I'm not stupid enough to suggest Apple is going to collapse. It's been decades since that became a cliché. I just kinda wish they would. Two kind colleagues gave me an old PowerMac G5 PCI last month, a gorgeous design classic with some of the coolest technology of its generation. This is a machine that (even on its lowest spec video card) can play 1080P video on a HDMI display, edit the photos off my DSLR in Aperture 2, or pretty much any task I ever actually use a computer for. I wrote this post and edited the images on this machine. Over uncompressed VNC control from my Windows Box. Without being able to notice any lag. This machine is fast.
New Apple hardware is sold mainly for the purpose of being thrown away. With the technical information needed to release replacement operating systems or third-party patches firmly suppressed; each product is obsolete as soon as the first unpatched vulnerability arrives. We've had the end of Enterprise technologies like XServe, XGrid and Fibre Channel. Aperture has been discontinued and Final Cut decimated. With the replacement in consumer products of amazing technical and design elements like the MagSafe connector and Thunderbolt with limited interfaces like USB type C and NFC, Apple have made another clear statement that their future is defined in terms of their 'disposable' appliance model.
Finally, there's one tragedy of modern Apple that outweighs any other. I recently went into an Apple store and had a look at the new MacBooks. I spoke with one of their specialists, and described my needs as photo and music studio work. The specialist recommended me Windows.
It's International Space Apps Challenge this weekend, and I'm helping to crew the London event! Just to keep me psyched, in honor of the 48-hours-to-go mark, I've given myself a countdown to mission launch!
There was a countdown timer here. I deleted it.
So what I'm doing today is National Hack The Government. As above, I've stolen the only TV in the building as a second (1080p!) monitor for running code and displaying my prototype webpage. So far, I've built a simple backand made of a few python/cgi scripts that accesses a Mongo database into which goes my data - which I'm then plotting on the map for a simple prototype. This being me, I'm unable to make an app, because my phone is effectively a 2001 device, but with a better battery.
I made a geeky chique-y guitar strap out of belts! Check it out!
Because 13.10 is useless. I mean come on, the installer can't install a bootloader without crashing. I'd rather be running Windows ME.
The E-Space Project is Exeter's hackerspace development company. I'm CEO of the organisation and was one of it's founders, along with Julius Apweiler. Recently, Julius and I decided that the E-Space Project would benefit from running workshops, despite a lack of volunteers to do so. As a result, this will be the second that he and I have run together, the sequel to November's 'ServerHacking' workshop. The event is taking place in the Hoskins Room at Exeter Library on February 1st 2014 at 10am.
A not altogether unreasonable question you may be asking yourself is 'Why should I care?' In short, Cryptoparties exist because privacy is important. Keeping your own data like bank details, passwords and personal medical history is important. For businesses, the same is true of data belonging to customers which may consist of some of the same data as the personal examples above. Other important reasons to understand the basics of using cryptography is in communication. Email is inherently insecure but we use it regularly to communicate with journalists, medical professionals, employers, to share secrets with friends, family and to transmit vulnerable exploitable data such as passport information. For most people, the risk of losing control of data in such a way has so far been statistically small however the increased prevalence of insecure software and badly run commercial web services has made it important that we make an effort to protect ourselves. At the E-Space Tinfoil Party, we'll hopefully introduce the local public to some of this technology, it's benefits, potential dangers and how to stay safe while using it. Also, free tin foil hats.
I love making ridiculous things. Here's the beginnings of my latest project, called 'Daring and Loyalty'. Actually, these are hardly the beginning, the design has been in place for about a year and I've had some of the parts for just as long. Still, I've been unable to progress for about six months until I found these. Now, it's time to hoik out the digital calipers and confirm my measurements are right, before starting the baking process. All I need now is a laser cutter and an A1 printer.
I've been listening to a lot of indie music lately, as part of my secret project 'Become a super-famous awesome rock star'. I've also been watching My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic for a couple of years, with great enjoyment. I'm completely in love with the music of a British artist called 'Glaze', also known as 'WoodenToaster' and also that of an Israeli artist who often does collaborations with the former, who goes by 'The Living Tombstone'.
One of The Living Tombstone's more recent collaborations is with a singer and band by the name of Dasha. It's a sad song about a person who suffers from a severe mental disorder who perceives that they have been systematically abused by the society and state where they live. I cried the first time I heard the lyrics. Check it out.
I'll admit, I've been failing quite hard to be fashionably geeky over the last couple of years, so I decided in June to try and undo that shift a bit. I'm not sure whether I should be recording progress as a project 'Makeover' but we'll see. I will admit though that I'm still not following my original GeekChique philosophy of style through gadgets so much. To be more accurate, I've been wearing mainly geeky accessories and clothing - very consumerist of me! Time to get back on track. In other words, it's flip phone time!
I've published my half-completed teardown of the FIPS-Certified Vocera B2000 communications badge, over on the projects page. I'll keep working on it, but it seemed rather silly to leave what I had done hidden indefinitely. Now, back to working on it!