July 2019

iFixit rates 2019 MacBook Pro with 2 out of 10 repairability score

(July 12, 2019) Apple recently released updates to the MacBook Pro, and as expected repairability took a back seat. The team at iFixit did a teardown and found a bunch of repairability problems, awarding the machine with a 2 out of 10 repairability score. Yes it's possible to take the machine apart, but most of the parts are soldered on and basically non-replaceable except by uber-experts.

DIY Hack using Home Depot parts digitally scan film negatives using a regular camera

(July 11, 2019) Scanning film negatives using a DSLR does not require using a tripod. It's possible to repurpose some items from Home Depot to build a stand along with a macro lens on a regular DSLR. The process also does not require special software, just a preset in Lightroom.

A simple method to digitally scan film negatives using a regular camera and Negative Lab Pro

(July 10, 2019) Some of us still shoot with film, and lots of us have old film lying around that we want to scan to digital. There are labs who will scan film to digital files, and there are bulky scanners that do the same. But neither work well in the field. This method requires a regular tripod, a film holder, and some software.

Google and Facebook control 70% of web traffic, and are favoring major websites

(July 1, 2019) The web has long been a place where anyone can launch a website, and thereby have their own soapbox from which to speak the message singing from their heart. But it has become harder and harder over the years for the small scale website to continue reaching an audience. The major gatekeepers on spreading our message have become Facebook, Google, and similar sites, and those gatekeepers are increasingly favoring major outlets owned by the major media conglomerates.

make free energy with spark plug using light bulb real free electricity generator

(July 12, 2019) Can you make free electricity out of thin wire just by wrapping a couple spark plugs with wire, then passing a magnet nearby? Probably not. I can't for the life of me see why this would do anything. But it would be simple enough to replicate this effect if it is real.

Tweets are interstate communication, making us liable for federal crimes

(July 3, 2019) Feeling angry about something and letting off steam on Twitter? According to US Federal Prosecutors, twitter posts and presumably facebook et al are interstate communications. If that posting can be interpreted as a threat or other illegal communication, you have therefore used interstate communications to transmit a threat - which is a federal felony.

How to upgrade MacBook Air/Pro SSD to NVMe using this one weird SSD adapter

(July 13, 2019) Out of the box Apple has used proprietary SSD's in its MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models for several years. As a proprietary SSD it meant any upgrade meant paying Apple's price for SSD's rather than the market price. This probably served Apple's bottom line, and who cares if the customers are screwed. This one adapter gives owners of such machines access to normal M.2 form factor SSD's.

Avoid using Alexa, it remembers everything you tell it

(July 3, 2019) Alexa is a nice service from Amazon, being a box where you can ask questions and request that Amazon (or partners) perform services. That's a nice application of voice recognition and artificial intelligence. We get a voice activatable information robot that can perform our bidding. You might not remember asking Alexa to start the charging station on your car, but it turns out that Alexa records every query or command it services.

How YouTube radicalizes folks to Alt-Right views with the algorithm

(July 10, 2019) YouTube's algorithm to select content you're likely to watch is amazing, and very useful. It's easy to just head to the YouTube home page, and voila there's a bunch of recommended content some of which is surely of interest. Google is investing a lot of money in AI algorithms to drive content recommendation on YouTube, and YouTube's popularity is largely driven by those recommendations. But it's possible to rabbit-hole into specific content areas, and then suddenly the entire body of information you see is within that topic bubble, and it tends to affect ones thinking.

Apple ditching butterfly keyboard, validating rumor of multiple MacBook's on the way

(July 4, 2019) Apple has a long history of laptop design mistakes, for example the display cable that breaks necessitating an expensive repair job. The Butterfly keyboard was one of those mistakes, that Apple fans have long complained about. News is that Apple is introducing a new keyboard design, and clues point to a wildly different sort of keyboard involving flexible glass. Think Different!

Do not buy a MacBook Pro until watching this video

(July 2, 2019) Since 2015 it seems that Apple has careened from one major hardware flaw to another major hardware flaw in the MacBook Pro line. Either it's a horrible keyboard design, or a ribbon cable that breaks rendering the display useless and requiring an expensive repair, or various other hardware flaws. The attached video is from a prominent expert at repairing broken Apple hardware, and gives more details than you want to know about Apple's failure at designing reliable laptop computers. I think he goes overboard in this video, but the information is spot on with technically deep explanation of why one should avoid the newer MacBook machines.

Employees are disposable assets and can be canned at any time

(July 15, 2019) The attached video should hit home for anyone who's worked a corporate job for a significant time. It sure hit home for me, having been laid off several times and my passion crushed into nothingness by the corporate needs. What is the sound of one man standing up to take his power into his hands?

Building a touch screen fake MacBook Pro laptop

(July 2, 2019) The Dell XPS 15 9570 laptop makes a good Hackintosh, according to the attached video. It even supports touch screen on Mac OS X - a feature I've wanted since the mid 2000's. We do know that Dell computers tend to be big and heavy, and this is a 15" Dell, so it's probably the opposite of the thin sleekness we covet from Apple. But hey the video makes it look like a good choice.

Google is bad at social network services, on purpose

(July 2, 2019) Google has a history of failure in social networking. Google+ was killed recently, and before that Google killed Orkut and Buzz. Instead Google is very good at developing tools and utilities. Should Google refocus on social networks? Or should Google continue down its path?

Cleared Google notification of mobile responsiveness issues, traffic did not rebound

(July 1, 2019) In April I noticed a sudden drop-off in traffic to one of my sites which was coupled with a Google notification that the site in question had mobile responsiveness issues. After a couple months of work the mobile responsiveness issues have been fixed to Google's satisfaction, but traffic to the site has not rebounded. The site is full of very important content that I believe could make a positive difference in the world, and my goal is getting the traffic to return.

Google taking larger chunk of search traffic, squeezing organic clicks to sites

(July 8, 2019) It seems that Google is hijacking organic search results, and instead preferencing its own properties. While we can wail and moan and wave our hands about how the design of the Google search result page is preferencing Google's properties, there's nothing like real data. Like some graphs collected by Sparktoro showing clearly a slow trend to squeeze out organic search results in preference to Google's properties.