June 29, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 26

  • HighTop: quick file access from MenuBar of local folders, Google Drive, or Dropbox.
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June 26, 2020

Jason Snell Thoughts on WWDC 2020 Keynote

Jason Snell, on sixcolors.com:

The truth is probably that the future of the Mac is as a pro” version of iOS and iPadOS. It’ll run more or less every app that’s available on the iPhone and iPad, but it’ll also run traditional Mac software. Over time, the distinction between iPad apps and Mac apps will begin to fade away entirely, and the Mac will just become a keyboard-and-trackpad mode of the iPad.

Busy week, so I was only able to consume on the news. But Jason’s take is the one the better looks at the future.

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June 22, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 25

  • Spotlight: quickly switch tabs, search history, bookmarks, downloads in Chrome. $19 but looks sweet.
  • Iceberg: markdown writing editor for the WordPress block editor. $49.
  • Grayscale: menu bar app to easily toggle the grayscale display filter.
  • Codye: present code in 180 languages with themes on iOS and macOS.
  • Excalidraw: whiteboard tool to sketch diagrams with a hand-drawn feel to them.
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June 18, 2020

Om Malik on Dropbox

Om Malik on om.co:

I don’t blame Dropbox going the way they have — they are less about the individual customers and more focused on teams and corporations. That’s where the money is — and when you go public, you are all about the quarterly goals.” You don’t go public without knowing that Wall Street owns you.

I literally couldn’t said it best yesterday. But Om closes with an intriguing question:

I wonder why Backblaze doesn’t offer a simple syncing service?

I use Backblaze Backup for Ana’s Mac, and their B2C hosting for my Arq-based solution. I’d totally be into a Backblaze macOS/iOS/API sync thingy.

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June 18, 2020

Steve Blank on the Coming Chip Wars

Steve Blank’s excellent write up on the geopolitics of processors on the 21st century — steveblank.com:

Controlling advanced chip manufacturing in the 21st century may well prove to be like controlling the oil supply in the 20th. The country that controls this manufacturing can throttle the military and economic power of others.

​This is a fight that has already started, and we’re already living the tectonic shifts it caused. ​The outcome is far from certain, and if it doesn’t seem it might affect you… just look around for any electronic device.

The chips that TSMC makes are found in almost everything: smartphones (i.e. Apple iPhones), high-performance computing platforms, PCs, tablets, servers, base stations and game consoles, Internet-connected devices like smart wearables, digital consumer electronics, cars, and almost every weapon system built in the 21st century. Around 60% of the chips TSMC makes are for American companies.

[…]

In May 2020 TSMC announced it was going to build a $12 billion foundry in Arizona to make some of its most advanced chips. Foundries take at least three years to build and the most expensive factories on earth. Construction on TSMCs facility is planned to start in 2021, but actual chip production will not start until 2024.

The USA-centric geek in me will now cringe at not realizing how Intel’s fall from grace plays into all of this:

China is spending over a hundred billion dollars to become a world leader in developing their semiconductor industry.

​Much more details in the post, worth a read.

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June 17, 2020

This Morning Walk

Libby Delana on youtube.com:

I started walking, every morning over 8 years ago and haven’t stopped. Walking, for me, has been my way back to myself, a practice that brings me home.

This I must.

She wrote about it on Fast Company a few days ago also.

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June 16, 2020

Dropbox Password Manager, File Vault and Family Plan Announced

New products and features announced on blog.dropbox.com:

Dropbox Passwords:

The Passwords app saves your passwords in one safe place and autofills them so you can instantly sign in to websites and apps.

Dropbox Vault:

Using a PIN for secure access, Vault provides an extra layer of security for all your important personal files like insurance cards, passports, and housing documents. Files are organized in the cloud and accessible from any device.

Dropbox Family:

Dropbox Family lets up to six members share 2 TB of storage and have their own individual account views—under one plan with one bill. Members can create shared spaces to make content easily accessible to the whole family and each member has their own private space for personal content.

I’m mostly happy with my move to iCloud. Feature-wise, I miss the simplicity of Dropbox. But it’s a simplicity of a bygone era. Overall, all these seem like good features, but too little too late for me.

I still think Dropbox missed the boat discontinuing its Mail and Photos services a few years back. Going corporate might have been the right Wall Street option — still not sure, but it was the wrong one for geek users like me.

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June 15, 2020

HEY Email Service from Basecamp Launched

hey.com:

HEY is our love letter to email, and we’re sending it to you on the Web, Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android.

As usual with 37signal’s DNA, it’s very opinionated. No POP/IMAP, or external clients, or import from Gmail… and $99 a year.

The walkthrough is very detailed.

Still invite only, but very likely they’ll be opening soon for everyone.

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June 15, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 24

  • readr.page: static feed aggregator for Hacker News and reddit written in Javascript. Good for pomodoro break escapades.
  • Collected Notes: a very simple note-taking blogging platform. Less geeky than blot.im.
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June 14, 2020

Mac ARM Transition: Re-engine, Not Re-imagine

Brendan Shanks, on bslabs.net:

My core prediction: The Mac is getting a re-engining, not a re-imagining.

Much like the Mac’s switch to Intel, this transition will be fundamentally simple and, ideally, invisible to end users.

Algo agree we will see a Mac Mini with an already existing processor inside as the Developer Toolkit. Great post to come back to once things get unveiled in a week… but overall I’d place my bets with its predictions.

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June 13, 2020

Scammy Commercial Hackintosh Announced

Hartley Charlton, on macrumors.com:

On its website, OpenCore Computer claims that it hopes to make Mac Pro-style workstations more accessible. The company’s lineup of computers, which they call zero-compromise Hackintoshes,” are advertised as coming with macOS Catalina and Windows 10 Pro pre-installed.

Although probably a scam, it makes little sense to expose yourself to litigation this openly. As this commenter points out:

It would be one thing if a company was selling computers without an OS and advertised it as 100% Hackintosh Capable”. But to actually include MacOS is just begging for Apple’s lawyers to notice you.

I’d love to see some basic systems ready to hackintosh. With the work - and added value - of setting up the OpenCore compatible componentes to minimize your hackintosh pain of setting up.

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June 9, 2020

Redesigned iMac to Rumored be Announced at WWDC

Sonny Dickson on Twitter:

If Apple is indeed announcing an ARM transition for 2021, this iMac promises to be the last Intel one. On the past PowerPC to Intel transition, the Plastic White G5 iMac didn’t change enclosures with the Intel model a year later.

This could be a great iMac to buy, because it’s likely going to be the pinnacle of Intel models. It will also hold its value for a while since it will be the new design.

That said, for my wallet, this will more likely open the door for a maxed out 2017 5k iMac (32gb RAM, i7) with an external 1TB Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) NVMe drive. Since redesign is about the only thing that helps lower the price of used Macs.

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June 9, 2020

Quotebacks Blogging Quote Tool

Tom Critchlow and Toby Shorin on quotebacks.net:

Quotebacks is a tool that makes it easy to grab snippets of text from around the web and convert them into embeddable blockquote web components.

Love everything about this concept. The Chrome extensions works great, the design is extremely functional, and there’s no central server — just the style JS, but that’s hardly a lock-in.

Quotes look extremely clean:

First and foremost, quoting gives context, helping readers see where an author is coming from. Quotes and citations are an important part in making and remembering history. And looking looking towards the future, they allow us to better see, understand, and build on the vast graph of human knowledge—the original web”—that other, greater internet of which this one is just part.

But you can also copy as markdown:

Secondly, quoting another person can be generous. Generous quoting can mean raising another’s voice alongside your own, affirming their authorship, and striving to not take them out of context. One can quote generously, no matter whether one is agreeing or disagreeing with another author.

Source: Quotebacks by Tom Critchlow and Toby Shorin

Currently it’s a Chrome only, with Firefox coming soon. I’m hoping for a bookmarklet so it can be used on Safari and iOS.

Regardless, I’m very excited about the vision of this project and will be playing with it over the next few days.

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June 9, 2020

How Google Meet’s Noise Cancellation Works

Emil Protalinski on venturebeat.com:

Serge Lachapelle, G Suite director of product management, has been working on video conferencing for 25 years, 13 of those at Google. As most of the company shifted to working from home, Lachapelle’s team got the go-ahead to deploy the denoiser in Google Meet meetings. We discussed how the project started, how his team built noise cancellation, the data required, the AI model, how the denoiser works, what noise it cancels out and what it doesn’t, privacy, and user experience considerations (there is no visual indication that the denoiser is on).

Long interview about the feature. I’ll try is as soon as available.

Crucially, Google Meet’s noise cancellation is being rolled out for all languages. That might seem obvious at first, but Lachapelle said the team discovered it was super important” to test the system on multiple languages.

“When we speak English, there’s a certain range of voice we use,” Lachapelle said. There’s a certain way of delivering the consonants and the vowels compared to other languages. So those are big considerations. We did a lot of validation across different languages. We tested this a lot.”

Ay Dios…

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June 1, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 22

  • Spacetime iOS app • past and upcoming space launch information direct from agencies.
  • Middle • middle click button gestures for Apple Trackpad or Magic Mouse.
  • Command Palette • access to all Menu Bar functions of current focused app. I’m in love.
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