Recent tidbits

  • Any thumbprint can unlock Galaxy S10 phone. bbc.com
  • Brave browser reaches 8 million monthly active users. Anecdotally, I’m very surprised how many people at work also use this browser.
  • Rectangle free/open source for macOS window manager in the spirit of Spectacle. Fast and light, replaced Magnet and it has been working great.
  • Analogue’s $200 Pocket console look unbelievable. It can play any Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance games.
October 15, 2019

Norway’s Boring Lunch Tradition — Matpakke

Kara Elder on vox.com:

The point of these open-faced sandwiches is to provide a quick, easy, somewhat nutritious lunch-time meal that provides sustenance without leaving you too full. They typically consist of two or three slices of bread, smeared lightly with butter, each topped with a single slice of cheese or meat, or perhaps a thin layer of jam, liver paste, or tubed caviar.

I never thought much of these while in Oslo — specially since Opera had a great lunch menu. But I’ve come to appreciate the simplicity of it years later.

snippets
October 14, 2019

Tidbits for 2019 Week 41

  • Brydge sues Kickstarter over clone” Libra keyboard. It did seem very similar from the beginning.
  • reMarkable raises $15M round and has sold 100K tablets. Not bad.
  • SmartCapsLock lets you select text and press Caps Lock to change the case to multiple options. I just remap my caps lock key to control, but this can be useful.
tidbits
October 12, 2019

Apple Launches In-House Studio, Sets Band of Brothers’ Sequel Series

Will Thorne on variety.com:

Based on the book by Donald L. Miller, Masters of the Air” is said to follow the true, deeply personal story of the American bomber boys in World War II who brought the war to Hitler’s doorstep. The series is being written by Band of Brothers” alumnus John Orloff, who is also a co-executive producer.

Apple TV+ keeps getting more intriguing shows.

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October 8, 2019

If Disney World’s Star Wars” Land Is a Flop, Why Is It So Crowded?

Rick Munarriz on fool.com:

In my sixth visit to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge — four to the original Disneyland version this summer and now my second visit at Disney World, but the first since it officially opened — I have never seen the 14-acre addition as busy as it was this weekend.

We went the day before Dorian hit”, and while the rest of Hollywood Studios was empty, we waited the full 90 minutes for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.

I’m biased though, I really want the park to succeed to continue visiting as Robie and Bettina grow.

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October 7, 2019

Tidbits for 2019 Week 40

  • Windows Virtual Desktop is now available. Need to work out the pricing, but this is very significant for big IT departments.
  • Agenda 8 allows drawing and handwriting with Pencil. Darn it, I thought my note taking flow was now somewhat stable.
  • YouTube TV is available on Amazon Fire TV. The cordcutter land-grab is over, now the platforms are shifting their fight.
tidbits
October 5, 2019

A Separate Kind of Intelligence

Alison Gopnik, on edge.org:

[…] the explosion of machine learning as a basis for the new AI has made people appreciate the fact that if you’re interested in systems that are going to learn about the external world, the system that we know of that does that better than anything else is a human child.

Fascinating — and yet another theme that a short story in Exhalation includes without being obvious.

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September 30, 2019

New SIM Attacks De-Mystified

Security Research Labs on srlabs.de:

SRLabs researchers investigated the SIM hacking possibilities from two perspectives: Checking how many SIMs are vulnerable, and monitoring how many are actively being exploited.

Overall it appears vulnerabilities concerns are overblown, but they do exists.

One of the findings was surprising:

Most of the messages targeted users in Latin and South America

This analogy really helped me understand that SIM cards are not simply pieces of plastic:

SIM cards are small computers inside your mobile phone. Besides their main role of authenticating you to the network, they run Java applications and can instruct your mobile phone to do various things […]

Good short and sweet overview.

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September 30, 2019

Tidbits for 2019 Week 39

  • Moon++ is a better lunar Apple Watch complication by David Smith. Instabuy.
  • Jura Anchor AirPod charger case clipper thingy on Kickstarter. Backed.
  • Penbook is my new default iPad mini note taking app. Love the smart stationary concept.
  • Dark theme is coming to Gmail mobile apps. I miss Inbox by Gmail so much.
  • The new Mac Pro will be made in the USA — thanks to tariff exclusions.
tidbits
September 26, 2019

Benjamin Mayo on Apple Arcade

From bzamayo.com:

Arcade has value on that axis alone; a simple place to find games that do not have those distractions and borderline casino business models. It also helps that the Arcade games are good.

I’ve been playing What The Golf and Mini Motorways. Both worth 5$ each, and easily something I would have bought over two or three months.

This has cut into my YouTube time significantly, a worthwhile investment by itself.

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September 25, 2019

Proceed With Caution On Elegant Solutions

A solution is a deliverable. It can be elegant or obtuse, but these are adjectives. Of course there’s artistry and workmanship, but these are also in addition to the solution.

The weakest link in a process is a danger to your elegant solution. If one of the steps barely works, your downstream magic risks being useless since it could never get triggered.

Sometimes simplicity in the solution is the most elegant one. It likely reduces the scenarios of when the whole thing works — but it gives a consistent result: if you push the button exactly this way, the light switches on.

And if that’s the required deliverable, you are now done with it. Nothing elegant about it.

September 23, 2019

Tidbits for 2019 Week 38

  • Descript Podcast Studio Launched. Just watch the video, there’s too much amazingness in it. descript.com
  • Google Fi gets an unlimited plan. I’m staying on the flexible plan. techcrunch.com
  • NBCUniversal’s streaming service is called Peacock. No, really. theverge.com
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September 20, 2019
The Gods ThemselvesThe Gods Themselves
★★★★☆

The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov

It amazes me how Asimov writes about people set in science fiction worlds. His description of sci-fi is so clear, it makes the human drama taking place in it never look out of place.

I had never heard of this novel before my friend Mauricio recommended it last December — and it was a great holiday quick read.

One of Exhalation’s short stories reminded me of it, and I had forgotten how many ideas were causally in it: para-universes, lunar colonies, alien civilization and culture. While it’s a 70’s book, it holds extremely well, with many sensitivities like the role of gender and the cost of clean energy that could have been written today.

If you haven’t read Asimov before, this isn’t the best book to start — it get a bit slow with long dialogs in the middle. But if you like his other books, or hard Sci-Fi; it’s a must read.

September 18, 2019
ExhalationExhalation
★★★★★

Exhalation by Ted Chiang

I’m not usually into short stories, but this science-fiction book was a pleasure to read. On most of them I was hoping they would go on a full book length, that’s how good they were.

While they’re not Three Body Problem level mind blowing, they’re appropriately close for the shorter format — anything more would have felt forced.

Absolutely recommend this book, and I’ll be checking out other from the author.

September 16, 2019

Tidbits for 2019 Week 37

  • TextMate 2.0 is available (and alive?!). Wouldn’t believed it if I hadn’t seen the commit. github.com
  • The feature-rich Vivaldi browser finally arrives on Android. thenextweb.com
tidbits