June 2019

ARM based MacBook Pro, iMac, or Mac Pro, does not look promising to software developers

(June 29, 2019) Reportedly Apple is planning to switch Mac's to ARM processors sooner or later. More power to Apple, it is their platform and they can surely make whatever decision they like. With the announcement of iPadOS 13 it looks like Apple wants to blur the iPad experience with capabilities currently relegated to desktops and laptops. It looks very cool so far, but as a software developer I need a command line and a bunch of other stuff. And, I have several serious issues to raise that will make the job of writing software harder on a non-x86 CPU laptop.

A Ukrainian YouTuber summarizes memories from other Ukrainians about Chernobyl accident

(June 29, 2019) There are lots of eyewitness accounts about the Chernobyl accident available online, but they're written in Ukrainian or Russian. Unless you know the key phrases in Russian for the Chernobyl accident, Google won't show you these accounts. This Ukrainian YouTuber who is also fluent in Russian and knows English found these accounts, and summarizes them for us. The video is also full of authentic pictures from the Chernobyl reactor both before, during and after the Chernobyl accident.

Does the seven new MacBook models mean the ARM MacBook is on the way?

(June 29, 2019) According to tech journalists that track this sort of thing, Apple registered seven new laptop product models in the Eurasian Economic Commission database. Of course there is no official news about what this means, but there are some guesses. Those include the long-rumored conversion to ARM-based Mac desktop computers. So lets talk about ARM based Mac desktops.

Building a fake MacBook Pro while complaining about cliquey Apple fans

(June 28, 2019) Are Apple products only for high end customers who can pay premium prices? Apple is surely chasing after such people, with high prices and pristinely designed software and hardware. To folks that can't afford those prices, it can feel like being pushed out of a special clique by the snobs who are inside the clique. There are two approaches to avoiding the premium price while being able to use Apple hardware and software. There's the approach I take, and the approach shown in the attached video.

A Russian tells us about Russian Media response to HBO's Chernobyl mini-series

(June 17, 2019) Recently HBO aired a mini-series about the Chernobyl disaster, and Russian news media has reacted badly to this. The video names a bunch of problems named in Russian news media about the Chernobyl mini-series. It is suggested the news media is reacting badly because first that most of it is controlled by the Russian Government, and secondly because the mini-series undermines decades of work by Russia to give themselves a good image. The HBO Chernobyl series showed the ugly side of the USSR regime.

Is everyone really leaving YouTube? Or is it just a few whiners who are leaving?

(June 17, 2019) For months a chorus of YouTube creators have complained about the adpocalypse and how demonetization is drying up YouTube revenue for many. A new video claims "everyone" is leaving YouTube, and to prove the point glues together snippets from a dozen or two YouTube creators complaining about the changing climate on YouTube. Many are complaining about a lack of control, and how YouTube is supposedly applying one standard to individual YouTube creators and a completely different standard to big name media channels. While there are clear indications that YouTube is shifting focus towards big media players, the individual YouTube creators should never have put themselves in the position of depending 100% on Google's largesse.

The allure of digital serfdom is a fiction created by big business owners

(June 17, 2019) Every few months I come across a new YouTube video complaining about how hard it is today to earn a living through making YouTube videos. I feel for those making the complaint, but I also remember my struggles in what I call Digital Serfdom. YouTube is just one of many web sites over the years offering us the chance to post content to the site, and the site owner will direct a stream of revenue our way. The complaints made by these modern YouTubers are nothing new.

How to Make a powerful DIY wind generator from an old e-bike motor

(June 16, 2019) This video shows a DIY project to build a wind generator using an old electric bicycle hub motor. While the design has a couple flaws - such as how to avoid twisting the power cord around the mast - the result was able to provide power to run this guys entire house.

Deep dive into symbology of The Matrix

(June 15, 2019) If, like me, you watched Matrix a few dozen times at least, you're interested in all the symbolism. This video goes way into the details of the first movie of the three. There is lots of details, some of which were new to me.

Using iPadOS v13 as a desktop offers mind-bending experience

(June 13, 2019) The latest exploration of iPadOS 13 capabilities is how well it works as a proper desktop user experience. That is, what if we connect it to an external display, external mouse, and external keyboard, along with a couple portable disk drives? Bottom line is it all works, beckoning the possibility that iPad's can be used for more of what we currently do on regular laptop computers.

A YouTuber spends two days in the Chernobyl exclusion zone

(June 12, 2019) While the area around the Chernobyl disaster site is an exclusion zone, it is possible to book a trip into that area. Besides the broken reactors, there is a large area which used to be occupied by humans. There are old houses and old apartment buildings and old schools and everything else that went with humans living in a town somewhere. The sense this video-maker takes away is what would a post-apocalyptic world look like?

The human cost of cleaning up the Chernobyl disaster, told by one of the workers

(June 11, 2019) The cleanup operation at Chernobyl attempted to use "robots" to cleanup highly radioactive debris, to spare humans from the task. Humans with experience working around radioactive debris were valuable, and had to be preserved for as long as possible. But in the area of the worst radioactive debris, where extremely radioactive graphite had fallen from the core of the reactor, the robots failed to work. Humans had to go in themselves, wearing the most primitive of protective suits, and working for shifts lasting all of two minutes. It took 3828 men to accomplish the task.

BBC's coverage of Chernobyl disaster immediately afterwards

(June 11, 2019) The USSR did not publicly disclose the Chernobyl accident until Sweden detected a large increase in radioactivity. The BBC put together this excellent news program within a couple days of the USSR admitting to the accident. This report shows the alarm people had at the time. As one of the interviewees pointed out, for radiation to be detectable 700+ miles away in Sweden, there must have been a considerable release at the Chernobyl site. But it's also clear the people speaking in the report were making best guesses because there was no solid concrete information available at the time this report was made. The last thing said in this report is especially telling -- the speaker guesses that the reactor which exploded is a boiling water reactor, a design that's popular around the world. He goes on to say that even for a reactor with a containment building -- the Chernobyl reactor had no containment building -- the economic consequences of a major meltdown accident would be enormous. The Fukushima nuclear disaster of a few years ago proves that point, as the Japanese Government is spending major megabucks cleaning up the site, and they have a 40 year project ahead of them completing that cleanup. There are whole new technologies that must be develop to do the cleanup. And in the meantime there is an exclusion zone of a hundred of square miles or more in Japan.

Pripyat and the abandoned zone around Chernobyl is a patchwork of radiation and amazing wildlife

(June 11, 2019) After the Chernobyl disaster, the Russian government ordered a large zone of land to be abandoned. Even today several thousand square kilometers have been abandoned. While folks generally do not live in the area, it is possible to travel through the area. This video is a British guy taking a tour of Pripyat, the closest city to the Chernobyl power plant. As might be expected after a city is abandoned, the remaining buildings are not in good condition, and wildlife has taken over.

Russia Today gives us possible propaganda about why Chernobyl blew up

(June 11, 2019) RT News, a so-called news arm of the Russian Government, published this video describing the Chernobyl reactor explosion and the response. They showed original film and interviews with the original people. Therefore the program looks to be a truthful story about the Chernobyl disaster. However we are talking about RT News and it is possible this is propaganda.

Why did the Chernobyl reactor explode? Detailed physics

(June 11, 2019) With the recent HBO TV program, Chernobyl, we're interested in why the Chernobyl reactor exploded. The TV program did a fairly good job but this video goes deep into the weeds of how nuclear physics works.

Naysayers of 2019 Mac Pro are wrong

(June 11, 2019) Apple finally released a proper modular Mac Pro computer, again. The new Mac Pro has a design reminiscent of both the 2009-2012 Mac Pro and the old G4 Mac Cube. It is extremely customizable, easy to open up and fiddle with the interior, and the maximum specs are way beyond belief. But, the price is putting people off in a big way, especially the price for the corresponding monitor. The chorus of naysayers are, however, wrong, and are clearly not the intended market for the new Mac Pro.

Interview with Deputy Chief Engineer of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

(June 11, 2019) This interview, in Russian with English subtitles, allows one of the key people responsible at Chernobyl to explain what happened before, during, and after the Chernobyl explosion and subsequent disaster.

iPadOS v13 a harbinger of iPads as Laptop Replacement

(June 5, 2019) With Apple's iPadOS announcement there were many advances demonstrated.

How to build a solar-powered workshop

(June 5, 2019) This project shows building a backyard shed that is also a sizeable workshop where all the tools and lighting is off-grid solar powered. One big time-saver is buying a shed from Tuff-Shed, because they send out a team who will install the shed in a few hours. Beyond that solar panels were installed on the roof, the inside was painted and a custom workbench installed and a nice shelving system installed.

Living the Apple ecosystem without giving money to Apple

(June 2, 2019) For years I've only owned Apple equipment. This started around 2000, I knew the Mac OS X Public Beta was around the corner so I bought a Powerbook and lived with OS 9 for a few months until the OS X Public Beta came out. Apple promised Unix with a Pretty Face, that also supported Java, and that hit enough buttons for me that I wanted in. Since then I've owned Powerbooks, Mac Mini's, and MacBook Pro's, plus a couple iPads and iPods, and I'm on my third iPhone. But it's been five years or more since I bought anything direct from Apple, and I doubt I ever will buy anything again direct from Apple. I buy good quality equipment originally made by Apple, I use Apple's operating systems and software, all at a fraction of what Apple charges because I am not paying the Apple Premium.

How to Make the Ultimate 18650 Power Bank with Infinitely Expandable Capacity

(June 2, 2019) Why should commercially made power banks be so expensive and so small? This DIY powerbank can be built by anyone at a fraction of the price of commercially made power banks. This unit can power not just USB devices, but 120 volt AC devices, it charges over USB or USB-C, and contains voltage displays. This plan reuses a lot of commercially made components. What makes it work is some highly customized 3D-printed parts from which the case is built.