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Attending WWDC 2022

May 19, 2022



I am very excited to announce that I will be attending Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, WWDC 2022, on June 6 at Apple Park in Cupertino, California.

Traditionally a week-long event in the San Jose Convention Center, WWDC went to an all-online format starting in 2020. Many have said the online format is better, many others have missed the in-person event for meeting up and networking.

This year is even weirder: Apple is hosting “a special all-day experience at Apple Park” with select invited developers and students “to watch the keynote and Platforms State of the Union videos alongside Apple engineers and experts, explore the all-new Developer Center, and so much more.” This appears to be a compromise where everyone can watch sessions and book meetings with engineers online, and (a randomly chosen sample of) the developer community can meet up and network.

There are some outstanding questions that even I, someone attending this event, do not have the answers to, as of today, May 19:

These questions and many others will be answered in my coverage of the in-person event for Cult of Mac. My thoughts on the announcements will be here on Extra Ordinary later that week. Follow my writing on Twitter to stay updated.

What does this mean for next year?

This strikes me as a small-scale test of what Apple plans to do in future years. In 2023, I bet the sessions will continue to be prerecorded and released online. The one-on-one meetings with Apple engineers will, at the very least, continue to be available to everyone remotely. Whether these have the option of taking place in person depends on how long future in-person events will be.

Monday, the day of the Keynote and State of the Union, will play more like a big Apple Event. The full roster of press will be invited, randomly-selected independent developers and students can attend for free, the wider community of developers can pay for a ticket.

The jury is still out on whether I will be a published developer by then.

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Interview with Ethan Lipnik, Developer of Acrylic

May 6, 2022



A wallpaper designer for your iPhone, iPad and Mac

Ethan Lipnik has just released Acrylic, a universal app that lets you make gorgeous wallpapers with soft mesh gradients or 3D geometric patterns.

It’s intuitive and easy to use — and easy to lose half an hour playing around with it.

Acrylic costs $1.99 up front. No in-app purchases, no subscriptions. Buy it once and get it on all of your Apple devices.

As icing on the cake, 70% of the proceeds to go the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, a charity dedicated to “protecting gorillas while helping and educating the people who live near them.”

Ethan and I have previously collaborated together. We prototyped an app for iOS, but ultimately decided the third-party APIs we had to use were too expensive to finish our work.

As they say, real artists ship. Ethan, by this standard, is an absolute app-making machine. Acrylic comes after Neptune, a Twitter client; Syndromi, a YouTube client and OpenSesame, a password manager. That’s not to mention the dozens of open-source frameworks, projects and tools Ethan has published on GitHub.

Interview

I interviewed Ethan over the course of a week before Acrylic’s release.

First and foremost, why a wallpaper designer?

I don’t use third-party wallpapers because I like having light mode and dark mode variants. A wallpaper engine for iOS (and even macOS) that can change the wallpaper to something random is awesome.

Steve Troughton-Smith’s Pastel was a huge inspiration for this.

Press coverage and word-of-mouth recommendations are the biggest driver of app sales. With independent apps, a significant portion of the revenue is made right after the launch. You have chosen to donate 70% of proceeds to charity during the precious first month of sales of Acrylic. Why is that?

I don’t make my apps for money. I purposely chose the first month to donate because I want to use the app to help.

What’s special about the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, your charity of choice?

100,000 years ago, there were three other human species living at the same time. Now there’s just us. There are currently five great apes — we may become the last one. It is important to protect apes since they are our closest connection to nature. Gorillas are gentle giants; we need to help them and all the apes.

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has an A rating on CharityWatch and I truly believe they use every penny they can to help the gorillas.

The price of the app is $1.99 up front with no in-app purchases, subscriptions or features behind a paywall. Picking the right way to monetize a project is a trade-off developers lose a lot of sleep thinking about. Was this an easy decision for Acrylic?

I considered practically every pricing model. I’ve used free, freemium and paid pricing models for my other apps. They all have their pros and cons but for this app I think paid works best. It might change, but right now, the current pricing model works for multiple reasons. I seem to end up making my apps free at some point. It I think the hardest part was deciding how much to donate and for how long.

On your other projects, you have used SwiftUI for a significant portion, if not all of, your user interface. Recently, you’ve been coming around on UIKit. What motivated that shift?

While the codebase is still >50% SwiftUI, I expect my usage of SwiftUI to go down. I started working professionally eight months ago and I had to use UIKit. I learned a lot about some really great APIs like UI​Collection​View​Compositional​Layout and diffable data sources.

I felt I couldn’t deliver a good product if it was 100% SwiftUI. OpenSesame, my most recent app before Acrylic, was 100% SwiftUI but was riddled with issues I couldn’t fix. Working on Neptune 3.0, I really saw what SwiftUI and UIKit can do together. Using SwiftUI as complementary rather than primary helps a lot.

So what parts of the Acrylic user interface are written in SwiftUI, what parts are UIKit, and is there any AppKit in there at all?

I don’t think anything except the project navigator is 100% of either.

I tried using AppKit at first but it really came down to graphics bugs with SceneKit that caused me to use Catalyst. Since I used Catalyst, I needed a strong UIKit foundation since SwiftUI on Catalyst isn’t very good. SwiftUI is still required for some Mac-specific stuff like styled dropdown menus.

The export screen is probably the biggest mix since there’s a UIKit Metal view in a view controller, the buttons are SwiftUI and then it’s wrapped in a view controller.

It ended up being the best version it could be. If I used 100% of either, it’d be a bad experience, and trust me, I tried. SwiftUI will continue being a strong tool in my workflow, but no longer is it the first tool I try.

Many independent developers follow Apple’s lead by closely guarding what they’re working on from the public until it’s ready to ship. Steven Troughton-Smith, you yourself and others in the community have flipped the norm by publicly tweeting the development of your experiments and prototypes from their conception all the way to the App Store. What benefit do you see to this?

For me, the greatest motivator is seeing people enjoy my work. Seeing what works and doesn’t helps a lot with market research. I also find it great for marketing because people can learn about it as I go to build hype.

I do sometimes worry if someone will steal the idea before I finish, which is why there are some projects I don’t talk about publicly. 😉

What can people look forward to in future updates to Acrylic?

I can’t make any promises, but I really want to try out implementing ray tracing into 3D scenes with custom scene creation. Imagine working on a great wallpaper and then you see a switch on the sidebar that says “Ray Tracing.”

I also want to add more options for wallpapers like waves.

Leaning into the wallpaper-specific part of the app could be great, with a “gallery” view — maybe user-submitted wallpapers, or just randomly generated ones based on the color schemes you like.

There’s a lot of places it can go, really depends on if I want/can bring it there.

What do you think you’ll be working on next?

Before Acrylic, all my apps were built out of frustration. I used popular apps and wanted to make a better version, but the question wasn’t “can this be improved,” it was “can I improve this.” It helped me learn a lot, but it became the ultimate ego boost and was a negative way to build apps. I was never adding to it. “Imagine a Twitter client but with a ‘good’ design.” “Imagine a YouTube client but with a ‘more focused’ design.”

Acrylic was my first project built out of pure passion. It felt original. “iOS needs a wallpaper engine and people should easily be able to make good looking wallpapers.”
 


My next app will be my biggest app yet and it’s based on my passion for film making. I’ve been a film fanatic since I was very little, making short films on my portal video camera. It’s time to reenter that art form in the best way I can. I believe it will make a splash for pre-production tools. I can’t speak too much about it now, but I will have more information very soon.

It’s been two years in the making and I’m very happy with how it’s going — a culmination of everything I’ve learned in my 8 years of creating apps, working as a team and delivering a great product.

Isn’t it wild that Acrylic was a free-to-use name on the App Store in 2022?

It makes sense in some ways. It’s not a noun or something even common. I’m sure being in the “Graphics & Design” category also helps, but still. I’ve never gotten a one-word name on the App Store before. I’m very curious to see how SEO (search-engine optimization) goes for it.

It was harder to find a domain name.

Finally, if people want to give even more than 70% of 85% of $1.99 to the Gorilla Fund, where can they go?

Please go to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund website.

Click here to buy Acrylic:

Questions and answers have been edited from their original text for formatting, grammar and accuracy.

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Definition of ReGurmantating

re · gur · man · tat · ing

Apr 26, 2022



noun
the action or activity of shamelessly regurgitating the contents of Mark Gurman’s Power On newsletter, regardless of whether it contains any new information, week after week after week after week.

(British reGurmatating)

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Dilbert’s Home Computer

Even a comically expensive computer from January 2000 is pretty boring now.

Apr 20, 2022



At a time when adult cartoon sitcoms were absolutely blowing up — King of the Hill, South Park, Family Guy and Futurama all debuting between 1997 and 1999 — the Dilbert TV series launched to little fanfare, ultimately lasting just two seasons and thirty episodes.

I have mixed feelings about the series. Some of the humor is still truly excellent. Executive Producer Larry Charles was coming off of his instrumental work on Seinfeld and would go on to produce Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage. The voice cast (and guest stars) are stellar. Scott Adams, however, has taken up some truly bizarre political stances that make me glad the series went out when it did.

Dilbert’s Computer

In my personal favorite episode “The Return,” aired February 22, 2000, Dilbert orders a new computer online.

This was a pretty novel experience in the year 2000. Only a few years before, Apple had been outdone by their licensed partner, Power Computing. They were the first to create a totally online build-to-order store that was beating Apple at their own game through a lean supply chain. To make a long story short, Steve Jobs punched back by pulling the plug on the entire licensing program and building Apple’s own online store the next year.

Dilbert’s experience in the episode, of course, goes comically poor as he has his credit card information stolen, receives the wrong order thanks to a negligent delivery person and cannot get in contact with a human capable of processing a return. This much has aged like a fine wine.

What has aged less well is that Dilbert pays $27,000 for a computer described as such:

“It’s got redundant RAID drives, 4 terabits each, 3 millisecond access time; built-in DSL, wireless game ports, flat panel 30-inch monitor…”
“Truly you have ordered the finest home computer known to mankind.”

We can see that Dilbert’s current computer is, funnily enough, a Mac of some kind based on the desktop icons, the menu bar and the Mac OS scrolling sound effect (although the yellow tab-style titlebar screams BeOS).

Could you order such a Mac in January 2000?

The priciest spec Dilbert lists is the four terabit (or, 2× 500 GB) RAID array. Hard drives were $10 per gigabyte in the year 2000, so the storage would be $10,000 — plus $150 for the software to manage it. The most offensive part of this line is that saying “redundant RAID drives” is itself redundant as RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks.

“Access time” is a formerly relevant unit of measurement referring to the disk speed. Calculating access time gets extremely complicated very fast, but in short, a high-end hard drive could feasibly reach 3 ms.

Adding an AirPort card to a Mac cost $99. I’m not sure what the “wireless game ports” Dilbert is referring to are, but wireless USB game controllers existed at the time.

Apple’s only flat panel display at the time was the 15″ Studio Display; they would not make a flat-panel 30″ display until four years later. But one could certainly buy four of them and arrange them in a square for a 30″ experience at a grand total of $8,000.

Add these to the high-end $3,500 Power Mac G4 and we’re only up to $21,749, but that’s before we add in RAM, peripherals and sales tax. It seems pretty likely a computer with these specs from January 2000 could reach $27,000. A+ for accuracy.

What would such a modern Mac cost?

We can easily upgrade to 1 TB of internal storage on even the cheapest Mac for sale today, the $699 Mac mini. Hell, you can even order 1 TB of storage on an iPhone. Flash storage would also prove a hearty upgrade from the spinning disks in his machine.

While we don’t hear Dilbert say how much RAM he ordered, today’s base model Mac far exceeds the maximum amount of RAM one could order on any Mac of the time.

Yes, every Mac comes with Bluetooth for wireless game controllers — and, while we’re at it, internet access.

Of course, as I have covered extensively, a flat panel 30″ monitor can be had for as little as $300.

A Mac mini with these specs adds up to a hardly whopping $1,400, a far cry from $27,000. Not much has changed, though. Today, $27,000 will still get you something that’s obsolete within two years.

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An Enthusiast Car for Hypermiling

Apr 1, 2022



The formula is simple: take a popular vehicle, identify a demographic of car enthusiasts within the customer base and make a special trim level or derivative model to cater to their niche. This new special-purpose model acts as a halo car for the pedestrian model.

Auto manufacturers are not displaying the same such commitment to economy cars for hypermiling, a segment of car enthusiasts that care not about going faster with more but farther with less. Car enthusiasts that compete not on speed but fuel efficiency.

There are many legitimate reasons for this:

  1. Few people want to pay more money for a car that is, in many respects, worse.
  2. It is a small demographic. This could be due in part to a self-fulfilling prophecy; perhaps the demographic is small because it has never been catered to before.
  3. Auto manufacturers believe the market is being served by the advent of good and affordable electric cars. I would argue that no matter the drivetrain—gas, hybrid or electric—there is always room for more energy-efficiency. A gasoline car gets better fuel economy; an electric car gets more range.

Nonetheless, let us imagine a formula auto makers could use to turn a popular sedan into a hypermilers’ enthusiast car.

The Condor

The Condor is named for the large bird. The story here, popularly told by Steve Jobs, is that a condor in flight is the most energy-efficient form of transportation in nature. It is important to note that this isn’t actually true, but it makes for a good marketing story.

The Condor model makes the basic changes that are easy to switch out in a manufacturing line and that consumers expect when comparing trim levels: different tires, different interior materials, different engine options, perhaps even different exterior styling—but tailored for efficiency in mind rather than performance or luxury.

  1. Modeled after the Honda Insight, the tires are small and skinny. The rims are flat with small vents and cast from a lightweight alloy for aerodynamics. Fender skirts cover the rear wheels.
  2. The seats are made of a lightweight spongey material.
  3. The interior trim uses recycled plastics instead of metal and polyester cloth instead of leather.
  4. Rather than add vents for style, decorative elements are removed and creases are rounded out for aerodynamics.
  5. It comes standard with that engine auto-stop feature that is hated by everyone who doesn’t drive a hybrid—and it cannot be turned off.
  6. No sun roof. Sheet metal is lighter than a pane of glass.

The name pairs well as a suffix to many car names: The Honda Accord Condor. The Toyota Camry Condor. The Nissan Altima Condor. The Kia K5 Condor. The Volkswagen Golf Condor.

The California Condor

The California Condor is the extreme version. It is to the Condor as the Subaru WRX STI is to the WRX, the Volkswagen Golf R is to the Golf GTI, the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is to the Tundra TRD. It pulls no punches.

  1. No air conditioning. The parts are heavy and running it reduces efficiency.
  2. Only the drivers’ window rolls down all the way. The passenger window only rolls down a little bit. The rear windows are totally fixed in place. Rolling down a window increases aerodynamic drag.
  3. No passenger-side mirror. Economy cars from the 1980s didn’t have them as standard, and this is surprisingly still legal.
  4. Many pieces of the interior are removed or changed in the interest of saving weight: no center console, cloth nets instead of door pockets and a glovebox, touchscreen controls instead of buttons on the dashboard.
  5. Carbon-fiber body panels wherever possible.
  6. Only two speakers. Speakers need big, heavy magnets.
  7. No rear seats.
  8. No rear windshield wiper.
  9. Only available in a two-door configuration if one exists.
  10. The name is a sticker, not a badge.

This would obviously be a ludicrous car very few people would buy. But in a world where the Aston Martin Cygnet existed, I think there is room for it.

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The Problem With ‘The Problem With ‘The Problem With Jon Stewart’’

Mar 20, 2022



John Gruber, ‘The Problem With ‘The Problem With Jon Stewart’’:

I watched the first episode and was bored to tears […] not a good sign when the show was in fact only 40 minutes long.

I’m not saying Stewart can or should only do comedy. I like serious issue-based shows, too, but the good ones […] The premiere of The Problem With Jon Stewart can only be described as “plodding”.

I broadly agree with Gruber’s assessment of the first three episodes: slower and dryer than other issue-of-the-week shows. Where I disagree is in his framing of The Problem With Jon Stewart as a serious show outside of his former work in comedy. The Problem With Jon Stewart is supposed to be a comedy show; the problem with The Problem With Jon Stewart is that the first few episodes are so unfunny that it hardly registers as comedy.

Out now are three new episodes from a new batch: ‘Stock Market,’ ‘Climate Change’ and ‘Media.’ I have found these significantly more enjoyable so far. They’re closer to figuring out what humor works on the show.

The opening segment with unscripted dialogue in the writers’ room still varies from fun to pointless, but I commend them for putting the backroom writers onscreen. Jon’s solo desk segments are getting a little better every episode as they work out the pacing of the show. The sketches in the middle of the episode are still bad, but no longer unbearably bad. The ‘Most Improved’ award goes to the panel discussion and one-on-one interview segments in the second half for the ‘Stock Market’ episode alone.

Ultimately, if you imagine someone who has only paid for one month of Apple TV+ and they don’t plan to keep it, would The Problem With Jon Stewart make the essential watchlist? No.1 There’s still some work to do.

The Problem With Streaming Television

Streaming television is in a state where dozens of streaming services are launching dozens of shows every month. It’s too competitive to launch a show that isn’t fully baked.

As recently as ten years ago, shows could launch to lukewarm reviews, but by the second or third season, they’ve figured out what the show really is. The TV Tropes list of ‘Live-Action TV’ examples for this phenomenon is over 15,000 words long.

Today, there’s just too much TV to waste time on bad TV.

Footnotes

  1. Ted Lasso, For All Mankind, Severence, Trying, Tiny World.

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Now Contributing to Cult of Mac

Mar 15, 2022



As a sequel to a post last month, I have an exciting announcement: I am joining Cult of Mac as a part-time writer. I will be taking over How To articles with occasional news coverage.

I have already written three pieces: breaking the news of the Studio Display and a follow-up diving deeper into Apple’s display lineup. My first How-To article covers setting up Face ID with a mask and glasses.

Nothing will change about Extra Ordinary. I will continue to post at least one piece a month, aiming for a yearly average above two a month. Add Extra Ordinary to your RSS client to get everything I write here in full. Follow Everything D. Griffin Jones on Twitter for, well, everything.

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Apple’s ‘Peek Performance’ Event

Mar 9, 2022



Friday Night Baseball

Right out of the gate, Apple announced that there will be two baseball games broadcast every Friday on Apple TV+. As Dan Moren pointed out, they will even broadcast for free without an Apple TV+ subscription for a limited time.

After much speculation, it appears that Apple’s strategy here will be to add live sports in with a regular Apple TV+ subscription. I was hoping this would happen. People are already confused what Apple TV+ offers, much less what it even is. The last thing they need for their subscription content service that shares a similar name with a hardware product, an app and a content aggregation feature within that app is another tier to their subscription content service with a similar name.

iPhone

The iPhone’s new mid-cycle color this year, green, comes to all four regular and pro iPhone models. Last years’ mid-cycle color, purple, was only on the 12 and 12 mini. I would have loved to see the ‘pro’ version of purple. Also, I found the animation to be mildly unsettling.

The new iPhone SE is a solid update. Last-minute speculation was that it would take the design of the iPhone mini; I think it’s too early for this while the 13 mini is still for sale. I noticed that in their summary of new great features enabled by the A15 and their newer hardware they specifically called out Live Text—a feature of the Neural Engine on iOS 15, available on a lot of phones—but it definitely needs called out because it’s awesome. The $30 price bump is unfortunate for a price-sensitive model, but understandable for several years’ updates at once.

iPad Air

The new iPad Air catches up to the iPad mini with Center Stage and 5G and surpasses it with the M1 chip. Paired with the Magic Keyboard, this is the best value computer Apple has ever made. That it lacks Face ID is a heart-breaking stumble at the finish line. If they cannot bring the Face ID components down in price enough, maybe they need to add Touch ID to the Magic Keyboard, like on the iMac?

Mac

M1 Ultra

The M1 Ultra is the previously-rumored 2× M1 Max chip. Predictably, it doubles every M1 Max spec with 16 high-performance and 4 high-efficiency CPU cores, 64 GPU cores, 32 Neural Engine cores and 128 GB unified memory.

Is there a limit to the ARM architecture’s curve of power and performance? Is there a limit to the adjectives Apple can use to name these chips? The answer to both is the same: not yet, apparently.

Oddly, John Ternus says the M1 Ultra is the final chip in the M1 architecture. What about the rumored 4× M1 Max chip? Evidently, we will need to wait until M2.

Mac Studio

A professional standalone desktop computer that sacrifices internal modularity for price? The xMac has come to life in the form of the Mac Studio, albeit an entire processor transition too late.

Here is a crazy statistic: it’s less than half the size of the Power Mac G4 Cube. The G4 Cube was 8″ all around; the Mac Studio is about the same width and under half the height. That means you could fit two of them in the G4 Cube’s acrylic enclosure.

Another fun observation: although Apple generously put two USB-C ports and an SD card slot on the front of the machine, none of Apple’s press images have anything plugged into them.

Is this the machine I have been waiting for? It might be a bit too pro for me. The base model Mac Studio comes with the M1 Max. Now that more of the Apple silicon lineup has been introduced, I think what I want is a desktop computer with the cheaper M1 Pro. Interestingly, the Mac Studio’s debut has coincided with the discontinuation of the iMac Pro. The high-end Intel Mac mini is still for sale. I think whatever Apple puts in that slot in the lineup has my name on it.

Studio Display

Here comes a rare sentence: I am astonished this brand-new Apple product is so cheap. With remarkably similar specs to the Pro Display XDR, the Studio Display is a bit smaller for a quarter of the price. More precisely, 27% the price with 83% of the Ks.

Compare it to the LG UltraFine 5K, and you have a monitor that is $300 more expensive, but you get a brighter panel, True Tone, a better camera with Center Stage and optional nano-texture glass. That’s before even accounting for the solid aluminum enclosure, which surely puts the creaky plastic UltraFine to shame.

Compare it to the iMac and you can see the displays are remarkably similar. These were clearly cut from the same cloth, but the desktop market has narrowed such that Apple does not think there is not room in the lineup for both a big iMac and a small consumer monitor. As I will outline in greater detail for Cult of Mac, if you remove the ‘computer’ from the cost of the iMac, the cost of the iMac’s display is $550. An all-in-one machine allows both elements to share a profit margin in one product.

What’s next?

John Ternus, you are a tease. The Mac Pro is undoubtedly coming soon, perhaps at WWDC.

Of course, the transition is not done when everything Intel gets an Apple chip; it is done when every product is redesigned around the new architecture, free from the cooling and power constraints of Intel. The MacBook Air, MacBook Semi-Pro and Mac mini are still the same as their Intel counterparts with an M1 drop-in. And as revealed today, the M2 Supreme? Mega? Doubleplus Ultra? is left on the table, too.

The Mac is back, and it is back-er than ever.

Apple AR/VR Headset

Mission failed, we’ll get ’em next time.

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My Home Office, 2022

Feb 9, 2022



Following David Sparks, Casey Liss, Jeff Benjamin and Jason Snell, this is my current home office desk. Over the next year or two, everything must go from the computer to the desk to the chair to the peripherals. Let’s dive in.

My desk

The Mac

My Mac is the mid-2015 MacBook Pro long deemed the “last good MacBook Pro” before the redesigned model debuted last fall. It was heavily upgraded at the time with a Quad-Core Intel Core i7 “Haswell” chip, 16 GB DDR3 memory, 512 GB storage and the AMD Radeon R9 M370X 2 GB graphics chip.

It is no longer effortlessly fast as it once was. Drafting this article in Notes.app (which is not a particularly intense activity) the fans are spinning at a third their maximum speed; opening the smallest of app projects in Xcode or the simplest of video libraries in Final Cut Pro will spin them up to maximum speed.

The MacBook Pro is elevated on an mStand to raise it to eye-level on my desk. A nondescript Acer display from around 2009 sits to the right. The secondary keyboard and trackpad at desk level are a standard Apple aluminum keyboard circa 2008 and an original Magic Trackpad with a hairline crack in the glass surface—neither of which are great, but neither of which are worth spending money replacing since most Macs come with them included.

For Time Machine backups and mass storage, I have the LaCie d2 desktop hard drive in the discontinued 3 TB size and silver finish. This will likely carry over to my new Mac for a while until I get a proper Thunderbolt 4 hard drive.

What will replace the keystone of the setup? It is highly contested between two computers that do not exist: the high-end iMac and Mac mini with Apple silicon. I like the simplicity and elegance of the all-in-one iMac, a staple of the Mac throughout its entire history. On the other hand, its greatest benefit could also be the deal-breaker: one cannot buy an iMac with a cheaper display than whatever Apple puts in it. If rumors are to be believed, the new iMac could be an incredible one-of-a-kind piece of engineering with a 120 Hz variable refresh rate, 1600 nits of brightness and billions of colors—specs never before seen on a display of such a size and resolution—but that would probably be outside of my price range. I may end up opting for a Mac mini and an LG display of some kind, if any are available.

The Desk & Chair

The desk is a totally unremarkable four-drawer desk I bought from a thrift store years ago for $25. Most of the drawers are filled with the kinds of computer crap one accumulates over years: USB peripherals, cables, 5W power bricks, etc. One drawer haphazardly attempts to file important documents in an organized manner.

I would like to replace this desk with a standing desk. The problem is that nearly every standing desk is motorized. I find this troubling. I prefer my computer, external storage and especially my furniture to remain stationary. The desk surface should be an anchor upon which items can be placed in security.

The proper solution is a desk tall enough to stand at with a chair equally tall enough to sit at. All you need is a chair that is exactly as tall as your butt to have a hybrid sitting/standing setup with no moving parts and no risk.

Finding a standing-height chair is easy; minutes of searching on Amazon lead me to this one. After many hours of searching, I have found a suitable desk as well: it’s actually a kitchen table.

What about the contents of the drawers? A better storage solution would be a proper steel filing cabinet. And, maybe, throwing away a bunch of old crap I don’t need.

Check back to see what actually happens

How much of this will be implemented a year from now? Stay tuned to find out. I would never simply drop a post without any updates like that.

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No Longer Open For Business

Feb 3, 2022



As of December you can find my writing here on Extra Ordinary republished on Open For Business, a local online magazine I joined as contributor. As of January I have resigned from my position as contributor; my 2022 rumor roundup is my first and last article to be published there.

I do not want my writing to be published alongside COVID- and vaccine-related skepticism and misinformation. Reading about Neil Young and Joni Mitchell taking a similar moral stand, pulling their music from Spotify, the world’s largest music streaming platform, makes me feel even better about my decision.

I am obviously not on the same league as Neil Young nor Joni Mitchell. I was not contributing to Open For Business long enough to even be paid for the single article I wrote. Cutting a connection, especially when it is one of few connections I have, is nonetheless a challenging decision to make.

You can continue to read Extra Ordinary here. If you ask me, the typography is better, anyways.

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