Well. Don‘t you know. Dear worst-reader. Worst-writer is still pretty tickled with the new iPad Air 5. In fact. Since the iOS 16.2 update, where there are significant improvements to driving a second monitor, I haven‘t touched my 2017 twelve inch MacBook. This iPad not only blows the MacBook away–even as a replacement for running my MacBook on my desktop in clamshell mode–every time I use it I can‘t get over how fast it is. That worst-said. I’m almost full-in on the iPad replacing the/my Mac. For example.
Using Apple’s StageManager means that I can easily integrate my entire workflow on two screens and at times it feels like I have three monitors. The thing is, I rarely used my MacBook monitor when on my desktop, hence clamshell. Even though the twelve inch MacBook is Apple’s smallest, the iPad has a much more useable desktop footprint. Again. Space saving clamshell mode. Obviously I also don’t have a very large desk, so space saving is important. As far as multi-monitor performance, the only issue I’m having is adapting to the differences between MacOS and iOS. As an old Mac user, the differences are not unsubstantial. But I think I’m making progress.
The main issue I‘m having with the iPad right now is, would you believe, that someone at Apple thought it a good idear to not make AirPlay available when the iPad is connected to an external monitor (see screenshot above)? WTF! I mean. This is/has to be an error. Or? #Nomatter. The work around I‘ve found for this, well, is to not use Airplay. Instead I’m connect via using Bluetooth to a Raspberry Pi 3b that has a Hifiberry DAC hat that is connected to a stereo and it works great. For those not in the know, the RPi3b has to have a USB bluetooth dongle, since it doesn‘t have BT onboard. There are still some issues with bluetooth connectivity but I‘ve worked them out by just sticking with Hifiberry‘s in-house OS for music play I’ll continue to work on them until Apple gets it together with Airplay. My pay-grade means that I can‘t get bluetooth working on any minimal Linux distribution on the RPi3b. HifiberryOS works like a charm, though.
A few other minor issues I‘m having? I‘m using the Keychron K2 version 2 external keyboard and for whatever reason it seems to disconnect out of the blue. It doesn‘t do it often but every once-a-once, usually after the Keychron recharges, things get hairy. Although it indicates that it reconnects right away once it‘s charged, typing doesn‘t work. Solution? Lot‘s of iPad restarts. Hopefully I don‘t have to replace this keyboard because I really dig typing with it. Might I eventually move to an iPad keyboard case? Maybe. Recent travels with the iPad haven‘t convinced me I can go without a physical, external keyboard.
Then there’s the issue of a Terminal app. Unlike MacOS, which comes with a Terminal app, that I need to manage all the Raspberry Pi‘s I have around my house, iOS doesn’t have one. Although I’ve tried a few via the AppStore, I’ve not been able to get any of them to work/connect. Again. WTF! Ok. Since I’m on a worst-roll. Another minor issue. And this relates to me getting used to iOS. The world of apps is really weird. The thing that kept my away from iPads through the years was the fact (idear) that Apps are not programs, at least they‘re not to me. Are they written/coded like programs? Sure. But I don‘t care. The thing is. Apps are nothing more than a way to make a webpage standalone–and look like it ain‘t a webpage. But. Again. I reckon I‘ve got a bit more iOS acclimating in front of me. Oh. Before I forget. The iPad as a desktop machine works really well with Apple‘s Magic Mouse. You know. Since I hate touchscreens. Who‘d a thunk it.
So there you have it, dear worst-reader. Worst-writer is on the verge of giving up on MacOS. This little iPad with only 64gb is flat-out stealing the thunder out of my Mac world, even though it still has a few flaws. Considering how I‘ve used iPads for only a short period of time and the significant improvements Apple‘s done with iOS, I can‘t praise it enough as a worst-writing work-horse.
Alternative worst-title: iPad Air 5 pseudo-review number 3 or how I might lose my worst-mind
Was so looking forward to iPadOS 16.2 update, dear worst-reader. Reason? As noted here, worst-writer is kinda enamoured with the new iPad Air 5 (M1). In fact. I’m so impressed with this glass slate of tech I’m on the verge of ending my relationship with Macintosh. What is the thing that has made this such a decisive device for worst-moi, you ask. Unlike my trusty MacBook, a laptop a few years back I never thought could be replaced by a tablet, this thing can do just that. Well. It kinda can.
It’s the external monitor support that’s got me. Keep in worst-mind, I already have an external keyboard and mouse, which accompanies my MacBook when in clamshell mode. These two things are (kinda) required when connecting an external monitor to an iPad. Also. I worst-mean. Even though the speed of M1 iPad Air overwhelms—it is literally blazing fast when it comes to loading webpages and puts my 2017 i5 MacBook Air, with the faster 500gb HDD, to shame—its portability and the fact that I’m really coming around to iPadOS, is the real magic. But I’ve already worst-said most of that.
When I received the iPad about three weeks ago it immediately updated to iPad OS 16.1. I quickly learned that I’d have to wait for 16.2 to get the full benefits of what, from the specs indicated, sold me on this device, namely the iPad’s ability to drive a separate monitor. Even though the monitor mirroring it has with 16.1 was totally cool, I checked almost every day for the release of 16.2–because it was/is supposed to support full dual monitor connectivity. And it does. Now. I’ve always used my MacBooks with a separate monitor when at my desk. Which means there are a few things I’m gonna have to get used to with the iPad. That worst-said. I don’t fear the learning curve here. I’m impressed with 16.2’s monitor support and can only wonder at the reason it’s taken Apple so long to do this. This being providing real world applicability to a product that, for worst-writer, I never thought would/could replace Macintosh.
Stop the worst-presses.
Which brings me to the screenshot above. Turns out that Apple doesn’t quite have iPad OS 16.2 under control. Or is there a reason that when driving a separate monitor I cannot use airplay? WTF! Hopefully this is a bug and not a feature. That Apple would include such a warning (pic above) does seem to indicate something more than a bug, though. Or? Ok. Wow. Can you imagine, dear worst-reader, getting all productive and giddy with your new apple product and suddenly when you want to listen to some tunes to hold your mood(s) you get this message? Yeah. WTF–double.
So. First. For some worst-context, here‘s a rundown of worst-writer‘s tech.
MacBook 12“ (2017), i5/8gb/500gb
iPad Air 5 (2022), M1/64gb
Raspberry Pi 4, 4gb
For the past year or so I‘ve been using my better-half‘s hand-me-down iPad. She has since moved on to an iPad Pro. Although her old iPad sat around unused for a while, it eventually became my go-to device for e-book reading, newz reading/scanning, YouTube and VLC for viewing movies and TV from my home media server. In short, I worst-guess, the iPad has become my main gadget for media consumption. Also. When we‘re traveling in our wunder-van (see pic above), that old iPad quickly replaced me having to take my MacBook which has also lead to me reconsidering my daily-driver computing needs. Of course. The iPad Pro I inherited is over five years old. But that’s not the problem. In fact, it works fine, updates n‘all. No. The big problem is it can‘t go more than an hour without hanging on a charging cable. What good is an iPad if it always has to be plugged in? And so. My better-half surprised me last week with the new M1 iPad Air.
As noted in my previous post, I‘m not a fan of touch screen computing. When others thought that Apple should make MacOS a touchscreen operating system, as was done with Windows, I was in the wings preying it would never happen. With that in worst-mind, once I hooked up a keyboard and sometimes a mouse to the old iPad, I quickly realized that working (worst-writing) on a tablet might not be a bad idear–touchscreen n‘all. And even though my MacBook has the smallest footprint since the MacBook Air 11“, as far as mobility goes, the MacBook can’t compete with the iPad.
Having fiddled and giggled with my new iPad for over a week now… Boy oh boy am I sold on this slate of wunder-glass. In fact, other than it not having a terminal app, or at least one that I‘ve figured out how to get working like the MacOS terminal app, there‘s nothing on this iPad Air that makes me miss my MacBook. Plus. Oh. In case you‘re not in the know. The speed of the M1 CPU in this iPad is amazing. Surprise. Surprise.
As far as my work flow goes, I‘m obviously not a power user. I don‘t do any video work and the photo work I do is minimal, including nothing more than cropping and resizing pictures I take with my iPhone. Other than scanning a document every once-a-once, I don‘t see a need for a camera on an iPad. But I guess it is nice to have just in case. As far as the iOS learning curve is concerned, compared to MacOS, iOS very different indeed. What I thought was cumbersome at first, like various settings or the entirety of a touch screen, I‘m sure I‘ll eventually adjust. Of course, there is the issue of storage since I only have 64gb. I haven‘t yet downloaded anything but I‘m considering trying out Apple Arcade–once I figure out, as a non-gamer, what games I might want to try. I use my iPhone 11 for audio podcasting so I don‘t have to worry about downloaded files cluttering up my iPad. With all that in worst-mind, I don‘t see having the minimum spec as an issue. We‘ll see how that goes.
To protect it I‘m using the ESR magnetic case but am considering getting a keyboard case. The Apple keyboard case is waaaaay to expensive so I’ll probably get one from Logitech. As far as the Apple pen goes, I’ve fiddled with the first gen Apple pen and although I find the pen a better input method than fingers on glass, I don‘t know what else to use it for. I don’t draw and would rather type than transcribe handwriting. My Keychron keyboard works great on it, which means I‘ve finally got three separate bluetooth connections for typing: 1 MacBook (clamshell), 2 iPad, 3 RPi4.
All in all, I‘m impressed with the new iPad Air. Not only does it cost significantly less than a new MacBook, it blows my 2017 MacBook out of the water when it comes to opening webpages or apps. That it could possibly be the device that replaces a Mac in my life is a bit of a surprise but so far not a disappointing surprise. This may mean that I can finally start considering a laptop solely for my Linux needs. Indeed. I‘m seriously considering buying a Framework laptop and going full Linux. Again. We‘ll see.
Took a few years, dear worst-reader. You know. Took a few years before I came round. Round to what, you ask. Well. The biggest reason I never really liked iPads and barely tolerate iPhones is because of one piece of modern tech that bugs the bee-gee-bees out of me: touch screens. Having been swept away long ago with the Macintosh, a magnificent alternative to Windows, this not only makes me old school, it makes me a bit weary when it comes to big (tech) changes. The thing is, I dig keyboards and command line interfaces. And so. The biggest move I’ve made so far with distancing my worst-self from Apple‘s hideous and monopolistic product politics, that began with Macintosh, has been to embrace Linux. And so. I‘m digging ARM based SBCs. As you can see in the pic above, I have been sharing the right half of my work space with a tried & true RPi4 for going on a year, not to mention that all my music and video and file server needs in my little townhouse are fulfilled with other raspberry pi SBCs. But this worst-post ain‘t about my having seen the light. Or is it the dark? #Nomatter. Moving on.
For years now worst-writer has been a perturbed Apple fanboy. Whether dazed and confused about hardware, software or its baked-in product obsoletism, IMHO the company has taken the fun/thrill out of its stuff—other than unboxings, of course. Even though I know how technically powerful Macs and iPads are, there‘s something about what money grubbing monopolists do that just makes things… un-fun. And I have a lot of un-fun, boring Apple stuff, don‘t you know. So. The question for worst-moi for the past few years has been simple. Will my frustration with Apple make me give up on Apple?
Discovering the joys of worst-writing on a slate of glass that glows and talks and plays music/videos and connects to the world may have turned things upside down.
The thing that has sent me over the edge over the past few years is Apple‘s new Silicon. You know. The new CPU/GPU it supposedly developed to replace the burden of having to buy over-priced chips from Intel. I‘m probably a bit naive in making this assumption but hear me out for a worst-sec. Why is it, after developing completely new Silicon and thereby not having to pay Intel‘s monopoly chip prices, are Macs as expensive if not more expensive than ever before? Keep in mind, dear worst-reader, Apple Silicon is based on open-source chip architecture. The development and manufacture of chips is supposed to be a huge part of the cost of chips. Again. Perhaps I‘m not well enough informed but to worst-moi, at the least, anything with Apple Silicon should be substantially cheaper because a big chunk of chip development doesn‘t cost Apple a thing. Then again. We no longer live in times where capitalist innovation could/should benefit consumers. It’s all about the shareholders. Am I wrong. Moving on.
As usual, worst-writer is off subject. This worst-post is supposed to be about reviewing my latest Apple purchase which could have been a new Mac–cause I‘m due for a new one. So. Thank you for indulging me. Again. Moving on.
As mentioned above, I was never an iPad fan. I hate touch screens. But. My better-half has been using iPads for years. I can’t deny the fact that she’s also been very productive with her iPad. This has lead me to look over her shoulder once or thrice which then lead to a few YouTube videos and before I knew it, she hand-me-downed her second generation iPad Pro about a year and a half ago. At first, I only used the iPad to read the newz in the morning with coffee. I then started reading books on it–having long since giving up on Kindle and Amazon. Once I figured out how to browse the #Interwebnets with it I started to find myself casually reaching for it more and more instead of putting my 2017 MacBook (the twelve inch one) on my lap. Long worst-story short. This past summer, as my better-half and I began our vanlife, I became more and more hesitant to camp in remote places with an abundance of expensive tech krapp. I mean. It‘s bad enough that we have our iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch, etc. Even though our van has a lock-n-key safe in it, my MacBook does not fit in that safe. But I‘m rambling. The worst-thing is, the more I used that old, second generation iPad Pro, the more I dug it and only took it on our vanlife trips.
My aging iPad‘s battery has been at its end for a while now. It lasted under constant use for almost five years and that‘s more than I can say for my MacBook or any iPhone. I started to complain that I had to plug it in every hour after any significant use. Complaining enough meant that my better-half was also getting bored (of my complaining). Surprise. Surprise. She bought the new iPad Air 5th gen with the caveat it‘s my early Xmas present. Tickled to death as I waited for it to be delivered, and after informing her about all the research I’d done about which iPad I wanted, I made a plan to turn it into my daily driver. Yeah. Since last summer (2022) I am digging the iPad, touch screen n‘all. Who‘d a thunk it!
Will this new iPad Air replace my aging 2017 12“ MacBook? I mean. I had the MacBook battery replaced last summer. Because it has i5 processor and a 500GB HD, it‘s also, unlike the i3 MacBooks, still quite useful. In fact, unlike the i3 MacBook, mine runs MacOS Ventura. But that‘s all neither here nor there. The thing that blows my mind with my new iPad Air is how much faster it is at opening apps, browsing the #Interwebnets and multitasking. Of course, the question remains, as my daily driver, as I have to rely on it for all my computing needs, will the Air deliver? We‘ll worst-see. This worst-test is ongoing.
So. The question now is: what in worst-writer‘s computing world will replace my Mac laptop? Keep in worst-mind, dear worst-reader, I didn‘t say, by potentially giving up Macintosh for an iPad (iOS) that I‘m also giving up on using a laptop. I don‘t think that‘s the case. What I‘m really doing is searching for a path to reduce my dependency on Apple. That worst-said. If things go as planned, I may finally replace Macintosh for iOS for all my ecosystem needs but for my other computing needs, it‘s Linux all the way.
Sub-worst-title: Thoughts on Apple’s Sept, 2022 event.
First, dear worst-reader, the title of this worst-post is from the song Silent All These Years by Tori Amos. If, btw, you want to melt worst-writer, put me near Madame Amos. I would jump off mountains for her, bring down aeroplanes full of conservative idiots for her, crush Republican man-children for her, thereby squishing their innards between my toes, laughing and giggling through my nose, all the while listening to the thunder of one of the greatest rock music composers ever–that just happens to also be the epitome of the human female, female and more female. But on that note I should die-gress for my loins churn me to unrest.
Since I’m on the subject of menstruation and technology and my love and respect for females, something extraordinary caught my eye and ears yesterday while watching Apple’s marketing circus, especially the part about the new Apple Watch. Or am I over worst doing it when I say that I couldn’t help but think of the politics of my beloved & missed united mistakes of #Americant as Apple presented its newest incarnation of a time machine that can also track a woman’s cycle? The video link above, by-the-buy, is time-stamped for the presentation, which starts at about the nine minute mark. And what a presentation it is IMHO.
The thing is, dear worst-reader–and fellow lovers of all-things feminist–I couldn’t help but get the feeling that Apple might be taking a political swipe with this presentation about its wunder-watch capabilities. Well. Political as much as profits go, don’t you know. Specifically. Apple is using this five minute presentation, certainly seen by millions of people, to explain how a watch tracks a woman’s cycle. Now. That’s great. Technology is fun. But. And I may be worst over doing it here. For what do I know about ovulation? Indeed. Using a female doctor to explain all this, she also uses words like privacy and women’s health numerous times. Important words in selling a gadget? Again. Indeed. What do I know about this stuff? Then again… For those not in the know, allow worst-writer to recap one of the pillars of the political krapp-show that is #Americant:
What one should never forget about this landmark decision dating back to 1973 is that it’s not entirely about abortion. It is, in fact, about privacy. Hence the recent overturning of Roe is at the same time an attack on what should be an inalienable human right, with or without a Constitution. That misconstrued man-children, including their delusional if not abused sister-wives (what other kind of female would marry these extreme conservative men), think they have the high-ground on the morality of abortion is only further proof of what’s ahead for my beloved & missed united mistakes of #Americant–unless it can get itself out of the (political) $hithole it’s dug itself in with the likes of the GOP, republicans and so-called centrists. But let’s not get too far off subject here.
During the watch presentation I couldn’t help but get the feeling that Apple was taking a swipe at the current political situation #Americant has gotten itself into by voting for republicans and conservatives for the past fifty friggin years. Does that mean that a watch will help women in need? Of course not. Is there a ten year old rape victim in need of an abortion that can afford one of these watches? But. Again. I die-gress.
Other than privacy, the other issue of misconstrued #Americant politics regarding inalienable human rights that only apply to females is that all-things women’s health should NEVER be questioned by the state. It’s none of the State’s business. It is, in fact, nobody’s business except for the woman. Apple seems to know this. But until that inalienable right is given the freedom she deserves, worst-writer can only hope that an ingloriously profitable corporation making gadgets no one needs, but are still kinda fun, is at least taking one small stance on what is the right thing to do or say.
And so. Apple has a new watch gadget that tracks a woman’s cycle and they want people to know that privacy and health is a priority. I love how they go about explaining that. In times like these, I’m still dreaming about the one that got away and in that same dream she’s singing to me Silent All These Years by Tori Amos.
Worst-title 2: Doing my worst-best to discover the convenience of music streaming
As you’all may or mayn’t know, dear worst-readers, as an Apple fanboy, if I’m gonna finally break down (give-in) and try music streaming, it’s gotta be with Apple’s music service. Or?
After a six month trial (on account I bought HomePod Mini’s last fall to provide stereo to the AppleTV I bought last year), it took me till the end of that trial to buckle down and finally figure out what this streaming krapp is all about. Yeah. Six months for free is one thing. Having to start paying for it is another. No. Seriously. I really didn’t think I was ready for music streaming. But here we are, eh.
As you certainly missed elsewhere in this worst-blog, here and here, I’ve been maintaining an SBC media server for audio and video for going on a decade now. That server has a quarter century of purchased CD music and DVD movies/tv and it’s done its job. But. As much as I’d like to keep on keeping-on with physical media, I have to worst-admit, even worst-writer has to go with the punches every once-a-once. Times not only be a’changing but maybe it’s not so bad to change a bit along with it. And so.
The question is: Which streaming service should I NOT use? That question, by-the-buy, is easy to answer. Since Spotify can’t register on my radar (on account it supports with around $100m the lie of the mind that is my beloved & missed #Americant via Joe new-born Limbaugh Rogan), the only other services to choose from that I know anything about is Amazon Music, Tidal or SoundCloud. Amazon music left a bad smell in my nose as I used what it included with Prime for a while. Both the streaming and the sound quality were awful. SoundCloud was much better at streaming, even though I only used its free-tier service. The other problem I had with SoundCloud was the music offering. Although it has lots of new artists doing lots of great music, that’s just not how my music taste rolls. That worst-said, I consider SoundCloud to be the most original music streamer out there. It’s definitely staying on my radar for the future. As far as Tidal is concerned, even though I never tested it, I knew it could be an option because it streamed lossless audio. Again. Amazon’s Music service didn’t do music justice. Higher quality bitrates or better bandwidth cannot and should not be compromised here. But then… uh oh. Apple bumped up its service to lossless and I have to admit–I’m impressed.
The thing is dear worst-reader, it took me years to get used to iTunes. Remember iTunes? Once I got used to ripping and encoding my CDs to FLAC, I then had to re-encode them to the highest bitrate MP3 so my music would work with iTunes. For years I maintained two music libraries. My better-half could then use the simplicity of iTunes for her music needs and when I needed CD quality, I used other players that supported FLAC. As frustrating as all that was, I got used to it. The banality, btw, of having to do that was because Apple is either greedy, stupid or just outright spiteful towards open-source (FLAC) or it had made too many promises to the music industry–which doesn’t make sense to me because I always bought my CDs. But on that worst-note, I should die-gress.
Now that I’m a paying, streaming customer, the question lingers whether or not I’m gonna stick with it. It’s been about two months since taking Apple Music seriously. In that time I can’t say that streaming has knocked my socks off. Then again, the convenience when out-and-about and calling up a song is kinda cool–especially when the streaming quality is better than anything I experienced previously (Amazon). When at home and streaming to my stereo system from iPhone, iPad or Mac, Apple’s lossless rivals any quality I achieved using FLAC. Then there’s the interface…
The Apple Music (app) interface sucks. And get this. It sucks more than iTunes ever did. As a top category for picking/choosing music it has what it weirdly calls Apple Music. This category designates Apple’s streaming service. Oh really. The streaming service has three sub-categories namely Listen Now, Browse and Radio. Whaaaaa? WTF do I need Radio for? Go into one of the other categories and you’re overwhelmed with choices galore that somehow are deemed worthy by those who set up this $hit. The only way I’ve been able to find music is by using search, the results of which are as confusing as anything else. Wait. Am I too old for this krapp? #Nomatter
Another category in the Music app is Library. This is something like what iTunes used to be–I’m guessing. It has sub-categories that makes sense that the streaming service (above) doesn’t have. This is the users library which stems out of all your owned music that is converted into this service when you activate it. That conversion, btw, is another reason I postponed or was skeptical to sign up in the first place. Now that I know how NOT to loose my music data to Apple (by maintaining my media library on a separate server), I’ve simply added some of my music here and now it’s part of my library. Which is cool on account I had lost a few songs from Aerosmith and Bad Company and now I have them back–until I cancel. Whoopi! Which begs another worst-question: If I’m streaming music why do I need a library? Ok. At least Library has subcategories that I can relate to like Album and Artist. But. Again. I’m now using a streaming service and…? Ok. I don’t get it and I probably have to spend some more time to figure it out. Then again, who are the people (automatons) that come up with this $hit in Cupertino? Die-gress.
Audio tech confusion
There’s another little issue that’s bugging me, dear worst-reader. Now that I may or mayn’t become a music streamer, I’m also an avid non-audiophile. After years of fiddling with the idear of being an audiophile, I gave up on that krapp toot-sweet. The only thing the audiophile world taught me was that audio equipment sucks–and the industry is filled with grifters–like the bicycle industry, btw. Does that mean there’s no quality differences in audio reproduction? Heck not. There are huge differences. But audio reproduction can be scary–above and beyond being a money pit. Hence I couldn’t wait to get rid of all that dead-weight that was/is the BS of surround-sound, hi-res, fifty pound amps, DVD vs Bluray and, the worst of the worst, subwoofers. It took me the better part of twenty years to figure out that all I need is STEREO. Since then, after the discovery of Raspberry Pi and managing a home media server, all my audio equipment is the cheapest best sounding music reproduction I’ve ever heard.
And one more thing
What I dislike about audiophile BS is the krapp between amp, pre-amp, volume control, input-output, cinch, DAC, subwoofer, etc., etc. Obviously this technical krapp has to be dealt with if one is not gonna listen to music through laptop speakers or wants to enjoy music as one sees fit thereby getting on with the digital age–and not breaking the bank. When I can, I prefer streaming music from my Mac to one of three Airplay speakers in my little townhouse. Reason? The Mac (to worst-moi) sounds best–and I can’t figure out why–compared to streaming from my iPhone. A second set of stereo speakers are in our bookshelf and are driven by a RaspberryPi and a Hifiberry Amp2 (60w class D amp). A third set of stereo speakers are upstairs in my workroom and are connected to a second RaspberryPi using a Hifiberry DacPlus that is connected to a Teac mini integrated amp. Considering that two of these players use an open-source version of Airplay (shairport), it all works like a charm–with only a few hiccups here or there.
The hiccups are mostly about volume control–or is it pre-amping? Here’s an example. There is a significant difference in audio quality when streaming Apple Music using the Mac system volume or using the volume control in the app. WTF! Should I have paid more attention during my frivolous audiophile days concerning what the fcuk a pre-amp is? I’m guessing this has something to do with how these devices differentiate sources. To try and figure this out, dear worst-reader, I even rode my e-bike to a local Apple Store and asked one of the blue-shirts what this is all about. The answer was the same as most answers I get from blue-shirts: Wow. That’s above my pay-grade. You buying a new Apple Watch or not? They had no idear what I was talking about. But at least they did suggest I get in contact with Apple support online. Who could have known, eh. (Sarcasm off.)
I’ve never been into modern pop-music. It’s one of the reasons I’ve avoided music streaming services. Is that a generational thing? Maybe. That brings me to a few worst-questions: What am I paying for? What if I don’t like the music being pushed? Why is there so much disparity between music source and music player? Is this all about convenience? I mean. Yeah. It is convenient. WTF! Seriously. After fiddling with this for the past six months, I still don’t care about whatever Apple is pushing. That’s what streaming services do first, right? That worst-said, the other day, on a whim, I asked Siri to play me some Budgie. And she did. Now that takes me back to a time (70s) where three Englander-dudes played music as though they never had fun doing anything else. Seriously. They make music as though it’s better than making…
But I die-gress.
Thanking you for all the good-luck wishes in exploring music streaming services (at my age) and dealing with the Godzilla of monopolies that is in my worst-face every fcuking day: Apple.
Ok. As you may or may not have worst-read, dear worst-reader, I’m an Apple fanboy. Well. I am until I boot-up my Raspberry Pi and get lost in Linux. #Nomatter. The thing about Apple is, I like MacOS. Is it the best operating system? Don’t know. It is the best of the worst, I’ll give it that. That worst-said. I can’t stand iOS. I mean. I really hate it. How Apple has been able to get away with this sandboxed, top-down, un-intuitive mobile and small device operating system, shouldn’t surprise me–but it does. Of course. It was always Steve Jobs intention to lock things down and only make things available via Cupertino central services. iOS does this best. This tyranny harks back to the original Mac days. You know. Jobs literally created a new screw (or something) that required a tool that only Apple had so that no one could open the Mac and fiddle with its insides. You know. Jobs wanted to hinder the whole idear that made the personal computer a hit in the first place. But that was the early to mid 80s. Flash to now and worst-writer has to beg the question: have things changed?
The only reason I own an iPhone is because it does three things. First. It’s a phone. We all (kinda) need a phone, right. Second it’s a great audio/podcast device when I walk Beckett, the killer pug. And third? It’s a pretty good mobile internet device. Now. I know. I know. It has a great camera on it and if you like you can even make movies with it. Heck, you can use it as a recording studio or movie editing platform. Whoopi. But what good is all that tech–if it’s not used? Wow. Ok. I’m getting into real whacky territory here. Moving on.
Why do so many people have so many apps on their iPhones? For. Don’t you know, dear worst-reader. Apps are nothing but silly little programs that connect to the #Interwebnets. The only difference to traditional computers and connecting to the world, isn’t the fact that you can do PC stuff on a phone. No. The reason there’s so much potential on a simple little phone is because the friggin eco-system is owned and controlled and centralised and basta! Oh. And let’s not forget. There’s no way out–once you’re in. Hence I prefer MacOS for any productivity or work (and I’m seriously considering dumping it all for linux–but that’s a whole ‘nother worst-post). Put another worst-way. Apple has finally created another dream device where it owns the key, the tools, the innards, everything. That’s life, eh.
I only have two screens available on my iPhone. In those two screens I have four folders with a few apps in them. The only apps I use on a regular basis are those available from Apple. You know. Podcasting. Mail. Contacts. Etc. Although few & far between, the third-party apps I use include the Covid warning app. AdGuard to block obnoxious advertising when I use Safari. DHL for tracking packages. Etc., etc. My worst-point is, I think I’m pretty frugal when it comes to loading stuff on this device. I’ve never attempted to make a movie. I rarely use the camera and more and more it’s only used for scanning or taking picture of information. My point with this convoluted paragraph is that the iPhone, as smart as it is, is actually kinda stupid. But I die-gress.
Ok. Good. Let’s get to where this worst-post is supposed to be going.
The pic above is a recent screenshot from when I tried to setup Apple’s new Account Recovery Contact. Now. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to set up the service. Reason? That’s right, you guessed it, although my iPhone has the latest iOS update, my beloved stainless steel Apple Watch 2, does not. And so. You want to know how your device is made obsolete? In all my tech years obsoletism has never been out in the open. The people running these companies that make this krapp probably never even talk about it. It just happens. And it’s obviously very convenient for profits. So. In a way. This is a first. WTF. Or maybe not.
Lo and behold the benefits of hand-me-downs.
I have the privilege of being able to use two Apple Watches. Reason? Like all my iOS devices, I don’t buy them, except for the phone and my MacBook. My wife is on her fourth Apple Watch and her third iPad. Unlike me, she needs these things. She needed a new Apple Watch on account the old one’s battery was dying. So she got the Apple Watch 6. Don’t get me started on iPads, but she’s broken so many of those I’ve lost count. (It’s at least three.) Her previous watch, a stainless-steel Apple Watch 2, she reluctantly handed down to me, but has since given up on it because, well, the newer Apple Watch 6 is so much better. She especially likes the fact that it’s waaaaay lighter. After a while I started to fiddle with the Apple Watch 2 and then I took a real liking to it–and not because it’s so much slower than my Apple Watch 3. It’s something about the stainless steel, the weight, the shine, I think. Anywho.
My Apple Watch 3 was also on its last battery legs. As I fiddled with these two watches to see which I like best, I was just gonna sell the other. Then I discovered that iOS lets you use two watches at the same time by enabling something in the watch app on the iPhone. Ok. Cool. The problem is, getting hand-me-down devices also means you get worn-out batteries. Like I said. As I fiddled with them for a few weeks I quickly realised that my battery situation was critical in both watches. Neither watch would get me through a few hours, let alone a full day, without having to charge it. What a pain in the… Anywho.
I really took a liking to the stainless steel watch so I decided to use Apple’s renewal program where I paid the €98 fee, they sent me special packaging, I packaged it, and then sent it in for what I thought would be a simple battery replacement. Turns out they don’t just replace the battery. They sent me a completely new stainless steel Apple Watch 2. This thing cost €800 when my wife bought it, which was right after its introduction. So I was tickled to death thinking, even though €98 for a battery renewal is nothing to laugh at, I got a new friggin watch. But then. About a month or two of full-time use, letting my Apple Watch 3 collect dust, Apple pulls a whammy. Apple made the Apple Watch 2 obsolete. In other words, it doesn’t receive updates anymore. Ok. Fine. As long as the watch works, I don’t care. And it does work. It’s brilliant. In fact, I think it works for two days on one charge. It’s also perfect for telling time, controlling podcasts and music and receiving/answering messages. But then I tried to set up the Apple recovery thingy and bam. Nothing works. Which means, I have a choice. Not only is the Apple Watch 2 obsolete, but I probably have to stop using it because I can’t use the Apple recovery thingy. So the choice is to not use the Apple recovery thingy or… Ok. Great. Not.
My point with this worst-post is 1) we really need some right to repair laws and 2) we also need to regulate the $hit out of corporations that think they’ve earned the privilege and it’s now their right to rip us off. With that in mind. Do I like the Apple Watch? Sure. I do. Would I go out buy one. No. My wife breaks enough of her stuff or uses it long to have to replace it which means I’ve got lots of hand-me-downs to play with. But. This is a friggin watch. Can’t they (Apple) at least put some effort into one product and not make it obsolete? Please.
Worst-title 2: This is one cool keyboard that I didn’t know I needed
Every once-a-once, dear worst-reader, whether in a computer section of a retailer or fiddling around at an Apple Store, I always give keyboards a test. The thing is, as a MacBook user for the past (going on) twenty years, I’ve never really liked the keyboards. And even though there’s been a lot of complaining about the 2015-2017 12” MacBook’sbutterly keyboard, I’ve actually taken a liking to it compared to their chiclet keyboards. That worst-said, over the past few years when trying out all these fancy gamer keyboards, which are nothing but copies of keyboards from the IBM PC days (1980s), I couldn’t help but think these things are more for nine1 finger typers. And so. I’m there. I need me some new keyboard.
When my MacBook is in clamshell mode I always use an Apple wireless aluminium keyboard that dates back to 2010. Yeah. In fact. When I bought my 2017 12” Macbook I also took in my trusty albeit broken keyboard hoping they’d repair it. And get this. After I paid for the MacBook, I’m sure, the Apple Store just gave me a new aluminium wireless keyboard. Now. They didn’t give me the newer magic keyboard. Of course not. But they had an actual new-old aluminium keyboard and they didn’t even charge me for it. Ain’t that cool.
New-old keyboards betold
I broke down the other day after visiting with my son who just bought a new gamer keyboard. After I finished fiddling with it–where he always admires his old man’s nine finger typing skills–it didn’t take long before I knew what was to be done. And so. When I got home I started doing some research.
Which of these new, fancy, higher tech copies of 1980s keyboards should I get? Keep in mind. I’ll rarely refer to these things as mechanical keyboards. They are NOT mechanical in the least. If you notice in the pic above, I’m still an avid worst-typewriter. Now that’s where you’ll find mechanics in a keyboard. Moving on.
Long worst-review almost short
I decided for the Keychron K2 version 2 bluetooth and RGB keyboard with the aluminum bezel. Since it was also on sale I kinda new the stars were aligned. As soon as I hit the buy button I continued watching reviews on the youtubes and blogs to see what I’ve gotten myself in. Luckily, unlike many other tech purchases I make, the reviews about this keyboard didn’t make me regret my choice. The only problem? I got a delay message from you-know-who online distributor which meant it took almost a full week for it to arrive. You know, a full week after we pay that annual fee that’s supposed to give us two-day shipping. Sarcasm off.
Brown, Red, Blue
This keyboard is much heavier than I expected. I suppose that has something to do with the aluminium bezel. As far as the design and styling, I like the contrasting grey keys and the orange accentuated ESC and RGB lighting key. I’ve only begun to understand the meaning between red, blue and brown key mechanisms so the jury’s still out on that. I have the brown mechanisms. I think my son’s keyboard is red. If the brown mechanism is supposed to be between the red and blue in loudness and tactile feel, I’m not sorry with my choice. I don’t need anything louder–but a bit more key resistance would be welcome. Then again. Beggars can’t choosey, eh. For whatever reason the red key device was only available in the larger (with number keys) keyboard and was significantly more expensive.
I’ve been worst-typing with it for about three days now and it’s gonna take some getting used to, which should be expected after typing for the past (almost) twenty years with krappy chiclet keyboards. But my first impression is positive. Even though I’m still not quite sure what the RGB backlighting is all about, I’ll probably only use white light when I need it in the evenings. BTW. This is the first external keyboard I’ve owned with backlighting, so that’s cool. I guess I can see the lure of the fancy lighting for young folk. Then again. Keychron does market this little keyboard to gamers, which, even as a non-gamer, doesn’t make much sense with its compactness. Don’t gamers want more room? ￼But I’m just gonna let that sit for a while till I figure out more ins and outs.
I was a little surprised how large and bulky it is compared to my aging Apple keyboard. In fact, directly compared, its size is not insubstantial. It’s at least, I’m guessing, two and a half times higher and, as I already mentioned, it’s waaaaay heavier. When typing intensely on the Apple keyboard I would often have to adjust its position as it moved around with my finger hacking. The Keychron doesn’t move at all. It’s more planted on my desktop and its rigidity makes typing more precise. In fact, I would compare it to how the rigidity of a car or motorcycle chassis (without getting into suspension) determines how well it handles on the road. That’s cool, right.
One of the issues I was concerned about is bluetooth. Although I’m a bluetooth fan, for as long as bluetooth has been around, I’m kinda surprised that it doesn’t do more. You know. Like polish my toenails or just work. Luckily I’ve had no issues, except one. The keyboard immediately connected to my Mac and I guess it’s polishing its toenails. What more could you ask for, right. There is a lag between the keyboard waking up (after sleep mode) and then reconnecting. This takes a few seconds–where the Mac keyboard had zero lag. The good news is, once the keyboard wakes up, the number 1, 2 or 3 key lights up in blue. This lets you know which of three bluetooth devices is connected. Yeah. That’s worth a few second wait.
Macintosh & Linux
Obviously I bought the Mac version of this keyboard. It has a sliding button on the left side that allows you to switch to Windows. It also includes a bunch of spare keys to replace the Mac keys. What would have been really cool is having spare keys for Linux. I think Keychron is working on that. As of the writing of this worst-review, and I’ve not yet connected it, but I also use a Raspberry Pi 4 (see pic above) for $hits & giggles. I’m looking forward to just hitting a button and connecting to my Pi. Previously, I would have to disconnect my Mac keyboard and then reconnect it to the Pi. Had to do the same thing when reconnecting to my Mac. Yeah. That was no fun. Oh. And before I forget. This Keychron K2 has a few more keys than the Apple keyboard. I can now finally enjoy using the page-up, page-down, home and end keys. Heck. It even has a dedicated del (delete) key. Do you have any idear, dear worst-reader, how long it might take me to get used to NOT using the option back-space key for delete, i.e. the standard key combination I’ve been using on the Mac keyboard layout for all these years?
Is this keyboard a keeper? Yea. I guess it is. Well. I think it is as long as the battery life lasts, the keys don’t corrode and it doesn’t stop cleaning my toenails. At the least, if it fails or I find fault in it, I will most likely upgrade to another Keychron. I’m sold on these new fangled keyboards, that’s for sure. Is it worth the price I paid considering what a new Apple magic keyboard costs? A new Apple magic keyboard is but another chiclet keyboard, and it costs quite a bit more. Since the wireless/bluetooth seems to work reliably and the key feel is a pleasure to type on and and and… It has a delete key!
All in all, let’s see how it goes.
Even if I don’t end up keeping this keyboard, I don’t think I’ll give up on Keychron. The K2 V2 is already an out-of-date model (hence the sale price) and what I’ve seen of newer models there’s been a whole lot of improvement. I’m sold.
Nine finger typers are those who learned to type with every finger except the left thumb. ↩︎
Even though there’s a lot of know-non-sense here about worst-writer’s tech preferences, I’m always afeared to admit that I am an Apple fanboy (aghast). Which means, it cannot go un-worst-said: my choice of tech is NEVER about what one can do (w/ tech) but about what one can circumvent to make due (with tech). Or is it do? #Nomatter. In other worst-words: technology today is not about what you can do but about what IT lets you do. All of it determined by the graces of monopolies, of course. ￼But enough about worst-conspiratorialisms galore. Or maybe not.
As far as a fanboy goes, I like most things Apple Macintosh but have a take-it or leave-it attitude towards all things iOS. That is, I really don’t like anything touch screen. Hence I’ll use an iPhone (what other choice is there really) but could give two hoots about iPads. But. Again. Enough about my prejudices.
There was yet another fruit event this week, dear worst-reader. And. Yes. I watched it all on my iPhone 11 while bathing in a tub full of Kneipp Salz (bath salt). What? Never heard of Kneipp Salz? It’s really cool stuff, don’t you know. You consume-to-survive these little packets of crystalline what-not, throw it in a tub full of hot water and within fifteen or so minutes you kind of dissolve. Of course. I have no idear what the therapeutic value of this stuff really is. But. Considering it stems out of a period of #Eurowasteland history where people didn’t know the value of good food, proper hygiene, and a bit of exorcise, etc., it’s no wonder that it has lingered through the centuries albeit reduced to marketing bull$hit galore not unlike what Apple does to get me throw money its way. And keep in mind, when I worst-say throw money, I’m not really talking big bucks here. For worst-writer is nowhere near spending the big bucks on computing power that some folk spend. Indeed. That worst-said. I’ve thrown a penny and three at Apple over the years. And now. Let’s move on to closing this worst-post.
Apple is unfun because it is a fcuking monopoly that deserves as much hate as love. Or maybe not. Basta!
I started using Apple’s Macintosh computers back in the mid-90s. There was a small stint there (during my divorce years at the end of the 90s) where I was reduced to piecing together a cheap PC–on account I could no longer afford a Mac–but after that, once things recovered from the monotonous lie that is industrial matrimony, I quickly got back on the Mac ship. By the mid 2000s I was full-on Mac again. That said. After all these years, I’m glad that I’ve finally figured out what it is this device can do for me and all my worst-writing. Hence, the lust driven by Steve Jobs marketing bull$hit galore for a new & improved glorified typewriter every year is mute. I can now stretch the use of a Mac for up to five years. I know there are some out there that can push their devices for much longer, and you can do that with Macs, and that’s cool, but I decided to not go through any more divorces, which also means I can easily afford a new Mac every few years. It also means, I have to keep an eye on what’s new in the Apple-verse. Aghast! The only problem is, when Apple goes through its marketing freak shows, like it did the other day, I have to sit through all the bull$hit before something interesting comes along. You know. The bull$hit about iPads and iPhones and AppleTV blah, blah, blah. Needless to say, my lustful eyes perked up when they finally get to the serious tech stuff i.e. the Mac.
But then I was, as usual, let down.
The thing that surprised me with Apple’s recent announcement was that there was no new chip. At least no new chip in a device that I wanted. The introduction of the M1 chip (2020) threw me in a tizzy, dear worst-reader. Wow, I thought. Apple is finally done with Intel. But are they really? #Nomatter.
I rarely buy first generation Apple products. My trusty 2017 Intel MacBook, which I bought in early 2018, is still going strong. That said. I knew it wouldn’t be a problem to NOT lust after a first iteration M1 device. Instead. I could just wait for them to introduce the M2 or a new designed MacBook Air, which would then be second iteration. But that didn’t happen. WTF? No one wants my money? That worst-said. Looks like I’ll be waiting a while longer before getting rid of my 12” Intel MacBook–which I’m still kinda loving, btw. Yes. I’m even kinda loving the butterfly keyboard. I’m worst-typing on right now and it feels odd, vague, unreal but kinda good. What’s everyone’s problem with the butterfly keyboard? But I digress.
The Apple event was boring–but the bath salt felt good. Yet I’m intrigued by the continued development of the ‘M’ series of new CPUs aka SOCs (system on a chip) even though it become more and more obvious as I watched the show that I wasn’t getting a new MacBook anytime soon. That worst-said, the way Apple is positioning these new chips I find kinda odd. As good as the M1 is, #nomatter which iteration (M1, M1plus, M1max, etc.), there’s something missing. Keep in mind, being a fanboy doesn’t mean that I’m blind, nor does it mean I don’t follow other parts of the tech world. I mean. If this chip is so good and under complete and total control by Apple, why hold back and continue after almost two years with the same M1 label? Could it be that they can’t develop an M2? I’m sure that’s not the case. But still. The same chip (M1) for more than two years? WTF?
Worst-writer’s quick & dirty assumption is thus: Apple obviously doesn’t give a hoot about the rest of the industry–nor does it really care about competing with Intel (anymore). That ship has sailed. Yet. As I watched the Mac presentation I couldn’t help but wonder between all the tech comparing and contrasting that perhaps the M1 ain’t all its cracked up to be. Which is fine. For the Mac world it obviously works. I mean. I’m a creator. Worst-creator. Or? Ok. But I’m also anti-monopoly. Yeah. Ok. But let’s move on.
Here’s another worst-writer thought about what Apple is doing. If these chips are so awesome why hasn’t any company from the gaming industry ported their fancy-pants games in order to utilise Apple’s incredible GPU capacity? Again. It’s been two years. Even though I’m no gamer, I’d buy Call of Duty if it ran on my Mac. You know. For $hits & giggles! But perhaps I should stop there. I really don’t know much about the gaming industry–other than it requires krapp loads of computing power to make it all happen. Yeah. Moving on.
I’ve considered more than thrice to simply dump the Macintosh because of what Apple has done to it over the years–especially the years following the introduction of all-things iOS. And even though I’m working on one of the last Jony Ive Macs, I certainly don’t miss him and his confused industrial design bull$hit either. I’m pretty confident at this moment that I could easily transition all of my worst-writing over to a linux based laptop. Since I’ve got all my home networking and media devices running on Linux it would be a no brainer. So what’s stopping me? In short:
Even though Linux is awesome there’s much to be desired out of the confusion of linux software and hardware.
I was impressed with the introduction of the M1 chip in 2020. The thing that impressed me about it is not just the chips technical prowess, though. I was hoping that because Apple is no longer dependent on Intel maybe it could also depart from the vertical monopolisation of its product pricing. That is, I always thought/hoped that Apple’s devices are expensive not ONLY because of all the Apple bull$hit behind them (designed in cupertino) but because all the bull$hit combined with having to pay-off the likes of Intel now means there could be a bit of a dividend for users. I know. I know. How naive of you worst-writer. Then again. The price of a new M1 MacBook Air is between five and six hundred less than what I paid for my 12” Intel based MacBook. And, according to the numbers, a new M1 MacBook Air is probably twice, if not three times, faster. Oh yeah. I’m running the faster 12” MacBook with the i5 and larger/faster HDD.
The introduction the other day of the new Mac Studio though has yanked my chain in another direction. Holly krapp is that damn thing expensive–which shouldn’t surprise anyone. This is Apple, right? Does the marketing bull$hit work getting potential users riled up about its speed and technicality, #nomatter the price? Of course it does. But can you open it up? Can you change parts? Does anyone really need to hook up five friggin monitors? Obviously none of those questions apply to worst-writer. Worst-writer just needs to worst-type. Then again. The thing that’s got me worst-riled now is that Apple didn’t introduce a new M2 MacBook Air because it’s in the process of disappearing the cost savings it gained by stealing from open-source chip architecture (ARM). Indeed. I was hoping with the intro of the M1 that Apple would/might free-up not only its hardware and software integration but also its old-economy pricing. But. Again. How naive of worst-moi.
Obviously no new MacBook means that I’m gonna continue evaluating a new laptop purchase. As far as replacing my Mac with a Linux laptop? Yeah, that may still be in play, even though I thought I would buy an M2 MacBook Air this spring. Then again. The only comparable Linux machine that I can buy will have to be with an Intel chip. And who wants that these days, eh. Which begs this last worst-question: why ain’t there an ARM based laptop out there to compete with what I’m forced to buy from Apple? Pine64 Pine Pro? Not quite up to par, I’d say. System76? Darn tooting except for the fact they’re all about Intel–and, as far as I’m concerned, overpriced! But what about a Framework laptop? Now that’s something on worst-writer’s radar–except that it too is all about Intel and it also is supposed to have linux OS issues. Oh well. The fight against the monopoly continues.
Disclaimer: if you’d prefer to skip all the/my worst-writing about the pitfalls of being an Apple fanboy, scroll down to buzz-word-monopoly.
As an Apple fanboy let me first get this out of the way: technology is never about what you can do but instead about what you cannot do. Taking that worst-thought one step further: the reality of (post-Dotcom) technology is not about progress but instead consolidation and/or dictating profits–as opposed to earning one’s keep in a functioning market place. Worst-writer’s worst-opinion regarding non-open, monopolised markets? I can’t tell you how many times a day, when using Apple tech krapp, I ask my-worst-self: why can’t it do this or why can’t it do that? And don’t you know, dear worst-reader, the reason(s) it can’t do any of the stuff it should (be able to) do has nothing to do with technology itself. The capacity to do what I wish it could/would do is there. Instead, we’re all forced to live with the monopoly i.e. corporations owning/controlling everything. And don’t get me started on the stupidity of krapp tech services e.g. Siri, Apple Music, etc. Ok. Maybe just a few worst-thoughts on that.
After giving up on iTunes years ago, I finally broke down at the end of last year because Apple made an offer I couldn’t refuse—to try its Music (streaming) service. Instead of the standard three month trial they offered it to me for six months. Ok, I thought. Six months might be the time I need to evaluate this krapp. After a week or two of consideration on whether or not to try it–for I must contemplate deeply compromising my worst-principles–I took them up on their offer. I mean. What the heck. I’ve put off streaming since its inception. I just never thought I needed it. Tick that off to I’m an album guy, I hate wawawa pop music, the music industry sucks anywho, etc. But get this. With three months remaining in my testing of this krapp I can honestly say that I’m not impressed. In fact. The only thing I’ve gained from giving this a try is the reassurance that I’ve been worst-right all along. Apple Music and any other streaming service (both music and video) is nothing if not the long grift. Long live physical media, eh. Long live owning what you pay for. In fact. I’ll just keep maintaining my CD and DVD collection that I access through my dirt-cheap SMB Linux-based home media server. As far as the convenience of streaming? What a crock of $hit. And since I don’t consume music that way–which means I can’t find a reason that warrants paying hundreds of Euros a year for this krapp, WTF? And by the buy. The reason I won’t sign up for AppleTV is the same. I would rather rent movies via AppleTV or buy DVDs. (That’s right. DVDs, not blue-rays, are perfectly fine.) And so. Are these worst-capitalist times we live in where everything has to be monopolised–because these organisations can monopolise–worth it? Hell no, baby. On the other hand, I’m just another ageing fuddy-duddy stuck in an eco system–until I finally make the hundred percent jump to Linux. Am I wrong.
While I was reading through a post about yet another lawsuit involving Apple’s monopolising over everything, its recent situation with the Dutch struck my fancy. Now. I don’t always feel sympathy for software developers, which is the reason I use open-source whenever possible. But software developers (the guys who actually write/create stuff) deserve their due–if their software warrants it. What determines software’s worth? Well. That’s a whole other worst-blog-post. But then something else hit me about this situation.
According to Apple’s latest attempt at justifying what is obviously monopolistic behaviour, I can’t help but want their to be some long over-due and serious government regulation to get this bull$hit under control. If I understand the situation correctly, see link below, the Dutch government is siding with software developers in their fight against Apple’s unjust payment processing system that is the Apple App Store. Now. I don’t know about you, dear worst-reader. But get this. Apple actually believes that it has the right to dictate away a third of potential earnings from app developers simply because it arbitrarily controls the means with which software is forced to transact through its system. As is always the case with greed-mongering, perfected, of course, by Steve Jobs, delusion becomes reality. And delusion is part of the downfall of capitalism, hence the likes of former prez pee-pee-hair, right-wing political bat$hittery, and we’re all now on the brink of WW3, etc. These are all signs of a system that is in free-fall. But don’t get me started on politics, eh.
Allow worst-moi to worst-write what I think needs to happen in order to stop all the monopolies and all the arbitrary (meritless) money making that is today’s digital world run amok.
The Internet is a public utility
no ifsands or buts
ALL personal information is private and NEVER a mechanism for corporate profits
find another, more socially productive way to make money you cucksuckers
No corporate Internet for stupid people
e.g. facebag and social media should have to jump through regulations hoops galore in order to make money because that would be a good thing
No software, protocol or hardware is allowed to monopolise data that curbs individuals choice(s) regarding use of personal data
no more .doc or file systems (ntfs) or containers (HEIF), etc.
It’s an unfinished list, dear worst-reader. A bit of worst-mind farting, if you will. It’s also, obviously, less than empirical. But it might contain a seed of legitimacy. In any case, something needs to be done about monopoly corporate power that is nothing less than grifting.
There’s one other thing about Apple’s App Store bull$hit. In the few articles I’ve read about this stuff, everyone is concentrating on the obvious. That is, Apple’s arbitrary requirement of 30% would be ok if developers had other choices where to sell their wares.
It’s essentially the same issue between Apple and Epic software (Fortnite). The problem is, due to the monopoly of the App Store, developers have no other choice. Aren’t we supposed to have free markets? For those out there that claim the Apple App Store is no different from a mall, which also charges outrageous fees for retail space, that issue is mute. I mean. Could one argue that the reason Malls are dying-out is because the free market challenged the arbitrary costs they added to retailing? The Apple App Store is obviously not a mall. Is it a service? Sure. Why not. But does it deserve 30% of developers earnings when those same developers have no other choice in selling their wares?
There’s one other issue that I’d like to address regarding Apple vs Dutch. Keep in mind that what we’re dealing with here is a dating app. The developers of this dating app don’t want to have their margins reduced (or have to raise their prices to cover lost margins) because of unwarranted fees. Ok. That’s fine and dandy. I’ve already worst-established where I stand on that. But how ‘bout this worst-thought: could it be that the Dutch government has gotten involved in this issue because, well, don’t you know, a dating app in The Netherlands could threaten tax revenues on what the Dutch do best, other than selling (taxing) dope: selling the oldest profession? Indeed. Dear worst-reader. Now that’s a worst-thought or three about how to deal with too much corporate power. Or?
In worst-writer’s quest to eventually (when exactly?) dump MacOS, I’ve been dabbling in Linux for quite some time. The problem, of course, is that I’m a very slow learner. Add to that the relative slowness of previous RPi’s, I’ve not yet felt comfortable with Rasbian or any other Linux distro on the RPI3, with the exception of Dietpi, but that’s not really a desktop option. Besides, as we all know, eh dear worst-reader, there’s no place in this worst-world for slow learners or pure CLI. Hence I am worst-writer and I’m destined to live as such–slow CPU here or there albeit with a desktop environment. And so. Since Windows is out of the question, the alternative OS for worst-moi can only be Linux with a fancy desktop distro. My only regret with facing such a reality is that I have to wait till my current MacBook is ready for the dung-heap before making the change. The laptops from System76 are looking pretty right now. Reason for the wait, though, is simple: that fcuking pink MacBook was fcuking expensive and to make matters worst it fcuking works great as a worst-writer daily driver, USB-C dongle or not. I’m mean, it is one of Apple’s smallest and weakest computers. Yet I love the thing, krappy keyboard n’all. And for fourteen hundred painful Euros… I can’t believe I paid that much for such an underpowered device. What’s wrong with me? Goo-goo, ga-ga. Bling, bling. Anywho.
The reason I’m eventually (when exactly?) changing to Linux is the open question of the day, of course. What’s clear is that I’m really NOT interested in paying the über high price for Macs anymore. Considering how the company is going full iOS, plus the Apple tax, i.e. the made-up cost (arbitrary) of Apple + intel that is bordering on STUPID, when considering the power and usability of something as cheap as an RPi (ARM processors), it all only reminds me that the whole industry is, not unlike #Trump and the LAND OF FREE TO BE STUPID, waaaaaaaaaay out of whack. And as we all know, I’ll tolerate an iPad as a hand-me-down from my wife for viewing media and reading digital books but boy oh boy do I hate touch screen computing–and I’ll never (in this case never say never may or may not apply) buy another iPad for as long as worst-live. But let’s not get tied up on the tablet thing and me making promises worst-writer might not be able to keep, eh.
As you can see in the pic above, I’m currently running my Mac world on the right side of my desk and on the left my new RPi4 world. Since I’m also not ready to splurge on a new monitor, I’m using an old TV that has two HDMI ports as my RPi monitor. And although a TV is not a computer monitor, this one works pretty good on account it’s desktop small. At the least, it’s good enough for fiddling around with Raspbian-Linux (a Debian distro). To my surprise, even after only using it for a few weeks, the whole desk setup, including those new infancy monitor arms, works pretty good. Considering I didn’t have to buy a new keyboard for the RPi4, which I thought I’d have to do to use two computers systems on one desk, the setup is looking even cooler. My old Apple keyboard and mouse work just fine on the RPi4. As you’ll note in the pic above, there is also a second RPi, an RPi3b+, that I’m currently using as a retro game tester, which is plugged into the TV’s second HDMI port. I did splurge on a cheap knock-off PS3 controller for that one, though. I may or may not post something regarding RPi retro gaming but that’ll have to wait since I’m still trying to figure out how it works.
As far as desktop setup and duel monitor arms, I splurged on a you-know-who Basics offering. Although there is no vertical movement of the monitor arms, you can easily adjust height via the centre poll. It’s all not as uppity and fancy as those more expensive arms that seem to float in the air but I suppose that’s the reason this one only cost 35,-€. And since I can rotate my Dell monitor 90° when needed, as I sometimes use it in portrait mode when working on longer draft worst-writing, this is all über-good, baby.
Yes. All in all this is a cool desktop solution for lots of worst-writing, including lots of continued worst-writing procrastination. Combined with my Ikea height adjustable desk, I should be good till the next urge to consume-to-survive hits and I have to buy something else that I don’t really need but is, well, cool. Speaiing of consuming things needed (or not), I’m really digging the idear of getting back into motorcycling. Maybe this year I’ll be able to worst-post something about getting back on two (powered) wheels again. Or maybe not.
Trying to figure out the linked article below, dear worst-reader. Sometimes I have that problem as I scan the Interwebnets being the info junky I am. And while some articles perturb me, others disturb me, this one kinda makes one side of me head glow as though I were the missing target of unicorns and their rainbow shooting liquid carbines. Either that. Or. This article is meant to get buyers to buy more APPL stock. Wait. Or could it be meant to get more suckers, like worst-moi, to buy more Apple stuff? Nomatter.
To worst-moi this is an interesting analogy. Comparing the value of a single company’s stock to the value of a country’s entire stock market… Well, I guess I wish I would have thought of that. But here’s the thing, dear worst-reader. Not only am I an Apple fan-boy but I’m also an expat that has been living in the #Eurowasteland tribe of Germania for almost thirty years. And so. Having some experience with the Huns, it’s a bit hard for me to swallow an article like this. Reason? Comparing a company that is the epitome of failupwards, free-for-all pseudo-capitalism, i.e. #Americant, where the manufacturing base has been completely decimated due to the political ignorance of voters, to a country that actually makes stuff (Germany is still a manufacture juggernaut), is a bit of a stretch. And all because of the price of… financial funny paper galore aka stock from a market that uses (stock) buy-backs in order to increase compensation packages of a bunch of compulsive behaviourist CEOs and and and…?
Or am I the only one noticing NOTHING from Apple is actually made in the (my) beloved & missed united mistakes of #Americant? Wait. Is that the point that the article is trying to make? Or how ’bout this:
Designed in Cupertino, baby!
Yeah, #Americant corporatism has perhaps culminated in companies like Apple. But at what cost? I mean. Where do you think Apple would be (stock price) if it made products where workers had to actually be paid a living wage?
Why go to 10 (or Xr or 8) when you can go to 11? For that is the worst-question, eh, dear worst-reader? I mean, wouldn’t we all go to 11, always skipping the others, if we could? Or is the issue mute? Nomatter. The moment I’d been avoiding for so long by nursing my iPhone 6s–you know, the good-fight we all must lose in order to postpone Apple’s corporate strategy of forced product obsoletism–finally arrived the other day. Even though I’ve been giving it my best for almost four years, the whole time knowing that these devices really only last, on a good day, for about two years, I hung to a glimmer of hope. I mean, come on. Almost 4 years out of the 6s? WTF. That is pretty cool. On the other hand. ￼￼Maybe. Just maybe. Why couldn’t I make it last a bit more? You know, make it last until the iPhone 12–or the 13, etc. Or? But then, about two weeks ago, I updated my 6s to iOS 13 and suddenly the bells and gongs of Steve Jobs’ greed-mongering rang galore. The 6s was the last old iPhone that was supposed to handle the new update, its predecessor the iPhone 6 being hurled to the official wastedom of obsoletism. Indeed. FYI. They should have hurled the 6s, as well.
Obsoletism And Batteries
The first thing that went, about two years ago–the thing that always goes first–was the battery. And not just one battery. I utilised Apple’s offer of replacing the 6s’ original battery with their 30,-€ deal last February. And don’t you know, for about two months I thought things were great. But then, probably after another system update (or two), that 30,-€ battery deal turned sour. Unwilling to make a claim that Apple’s battery replacement program was a hoax, I decided to resort to a somewhat extreme solution. After my 6s’ first year I bought one of them Anker battery cases. Although it bulked-up the device to being the size of the newer “plus” phones Apple was offering, I went with it. The battery case lasted for about eight months till it too started showing major power degradation. After that I tried carrying around one of those USB chargers. It also worked for a while. Then I came across an original Apple iPhone 6s battery case at a reduced price of around 100,-€. I went for it. To say the least, that damn 6s cost me quite a bit to just keep it going. So was/am I glad that it kinda died the other day? Now that I finally upgraded, I can easily say… shur-nuff, baby!
Of course, there were a few moments here and there where I thought I shouldn’t splurge so much cash for the latest model. Why not just take the iPhone 8? It’s priced at about two hundred less than the 11, don’t you know. In fact, I don’t really need much in/from an iPhone. I had long realised that the worst part about corporate forced product obsoletism isn’t that they design these things to make you buy more, but, during the last two years of stretching its life, I could barely use any non-Apple Apps. The processor is just too slow to keep up with new software. With the 6s it’s really not so bad since most of my computing activity is with my MacBook. Also. I rarely make phone calls with it and if I do, it’s mostly using FaceTime with family. Otherwise, I use it for podcasting, GPS, camera, news, reading books (Kindle and Apple Books), weather, note-taking, etc. Most of that stuff worked till the end because the software was from Apple. Indeed. The Kindle software (Amazon) was pretty much toast, though. Plus, I got tired of reading on the little 6s screen. Anyhow. After only twenty-four hours of use of my new iPhone… Boy have I been missing-out.
Lucky for worst-moi and because of pricing politics after the ridiculously expensive iPhone X–which my wife paid almost 1200,-€ for last year–the price of the new iPhone 11, including a 50-, trade-in for my old 6s, wasn’t looking too bad. Comparably the Xr model, only a hundred Euros less, and the 8 model, two-hundred less, but also with substantially weaker hardware specs, meant that nomatter how I cut it, I was gonna fork out anywhere between 550,- to 800,- with this consume-to-survive transaction. For you see, dear worst-reader, I’ve never had a phone contract so buying one of these things with a contract is a no-go. I hate cell phone carriers, but that’s another worst-post. In the end, with the trade-in, I paid 749,-€ for the newest iPhone. Does that make me want to jump up and down and or kiss Pamela Anderson posters till I blow my goo? Indeed. 749,- for a new iPhone of this caliber is a long way away from 1000,- plus. Indeed. Indeed.
So I went through the crowded rigamarole at the Apple Store on a Saturday afternoon. Luckily, nomatter how crowded my local Apple store gets, I’ve learned that if you’re buying something, especially hardware, the line to get service is easily shortened for you. Within a few hours I was back home getting ready to unbox and set up my new iPhone 11. Since I had made a backup on my MacBook the night before of my 6s, I declined the offer to setup up my new phone at the crowded store, always telling the Apple rep that I new what I was doing. Of course, deleting and emptying my 6s, so I could turn it in to him, took a while, too. Btw, it’s pretty cool how Apple makes sure your devices is wiped. For whatever reason, my old iPhone was having trouble NOT backing up my data to iCloud while at the store. The rep kept saying I should let the backup happen but I also kept telling him that I trusted the backup I made the previous night on my MacBook. All in all, I was right, but with one caveat. The only setup issue I had with my new iPhone, iCloud account n’all, was that I didn’t expect it to not be on the latest iOS, which, btw, my 6s had. That meant I couldn’t “restore” from my backup because the 6s iOS was newer than what was on the iPhone 11. And so. What should have taken about half-hour to forty minutes, took almost an hour and a half to complete. The new iPhone iOS update took the longest. The restore from iTunes took about fifteen minutes. Even though direct old phone to new phone updates that Apple has are cool and work great (it’s how my wife does it), the way I did it works, too. It just takes a bit longer. It’s really cool that my new phone, after the update and restore from old 6s, is identical. Love it!
Wow. After just under 48hrs of use, I’m tickled to death with my new iPhone. I can finally run a few 3rd party Apps I haven’t been able to run for years–or they completely got out of my usage radar because my 6s has long since been obsolete. iaWriter, for example. One of my favourite worst-writing apps. It syncs with all my worst-writing to my MacBook now. I was never able to do that with either my new MacBook or its predecessor my MacBook Air and the 6s. (Why?) There’s also a few Apps my wife wants us both to use (for cooking recipes, of course) that I couldn’t use before because she’s got a iPhone X. Even Apple Apps are no longer crashing as much as they did before e.g. FaceTime and Contacts. Volumio, my audio player/controller of choice (in combination with a household full of Raspberry Pi’s plus HifiBerry), was also crashing. The 6s used to crash all the time before I could even start a song with my iPhone 6s; had to resort to playing/controlling music with my MacBook. Hasn’t crashed once with the new 11. But. Ok. Obviously this new iPhone is better than the previous one. I mean, it’s the best iPhone apple has EVER made. Or? Nomatter. Lots of re-learning about Apps is still to come.
Design Flaw Ongoing
Of course, let’s not get too junky about being an Apple fanboy. Like the 6s, the same things I hated about that design will still be with me in the new 11. For example, the volume buttons being directly across from the power button–or what is now also the Siri button–is stupid. Whoever at Apple came up with this idear is, well, stupid. Reason? Unless you take special care, you cannot change the volume on this device with one hand. Cupping the iPhone and then using your forefinger to either increase or decrease the volume, thereby requiring your thumb to counter the pressure on the other side of the phone, either turns it off or, now, calls up Siri. Whaaaaaaaaaa! Also. Why the hell do they make these things as slippery as a greased pig. (No. I’ve never tried to catch a greased pig! But I have read about it.) The fact that I’ve become accustomed, since the 6s, to being very careful how I handle/hold/pick-up this phone, says everything. I feel like, sometimes, someone at Apple (Steve Jobs?) had the idear: how can we subvert product obsoletism, which only alienates customers, with a surer way of getting them to buy more of these things? That’s right. Make them out of glass so that they are supposed to slip out of your hands and fall crashing to the ground. Apple care anyone? (Fcuk you!)
Although I probably pissed away a lot of money trying to keep my iPhone 6s running for so long, in the end the only thing that killed it was battery. After getting used to an old, slow iPhone, I could have lived with it, including not being able to run certain apps. Oh well. And by-the-buy, I would have replaced the 6s sooner if Apple would have upgraded (hardware) the iPhone SE. Personally, another design flaw of these things is that they are just waaaaaaaay too big. The last best fitting iPhone for me was the 5s. Again. Oh well.
When did it begin in my beloved & missed united mistakes of #Americant, dear worst-reader? When did the obsession to consume-to-survive through the happy monetary machine of plastic begin? When did that little plastic card replace hard earned cash someone’s grandparents slaved for–or wheel barrelled into a bakery in Berlin in 1923 to buy bread? I mean, we all know when the greed $hit$how began, right? You know, the $hit$how where you can and must live above and beyond your means–so that you are always beholden to some/one/thing else. Yeah, baby. #Americant indeed.
Go with the following worst-thoughts for a sec, eh, dear worst-reader.
I’m worst-guessing, off the top of my worst-head, that the fascination with systematic consumer loan-sharking, or the credit card industrial complex, as a means for nation-state consumption, began in the seventies. Why the seventies? Well, by the end of the sixties, the powers-that-be realised that it was time to shift the costs of war-mongering, from which they had oh-so profited, onto the backs of something or someone else, otherwise the $hit was gonna hit the fan again–just like it did in 1929. And so. Now that the great wars-of-need were over all that was left was the creation of Empire through minor wars-of-want1 (aka wars of choice). While the military industrial complex was taking advantage of The Stupid (the riff-raff), the lords of commerce were diligently getting rid of that other burden that was in the way of über profits galore: labour. These two things put together are a potent poison, don’t you know. All that’s needed to get them both out of the way are a bunch of willing suckers, i.e. a huge consumer base that can only culminate in #MAGA. Yeah, baby. Let the riff-raff (The Stupid) pay from now on–and they will. You want a car? Well, good for you sucker. Good thing getting a car is never about the actual price of the thing. No. It’s about what they can get you to pay for that car per month–for the rest of your fcuking life. You want a computer or a smartphone? Pay 23.99% interest while you pay monthly for it, even while that device is manufactured for obsoletism in less than two years, because that’s the way it is, sucker. And not only let them, the riff-raff, pay, but let’s make them also pay double or triple with political capital, too. Enter Faux-Newz (early 1990s) and an industry of propaganda that is making Joseph Goebbels cream his deadman rotten shorts. Yeah, that is the power of misconstrued patriotism mixed with greed and spite and hate and bigotry and and and….
Wait a sec. Am I on about credit cards yet?
The reason for credit-cards as a means to consume was required because someone thought new & improved great wars must be avoided at all cost. Banking and finance in the sixties wasn’t as devious as it is today and thereby couldn’t simply jimmy and screw and dazzle The Stupid (the riff-raff) with interest rates. The powers-that-be were all still frightened out of their minds by the concept/reality of inflation, socialism and it all mixed with an informed riff-raff (the not-so stupid?) that would not only jump from skyscrapers in NYC but also rise up with AK-47’s disguised as pitchforks and then go around mass-shooting everybody and everything in El Paso, Dayton, Columbine, Las Vegas, etc., etc. As we all now know, the fun & games with interest rates, to prevent not only hyper-inflation but also stock market crashes and great wars, would be a long term game. So too would the AK-47 slash pitchfork phenomenon carried by the by-product of Dr. Americant Frankstein. Wow. Little did anyone know how willing the riff-raff (The Stupid) would become in this game, eh. Welcome to #MAGA.
But I wanted to get on about credit-cards.
Oh, how I remember those American Express commercials in the late 70s. And what ever happened to Diner’s Club? Why is it that I always think of Benihana restaurants when I think of consuming-to-survive back in the day when it was exotic to pay for anything with a plastic card? Elitism hits you young, don’t you know. It was the aura of the times, eh? Not unlike the lore of travel. High-end products. Airports and luxury. Being serviced by people who at least acted like they were interested. Pan Am. The TV show Mad Men reminded me of those days. But wait. I’m getting off subject again.
As of early 2019 I’m finally allowed to use Apple Pay as a means to consume-to-survive. I mean, it’s kinda like a credit card, right? At least it’s attached to Visa, I think. It’s been a long time waiting, dear worst-reader. The long wait has something to do with Germania’s banking system. I mean, it’s not like The Huns needed other means to enable the purchase of $hit. Their EC-Card system, which is basically nothing more than a debit-card system directly attached to your bank account, i.e without the third-party enablers like Visa, M/C & co., actually works pretty great. The only problem with it is, well, in order to have the coolness of something like Apple Pay, the bank would have to enable a third party to make it happen–which greedy little Huns don’t want to have to pay for in the form of fees. Hence, since expatriating to the Germanin tribe of #Eurowasteland so many years ago, I guess I’ve been waiting secretly to finally run up a credit card bill to see if/how they repossess me for over-draw galore. Has that secret day finally arrived with ApplePay? Not quite.
Although Apple Pay has been available in Germania since around 2017, my bank turned it on at the beginning of this year. It took me till two months ago to finally set it up on my iPhone and, of course, my AppleWatch. After that it took a few more weeks before I had the guts to actually use it. Now that it’s working, I don’t want to pay with anything else. The only problem is, The Huns are still a bit behind in making it available everywhere. I mean, wouldn’t it be cool if those stuck-up Bier servers at those great Bier halls could take payment with just a click from my watch? Or, if I need a train/tram ticket, wouldn’t it be great to just flash my phone at the ticket dispenser? And what about being able to use it in those houses of il-repute? You know, where most German males have to go in order to get some relief from being married… you guessed it… to a fcuking German female. Oh wait. Banks the world over have issues with financial transactions and… houses of il-repute, don’t you know. Yeah, cash-only still works.
The good news is: don’t worry; at this point in my worst-life, I don’t have to worry about credit. Not much into hookers anymore either. I’ve long since learned to live within my means–and I’m no longer ashamed of relieving both my balls and my prostate through other left-handed means. And although I consume-to-survive a lot of material $hit, especially tech gadgets, I think I’m pretty prudent when it comes to spending. The drive/need to exercise my prostate is also waning. Still, it would be cool to finally have a bit more payment modernity in the old country and to wait-n-see if a hot-chick repossessor rings my door-bell wearing porn clothing and carrying a bottle of that lube found in Osama Bin Laden’s bedroom at his last Pakistani stand.
But I should really really really move on now.
Using Apple Pay got me thinking about my brethren in my beloved & missed #Americant. For one thing–and get this, dear worst-reader–I haven’t had a revolving credit card for almost thirty years. For another thing, in the Germania economy, revolving credit ain’t a consume-to-survive necessity. People here have spendable income through both savings and earnings. And so. When I hear things from President Stupid that the economy in my beloved & missed #Americant is doing great but then read about how much debt is held by the Riff-raff… Come on. For the life of me, I have no idear how/why so many people subject themselves to the whims of #Americant loan sharking. I mean, is it so hard to live within your means–as opposed to charging everything until the repossessor comes or you just pay every month after month on that revolving, interest laden account for the rest of your life? Would I too be as bitter as #Americants are today–and thereby resort to drugs and violence and disarray–if I had to afford something less than this fancy, jewellery MacBook that I’m typing on now–and/or lose patients for 3pm to arrive where I can finally poor that first Gin?
And while doing all this useless, worst contemplation about all the suckers (the riff-raff) that enable and facilitate #Americant, while enjoying the fact that I finally have a modern western world form of payment in the old country, I happened across the new-fangled AppleCard’s user agreement–which, for goodness sake, no one knows when it will be available here. Anywho. The user agreement kinda threw me for a loop, don’t you know–even though I’m no where near possessing it but instead reading the rules & reg regarding a form of monetary payment made out of titanium that is obviously waaaaay cool. Whaaaaa? It has no numbers on it either. It only as the owners name on it and, of course, the emblem of the corporate elitism so many (worst-moi included?) espouses. Is this the next future of modern payment I’m waiting for?
First, did you know that AppleCard is nothing but a Goldman Sachs master-card credit card? Whaaaaa? Second, get a load of those interest rates. I mean. Goldman doesn’t even tickle you a bit here. Nor do they give you a small, slight, conduit kiss… before they get right into how they’re going to fcuk you with interest rates. I mean, come on. Are you serious? 13-24% interest rates, dear worst-reader? What idiot pays this $hit? Then something else hit me. I’ve been gone so long. I’ve been so far away from the essence that is my beloved & missed #Americant–i.e. credit-card and working poor mayhem–that I completely misplaced somewhere deep in my worst-psyche what it is people must be going through and hence only the worst of the worst of human behaviour can be the result. No wonder you’all are killing each other and no one can figure out why nor can anything be done about it.
Don’t get me wrong here, dear worst-reader. I’m no conspiracy theorist. I know that there is no single group of men (powers-that-be?) that sit around in a star chamber and hammer out a plan to screw the world. Yet, what is it that makes people accept 13-24% interest rates on doing the only thing that anyone can/should/must do to survive in the West today? Sure, the other parts of the Goldman Sachs AppleCard are a pretty good deal. There’s no transaction fees, no penalty fees, blah, blah, blah. But then the card is going to be an elite card, right? A very controlled bunch of people are gonna get it, right? You know, like American Express once was elite. Or Diner’s Club. By-the-buy, I could never get a Diner’s Club card and I only briefly was able to get an American Express card through an employer once–which I no longer have nor would I touch with a ten foot penis.
And that’s not the worst of it. What the fcuk is a Credit Bureau? Yeah, that’s the $hit that registered with me when I read the corporate user agreement. It’s bad enough that #Americants enable idiotic politicians that only favour rich people but it’s another thing when they also enable the scammers? Wait. What am I saying? They just elected a scammer as President. Ok. Ok. All politicians are scammers. But Pee-Pee-Hair #Trump is a scammer of a whole ‘nother order, or? And on top of that, there is the scam of having to rely on credit in order to consume-to-survive but to get credit you first have to go through a credit bureau, which is privately owned, that makes or breaks your credit reliability which then determines how much interest you pay for having or not having an elite credit card, and then, you know, paying between 13-24% interest….
Jesus fcukin‘ christ!
Come on #Americant. You are a country of scams. Everything is a scam. And why the fcuk did I buy this Apple computer in January in Europe where these things are even more expensive than, say, tax free Delaware? Oh wait. It cost, like, 1400,-€ but I paid cash for it. So I guess I’m not being totally scammed cause I had the fcuking cash to pay for it…. Fcuk!
Credit bureaus, people. Credit bureaus, or credit rating agencies, are an industry. What should be something more akin to a utility is instead a private, profit making industry owned by a few people with the help of more shareholders. Indeed. Like so many others, they took one scam industry to make another scam industry and when will the next scam industry happen? But wait. You also took a guy with pee-pee-hair and gave him the highest elected office of scammer-ville. Yeah, this makes sense, now don’t it. This is #Americant galore, baby. THE LAND OF FREE TO BE STUPID.
Reading through the customer agreement document for the new titanium AppleCard got me riled, dear worst-reader. It got me riled because, well, even though I’ve been an expat for almost thirty years–and I’ve only recently received the privilege of being able to pay for $hit with a modern form of payment–the most shocking thing is how nothing has changed back home. As backwards as things are in #Eurowasteland, everything has gotten über-worst in my beloved & missed united mistakes of #Americant. I suppose this document only re-emphasised the fact that, for worst-moi, there’s no return. Not because I don’t want to go back but instead because I don’t know how I would deal with so much STUPID. Either that or I wouldn’t be able to buy anything anyway on account, well, I’ve got no credit.
UPDATE (to this post): The Rock64 with 4-bay drive enclosure (the gadgets on the left in the pic above) failed the other day. That means, this entire post is null & void. Oh how I wanted the Rock64 (from Pine64) to succeed. But I suppose, for tech newbie/wannabees like me, I’m barking up the wrong tree here. At least the RockPro64 (black box on the right), as a dietpi//Samba/Plex/Pihole server hasn’t yet failed me! That said, I can’t get the Rock64, either using OMV or Dietpi, to just work the way I want it to work. I’m soooo disappointed, don’t you know. Or maybe not. Although I’ll go ahead and leave this post–it’d be a shame to waste all the worst-writing–I’m pretty much done with Pine64 products, especially since a new RPi4 just came out. Oh well. I guess this level of tinkering is fun while it lasts. Or maybe not.
Subtitle 1: Avoiding, circumventing an industry hell-bent on the grand rip-off?
Subtitle 2: In a world of trucks or no trucks, SBC’s rule, biatch!
If you want to skip all my worst-writing about Apple and Trucks, scroll down to it’s a network station galore, baby.
To begin this worst-post, dear worst-reader, I have to express a word or three about trucks. Do you remember that schtick from Steve Jobs about the post-PC era (ca. 2012-13)? As usual, I ate it up. Well, maybe I didn’t exactly eat it up. But I certainly heeded the words of the tech-guru who changed the friggin’ world twice! (1984 with the Macintosh and then again in 2007 with the iPhone.) I mean, even though I’m not a tablet guy (yet), as in, I can’t give up on a real computer, the change that’s being forced upon us consume-to-survivors, especially in all-things tech, is too often in my thoughts. After purchasing earlier this year what might be my last Mac, the question I’m currently dealing with is this: does my tech future include Apple?
One of the questions I’m throwing around in my head is if/when I have to replace yet another device due to strategic, monolithic, corporate obsoletism, what will/should I replace it with? Even though I love my new, retail-bought 2017 MacBook (jewellery galore, eh), there’s something about the tech path that Apple’s taken in recent years that gets under my gander. The truth is: not only do I hate tech-jewellery but I also hate touch screens. (And don’t laugh too hard since my new MacBook is pink-gold.) I mean, I really hate touch screens. (But this pink-gold is growing on me.) In fact, I hate touch screens as much as I hate NAS boxes. Of course, I tolerate touch screens on my iPhone. I even still use a first gen iPad Air (that I inherited from my better-half as she’s full-on iOS) as an e-book reader and a streaming client for Plex, Amazon Prime and YouTube–the latter while I’m in the kitchen cooking. But get this! To throw things into a craze-loop, what does Apple go and do at its 2019 WWDC that confused the hell out of me–especially considering I vividly remember Jobs’ truck analogy–that I ate up? That’s right. Apple brings back the friggin’ truck. And it doesn’t bring it back slightly with, say, a tickle and a smooch. No. It brings those friggin’ trucks back with a vengeance in the form a new, über-fancy, über-über expensive cheese-grater MacPro. WTF!
So let’s recap, shall we?
Steve Jobs claimed back in 2013 (see links below) that the PC was dead. Long live the post-PC era. The gist of his proclamation is simple. We (consumers) don’t need PCs (trucks) anymore. What we need are tablets. I suppose, in a way, he was right. Right, don’t you know, for other people, of course. Me? If I choose to leave Apple after I’m done with my latest MacBook, I’m either going to join the gang and get an iPad (but only if I can accompany it with a MacMini) or I’m going full Linux. Indeed. I’m seriously digging what System76 is doing right now–even though they don’t, as of this worst-post, have a laptop with a German keyboard. (That’s right. I can only speed-worst-type with a German QWERTZ keyboard!) But that’s not all, dear worst-reader, that relates to Apple contradicting its dead hero. The Steve Jobs truck proclamation was about a few things other than just PCs. Wasn’t that also around the time when cloud-computing was getting its mojo on? You know, there’s no need to have a big (truck) PC for storing your files and data anymore cause, well, you can conveniently store it all on well-controlled corporate servers… in the cloud. Now ain’t that the ticket! (Sarcasm off.) Don’t get me wrong here. I’m using the cloud. But should it be the solution for future private data needs?
Before I get too far off worst-subject and get too far on about the conspiracy of corporate control over private data–which is all cloud computing is, really–there is one other thing that has gotten under my gander in this very confused post-PC, corporate control, krapp-touch-screen era. As I’ve said here, here and here, I hate the NAS industry. And don’t get me started on RAID (Synology, Drobo & Co., etc.) and how krappy that is. I mean, come on. With the cost of digital storage these days, why would anyone want/need to fiddle with the added ill-begotten complexity of things like RAID dished out in machines that are built to substandard, if not outdated hardware specs? For you RAID lovers out there, don’t fret. I get why you may (or may not) need it. But I remember RAID when it began. Then it was either about increased data speed or subverting the high cost of HDDs. So let’s move on.
It was a motivating factor for me to modernise a bit so I could 1) free myself and 2) live a little. Plus, I guess, I wanted some jewellery! (Sarcasm off.) The other reason I wanted to get rid of ageing hardware wasn’t because it didn’t work or anything like that. Apple computers are great even when they’re old. In fact, my old stuff ran flawlessly–and I’m sure the nice folk that bought it all will be happy with it for years to come. By-the-buy, that old friggin’ MacPro worked even when I took it with me to Bangelore, India, in 2016, where–get this!–the power went out ten times a day for the six months I lived there. With every power outage (surge?) that damn MacPro turned itself right back on and on and on. I never had one hardware issue with it. But enough about spilt milk, eh. It’s time to clean things up.
The main reason I got rid of the MacPro was because I was tired of maintaining large amounts of data (yes, for me, 3.5TB is large) on a device that needed days to move or copy it. Over the years, as stated, I’ve never had any major problems with Apple hardware but I have lost a few hard drives here and there–and the data that was on them. Indeed. The days of ripping, hoarding, maintaining multiple hard drives and waiting for terabytes of data to backup or copy are over. I’m tired of it. So it was time to prioritise, organise, get rid of the hardware, keep the data, see how it goes. And so. My personal data was about 1TB, including paper correspondence*. Media data is about 3.5TB. Since, as you can tell, I’m kinda frugal and cheap, if not bored of hardware, there was no way I was gonna invest in upping my data bandwidth or capacity. Fcuk thunderbolt & Co., and the same for 3.5″ HDDs, don’t you know!
Most of my personal files and data (1TB) was a rigamarole of duplicates and excess of worst-writing, employment data, official correspondence, etc., and I needed to dive into shark waters to clean it up. Indeed. Over a few months I weeded through it all and got it organised. I discarded all excess. And get this. It’s amazing, when you put the effort into it, to realise, like in the analog world, how much waste there is in the/your digital life. That worst-said, you’d be surprised how much digital AND analog space you can save if you put a bit of effort into getting organised–as opposed to just hoarding it all in the name of cheap HDDs that build up over the years. I was able to reduce that 1TB of personal data down to about 250GB, an amount that is easily maintainable considering the price and accessibility of portable (non spinning drive) storage. On top of that, I’m also using multiple and cheap 2.5 inch (yes, still spinning) external HDDs with TimeMachine for my remaining (2x) Macs. (At one point till mid 2018 I had five Macs running in my house.) Ok. Ok. My personal data is organised. What do I do with 3.5TB of media that I’d still like to stream–in my home media setup?
It’s a network station galore, baby. It’s not a NAS!
It’s taken a while, dear worst-reader. About two years, to be exact. Which also means I’m a bit slow (in more things than just tech). Nomatter. Starting with the genius of Raspberry Pi, I currently solely rely on single-board-computers (SBC) for all my personal home network activity, including household media streaming and, where applicable, extra data storage. With that in mind, what I’m doing here I also take with a grain of salt. I do not rely solely on this setup as a means for securing my data. Of all the old hardware that I sold late last year as a way to reduce my personal digital footprint, which was really about replacing too much old with a bit of new, this is where I’ve arrived–and it’s starting to look rosier and rosier. In fact, I’m getting more and more confidant, if all continues as it has, I will be able to heed my PC-truck-age cries: to never buy one of those stupid, fake-priced NAS boxes, e.g. Drobo, Synology, etc., that I love to hate. And. Since. Apple has contradicted its Master, let me just add: Trucks are $hit, too!
My network station setup. (Did I mention it’s not a NAS?)
In the pic above, I finally got my Rock64 (far left), that I bought in mid 2018, running OpenMediaVault (OMV). Using USB 3.0, it’s attached to my most recent thrifty purchase, an IcyBox JBOD 4-bay HDD enclosure. I got that enclosure for about 50,-€ used. It’s Stocked with 2x 2TB, 1x 3TB and 1x4TB drives, which are most of the drives left over after getting rid of old hardware. As far as OMV on the Rock64 goes, you can forget the ease–due to the variety of functional software–of R-Pi’s. These Pine64 SBC’s take a bit more effort, don’t you know–especially considering, what should be a staple on it, OMV, should work toot-sweet, even with a novice like me is at the helm. Anywho.
My choice for a file server is OpenMediaVault. It’s worked well on the R-Pi, albeit slow and hence the reason to go with the Rock64 (which has gigabyte ethernet). After numerous tries with both release and pre-release from Ayufan, I could never get OMV to work on the Rock64. Although it would be recognised on my network, once I started configuring shares, it all fell apart. Frustrated that no OMV Rock64 builds were ready–and I’ve been fiddling with them for six or so months–I gathered one of my spare R-Pi’s (far left in the pic) to give it a go–slow bandwidth be damned. Just before flashing the R-Pi’s SD-card, though, I did another quick search for a different Rock64 OMV build. Lo and behold, I found a build via the OMV website here. I flashed the SD-card and boom, baby. Immediately the look and feel of the build was spot on. Not only that, I was able to access all the drives of the external JBOD enclosure and set up shares. It’s been purring–with gigabyte ethernet!!!–on my network ever since.
Media = RockPro64 + Dietpi.
On the far right of the pic above is my RockPro64 in its fancy-pants Pine64 NAS case. It has a PCIe sata card and 2x 3TB HDDs. It’s been my trusty Plex media server for the past six months where I am able to store and serve my old 3.5TB of media data–as good if not better than my old MacPro. Just like the Rock64, though, it was a rough start with the RockPro64. I could never get OMV to work on it which was a big disappointment. The RockPro64 sat on my shelf because of that for a few months. Again, although the R-Pi’s are stable and are much easier to setup, there is that bandwidth limitation they have with ethernet and USB, the two being combined on the USB 2.0 bus. Nomatter.
So I kept fiddling around with various other builds for the RockPro64 till I finally discovered DietPi. And don’t you know, DietPi has been the best solution so far turning the RockPro64 into an amazing media server. Although it took of bit of effort to get back into the cryptic, command line interface of DietPi, I’ve since come to think of it as fun-time whenever I have to do anything with the RockPro64. DietPi has done a great job of creating a really friendly but also minimal build that is loaded with software that all seems to work–except, of course, OMV. But that’s neither here nor that at this point. Not only does Plex run great but I’m also running Pi-hole, to rid my home network of all those stupid and obnoxious internet ads, a WordPress iteration (that I use to experiment with) and, using a single Samba share, the RockPro64 serves various R-Pi audio devices in my house that all run Volumio. I’ve not yet begun to find all the RockPro64’s fun. Yeah, baby.
The stuff in-between.
Also included in the pic above is what remains of some old but functional hardware. As you can see, I’m still an Apple Airport fan. In fact, this is my third Apple Airport still in use. I use these devices for all my WIFI thereby turning off the WIFI from those krapp routers issued by ISPs. On my top floor I have an Airport Express that serves two bedrooms and a bath. For the ground floor, living room, kitchen, atrium and our master bedroom, is a newer AirPort Extreme. The older Airport Extreme (pic above) is in my basement and still provides great bandwidth when I’m ironing, working on my bikes, or just hiding from my better half and Beckett, the killer pug. In fact, I might even buy a fourth, newer AirPort Extreme in the future to replace the Airport Express upstairs. Even though Apple has cancelled these excellent routers, I’m gonna use them till the cows come running. By-the-buy, this one also serves as second TimeMachine. You see that HDD underneath it? That is an Iomega 2TB Firewire, USB 2.0 and USB powered hub HDD. It’s gotta be over ten years old now. I know. I know. I’m waiting for it to fail, too. But it just keeps going and going and going. But don’t worry, dear worst-reader. As stated, I’ve got more than two TimeMachine backups. So we’re all good there. (I hope!)
The other HDD case (the black case to the left of the AirPort Extreme) is a 2-bay IcyBox raid enclosure. I’m not sure how old it is–but I’ve had it for a long time. It has 2x 2TB drives in raid-0, i.e. 4TB. Although I rarely use it anymore, it does have some old data on it–none of which is unique. Once I get the Rock64/OMV to meet a few more criteria for file serving, I’ll transfer all that old data to it and then retire it, salvaging the HDDs for other use.
As far as being thrifty and rebelling against an industry hell-bent on ripping us off, also being able to re-use stuff that shouldn’t be made obsolete, the cost for the SBC’s mentioned in this post, is under €300,-€. Obviously, it takes lots of time and effort to get this thing up and running and I’m sure most working-stiffs out there don’t have the time for such endeavours. For tech gurus this is a nothing-burger. With that in mind, I’m kinda joyous right now. I’ve really had fun getting back into CLI, Linux and taking some of my fate into my own hands. Kinda rewarding, don’t you know. Or. Put another way:
*For worst-moi paper correspondence is all that snail-mail krapp you get, some of which can also be kind of important, that requires space. Sick of having to provide space for it, a few years ago I purchased one of them fancy-pants document scanners (only documents, NOT one of them stupid scanner-printer thingies that have been ripping people off for decades). I digitise all important snail-mail and store it appropriately. The remaining paper gets shredded and recycled, of course.
Subtitle: My friends 2015 MacBook has been through hell.
An old friend came by the other day to mooch of an extra bed on his way to a boating thing in Köln. He does that once or thrice a year, don’t you know. I mean, wouldn’t you? He gets a nice place to sleep (saving lots of money on a hotel), a great vegetarian meal (cooked by worst-moi who makes a great fresh Pesto), and, of course, an evening with worst-writer. For you see, dear worst-reader, he’s a nautical engineer–from Holland. I know. I know. What else is there to do in Holland, eh? Of course, I have to also give credit where it’s due. Even though he’s not much into technology, he was my first intro into the then new MacBook that Apple introduced in 2015, of which I was very skeptical at the time. By-the-buy, my better half ended up buying the device a year later, i.e. its 2016 iteration. At the time I was still using my MacBook Air (i7) and loving it but was slowly coming around to the new MacBook mostly because of the screen.
When my Dutch friend mentioned that he was gonna buy a first iteration Apple product, I tried to steer him away from it. But then he went on and on and on about how much smaller the new device was after he fiddled with it in the Amsterdam Apple Store and its size would help him work. He needed something that would be out of the way as much as possible, he said. And get this, dear worst-reader, up to that point he’d been using one of those white, polycarbonate MacBooks. So you get it, right, when I worst-say he’s not much into new tech. In fact, he actually made his old white MacBook last longer than I’ve ever made a MacBook last–and in the end it was pretty beat up, too. I’m just wondering if he’s gonna make this beat up jewellery-like device last longer than my pampered and shinny 2017 version of it. Indeed.
The only problem is, even before my better half, on the fly, without consultation from her household tech guru (worst-moi) purchased her 2016 MacBook, my Dutch friend has been bitchin & moaning about his the whole time. Worst long story short, since purchasing it, he’s had the keyboard replaced twice, the battery has been replaced once, and a few months ago, he even had the screen replaced. The good news is, the Dutch Apple store did most of the work on warranty. He did have to pay for the screen, though, on account it wasn’t Apple’s fault a truck ran over it. The one thing he’s not had replaced is the case. And what a case it is. Talk about dented jewellery. As you can see from the pics above, the MacBook has been through quite a bit. It’s been dropped, chucked (as in accidentally catapulted into the air) and, it’s even been run over by van–or was it a truck? Nomatter. A few of those marks on the bottom could even pass for it having been shot. But on that note I digress.
PS on the bottom my friend had his company logo put on to replace the “feet” saying that he need it to be more sturdy, if not sticky, while using it to input nautical engineering data while working on yachts. Cool, eh!
Even though the Apple store where I bought the same configured MacBook as the heavily discounted one in the link below in January, where they discounted mine by only €250,-, the idear of someone else lucking out and getting $600,- off, really hurts. Of course, it doesn’t matter at this point. I’m really digging my MacBook. My only hope now is that with Apple’s upcoming event at the end of this month, they will discontinue the 12″ MacBook. That way at least mine here in Germany (with a German keyboard) will maintain some value till I get rid of it on the used Market in about 18-20 months. That’s right. For those of you not in the KNOW. Apple products, unless you stretch them, are only good for about 2 years. If you’re really good at stretching them you can keep an apple product for up to five years. Stretching means that you have to avoid OS updates and then you have to be careful about app updates. I had this problem between El Capitan and High Sierra. With that in mind, I can also say that this may be my last Mac. At least it might be my last Mac for a while. Yeah, it’s time to go Linux, don’t you know. For example. System76 laptops are looking good right now. But more important, the automatons, lead by lead automaton Tim Cook, don’t seem to be able to continue Steve Jobs’ ingenuity, although I do think the Apple Watch is pretty good (it wasn’t developed under Steve). Apple products are really starting to suck–like they sucked in the 1990s.
Pseudo alternative subtitle: Years of digital living is hard to leave behind. But behind it must be left.
As mentioned here, I’ve been telling myself for years, and thereby avoiding a certain kind of reality, that I need a NAS (networked-attached-storage). Although I was able to circumvent having to own such a system till recently, after accumulating around four to six terabytes of personal data over the past twenty years, reality has crept in. Circumventing this need, by-the-buy, meant nothing more than instead of buying a NAS all these years, I just owned a bunch of computers. About three years ago, though, I started to cave-in. I was simply tired (and bored) of having to manage all the data on all those computers. Indeed. Three computers, multiple iPhones and iPads and lots of data confusion. Did I back that up, or this up, or what-up?
In order to protect all that data I habitually only trashed stuff I knew I didn’t need or could download again and again from the Interwebnets and then I maintained at least two copies of everything using TimeMachine. By-the-buy, I haven’t lost any data since a devastating disk failure about ten years ago. Since then I’ve lost several HDDs, though. That means, for each computer, I had at least two TimeMachine backups. But then there was all my media data. Since my media library was too big for any TimeMachine backup, I had to use separate HDDs to back it up.
And now for a short mute issue.
Of the three computers I owned, one was a massive 2010 MacPro. You know, the cheese-grader Mac. It was/is quite a machine. After about five to seven years, though, it really started to lose its lustre. Reason? It was useless as a desktop machine–compared to the agility of modern laptops–and it just didn’t cut it as a file server or NAS. I tried using Apple’s MacServer app with it to up its game, but that turned out to be nothing more than bloated and weird Apple dependent Krapp-software that screwed-up two of my HDDs with unix permissions! What I needed was a better and more flexible server that wasn’t all about Apple. I especially needed a way to serve SMB shares because I had long since chosen AGAINST Apple’s continued iTunes krapp and its subsequent Music streaming service. The most important thing I wanted was to be able to stream, on my home network, my personal digital music library to two different Raspberry Pi Hifiberry audio clients. And nomatter what I did, I couldn’t get that to happen with the Mac–unless I used iTunes.
Btw, iTunes sucks!
In its day, the MacPro was a great device. But, as Apple made it more and more obsolete, its graphic card was practically worthless when it was deployed in 2010, by 2015 it was a nightmare. Heck, I couldn’t even render 720p iPhone movie clips on it without wasting part of day waiting for it to finish. Long story short, it was not the do-everything server and headless Mac I was hoping it would be and it was definitely not a viable desktop machine anymore. Why keep it? So I sold it along with a MacMini, my trusted MacBook Air (i7), and gathered enough cash to pay most of the cost of an over-priced, jewellery-like netbook device known as a 2017 12″ MacBook. More on that here. Indeed. Part of getting rid of all that krapp was that I was just tired of how heavy it all felt. And boy is this new MacBook light!
Back to NAS hell.
Since round 2016 I had been looking for alternative hardware for my home network file management. Obviously one of them branded NAS devices was the only solution, right? Having used multi-bay hard-drive cases and even fiddling with a DroboFS a few years back–which I subsequently threw in the friggin trash on account it was so slow and cumbersome–I concluded that I would put off going that route for the foreseeable future. Indeed. That future has arrived. And get this: all those multi-bay hard-disk devices… they are all built like $hit and they all cost way too much. But then I came across some stuff on the Interwebnets and kept on reading and reading and reading. Enter my world of cheap SBCs. Soon one thing lead to another and since I already had a bunch of HDDs lying around, by 2017, I was an avid Raspberry Pi fiddler–as a means of subverting the idiotic NAS industry. It was exactly that little foray into the NAS world that caused me to realise, my world will only change if I make it so.
Apple’s eco-system wants not only all your consumption but also wants to consume you. Thank goodness we live in world where a 35€ credit card sized PC is a way around all that. -Worstwriter dot com
The foreseeable future task is to get out of the old world of monolithic branded computing and enter a world of something new. It was also about weaning myself from all that media data I had accumulated over the years. You now: ripped DVDs, Blu-Rays, my entire audio CD collection, etc. On the other hand, since 2015 I’ve digitised my whole world. But in the last few years I’ve realised that once you move form analog to digital, there’s no need for access to analog anymore. Or am I wrong?
Have the cloud and streamers won?
Between prime-video and/or renting movies with an AppleTV, I just don’t need the hassle of buying disks and digitising them anymore. Then there’s the peace of mind that it’s not all suddenly gonna disappear because, well, HDD makers all make $hit, too, I somehow screwed myself by not backing it up.
For the hell-of-it, and still pondering what I was gonna do with a half dozen or so HDDs lying around, most of which included copies of all my movie and tv files, could I, should I, finally break down and buy a $hit NAS? The SBC (and RPi thing) was working but something didn’t feel right about it. Yeah, a world of all-things beta just ain’t reassuring. Also, when I get bored, I have to consume-to-survive, don’t you know. So come on, worst-writer. Buy something!
Side note: Btw, all my personal and important data is now in the cloud and no longer solely dependent on HDDs. Although I still maintain HDD copies of it all, I’ve finally given in to the Apple’s iCloud being part of my digital life. So what about all those media files?
Break on through to the other side.
Since 2016 I’ve fiddled on/off with Raspberry Pi and a few old USB2 external HDDs. To my astonishment, the RPi as a NAS is viable. The only issue I’ve had using them is the size and capacity of external USB2 HDDs. Both 2TB and 3TB eternal HDDs seem to work but not 4TB. But that’s ok. Or? Also. TimeMachine backups using OMV work great. Of course, the little RPi couldn’t transcode a Blu-Ray ripped MKV file for my iPadAir but that just doesn’t feel important anymore.
Oh. Wait. Another mute-issue.
The RPi thing got my lips wet. So I thought I’d up my game and last year I gave an RPI killer a try. To my astonishment, the Rock64 SBC, offered by Pine64, was really, really cool. To my disappointment, though, the Rock64 ain’t ready for prime-time. External USB HDDs were unstable, ethernet was always falling off, and OMV (OpenMediaVault), compared to how it worked on the RPi, was wishy-washy at best. But those little Pine64 devices did prove themselves to be plenty more powerful than an RPi. Hopefully the software for the Rock64 will get out of beta soon. We’ll see.
Back again to NAS $hit.
Right after Xmas 2018 I started seeing various NAS offerings on sale on that you-know-who online retail site. For the heck of it, knowing with Prime I can always send it back, I purchased a mid-range 4-bay NAS through a warehouse-deal. It was a WD device from around 2015. But after reading various reviews and watching a couple videos, I thought: what the heck. When it finally arrived I filled it with four drives and waited for it to set up a RAID5 configuration. About two hours later I then plugged in one of my backup media drives to its “copy-now” USB3 port and hit the copy button. It took about eight hours but eventually it copied almost 3TB of movie and tv files. I then plugged in another drive with all my music files. After four hours that was done copying. I then went about setting up the NAS to be a Plex media server.
And here we go with all-things-worst.
Long story short: the WD My Cloud EX4100… sucked. The thing couldn’t even transcode one MKV blu-ray ripped movie to my iPadAir. At least it couldn’t do its anybetter than my RPi could. When I utilised both of its gigabyte ethernet ports, setting them up as some kind of duel connection to my home router, it only marginally improved file transfer speeds–but video was still choppy and broken. How is it that WD can even make such a krappy device and then make claims that Plex runs on it? So I erased Plex and gave the WD device’s internal DLNA capabilities a try, thinking that maybe Plex was just too bloated for the minimal specs of this device. Using VLC on my new MacBook and on my old iPad as a client, things only improved slightly. Nomatter what I tried, as far as I’m concerned, that piece of krapp NAS failed at everything–except being a basic file server from the early 2000s. Humbug!
So. Is there room for regret here? Should I have kept my old MacPro? At least that thing handled all the transcoding I ever needed. Heck, that thing could deliver transcoded movies and tv shows to four or five devices on my home network. So do I miss it? The honest answer is: No. I haven’t ripped a DVD or Blu-Ray since 2017 and I had no plans to do it in the future. Those days are gone. I’m committed to that change in (my digital) life.
I guess my worst-point about all this NAS ranting is this: WD, Drobo, Synology, for what they cost… suck-a$$. Too expensive or too slow–makes them no different than the world of PCs for the past thirty years. That’s why I’ve long since given into the MacBook I’m worst-writing this on right now and then simple fact that it is just my/a glorified typewriter that allows me to do lots of research, watch a video or three and manage files here and there. Which is all I need. Which also means: I’m slowly freeing myself from digital hell.
But all is not lost. I returned the krappy WD device and have gone back to the drawing board with those SBCs–as I’m not quite ready to dump all those media files yet. Heck, I even bought a super SBC from Pine64, its RockPro64. It took about three months to get here and when it finally arrived I could feel all my digital boredom making way for some renewed tinkering excitement. Considering I have spent less money for three different SBCs than I spent for a warehouse-sale on a branded NAS device that worked like $hit… And I’m not sure I give a hoot about all that media data anymore…
Yeah, it’s time to bravely move on and while doing so continue tinkering to my hearts ill-content.
Disclaimer: some poignant and verbose language is in this post. Good luck.
Yeah, dear worst-reader. We’re here once again. It’s time to get it on about my beloved & missed #Americant, the Land Of Free To Be Stupid, where dysfunction wallows in a toilet bowl that some think is a swamp and will never, ever, be cleaned. So what’s on the ranting plate this time? More mis-newz about the greed $hitshow of dysfunction that is the realm where college grads do their automaton corporatism at the behest of hierarchy, spite and, my favourite, sweet-bitter-schadenfreude. And what corporation best exemplifies it all? That’s right. You guessed it. Apple.
So. Like. I’m walking Beckett the killer pug and listening to the latest MacBreak Weekly podcast the other day and suddenly the pseudo-bourgeoisie talking-heads of Silicon Valley start talking about an article that tries to explain how #Americant can’t manufacture anything anymore–even if it wanted to, let alone follow the delusions of President Stupid. According to the article (see link below), the delay of delivering its über-expensive, trash-can über-Mac back in 2013 was due to the #Americant assembly plant’s inability to either get or make special screws that were required for the device. This caused Tim Cook & Co.–Tim is a specialist, by-the-buy, in manufacturing and sourcing, he is not a business or tech guru!–to have to resort to some extreme actions and order the screws needed to make this thing… you guessed it… In the end in order to make anything, even make something in #Americant, it can only be done via China.
Now. That’s all fine and dandy. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have made heads or toes about the issue. But then the Silicon Valley talking heads starting to ramble on about why #Americant can’t make the screws–instead of getting on about what the real issue is–what the real issue should be. For you see, dear worst-reader, it’s not about whether or not Tim & Co. can source the parts they need from inside the US in order to make the claim that an Apple product is made in US. The real issue, and the thing Apple doesn’t want anyone talking about, is the simple fact that the screws for the device are part of the companies ever lasting desire to monopolise everything. You know, as in, make everything it does, everything it sells, everything it shows, EVERYTHING, proprietary.
The problem is, when corporations get so fcuking greedy and resort to this level of, well, GREED–I mean what else is it really?–then things go awry. The reason they go awry is because customers don’t want to be burdened with proprietary stuff that shouldn’t be proprietary. I mean, we’re dealing with screws here, dear worst-reader. I get it that Apple owns its software and hardware technologies and it is the anthesis of open-source… But screws??? Seriously?
As you’ll note in the pic above, I’ve already scorned Apple for this level of bull$hit. Although the cheese-grader MacPro (I owned a 2010 MacPro until recently) was the best piece of hardware ever–and I wish I could have kept it–Apple’s lust for making great products obsolete has no boundaries (hence the reason I got rid of my MacPro). Of the four trays I had on my MacPro, each with four special, non-standard Philips screws made out of some form of soft-metal, at least two of the screws on each tray were stripped because I couldn’t get the proper screw-driver for them. Why? Why would a company do this? What purpose does it serve? Obviously Apple’s college edumacated bull$hitters–all of whom have probably never created anything–could answer that question toot-sweet–with more bull$hit. My point, though, is this: they don’t have to do this. Just like President Stupid doesn’t have to be an a$$hole and #Americants don’t have to be… #Americants… Then again… If everyone’s an a$$hole…
They’re just fcuking screws, man. And because the screws don’t meet the whims of corporate $hitbags that couldn’t manage their way out of a paper bag… The reason Apple can’t make its $hit in the US is because workers in China are better slaves than #Americants–but just give #Americants a bit more time. Plus shareholders and hoarders and greed-mongers love things the way they are. Ain’t that right, dear worst-reader? On that note, typing this worst-post on a new MacBook, I hope Steve Jobs is getting fcuked in the a$$ down in Hades lair right now.
We live in a world of Trump-Uglies and the disgust his ilk pro-creates. We live in a world of teeth-less, comb-over dog-fights that are clawless due to cosmetics and ill-fitted matrimony. And even better… We live in a world that is not lead by the merit of one’s or the collective’s actions. No. Indeed. We live in compulsive-behaviourism-world. You know, one absent of the superman symbol, which isn’t really an ‘S’. But don’t take my worst-word for it, dear worst-reader. Have a look around. In fact. You don’t have to look far. Just dip your head above the water-line and take a good look at the tip of the iceberg you’ve been living asunder. Squint, if you must. Pull on your eyewear. Adjust your teeth. But have a look at that tip–before you descend again to have it all ever-so slightly penetrate you. Familiar? Of course it is. There they are–at the top of the tip. The people you look at from your glamour magazine life which is stuck in a bathroom medicine cabinet because, according to Sam Shepard, it’s the best place in your house to avoid germs1. And there they are. Atop. Asunder beyond. The ones with all the friggin money and power and, of course, Trump-Uglies that you so enjoyed watching on your mind… I mean on you TV. Congratulations. Look at what you’ve done.
But I’m off subject. Again.
This is just another worst-post that is supposed to be about consuming-to-survive and figuring out to compete with the Compulsives.
Who?, you asked.
You know, just check out the leader of them: any friggin CEO.
And would you believe that Apple’s Tim Cook is panicking right now because the compulsion that has driven him, the things he learned in College, life, are all what didn’t get him to where he is today? Or did it? But let’s not get personal. No. Instead. Have a look at Apple’s stock price. I remember the price when one of them could be bought by Gomer Pyle… I mean Forrest Gump.
The thing to focus on is how corporations are starting to show signs of the fake economy that has been used to facilitate and build–your life. The(ir) game(s) is starting to show some transparency–or are they cracks? That is, the likes of Tim Cook are seeing what their seed/deeds has sewn/done. It is perhaps a thing called consume-love, don’t you know. This thing called perpetual war and all its mis-glory. This thing called… Hey! Hold a sec. Stop the worst-presses. Nancy Pelosi just kinda… sort-of… maybe… uninvited Trump and his piss-air to this year’s #SOTU. Now wouldn’t that be cool if Nancy could actually pull it off? You know, putting the $hitbag in his place. But. Again. I’m off subject.
To the article linked below.
First. I’m one of them cheap-o’s that took advantage of Apple’s battery offering last year. I’ve been struggling for almost two years now to keep my four year old iPhone 6s going. I’ve tried everything. I’ve purchased battery cases –which oddly only last about six months each before finding their way to the trash heap. I’ve erased all non essential apps from the device–in order to save on the trickery of tracking and surveillance that secondarily ruins battery life. Up do the battery deal, I did my best to keep it always charged at least above half-full. For don’t you know, dear worst-reader, at half full the iPhone 6s’ battery can die within minutes if not immediately put on charge. And so. Apple’s battery replacement offer for only twenty-nine Euros was a godsend to me last year. Wow, I thought. This might be the first time I’m not forced to buy a new phone when, in fact, I’ve got a perfectly good phone–if it weren’t for the compulsive behaviourism that drives the corporatists that think they work for a living but instead con-man us all into their product-obsoletism. I mean, come on. Who else can come up with this level of centralised economics run amok?
On the other worst-hand, maybe it’s time to buy some Apple stock.
Dabbling away, dear worst-reader. Dabbling away with the fancy of my new MacBook aka exuberant über glorified typewriter. Not quite two weeks in my consume-to-survive possession, the only issue I’m having with it so-far is the colour. Seriously. I love the keyboard. Don’t mind the single USB-C port (as I’ve got plenty of dongles already due to my better-half’s same device that’s a year older), and boy… I do not miss that fan constantly winding up and down on my previous 13″ MBA.
The question I’ve been asking is whether or not the colour of this fancy device can actually be called “gold”. No. Really. I’ve even checked the box it came in several times. It’s obviously not gold. Or? Then again, even though I’m quite afeared of the colour pink, it’s definitely not rose-gold (pink) either. Or? I suppose I’ll be dabbling in the coming days/weeks with what exactly “hue” is. In fact, would it be too much to ask that Apple re-label this: red-brass?
Ok. Maybe it’s time to wake up to my love of pink. Maybe.
What is it you do, dear worst-reader? In other worst-words, what do you do between the hell-day that is modern western consumerism run-amok aka Xmas combined with the ending of yet another krappy (worst) year in a universe lead by the greatest land of free to be stupid–that I expat-ed from 30 yrs ago? Obviously, beyond the luv-lust I have for my (beloved & missed) #Americant, there are a few other things that need be considered. Or?
And so, to busy my worst-self…
I don’t/can’t know what you do with your end-of-year time but here’s what I do that is all encompassing and subservient to shopping till I drop: I clean out my friggin basement. In fact, at the behest of my better-half, I cleared and cleaned and even profited from two days of sorting, hauling and picking cobwebs out from under my finger nails and my balding head. That is, after sorting the mess into what can and cannot be thrown away, there was a whole bunch of stuff left over that was totally sellable–and my wife needed it all to be gone. So sort & sell I did. But let’s be clear here. In order for my better-half to get me to do something akin to labour–and I’ve long since surpassed the sex-deal phase of matrimony–she said: But you only get to keep the analog-cash. And don’t you know, dear worst-reader, there is indeed a difference between analog-cash and digital-cash. She’s also the one with the PayPal account. And so goes these modern times of online yard selling, eh?
It’s been a long time since I’ve sold anything online.
Utilising that classified-ad service, and NOT its auction service, and as of the writing of this worst-post, I managed to raise, through analog (cash) means, the required amount to consume-and-survive a new motherfcukin MacBook. Am I getting too old for this sort of consumption? You know: pseudo-bartering? Probably. Can I afford–in these days of forced and/or coerced early-retirement–to buy krapp otherwise? Perhaps. But that’s not the worst-point worth worst-blogging about today, eh.
Things in the basement and throughout sold that contributed to new Mac acquisition:
2015 MacBook Air
A few vintage portable typewriters
Speakers (actually not yet sold but still working on it)
Tyres (summer tyres pulled from our new Mini and replaced with all-weather tyres; also not yet sold and will probably wait another two or three months to tick them off)
Coffee machine from Jura that was ten years old and broke, sold for scraps, etc.
Things from basement cleaning that were discarded or aren’t worth a hoot and made it to the trash-heap and counted as special work done by husband for wife’s pleasure and laughter:
Clothes and shoes and belts, etc.
A box full of Xmas ornaments never used
Sorted miscellaneous years worth of junk from two major world traversing moves, etc.
So get this.
This was the first time in about eight years, for my own consumption, I purchased a brand new Mac…retail! And, for posterity’s sake, for the record, before that and before Apple’s refurbished sales channel became part of my computing life, I always bought my Apple hardware used. For you see, dear worst-reader, if you want to save some doe but still own great computer hardware, I learned long ago that buying cheap PCs ain’t the way to go. If you know what you’re doing, there’s a plethora of used Macs out there that are worth their weight in gold.
Oh yeah, gold.
Yesterday I trekked to my local Apple store with a wad of cash and bought a 2017 12″ MacBook m5/8GB/512GB… in gold. And since this device retails for 1,800,-€, you’d think that it was actually made of gold. So let us begin this pseudo-review with that colour, shall we? In fact, as soon as the Apple-dude brought out my new Mac wrapped in cellophane my eyes started aching at my choice.
“Dude,” I said. “That ain’t gold.” I stared at the packaging and the image of the device on top of the box.
“Uhhhh… Sure it is,” he said.
I pointed to the cover of the box underneath the shinny and sealed viscose material. My mind’s eye was already looking at those silly stickers that Apple includes with these things–that I’ve never used–and whether or not they match the colour I was purchasing.
“Dude,” I continued. “The one I was looking at over there,” I pointed to the other side of the sales floor. “Over there on the presentation table. That one is gold. This one is…”.
“Uhhh,” the dude interrupted me. “That one is the 2015 MacBook. It’s a different shade of gold than this one. But this one is definitely gold.”
It’s gold because Apple says it’s gold, right?
I waved it off in my mind. There are more important things in life. Or? As the sales-dude continued to process my transaction, I pressed him with another issue. From my shoulder bag I whipped out a previous generation Apple bluetooth keyboard. You remember the one, eh, dear worst-reader? The little wireless keyboard with the mushy keys–just like the previous generation keyboard on MacBooks? I told him it when my MacBook is connected to a separate monitor on my desk but it broke a few months ago and I had been meaning to bring it in. He reminded me that hardware service was another part of the store and then he immediately called over another Apple t-shirted dude. I explained to the other dude that I’d like to get this keyboard repaired–if possible. Juggling between the two dudes, I whipped out a wad of analog-cash and handed it to the MacBook-dude. And I was till pondering my choice of colour, the sales-dude got a kick out of counting so many small bills, especially after I told him how I acquired it all. The service-dude on my other side started fiddling with his store issued iPad and informed me that the keyboard most likely is out of warranty. (Damn straight it is!) He also added that it most likely cannot be fixed. Then he informed that he could replace it with the same one for 60,-€. I told him that was fine since I wasn’t interested in buying Apple’s latest over-priced keyboard that–that he tried to sell me first.
Long worst-story short: while the service-dude was fiddling with getting me a new-old bluetooth keyboard I teased the sales-dude while he was still counting the bills.
“Dude. Say. You know I could get the same MacBook refurbished for 270,-€ less…”.
Worst-side-note: I’ve since learned that Apple differentiates its hardware sales channels and, although refurbished machines can be picked up at stores, they cannot be purchased at stores. That means, when you sell a bunch of krapp out of your basement and you’ve got cash and you’ve only got an online banking account–meaning I haven’t been in a physical bank for more than ten years–which also means it’s a pain in the a$$ to get cash into my account…
Back to our regularly scheduled pseudo-review.
Yeah, I reminded the sales-dude I could buy the MacBook quite a bit cheaper refurbished. Then I hinted to the question about the exorbitant retail cost of what I was about to do. Not responding to my un-witty challenge to his sales abilities, he turned away for a few seconds indicating he was gonna make me an offer. I turned to the service-dude who was happily fiddling with solving my keyboard issue as he pecked away at the screen of his service-iPad. Then the sales-dude turned back to me. He showed me the screen of the iPhone he uses as his cash-register slash price-calculator. He pointed to the screen and said this was his best and last offer. My eyes opened wide in surprise as this young whipper-snapper mopped the floor with me. He had taken 180,-€ of the MacBook’s retail price. Wow. That was kinda unexpected.
Take my money now!
While the sales-dude and I finished our transaction and he handed me my new MacBook and simultaneously emailed me the receipt as pdf document, I pulled out my wallet to extract the 60,-€ to pay for the new keyboard that the service-dude had just received from some other dude that obviously brought it out from the storage room. The service-dude removed the new (old) keyboard from a cardboard-box and then handed it to me. It was neatly packaged in cellophane just like my new Mac–but obviously less consume-to-survive shinny. I counted out the 60,-€ from my wallet, and at the same time wondered if I had enough left for lunch. Before I could hand the service-dude the cash, he turned around and smiled.
“It’a ok. We’re good. It’s yours.”
He handed me the neatly wrapped keyboard.
Apple replaced my five year old bluetooth keyboard that hadn’t functioned for over a year with a brand new one. Is that cool, or what? Obviously this transaction has to do with going into a retail store and paying a not-so-small sum of cash for a new, under-powered albeit discounted laptop. Yeah, I consider 180,-€ off an already inflated price a discount. Nomatter how you cut it, I think that’s worth calling it customer service, baby.
Why did I buy a previous year’s Mac for an enormous, overpriced amount of money that is obviously less powerful than practically anything else on the market–especially Apple’s latest hardware offering? The thing is, dear worst-reader, I’ve been using my better-half’s 2016 base-model 12″ MacBook on/off for a year now–along side my trusted (early 2015) 13″ MacBook Air (with the i7 CPU) which I had just sold. The newest MacBook Air, introduced in November 2018, which is very motivating, left me a bit un-dazzled. Apple’s new offering just didn’t rock my world. So here’s some rationale for this irrational purchase:
I’m a MacOS guy thru and thru–so it has to be a Mac and NOT an iPad and most certainly NEVER a windows machine. (But the future is bright for Linux.)
As I’m sure I’ve worst-written somewhere in this worst-blog before (see link above), I never buy first iteration Apple products (but my wife seems to slip one in every once-a-once).
Even though Apple did a pretty good job of finally finally finally coming out with a replacement for my 2015 MacBook Air, the new Air doesn’t cut it. At this point in my digital-world I don’t give a hoot about the latest & greatest hardware. To me it’s all about functionality. My wife’s spontaneous purchase of the 2016 12″ MacBook, which at the time kinda irritated me, did rock my world. The thing is this: the design of the new 13″ Air seems/feels like it’s more of an appeasement by Apple as it may or may not be in a hardware transition phase (Intel > ARM). In other worst-words: the new 13″ Air simply isn’t as appealing to me as the tech and engineering and design of the minuscule but functional 12″ MacBook.
I’ve had to travel here and there this past year. When I travel I always ask my wife if I can borrow her 12″ MacBook–as my 2015 13″ MacBook is too big for economy seats on airplanes. The 12″ MacBook, which is the size of an iPad, is a blast in economy seating–not to mention that I can type on the thing for hours and hours on battery! And so… Nuff said from a guy unwilling to pay for bidnessclass seats so he can afford underpowered, over-priced tech krapp.
I couldn’t bring myself to buy the 2018 MacBook Air because, well, as a first iteration product, it’s not a third iteration product–like the 2017 12″ MacBook. Have I mentioned how much I love typing with ten fingers on Apple’s new butterfly keyboard? While I tested the Air’s third-gen keyboard, I found myself missing the clickity-clatch of the second-gen keyboard–something to do with Apple having put plastic covers underneath the keys to protect from dust. Seriously. The butterfly keyboard introduced with the 12″ MacBook is nothing short of amazing–even if a speck of dust can break it. The good news is: Apple has a four year guarantee on these keyboards!
Oh yea. The colour.
Once I got home and unboxed it I walked around my house holding it up against walls, open windows, light bulbs, etc. I had to get to the bottom of the colour. Is it really gold? Once I had it setup, synced with iCloud, used migration assistant, etc., I did a quick search on the Interwebnets and discovered that the “gold” is actually a combination of the two previous two generation’s gold and rose-gold. The problem is, since I’m partly colour blind, it looks totally pink to me. I think. So I guess I need to trust my better-half who says she only sees gold.
The boredom of performance.
As far as CPU, graphics and hardware is concerned, and having just bought a “netbook” for the price of a real computer, i.e. a friggin MacBook Pro, don’t fret. I’m a writer. My digital world consists of typing, online research, more typing, a krapp load of typing and every once-a-once watching a movie. For blogging I do basic graphic/picture work, which is nothing more than cropping and resizing. I also manage my home network with my computer, which is made up of a bunch of old hard-drives and a single raspberry pi. And since this little thing is as fast–but definitely not faster–than my 2015 MacBook Air with the i7 CPU, I’m good with it. This MacBook is more than enough for my needs, especially since I upped the storage capacity to 500GB. Oh wait. Did I mention how much I love ten-finger typing on this thing–or how much I hated the mushy-keyboard of my old MacBook Air? Nomatter. The world is now pink-gold.
My 2015 MacBook Air came with Yosemite. I eventually upgraded to El Capitan. I avoided moving away from El Capitan for as long as I could. In fact, I totally skipped Sierra but then, eventually, I gave in and installed High Sierra. Result? I hated it. Main reason: the screen. Since the introduction of “retina” displays, which I think was after El Capitan, my guess is Apple did something with the OS that changed how older, non-retina displays worked. After El Capitan my old Air just seemed even more pixelated than before. I might be totally off with this assumption but my guess is retina-OS’s were/are part of Apple’s forced obsoletism. You know, kind of the same as what they do with batteries on iOS devices. Although skipping Sierra was the right thing to do with that version of hardware, giving High Sierra a try was better. Even though the OS worked fine, and I finally got to see the benefits of iCloud, that old screen just didn’t cut it anymore. Apple’s obsoletism works–if you can afford it.
So far, after only a few days of use, I’m impressed with Mojave except for one thing. The light and dark modes are cool. But if I choose light mode (on account I like dark mode to come from whatever app I’m using), I can’t change the menu bar to dark–which was one of the few things I liked with High Sierra. Whaaaaa? Come on Apple! Also. Full-screen mode is much better in Mojave, especially when the screen splits with two apps. Anywho. So far I’m digging Mojave. But experience tells me, either the next or the next-next OS update will ruin something for my new, over-priced, under-powered gem of a device.
There is no pink-gold dongle.
I purchased a fairly cheap dongle for my wife’s MacBook last year. Its cheapness meant you could only use one of the three available USB ports reliably while it was also hooked up to a monitor. Although my wife doesn’t need anything more than that, I do. I’ve learned that the worst part of dongle-hell isn’t the single USB-C port of this machine but instead the dongle makers themselves. The market for dongles is as confusion as it gets. So I splurged and purchased two new dongles. I bought my wife the Apple multi-port dongle that she uses to connect a second monitor, which also enables the monitor as a reliable USB hub. For myself I bought a dongle with seven ports. Although it gets pretty hot, so far, its three USB3 ports work without issue. The only problem remaining is that there is no dongle to match the odd, pink-gold (or is orange-gold?) MacBook. Oh well.
… The German, with a heavy accent, asks Tim in broken English, “wahn kahn ik pey myna bahr drink mit apple pey in Deutschland?”
The Jew, who is also the bartender getting ready to start his shift, turns to Tim, greets him by showing him the red dot on his new Apple Watch, and says, “don’t worry, Tim. We’ll let you know when you can.”
Now. Before any worst-reader gets all hot n’ bothered with my Semitic and stereotype joke, heed this: having lived among the Germans (the Huns) since the late 1980s, I think I can tell you why Germans hated Jews so much. It’s really very simple and not as complex as Hitler loving a$$holes the world over would have you otherwise think. The reason the Germans (back then) hated the Jews was because the Jews, of all the peoples of Europe that were integrating into tribes through out the (insert your favorite number of centuries here), the Jews were the ones that had the most success at life. That is, it was never about Jews running or owning banks, it was never about financing wars (with banks they either owned or didn’t own), and it certainly wasn’t about babies being devoured by long, pointy nosed werwolf type dudes or dudettes! No. The Jews simply had their shit together as a tight-nit group–that happened to be somewhat different than the onslaught of WASP/Christian-ism that was struggling so hard to find meaning (in anything) other than greed mongering as espoused by their own killing of the/their Christ/God. I mean, get this. As a family, Jews stayed together. As business owners, they stayed together there too. As achievers, they achieved like no other. (How easy it is to forget the achievements of artists, musicians, scientist of those days–who were all, thank God, Jews!) The Germans and many other Europeans, at the time, were nothing but a horde of ugly, disgusting, farting, fat-ass, knuckle dragging pseudo-religious $hitbags that couldn’t get by on their own wit because, well, they had no wit. And so, as WASP/Christian-ism tried to deal with the self-perpetuating greed of feudalism turning to capitalism, Jews simply already had the/a right/correct formula for life. They believed in something other than just money, they believed in something other than just pseudo-wealth and/or patriarchal power that they could impose on others. And so… How admirable is that? In other words, the reason Germans and so many Europeans hated Jews (to the point of murdering six million of them FOR NO GODDAMN REASON) was because they were all jealous and spiteful and moronic and ugly and disgusting and knuckle dragging… and and and… Oh look. It’s Donald J. Trump. He’s the new best of the best in the knuckle dragging tradition of a fail-upwards European aristocratic Wasp/Christian-isms that can’t seem to die-off–when indeed they should. But I digress.
How the article below (and screenshot above) got me thinking about Jews, Germans and the fact that Apple Pay is still not available in Germany but is available in Kazakhstan…? Oh well. Maybe what I’m really thinking about is that Jewish girlfriend I once had. Boy was she sweet. And she had such a nice family, too. I really liked her dad. In fact, he was the first guy that introduced me to computers. I’ll never forget those floppy disks and the way they slid into slots at the front of that IBM behemoth and then he hit the start switch at the back of the machine and it made a loud click and immediately hummed to life. After him telling me all about operating systems, floppy disks and boot-ram, etc, Gwendolyn and I finally went out on our date. (Note: names have been changed to protect the innocent.) That night after we made love in a park and I shot my goo all over her three times, she asked me if I was done searching for her red dot.
“Your what,” I asked as I was recovering with the hopes of going at it again.
“I think it’s time you find my red dot or I won’t let you almost die of happiness a fourth time,” she said.
As previously mentioned here, I’ve been dabbling of-late in the world of SBC (Single Board Computing). Reason? I’m on a long and curvy path to weaning myself from/of Apple and its hellacious eco-system. In fact, I’m currently fiddling around with the idear of getting off the whole greed $hitshow that is personal computing and digital eco-systems. I mean, come on, dear worst-reader. Am I wrong here? Am I the only one who feels a bit perturbed, penetrated, pissed-off at how one of the most successful industries in all of human history has managed to deject customers to the point of mutiny? Nomatter.
After installing three Raspberry Pi’s in my home network (2xclient; 1xserver), I’ve concluded that the time is ripe for not only SBCs but also Linux. Recent purchase and concurrent fiddle-diddle with an RPi 3B+ has done more than completely blow me away. But then again, I might be the only one looking deeper into the recent mega-purchase of Red Hat by IBM. Even though this huuuuge corporate transaction is about enterprise computing, what it really does is finally bring Linux to the forefront as an alternative to the fail-upwards, exploitative and non-competitive conglomerates of Microsoft, Apple, etc. Of course, even though IBM has a reputation for being just as exploitative as any other corporation, the one thing they can’t totally control is the Linux kernel that Red Hat was born out of . But before I get too far off subject.
These little beauts, SBCs, at least for me, have reached validity and user value above and beyond anything available in the old-school tech world of personal computing. Seriously. Although the RPi 3B+ isn’t quite there yet as a total desktop replacement, it is very, very… almost. At the least, the RPi has motivated a lot of others to fill the gap of producing alternative ARM-based desktop replacements, e.g. Intel. So far my little experiment with SBC’s, e.g. OpenMediaVault (OMV) NAS, RasPlex (media player) and Volumio (digital audio player), have all turned out to be solid functioning devices. I’m especially tickled with the RPi 3B+ and its enhanced but still limited ethernet–which is not quite gigabyte because of dependency on a USB2.0 bus. Nonetheless, I can honestly say, it’s a rockin file-server. In fact, it works so well, I’ve completely deleted my wish list for things like a Synology or a Drobo.
Although I was skeptical at first of the RPi 3B+ as a NAS–again, because of limited ethernet bandwidth–after a few months of use my skepticism is null. Easy setup, slight learning curve for OMV, take advantage of already owning several old 3.5″ HDDs, including powered hard-drive enclosures and… Boom! So far, the RPi and OMV, with 2x2TB HDDs connected via USB2.0, has worked flawlessly. Oh wait.
There was one issue when I hooked up the second HDD. I dug out another old hard-drive enclosure and after installing the HDD and then hooking it up to the RPi, I couldn’t get the RPi to restart. Note: the micro-USB power connector is what I consider the only serious flaw of the RPi. I’ve had trouble restarting them before. But after hooking up this second HDD, the problem really showed its nasty face. I’m not sure if this has anything to do with the HDD or just the RPi’s power source. Keep in mind, I’m using powered HDDs so there’s no excess draw on the RPi’s board. Also, I’ve purchased dedicated micro-USB power cables (5v-3a) for two of my RPi’s. (The third RPi uses a 12v-4a connector albeit via the HifiberryAmp2 daughter board; this is the best powered RPi I’ve used so far!) Eventually the RPi and OMV restarted but this seems to be a recurring issue if/when I have to perform a hard-restart. My guess so-far is that the problem is the micro-USB power connector of the RPi board. But let’s move on.
After a few months of use, I’m sold on SBCs. Even though I’ve not really taxed my setup with anything but samba, AFP, FTP and a TimeMachine backup server, including my entire music library to the HifiberryAmp2, which is my living-room music player, it works. Considering the price of SBCs, the small amount of know-how required to get them going, their low power consumption, they are definitely the beginning of a future without monopoly-monolithic products we have to deal with now. And so… In my search for a Linux desktop replacement, and fully satisfied with RPi as client device, I recently went ahead and splurged and tried something new.
After research and review, I concluded that it was time to break from Raspberry Pi. So I bought a Rock64 (4GB) from Pine64. I’ve been using it for several weeks now. Compared to the RPi, the Rock64 has true gigabyte ethernet and a faster processor. It also has 1xUSB3.0, 2xUSB2.0 and an emmc slot for increased data transfer compared to the micro-SD. Although this device has slightly higher specs than the RPi, including increased price, it’s my new favourite SBC. The Rock64 is even closer to being a desktop replacement than the RPi. With that in mind, the Rock64pro, the Rock64’s bigger brother, looks like it is the replacement SBC I’ve been looking for. Yeah, now you know my current wishlist.
The Rock64 isn’t officially offered in #eurowasteland yet. So I paid almost double for it in tariffs and import taxes. But that’s neither here nor there. After initial use, dabbling with several Linux distros, the Rock64 is a winner and I’m even sold on Pine64 and the software made available by DietPi. It definitely rival Raspberry Pi. So far, I’ve got VNC running so I can practice/learn Linux (headless9, Pihole blocking obnoxious internet advertising and I was even able to install WordPress and download this entire blog to it locally.
Worstwriter’s home network setup so-far:
MacPro[^2010 MacPro 5,1] with Plex Server
PlexMedia Players on various devices
2xAppleTV, 4xiOS devices
HifiberryAmp2, Volumio (DAP)
RPi/OMV-NAS (test bed):
Samba file server
TimeMachine Backup (this works better than Mac Server App on my MacPro!)
Rock64 (test bed):
Pihole – DNS server and home network ad-blocker
VNC – Remote desktop, headless SBC
LXDE GUI but mostly used for SSH access to learn Linux
WordPress.org – installed WordPress and imported this blog locally