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Preview: The Tao of Mac

The Tao of Mac

Tales from the Tech Trenches

Updated: 2018-02-17T10:15:51+00:00


A fast and lightweight Git client for Mac with Finder integration.



This is something I’ve been wanting for years. If I make it until the end of the month without losing my mind (currently death marching through a pretty demanding project at work), I’m definitely going to try it out.

If it works flawlessly with SSH key auth and ssh-agent (as well as the auth handlers I need to use for Azure), then it will probably become my default GUI client.

How Apple Plans to Root Out Bugs, Revamp iPhone Software



Sounds like a plan.

Let’s hope there’s a similar one for the Mac, and not just for software.

The House That Spied on Me



This is why I neutered the smart outlets I’m using by re-flashing them with Sonoff-Tasmota.

I haven’t yet set up a separate network for home automation (and will probably never be able to prevent everything from phoning home, since even our IPTV service collects usage metrics I can’t opt out of or block), but fully intend to get around to it.

Starman in the Sky



Even if the core booster failed to land, it was great to watch history in the making–and the “DON’T PANIC!” sign in the Roadster’s dashboard was just icing on the cake.

I had the good fortune to watch the launch live with my kids yesterday, and the synchronized landing of both lateral boosters was an utterly lovely, chilling moment:


I would love to work at SpaceX–it’s likely to be our most meaningful endeavor at this point, and they’re having a lot of fun.

What more could you ask of life?

HomePod: locked in



Nilay nails it–right now, it’s only worthwhile if you’re an audiophile (which I wish I had the time and money to be), deep into Apple’s music ecosystem (I still have ITunes Match, but have to wonder for how long) and can put up with the dumbest personal assistant of the lot.

I’ll pass.

Intel made smart glasses that look normal



These would totally work for me (although my prescription is challenging). Even with the limited resolution, notifications and some contextual prompts would be tremendously helpful throughout the day.

I can almost forgive them saying they’ll use JavaScript to code for it.

Back to the iMac


Last weekend, I got a new 27” iMac. Despite my earlier musings towards going fully thin-client and getting dual 4K displays, I was so fundamentally fed up with my current office setup that I had to do something about it. Worryingly, and despite my ingrained distaste for all-in-ones after owning a few of the early models, the logic behind it was a no-brainer. In short, the five main reasons were: It was discounted €300 (bringing it to €1870). My long-suffering desktop machine was, until today, a mid-2010 Mac mini, and eight years is a long time to live with that setup, even if I managed to keep it running with upgraded RAM and an external SSD. Despite it shipping with a Fusion drive (with a measly ~32GB SSD), it is still upgradable to a degree (it has accessible RAM slots). At current prices, I would have to spend an equivalent amount of money to get a comparable monitor (if there is such a thing) plus an upgraded Mac mini (which still doesn’t exist). I have given up on Apple doing the right thing. And the latter, I think, is the key aspect here. I have very little faith that Apple will release an affordable modular Mac, and I suspect that whatever they might be planning as a Mac mini replacement will not be user-upgradable in any way. Furthermore, given what they did to the iMac Pro (which foregoes even the RAM slot this iMac still has), I suspect that upcoming consumer iMacs will also not be user-upgradable by default, so I figured this was a great opportunity to buy a Mac that would allow me to upgrade something a few years from now. And I’ll take upgrading the RAM if that’s my only option, thank you. Also, my thin client plans wouldn’t be very efficient investment-wise. Although theoretically I could get a moderately decent 4K display and an Intel Atom box with HDMI 2.0 and good enough integrated graphics to drive a single monitor for around €800, I already own a 4K LG Ultrafine (which I cannot plug in to anything but a Mac at this point), and replacing it with something else just doesn’t make sense. In the end, being able to enjoy a dual Retina setup with 5K and 4K while my eyes still work properly won the day, and I’m quite pleased with the results–including connecting to my Surface Pro via Remote Desktop, which renders beautifully in HIDPI and is very snappy over the LAN. Bugs Migrating my stuff across went swimmingly (as ever), and I took my usual approach: I migrated my user account and reinstalled only the applications I use daily, which removes a fair amount of accumulated crud. So far, I only had two issues: FileVault refuses to let my migrated users unlock the encrypted volume (and a cursory search for fixes reveals that Apple has pretty much broken the setup process in High Sierra). My LG Ultrafine refused to wake up from sleep (another very common bug, it seems). I fixed the latter by installing the LG Screen Manager from their site (sorry, no easy link, their site is a mess of JavaScript-driven navigation, like most tech support sites these days) and upgrading the monitor’s firmware, and am currently trying to fix the former by disabling FileVault and re-enabling it. Yes, like an animal. After four hours of fiddling with fdesetup and sundry, which did not work (it did in Sierra…), and given that I have zero options in System Preferences to add or enable existing users to unlock FileVault (which is also obviously a bug), I decided to just turn the bloody thing off and on again. One thing that appeared to work was giving admin privileges to my user account (something I never do for security reasons), but that did not work in practice–so I’m now waiting to see if restarting the entire process will set the right security tokens and update the boot screen. Update: I eventually had to completely reinstall macOS to fix the boot screen, which wa[...]

CoreOS to join Red Hat



This is an interesting move. I’ve long thought of OpenShift as “Kubernetes for grown-ups”, and Tectonic does have a few nice twists, so I’ll be tracking this over the next few months.