile = KEYFILE_DIR . $selector . '_dkim_private.pem';
$publickeyfile = KEYFILE_DIR . $selector . '_dkim_public.pem';

I wanted the private key to be encrypted with a passphrase, so I changed the export-to-file line to this:

openssl_pkey_export_to_file($pk, $privatekeyfile, $passphrase);

After setting the $domain and $selector variables, running the script created the public and private key files and displayed the information needed to set up the DNS record. The script chunked the public key into 255-character segments because some DNS systems don’t like longer text. In our experience, though, we didn’t need the chunking, so we used the public key with the PEM wrapper removed.

Adding a few lines of DKIM configuration (from another of their example scripts) was all I needed to include DKIM Signature header with each message. I tested with a message sent to a Gmail address and it showed it was signed by the domain. Viewing the full email headers, I could also see dkim=pass in a couple places. I also used the Google MessageHeader tool to paste in the full email headers and it confirmed DKIM passed.

Watched 1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted Culture, a documentary about how the word “homosexual” didn’t appear in the Bible until 1946. It was really good, as expected. I hope when it gets wider release it will encourage more Christians to re-evaluate how we treat LGBTQ people.

“In the teachings of Jesus, he never made any qualifications about ‘God loves you if...’ Nothing is ever mentioned about sexual orientation. And God doesn’t ask. That part is just irrelevant. We’re people. We’re children of God.”

Reverend David S. Fearon

Kathy Baldock plays a big part in this documentary. For a deeper dive, I recommend her 2-part video, “Unclobbering the Tangled Mess.”

Reducing Native Comment Spam

I made some improvements to native comments on my site today. I have had Akismet running for several years now and it’s worked well at preventing about 98% of spam comments. A few would still get through each week. They were never displayed publicly, but I would still need to go through the moderation queue to delete them.

About six months ago I decided to start reporting those false negatives to Akismet since their API supports that. I hoped it would help improve their algorithm and fewer spam comments would slip through. I haven’t kept any stats, but it doesn’t feel like the number slipping through has decreased, unfortunately.

I noticed a good portion of these spam comments were to old URLs, like this one from 2011 about fixing a commenting issue. (Ironic?) I figured closing the comment form after one year would be a good way to reduce a lot of spam. I doubt many humans intend to leave a comment on that post here in 2024. There may be some rare cases where an actual human wants to comment on an older post, so I decided to still allow comments if you are signed in. Last year, I introduced a passwordless sign-in system, so I was able to use that as-is and display a message directing people there.

Old posts will still accept Webmentions, of course. There is always the contact page, too. Here is the message that is displayed on old posts when you’re not signed in:

This is an older post, so the public comment form is now closed. You can still use the form above to send me the link of your reply or sign in with your email to leave a comment. You can always send me a message, too.

In reply to: https://nicksimson.com/notes/sure-ill-join-your-cult/

Looking forward to reading/hearing this one! She's one of my favorites.

In reply to: https://artlung.com/blog/2024/01/05/its-january-5th-good-morning/

Do you play any cool action music when you run the montage command?

In reply to: https://tech.lgbt/@diffrentcolours/111659130383652012

It might be too late for this one, but it might be worth pressuring them to do better in the future, a la publichealthpledge.com @phpledge@floss.social

A smiling selfie at the beach with the ocean in the background. I'm wearing a black Five Iron Frenzy t-shirt with text
A rainbow-colored Christmas tree set up on the beach
A view looking down the beach with bright blue sky and whispy clouds. Ocean on the left, beach on the right, and people walking
A lone seagull chilling on the beach

Happy Christmas from the beach! I made the difficult, last-minute decision not to travel this holiday due to the high COVID transmission levels currently (see pmc19.com/data). Decided to make the best of the day with some beach time, though!

1. My mug at the beach 😎

2. I met a guy who had set up this rainbow-colored Christmas tree. He said it had sort of become a tradition since the pandemic. Love it!

3. Others enjoying the lovely day

4. After walking for a while, I sat down to write and read some. This seagull pal (seapal?) chilled about 10 feet from me for a while.

I know this is a difficult time for a lot of people. I hope you got to experience some moments of joy today, though. 💛

A good article with a lot of resources linked: The Pandemic Isn’t Over: The rich know it. You should, too.

“Without accurate data on current cases, transmission rates, hospitalizations, and deaths, we have no way of knowing the full scope of the current crisis. Our house is on fire; alarms removed, the public sleeps.”

In reply to: https://www.instagram.com/p/C1AWu1RPuGJ/c/18007371503177768/

@elijah.neumann Vaccines are an important layer of protection. They’re good at reducing hospitalization and death, but not as good at preventing transmission. Their efficacy wanes after several months, too. Even if they were better at preventing transmission, only 18% of US adults are up to date on the vaccine. Respirators are another important layer of protection and are effective at reducing transmission.

I’d like to encourage you to reflect on your last sentence. Disabled and immunocompromised people deserve to share in moments of joy like anyone else, without risking their health further. I believe we should take steps to make events like this accessible and wearing masks is a simple step towards that.

Time has been flying and I hadn’t really listened to Christmas music yet. Starting out with the obvious choice, A Charlie Brown Christmas. I’m still not really in the holiday spirit, but it’s cozy music.