Categories
Technology

Why Blog? To Be Useful

Cheri Baker, a published author, has a personal blog hosted on micro.blog called Hypertext Monster. Cheri’s blog has been around since 2018. She’s written over 500 posts and more than 40,000 words. And she writes well. I love her posts.

In 2021, Cheri asked herself why she blogs. This is an excerpt of her insightful response:

Lately, I’ve struggled with why I’m blogging. Am I merely an attention-seeker in a different venue? Might it be emotionally healthier to disappear entirely, to take up full residence in the flesh-and-blood world, to keep my damn thoughts to myself?


Writing is how I think. These essays turn a vague swirl of emotions and opinions into something I can work with. And why share? I tell myself it’s because I want to be useful.


Every writer wants to be read. Every writer feels a little thrill when something they wrote plucks someone else’s heart or mind like a guitar string. But where do I draw the line between the various types of sharing? Is it all the same? Am I a narcissist?

I don’t think sharing makes someone a narcissist. We’re just people being people. And I like people! Absent toxic manipulations, the blogosphere can be an extension of the real world. I so enjoy posts by my fellow micro bloggers. Yes, even donut photos.

Still, I remain leery of my own motives. I am harder on myself than on others.

You can see how others have answered the same question here.

Categories
Photography Technology

First Impressions: Apple M1 Max

I recently upgraded my 15 inch 2018 MacBook Pro which has 32 GB of RAM and a 2.6 GHz 6-Core i7 processor. I use the laptop mainly with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I don’t do anything more taxing. I bought a 16 inch MacBook Pro M1 Max with 64 GB of RAM.

I noticed a major speed improvement right away. I have one large Lightroom Catalogue with many collections and smart collections. On the 2018 MacBook Pro, the smart collections have been slow to load. On the new machine they are sometimes instantaneous and sometimes very quick. The difference is dramatic. Editing in Lightroom is quick and responsive. Photoshop handles large files quickly and easily.

The screen is amazing. I see detail I did not see before. Some photos that I thought were in focus now seem slightly out of focus. The dynamic range is wonderful. This is the best screen I have ever seen.The keyboard is very nice. The built in speakers are louder than I expected on a laptop.

It’s early days but so far I love the new M1 Max. Apple really delivered.

Categories
Technology

Privacy Resources

I have found the following to be useful sources of information about privacy and am sharing them to help other people:

Even so, Gmail has a lot to offer if your main concern is security, as distinguished from privacy:

If your main worry is that hackers could gain access to your email, then you should rely on Gmail. To be clear, for a majority of users, the threat of hackers trying to break into their emails looking for a way to make a quick buck is more real than the threat of a government investigating them as part of a crime. With the proliferation of phishing attempts and the threat of hackers obtaining your password via hacks of other services, this is what the average consumer should be worried about. Google has one of the best teams of security engineers in the world. Moreover, the company has several strong security mechanisms for users to protect their account.

Vice

Categories
Technology

AirPods Max

I’ve had Apple’s AirPods Max for about five days. My initial impressions are positive:

  • The sound is phenomenal. When I get new headphones I listen to my favorite music to compare the sound. The detail and depth of what I hear is like nothing I’ve heard before. I don’t want to stop listening. And I am not a big listener of music. I mainly listen to audiobooks and podcasts. But that may change now that I have these headphones. Apple has really provided immersive sound.
  • The noise cancellation is impressive. I have not used the headphones while flying but I have tested the noise cancellation with a vacuum cleaner. I can barely hear the vacuum cleaner while listening to music at a normal level.
  • The headphones are big. To me they don’t feel heavy. I cannot see walking down the street wearing these headphones. I will use the AirPods Pro outside. Having said that, I saw someone walking around with the AirPods Max and it looked fine.
  • The earcups feel a little scratchy on my ears. I stretched the headband and now they feel much better.
  • The controls are very easy to use. I love the digital crown. It’s very easy to find and use.
  • Call quality is excellent. I hear callers clearly and they hear me clearly.
  • Transparency mode works well. Spatial audio is very nice, especially with the right movie. I don’t feel like I am listening through headphones. It’s hard to describe.
  • The case is not to my liking. I ordered a third party case from Waterfield Designs. In fairness, I generally don’t use the case supplied with over-ear headphones. Still, the Apple supplied case is odd. I have never put the headphones in the supplied case.
  • The battery does not run down much when the headphones are just sitting on a table, which is where I leave them when I am not wearing them. All day battery life is no problem.
This is the AirPods Max case I ordered.
Categories
Technology

Privacy: Major News Sites Collect Data Too

Timothy Libert, a computer science faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, wrote in The New York Times in 2019:

The press has performed admirably in reporting on privacy violations by the National Security Agency and major internet companies. But news sites often expose users to the same surveillance programs and data-collection companies they criticize. Even articles that explained how the N.S.A. was using Google cookies to “pinpoint targets for hacking” often included the exact same cookies revealed by Edward Snowden. Likewise, articles about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica often include Facebook tracking code, allowing Facebook to keep tabs on what people read.

Libert points out that surveillance on news sites can reveal personal information like political leanings and health interests.

We all need to protect ourselves even when visiting “trusted” sources.

Fortunately, Libert’s site reports no trackers.

Categories
Technology

Why Blog? – A Place to Speak One’s Mind

Photographer and blogger Kirk Tuck, in summing up his 2018, wrote:

Everyone should have at least one safe space in which to be archly and profoundly opinionated.

I’m not sure if Kirk was writing tongue in cheek. In any event, I always look forward to his posts.

Kirk’s blog is called the Visual Science Lab. He’s been blogging since 2009 and has more than 1,300 followers.

Given all that has happened, 2018 now seems like a long time ago. I wonder what the next two years will bring our way.