Jared White
Writer. Musician. Open Web Advocate. Programmer. Designer. Sci-Fi Nerd. Family Man.

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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.

Jared White

GitHub offices redesigned

Rapt Studio’s architects jettisoned the space’s man-cave décor and replaced it with an eclectic mix of modern furniture. In lieu of the trendy shipping-container cubicles that had been there since 2015, there are now cozy spaces designed like residential living rooms. They’ve also built a room for nursing mothers, a prayer room, and gender-inclusive bathrooms. In the library, there are even sculptures of female trailblazers in computing. While GitHub’s workforce is still predominantly male, the redesign reflects CEO and co-founder Chris Wanstrath’s ambition to foster a more inclusive workforce.

My god, the ergonomics of these newly designed spaces look absolutely terrible. We’ve known for decades now that having a small screen and keyboard on a table where you have to crane your neck down all the time (aka how most people use laptops in open offices and cafés) promotes a horrible posture and will cause major structural problems over time. Those weird bed/pod things litterly make my spine hurt just looking at them.

Where the hell can you just sit at a desk, look at a big screen directly in front of you (let’s say an nice Retina iMac), have a decent keyboard try at elbow level, and use a chair that allows for proper setup of lumbar support, arm rests, mesh back for muscle cooling, etc.? I would never work full-time in a place like this. Never.

Here’s a basic article on correct posture sitting at a computer workstation — this is not rocket science folks!

Jared White

I’m Sorry I Criticized You, Apple. You Win

This is a time when an entire driverless car industry is trying to convince the world that its products are safe before it can even come up with convincing stats — or prevent deadly accidents like the one in Tempe, Arizona, earlier this year. This is a time when Google is trying to subvert new privacy regulations to turn them against content producers. A time when Facebook, blasted by media and regulators for ignoring people’s privacy concerns, starts a dating service which will collect people’s most intimate data.

This is a time when companies whose innovations are more intrusive than useful, more gimmicky than problem-solving, operate with business models that either burn investors’ cash or turn the users into products.

At a time like this, Apple is a rock of common sense, sobriety, dignified engineering supremacy, prudent financial and supply chain management, effective marketing, and customer-oriented retailing. It’s a traditional business that does most things well, demands a high price for it, and receives that high price. With Apple, what you see is largely what you get, and when it’s not, the company will not just apologize but offer a fix.

While I think Leonid Bershidsky is overblowing the “boring maturity” angle here, there’s a valid point to be made. #Apple is taking its role of being a primary purveyor of computing devices and online services seriously, and is doing its utmost to design products that provide top-of-the-line performance, usability, security, and #privacy — which is what users actually want. So much of what many other tech companies put their efforts into is not what users want…it’s what those companies and their investors want. It’s definitely time we as consumers stopped accepting whatever it is that Silicon Valley hands to us, and maintain a more critical eye towards whatever the Next Big Thing is that somebody’s peddling.

Jared White

How Can a Marriage Work if No One is in Charge?

[While talking with] an acquaintance of mine…he said that, generally, in his marriage, decisions are made together. But if ever there is an important decision they can’t agree on, he makes the final call as leader of the household. His examples of situations where this rule might apply were, “which house to buy, what city to live in, or how many children to have.” I was flabbergasted. He was actually saying that if his wife disagreed with him on which house to live in or how many children they should have, that he would get the final say. This was a much bigger deal than pepperoni or pineapple on your pizza. These were life altering decisions that he would make, knowingly going against his wife’s wishes, because he is a man, and gets the final say.

In some circles within Evangelical Christianity, there exists an ideology known as complementarianism, which claims that in both church and home contexts, God’s will for men and women is that they have different and distinct roles that are “complementary” with each other. This view results in the troubling endorsement of patriarchy—that is, men are to lead and women are to follow their leading.

I appreciated reading this article by Kelly Ladd Bishop because she did an excellent job illustrating just how absurd and offensive this position is to those of us who are egalitarians. Not only do we endorse egalitarianism in marriage, church, and life—we can’t even fathom how to do it any other way. I couldn’t possibly imagine overruling my wife in any sort of important matter. Why in God’s name would I want to? Either we’re a team or we’re not. We do the hard work of building towards consensus in order to move forward (or not) on something vital. It’s not about who’s going to win and who’s going to lose. That’s a sad, sad perspective and simply not a valid portrayal of the deeply relational character of God and of Christ.

#marriage #ecclesiology

Jared White

Review: Season 4 of Amazon’s Unstoppable Cop Drama “Bosch”

In its fourth season, “Bosch” remains as good and solid as its namesake hero. The creation of author Michael Connelly, good ol’ Det. Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch (Titus Welliver) is a no-excuses cop who is haunted by his past, but you wouldn’t know it because he’s also incredibly businesslike. He’s not crippled by his obsessions nor addictions, he’s not a quirky savant with exceptional detecting skills, and he’s not in any way an obnoxious attention seeker.

Instead, his appeal is that he does his job without fanfare and as honestly and implacably as possible, while occasionally overextending himself. And so too does “Bosch” the series. It’s why it was Amazon’s top-watched original series for several years until “Sneaky Pete” sneaked in: “Bosch” is so reliable in how pure and straightforward it is that a series-altering event in the first half of the season is actually shocking when it happens. More on this later, but we promise no spoilers.

This show is hands down my favorite “nitty-gritty” detective show. I’ve enjoyed the past three seasons considerably, but this one that just dropped is not only equal in quality to its predecessors but exhibits some of the most compelling acting from its lead characters to date.

One of the best aspects of the show is the father-daughter relationship between “Harry” Bosch and Maddie, now an adult of 18 years. The basic goodness of their rapport and the depth of care they have for each another is a rare gem in TV storytelling. The Bosch duo is the heart of the show and a light that remains even in the midst of crime, corruption, and darkness.

Jared White

Handwritten Score from Handel’s Messiah

The notes on these pages show Handel hastily adapting an aria in his most famous oratorio. He conducted performances from this score, including the first (in Dublin, 13 April 1742). It was copied from Handel’s original manuscript by his amanuensis, John Christopher Smith the Elder, but these two pages are wholly in the hand of the composer. Handel often altered the score to suit each performance, adding names of singers and new versions of some sections.

Seeing an actual manuscript by Handel to one of the most incredible pieces of music ever written is something truly special (even if it’s only in digital form).

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