22nd January 2018

I’ve had the Touch Bar MacBook Pro now for over a year, and while I love the fact it has 4 x USB C ports, the cable that comes with it, isn’t exactly the best. I find that because it’s not as flexible as the MagSafe used to be, it’s more rigid, and tends to either bend at weird angles, or just slides straight out the port.

However, I’ve heard a lot of good things about Anker, and all of their various USB C products. So I thought I’d order one of their nylon braided USB C cables from Amazon. The Anker PowerLine+ C to C 2.0 to be exact.

The build quality is impressive, as you’d expect. But the nylon braiding, makes it such a superior cable than the Apple one. I find that it fits in the MacBook port with more of a grip, and (although it is a rather smooth connector), it seems to lock itself in position. It also isn’t affected by the twisting and bending of the default cable.

All I can say, is that it’s a pretty impressive little cable! And as I’m impressed with everything about it, I mean I even got a little magnetic pouch to hold it in, I’m probably going to invest in a USB C battery pack from them in the future.

I don’t think it supports Thunderbolt 3, as I can’t find any mention it on the Amazon product page, or Anker’s. However, that’s not a big concern for me. The only peripheral I use with my MacBook is a Transcend external drive, and I’m pretty sure that isn’t Thunderbolt either.

So if you have an Apple USB C cable, or just want to replace another branded one that’s not exactly holding up, I fully recommend this one. I paid £10.99 for mine, which is an unbelievable price.

15th January 2018
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Stephen Hackett, writing in his MacStories column:

Today, all of our notebooks are thin and light. We’ve traded our optical drives in for a series dongles and our spinning hard drives for fast, silent SSDs.

It wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time, notebooks had optical drives and a full array of ports, complemented by features like removable batteries.

A decade ago, we entered the current era of notebook design when Steve Jobs pulled the future out of an envelope.

The MacBook Air was a real astonishing product when it first launched, and the envelope presentation shocked quite a lot of people.

Stephen, goes into a lot of detail in his article, where he discusses things like the overall design, the IO it had, and also some of the issues it had.

Along with the article, he also produced another of his insightful videos:

Watch it on YouTube.

Read the full article on MacStories.

14th January 2018

Big Cats is a new documentary series, being produced by the BBC. They have an incredible track record with documentaries, especially ones focussed on nature. As proved by the recent Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II series.

This series follows in the same footsteps, as it is being pushed by a new generation of advanced camera technology, and techniques. Which enables them to get some pretty impressive shots of evasive cat species, such as the Snow Leopard, and the Rusty Spotted-Cat.

The first episode is already out, and it’s great! The scenes were impressive, the amount of knowledge about the different species was incredible, and it was just generally intriguing.

It’s the first time I’ve also heard about the Rusty Spotted-Cat, which is the smallest cat species, and grows to between 35 to 48 cm in length, and a 15 to 30 cm tail. They released a small clip from the first episode, so you can watch that below, or on YouTube.

I’m not sure how they can really make the next episode better than the first, but I expect it will go beyond my expectations. Although it is only a three-episode series, so I guess it will also be pretty packed!

BBC – Big Cats

BBC iPlayer – Big Cats – Episode 1

BBC iPlayer – Episode 1 Clip – The world’s smallest cat

 

13th January 2018

Apple today, launched two more videos focussed on the iPad Pro to their YouTube channel.

Augement Reality

With iPad Pro + iOS 11, you can use augmented reality to literally transform the world around you. Your next computer might not be a computer.

Take Notes

With iPad Pro + iOS 11, you can use Apple Pencil to create multimedia notes. Draw, type, or drag and drop your favorite photos from Files. Your next computer might not be a computer.

I’m really enjoying their latest series of iOS 11 videos. It’s not a simple, an iPad is better than a Mac argument. Instead, they tend to focus on a younger user that has no concept of ”a computer”, but treat an iPad as the device.

It’s starting to become even more apparent, that younger generations are the ones that are truly adapting to new technology. Mainly because they haven’t got the burden of really knowing what it was like before these new devices, such as the iPad Pro.

10th January 2018

Ever since I moved the blog to WordPress, I’ve been getting pretty high in google results!

10th January 2018

@manton I’m pretty sure football should be recognising ⚽️ instead of 🏈.
😜

05th January 2018

Just a quick reference of all the patches that fix the Meltdown bug (CVE-2017-5754) on Apple’s operating systems.

watchOS

Not impacted.

tvOS

Patched.
Version: 11.2
Release Date: 4th December 2017
Release Notes

iOS

Patched.
Version: 11.2
Release Date: 2nd December 2017
Release Notes

macOS

Patched.
Version: High Sierra 10.13.2
Patches for older versions:

  • Security Update 2017-005 El Capitan
  • Security Update 2017-002 Sierra

Release Date: 6th December 2017
Release Notes


More information on Meltdown/Spectre.
Apple’s Statement on Markdown/Spectre

04th January 2018
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Michael Descy has written a great piece about finding a writing font, and why it isn’t just a waste of time.

Choosing the perfect writing font is a classic way to procrastinate—but it is not a waste of time. Fonts are important. A good font is not only highly legible, it also conveys a subliminal emotional effect on the reader. Naturally, it follows that it will also have similar effects on the writer. A good font will make you feel better while you are writing—maybe because you can read it more easily, or because you find elements of it, its curves or serifs, aesthetically pleasing. Whatever the reason, picking a font that is pleasing can have a profound effect on your writing.

He goes into detail on what makes a good writing font, some considerations you will have to make, and also a bunch of great suggestions.

For myself personally, I’ve always used a monospace font to write with. I once saw someone write about it before, although I can’t remember the source, but they explained how they used monospace fonts while they were writing/editing, and a sans-serif for previews. This is similar to how I feel myself.

Because I write everything I do in Markdown, it still feels like I’m writing code, not a programming language, but still something that has to be deciphered before it’s fit to be seen by anyone else. And for some reason, monospace fonts use feel like they represent something that’s in progress.

So, the font I use for nearly everything is SF Mono. It’s the monospace version of Apple’s San Francisco font, and it’s been my favourite ever since they released it. However, it requires some fiddling to have it installed like a regular font. Before that I used the pretty similar, Andale Mono.

04th January 2018

You’ve probably heard about the two major bugs that have been hitting the news recently. Their names are Meltdown and Spectre, and they affect nearly every modern computer processor.

As there’s so much information flying around the internet, it’s easy to not grasp the whole picture, or just have an easy place to direct other people to.

Luckily, Graz University of Technology have created MeltdownAttack.com, which explains both bugs, links to their relevant papers, and then some common questions and answers.

Meltdown and Spectre exploit critical vulnerabilities in modern processors. These hardware bugs allow programs to steal data which is currently processed on the computer. While programs are typically not permitted to read data from other programs, a malicious program can exploit Meltdown and Spectre to get hold of secrets stored in the memory of other running programs. This might include your passwords stored in a password manager or browser, your personal photos, emails, instant messages and even business-critical documents.

Meltdown and Spectre work on personal computers, mobile devices, and in the cloud. Depending on the cloud provider’s infrastructure, it might be possible to steal data from other customers.

MeltdownAttack.com