Portable Mac Mini

I cannot put into words how cool and frustrating this video is.

In it, Scott 3D prints a case for an M1 Mac Mini that he marries up with his iPad Mini as a display.

This is cool.

What’s frustrating is that I’ve noodled around with this same idea for years. When I lived in Tokyo I used my iPad Pro as the occasional display for my 2011 Mac Mini Server (Ama no Gawa) using both Duet and … ugh, the same basic technology but it used a dongle for improving display quality instead of a cable … ugh.

Anyway, it worked great for me but was sadly not as portable as I would have liked.

Scott’s design, which I’ve also considered using a Raspberry Pi 4 (with VNC) in place of the Mac Mini, IS PORTABLE … if one does not need it to be wirelessly portable.

Writing my thinking like this is bringing me to a fresh idea — what if I carried both? The Mac Mini for the more intensive work and the very light RPi4 for tooling around where I need more than the iPad Mini alone can provide? The lighter setup can be powered by a standard battery to be mobile.

Hmmmm.

Seconds

I’m a second. Paul R. Jorgensen Junior. I was and am PJ to the family — Paul Junior. Not the first Paul of my siblings, and he is not the only Eri(c|k).

My older brother was labeled with most but not all of my name.. He went by his middle. When we each received calls at the family land-line phone, the family’s stock answer was:

“Which Paul are you looking to speak with?” (Actually, it was “Which Paul?”)

“Are you calling for Paul Senior, Paul Eric, or Paul Junior?”

Calling for Dad was easy to answer. Eric? Sure. Also easy. Junior? “Are you looking for PJ?”

I thank my parents and family for not calling me Junior. I hated the name PJ when I was growing up for all the school yard reasons, so maybe it was a Sophie’s Choice — will Junior or PJ be worse? What about Robert and derivatives — Bob, Rob, Robert, Bert? My Dad was adverse to me using my middle name.

Where am I going with this?

I don’t know. I had a thought but I lost it.

Share & Enjoy!

Platforms can+will serve me, my needs & then go away

Aside

Dear Friends,

Bask in my superiority!!!

I subscribe not to Spotify,
Nor Pandora,
Nor Tidal.
Nor other music streaming platforms … errr, uh

Well, except for Apple Music … BUT that’s only for sharing my music across my Apple devices.

Well, except for Amazon Music that I get with my Prime membership … BUT that’s only for stuff I bought on Amazon that still has licensing for that specific piece of music at that time. And I barely use it, so … yeah.

Other than the 2 exceptions I mentioned, bask in my superiority!

Why am I so superior? Part of it comes from me long ago trying the streaming services and finding myself constantly skipping stuff I did not care for – they don’t seem to acknowledge to the jazz/classical/international/misc crowd. The algorithms are less than some make them out to be.

Part of it comes from the lousy way artists are paid by the platforms.

Part of it comes from the poor audio quality of what they serve.

Part of it comes from their attempts to in-house the “podcast boom” that only acts to silo content everyone knows was publicly available before the platforms got involved. Note: I do not want the platforms to silo podcasts.

Part of it comes from not being part of the faux censorship debate around some douche allegedly named Joe Rogan. Spotify bought that product. That’s their thing. I get to continue to not buy Spotify’s product regardless of if Spotify has that douche’s alleged content on their roster. Same goes for the other streamers … 

I will continue to use Apple Music as needed and Amazon music until it looses all licenses for my purchased music.

By then I hope to own physical copies of my truly important media, by hook or by crook.

Status

I don’t get hiring a talented Halle Berry to sit silently while various Mannings (& J.B. Smoove, who I find funny, unlike the Mannings) talk around her in a gambling commercial.

I hope she got PAID! And J.B. Smoove, who carries those gawd awful ads.

My approach to media that uses music streaming to my advantage

Dear Friends,

One of the worst mistakes I made before my move to Tokyo was asking my son to dispose of my media collection: books, magazines, CDs, LPs (some of which were rare bootlegs), cassette tapes, VCR tapes, and other bits. I’m in the process of not just rebuilding my collection but to move into spaces I ignored.

I do not like the streaming services. I find their algorithms push me toward what popular (and presumably profitable) versus what I actually enjoy. I played with Spotify when it was not available in the US, tinkered with Pandora, and messed around on other services that no longer exist.

However, I do use Apple Music and Amazon Music. I bought a lot of albums on Amazon. My Prime membership gives me some additional content there. I live in the Apple ecosystem, so getting into Apple Music was easy to do. The third component is Bandcamp.

What’s my approach?

  1. I listen to streaming playlists for new music. NPR had a New Music Friday playlist, for example.
  2. I know what from my former collection is valuable to me (sparks joy, if you will).
  3. As I’m out and about I have Shazam ready (an Apple app) to identify songs for me.
  4. I maintain a list in Apple Notes of music I want to own from the above discovery sources.

Once identified, I see if the artist has the song available on Bandcamp. If so, I try to wait for the next Bandcamp Friday, the first Friday of the month, to buy the song/EP/album. Doing so pushes more revenue to the artist. In general, I:

  • Buy LPs, new from the artist or a local shop, or buy used from a few places near my house.
  • Buy CDs, again new from the artist or a local shop, or by used from a few places near my house.
  • Buy cassettes. I have 2, one direct from the artist. When possible, follow the above.
  • Look to buy minidiscs, but what’s out there is crazy expensive.
  • eBay for new and used on all of the above.

Then I rip a copy for my personal use when I don’t already have a digital representation of the music.

My plan is to own physical copies of the music, movies, TV shows, books, and other media that is important to me. This way, the artists I like can do what they will to help the big media companies do the right thing while I still enjoy their art without that middleman. I won’t be held hostage to the various licensing deals.

This is not a solution for everyone or maybe anyone other than me. But I am implementing a budget category for me to buy media responsibly.

1 month with the 2021 iPad Mini

I received my iPad Mini about a month ago after an almost 8 week wait. My use case remains as I laid out in A mini upgrade?.

How is it?

Exactly what I was hoping it would be. It fits nicely into my workflow. It’s my primary consumption device. It’s also my mobile content creation device (I’m writing this post on it). I remain loyal to my eInk eReader for books, but otherwise I’m reaching for my iPad Mini.

Battery life is great. The screen is nice but I have yet to appreciate it fully beyond the additional real estate. I haven’t really used the Apple Pencil v2 yet, but I like how it’s magnetically attached if I need it. Connectivity using my Google fi data SIM works great.

About the Pencil and the magnets — they’re surprisingly strong. I was worried about the Pencil falling off but so far that hasn’t been an issue.

Fundamentally, the device is great. I’m disappointed that my Lightning connector add-ons are not viable with this, but I’m moving as all-in on USB-C as I can.

My issue still revolves around the fact that iOS/iPadOS needs refinement and bug fixes — as an OS they seem unfit for the task. I would love for Apple to take a tick and/or a rock off and just work on making the user experience better instead of releasing new features.

News filtering, or the lack thereof

I’m not an Olympics fan. I’m more than happy to talk your ear off about why. I also don’t care about the Oscars/Academy Awards, People’s Choice Awards, Grammys, what celebrities are up to, &c, a.k.a. entertainment. I will learn all I need to know through proximity to people who care about such things.

The news sources I follow frustrate me in that their apps won’t let me block such categories or topics. Apple News will.

Or, it pretends like I can. The interface isn’t always clear what it will block: is it the topic? A person mentioned in the article? The source itself? There is a block source option, but I reserve that for news outlets that aren’t worth my time or attention.

I blocked all that I could find in the topics related to the Olympics. Yet, now that they are in full swing, there is a whole section just down from the top stories that tell me the latest Olympics news and the medal counts.

I want the Olympics to get off of my lawn!

Block editors are the Powerpoint-ification of the web

Aside

From Joel Spolsky, talking about the Gutenberg editor in WordPress and block editors in general:

This kind of “insert block” user interface concept is showing up in almost every blogging tool, web editor, note-taking app, and content management system. People like it and it makes sense. (Emphasis mine)

(Via Joel On Software)

I disagree with the bolded statement. Don’t take my word for it. Check out Reddit and other on-line communities where people are looking for alternatives.

Writing for me is about the content. Traditional typewriter-on-paper type interfaces like word processors provide are better for the flow of writing. I don’t want to have to think about “is this MP4 of an old song that has a static image of the artist and title an Audio block or a Video block” or “is this stream of consciousness I want to reference a quote or verse” or other meaningless distinctions.

Write. Edit. Repeat as necessary. Put in the supporting elements. Edit. Publish.

Powerpoint and block editors are about where things will go first. How big or small will they be? What kind of element (see above)? Oh, my writing is too big for where I want the text block to be. Let me move things around. Now I need to fix that the font size in block a is different than block c. Ohhh, now I need to make a change across all the blocks because I’m using a new template.

Ugh. Some people like the block editor metaphor, to be fair. I applaud them. It is not for me. Don’t say “people like it and it makes sense,” because some don’t like it and for them it does not make sense … I’m also talking to you, Automattic (makers of WordPress).