20 years ago today I drew these 4 drawings. Make of them as you will, as some of you had the chance to a decade ago when I first digitized them and put them online. I’m sure any deeper meaning the person who drew them, my former self that is, could have had no intention of at the time. After all, he was just a young kid that day.
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Last week one of the better developers who historically has made “Mac-assed Mac apps” announced that their upcoming major update will no longer be a “pure” Mac app. I’m talking about AgileBits regarding the upcoming 1Password 8. This was alongside the release of an early access build, and led to a major storm of users getting up in arms against their choices (for the record, the same week people got up in arms about CSAM scanning coming soon on Apple’s operating systems). I, too, was quite annoyed by this choice from AgileBits, still am somewhat, and certainly have been active in their forums alongside fellow Mac 1Password users regarding this. But I’ve taken the past week plus to reflect on all of this, and yes, have now even begun running the early access build of 1Password 8 full-time. The decision made by AgileBits is not purely one they’ve made, it is a whole direction some desktop apps are going. 1Password will not be the first, nor the last, Mac app to shed its full Mac-ness. This is sad, but has already begun even within my daily usage.
Apple Silicon Macs currently come with the Rosetta 2 software to translate Intel code for their new architecture. Apple has said this software is just a transition thing, as it was with the PowerPC to Intel transition of the aughts, and will someday go away. While I largely do believe that, though also think it’ll stay around for at least 2 to 3 years after all Macs being sold use Apple Silicon, I’ve realized it may have a longer-term use.
Almost everyone who uses any Apple mobile device at least knows about Touch ID and/or Face ID, and likely uses them. If you have a laptop Mac, that is the same, as they come with Touch ID embedded in their power buttons. But that really isn’t the end of Apple’s biometric authentication story. For those with an Apple Watch and Mac, you also have what I’ve started calling Watch ID (though Apple hasn’t yet realized this is a good name for it). Yes, in some ways this is less true biometric authentication, as the Watch is merely kept unlocked by sensing a heartbeat, not necessarily your heartbeat. But, if you set a lengthy passcode on the Watch, and use your phone to unlock it each time you put it on, it kinda does become a convenient biometric sensor for authentication.
Well, it is the final day of 2020. What many have termed a year from hell. People have memed this year up the wazoo. One of my favorites is something along the lines of God asking an angel to prep disasters for the 2020s, and got misheard as saying 2020. Another is a time traveler asking if the disaster has happened yet, and us replying that they don’t have the first idea how little that narrows things down. I mean, less than 24 hours ago another disaster happened here in the Twin Cities. My point is, this has been quite a year. Hence, the question titling this post, are we done yet? With this decade, I mean. A decade compressed into a year.
One of the larger, yet perhaps lesser generally known, advances in the Apple Silicon Macs is their Unified Memory Architecture. In short, where previous models had separate pools of memory for the CPU, the GPU, and other components (think 16 GB of main memory, with 1 GB of video memory, sort of thing), these new Macs have one pool. This means they don’t need to spend the overhead of copying data between pools when each other needs them. The performance gains are quite real with this, and as a user of an M1 Mac, I do think this is a big part (alongside the insanely speedy flash storage where swap files end up) of why the 16 GB memory cap is not equal to what 16 GB of memory meant on Intel Macs in any way. Grant you, the Apple SoC versus Intel CPU also help speed things up, but memory being a different beast is not an insignificant part of the performance picture.
I’m on the bleeding edge of the transition of Apple’s Macs off Intel and on to their own custom SoC. I’ll be updating a log of my hands-on experience with this. Read it for advice and experience as you see fit.
Over the last few months our house has slowly been getting on the Apple Home bandwagon. This started when we replaced our front door lock, then expanded with smart light switches in my room for my birthday. Ever since that early dive, I’ve been thinking about how else to leverage Apple’s Homekit in our daily life. The aweasome idea I had a month or more back was the one other realm of (fairly dumb) digital tech we have in various ways at home, devices controlled by infrared (IR) remote controls. Could these be made into Homekit accessories, and hence also erradicate their few annoynances of both reaching for a single remote and pointing it in just the right angle to work? The answer was yes, and now that I have gotten this going, I figured I’d document how I set this up for anyone else interested.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc with everyone’s lives. But of that, those who are embarking on the next stage of their lives by way of especially high school, but also college, graduation may be getting hit the hardest this time of year. I’m thinking especially of my cousin Anna Wagner, who is graduating from high school today, but also her older brother, Jonas Wagner, who just graduated from college, and the entire Class of 2020 at Avalon, my own high school alma mater, who graduate on Thursday. This is advice to you all as you pass this milestone and a tribute to your hard work, as well as that of everyone in the global Class of 2020 this year.
During this extended time of stay-at-home orders across the country and world we all need things to keep us busy and take our minds off the situation. Work, though for much of us from home, is certainly one thing. TV is as well, streaming or otherwise. But we also need games and other fun things to do. I recently became aware of the website Jigsaw Planet, which is a massive collection of online jigsaw puzzles you can do. If you get an account, you can even provode your own to this community. So, with that in mind, I have begun uploading one cat-themed puzzle featuring the cats in my house a day. I hope these can help take your mind off the insanity of the situation we find ourselves in, and give you a quick escape.
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