My iPad Home Screen for 2019

Alan's iPad 4 Home Screen

This is my current home screen on my iPad 4. Yes, all my installed apps are in that folder in the top left. I chose the wallpaper specifically. 🙂

I do a short swipe down on the Earth to find and launch an app. Swipe from the top to see my notifications (no badges, most sounds and temporary banners disabled too.) Swipe from left for weather and other useful stuff.

I left TuneIn Radio in the dock for the simple reasons that a) it’s what I use during the night and to wake me up in the morning, and b) you cannot make the dock disappear, and it looks a bit silly just hanging there, completely empty.

Argh! Something has upset the Mac App Store on my iMac. I’m unable to install updates, it keeps coming up with an error message and stopping. Restarting in Safe Boot mode lets me proceed, but that’s a workaround. I need to work out what other app or software is putting a spanner in the works…

How old is too old to play videogames?

Craig Grannell:

Frankly, I find it astonishing this is still a question people need to ask themselves. Games are just another thing people do to be entertained and pass the time. They are interactive entertainment that sits part-way between puzzle solving, dexterity test and television. No-one suggests at 36 you should throw your telly out of the window, or at that 43 you should stop doing crosswords. But gaming has somehow been labelled a juvenile pursuit.

In part, this is down to short memories. Arcade games when originally created were aimed squarely at adults. Early home-gaming systems were largely in that space, although often also marketed as family entertainment. It was mostly with the arrival of NES-era consoles that gaming took root as something ‘for the kids’. Only, those kids grew up, and a big chunk of gaming grew up with it. Today, the range of games you can access is huge, from tablet-based fare like Thinkrolls that my then two-year-old managed to grasp on an iPad, through to the kind of content that no-one under 18 should really be setting their eyes on.

Any negativity is really just another oft-repeated hot-take by curmudgeons and spoilsports who hate people liking stuff that they themselves don’t like. Comics? Pah! Those are for children! (What, even Saga? OK, then.) Tabletop gaming? Are you twelve? You still watch Doctor Who? Pfft! Etc!

I turned 50 last year, and while I may not have the reflexes for modern first-person shooters, I regularly enjoy plenty of other types of games, both on my computer and tablet.

I Made A Resource For A Pre-Diabetic Friend

The other day, a friend of mine asked if I could make her some charts she could print off and put into her bullet journal.

She was recently diagnosed as ‘pre-diabetic’. Meaning that she may have a form of diabetes but they’re not sure what sort and how serious it is.

So, right now, she’s using a blood-sugar record several times a day. For ‘use’ read ‘stab self in finger’. Yeah, not fun, but necessary.

Continue reading I Made A Resource For A Pre-Diabetic Friend

The Grouch for Mac

I found this video via a recent Daring Fireball post, which in turn was commenting on the first of a series on TidBITS looking back into their archive of Mac news items.

Adam Engst:

RAM Doubler is a single small extension that literally doubles your RAM. It’s not guessing at a 2:1 compression ratio, like Salient’s AutoDoubler and DiskDoubler (now owned by Symantec) — you actually see your total memory being twice your built-in memory. Since RAM Doubler is an extension, there are no controls, no configuration. You just install it and it doubles the amount of application RAM you have available.

A number of people have expressed disbelief that such a feat is possible, saying that they’d avoid anything like RAM Doubler because it’s obviously doing strange things to memory, which isn’t safe. […] > Needless to say, since RAM Doubler has only been out for a few days, we haven’t been testing for long, but I can honestly say that neither of us have noticed anything out of the ordinary during this time.

John Gruber:

From a low-level computer science operating systems perspective, the classic Mac OS was dangerously primitive. But from a high-level user interface perspective, it remains amazing. To install RAM Doubler — software that radically changed the way the OS worked — all you had to do was copy one file to the Extensions folder in your System folder. To uninstall, you just moved it out of that folder. That’s it. One file in one special folder and then restart the machine.

Does This Spark USB Joy?

I recently did an audit of what spare USB and other cables I had. It turned out I had a lot of extra cables, most of them for items that I’d disposed of years ago (to recycling, of course.) In the end, I kept one of each cable that matched one I’m currently using with a peripheral attached to my computer, and took the rest down to the local recycling centre.

The worst part of all that excess? I was terrible at putting cables back into the box where they were supposed to go, so they ended up in odd corners getting in the way.

The Other Art History: The Forgotten Cyberfeminists of ’90s Net Art

Loney Abrams:

In 1991 the Internet was born. That same year, the term ‘Cyberfeminism’ was coined simultaneously by British philosopher Sadie Plant and by the Australian art collective VNS Matrix. Just as the tech bros of the dot-com boom optimistically believed the internet would change the world for the better, Cyberfeminists had techno-utopian aspirations for radical feminism. Cyberfeminists saw the virtual world as an opportunity to abandon the sexist social conditions of meatspace and rebuild equitable social relations in cyberspace. They found theoretical grounding in the works of theorist Donna Haraway—who wrote The Cyborg Manifesto that rejects the rigid boundaries that separate binaries like human/animal, man/woman, and natural/artificial—and Octavia Butler—a science fiction writer who described futuristic and extraterrestrial worlds that similarly espoused essentializing distinctions and rigid boundaries.

I was running my iMac display at scaled-up resolution for a few month. (For those who don’t know, you can do that via System Preferences > Displays, switching Resolution over to Scaled, then picking an option to the right of Default.)

While the extra real-estate was great for some application, I’ve now decided that it just wasn’t a good deal for my eyeballs.

(My eyesight has changed sufficiently in the last few years that I cannot wear my regular glasses when I’m sat at the computer, and in fact one eye is focussing slightly further than the other, which creates more issue. Eventually, I will need to get a pair of glasses just for computer work and reading. Long-term, I’m looking at varifocals.)