Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Polishing the Apple

January 9, 2019

The “new” iPhone 5.

I may be smashing the State today, but yesterday I was helping Tim Cook turn Apple around.

No, I didn’t buy one of the new Minis, or even a new-used iPhone.

I had the battery replaced in the old iPhone 5. Set me back all of fiddy magic beans.

You’re welcome, Timmy old hoss. Don’t spend it all in one place.

I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

January 3, 2019

No wonder the Chinese aren’t wasting their money on iPhones. They’ve been saving their pennies to debut a Pink Floyd space opera.

‘Rubbish is money’

December 30, 2018

From malaise to Malaysia? Let’s hope not.

The 2009 iMac is heading for the Last Roundup.

Its fans have cranked up to 11 for no discernible reason for the final time. No more will its internal not-so-SuperDrive refuse to read a disc, its USB 2.0 ports decline to recognize the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, or its attempts to record and play back sound through same bring back memories of trying to tune in distant FM stations at 2 a.m. while piloting a ’74 Datsun pickup along U.S. 50 in Nevada, with a sixer of tallboys between the knees and rings of marching powder around the nostrils.

This iMac ran $1,200 new, but 10 years later Apple considers it worthless for any purpose beyond recycling, and frankly, so do I. P’raps Tim Cook will make a new MacBook Air or Mini out of the auld beastie and try to sell it back to me (at top dollar, it goes without saying).

That will be a tough sell, Timmy old scout. We already own a 2012 MacBook Air and a 2010 Mini. Both remain functional yet underemployed, like me, and so I think we can struggle along for a while before deploying the Visa card in the direction of Cupertino yet again.

I just hope this goddamn thing doesn’t wind up in Malaysia, where all the rest of our old crap seems to be piling up, when it’s not being buried in landfills or mysteriously catching fire.

Housekeeping notice

December 5, 2018

Here’s your head, there’s the keyboard, what’s your hurry?

The Wizards of WordPress are preparing a switch to “a new, modern publishing experience” called Gutenberg.

Having been through a number of new, modern publishing experiences during my association with WordPress in self-hosted, custom, and WP-hosted iterations, I anticipate a few hitches in the ol’ gitalong here at the Duke City Chuckle Hut.

I’ve been pretending this is not happening, the way a cat does with anything it deems out of order, but the guys at DrunkCyclist tell me that the bomb could drop this week. If you’re so inclined you can read more about the grand-do and foofaraw at MarTech Today (thanks and a tip of the Mad Dog propeller beanie to Nick W. for the head’s-up).

The bigshots are supposed to have access to a plug-in that lets them revert to the classic editor, but I’m not sure that option will be available to those of us slumped in the cheap seats.

So if for some reason you can’t find me here, look for me at my old Blogger bunker, which I’ve dusted off for this oh-so-special occasion.

A bit of InSight

November 26, 2018

Well, now that we’ve made a mess of this place, I see we’re scoping out some new real estate.

Mars looks like a fixer-upper to me — “Kansas without the corn,” say mission scientists — so no doubt we’ll get a good price and a hell of an interest rate.

I don’t expect we’ll get the damage deposit back on this rental, though.

Hope the new neighbors are cool. Hey, look, the Welcome Wagon! Ack ack ack!

 

O, Canada

October 2, 2018

Houston, we have a problem: Robot brothels.

From our You Can’t Make This Shit Up Department comes this sordid tale of e-hoes (iHoes?) in a town that’s up to its tits in the old-school flesh-and-blood models.

At the root of the problem is Kinky S Dolls, a Canadian outfit that claims to be the first AI sex-doll outfit to offer test drives. Seems our horny neighbor to the north wants to bend Houston over for its initial thrust into the U.S. market.

Hold your whoreses, say local Christians, coppers and politicos.

“This is not the kind of business I would like to see in Houston, and certainly this is not the kind of business the city is seeking to attract,” says Mayor Sylvester Turner.

And the not-for-profit group Elijah Rising has begun a “Keep Robot Brothels Out of Houston” online petition “that as of Monday had more than 12,600 signatures.” according to The Guardian.

But this is Texas, goddamnit, and at least one columnist says the goldurned gummint has no bi’ness telling a fella what to do with his tallywhacker and his android love muffin (the pearl-necklace metaphor seems particularly apt in this instance).

Anyway, just think of the jobs! No, not that kind of job, the other sort, which come to think about it is not that different from the kind you’re thinking of, especially if you’re the one who has to clean up the rent-a-robot between clients. It’s enough to give a fella the blues.

Hit it, Steve:

And they say Texas weather’s always changin’
And one thing change’ll bring is somethin’ new
And Houston really ain’t that bad a town
So you hang around with the Fort Worth blues

Another bite of the Apple

September 13, 2018

The iPhone 5. Sure, it’s old. So am I.

It’s that time of year again. Another golden delicious has fallen from the tree in Cupertino. Several of them, actually.

There’s the latest iteration of the Apple Watch, of course. Apple is always Watching lately. I have a Timex Ironman that’s so old I don’t recall exactly how or when I acquired it, and we get along fine. It doesn’t inform on me to the State or the Medical-Industrial Complex, and I don’t reset it with a hammer.

The Timex Ironman takes a licking and … yeah, yeah, awright, OK, I toldja I was old.

And then there are the new iPhones. Once the size of a wallet, they’re now as big as a purse, and the rubes will empty both to buy even the cheapest of them.

That would be the iPhone Xr, which goes for the low low price of $749 for the 64GB model. I imagine the 128GB model will be more popular, so tack on another fiddy for the additional selfie storage.

OK, lessee now, what can I get for my 2012 iPhone 5?

Apple GiveBack chirps: “Based on what you’ve told us, you’ve got $25 in trade-in value. We’ll happily turn it into a refund once we verify the condition of your device.” This is mildly insulting — not just the low-ball offer, but the language, which implies I’m trying to screw Apple instead of the other way around. But as a trillion-dollar company Apple doesn’t really need me and this dry peck on the cheek is all the foreplay a mutt like me is gonna get.

Hmm. Based on what I’ve told them, I have an iPhone 5 that turns on, with an enclosure and screen in good shape, and buttons that work. So I think I’ll keep using it until a critical number of those things are no longer true. How d’ye like them apples, Apple?

A love-hate relationship

May 25, 2018

Winter Table | self-portrait by The Burning Hell

This is why I love the Innertubes: You can hear something delightfully off the wall on the local NPR affiliate, look it up with a few strokes on the keyboard, and discover an entire band of Canadian weirdos you didn’t know existed. Well done to Peggy Hessing, who was spinning the platters during Friday’s Afternoon Freeform.

I’m particularly fond of the lyric: “Life is a comedian who used to be funny but then became a born-again Christian. Now it’s all punch and no punch lines and he calls his routine his mission. And he doesn’t understand the difference between laughing at and laughing with him.”

This is why I hate the Innertubes: Your “smart” hardware can use it to rat you out.

Siri chirped some inanity at me once when I had a lot of balls in the air and I told her to shut the fuck up. “I’d never talk to you like that,” she replied. You can say that again. But she can’t. I turned her off.

 

Danger, Will Robinson

May 10, 2018

“Call Uber, see if they’ve got those flying cars up and running yet.
I’d like to get the hell out of here.”

Remember when Google’s motto used to be “Don’t be evil?”

Those were good times, hey? ’Scuse me, I need to take this call. Hi, Dr. Smith!

Asked for comment, Skynet-Palantír-Magic 8-Ball CEO Sauron DeGreate said, “Eye have no idea what you’re so excited about. That’s a joke, I say, that’s a joke, son! Say hello to Siri for me.”

Losing Face(book)

March 20, 2018

“No sir, I don’t like it.”

Mr. Horse was nobody’s fool. I bet he never signed up for a Facebook account. You may argue that this is because he’s a cartoon character, but then so is Il Douche, and he’s all over Twitter. There, I’ve run rings around you logically.

A status update from Mike Keefe at the Colorado Independent.

Over at Wired, Brian Barrett argues that Facebook “has been a poor steward of your data, asking more and more of you without giving you more in return — and often not even bothering to ask. It has repeatedly failed to keep up its side of the deal, and expressed precious little interest in making good.”

And at CNET, Sharon Profis goes a step further, recommending that users cash out of Mark Zuckerberg’s casino, and showing them how to do it.

I croaked my Facebook account some time back after not using it in a good long while, and I haven’t used Twitter since the new year began. Snapchat, Instagram and LinkedIn are likewise safely in the DogMobile’s rear-view mirror.

Some critics will sniff and observe that I’m simply antisocial, and what keen observers they are, too. But as Profis notes, there are plenty of other ways to stay in touch with friends (texting, email, chatting over a cup of coffee).

Why, you might even start a blog with all the free time you’ll suddenly be enjoying. Be sure to send us a link. No, not on Facebook.

• Late update: Want to erase yourself from the Internet? It ain’t easy, says Abby Ohlheiser.

• Even later update: At The Guardian, Arwa Mahdawi recommends deleting Facebook at the very least. “The recent revelations about Cambridge Analytica are an important wakeup call that we are all living with the sociopolitical consequences of surveillance capitalism. We are, I think, at a critical moment where the degree of corporate surveillance to which we are all subjected can either get much better, or much worse. So, I would urge you to extricate yourself from social media as much as you can.”