October 13, 2017
On Una Pizza Napoletana's instagram feed I caught this neat video of a new pizza peel being made. But while it was playing I noticed there was something a little bit off about the router they were using. Like hey, it has a little screen and they put some tape down on the wood and… what's going on here?
So I followed up on the name at the end of the video, found the website, and behold: Shaper Origin.
It's a handheld CNC machine.
Let me repeat that.
IT'S A HANDHELD CNC MACHINE.
How amazing is that?
I could try and explain how it works here, but you should really go watch the videos instead.
I need one of these. Maybe I can go halfsies with a neighbor or something.
October 12, 2017
The Suggested Donation podcast has an inspiring interview with artist Jeremy Mann.
It's easy to look at Jeremy's work and be mad at how amazing it is an then say to yourself "F that guy. Jeremy is super talented/gifted and that's how he does it all". But after listening to this interview, you'll see that he attacks his work with a level of passion that nobody but him will probably ever understand.
You're still mad of course because that's what jealousy does to you. But you'll respect his work ethic and realize he one hundred percent earned his talent.
If you're the type of person who enjoyed watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi, you're going to love this interview.
October 11, 2017
Washington State Election Security:
"Election security and integrity are critical to the foundations of a democracy. There are many opportunities for errors to occur in elections as even the best voting system can suffer from inaccuracies or tampering. Two of the easiest ways to ensure election security are to have a paper record of each vote, and to check the results by performing a post-election audit."
I'm pretty big on voting, and have donated sales of Acorn in the past to organizations that help folks get registered to vote. But of course it's not enough to just get people to vote, but we need to make sure that our votes are counted correctly.
That's where election auditing comes in. As programmers, we audit and look over our code to make sure it's doing what we think it is. We write little tests to make sure the output being produced is what we think we programmed it to be. And it isn't always, because we are humans and we make mistakes and that's just part of the process of coding.
I don't see elections as anything different, especially since these days everything is tabulated on computers written by programmers just like myself. Auditing the vote just makes sense, and is a non-partisan issue. Have you ever met a programmer that hasn't written a bug? Has that type of programmer ever existed?
And auditing is cheap as well. But even if it wasn't, what kind of a price can you put on democracy, every US citizen's birthright?
Kirstin Mueller, my wife, also feels strongly about voting and has recently setup the Washington State Election Security to help advocate post election audits. I obviously think it's a good idea, and I hope you'll contact your legislators to tell them the same thing.
October 11, 2017
The Verge on the new Kindle Oasis released today:
"Amazon has been selling Kindles for 10 years now, but “waterproof” hasn’t appear on its list of incremental technological advancements until now. The company just announced a new version of its popular e-reader that builds on last year’s Kindle design and now has an IPX8 waterproof rating."
I have a Kindle Voyage, and it's one of my favorite products right now (the AirPods being another favorite of mine). The Kindle UI is slow and not amazing, but I put up with it because I love the display so much. It's wonderful to read in sunlight and the dark. And it's light. And the Kindle charge lasts forever. I read a lot, and I probably wouldn't if it wasn't for the Kindle.
Will I get the new Oasis? Probably, eventually. My Voyage still works perfectly fine. But the rainy season just started here in the Pacific NW, and I wonder if that's going to push me towards it now. Also, hottubs I guess?
October 10, 2017
Twitterrific for the Mac is back. It started out as a Kickstarter project, and the Iconfactory delivered on the goods. Good job.
It's nice to see another Twitter client on the Mac. And after you download it, make sure to click around in that About box too.
October 1, 2017
Exponent is a podcast about tech and society hosted by Ben Thompson and James Allworth.
I've been listening to Exponent for the past couple of months, and it quickly moved from my "eh, what else do I have to listen to?" group to my "listen to these podcast right away" group. And the lastest episode, Getting To The Future Faster, has been one of my favorites.
It intersects a lot of my favorite topics and it always ends with me thinking and wondering about things quite a bit deeper than I normally would. Often times with perspetives that I hadn't considered yet.
If you're not already listening to it in your favorite podcast player, then you should give it a try.
September 26, 2017
This past summer at WWDC, Apple introduced a new (to iOS and Mac OS) compression format for images named HEIF. HEIF is pretty neat because it allows for better compression compared to JPEG, without sacrificing quality. It's got some other fun properties as well, but it's not relevant to this post.
If you have an iPhone with an A10 Fusion processor or later (iPhone 7 and 8), you can turn on support for taking pictures in this format via the Settings app. iOS 11 also obviously adds support for viewing these files and includes APIs for developers which can write new images in that format.
Mac OS 10.13 High Sierra includes support for decoding and viewing HEIF images. There are no OS supplied libraries for writing or converting images to the HEIF format.
And because of this, Acorn currently only allows reading for HEIF files, not writing.
If you look back at WWDC videos and remember looking at early SDK headers from the 10.13 seeds, you'll see that support for HEIF looked like it was coming to Mac OS. I don't know what happened, but the decision to ship it was pulled at some point. Hopefully support for HEIF encoding will be included in a future OS update. I'll be disappointed if it isn't at any rate, as it seems really strange to me that iOS would get it while the Mac wouldn't.
September 25, 2017
Happy Mac OS High Sierra release day everyone.
I'm happy to say that there are no known issues with Acorn 6.0.3 or Acorn 5.6.6 when running on Mac OS 10.13 High Sierra. In fact, you might even notice that some things are actually faster and it can now open HEIF images. How awesome is that?
I'm also working on some 10.13 goodies for Acorn 6 folks later this year. I can't wait to share that with you, but you'll have to wait just a little bit.
August 24, 2017
Just because Acorn 6 is out, doesn't mean we've forgotten about Acorn 5. We've just released Acorn 5.6.6, which you can get via the Acorn ▸ Check for Updates… menu, or via the App Store updates tab.
This release has bug fixes (including specific fixes for 10.13), and accepts Acorn 6 registration numbers as well.
August 22, 2017
It's been almost a month and a half since we released Acorn 6, and while I haven't made a single post since then, I have read every email, tweet, and other piece of text thrown our way. Kirstin and I have been pretty stoked with the positive response everyone has had towards Acorn 6. So thank you!
A few minutes ago I pushed out our second maintenance release, Acorn 6.0.2, which fixes a couple of bugs that we missed before shipping (overall, I'd say Acorn 6.0 was our most stable and bug free major release ever).
However, we haven't only been working on fixing bugs in Acorn. Today's release of Acorn 6.0.2 also includes a German localization, and we're pretty excited about it.
It took a number of weeks working with a professional translator, as well as great feedback from testers, but in the end we've got a "high quality localization" as described by our friends in Germany. So if you're a German speaker and you've been waiting for this, the time has finally come.