Fixing the iPhone charge flashing between on and off on a Mac

Running this in terminal worked for me: (it will ask for your user’s password)

sudo killall -STOP -c usbd

This pauses the troublesome process instead of killing it altogether like other answers suggest. The difference is that macOS won’t try to reopen it automatically and cause the issue again.


Running sudo killall -CONT usbd will resume the process, should anything require it.


Tested on: iPhone 7 (iOS 11) + MacBook Pro Late 2013 (10.13.6)


Besides software issues, there’s a good chance that the cable is at least partially damaged so it might work for dumb power chargers but not with a MacBook that also relies on the USB data pins.

Chesley Sullenberger on keeping a journal

Chesley Sullenberger:

This is something I’ve done for a while. When we’re traveling as a family, I write down the most surprising things that we saw, the funniest thing that someone said. It’s fun, especially now that our daughters are a little older, to go back and look at trips we took eight or 10 years ago. It’s kind of a gift that you get to keep enjoying as the years go by. Because you forget! Your more recent experiences sort of override all the things that you did before, and you often forget those things as you move on in life.

This inspired me to start journaling on my Field Notes notebook once again. It is a wonderful feeling to write things as they happen to you.

The guts of Venkatesh Maha

Venkatesh Maha, before starting C/O Kancharapalem:

After working for 5 years in the Telugu Film Industry I realised that most of the Film Makers are not here to tell stories. They make films without stories and tell stories to promote their films. Some of the film makers shamelessly say that there are “NO STORIES”and some say that our Producers and Big Ass Stars asked us to write these kind of stories. Except some film makers rest of the film makers are here for the Celebrity Status and Millions of Money. I feel ashamed to place my name in that list of film makers. So “I HAVE DECIDED“.

CSS jitter

Helpful piece by Chris Coyier at CSS-Tricks*:

Here are some hover styles that could trigger “CSS Jitter” [or flicker]


Changing Margin or Padding


I had set margin in a CSS class for a hover style. I removed it, and voila. Elements on the page are rock solid.

Thanks to Sai Krishna Nulavai for the wisdom.

Side-loading Spotify on Amazon Fire TV in India

There’s a bit uncertainty about the launch date of Spotify in India.  If you’re a user of Amazon Fire TV in India, you cannot install Spotify from the app store. But there’s a solution to access Spotify on your TV.

  1. Turn on “Apps from Unknown Sources” from Settings > Device > Developer options
  2. Download and install ES File Explorer File Manager from the “Apps” section of your Fire TV.
  3. Open ES File Explorer File Manager, and install one of the cloud file hosting services like Google Drive or Dropbox available there. Microsoft’s OneDrive worked for me. Sign-in to OneDrive.
  4. Download the Spotify for Android TV .apk file on your computer and add it to your OneDrive account.
  5. Assuming that the .apk file is synchronized in the cloud, open OneDrive, and install it.
  6. Sing-in to Spotify. Enjoy.


When is Spotify going to launch in India

Spotify doesn’t have a date yet.

From a recent Spotify earnings call (Q2 2018), the CEO of Spotify says:

Obviously it’s the big markets like Russia, India that probably will contribute the most. I don’t have any further comment on any specific launch dates on those things.

They have already set up an office in Mumbai last year, and appointed the former OLX CEO Amarjit Singh Batra as Spotify India’s head. But the launch had hit music label resistance. Considering the current challenges, Spotify may be launching in October or November this year.

UPDATE — 1 November 2018

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek (Q3 2018):

India specifically is a very fragmented marketplace, with lots of different local labels, lots of different local publishers. Whenever we deal with licensing situations, it’s very hard for us to predict accurate timelines on the basis of multiple partnerships — just the sheer scale of number of partnerships makes it very hard to predict that, but there’s nothing that we see that prevents us from launching in India.


Shirley Halperin and Jem Aswad reporting for Variety:

[…]Variety has learned that a launch in India is expected as soon as the next six months and will offer an extended free trial period — longer than the 30 days of full-access[…].


Lucas Shaw, reporting for Bloomberg:

Spotify Technology SA is preparing to introduce its service as soon as the first quarter of 2019, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t yet public. Variety previously reported on the agreements, saying Spotify will launch in India within six months.

The first quarter of 2019 — sometime before March.

Creating a reminder with virtual assistants: Google versus Apple

While exploring IFTTT today, I came across this interesting applet from Google — Google Assistant:

Add a new to-do in your iPhone’s Reminders app with Google Assistant

Say “Ok Google, add a reminder to my iPhone ______” and this Applet will do its best to add your to-do item to a list called Google Assistant.

Having read about the reliability of Google Assistant over Siri, I installed Google Assistant on my iPhone. I started speaking the told command to the Assistant.

Google Assistant Varun

Google Assistant, without a doubt, understood my voice command — even with an Indian name in it — marginally better than Siri. For someone like me who is using an older hardware like the iPhone 5s, the whole process of adding a reminder is a lot faster with Google Assistant. Unlike with Siri, it was real-time: I could see the text as I spoke to the Assistant. It was great.

Except for one thing that the reminder was not added to the “Google Assistant” list on my Reminders app as the Google’s applet had hoped for — plus it prepended an extra “My iPhone” phrase to the reminder. And there here was no such list created on my Reminders app. The reminder was actually added to the Google Assistant app itself.

Instead of visiting “View reminders” on Google Assistant, I took an adventurous route. I expected to see the added reminder to be there on the recently released Google Tasks iOS app hoping that I can now use it as a reminders app on iPhone and the Tasks add-on in Gmail on the web. At the same time, I raised my expectations to use Google Assistant as my Siri replacement as a way to at least add reminders quickly. Turns out, my reminder was not added to Tasks. My mind quickly recalled a service called Google Keep. Again, my reminder was nowhere to be seen on Keep.

To make my adventure of accessing my reminder even more complicated, I downloaded the Google app and signed into it. My reminder “My iPhone get in touch with Varun” was there. Buried under a section called “Feed” — with an icon that resembled a tray — amidst other updates like weather, bills, and flights. The same reminder on the Google Assistant app was buried under the tray.

Since Google Assistant had an edge over Siri in terms of voice command processing, since I needed a faster way to add reminders on my iPhone, and even if I had to use one among two iPhone apps: Google or Google Assistant to view my reminders, I couldn’t find a way to view the reminder my Mac. Fortunately, I could recall from 2014 a reminder icon from a service called Inbox by Gmail. There was my reminder, at on my web browser amidst my emails.

So if you need to use a simple reminders utility on iPhone with Google’s ecosystem — adding a reminder on the Google Assistant or Google or Inbox by Gmail or Google Calendar apps — expect to find your reminder buried inside any of these apps or or on a web browser on a Mac. The apps — Google Keep and Google Tasks — which any reasonable person will expect them to provide a reminders utility associated with a single Google account don’t cut it.

Instead of making a simple and useful utility, Google has tried to mix reminders with services like search, mail, and calendar. And when Google tried to really make the reminders make work with the super-reliable Google Assistant, it has got no connection with its supposed part-reminder utilities like Keep and Tasks.

Coming to the Apple ecosystem, here’s how I use Reminders on my iPhone and Mac:

I will say something like “Remind me to get in touch with Varun tomorrow.” to Siri. If Siri worked reliably, it will add something like this to Reminders on my iPhone, Mac, and iCloud:

Siri Varun

That’s it. I know where to my find my Reminders.

Here’s the often-quoted comment by Alan Kay:

People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.

I really hope Apple gets serious with its Siri software under the new leadership.

How I got a free SSL certificate from Cloudflare

I wanted an SSL certificate here at One Light for a long time. It’s just that the cost of one stopped me from installing it.

With a simple Google search, I was able to get started. Here are the simple steps that I followed:

  1. Sign up for a Cloudflare account.
  2. Add your website to Cloudflare.
  3. Collect your API key.
  4. Install the official Cloudflare plugin for WordPress.
  5. Add your email and Cloudflare API key in your WordPress plugin settings.
  6. Change your nameserver (NS) records to point to Cloudflare through your registrar (GoDaddy in my case).
  7. On the Cloudflare website, turn on necessary security-related settings, including “Always use HTTPS” under “Crypto” settings.

That’s it.

Thank you, Cloudflare, for the free SSL certificate.