Entries Tagged 'Apple'

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The Missed Third Act of the Apple Touch Bar

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 9:38 PM

I might be in the minority, but I actually like the Apple Touch Bar:

The way we use the alphanumeric and function keys on a keyboard are quite different. We pound letter and number keys repeatedly by feel when touch typing, so tactility is paramount. The butterfly keyboard failed the “Design is how it works” test, trading an appearance problem for a how-it-works problem.

The Touch Bar isn’t just for looks; it also solves a how-it-works problem in the more cryptic regions of a keyboard. The “F8” label tells me nothing about what it does, say, in Adobe Photoshop.

Diverting F-keys to be “multimedia keys” has been a decent solution for most users, but limits the utility of a significant part of a laptop’s real estate. While in Word, one sixth of the control area of my computer is devoted to functions like “play” and “pause” rather than “bold” and “italic.”

Read my whole Touch Bar eulogy and case for a third edition of the same here.

Zippy: Big Courts, Big Tech and Big Questions

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:39 PM

Are you ready to Zip? This episode the Faithful Snail of Speed, Tim Butler​ and Jason Kettinger​ turn to further consideration of the recent #SCOTUS religious freedom ruling, attempts to regulate #BigTech and comfort in #Job. #ZippyTheWonderSnail 🏁🐌🏁

Jason and I are having an awful lot of fun talking about news and culture on the podcast. Love to have you join us!

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The Ending Platform Monopolies Act is Dangerously Misinformed

How Politicos' Low Tech Understanding Threatens High Tech Harm

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:43 PM

I see folks on both sides of the aisle getting way to excited about a massive interference in Big Tech by Big Government. In this piece, I discuss some of the issues that are inevitable with it while also noting the real Big Tech problems we need to deal with:

Probably all of us have some frustration with one or more of the Tech Giants who are being targeted by Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s “Ending Platform Monopolies Act.” It is tempting to cheer on efforts to offer a cure to common Big Tech disease, checking their power over us. But, like a layperson coming up with the wrong treatment for a serious illness, this and other similar proposals, dangerously operate on oversimplification that threatens to make our technology much worse while ignoring the genuine Big Tech problems staring us down.

Apple's M1 and the Spring Forward Apple Event

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:56 AM

Joel Hruska over at ExtremeTech:

Apple couldn’t position the M1 this way if it wasn’t an excellent CPU in its own right. The M1’s dramatically higher efficiency and improved performance relative to x86 allowed Apple to standardize on a single CPU core across a wide range of products and price points. This is in complete opposition to the way PCs are traditionally positioned.

If you haven’t tried an M1-based Mac, it is hard to imagine precisely how good it is. But, put it this way: it can run many native “Apple Silicon” programs as well as many non-native, still targeted for Intel processor programs at least as fast as current high end MacBook Pros that are still running Intel’s processors. For example, Final Cut Pro and OBS Studio can both run at least as well on a much cheaper M1 system as they do on a $3,000 MacBook Pro; highly targeted apps that use machine learning, like Pixelmator Pro, run better on the M1.

Essentially, Apple is saying, “what you spend on a system should primarily be about what type of computer you want (laptop, desktop, all-in-one), how big of display you want, what extra features you want, not if you want a fantastically fast processor or not.” This is very similar to the approach Apple has taken on the iPhone for a number of years; the base iPhone 12 offers the same years-ahead-of-the-competition processing performance as the highest end, most souped up and most eye-wateringly expensive iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Limiting the All Writs Act

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:31 AM

A very encouraging ruling today in New York concerning the All Writs Act and the government's desire to force Apple to sabotage its security model:

“Apple is not doing anything to keep law enforcement agents from conducting their investigation. Apple has not conspired with [the defendant] to make the data on his device inaccessible,'' the judge wrote. “The government's complaint is precisely that Apple is doing nothing at all.”

The judge also offered an opinion, which I believe is correct, on why the government would try to accomplish this through the courts rather than through new legislation:

“It is also clear that the government has made the considered decision that it is better off securing such crypto-legislative authority from the courts…rather than taking the chance that open legislative debate might produce a result less to its liking,” he wrote.

I fear legislation could easily pass in our current political climate that values security more than liberty, but it would at least be more challenging than trying to move this through the courts further away from the spotlight.

Sin and the Resurrection

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:39 AM

When I think about the glorious news of today, I find it hard to believe I could think one sinful thing or commit one evil act. How would that be possible in light of today? Even if tomorrow I'd fall back into my fallen, despicable state, how could I not spend the entirety of today focusing on our Savior's triumph over death?

And yet I realize, looking back, I was sinful throughout the day. There are numerous examples of things I should not have done today that I did. I was proud, I was deceitful, I was lustful. If only I could somehow finally excise all these things from my being, it would be so grand.

I am just so thankful that through the death and resurrection of Jesus I have hope despite my failings. Despite my failings even this day. Forgive me, Lord, for failing you this day.

“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.”

—John Newton, Amazing Grace

Tee Hee Hee: I Made Some Spammers Mad

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:34 AM

Well, my new SpamAssassin auto-rejection seems to be doing a good job. I got this automated letter letting me know I was removed from the EDEALSSUPER list (as if I ever cared to be on it to begin with). Note especially how impassioned it is about how this must have to do with the quality of my e-mail service. Content based bouncing of spam must be becoming common place enough that now spammers are trying to convince the user that the anti-spam savvy ISP is providing the user with bad service when the exact opposite is actually true.

From: LISTSERV@LISTSERV.VERSUS.COM
Subject: Your removal from the EDEALSSUPER list
Date: April 6, 2006 11:00:07 PM CDT
To: Address Removed -Tim.
Reply-To: EDEALSSUPER-request@LISTSERV.VERSUS.COM

Fri, 7 Apr 2006 00:00:07

You have been automatically removed from the EDEALSSUPER list
(eDealsSuper) as a result of repeated delivery error reports from your
mail system. This decision was based on the automatic error monitoring
policy in effect for the list, and has not been reviewed or otherwise
confirmed by a human being. If you receive this message, it means that
something is wrong: while you are obviously able to receive mail, your
mail system has been regularly reporting that your account did not exist,
or that you were otherwise permanently unable to receive mail. Here is
some information which may assist you or your local help desk in
determining the cause of the problem:

- The failing address is TBUTLER@UNINETSOLUTIONS.COM.

- The first error was reported on 4 Apr 2006.

- Since then, a total of 2 delivery errors have been received.

- The last reported error was: Probe failed.

PLEASE DO NOT IGNORE THIS MESSAGE. While you can of course re-subscribe
to the list, it is important for you to report this problem to your mail
administrator so that it can be solved. This problem is not specific to
the EDEALSSUPER list, and also affects your private mail. This means that
YOU HAVE PROBABLY LOST SOME PRIVATE MAIL AS WELL. Anyone trying to write
to you during the same time frame will probably have received the same
errors for the same reason. The EDEALSSUPER list is but one of the many
people who may have tried to write to you while your mail system was
malfunctioning.

DO NOT LET TECHNICAL PEOPLE CONVINCE YOU THAT THIS IS NORMAL. It is never
normal for a mail system to claim that a valid, working account does not
exist, just as it would not be normal for the post office to return some
of your mail with “addressee unknown” when the address was written
correctly. It is true that some mail systems are less reliable than
others, and your technical people may be doing the best they can with the
tools they have. But, ultimately, the level of service that you are
receiving is the result of a business decision, and not something due to
a universal technical limitation that one can only accept. Reliable mail
systems do exist, and it is ultimately up to you to decide whether this
level of service is acceptable or not.

Mighty Mouse Saves the Day?

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:30 AM

Apple announced their new Mighty Mouse today. It looks pretty innovative in design — certainly, it is not just a “me too” entry from Apple. The time for a multi-button mouse from Cupertino is finally here, which is not a moment too soon, in my estimation. Ideally, Apple will soon make the Mighty Mouse standard equipment and offer a Bluetooth Mighty Mouse as its premium mouse.

I have not actually tried the Mighty Mouse yet, but I am considering buy a new mouse, so if they offer a Bluetooth one before I buy something else, I may seriously consider it. I especially like the Mighty Mouse's innovative scroll ball, which makes more sense than the tilting wheel method of offering horizontal scrolling on a wheel mouse. It would have been better with two or three side buttons, or perhaps a way to squeeze it different amounts to activate different functions, but at least it has enough buttons to run Dashboard and Expose.

Price wise, it is a bit steep at $49 for a corded mouse with a standard optical system, but that comes with the territory. Anyone reading this planning to buy a Mighty Mouse? It works with Windows as a standard HID device, so I'm presuming it will work on GNU/Linux as well.