Geek

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.

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.

Exciting.

https://youtu.be/fssZICsV4Rg

This is innovation. And it’s from Microsoft.

Power.

I’ve always been fascinated by power lines. It’s connected to my geeky interest of all things connected.

These lines march across Indiana a little bit north of Indianapolis. We traveled in all 50 states but I don’t think I’ve ever seen towers of this design before.

There’s a lot of power up there.

Mobility.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

I have a lot of respect for this guy. I don’t know who he is, I don’t know what he’s working on, nor do I know where he is working. I do know that he’s using a Mac in a public space in a seemingly good spot to get some work done. I find that awesome.

I’ve always had dreams of being a Digital Nomad. I love the idea of working remotely and I’m quite fortunate to be a company-sanctioned telecommuter, but I have a habit of setting up shop in my home office and doing all my work from there, rather than taking advantage of the digital tools available to me and working where I need to.

I do find I get more things done when I change up the scenery a bit. I like the white noise of a coffee shop while I’m working. I can’t have headphones in; I’m more of the type to have music playing in the background, which adds to the general ambiance of a room. I have specific needs to not throw off my concentration, and I occasionally have a hard time finding that at home. Getting out of the office more often would definitely help my concentration.

A couple of years ago work gave me a Windows 10 Dell Laptop, saying I had to make the switch due to security concerns on the network. Frankly I never turned in the company assigned Mac equipment I was given when I joined the company back in 2015, so I still use it from time to time. The Retina display, and the entire experience for that matter, far outshines the Windows 10 experience I have on my Dell laptop. I don’t know how anyone, in this day and age, can think a display resolution of 1366×768 can lend itself to any sort of productive endeavor, especially since Microsoft tries to cram everything and the kitchen sink into ribbons and buttons and advertising in their latest incarnations of Office products.

I’m going to have to read up on the Bring-Your-Own-Device policy at work to see if I can get back to a company-sanctioned Mac platform again. I already structure my day so I have meetings in the morning and development time in the afternoon. If I can maintain these two constants, I might be working from a local coffee shop sooner than later.

Then I can really get some stuff done.

Testing.

I am making updates to the infrastructure of code that runs my installation of WordPress for this blog. Since this blog is self-hosted, I’m responsible for making sure it runs like it should after I patch updates and the like. Luckily I haven’t tricked out the software too much; updates generally go smoothly.

If you can read this, the test has been successful.

If you can still read this, the test continues to be successful.

OK, so the third upgrade I did didn’t work. You couldn’t read the third iteration of the sentence of “if you can still read this…”

For the technically minded, I’m moving to newer versions of PHP on the server. I didn’t get things to where I wanted to be, but things are where they need to be. It works for me.

Cuts.

Not wanting to be left out of a money making opportunity, NBC/Universal recently announced they’re launching the Peacock streaming network in 2020. This streaming network will have 15,000 hours of programming available. I’m sure it’ll be yet another monthly fee for accessing this service.

My husband and I cut the cord years ago. We have relied on an Over-The-Air antenna and the usual suspects of streaming services: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix. Other than “Madam Secretary”, the handful of network shows we watch have been available on Hulu or another service. The truth be known, we enjoy indie and alternative series from the streaming services when compared with the mainstream stuff being put out by the traditional networks.

And really, who wants to watch Sean Spicer dance around while dressed up like an avocado?

When Apple TV+ comes out we are going to buy an iDevice so we can stream the service free for a year. I’m really interested in the new series “For All Mankind” and I’m mildly interested in “The Morning Show”. I’ve resisted CBS All Access but with “Star Trek: Picard” coming out next year we’re going to need to shell out some money for that. Then, of course, Disney+ is coming out in November and we’ll probably sign on for that.

When does it become cheaper to just go with cable?

Of course, the streaming services are offering no-ads services, and our time is money, so perhaps paying for streaming services without ads vs paying for cable with ads still has a leaning toward to the streaming services. Though, I think we’re going to end up with too many offerings and just start pirating and sharing video that way again. If we could do it in the ’00s we can certainly do it in the ’20s.

Now if I could just find “Judging Amy” again.

Geek Out.

Photo by Colin.

A few months ago I purchased a hoodie designed in the pattern of a “Star Trek: Voyager” Starfleet uniform. It was on sale and I wasn’t sure when or where I would wear this hoodie but I liked the look of it so I grabbed it from the dwindling stock.

Summer is slowly giving way to Autumn in Chicagoland, so this weekend the need for a hoodie like accessory has presented itself; I decided to wear my “Voyager” hoodie out in public. This is a little bit of a bold step for me, as I tend to try to blend into the crowd. But I was prepared to boldly go and after a few moments of self-consciousness I felt comfortable in my hoodie and I was “working it”.

I wore the hoodie to “Out In The Park”, the LGBT-positive event at Six Flags: Great America. Several folks remarked on the hoodie and all of the comments were positive.

Owning my inner geek in a public way like this is a pretty big step for me. Maybe today’s society needs more geeks like me to express themselves like this. It might be the only path left to get to the Star Trek-like future of peace, compassion, harmony, and exploration.

Or, I just like wearing a cool looking hoodie.

The Great Hack.

We sat down and watched “The Great Hack” on Netflix. For those not familiar, “The Great Hack” outlines the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook scandal around the 2016 elections. The production value of the documentary is typical 2019 fare and sometimes the narrative wanders a little bit, but the documentary as a whole is well done. It’s interesting, and more so chilling, to see what bad actors will do with the data of individuals.

tl;dr Cambridge Analytica had at least 5,000 data points on every citizen of the United States. They used that data to target people they categorized as persuadables, and then blasted propaganda at those people to convince them to vote and to sway them to vote to the wills of their clients, including The Trump Administration.

Illegal? Debatable. Immoral? Depends on who you’re talking to. Unfortunate? Absolutely.

I firmly maintain the growth of technology has outpaced the ability of society in general to use it responsibly. So many folks fear AI and sentient robots and the like, but technology is already being weaponized against the populace. Since this benefits the bad actors currently in power in the U.S. government, I have little hope that something will be done from a governmental level to address this issue. So it’s up to us to be vocal about what’s happening and to educate those less tech-savvy as to what’s going on behind the curtain. Oz was not a benevolent wizard.

Neither are the actors behind the curtain of our democracy.