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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Follow: @c2dev2, RSS, JSON, Feedly, Micro.blog.

Hello High Sierra. Don’t break.

No one Micro Monday’d me.

I used a Surface Book in tablet mode pretty extensively this weekend. MSFT still hasn’t made tablet mode nearly as “touchable” as iOS. And, software developers haven’t either. Using Chrome is infuriating in tablet mode. Much more improvement needed there.

Three photos from Downtown Scranton – February 2018

The weather is just beginning to break here in the northeast. We just had 4″ of snow on Saturday evening and tomorrow should be somewhere in the 60s Fahrenheit melting any memory of it away. This causes me to stir and I begin walking around hitting my shutter button at anything and everything. I can’t wait to get the drone out of the closet, get a kayak in the water, and start enjoying the reasons we live in this area of the world. Spring can’t come soon enough.

Change is the only constant.

Micro.blog confusion

Jeena Pa:

I’m still super confused about micro.blog

He then lists just a few things that lead to his confusion.

One of which I also scratched my head about recently. When you view this thread and you click on the timestamp you expect to go directly to the post on M.b so that you can see the replies to that post. In some cases you are taken to M.b and in others you’re taken to the person’s site – which takes you completely out of the context of the conversation and removes your ability to quickly reply.

I don’t know the solution to this issue. But, I look at M.b this way. Micro.blog is still very young. The team is still figuring it all out and we’re all using and supporting the platform as these kinks are being worked out. Some of these decisions would be very difficult to make if there wasn’t any usage so we all just need to keep using the platform as it is taking shape. There are going to be bumpy periods along the way.

We’re in phase one of Augmented Reality

Apple just published a page dedicated to Augmented Reality in the latest versions of iOS. It is a good page overviewing some of the use cases we’re already seeing with AR.

This is just the beginning.

I’ve written about AR many times, so I won’t reiterate everything today. But look at these use cases and imagine them being accomplished, not within a small hand-held rectangle, but in full view using small glasses or — dare I even say it — contacts. It will be a while yet. But this first phase will set a lot of the UI, gestures, etc. that will be implemented in whatever the next generation of hardware is.

I still stand by this post. And the timeline in this post.

Capturing Starman from Earth

Rogelio Bernal Andreo:

Astrophotography can be applied in many different ways. I utilize technology that allows me to capture ancient photons so that I can later process and create my own interpretation of the data captured, effectively blending art and science like not many other disciplines do, but I don’t usually track “small pixels in space” (aka comets, asteroids and yes, even spacecrafts) as some of my peers do. Yet, surely enough, comes the day when someone decides to launch a cool red car “driven” by a dummy in an astronaut costume, I had but to go for it! Yeah, red sports cars make even tiny pixels look cool!

Capturing the Tesla while it speeds through the night sky was no easy task. Read his entire post to see how he did it.

/via Space.com who didn’t directly link to his blog. Why do online publications do this? It is evil.

Microsoft for Startups

Microsoft:

We’re excited to announce Microsoft for Startups, a new program that delivers access to technology, go-to-market and community benefits that helps startups grow their customer and revenue base.  We are committing $500 million over the next two years to offer joint sales engagements with startups, along with access to our technology, and new community spaces that promote collaboration across local and global ecosystems. Startups are an indisputable innovation engine, and Microsoft is partnering with founders and investors to help propel their growth.

In addition to the $500M commitment MSFT is making, once a startup is in this program they’ll have access to numerous other benefits including a huge salesforce to leverage, Reactor, ScaleUp, and Ventures.

I’ll be watching this closely.

Technology Dogmatism

Are you dogmatic about the companies you will buy technology from? Are you an Apple fanboi? Or, perhaps you’ll only run Windows and Apple sucks at everything because reasons.

I try not to be that guy. I try to look at the entire field of offerings in every category; hardware, software, cloud services, home entertainment and make purchases that reflect my needs and wants rather than be dogmatic.

Kellen Barranger, writing for droidlife:

iPhone owners, particularly the lifers, have always fascinated me. Not so much in a way that I’m confused at why they chose Apple’s latest phone, but that no matter what, they won’t even consider the other side or another phone that might be better in some ways. You know people like this.

I was starting to feel like one of these people. Whatever the next iPhone was I wanted it. Whatever the next Apple laptop was I wanted that. For many years I didn’t even give strong consideration to switching. But why?

Admittedly, part of it was brand loyalty. I do like Apple. Their attention to detail, their apparent focus on user privacy (though I’m sure this could be argued), their uncompromising focus on making premium products rather than bargain products. In other words, I like that they make high-priced well-made products. Because I don’t want to buy things simply based on price.

However, over the last decade Apple has gotten so big and so successful that they are starting to show some of the characteristics of being an insanely large organization trying to keep a juggernaut both afloat and moving forward. We saw it with Microsoft in the 80s and 90s and early 2000s. Their inability to let go of the past, and having bloated software that had no taste, led me away from them as a brand entirely. I feel Apple is now beginning to show these same signs. Bugs seem more rampant than I remember and I’ve been an Apple user (iOS and macOS X) for over 16 years. The quality of the design in software seems lower than before. But, the complexity and scale of their software and services is higher than ever before. Should I just let them off the hook because of that?

This is what led me to try Windows 10 in 2016 and to switch to Android here in 2018. Windows 10 is getting better, much better, with every single release. It is an excellent platform for web developers that now directly competes with macOS*. Android is a more mature platform than iOS at this point. Please read my review of Android 8.1 to see why I say that.

Switching platforms is not easy. But it is much easier than it has ever been. Data portability, which is better on Windows and Android than on Mac or iOS by far, makes it much more simple to switch. It took me only a few minutes to move all the data from my iPhone to my Google Pixel 2 XL. And within a few days I had every piece of software and service restored that I needed. Switching between macOS and Windows 10 is similar experience. You definitely need to relearn a few things (like keyboard shortcuts) but moving the data is no longer a real problem.

Going forward I’m going to continue to make a concerted effort to purchase products based on what they do, how they’re made, and what I need rather than the logo on the box.

* For me, Windows was never a contender to macOS for what I do without the Unix underpinnings. I simply need this stack. And I don’t want to use a VM or RDC. Now, with WSL Windows 10 is on the same footing with macOS.

Latest app store submission was rejected because the iPhone-only app’s layout is a tiny bit wonky on an iPad mini (this app isn’t made for iPads). Now to update it I need latest SDK which is in latest Xcode beta. Which requires High Sierra. Apple finally got me. I’m cornered. I have no choice but to upgrade. 😠

Picked up The Abyss special edition at the local library (the only place I could find it) and re-watched it after having just finished the book. So good. This is the only novel that I can say works as a companion and enhances the experience so much. Thanks library.

Releasing an app on the Google Play Store — 20 clicks

Releasing an app on the iOS App Store — Some multiple of the number of clicks you’ve ever clicked in your life.

I can’t confirm that LIGO is down for repairs. But I believe it is. Imagine how many gravitational waves we are missing while it is down.


Wallenpaupack Brewing Company – February 2018

Decent brews, roomy atmosphere, tours and merch.

Split-screen on Android is excellent for driving. Waze on top, Pocket Casts below. 🙌

Podcatcher app use pro tip: Learn new podcatching apps while seated in a warm, non-moving environment rather than trying to learn it in the car or while jogging.

Looks like Google I/O and Microsoft Build are scheduled for the same week. Bad planning. That isn’t good for either of them.

The Quincy Jones interview

Quincy Jones:

What would account for the songs being less good than they used to be?
The mentality of the people making the music. Producers now are ignoring all the musical principles of the previous generations. It’s a joke. That’s not the way it works: You’re supposed to use everything from the past. If you know where you come from, it’s easier to get where you’re going. You need to understand music to touch people and become the soundtrack to their lives.

You’ve likely already read this interview. It sure is causing a buzz and it is an entertaining read to say the least.

However, I’m quoting the above bit for a reason. It doesn’t matter if Quincy Jones is right that today’s music is all terrible. He likely is right, by the way, that most music today isn’t as innovative as the past because — well — so much has been done and most artists are chasing money as he points out.

But what I like about this interview, and what I take away, is how it is an indirect call to action by one of the greats. Any of today’s popular artists that read this may react by digging deeper, trying harder, studying more, and trying to bring something new to the table. Perhaps they’ve already made their millions and now they can set out to make something great — even if not a commercial success.

It’d be like if Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant said “these new basketball players don’t work hard enough”. It wouldn’t matter if they were right or not. But I’d bet the NBA’s team gyms would be full the next morning.

Let’s check back on this in a year or so and see if it had an impact. I’d bet it will.

The Siri pause

John Gruber, under “miscellaneous” in his review of HomePod:

People seem to naturally think they need to pause between saying “Hey Siri” and issuing the command or query, but in my experience you don’t need to. In this review, I’ve been punctuating directives with a comma after “Hey Siri”, but verbally you can speak without any pause: “Hey Siri what’s the temperature”. This is true not just for HomePod but any other device you own with “Hey Siri” enabled.

I’m one of those people. Me, in my review of the Google Pixel 2 XL and Android 8.1:

I can say “OK Google” at any time and, again instantly make my request. And I do mean instant, unlike Siri, there is no pause needed between “OK Google” and my request. With Siri I need to wait for the “ding” sound.

Somehow John’s experience and my experience differ. On all of the iPhones I’ve owned that were Siri-enabled I have needed to pause. And the pause was doubly long when connected to something, like my car or a speaker, using Bluetooth or AirPlay. Perhaps a very recent software update has removed this pause or I simply wasn’t doing something correctly.