Jared White
Expressively Publishing on the Open Web Since 1996

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Jared White

Tim Cook's Apple

Tim Cook wasn’t and isn’t a product person, not like Jobs. He didn’t dream up the next world-changing device. What he did was make those dreams a reality. Famously, he didn’t invent the iPad. He figured out how to make it for $500.

It would have been easy for Cook and his cool, steady Southern charm, to have continued as CEO much as he had as COO — running things by the numbers. But, even early on, Cook showed signs of something more.

A good summary by Rene Ritchie on Tim Cook’s seven year tenure as CEO of Apple.

In my opinion, Cook has been a better CEO than Steve Jobs. Jobs was a jerk, but he was also a creative visionary. Cook is neither a jerk nor a visionary, but he’s able to effectively lead visionary people at Apple while also standing for vital principles such as privacy and security.

Jared White

@jared@openweb.social on Mastodon

The “business model” (if any) and development model of Mastodon vs. App.net (may it rest in peace) is radically different…however I see them as both fulfilling the same important need on the web: aligning the goals of a social network with the needs of its community, rather than the actual paying customers of nearly all proprietary social networks: advertisers.

Mastodon is nothing without the community. And I love that.

So I’ve been on Mastodon, the #openweb federated social network, for a while now. I’ve seen it grow and grow, and lately with all the wackiness with Nazis and other unsavory characters on Twitter—combined with the mind-numbing lack of awareness on the part of Twitter’s top brass—I’m seeing a ton of “influencers” in the tech/geek crowd migrating over to Mastodon. It’s very exciting. What’s also exciting is I decided to set up my own instance of Mastodon! It’s called (oh how I love that I was able to snag this domain name): OpenWeb.social. The link above lets you see my account there, and you’re welcome to sign up on the instance if you want to try out Mastodon yourself. I’ll be happy to show you around!

Jared White

Trailer for Free Solo: in Theaters This Fall

“Alex Honnold’s Free Solo climb should be celebrated as one of the great athletic feats of any kind, ever.” —The New York Times

So this guy climbed up the side of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. By himself. Without a rope. If you’re already getting queasy and feeling a touch of vertigo just thinking about that prospect, you’re not alone! I definitely look forward to seeing this documentary film—the subject matter is truly astounding—but I’m not so sure my stomach is ready for the ride…

Jared White

I Wasn't Bullied as a Child, But I Got Made Fun Of a Lot

I know everybody has some type of complex that they deal with internally. And many people would probably say that while I may be short, at least I’m Intelligent, or have good hair or cool tattoos. I am definitely thankful for the things that I have in my life, but I have always had an issue with being short. It started in middle school when boys used to call me “small fry” or “bug,” etc. Throughout high school, many of my good friends were really tall, and even one of my best friends would call out about how small my hands were.

Fast forward almost 20 years later, and (as I mentioned earlier) people still comment on how short I am. I never really put that much thought into why I hated it so much. I would just try to push it out of my mind as quickly as possible and leave the conversation. It wasn’t until a recent bachelorette party with friends from high school that I realized how much I was bothered by it. Not by the fact that I’m short, but by having been picked on because of it my entire life.

I appreciated reading this article by Shana Bull because I can relate—not that I’m short, but because I got made fun of when I was young too. I was a really chubby kid and a bit of a klutz, and so I grew up thinking of myself as being just hopelessly nerdy and out of shape. Not athletic in the least. Certainly not “cool” in any sense.

It’s taken many years for me to get the point where I feel good about my body. Loosing weight, going to the gym, walking and running a lot…all things that have helped my mindset change. I’m not saying I’m ready to join a sports league now 😜, but I definitely no longer feel like the fat klutz of my youth.

It’d hard to shake off the labels people place on us. One of my primary goals as a parent is to help my kids feel confident in who they are and how they were created; to know that they have the power to define for themselves what they want out of life and to ignore the external voices of ignorance. I realize I can’t stop people from making fun of them, but I can help them resist the temptation to take it to heart.

Jared White

Tested: Apple's patch fixes the thermal slowdowns in the 2018 i9 MacBook Pro

Apple’s patch on Tuesday seems to fix most —if not all —of the clock speed excursions that the 15-inch MacBook Pro was experiencing when under load. AppleInsider delves into the situation, runs the numbers in some real-world applications, and talks about what led us to this point.

I’ve been following the news of odd performance glitches with the top-of-the-line (Intel i9-based) MacBook Pros from #Apple, and (like everyone) speculating what might be going on. I certainly hoped there was some kind of software issue at play here and not a faulty hardware design. But I assumed if that were the case, it would be at the OS level…maybe Apple would release an update to macOS to improve performance on these particular models. Instead, Apple released a firmware update to supply a “missing digital key” — the lack of which had a negative effect on “the thermal management system”. It’s definitely not good PR for Apple to have this sort of QA oversight result in a news cycle of pointed commentary on the slow performance of its flagship laptops. But I’m glad the fix appears to be a relatively simple one.

Jared White

Jared White: Internet Author

Not everyone finds it easy to put pen to paper (so to speak). Perhaps your plate is so full you’re ready to delegate your writing tasks to a dedicated producer.

Whatever situation you’re in, I’m here to help. I can take your raw ideas, the inception stages of your content pipeline, and transform them into professional, polished work.

An essay. A short post. A social media quiz. An inspirational quote. An in-depth tutorial. No matter what the need is, whether it’s 1500 words or 15, I’m up for the challenge.

You’ll be proud to take the original content I provide and share it with your growing audience.

I realize how terribly self-indulgent it is to link to myself on the blog here, but I’m starting to get the word out that I’m now available for hire as a freelance writer. If you’re looking for original content production, I’d greatly appreciate your review of my services and portfolio.

Jared White

A History of the Classical Guitar

During the five centuries of the classical guitar’s existence, the instrument has completely changed in physical dimensions, shape, stringing, and tuning.

While a guitarist of the Renaissance may have played their way through delightful court music on a tiny instrument designed for strumming, by the time the 20th century rolled around the guitar had increased drastically in size and totally changed construction. You’d be more likely to hear an avant-garde sonata than courtly trifles. Somehow, these incredibly dissimilar instruments both come under the category of “classical guitar.”

I’ve known the basic contours of the guitar’s history for a long time, but this helped fill in a lot of the gaps in my knowledge and was very enjoyable to read. The YouTube video examples are fantastic as well.

Jared White

New 2018 MacBook Pro Lineup with TrueTone and Up to 32GB of RAM

Apple today updated MacBook Pro with faster performance and new pro features, making it the most advanced Mac notebook ever. The new MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar feature 8th-generation Intel Core processors, with 6-core on the 15-inch model for up to 70 percent faster performance and quad-core on the 13-inch model for up to two times faster performance — ideal for manipulating large data sets, performing complex simulations, creating multi-track audio projects or doing advanced image processing or film editing.

On paper these specs certainly look impressive, but we’ll have to wait and see how some of the details shake out such as the feel and reliability of the “third-generation quieter keyboard” in these new models. I’m cautiously optimistic that #Apple finally got it right this time. And seeing TrueTone arrive on the Mac for the first time makes me giddy with excitement — after using an iPad Pro for a while, it’s hard to get excited about a standard laptop display. I’m also happy I don’t have to hear complaints about a 16GB RAM ceiling anymore! Folks, if you have cash to burn on a 32GB model, knock yourselves out. 😜

Jared White

Coinbase to open large Portland office

San Francisco cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase confirmed its plans to open a downtown Portland office and offered more details on its Rose City plans.

The fast-growing company intends to hire up to 100 people in Portland as part of an office that will include customer support, finance, compliance, IT and human resources, the company said in an announcement.

“Opening a new office in Portland will help us tap into the city’s incredibly talented, innovative open-source and blockchain communities,” said Tina Bhatnagar, vice president of operations and technology in a written statement.

Despite the extremely rocky road that #cryptocurrency has traversed this year, I remain very bullish on this technology. I believe the future of #finance and transactional systems is clearly on the side of software-based monetary constructs, and no other company I’m aware of is better positioned right now to drive us toward that future than Coinbase. (Full disclosure: I own a very modest amount of cryptocurrency.)

#portland has been a hotbed for financial startups for quite a while now (Simple is but one example), so it makes a great deal of sense for Coinbase to establish a large presence here. Hopefully that will serve to strengthen the fintech industry here overall.

#payments

Jared White

Everything you can imagine is real

Justin Peters takes stock photos and combines them into fantastical and mind-bending scenes. I’ve seen lots of this sort of thing, but these are particularly well done. The one with the umbrella and the road is a straight-up optical illusion and broke my brain for awhile.

Photographic artwork that mainly serves as a way to show off optical illusions or slick Photoshop skills is usually pretty uninteresting to me, but these images are so creative and well-executed, I was drawn to them immediately. #creativity

Jared White

Tears ‘R’ Us: The World’s Biggest Toy Store Didn’t Have to Die

Private equity firms Bain Capital LP and KKR & Co., along with Vornado Realty Trust, took over the company in a $7.5 billion leveraged buyout in 2005. For the next 13 years the owners would watch a succession of executives try to halt the steady slide of Toys “R” Us amid a recession and retail upheaval. As the last big toy store chain, Toys “R” Us had a captive audience. Kids could reasonably be counted on to badger, drag, or otherwise persuade adults to bring them to toy stores, especially if they were fun and hands-on. Those adults would more readily acquiesce if the stores were well organized and the toys competitively priced. There could have been an alternate ending for Toys “R” Us.

As a kid growing up in the 80s and early 90s, a family expedition to Toys “R” Us was like going to Disneyland. The store felt impossibly huge, the selection endless. Magic lurked around every corner. My dad had gotten us hooked on HO model trains, so every time we went on a trip there we returned with a new train car, or additional track, or a landscaping bundle. I have a whole collection of Matchbox & Hot Wheels cars, most of which I got from Toys “R” Us.

Fast forward to my now life as an adult and a father: taking my own kids to Toys “R” Us within the past few years, I was rather stunned by how shabby and unmagical everything seemed. At first I simply shrugged it off, figureing my favorable recollections were simply due to my childish enthusiasm for toys. But then when I caught wind of the news about Toys “R” Us being on the brink of bankruptcy, I realized that the stores really had gone down the tubes since my childhood.

It’s a shame. I’m sorry my kids won’t get to have the same epic experiences I once did. And it sucks that the only big box toy retailer in America has gone extinct. Having only Target and Walmart there to fill in the gaps is not an appetizing thought.

Jared White

Merged! Microsoft's $7.5 Billion Pull Request for GitHub

The acquisition provides a way forward for San Francisco-based GitHub, which has been trying for nine months to find a new chief executive officer and has yet to make a profit from its popular service that allows coders to share and collaborate on their work. It also helps Microsoft, which is increasingly relying on open-source software, to add programming tools and tie up with a company that has become a key part of the way Microsoft writes its own software.

So many conflicting emotions! A lot of developers are shell shocked at this news, although there’s nothing really shocking about the announcement. Microsoft has gone through a huge cultural shift over the past decade, from a company with a famously antagonistic attitude towards open source software to a company that’s a leading contributor and supporter of open source. It makes a heck of a lot of sense for Microsoft to aquire the platform that powers modern code collaboration. And financially, it’s certainly a big win for GitHub. The problem here is that is been bad enough that so many open source repositories and development workflows have been built around a proprietary, commerical entity. Now that entity will be Microsoft. It’s not hard to speculate that a lot of open source software teams and proponents of free (aka libre) software principles will be seriously reconsidering the tools they’re using in light of this acquisition.

Jared White

Facebook wants to become your internet service provider

Facebook and Qualcomm are working together to provide high-speed connectivity to urban areas. The goal is to provide multi-gigabytes per second speed at a lower cost. Terragraph will use Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) to replace cable or fiber connections. Subscribers will have a home access point that then broadcasts Wi-Fi to a Mac, iPad, etc. “With Terragraph, our goal is to enable people living in urban areas to access high-quality connectivity that can help create new opportunities and strengthen communities,” Yael Maguire, vice president of connectivity, Facebook.

Facebook’s working on several significant internet connectivity solutions right now. Terragraph is their newest experiment. My simple take on these initiatives is this: as long as #Facebook ensures their ISP division only provides a “dumb pipe” that allows all internet traffic through without modification or prioritization, then I think their efforts are a good thing. But somehow I suspect what we’ll really get is internet that’s free because it’s subsidized by Facebook ad tech and prioritizes fast access to Facebook.

Jared White

Jekyll’s Hidden Depths

As anyone who has used Jekyll for a while knows, it’s capable of so much more than first meets the eye. Jekyll is an amazingly powerful content system right out of the box. But with a few added plugins or creative uses of existing features, it can do almost anything imaginable. I’ve built a wide variety of websites on top of Jekyll over the last couple of years and I still feel like I’m learning new tricks every day.

If you’re curious about the technical aspects of how I used #Jekyll to build this #website, you’ll want to read this article.

Jared White

As easy as 1,2,3…

In every day life we all do our calculations, whether for the taxman, our purchases, paying the household bills or in some academic discipline, using the place value decimal number system. It consists of just ten symbols (numerals) – 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0 – with which we can express any number, of any size that we may require. The value of the symbol changes according to its position – place – within the number that we write. This is an incredibly powerful and efficient method of writing numbers and the algorithms that it uses also make it a very efficient system for conducting calculations.

What a facinating read about the history of our number writing system! It’s so easy to take how we represent numeric values and how we do even basic math for granted; we forget that this was all invented at certain times by certain people hundreds or thousands of years ago.

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