If I needed a dataset to train a facial recognition program to be able to recognize age recognition and progression I'd start a meme where people share their first and current profile pics on facebook and instagram.

Just sayin'.

Posted: Jan 13, 2019

The Banks Are Missing a Marketing Opportunity During the Shutdown

Food for thought: The banks are missing a big good will opportunity. They could easily set up a program for federal workers. If they bring in their December pay stub, and have a FICO score over 700 the worker can get a loan. Structure it with a 2% fee up front and defer payments and interest until 15 days after the government starts issuing checks. 

So if you got paid $1000 a pay period you’d get $980 a pay period until this mess is fixed. If they walk into the bank when they get their check and sign it over to the bank there’s nothing else due.

The bank would lose a little money on the deal but gain good will. They could even waive the 2% for customers which might induce some folks to open an account with them which would be worth more to the bank in the long run than the 2%. If you market the hell out of the program they can buy a lot of brand loyalty.


UPDATE

I spoke to folks about this yesterday and I got some DMS.  Here are some additional thoughts:

  • Why a FICO score of 700?
    It's been a long while since I've needed to access credit or have done any financial coding.  I remembered that 700 was considered "good".  I was wrong 670 is "good" so 670 would be the benchmark.
     
  • Isn't using the FICO score discriminatory?
    Yes, all lending shows a bias towards people with a good credit history.  The bank has a responsibility to  their shareholders and depositors to ensure that loans are paid back.  Perhaps banks could ignore the FICO score for their current customers with Direct Deposit with the understanding that the bank is going to slurp the money back automagically when paychecks resume.
     
  • What would happen if someone didn’t pay?
    It would convert to a normal  personal unsecured loan.  I believe 24 months at around 15% would be normal.
     
  • Why the 2% fee? 
    To defray the bank’s fixed costs / administration fees.  They are already lending money below the discount rate.  Let’s face it the Payday lenders will be charging 20%.
     
  • What if people decide not to pay the loan back?  / What if people scam the system and get loans from multiple banks (if more than one bank ran similar programs)?
    The same as if someone doesn’t pay an unsecured loan back.  Court, sheriff, reposition of funds, paycheck garnishment, etc.
  Posted: Jan 12, 2019

How to Report a Bug

Like most developers, I get my fair share of bug reports sent to me.  The problem is most reports I get either have wrong information or no information at all for me to work with.

Today I had an issue with one of my hosting providers and wrote up the following report:

I am having problems logging into the dev region of my <redacted> site via SFTP.

I have checked your status page and it appears you don't have any outages at this time.

I have attempted to log in via my IDE and the command line using sftp -o Port=2222 <redacted>@<redacted>n and am getting a “Permission denied, please try again.” error message.

I am using the following credentials:

Host: <redacted>
Username: <redacted>
Port: 2222
Password : <redacted>

I have verified my password by logging out and back into the dashboard as well as logging into  another site I manage via SFTP.  The password I’m entering works in those places.

I was doing development on this site as recent as Wednesday and it was working fine.

The goal is for you to give enough information to whoever is on the other side of the ticket to recreate an understand the issue.  You should include a way to reproduce the issue, what software are you using and steps you might have taken to mitigate the issue.

Often times people who report bugs try to diagnose the issue ("I'm pretty sure it's a virus").  I know people are trying to be helpful when they do this but it's counter-productive.  The tech at the other end of the ticket needs to start by disproving your theory instead of researching your issue.

  Posted: Jan 4, 2019

I'm pretty sure that Orion is Elvis  #TheMaskedSinger 

Posted: Jan 3, 2019

Storing a Website's Logo in a Font

One thing I do like about programming is seeing how other people handle the same situation in a creative way.  

As you know, almost every website has a logo and generally speaking, the logo is stored in a graphic (png, jpg gif, etc).  If you need alternate version of the logo (size of color), you edit and upload a new image.  I've seen sites use SVG files to make scaling the image easier, but generally speaking those sites tend to be harder to maintain.

Today, I was reverse engineering a site and the logo was stored as a webfont loaded (a WOFF file).  The developer vectorized the logo and turned each color group into a separate color.  So if you take the FedEx logo as an example:

FedEx Logo

The blue "Fed" would be one character in the font file and the orange "Ex" is another chapter.  Once that's done any editing can be done via CSS.  So if you're laying the logo on on a blue background change change the color of the Fed part to white with color: #FFF.  You can control the size of the logo via the font-size property.  This felt like a neat way to handle it. 

  Posted: Jan 1, 2019