Put the knife down and take a green herb, dude.
One feller's views on the state of everyday computer science & its application (and now, OTHER STUFF) who isn't rich enough to shell out for www.myfreakinfirst-andlast-name.com
Using 89% of the same design the blog had in 2001.
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Back-up your data and, when you bike, always wear white.
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|Saturday, July 13, 2019|
Someone interested in recycling got me googling around for, give or take, home recycling setups, and I found a site that’s essentially exactly that: preciousplastic.com.
It’s really a pretty neat idea. There are fairly detailed plans for a number of machines that show you just how low-tech plastic recycling can be. There’s a shredder for ripping old plastic into reuseable chips. There’s a hand-powered injector for melting chips and shoving them into a mold. There’s an extruder for melting chips (a common theme) and pushing them into, well, any extruded output, from 3-D printer filament to boards. And there’s a “compression machine” for forcing heated, pliable plastic into a larger mold whose output is formed through, yep, compressing the crud outta that plastic with something like a car jack.
Plastic Recycling: The Bad Parts
Now once you start doing some research, you find that the machines aren’t necessarily as wonderful as you might dream. The shredder apparently jams quite a bit, and has a hard time handling a range of inputs. The injector described, for instance, is labeled discontinued/abandoned on a sister site, and there are complaints that it’s difficult to make the lever pull straight. You also, it turns out, have to wait 30 mins for the chips to melt before each “shot” is ready for injecting, so even if you pay to machine some good injection molds, you’re only making a few small items every 30 mins in your best case. Neat as a sort of proof of concept or art project, but not exactly business plan ready.
I’ll also complain that the “Bill of Materials” charts are pretty crummy. They are definitely written for someone with more knowledge and time than money – which is fine, to a point. But when half the items say you should pick them up at the scrapyard, well…
There was also apparently a €300,000 grant awarded to the project (good!) but then squabbling started between two locations researching machines and (maybe?) the money wasn’t spent, um, wisely (bad!). You can see some of the culture wars in this thread on creating a double-axis shredder…
(The account that posted that has also been removed.)
This kinda gave me flashbacks to the Crop Mob movement near Durham that started well, but ultimately collapsed because people seemed not to understand that Anarchy wasn’t the same as Freeloading.
Apologies for the aside, but the connection, I hope, is that idealism only gets you so far. At some point, the plastic hits the road or the nails hit the soil, and sometimes it’s easier to squabble than be realistic.
That is, it’s very hard to ramp up some clever proof of concepts into something competitive at scale, no matter how well intentioned the originators.
Plastic Recycling: The Good Parts
So let’s get to the good parts of how to create home-grown recycling industries that I want to come back to later. The injection machine, even though there’s a neat 3-D rendering of an iPhone 7 & 8 case in Precious Plastic’s downloads that you could send to your local contractor with a CNC router, ultimately seems impractical for making a real-world dent in plastic waste, so I [re]started with extrusion.
If you could get, clean, shred, & create boards (ie, use lots of plastic) and turn them into something useful, well, maybe you could help close the local circle on very specific types of plastic by creating those interesting and lasting products.
Here’s some of the stuff I’ve found that I’d like to come back to later.
Some results… though I wonder how strong these boards are. The cross-sections and rough outsides of the 2x4 looking boards scare me a little. I’d like to have some to play around with.
Dave Hakkens (Precious Plastic founder) extruding some beams (that look quite good, honestly).
Okay, that’s enough of a bit dump for now. ;^)
posted by ruffin at 7/13/2019 09:21:00 AM
|Thursday, July 11, 2019|
Apple has disabled the Walkie-Talkie app for Apple Watch due to a bug that could allow users to eavesdrop on others, reports TechCrunch.
I mean, I get it, and that’s probably the right thing to do, but has anyone involved used a walkie talkie before? It’s like a CB. Everyone’s using the same bandwidth, and if your conversations are private, they’re private only through luck, not the technology.
I kinda miss that wide-open use of radio waves. It was fun to pick up conversations back in the good ole days. (Remember when the first cordless [home] phones didn’t have encryption? Those were interesting eavesdropping times too…)
posted by ruffin at 7/11/2019 11:40:00 AM
|Wednesday, July 10, 2019|
Everyone’s weighed in on Jonathan Ives leaving Apple, and originally I didn’t have anything new to say. It sure looked like this was coming if you followed the work he was doing with Jacobs (?) on charity items, work on Apple Park from furniture to walls, etc. He may have led teams doing hardware redesigns, and was probably giving some detailed, serious (and seriously good) feedback on projects delivered to him, feedback that likely drove those designers nuts, but day-to-day Apple hardware? Maybe the Pro case? But, ultimately, I’d believe not so much.
But the release of Texas Hold ’Em, an app peak Jobsian in its appreciation of the skeuomorphic, the death of the 12" MacBook, and the rumors of Macbooks getting away from the butterfly keyboard as quickly as possible – combined with iOS 7 – gave me a distinct thought:
When the designer gets to choose the key constraints and is not given them, you risk unproductive idealism.
Ives was about minimalism. Oh, I’d love to see him write some code. It would be beautifully DRY without one wasted line. But it also might only do 80% of what the acceptance criteria requested.
iOS 7 was an interesting thought experiment: How flat can I make UI and still have it be a human-friendly UI? We got there… and a little farther. You sometimes have to cross the line to find it, and you could argue we really didn’t need to find it. But he did, and we did, and iOS has spent several years now recovering -- and has done that recovering not, as I understand it, under his leadership.
But Ives selected “flat”. Nobody was clamoring for flat. That was his constraint, his ideal, his Moby Dick. Not ours, iOS users’. That was only his.
The butterfly keyboard is similar. The MacBook Air I’m using right now, pre-butterfly, is plenty small enough. The extra ports it has make a lot of sense. It may not be a marvel of ideal design, but it is a marvel of practical design.
But that wasn’t enough for Ives’ Apple. They felt they had to find the line – for thinness. For minimalism. And then they unknowingly crossed it. It’s beautiful to have the same holes on each side of the machine, but it’s not human-friendly. It’s wonderful to have the thinest notebook ever, but not if it means that your keyboard craps outs. It’s great to have a 12“ MacBook with a beautiful ”retina" screen, but you’re telling me not only is my CPU pitifully constrained, but that I can’t use a jump drive and my power supply at the same time?
Who said we needed thinner notebooks and flatter UIs? Nobody. These were design goals – design contraints – picked by the designer. So much of a notebook’s design aren't elective constraints, but inherent ones for the device. That we need human-sized keys on the keyboard. That we need screens designed for the human eye. That we need the processing power to run a modern OS. That our antennae must get adequate WiFi signal. That our batteries last for a work day plus.
But those real-world, human constraints operate against Ives’ elective constraints of minimalism and thinness. He stopped designing for the world and started pursuing ideals. Some of those just happened to work fine with users – the iPhone is as much fashion as practical computer, after all, and we would all yet benefit from still smaller slabs in our pockets. We have not yet reached the functional peak of thinness for phones. We have with laptops.
Same with computer and phone screens' resolutions: We are now to the peak, where it’s almost impossible to see pixels with the naked eye, at least for someone who’s not nearsighted. Ives' ideals were useful there (and luckily even he realizes "more than more than the eye can see" has no practical value), but on the thinness & flatness fronts the Ives train has played itself out.
And it was at that point of idealism that Ives ceased being a good leader for the largest company by revenue in the world, one that ultimately sells devices to actual humans trying to get daily work done.
posted by ruffin at 7/10/2019 10:20:00 AM
|Tuesday, July 09, 2019|
Now that’s a good idea. For the price of an intelligently written, broad-install base app, Spotify gets two things: More ads served and a foothold in developing areas.
Interesting that it’s Android only. About time the non–10%ers got a major app specialized for their OSes too (not kidding, and this isn’t an Android knock – read the blurb above, again: 4.3 isn’t playing around).
posted by ruffin at 7/09/2019 07:57:00 PM
|Saturday, June 29, 2019|
UPDATE: There are exceptions to the $99 developer fee, for nonprofit organizations in five countries:
I've done some app work for a non-profit, and it's the only reason I have a dev account. Looks like I need to start the ball rolling on this, though I'm guessing it'll take long enough I'll still shell out $99 later this month for the upcoming year.
Facebook's executive team, including Mark Zuckerberg, used the data of Facebook users as leverage over partner companies, according to leaked emails, webchats, presentations, spreadsheets, and more obtained by NBC News.
On a recent Monday night, a dozen marketing companies, research firms and other personal data guzzlers got reports from my iPhone. At 11:43 p.m., a company called Amplitude learned my phone number, email and exact location. At 3:58 a.m., another called Appboy got a digital fingerprint of my phone. At 6:25 a.m., a tracker called Demdex received a way to identify my phone and sent back a list of other trackers to pair up with.
Note to self: Turn off Yelp background refresh. Actually, turn it off for everything that doesn't have a clear reason to have it.
Sign-in with Apple sounds wonderful. It’s interesting to compare it to the original goals of Microsoft Passport.
When Apple has to make a difficult decision regarding an app in the App Store, its fate is determined in a meeting of a group called the Executive Review Board or ERB, led by Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller.
Nothing really to say here. It’s a bizarre process that you can’t ever get right.
Apple has filed a response to Spotify's anticompetitive complaint about the App Store in Europe, noting that Spotify pays Apple a 15 percent commission for only about 0.5 percent of its paying subscribers, according to CNET.
Huh? So what’s the percentage for subscribers paying 30%? What percentage of Spotify subscribers are still on recurring iOS subscriptions?
A quick google says the subscription option for premium was taken out no earlier than mid–2016. Why should this number be higher? What was its height?
What absolutely crap numbers from Apple that have very little to do with Spotify’s current position.
Also interesting: The people who posted in that thread that without an in-iOS option, they couldn’t have access. Do parents have an option for “all you can eat in-app payments” or something this kids can access?
While the current Mac Pro has been manufactured in Texas since it was released in 2013, The Wall Street Journal reports that the new Mac Pro unveiled earlier this month will be assembled by Quanta Computer in China.
It’s a shame Apple can’t find a way to eat enough profit to manufacture at least some Mac Pros, an item starting at $7k, in the US.
posted by ruffin at 6/29/2019 11:48:00 AM
|Sunday, June 23, 2019|
Hugh Son, writing for CNBC:
Interesting take. More interesting is that Citigroup would pull out instead of submitting a proposal that wouldn’t be accepted. That is, it looks much worse now, imo, that they intentionally pulled out than it would’ve if they’d simply lost the bid.
Why worse? It’s not because they wouldn’t make money. I think Gruber misses the point. It’s because Citigroup can make more money per dollar invested doing something else. Their limiting reagent isn't "I've run out of activities that create more profit", but "I've run out of capital this fiscal year to spend on the highest profit activities we can find".
I might make money buying items from meh.com, waiting for them to arrive, packaging them back up, and selling them on eBay.
I bet I make more money per hour spent going to work as a software developer. I don't have the time to do both and stay sane. Therefore, I am a software developer. (Let’s ignore that the meh-resell business sounds like torture for the moment.)
That is, Citigroup felt it would make significantly less profit putting resources into Apple's card that it could make elsewhere.
But Citigroup does have credit cards! This shows you how absolutely essential to Citigroup’s bottom line fees are.
From the same page on the Apple Card:
Insane. Apple wants to charge you interest on a loan, and they’ll stop at that. INSANE, I TELL YOU.
(Aside: I wonder what sort of return that really breaks down to on the "average" credit card. That is, you'll have defaults, and you have to pay for support staff, debt collectors, e/mailings, actually paying the merchants, etc. Is there an 100% markup on overhead, let's guess? I'd love to make 6.62-12.12% on my cash right now. The point being that Citigroup must be making mad cash elsewhere...)
The question becomes if it's fair to say, "Arguing that they won’t make enough money is just usurious greed." Is that right? Why don't we believe Citigroup is just trying to turn the highest profit, bless their hearts? That people knew what they're getting into and still opened the credit card? That if what Apple does is better for consumers, that people will use it?
This is perhaps the most interesting thought experiment -- how low a credit rating can you have and get this "above board" treatment? Can the Apple Card become the card of the masses, the card you see most in McDonald's and Wal-Mart? Because my guess is that it should.
I tend to agree with Gruber -- Is that a Citigroup logo (he said tongue in cheek… he hopes) on that title loan storefront?Does that make sense? If fees are what make credit cards most profitable, which means "what takes the most (or let's just say "significant") money out of consumers' pockets", and someone removes those fees, it's going to be significantly cheaper for those consumers to use that fee-free service.
At the same time, that's the country we live in. His line, ultimately, is a political one: Should we pass laws to restrict trade in the case of credit card fees so that we can better protect the consumer from themselves? Gruber's answer, whether he realizes it or not, is likely yes.
Or, if the market truly balances itself out, we’re going to see a crapload of Joe Six-Packs with an Apple Card in their wallet really soon.
posted by ruffin at 6/23/2019 10:54:00 AM
|Saturday, June 22, 2019|
… from the directory of the csproj you want to add the reference to.
Today’s issue: Visual Studio is giving me some
Solution: Use VS Code for now (which I usually only use for TypeScript).
Issue #2: I need to add a reference to a local project.
It’s really that easy. I’m on macOS, so I
Go back to the location of the csproj you’re adding the reference to.
Now hit up add ref:
And it’ll put it in that csproj, with a path relative to your current csproj.
That’s good enough for now. When I’m back in full VS mode with good net access, I’ll replace with a nuget, but this was a good temporary solution.
Keep on codin’…
posted by ruffin at 6/22/2019 09:52:00 AM
|Friday, June 21, 2019|
I know, I know, TextWrangler isn’t supported any more and I’ll have to swap to BBEdit in 10.15.
This is still cool, though. It’s a built-in diff tool! I use WinMerge when I need to compare two files kinda ad hoc on Windows (kdiff3 for “real” diffs on macOS and Windows), but didn’t have a similar tool for macOS.
Except I did.
1. Open two documents (in my case, style.css in both the original and modified parent theme) that you’d like to compare 2. Click View > Show Files or type CMD + 0. This will open a sidebar with all opened documents. 3. Highlight the 2 files you want to compare in the Documents drawer, right click on them and select the option ‘Compare‘.
posted by ruffin at 6/21/2019 12:24:00 PM
|Wednesday, June 12, 2019|
Why would we believe Apple, whose fails keep on giving, is going to do any better than any other option? I mean, privacy-wise, I’m excited to have this option. But anyone who thinks any sign-in provider is going to give you 100% hack-free protection has another thing coming.
The advantage here is that, if Apple’s smart, a successful hack will get at most an Apple ID. And even that ought to be hashed. There’s no reason to expose any additional personal information as part of this scheme.
Also, btw, this is just flat wrong:
Um, yes, Apple they can read your email as a relay service. Unless the email is encrypted, how can’t they? If you believe they’re not storing it, great, attack vector greatly reduced. But Apple, along with ANYONE else relaying your email from sender to your box can potentially read the contents of unencrypted text. And that’s all email typically is: Unencrypted text.
Email is inherently insecure. If you’re using https to transfer it, that’s great, but even then, Apple’s going to be on the other end of that https train. They will have the ability to read it, but it’d kill their “privacy” based marketing claims, so I’ll assume they’re being more careful than most companies with those zeroes and ones.
But if some nefarious admin at Apple wanted to read your relayed emails, they certainly could.
posted by ruffin at 6/12/2019 07:30:00 AM
One thing I haven’t seen anyone mention directly is why Project Catalyst only lets iPad apps run on macOS, not iPhone apps: It’s because there aren’t enough good iPad apps, and Apple still wants to see people take the iPad as a platform seriously.
I mean, I understand. iPad apps should work much more cleanly on a Mac than apps designed for iPhones. That is, if your app is well-designed for the iPad, it’ll likely be a lot fewer tweaks away from being a good macOS citizen than an iPhone app. The resonance between “iPadOS”* and macOS is clear.
If you’re Apple and wanted the most Mac apps, you’d let anything from iOS run there.
But if you wanted more apps targeting Pad, you’d bribe folks by saying their iPad-specific port gets them a macOS app for free, too.
Guess which Apple did?
* The most recent Talk Show suggested that iPadOS was still just iOS by another, marketing-friendly name. I think that’s even better evidence this “iPad apps only” is a bribe, not a tech requirement.
posted by ruffin at 6/12/2019 12:00:00 AM
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