Bad UI at San Francisco Superior Court

Here’s an experiment:

Imagine you have to go the bathroom really bad. You are walking and see this sign at the end of the all. Glance at it quickly. Do you go right or left?

I went right. Obiously, the arrow is right below Restroom—immediately adjacent, almost touching—so it must be to the right, right? No. It’s to the left. This is the sort of sign you have to read from top to bottom to understand.

If the person doing the letters had put one empty panel between the arrow and the word Restroom, this would not be confusing.

Chase Bank online security is scary-bad

An illustration of Chase Bank security

Users are slowly learning that using the same password on multiple sites opens them up to a lot of hackery if one of those sites is compromised. So how can a typical user (I think of my mom) easily create a new password for every site they visit?

Password managers! They’re great! Password managers keep all your logins and passwords in one place. They can generate new passwords for you and let you retrieve them easily and securely. I use KeepassX for my login and password storage management. I like it because it’s super easy to use and it’s a great way to organize my keys. I can’t imagine going back to memorization.

My favorite feature of KeepassX is the password generator. It generates passwords for me that are super-dooper strong, like, for example:

2wAn>Jy*2_-e;3(o}lBx`! g]

That’s a bit more secure than using dictionary words with a random l33t thrown in for good measure.

So, onto my point.

My roommates send me money through Chase Bank. It’s convenient and fast (in terms of getting the money) but it is not terribly secure. Chase Bank forces users (like me) to use a short, easy-to-guess password. I can’t use

ya~ >I@,3}(Z_-8VF$2k-Mr1>

because they don’t allow white spaces. I can’t use


because they don’t allow special characters, minus or underline. I can’t use


because it’s too many characters. I have to shorten it down to eight characters. I’m feeling more naked and insecure with every attempt.

I called Chase to complain about this. They told me since I am not an account holder that they can’t even pass my complaint along to the web team. (basically, “go pound sand, Tim Wayne”).  Well, eff you, Chase Bank. Your website is insecure and your customers are needlessly exposed to hackery.

2010 DOMA Tax for Tim Wayne and Alex Jung

2010 DOMA Tax bill for Tim & Alex

2010 DOMA Tax bill for Tim Wayne & Alex Jung: $561. The DOMA Tax is the amount of extra money we pay in taxes since we are barred by law from filing joint federal income tax returns because of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Since Alex and I are married in the State of California, we filed joint state tax returns and saved a little money. But we lost it and more from this Federal tax hit.


If Japan had thorium reactors, they wouldn’t be facing a meltdown

Perhaps this situation in Japan will provide motivation to get them off of uranium and onto thorium:

Australian science writer Tim Dean, “thorium promises what uranium never delivered: abundant, safe and clean energy – and a way to burn up old radioactive waste.”[16] With a thorium nuclear reactor, Dean stresses a number of added benefits: there is no possibility of a meltdown, it generates power inexpensively, it does not produce weapons-grade by-products, and will burn up existing high-level waste as well as nuclear weapon stockpiles.[16] Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, of the British Telegraph daily, suggests that “Obama could kill fossil fuels overnight with a nuclear dash for thorium,” and could put “an end to our dependence on fossil fuels within three to five years.”[14]

Uranium is so last century!


An Open Letter to Boy Scouts’ Parents

I am one of those people who conduct gymnastics on the way out of the grocery store so I can avoid your children and what they are selling as fundraisers.

Your children are always well mannered. Dressed in dress uniform. Polite. They call out with “Ma’am!” —  something I don’t hear very often out West. I appreciate it so much. I’m a Southerner by culture, and manners matter to us. I’m also getting older. Manners matter me. So, thank you, Boy Scouts (and parents) for instilling some manners in the next generation.

Still, my family does not support the Boy Scouts because of the other value the organization communicates to the next generation. Namely, that discrimination is a-okay — when you’re excluding atheists and gay people. Maybe it’s more complicated than that. Perhaps, there are troops that are welcoming. Or, maybe it’s just that simple: the Boy Scouts promote God and the heterosexual lifestyle, and that is exactly as you think it should be.

Whatever. I don’t want to discuss this with you at the grocery store, in front of your children or in front of mine.

And yet, sometimes, my gymnastics with the grocery cart and my six-year-old daughter catch your eye. YOU want to know why I am avoiding your children. Today, you stood up from the table, and said loudly enough for me and my daughter to hear as we rounded the bend toward the parking lot:

“Can’t you spare five dollars for the coupon my children, these honorable Scouts, are selling today?”

“No, thank you.” That’s my normal response. Today, it wasn’t good enough. (So much for manners.)

No, you walked over from the table and right up to my cart, and asked,“Why not?”

It seemed an aggressive thing to do, especially during what is certainly still the Great Recession. And, I’m class privileged — perhaps you sensed that. I grounded to a halt, my cart’s squeaky wheel gasping. I looked over to your children. They were proud of you. Thankful for you asking. I’d seen them when we came in and knew their sales drive wasn’t going so well. Many had been, like me, engaged in cart gymnastics to avoid them on their way out of the store.

I waited a beat too long to respond. And so, you asked again with more vigor: “Why not?!”

I looked at my daughter and then to your children. Finally, I looked at you: “My family does not support the Boy Scouts, I’m sorry.” I turned, took a step. The cart squeaked again.

You also took a step. You asked again, “Why not?!!”


“Because the organization discriminates, sir,” I said almost in a whisper.

I really didn’t want to have this conversation in front of the children — yours, who likely know nothing about the Scouts’ positions on inclusion, and mine, who has many peers at school who are Cub Scouts.

“Discriminates against who?” you asked, again too loudly for my comfort.

My face reddened. I could feel the color flushing like juice up a straw.

“Against gay people and atheists,” I said. I wasn’t mad … I was … something else. Embarrassed? No, I was uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable having this conversation, here, right now, while grocery shopping with my kid, and with yours in view.

My honesty seemed to make you uncomfortable, too.

Our mutual silence lasted long enough for me to look down at my daughter to see that she was looking up at me, both confused and proud.

You stormed off: “I don’t have enough time for this conversation.”

You literally stormed off. I swear you did.

I don’t know how the rest of your day went. I spent the next 10 minutes in my car on the way home, explaining what had just transpired to my six-year-old daughter. We’ve had several follow-up conversations tonight. No, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts at your school are not bad kids. Yes, discrimination is wrong. Yes, the Supreme Court said the Boy Scouts could exclude gay people. And people who don’t believe in God. Yes, the Supreme Court is the most important court in the country. No, that doesn’t make it right.

Yes, we can have Girl Scouts’ cookies for dessert.


The Girl Scouts is an inclusive and affirming organization. Learn more at

To learn more about efforts to make the Boy Scouts a more inclusive organization, visit

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