The culture of tipping

As a Brit, the culture of “tipping” was something rather foreign to me when I moved to the States. In the UK, it’s not very common to tip anyone. Your waitress might get a few quid if she’s done a particularly decent job, but it’s by no means required or expected and would be quite small in comparison to what is the norm in the States. And you’d certainly never rarely tip your barman, barista or taxi driver.

It’s taken me a few years to get used to and accept the culture of tipping, but that doesn’t mean that I agree with it.

Now, waiters and waitresses (and other workers highly reliant on tips): don’t lynch me yet.

I recognise that a large portion of your salary comes from tips. I am by no means saying that you’re not worthy of a decent income. I’m merely saying that I don’t agree that the majority of your income should come from tips.

Converting IPA text into speech to hear how words are pronounced

If you’ve ever looked in a dictionary, or at a Wikipedia entry, you’ll have seen IPA text, although you may not be familiar with what it is.

IPA is the International Phonetic Alphabet. It’s a set of phonemes, which are all the different sounds the mouth makes in language. It’s needed because our 26 letters (in English) don’t cut the whole range of sounds that we make. For example, the a in cat is pronounced differently from the a in bake, which is pronounced different still from the a in far.

So when you see a word being defined (as in a dictionary or on Wikipedia), it will often have these characters (such as /kəˈlʌmbɪdiː/), demonstrating how the word should be pronounced, which is really useful, assuming you know how to decode it.

Being more efficient with Google Chrome’s search engines feature

Google Chrome completely broke the mould when it was released in 2008. One of the many ways it did this was with the “omnibox”. Today, this feature is ubiquitous in all web browsers (such that you probably don’t even know what the omnibox is!), but it’s where you can enter a web address, or enter a term and search for that term, all from one convenient place (before that, there were separate boxes for each function – I know, crazy times!).

You set a default search engine so that if what you enter in the omnibox is not a valid URL, it will search that search engine for whatever you entered.

And that is where most people’s usage of the omnibox stops. However, there is a way that you can search all sorts of sites with great ease, something that I’ve been doing for many years, and which saves me a great deal of time instead of bouncing around various sites unnecessarily.

Choosing the right privacy tools

I try to stay on top of privacy issues, and I’m probably ahead of most people, but I’m also far from a leader in this area. Life is just too busy to stay on top of all of it.

Today however, I came across a website, which lists online privacy tools. It was surprisingly thorough and easy to navigate. All of the tools are sorted into categories (such as VPNs, web browsers, online maps, messaging clients etc.), and each tool has a very brief write-up of what sets them apart, and a simple rating.

Creating fields in CMB2 for IP addresses and MAC addresses

I’ve been using CMB2 for many years now. It’s a great way for creating custom metaboxes in WordPress for user profiles, post types, taxonomies and more.

The plugin as it stands has fields types that suit most situations. However, there are a few instances that I’ve come across where I’ve needed to add my own field types to properly manage the data that is being entered.

Why Ranked Choice Voting is better and what Oregonians can do about it

A significant majority of Americans agree that the current political system is not serving them well. Common refrains are that Congress is always at a deadlock, they’re having to choose between two far-from-ideal choices, that third-party candidates “spoil” the vote, and that their vote doesn’t matter.

You can hardly blame them. There’s a lot of truth to that, and in large part, our current first-past-the-post voting system, where whoever gets the most votes wins, is to blame.

Give each term in a given taxonomy a unique alphanumeric ID

I had a problem recently where I wanted to create a custom taxonomy and I wanted each term created within that custom taxonomy to have a unique ID, to use in the real world.

The use case in my scenario is that I wanted to create unique tags for storage boxes. I created a new taxonomy (inventory_location) and started adding my storage boxes.

Last-minute CYA from those around Trump

Since Wednesday’s atrocious attack on the US Capitol, there have been mounting calls for Trump’s resignation/impeachment/removal from office and while I certainly think that Trump is unfit to be President (and this was true long before Wednesday), the people and companies now seeking to distance themselves from him are worse than those who continue to stand by him.

At this point, there are just 12 days left of Trump’s presidency and while Wednesday’s events are undoubtedly heinous, there have been myriad times and reasons prior to this siege to have said “enough in enough”.

Those who never before stood up to Trump or called him out, but are now doing so, are simply taking the coward’s way out of jumping on to a life raft while the Trump ship takes on more water than it can sustain.

How to automatically approve shifts in Microsoft Teams

Since COVID-19 came along and required us to have more space between people, it has been necessary to find tools which allow us to limit the number of people that work together in a given space.

As an Office Manager, I quickly found the Shifts tool in Microsoft Teams. It proved really promising, but after giving it a shot for a few weeks, I quickly found its biggest pain point: Teams requires you to approve a shift that someone signs up for.

That’s a necessary and useful step in many industries, such as hospitality, however, in my case, I wanted to create a set number of open shifts, to limit occupancy of our office to 25%, and just have people sign up for them on a first-come, first-served basis, but the manager approval step quickly became a bottleneck, especially when people were looking to come to the office on short notice.

I finally found a solution that I just tested which removes the manager approval step by automatically approving shift requests.