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When Macworld isn’t

I was reading Macworld yesterday, and collated a list of headlines from their home page. Not included are cross-posts from TechHive or PCWorld, which included a vaccum cleaner review.

  • Apple Watch Series 4 review
  • Screen Time, Family Link, and FreeTime
  • Enter to win a free iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR vs iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max
  • Your comments and questions about the iPhone XS and XS Max
  • iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max Unboxing
  • Using Apple’s Measure App
  • iOS 12 features, iPhone XS ordering and early reviews
  • iPhone XS launch problems
  • Grab and iPhone charger that also backs up your photos
  • Giveaway: Enter to win a free iPhone XS Max
  • Apple Watch Series 4 review: The biggest upgrade yet
  • Screen Time, Family Link, and FreeTime vs my 7-year-old son
  • Useless comparisons … Old iPads are slower than new Kindles
  • Save over $500 on a rose gold 12-inch MacBook at Amazon
  • Upcoming Giveaway: Win a 64GB iPhone XS Max
  • How to use iOS 12 to enter passwords on an Apple TV
  • The most useful Siri Shortcuts for iPhone

Can you spot anything? One story out of eighteen was about the Mac! And even that was just about how to get one cheaper in a sale. Granted, this is after the recent alphabet soup iPhone and Watch launches. But still, for a magazine called Macworld?

I’ve been thinking about this all week. The Apple I miss isn’t some mythical one headed by Steve Jobs where no design mistakes were made, it’s one where iOS didn’t constitute the vast bulk of its profits. We hear internal Apple stories all the time about Mac developers being pulled into iOS projects. Mac hardware has also largely been left to langush despite predictable iPhone, iPad, and Watch releases. I miss being excited for Apple announcements.

I love my iPhones, but I’ve started to resent the whole ecosystem. iOS is fine, and certainly better than the competition, but I love the Mac. But even the popular press doesn’t seemed that interested anymore.

It’s akin to being a Ruby hobbyist in 2007 when Rails appeared. There was nothing wrong with Rails, and I’ve still defended it in the industry of late, but it wasn’t just Ruby. I knew the writing was on the wall when even the O’Reilly woodcut book summarised it as the language that powers Rails.


Suppress echo newlines

In my continuing series of things you already know, unless you don’t, today I learned of an alternative to printing strings in the shell, sans newline.

I was reading the FreeBSD sh(1) manpage, like a gentleman:

 echo [-e | -n] [string ...]
   Print a space-separated list of the arguments to the
   standard output and append a newline character.
   -n  Suppress the output of the trailing newline.

Sure enough:

$ echo saywhat
==> saywhat
==> $

And with -n:

$ echo -n saywhat
==> saywhat$

This whole time I’d been doing this to avoid a newline:

$ printf '%s' saywhat

Good ol’ Kenneth Almquist, and the FreeBSD maintainers :).

But does this also apply to csh, the shell and scripting language allegedly considered harmful, and therefore you should write in? Under echo_style in the tcsh(1) manpage:

bsd  Don't echo a newline if the first argument is `-n`;
     the default for csh.

Boom!


Rubenerd Show 378: The Docklands episode

Rubenerd Show 378

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

17:31 – Taking a business day trip to Melbourne, and realising it looks more and more like Sydney. Also primate cities, taking the tram, evening strolls, and other observations. More California audio coming soon, just popping in for a hello!

Recorded in Melbourne, Australia. Licence for this track: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Attribution: Ruben Schade.

Released October 2018 on The Overnightscape Underground, an Internet talk radio channel focusing on a freeform monologue style, with diverse and fascinating hosts.

Subscribe with iTunes, Pocket Casts, Overcast or add this feed to your podcast client.



Seeing Chermside at Chatswood

Starbucks Wi-Fi login screen with Chermside listed

Ladies and gentleman, please stow your hipster outrage hats in the seat in front of you, or the overhead compartment. Oxygen masks won’t drop from the ceiling if you hyperventilate from rage after reading a blog post about a coffee shop or anything else that you’re not supposed to like.

I was at a Sydney Starbucks with Clara, chilling like a gentleman. When I logged into the Wi-Fi, I noticed Chermside just below the link for Chatswood.

My sister and I grew up in Brisbane, Australia for 18 months or so before our family moved to Singapore in the mid-1990s. Chermside was our closest decent-sized shopping centre, which also happened to be where our dentist and GP were.

It felt weird seeing Chermside there in 2018. In my head, Brisbane is locked in time in 1996, where Wi-Fi doesn’t exist, and Starbucks wasn’t yet in Australia. It’s such a self-centred view of the world, but it still felt weird seeing it listed there! How is it there? Have I time travelled?

I wonder if it’s a similar phenomena to assuming everything in the olden days was black and sepia, on account of seeing photographs from the time period?


Dark patterns in networking email

Harry Brignull coined the term dark patterns to refer to designs that trick us into performing actions we wouldn’t otherwise. They rely upon scummy psychological deception and tricks, and need to be called out!

Clear icon from the Tango Desktop Project

I was faced with such a pattern this morning in an email:

From: Andrew [Last name withheld]
Subject: Network Outage

This is serious. A network outage will cause customer downtime, so it’s an immediate level three issue. Time to stop eating weekend breakfast with the girlfriend and jump on a console.

So I opened the email… and it was advertising for a new line of network monitoring gear.

Mission accomplished from their side, I read their spam I’d have otherwise ignored. But what poor form. And entirely counterproductive, I sure as hell I won’t be buying any of their devices now.

Update: Spelling corrected from physiological to psychological. Though I suppose it could also be the former if you broke out in a sweat from nervousness or rage!*


ToHeart2’s Miyauchi Lemmy gets a fig

I’d argue Westerners are generally portrayed in anime more fairly than East Asian stereotypes in Hollywood movies and shows. But they do tend to fall into several predictable tropes.

For example, take this latest fig rendition of Miyauchi Lemmy, a half-Japanese, half-American character from ToHeart2. As an aside, it shows the enduring popularity of the franchise that a decade and a half old game and anime is still getting PVC treatment, and by Alter no less!

Alter figure of Miyauchi Lemmy

You can probably already see what I’m taking about, but as Wikipedia editors put it in the character page for the series:

Her height, bust, blue eyes, blonde hair, and unusual personality is how her foreign blood is represented which is typical of many Japanese series that contain foreigners.

They also tend to have outgoing, extroverted personalities in relation to other characters; something Japanese friends have told me are typical of public perception of Westerners. We can be loud and friendly, and a little bit scary.

There’s something about a real world rendition that highlights these tropes even starker than on screen. Perhaps it’s due to anime in general being bright and colourful.

Now that I think about it, another obvious example is Nisekoi’s Chitoge Kirisaki, shown in her recent gigantic FREEing fig. Her exaggerated pose and expression, bright eyes, and lemon hair are typical:

FREEing figure of Chitoge Kirisaki



Mosh on Amazon Lightsail

Amazon Lightsail is great for getting something up quickly, but the default firewall rules preclude using mosh. I can’t imagine accessing remote availability zone instances without mosh’s sanity-maintaining buffer.

Opening the right ports

  1. Log into your AWS portal and choose Lightsail. I include this as a discrete step, though if you need to be told this, you may need more coffee.

  2. Click the dropdown menu for the VM and choose Manage, then choose the Networking tab.

  3. Under the Firewall heading, click Add another. Choose Custom for the Application, UDP for the Protocol, and a Port from 60000 to 61000 inclusive. And hit Save.

Installing mosh

Now you can install mosh as you would normally. I use Colin Percival’s excellent FreeBSD AMI on the server, because I’m a gentleman:

# pkg install www/mosh

And then on my macOS clients:

# brew install mosh