Though we hardly ever call it by name, the “World Wide Web” is fantastic metaphor for what the Internet is meant to be: a vast, interconnected realm free of central government. In the social media era, unfortunately, we have willingly ceded that freedom to our detriment. It is time we reconsider the Faustian bargain we have made.
My work has become highly dependent on live streaming since COVID hit. I wanted a good quality microphone to improve live stream quality without breaking the bank. I found a lot of options that were of uncertain quality, but affordable, and plenty of well known quality with a price to match. Then, I found something neat: the Neat Worker Bee.
After years on the periphery, Thunderbolt docks are finally becoming a mainstream peripheral. They not only simplify bringing a laptop to your desk by reducing the number of separate things you need to plug in, but provide a means to pump more data from more sources into a laptop than possible otherwise via the limited number of ports on modern, slim laptops, such as a MacBook Pro. More like a drive bay or card slot of yesteryear’s computer towers, docks provide flexibility as we all push our computers further in the post-COVID world. Today, I look at three of the best and what they can offer you.
I’ve been curious about the proliferation of what we might call “generic” wi-fi routers on Amazon from brands other than the big names that are immediately recognizable. Have routers finally reached a point that they are so basic that pretty much anyone can produce a decent one? I decided to take a router from ECPN — a company so generic that it doesn’t even have a live web site — out for a spin.
While I have previously argued against deplatforming in general, when I blogged the other day about the demise of Parler, I defended Apple, saying it had earned the benefit of the doubt with its years long record of responsible action. I think this is important, because if we genuinely want to champion free speech, it is crucial to focus our energies on the genuine threats to free speech and not to waste effort on incidents that are really something else.
While traveling last year, I lost my trusty pair of Beats Solo 2 headphones I had used for years; while I had been given a set of AirPods Pro for Christmas and they quickly became my all time favorite headphone option, some situations work better with over-the-ear headphones (for example, audio mixing and recording work) and I found myself in the market for a new pair to replace my Beats. That led me to the Vankyo C750’s; they may just beat my Beats.
After hanging onto my trusty (and non-butterfly keyboard equipped) 15” MacBook Pro for five years, when Apple finally ditched the butterfly keyboard and offered perhaps the most impressive Mac upgrade since 2012’s Retina MacBook Pro, I knew it was time to upgrade. Coming from the long forgotten days of 2015 into the present of 2020 means buying totally into USB-C and that meant I was going to face some growing pains with a new system. A good USB-C hub makes the move much easier.
Pixelmator’s team unveiled a rather simple sounding, but stunning, new feature this week: a machine learning-based image resizing tool that allows for images to be made much larger without degrading them nearly as much as traditional techniques do. If you’ve ever had a photo you wanted to crop but the portion you wanted to focus on was simply too small afterwards, this is for you.
Not many modern, web-connected devices live on for years after their maker goes out of business and shuts down its servers. Fewer still have not only an active repair and support community, but a forward-looking mission. Rebble is a welcoming, open-source, community-minded effort, with a responsible financial model behind it. It’s hard to believe it exists, and feels like some still-raw chunk of 2013 tech optimism that can’t possibly survive into the future.
Except, it might.
I was a Kickstart supporter for the Pebble Time in 2015. While the Apple Watch is superior in most ways, there was a definite charm to the Pebble’s design, its battery life was incredible and it did what most people want most from a smart watch — notifications — nearly as well as watchOS until some of the improvements in watchOS 6. The idea that there might eventually be a full on Rebble Watch, to continue Pebble’s efforts, excites me.
In addition, Pixelmator Photo, our incredible photo editor for iPad, is completely free for 24 hours until 9am ET, November 27th. Spread the word!
While I had higher hopes for the “machine learning” of Pixelmator Photo, it’s still a decently powerful tool for making adjustments to photos. For free, you really ought to give it a try.