WTF Weekly for October 22, 2019

Sorry for the giant delay in getting your fresh WTF to you. I’m sure you’ve been counting the seconds.

This past week, I spent time nuking and paving and doing a fresh Mojave install on iMac number 2 (iMac number 1 still has an undiagnosed, uncured-by-Apple random shutdown problem).

The reason I decided to perform this extreme surgery was because I was encountering weird audio issues that were affecting my ability to podcast with other people. Additionally, this particular Mac was running slow and throwing up constant beachballs, to the point I was worried that the Fusion drive was dying.

Nuke and pave fixed both of those issues, and others as well. Apparently, something had gotten really hosed between lots of migration assistant use over the years, combined with my history of trying various video and audio capture apps during the same period.

My Mac now works, my audio is good, system performance is good, and I can podcast properly again.

As always, while I record on the Mac, podcast editing is far better on iPad with Ferrite and this year’s iPadOS. I love it. And yes, I am going to upgrade to Catalina very soon.

Also (speaking of podcast recording and editing), and possibly of much more interest to you, my dear reader, I am podcasting about Mr. Robot Season 4 for BubbleSort TV with Vic Hudson. Barring any emergencies, I expect to crank out 13 episodes of tense fun as Sam Esmail wraps up his story and finally reveals exactly what it is Whiterose is up to.

Anyway, what another bizarre week! I mentioned at one point that I wanted to stay away from politics, but I couldn’t not share the last one here this time. It’s just too horrible and funny at the same time.

The Death of Cars Was Greatly Exaggerated

Most thinking people (sorry for that characterization, but I don’t know how else to say it) admit that the internal combustion engine automobile has been rather harmful to the environment of planet earth. Many people have been clamoring for years for less dependence on personal cars, which typically each haul one person at a time around anyway, at least in the U.S., in favor of public transit and bikes and scooters.

But Wired is here to alert us to the fact that this future hasn’t come to pass, and indeed car ownership in the US is actually increasing. A combination of factors are to blame, such as millennials buying cars now that they’re starting to assume traditional familial obligations and the demise of many of the services that were meant to enable people without cars to get around easily.

It’s an interesting look at how hard it is for a country built around the auto and with a huge car culture to shake the dirty, carbon-clogged past and move into the future.

Minecraft becomes a board game, and the results are faithful, fantastic

I can’t decide if this looks like a headache-inducing, convoluted time sink, or the best thing ever: Minecraft is now a board game.

Ars Technica claims that it’s “breezy, quick, and kid-friendly”, but the amount of detail and strategy required looks a bit overwhelming. In that way, it’s brilliant that the developers of the game took care and put real effort into making this solid and not some half-assed analog toy solely to cash in on the popularity of Minecraft, but it also makes me wonder if this is the kind of thing I’d pick up for random casual game nights at the house.

I’m kind of intrigued, to be honest. I may decide to splurge on a set as a family Christmas present.

The Studio Ghibli films will stream exclusively on HBO Max

Studio Ghibli has been notoriously determined not to make their movies available digitally whatsoever, so this revelation from Polygon caught me off guard: HBO Max will be the home of the Studio Ghibli films for streaming in the U.S.

I’ve never had HBO, I’ll probably never have it, and I don’t expect to pay for HBO Max, but this is still big news and I’ll admit it gave me a moment’s pause as I briefly reconsidered our family media strategy. I wonder how many sign-ups this will help deliver for HBO Max?

NASA’s Mars InSight is unstuck and officially back to work

I don’t know if you’re paying attention to the goings-on on the red planet or not, but NASA’s InSight was having a rough time on the job until quite recently. Tasked with drilling 16 feet into the surface of Mars with the goal of taking subterranean heat measurements, InSight got stuck only 14 inches into its attempt.

If you’re ever stuck in a 14 inch hole at work, it may not take you 8 months to intuit a way out, but it took NASA that long to devise a plan involving scooping dirt back into the hole around InSite to support it and allow it to push back against as it tunneled downwards.

And it worked.

It’s a great look at just how easily things go wrong in space and the fascinating world of troubleshooting technical issues from 140 million miles away.

Trump’s letter to Turkey’s president is almost beyond parody, but not beyond memes

It’s really hard to overstate what an ignorant a$$h0l3 Trump really is, but you don’t have to take my word for it – take his!

When I first saw the leaked letter from our leader of the “great and infinite wisdom” to Turkish president Erdogan, I didn’t believe it. I thought it was a joke. I know what a moron Trump is, and I still didn’t believe it.

The internet is bad for humanity for a lot of reasons, but it does excel at memes, and if there was ever a meme-worthy piece of correspondence, it’s this one.

Enjoy.

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