A while ago I found the ShellHistory app for macOS when its developer invited me to its itnital beta. It provides a way to graphicallly see and organize the history of your shell, and also sync it between computers. Not something I use often, but useful from time to time.
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This is the question my grandmother, Dagmar, asked me Easter morning this year. While my response to her was a simple and mostly speedy “Yes,” my truthful answer is not actually nearly that simple.
I’ve come to realize just how not-vanilla the assorted elements of the environment I’ve set up on my Mac for various kinds of programing is. In an effort to keep track of what I’ve done for my own good I thought it worth sharing, as pieces of it may be worth those who also dabble in software/web development work knowing about.
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.
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.
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