Five fiction books I've read in 2018 and would recommend, along with very brief reviews. 'The Good Daughter' by Karin Slaughter, 'The Outsider' by Stephen King, 'Norse Mythology' by Neil Gaiman, 'How To Stop Time' by Matt Haig and 'Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine' by Gail Honeyman.
Emoji candidates for inclusion in Emoji Version 12, which will be released in March 2019.
I like to read and I firmly believe that, most of the time, written articles are better than videos or podcasts for imparting information and instruction. This article represents my dubious attempt to justify that position. I'm not against video and audio per se - indeed I love watching films or listening to music - I'm talking about things like help texts, how-to articles and similar.
ArsTechnica reports that ISPs now advertise up to 41% slower speeds after new regulations in the UK make ISPs advertise more accurate broadband speeds.
There are many list taking and mild project management apps for Apple products. I've tried a few of them but OmniFocus remains my favourite. In this article I review OmniFocus 2 for macOS and 3 for iOS, the latter of which finally brings proper support to the iPad platform. I really like this app and it would have a five star rating if it wasn't for a couple of features in the iOS app that particularly bother me.
Nick Heer's excellent article highlights much of what's wrong with the web today. Well worth a read.
The BBC reports that Google is planning a search-like app that complies with Chinese censorship laws despite withdrawing from China in 2010 on 'free speech' grounds.
I've long bleated on about why you should have your own website rather than use the so-called 'corporate web' and I bleat on about some more here. I do feel this is a really important issue and it's the only way to protect your own words, photos and videos, immune to the whims of the likes of Facebook, Google, Tumblr, Blogger and similar. I also point to IndieWeb in this article as they provide an excellent blueprint for doing just this.
An article by the BBC about the prevalence of fake news. Some MPs are calling for greater regulation to combat this, particularly online.
I love Bear Writer and that love is growing the more I use it. One of my previous criticisms of the app was that I wanted categories as well as tags (similar to Ulysses) but now I see why tags alone works in Bear.
A recent experience with John Lewis has made me reassess a company I always used to have a great deal of respect for.
When I set up my home gym, I decided to use Bodypower Rubber-Encased Tri-Grip Olympic Weight Plates and I've mostly stuck with them throughout, adding additional plates as necessary. I have a couple of minor reservations but they're pretty good over all as you'll see by this review.
A BBC article announces that Larry Page's flying car company is now training people how to fly them.
Depression is an isolating disease, and of course that isolation perpetuates it. It took me over 20 years to learn to trust someone when I'm in the throes of depression and even now I don't always get it right. I do however recognise how important it is to do that.
Phones suck, basically.
I quite like Filemaker. It has a few longstanding peculiarities that sometimes make it awkward to use, but it's useful when you need a quick and dirty database app. I'm now on version 17, which is the latest, and this is my very brief summary of it.
The Next Web's summary of Apple's 2018 WWDC. Quite a few things were announced that probably interest many people, although I'm a little nonplussed.
Windows 10 is a lemon of the most lemony order. In my latest battle with it, it has the temerity to reenable the Windows Update service, despite me disabling it, and then it completely fails to install the update it so urgently wanted anyway. The ultimate solution to this failed update is, it says, to reinstall the entire OS. What a crock of shit.
If you're in the EU, GDPR has been everywhere recently. I'm basically in favour of it as a stepping stone to my ultimate desire here, which is for us to have full control over our data as a commodity. I explain a bit more about this here and particularly look at what's right and what's wrong with the way the Washington Post seems to have handled GDPR.
The Drake Equation, which estimates the number of planets currently inhabited by intelligent life in our galaxy, can vary greatly depending on the numbers you plug into it. The thing is, there isn't a lot of agreement about what those numbers should be. It makes the whole thing rather pointless and I have serious reservations about the usefulness of this equation but, just for fun, I plug my own numbers into it.
I have recently had a fair amount of communication with Apple regarding a support issue and this has reminded me how many tech companies shun email support. I think this is a bad idea because it's the most efficient and convenient method of support in a lot of cases. This is a particular issue with me because I'm partially deaf and being forced to use telephone support makes things quite difficult. Technology companies in general need to offer more email support.
A CBS News article about Google's search and search advertising dominance. An anti-trust lawyer is interviewed about this situation.
As someone who worked in IT for 35 years I often get asked to help out with the computer problems my friends and relatives have. One common thing I get asked is if I can get back some data that has been deleted. I then ask if they have a backup and the answer is often a disappointing no. It is essential you take backups because you'll most likely need them at least once. This article just gives the basics of how I think you should backup your computer and what data you should back up. I'm going to point all my friends to it.
ArseTechnica article about how Chrome will flag insecure websites rather than secure ones.
I have long avoided social media where possible but I thought I'd try out Twitter for a while. This is my resulting guide on how to survive social media.
I live in a complicated situation at the moment. I bought my flat from a company in receivership and the receivership process has been running all the while I've been here (over two years now). The freehold recently went bona vacantia, which means it's now owned by the Crown, and in this article I pass on what I know about this situation.
An article from TechCrunch about the Medium blogging platform and how it has changed the rules, screwing some publishers in the process.
A BBC article about a butcher who has been told his light-hearted, humorous signs might be offensive.
I keenly await Bear Writer updates these days. The team have now released Bear Writer 1.5, which includes selectable TagCons, additional default tags for better searching/filtering, export to ePub and more. This is just a brief article looking at some of the best new features.
I initially struggled to find iPad stands that suit me for my 12.9 inch Pro. I always wanted two - one for use on my desk and one for use on my coffee table. In this article I review the Yohann iPad Stand I've chosen for my coffee table although, at the time of writing, it's the only stand I have and it's being used on my desk too.
A BBC article about how Amazon and Trustpilot reviews can be bought by unscrupulous vendors.
A New York Times article shows that Facebook has been largely unaffected by the privacy scandal in terms of its profits and revenues.
A monkey can't sue for copyright, which ought to be common sense. Unfortunately a less intelligent species than monkeys became involved - lawyers.
I'm not a massive fan of talking about politics. I find the partisan-based decisions people make about the subject to be irrational and illogical. But in this article I point out that I don't believe politics at the level we usually talk about it is a valid route to real change anyway.
Social media has many ills. Many, many ills. But one of them is the way it has reduced the significance of one's 'own site' and the subsequent branding and identity that affords.
An article from the BBC about how Facebook is trying to dodge new EU privacy regulations.
An article from Gizmodo about iPod productivity. It claims an iPad is not a laptop replacement.
An iCloud transfer issue, which wasn't at all the fault of Ulysses, forced me back to Bear Writer and in this article I explain a little about how I moved my articles between the two apps and tagged them appropriately.
My review of Ulysses, in which I wax lyrical about it and determine that, as far as I'm concerned, it's the best writing app available for the MacOS and iOS platforms. Alas, after writing this I switched over to Bear Writer and I explain why in the addendum of this article.
A review of MoneyWiz, the personal accounting software for MacOS and iOS (and Windows and Android as it happens) created by Silverwiz Ltd. I started using this to replace the iBank/Banktivity setup I was using before.
An overview of how Facebook has abused users' privacy.
I love my Ironmaster IM2000, as will be apparent from this review. I have a small area I can set aside for workouts and a full-blown power rack (with a cable system too) was just too big to fit. The IM2000 is a perfect alternative and it earns itself a five star review from me.
Punk was awesome. Or at least I thought so. Here are some tunes you might have forgotten about or at least not heard for a while.
In a diversion from my normal sorts of article, this one looks at the rights of owner-occupiers v landlords in a building management company set up under Right To Manage (RTM) legislation. It's something I've been heavily involved in over the last few years as an owner-occupier myself.
How should we use categories and tags on a blog? In this article I present my own particular view of how it should be organised.
My first impressions after unboxing a new 12.9 inch iPad Pro and accessories. I also describe how I've gone about setting things up as part of my project to see if I can effectively use an iPad Pro as my main computer instead of a MacBook. There's more to do here, so this article just describes the beginning of the process.
The software that drives this blog is Jekyll and when a MacBook Pro running MacOS was my main computer, I could install Jekyll locally and do all my builds on MacOS. However, there is no version of Jekyll for iOS and I needed to rethink my blog maintenance procedures. This article describes how I reconfigured my Jekyll processes for iOS.
Apple should really make this simple but there's no easy way to add Exchange aliases to iOS. This article presents a way to achieve it, although it's an ugly and inelegant method.
I have been thinking about switching from using a MacBook Pro to using an iPad Pro as my main computer for some time now. After six months of research and indecision I decided to take the plunge today. In this article I explain why I'm making this switch and how I assessed my requirements. I then ordered the hardware.
David Bowie's 'Rebel Rebel' is an awesome song, but I've come across and even more awesome live version of it. I link to that here after giving you a potted history of my musical tastes.
I was getting Virtual Memory Size Exceeded notifications from CSF relating to PHP FPM on a particular domain. This is how I fixed things so I wasn't continually pestered by these messages.
I hate sprouts and I fear a great conspiracy is at the root of campaigns to force us to eat the damn things.
A review of the Ironmaster Superbench. I really rate Ironmaster's workout equipment. I have an Ironmaster IM2000 and I bought an Ironmaster Superbench as part of the package, which is what I'm reviewing here. I think this is one of the best multi-purpose, flat-incline-decline benches on the market.
I hate being late for anything. It's one of those things that drives my anxiety off the scale and it's something that bothers me significantly, maybe unduly so. So here's my rant about tardiness.
My ideas about why we have digital piracy. I lay much of the blame firmly at the door of the digital media companies.
Since adding a new domain to my CPanel server, I've had AutoSSL renewal errors. These have been emailed to me via the AutoSSL check that runs overnight. Anyway, the problem (at least in my case) sits with the .htaccess file and here's my solution.
A review of the Powertec Workbench LeverGym. This is the first bit of workout kit I bought when I moved from a five-bedroom house with a garage to a two-bedroom flat. I needed something with a fairly small footprint.
Five years ago I switched from the Windows platform to Apple. I bought an Apple MacBook Pro back in 2013 after 20 years as a Windows user, but would I now switch back?
A review of the Body-Solid Series 7 Smith Master System. Back in my youth I did a lot of weight-training but then life got in the way and I took a 20 year layoff. When I was 46 I took it up again and this is the kit I originally used for my weight-training when I restarted.
A review of the 8th film in 'The Fast and The Furious' franchise. No, just no.
My reasoning behind using Jekyll to power this site. I've used Wordpress on many blogs in the past but I didn't need all the features it provides for this blog and a static blog generation app seemed more appropriate. This article looks at how I came to decide to use Jekyll.
A review of Shiny Frog's Bear Writer, which I really like and assessed to see if I could integrate it into my GTD process. I think it's ideal for note-taking, short-form writing (blog posts and such) and journaling, although some people might not like the subscription model it uses. I think it's worth looking at if you want a Markdown-based notes app.
Exclamation marks are overused and abused these days and we need the grammar police to be vigilant in prosecuting offenders. I'd guess at least 99% of exclamation marks used in electronic communication are inappropriate and unnecessary.
The Wilks Score allows powerlifters and weight-trainers to make an equitable comparison of the weights lifted regardless of body weight, gender and -- with a modification to the pure Wilks score -- age. This article explains how to go about calculating your Wilks Score.
This article describes how to add Microsoft Exchange aliases to MacOS mail, which was quite a palaver under previous versions of MacOS but is much easier from Sierra onwards.
Back in the 1980s I found a Holy Grail of GTD which was essentially a very upmarket Filofax. I've been searching for the software equivalent of that ever since the personal computing age dawned. In this article I describe my GTD process, which, alas, is no Holy Grail yet.
If you've upgraded your CPanel system from EasyApache 3 to EasyApache 4 there's a possibility that CSF (ConfigServer Firewall) won't run correctly. This is because the EasyApache upgrade moves the Apache log files. This article explains how to correct this problem.
If you get the p0f appears to be down message after upgrading or rebooting a cPanel system, I have a fix for you. I haven't yet worked out how to stop it altogether but this fix holds things steady until the next upgrade or reboot.
The process I used to install Jekyll on MacOS 10.11+ (actually 10.12.6) after encountering errors such as 'You don't have write permissions', 'public_suffix requires Ruby version >= 2.1', 'Your Xcode (7.2.1) is too outdated' and 'rbenv shell command not found'. It was a bit of a nightmare, but I got there in the end.