30-Jan-2019 (Wed) Wherein The Man has discovered Synthwave

Jamie Zawinski:

Hey look, the Wall Street Journal, of all things, has discovered Synthwave. That probably means its over now, right? “Synthwave, the Sound of an ’80s Childhood, Goes Mainstream.”

There’s a particular type of article that gets churned out every couple of years that always begins, “Biff! Bang! Pow! Comics aren’t just for kids any more!” This article is basically that but for music: it repeats the claim that “They’re not just 80s cover bands!” so many times that you can tell that the author really does think they’re all just 80s cover bands. (Incidentally, Stranger Things sucked, and while it was panderingly nostalgic, it did not invent nostalgia, or pandering. Note to lazy writers: other analogies exist.)

ICYMI: Google+ shutting down on April 2nd

The official version, from Product Manager David Conway:

We announced this past fall that we’re sunsetting consumer Google+ in April 2019, and today have more details to share. While this process of deleting consumer content will take a few months and some content may remain visible during this time, you should take action before April to ensure you don’t lose any content you want to save.

Many different people use Google+, from everyday consumer users to developers to teams in business settings. Because of this, we want to provide the details you need to navigate this change. Below is more information and recommended actions.

Lauren Weinstein:

For weeks now, I’ve been pounding on Google to get more explicit about their impending shutdown of consumer Google+. What they’ve finally written today on a G+ help page https://support.google.com/googlecurrents/answer/9195133 demonstrates clearly how little that they care about G+ users who have spent years of their lives building up the service, appears to put a lie to key claimed excuses for ending consumer G+, and calls into question the degree to which any consumer or business users of Google should trust the firm’s dedication to any specific services going forward.

The originally announced shutdown date was for August. Then suddenly it was advanced to April (we now know from their new help page post that the official death date is 2 April 2019, though the process of completely deleting everyone from existence may take some months).

The key reasons for the shutdown originally stated by Google were API “security problems” that were obviously blown out of proportion — Google isn’t even mentioning those in their new announcements. Surprise, surprise:

“Given the challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets our consumer users’ expectations, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+. We’re committed to focusing on our enterprise efforts, and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses.”

Translation: Hey, you’re not paying us anything, bug off!

Xeni Jardin, over at Boing Boing:

Google announced last fall it’s killing off Google+ because of the social network’s laughably “low usage” and “challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations,” plus revelations of serious security vulnerabilities.

In a blog post and related support page that went live today, Google explained how the shutdown will unfold, and the important part for most ‘consumer’ users is this: they’re gonna delete all your posts, photos, videos, and comments, starting on April 2.


That’s April 2.

Because April 1 would have been too hilarious.

Why Google is like Donald Trump

Lauren Weinstein (via the Network Neutrality Squad mailing list):

Some observers claim that Google has become evil. I disagree. They’re
not evil, they’ve become essentially amoral — much like Donald Trump
in many ways — just not caring about most of their users anymore.
Trump is beyond redemption, but Google could appoint an ethics officer
and in theory slow or halt their ethics decline.

My iPad Home Screen for 2019

Screenshot of my home screen, with wallpaper of planet Earth, one folder with all apps in top left corner, and TuneIn Radio app in dock.

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.