From the Electronic Frontier Foundation: How to Enable Advanced Data Protection on iOS, and why you should. I’d like to set this up among all of the devices we have here, but we run a lot of older gear that won’t be covered under this seup—and the idea that if I do enable this, we’ll lose some functionality on things like the Apple TV or this old laptop doesn’t thrill me.
Mac OS Firewall Primer
Includes some good UNIX info and shell scripts.
Apple Passwords deserve an app. This. If ever there was a need crying out for an app (no, I’m not going to download your fucking app to order a pizza/register for a class/buy a coffee/find directions to your location/redeem a coupon) it would be this. Come on, Apple. I’ve dealt with the ongoing nightmare of LastPass repeatedly stepping on its own dick and claiming nothing is wrong for months now; moving over to a native system-based lockbox shouldn’t have been this hard. Keychain Manager is a relic from OS 10.1 and should be made friendlier and easier to use; the Passwords control panel inside iOS is handy but should be elevated to an app.
My brother in law and I drove down to Bob’s house on Sunday to install a new bathroom vanity, and I was glad for his help. It’s not heavy but it’s bulky, and having two people to get it up the stairs, into the bathroom and over the toilet to fit in the corner was super helpful. 1970’s bathrooms were made for hobbits, I think. We had to return the original sink that had been delivered with a giant chunk broken off the backsplash, and were able to exchange it with another off the shelf. Then we spent most of the rest of the day chasing plumbing fittings down. His house seems to be nonstandard in all the most annoying ways; by the time I had the sizing sorted out it was 5PM and the standard-sized reducer we found to go on the paint waste pipe didn’t fit the P-drain kit we’d bought—which claimed it would fit anything. Good times. So we contented ourselves to cut and fit some kickplate, swapped out the original plug with a GFCI unit, and measured for a new medicine cabinet.
Renie, you will be glad to know I’ve figured out the notification preferences out for my AirTags. There’s a handy little setting to specify not to be notified at certain locations—so I’ve got notifications off for when I leave the AirTags and all my other location-aware devices at home, for example. Down at Bob’s on Sunday, the tag I put in my messenger bag worked exactly as advertised when I left to go to the store. So I’ve got three of them activated and serving different purposes, and I have an idea for the fourth.
For the last three weeks I’ve been battling a weird form of insomnia. For my whole life I’ve been able to go to sleep almost anywhere, and make it the whole night through, even when I’d have to get up to go to the bathroom. But lately I’m waking up at 3, sometimes 4AM and I’m unable to get back to sleep. My mind is off and running, and I’m working through problems and issues from the day and I can’t calm it down to return to sleep. I might doze off and on until Finn’s alarm goes off—this morning I had a pleasant dream where Emma Watson delivered a pizza to our house, and I sat down with her and had a wonderful conversation about shooting the Harry Potter series with her even though I’d never been there or knew her—but more often than not I’m just awake. I don’t drink caffeine after 11AM anymore. I’d spent a good part of the day running up and down Bob’s stairs. The previous day I was on my feet for 14 hours straight. Something is clearly going on with my brain or my metabolism; I just haven’t figured out what.
My sister sent us a Christmas care package filled to the brim with amazing, thoughtful gifts. The highlight for Finn was a Kanken backpack covered with cool metal and cloisonné pins; she immediately ditched her black LL Bean backpack and moved everything over to the new one. One of the things she gave me was a 4-pack of AirTags, which I’ve been curious about for years but haven’t ever pulled the trigger on. Intrigued, I set two of them up and put one in my travel messenger bag and the other on a keyring.
Since then I’ve been getting messages on my phone whenever we leave to walk the dog to tell me I’ve left my messenger bag, keyring, iPad, AirPods and Apple Watch behind (I don’t wear my Apple Watch all of the time). Somehow activating the AirTags kicked off a bunch of notifications for all of the location-aware Apple gear I own; my phone vibrates constantly. I’ve got to figure out how to turn off all but the essentials, I guess.
As part of our remodeling in the Living Room, we’re opening up the space for new furniture and a new layout. Now that the built-in bookshelves are installed, it’s time to remove the bulkier furniture we don’t need or that doesn’t fit. I broke down the IKEA Expedit bookcase we’ve had in there since before I changed jobs and listed it on Craigslist for $20. The next step will be to disassemble Jen’s oak library table and store it safely in the basement, and move my carpenter’s trunk upstairs in the blue bedroom. There’s no way we’re getting rid of either of those items, but they are too big for our current living room. The West Elm chairs could be here anywhere between this Friday or the middle of March; we have no idea but want to be prepared.
On Saturday we drove down to Bob’s to bring food and spend some time with him. The three toilets I delivered two weeks ago are now all installed, including the one in the bathroom I’ve been working on. While the plumber was in there working we arranged to have him lower the flange to floor level, so that wrinkle has been ironed out. We’ve got a new 36″ vanity on order and waiting to be delivered this week. The plan is to head down on Sunday, set that in place and hook up the sink. I may rope my brother-in-law in and have him come in to help; we’ll see.
Wow, look at that. Fifteen years ago this week I started demoing the old exam room in preparation for a renovation; I think it was this same day Jen came in and told me she’d just gotten a positive result on a pregnancy test.
I’ve been using a cast-off MacBook Pro from work for email since before the pandemic; I have one good machine cobbled together from multiple out-of-service 2013 Retina models—this one has a drive from one machine, a replacement battery from another, and a screen from a third. It’s serviceable for what I’m doing on it, mainly email, photo selection/cataloguing, and other basics. But I’m stuck at OS 10.14 on this machine and I’d really like to upgrade to the latest version for security and modern features. It can’t talk to my iPad, which kind of sucks. It suffers from random 1-5 second freezes. There are some applications I can’t run anymore.
I think it’s time to upgrade my personal system here, given that the last truly new MacBook I bought was back in 2011, funded partially by the sale of my previous laptop. I’m looking at something ligher and slimmer (and cheaper) than a true MacBook Pro, which points at a MacBook Air: They’ve just updated the model to the new M2 chip and it goes head-to-head with the 13″ MBP with only a few minor omissions that I don’t care about at all. I’m waiting for a large expense report check to come in from work, and when that does, I’m going to pull the trigger.
© 2022 Bill Dugan