WTF Weekly

my thoughts on the week that was

13 Oct 2019

WTF Weekly for October 13, 2019

The past week was not a fun one for my family. We discovered unexpectedly that our pet cat of the past 9 years had advanced cancerous tumors. It was a surprise to us because he wasn’t showing any big changes in behavior right up until he quit eating one day. We took him to the vet for tests where they gave us the bad news.

Putting a sick pet down is never fun. It always feels like murder, even if it’s the right thing for the animal. At least I got to be there with him and hold him when he died. It’s the least I could do, since I doubt he was any happier about it than I was, and I wasn’t about to send him off to die alone with strangers.

I still keep expecting him to come running down the stairs to greet me when I come home, which he did every time, or to be curled up on a pillow when I enter a quiet room. Then I remember that he’s not there, and I’m sad.

A lot of people seem to think cats are aloof and distant, but I’ve never had one that was. I believe they reflect your attitude towards them back at you – if you’re indifferent towards cats, they won’t waste a lot of time trying to change your mind, but if you love them, they’ll love you back.

Anyway, that’s the kind of week it was at my house.

From a more global perspective, the world was as weird and awful as ever. This week’s events did little to refute already overwhelming evidence of our President’s corruption and incompetence, and finally the House has had enough. Impeachment proceedings have begun.

Nancy Pelosi Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump

This one really does feel like a “FINALLY!”, but as noted by Jonathan Bernstein on Bloomberg (written before Pelosi’s Tuesday announcement), there is historical precedent for Pelosi’s seemingly extreme patience and caution over impeaching Trump. Indeed, the House waited months before moving on impeachment of Nixon in 1973, and even then spent months more gathering evidence all the way into August of the following year.

Impeachment is not a given, of course, but at least for those of us who are beyond tired of the way this president and his administration have reveled in their own brazen corruption, it feels like the fight is finally on and that maybe someone actually gives a damn about the damage being done to our country both at home and internationally.

After all this time, I still have a difficult time understanding the motivations of Trump voters. It was hard enough for me to believe that anyone who voted for him honestly thought he was the right person to be President of the United States, and it’s even harder to believe that there are people who think he’s doing a good job now. Even more annoying is how Trumpers seem to think patriotism is their private domain, when in fact their dear leader is one of the least patriotic people in this country.

I guess people would rather win partisan fights than do the right thing.

Apple releases iPadOS 13.1 featuring Dark Mode, new Home Screen and multitasking, Arcade, and more

It’s iPadOS day for those of you who have iPads and have not been running iOS 13 betas. I’ve been on iPadOS on my 2018 iPad Air long enough now that I can barely remember the crudity of iOS 12, so it’s a bit weird to have friends messaging me about iOS 13 and seeing comments on Twitter about it as people familiarize themselves with all the changes.

iPadOS truly sets the iPad free in a way that makes me wonder what took Apple so many years to do it. iPad is now a workstation, capable of performing most tasks for most professionals[^particularly if they’re willing to learn new workflows], and few people will find it lacking for their chosen endeavors.

Exceptions are still iOS development (no Xcode) and podcasting. You certainly can record your end of a podcast to send in to the host, but you’re not going to record multiple people in a conversation or replace the functionality of Rogue Amoeba’s Mac apps, such as Audio Hijack, Loopback, and Farrago.

Obviously specific pieces of software that aren’t available on iPad are going to stop some people, but as people like Shawn Blanc have proven in the case of photo editing, some flexibility and willingness to learn mean you can at least complement your Mac workflow, and possibly even replace it entirely. And that was written long before the giant functionality increase afforded the iPad by iPadOS.

I think iPadOS is going to open a lot of eyes about the iPad being more than a toy, and it’s about bloody time if you ask me.

After 6 Years in Exile, Edward Snowden Explains Himself

It’s possible, as the author of this Wired piece notes, that the ephemeral, anonymous internet that Edward Snowden laments the loss of never truly existed, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the internet has fundamentally changed in character since its early days.

Early personal computing, even into the dawn of the public internet, was optimistic, much more positive, and very forward looking. Now it’s cynical, depressing, filled with venom and vile behavior, and often borderline unusable thanks to bloated, malware-laden advertising.

It’s true that there is bi-partisan loathing of Edward Snowden, but, while I’m no libertarian, neither am I into blindly trusting authority. I think exposing abuses of power is always necessary, and that’s what Snowden did. Ultimately, I have far more sympathy for him than I do the Clappers and Comeys of the world.

Millions of Americans’ medical images and data are available on the Internet

It should come as no surprise that most companies have zero clue or desire to protect our personal information, but the medical industry seems to me to be one of the most clueless about security. In addition to critical medical equipment that can be hacked easily, the medical industry also has issues securing even the most basic patient information, including x-rays and other images.

Often the theory seems to be that it’s ok to assume that people with no knowledge of or legitimate reason to access a certain system won’t find it or bother with it if they do, but that goes against the entire history of computing and hackers. Security is always thought about last, if at all, and nowhere more so than in medicine.

A Guide to City Pop, the Soundtrack for Japan’s Bubble-Era Generation

I lived in Japan as a kid during the late 70’s and early 80’s, and I’ve heard more than I care to of Japanese pop music. What I didn’t know, however, was that there’s a genre known as City Pop, and some of it isn’t bad at all.

This article covers some of the key players in city pop, and funnily enough, The Golden Age is defined as the period I was there. It’s funny to me, because what I was listening to was either Japanese and American rock albums, soundtracks, or Japanese radio programs featuring American pop and rock, and most definitely not any of the artists covered here..

Utilizing my newfound knowledge, I downloaded albums from the Suchmos, Tatsuro Yamashita, and Yumi Matsutouya (formerly Arai), and I’m really surprised at how much I’m enjoying listening to them.

If you’d told me in 1980 that I would willingly download Japanese pop music decades later as an adult, I’d have assumed you’d lost your bloody mind. Yet here I am.

Ok, that’s it for this edition of WTF Weekly. I seem to be fond of making disclaimers that I don’t know what I want the format of these posts to be, and it’s still true. I’m not sure who (if anyone) reads this and what they would like to see. Let me know! Twitter link below…

Hit me up on Twitter to yell at me about typos or to talk about anything I’ve included here.