Unofficial Signal PIN FAQ

The Signal secure messaging app has started forcing users to set a new PIN, popping up a nag dialog saying Create a PIN PINs keep information that’s stored with Signal encrypted. They’ve done a terrible job of communicating why they’re doing this, so I went away and read a bunch of forum threads, GitHub tickets, blog posts and support documents and here’s my own attempt at an FAQ more clearly answering the questions which immediately occurred to me when I got the nag dialog this morning.

Plague journal

Greg Abbott decided it was time for Texas to reopen, in spite of the opinions of experts. In spite of Greg Abbott, all the restaurants whose mailing lists I’m on have been e-mailing me to say that no, they aren’t opening their dining rooms up yet, it’s still takeout service only for now. We went to get groceries this morning (curbside pickup, not going into the store), and it looks as if Austin is still mostly wearing masks and distancing.

Plague journal

I changed my watch to just show the time. I no longer have appointments I need reminding of out of the house, and days have ceased to have meaning. Some things will never go back to normal. Some things shouldn’t. California is saving $40 million per day by not having so much car traffic, and people are trying bikes. Some companies have been surprised to find that people are still productive working from home, and are starting to ask themselves why they have expensive office space they make people commute to every day.

Plague journal: The Machine Starts

As the weeks go on, I’ve noticed people being increasingly shitty across social media. I totally understand why it’s happening, but in the last week I’ve experienced 5 separate incidents, and that’s more than I am willing to deal with, so I decided it’s time to start disconnecting from some places. I started by deactivating my Facebook account today. I only really still had it to avoid missing invites to events, and there aren’t any events now, so this seems like a good opportunity to tell Zuckerberg to get fucked.

Plague journal

Another month-long week has passed. March 32nd went better than expected after everyone decided April 1st had outlived its usefulness. In a world where RuPaul is fracking and Republicans are actually urging letting grandma die to help the stock market, the April Fool tradition has outlived its usefulness. The official story is now somewhat in accordance with reality. People no longer tell me I’m crazy for saying we will see over 100,000 dead.

Plague journal

I miss restaurants. Cafés too. Eating out or going for coffee was one of life’s little pleasures, and a signpost that helped me remember where in the week we were. Now the days have started to run into each other like one big formless gray existence. Some people are still deep in denial. You can show them the graphs, and they’ll say that all the other countries undercounted their cases but that the US is counting them accurately, and that’s why the US looks like it’s doing worse then literally every other country.

Plague journal 12/13

Woke up yesterday from dreaming about Bill Hicks. An Austin startup had worked out how to bring him from his timeline to ours. He was still going to die of pancreatic cancer at 32, but they could scoop him into the present day for one last sellout performance. Since this is a dystopian SF timeline we’re in, you can download the SARS-nCoV-1 genome on the Internet. Maybe you can turn it into a pretty picture or a piece of music?

Plague journal 11

Today I had a phone appointment with my doctor to get some updated prescriptions; I figured it was a good time to make sure I had all my asthma inhalers up to date rather than making do with old expired ones that still basically worked. As we hung up I wished her good luck. (It was supposed to be a video chat, but the video system wasn’t working at their end.

Plague journal 10

Starting to see the stories of horrific COVID-19 deaths appearing in the media. On Fox News, Hannity read off a letter listing ingredients for a quack preventative for coronavirus. After Trump mentioned chloroquine phosphate as a cure for the coronavirus, a man in Arizona ingested it, and died. Trump had to shut down almost all his hotels, including the ones that make him most of his income. In an amazing coincidence, he has started to talk about wanting to ignore experts and lift the coronavirus lockdowns soon.

Plague journal 9

Apple is donating millions of face masks to medical professionals.Texas is up to 325 cases as of yesterday, 6,522 tests administered. The Fed is predicting that we could see 30% unemployment and a 50% drop in GDP in Q2. US infection rate has now apparently outpaced where every other country was at this point in their infection curves. Each country started the battle on a different date; but N days into the respective battles, we have more infected than China or Italy and a faster rate of increase.