Interaction.

I brought my iPad Pro along on my little walk and blogging adventure today because it’s light and easy to transport. I enjoy my iPad Pro very much and I enjoy using it.

But I don’t believe it’s ever going to be a laptop replacement.

Even with iPadOS and all the desktop-like functionality Apple has baked into the iPad experience, as power user it still feels a little too “locked in” to a specified experience. Even though Safari is now suppose to provide a desktop-like experience, there are still some sites that don’t work properly, and overall it doesn’t feel quite there. It’s closer. It’s much closer, and I would be comfortable taking my iPad Pro as my primary computer on vacation. I can do everything the casual user needs to do with their computer. All social media is there, web browsing is 98% there, email is accessible. I can edit documents and organize and share photos and do all that.

But it still feels restricted.

I liken the feeling to when Microsoft started embracing the Internet and bolted networking on top of the existing Windows experience. It felt slightly messy and a little bit like someone was trying to shove an oval shape into a round hole. Not quite there but close. The iPad Pro experience still feels that way to me.

As I said, it’s much better than it was, but it’s not quite there for a tech geek like me.

Maybe Steve Jobs had it right with the whole “consumption device” approach back when it was announced. On the other hand, my I’m not the target audience. I know my Mom seems delighted with her iPad. Her Facebook activity indicates she’s having a good time with it.

Perhaps that’s all that’s important.

Warbly.

I’m at Starbucks playing around with my iPad Pro, writing blog entries, and doing some general people watching. Before I dive into the original intent of this blog entry, I’m confused by a woman using a MacBook Pro nearby. There’s like little feet on the bottom of it and there’s no Apple logo on the lid. I can easily tell it’s a MacBook. It’s Rose Gold, when I glanced at her screen I could see the familiarity of Mac OS, etc., but for the life of me I can’t figure out what model of Mac she’s using.

Anyway.

Starbucks pipes in music to maintain a certain vibe in their locations. Because everything integrated through magic, one can check the Starbucks app to see what song is playing at your particular location at any given time. It’s a generally nifty thing.

The app revealed the song was called “Friends” by Big Gigantic featuring Ashe. Being old and out of touch I know nothing about Big Gigantic or Ashe, however, I can speak to her vocal stylings. In the Fox-run American Idol days in the earlier 2000s and first half of this decade, screaming and trying to sound like Whitney Houston (above or below water, didn’t matter), Mariah Carey (New Year’s Eve notwithstanding), or Christina Aguilera (where the stars are reaming) was the expectation of the time. Pop music has apparently shifted to a phase where singers now kind of keep their mouth closed, don’t project at all, and sort of mumble or warble. Since starting this blog entry a couple of different songs have cycled through the playlist and they all have this warbly, nasally, whiny, uninterested quality to their voice. Honestly, it’s hard to tell if there’s emotion because there’s so much technological crap thrown onto the production it barely resembles anything a human could naturally sing. However, the robotic yodeling has this “I’m not trying hard” quality to it that to me seems really contrived.

I’m starting to sound cranky.

I’m 51 years old, and despite the amount of cosmetic surgery being overlaid onto Gen X, I’m not a young guy who’s suppose to groove on the latest tracks on the local Kiss-FM station. I’m not in the target audience. When I was in radio in my younger days, we would guess the age of requests coming into the studio and rate accordingly. Part of the formula for a 44+ male request at a Top 40 station was worth half a point. A female was always worth at least a full point, but if they were in the coveted 18-34 range a request could be worth as much as eight points. To put it in perspective, I would have to request The Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” 16 times in a week for me to have the same impact as one request for the same song from a 30-year old woman named Maria.

So I get that the warbly, disinterested vocal quality isn’t aimed at me.

What I’m curious about is whether the record companies are trying to get these performers to sing this way on purpose, or if they’re all copying each other, or if there’s been some Evolutionary Shift in the throat construction of Generation Z (apparently dubbed “Generation Z” because they’re the last generation).

Thankfully we’ve moved to a different type of vocalist by this point in the blog entry. This music is called “Neo-Disco”, but in my day we called it “Disco”. I guess using software instruments and auto-tune requires the prefix “Neo”.

Now get off my walkman.

Ad.

I’m a little surprised Facebook feels the need to advertise. I mean, who in Chicago doesn’t know what Facebook is? Obviously this is a PR campaign to negate negative press.

Catalina.

I’ve upgraded my mid-2015 15-inch MacBook Pro to Mac OS Catalina. The operating system has not been officially released (though there were some rumors it would be released on the 4th), but the Gold Master is available on the beta channel and that’s good enough for me.

I took this opportunity to turn FileVault back on. FileVault encrypts the contents of my hard drive. If this computer was ever stolen, no one could easily read the contents of my hard drive. Since I’ve experienced having my computer stolen before, I tend to err on the paranoid side when it comes to data security. I’m a big fan of encryption.

I’d share screen shots of Catalina but I’m typing this entry on my iPad Pro because the encryption of my hard drive has gone on for several hours with several hours still remaining in the process.

I haven’t noticed any jarring changes in the interface to throw typical users off their game. There are some major changes going on under the hood, for example, Mac OS Catalina will not run 32-bit applications. The only 32-bit application I had remaining on my hard drive was a Quicktime Plug-in for Final Cut Pro X, and I don’t really use that plug-in so I went ahead and did the upgrade.

I had read concerns from beta testers around the number of security prompts thrown out by Catalina, but I haven’t experience anything like that yet, but as mentioned, I haven’t really dug deep into the new OS.

One thing I have noticed is my battery drains pretty quickly. I need to give the OS about a week before I determine as to whether that’s something going on with the OS itself or it’s the fallout of Mac OS doing a bunch of cleanup related to the upgrade in the background.

Like its predecessors, Mac OS Catalina looks gorgeous, even on my 4 1/2 year old machine. I look forward to sharing further findings from my exploration adventures with the new OS.

Once my hard drive finishes encrypting.

LA Times Opinion: Facebook gives up fight against fake news

Facebook Mantra: “Must. Not. Disturb. The. Revenue.” From the LA Times:

Opinion: Facebook just gave up the fight against fake news

Facebook’s new advertisement policy will allow political candidates to lie in their campaign advertisements. Here’s why that’s bad.

Up is down. Left is right. Cats are dogs. President Trump is a very stable genius. Trump is Lucifer incarnate.

These are all demonstrably false statements. But now, thanks to a new Facebook policy that exempts political advertisements from fact-checking, they may as well be true. At least, as long as they appear in a campaign ad.

Yup, that’s right. Facebook, already a “Mad Max”-style digital hellscape of fake news and misinformation, has taken the final step toward creating a fact-free reality: allowing politicians to lie with impunity. The Truthpocalypse is now, officially, upon us.

The newsletter Popular Information reported Thursday morning that the social media platform tweaked its advertisement rules last week, loosening restrictions on all advertising in general and exempting political advertisements from fact-checking entirely.

Per Popular Information: “The old rules prohibited all ads that contained ‘false’ and ‘misleading’ content and made no mention of the fact-checking program. The new rules are limited to claims that are ‘debunked by third-party fact checkers.’ Moreover, Facebook says ‘political figures’ are exempt from even that narrow restriction.”

Facebook just rolled our plump, defenseless democracy over belly-up and invited the wolves over to take a bite.

Why? Well, there’s really no explanation. What we do know is that this can only further muck up our elections.

Of course, Team Trump had already been playing fast and loose with the previous standard for truth on the platform for months. As Popular Information also points out, recent false or misleading Trump campaigns include a “false ad targeting seniors that claimed Trump was still considering closing the southern border,” an “ad scamming its supporters by claiming there was a midnight deadline to enter a contest to win the ‘1,000,000th red MAGA hat signed by President Trump'” that had run every day for weeks, and an “ad that falsely claimed Democrats are trying to repeal the Second Amendment.”

Lord knows they won’t waste a second to exploit their new fib-friendly freedom.

And to my conservative readers, surely you must see how this shoe fits on the other foot. “A vote for Bernie is a vote for free puppies and iPhone 11 Pros.” Or maybe, “Want Kaepernick to start at quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys? President Kamala can make it happen.” Or, even worse: “Mayor Pete’s America: More gays, less guns.”

Oh the horror! Just think of how easily fooled all of us uninformed, country-loathing, entitled liberals could be! (Conservatives should also be mad that the president is blatantly lying to their face. But whatever.)

Of course, Facebook’s been trending in this direction for quite some time now. In May, the company folded to the fake newsers and refused to pull down an obviously doctored video portraying Nancy Pelosi as mentally impaired. It was just another example of Facebook acting derelict in its duties — or at least what critics hope its duties would be — to police and patrol the content on their platform.

That event made an enemy out of the House speaker and further cemented the views of those in her party that the tech giant requires regulation.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg still fears federal regulation, reportedly. But these lax new rules sure prove he still doesn’t seem to understand the immense amount of power he wields in influencing our elections. Somehow, a $71-billion company can’t regulate its advertisements with the same scrutiny of a local TV station. Oh well.

In the meantime, I’m abstaining from Facebook to mull a run at local office.

Who wouldn’t vote for a Free Ice Cream for All platform?

All I Want.

I woke myself up in the middle of the night last night singing backup vocals on this track. This is not uncommon behavior for me, in some respects I’m happy I was still in bed and not standing naked outside thinking the balcony was some sort of stage or something.

My singing aspirations have usually centered around a group performance with me singing backups. I would love to do that once again with a group before I move on from this life, and this is one of the songs I would love to contribute to.

One of my favorite songs from the 90s, here’s Toad The Wet Sprocket with “All I Want”.

Reality.

When it comes to “connecting people together”, Mark Zuckerberg has little interest in anything outside of greed. Tech journalist maven Kara Swisher shares a very interesting opinion piece in The New York Times.

Mr. Zuckerberg really doesn’t want Elizabeth Warren as President.