15th May 2018

I recently purchased a little gadget for my iPhone that I think quite a few people may be interested in. It’s a Qi charging coil that turns an iPhone into a wireless charging capable device, which is very handy for my iPhone 7 Plus.

It comes in quite a slim package, and it’s just thin enough to fit behind a case while not causing too much disturbance to the feel of the phone. Although its pretty ugly to look at on its own, and the build quality is probably what you’d expect for a £5 accessory, it works!

At the same time as buying the coil, of course I had to buy a wireless charger. I also opted for the cheaper choice, and bought a dock style charger, that lets me charge my phone, while still being able to use it, and have it in eyesight to see any notifications that appear.

I’m not using it at home though, as I don’t have a need to charge my phone other than at night. So I keep it on my desk at work, where I can wirelessly send new builds from Xcode and test them out while not wasting a port on my MacBook.

I can’t guarantee that it will work with all cases, but I have an Apple Leather case, which it has no problem with. But of course this case is removed as soon as I leave work, because I generally hate adding unnecessary bulk to my phone.

However, it’s a cheap, and acceptable solution for wireless charging for older devices.

Just for reference, here are the products I purchased:

14th May 2018

Matt Birchler throwing a few punches at the state of Wear OS:

Google may not have said a word about Wear OS in either their keynote or technical state of the union, but they did hold a single session on the platform on the first day of the conference.

04th May 2018

(Image: NASA)

Mallory Locklear, writing for Engadget:

Being able to generate power will be essential for long-term space travel. Powering a stay on Mars, for example, will require a lot of fuel, way more than we can pack onto a rocket. That’s why NASA, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Department of Energy and a number of other groups have been working on a small, transportable nuclear reactor that can reliably generate power on the go. The reactor they’re developing is called Kilopower and earlier this year, they announced that they had conducted successful tests of the system. In March, the team ran the first full-power tests and during a press conference today, they reported that those tests went extremely well.

Lower power Kilopower systems, like the one kilowatt version, can power a basic toaster, while the largest version, a 10 kilowatt model, can do a bit more. Four or five of the latter could be used to power a habitat on Mars and importantly, they don’t rely on the sun, meaning they can be used on planets with less sunlight than ours, in shadowed regions and during light-blocking dust storms. “Kilopower’s compact size and robustness allows us to deliver multiple units on a single lander to the surface that provides tens of kilowatts of power,” NASA Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk said in January.

It’s certainly not Iron Man’s Arc reactor, but this is still pretty cool!

Los Alamos National Lab made a video to explain the whole thing.

02nd May 2018

Google have announced another top-level domain from Google Registry, specifically for apps:

Today we’re announcing .app, the newest top-level domain (TLD) from Google Registry.

A TLD is the last part of a domain name, like .com in “www.google.com” or .google in “blog.google” (the site you’re on right now). We created the .app TLD specifically for apps and app developers, with added security to help you showcase your apps to the world.

This just makes sense. It’s obvious that this had to happen one day, and I’m very glad it has. Especially when you mention apps on things like Twitter like “Mail.app”, so technically there’s a possibility that url may actually work.

One security benefit is that HTTPS is required for all .app domains:

Your security is our priority. The .app top-level domain is included on the HSTS preload list, making HTTPS required on all connections to .app websites — no individual HSTS registration or configuration required. The result is built-in web security for you and your users. – get.app

You can check if a .app domain is available on get.app right now, and the general availability will be on 8th May 2018. Although some domain registrars are selling “early access” to domains, which means that you will essentially reserve a name, so a registrar will try to purchase it as soon as it’s available. I’m not exactly a big fan of this, but what can I do. What’s worse is that GoDaddy are selling multiple levels of priority.

I would like to get Slate.app, but the cheapest I’ve seen it €145 per year. Not exactly what I wanted to spend.

02nd May 2018

Mark Zuckerberg:

Today at our F8 conference I’m going to discuss a new privacy control we’re building called “Clear History”.

In your web browser, you have a simple way to clear your cookies and history. The idea is a lot of sites need cookies to work, but you should still be able to flush your history whenever you want. We’re building a version of this for Facebook too. It will be a simple control to clear your browsing history on Facebook — what you’ve clicked on, websites you’ve visited, and so on.

Seems pretty reasonable. Nothing amazing about it though, of course you should be able to clear your history.

However, just a few paragraphs below, his true lizard-self comes out:

To be clear, when you clear your cookies in your browser, it can make parts of your experience worse. You may have to sign back in to every website, and you may have to reconfigure things. The same will be true here. Your Facebook won’t be as good while it relearns your preferences.

01st May 2018

Daniel Caffrey writing for Selected Intelligence:

I was recently trying to check a reference on an article I’d read on Medium about 2 years ago. It had been removed from Medium by its author. So I checked the link on The Wayback Machine and there were plenty of snapshots. However when I click on any of them I get immediately redirected to the Medium.com homepage.

I’m not exactly sure of the benefits for Medium with this, but it seems pretty aggressive to me.

01st May 2018

(Image by LEGOLAND Japan)

Guiness World Records:

It’s springtime in Japan, and what better way is there to commemorate the season than by setting a Guinness World Records title for the Largest LEGO® brick cherry blossom tree (supported)?

This successful attempt was achieved at LEGOLAND® Japan – the Nagoya-based theme park wanted to celebrate its first anniversary with style by creating a Japanesque work using LEGO® blocks.

The resulting beautiful plastic sakura tree measured 4.38 metres tall, 5.42 metres long and 4.93 metres wide – over 800,000 LEGO® bricks were needed to pull this off!

30th April 2018

Ethan Grant:

That might sound silly today, in an era of centralized services (e.g. Facebook, Google) bombarding our inboxes, phones, and “feeds”. As privacy and security breaches make headlines, we clamor for a decentralized internet. But less than twenty years ago, the internet was decentralized, when the human cycle of individualism versus collectivism was perfectly aligned with divergent expression. We’ve now spent the past decade attempting to build the perfect centralized web, only to realize its many faults. The cycle continues.

It’s just one big cycle.