YouTube’s Category chips suck

In the before times YouTube used to have Netflix style categories for videos, when they switched to Polymer they made a design choice to change these neatly divided categories into tabs (or chips as they call them) where above the videos you have all the categories listed out from “All” to “Recently Uploaded”, “Watched” and “New to you”. In between those categories are all the things the all mighty algorithm has decided you like.

One of my favorite categories is “Recently Uploaded” because it is a mix of videos from channels I subscribe to as well as videos similar to those I subscribe to and they are not usually more than a couple days old. I watch a lot of gaming videos which are time sensitive due to patches that change the “meta” (play style and mechanics) so watching a video from 6 years ago isn’t what I usually want. It’s not just games though, I have a lot of channels on bleeding edge tech and also programming channels which I want to stay up to date on.

For this reason it was very annoying to me that YouTube tucked this chip all the way at the back of the line, to the point I needed to scroll the chips to find it. They also have a styling bug that sometimes the scrolling doesn’t show last chip all the way. It got so annoying I found workaround like disabling the polymer view to get the old style. But, the thing is, other than the chips I really liked the new “infinite” vertical scroll and larger, more condensed, thumbnails.

I finally had enough and wrote a user script to solve my problem. A user script is kind of like a browser extension except it is somewhat more limited in scope and functionality and it doesn’t require publishing it to the Chrome/Firefox store, it can be shared, copied and edited easily. I did publish it to Greasy Fork and can be found here: Reposition YouTube Recently Uploaded Chip. I’ve also published it as a gist on Github and can be found here.

Permanently Shuffling your Google Play Music Playlist (sort of)

For some reason Android Auto doesn’t want to shuffle my playlists when I am driving and I don’t feel like listening or jumping through a dozen of the first songs on the list that I’ve listened to recently.

Unfortunately Google doesn’t provide us with an option to shuffle a playlist in place like decades old technology such as WinAmp has. But I’ve found a workaround, before I go on a road trip I load up my playlist page, click the shuffle button, this will start playing your entire playlist in a random order. Then you can save your Queue as a new playlist. Pretty simple, and it works if a bit cumbersome. I just delete these temporary playlists when I am not driving.

Unfortunately the Queue is limited to 1,000 songs, but since I treat these as temporary playlist for when I’m travelling I don’t really see it as a problem, though I’d really wish Google would just implement a way to shuffle your list in place.

No need to start with an empty queue, clicking the shuffle button will clear out whatever is currently in there.
After clicking shuffle your queue will now have a randomly sorted list of up to 1000 songs. Click save and give it a name.
Name it something that is easy to find.
Later you can delete this shuffled list from the kebab menu (⋮)

Cancelling Transunion Canada Credit Monitoring / ID Protection Program

I think it should be law in Canada that cancelling a membership to something should be as easy as signing up. Trying to find out how to cancel your Transunion Canada Credit Monitoring or Identity theft monitoring is practically impossible, they’ve hired a lot of SEO to make sure anything you search Google floods your results with irrelevant links.

After filtering out their domains the resources are still few and far between. I found one on Quora for the US site but not Canada. After adjusting my search terms to look for Credit Monitoring rather than ID protection program (which is what they call it in the emails) I came across a 2 year old Reddit post that gives you a direct link to the page in question. Apparently the cancel link is buried somewhere in the FAQ but heck if I could find it.

And it’s this easy (courtesy of an anonymous redditor /u/myusername121) :

  1. Log into your Transunion Canada Credit Monitoring account as you normally would to get the dashboard
  2. Paste & go to this URL into your address bar:
  3. Click the “Cancel Product” button
  4. That’s it! You should now receive a confirmation email stating your monitoring has been cancel.

Significance of the underscore parameter in arrow functions

Reading code I noticed some devs have been using an underscore, _ => {...}, in their arrow function rather than empty parentheses, () => {...}. At first I thought this was further syntactic sugar of the ES2015+ specifications that I had missed, some convenience keyword.

But I just realized that people have just been using (abusing?) the single parameter with no parenthesis syntax. Basically passing a variable called _ to the function and never using it as a means of not having to type two characters thus “saving” time.

To be clear, these are all the same:

a => {...}
foo => {...}
ಠ_ಠ => {...}
_ => {...}

I’m not sure how I feel about it, the jury is out. On one hand it does save typing a character, on the other it feels… wrong.

My personal hell

I think it’s going to be driving a large truck towing a trailer in rush hour traffic making left hand turns at uncontrolled intersections going from one crowded mall to another where I have to cold call someone to sell them something they don’t need.

New design

I thought it was time to update the design of the website. I clearly don’t have the design chops to do it.

So I am now using WordPress and some stock photos from my old employer iStockphoto Istock by Getty Images. I found some beautiful photos of Calgary and Alberta, my home.

I struggled with whether I should enable my blog portion. As I really don’t think I have much to talk about and am not sure there are people that would be interested in hearing what I had to say. But I suppose I’ll give it a shot.

I recently picked up a new hobby, wood working, mostly power tools and whatnot for now. But perhaps I’ll use this as a platform for showing my works.

I may also talk about some programming and what we’re doing at Arterys.

More to come, probably.