It’s the time of year when many people ask me if I can help them install the new beta version of iOS on their phone. I am usually reluctant to help, and with iOS being more popular than ever, I would like to make clear exactly why you (as a non-developer) should never upgrade your phone to a beta…
The best article/interview I read today. I agree with Lanier on so many things. Here are a few of my favourite passages from the interview:
I think what’s been happening is a shift from the formal to the informal economy for most people. […] So there’s still a lot of human effort, but the difference is that whereas before when people made contributions to the system that they used, they received formal benefits, which means not only salary but pensions and certain kinds of social safety nets. Now, instead, they receive benefits on an informal basis. And what an informal economy is like is the economy in a developing country slum. It’s reputation, it’s barter, it’s that kind of stuff.
[The idea of a job] …was all a social construct to begin with, so what changed […] is that at the turn of the [21st] century it was really Sergey Brin at Google who just had the thought of, well, if we give away all the information services, but we make money from advertising, we can make information free and still have capitalism. But the problem with that is it reneges on the social contract where people still participate in the formal economy. And it’s a kind of capitalism that’s totally self-defeating because it’s so narrow. It’s a winner-take-all capitalism that’s not sustaining.
We don’t realize that our society and our democracy ultimately rest on the stability of middle-class jobs. When I talk to libertarians and socialists, they have this weird belief that everybody’s this abstract robot that won’t ever get sick or have kids or get old. It’s like everybody’s this eternal freelancer who can afford downtime and can self-fund until they find their magic moment or something.
As a struggling freelancer myself, this last quote did really strike a chord. The interview is a bit long, but really worth your time.
I’m going to get right down to it: you should buy Linger for iOS (here’s an App Store link). The app lets you explore the Prelinger Archives, a collection of short movies, ads, PSAs and propaganda from the 20th century all on your iPad (it works great for iPhone too).
Even if you’ve never heard of the Prelinger Archives before, you’re probably still familiar with the style of videos you’ll find there, the old black and white movies, showing assorted clips with a wholesome-sounding narrator.
Oh yes. Definitely recommended.
A USB extension cord to the rescue
Some time ago, I purchased a Iomega Prestige, a very portable external hard drive. I’ve got the 500 GB model with a USB 2.0 interface. One cool feature of drives like this is that they don’t require an AC adapter. They come with a short cable with a dual USB connector, to draw enough power for the drive to work.
The dual USB connector looks explicitly designed to be plugged into the two adjacent USB ports most laptops sport today. Most, but not all. The 15” and 17” aluminium PowerBook G4s, some of the pre-unibody MacBook Pros, and the current MacBook Airs do not have adjacent USB ports, but one on each side of the computer. If you have one of these models, connecting the Prestige (and similar compact portable drives) can pose a problem.
Earlier today, I needed to pass a few folders full of photos from the external drive to my 17” PowerBook G4. How to do things quickly without having to use another Mac as intermediary? The solution was easy, and hiding in plain sight. When I bought the wired Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, included in the box was a USB extension cord:
The cord had been lying over some books on one of my desks for months. It was time to put it to good use. Thankfully, it turned out to be long enough. (Sometimes you find USB extension cords like this bundled with other external desktop drives, or with accessories like USB hubs, but they usually aren’t very long).
And voilà, connection established.
I know, it’s not an exceptional revelation, but I wanted to talk about this because sometimes even expert users might miss a simple solution. The thought of using an extension cord came indeed rather quickly, but at first I hadn’t realised I was already in possession of such cord, and was about to go out looking for one. In the rush of installing and using some new peripheral, it’s easy to overlook or forget about certain little adapters and accessories that came in the box with it.
Also, it wouldn’t be a bad idea if portable drives such as the Iomega Prestige actually included a USB extension cord, just in case.