WTF Weekly for November 13, 2019

I’m not dead. I’m just resting.

This past week I started diving into a bunch of iOS shortcuts, JavaScript, git, and Hugo related topics. I help Vic Hudson with Bubblesort related podcasting editing and I help publish episodes to the site as well. I wanted to find a way to automate the publishing end of the equation, hence my focus on the aforementioned topics.

Plus it’s just fun to deep focus on nerd things.

Speaking of nerd things… and “Finally!”s…

Key upgrade: A first look at the 16-inch MacBook Pro

They did it. Apple, for the first time in something like three years, came out with a laptop with a keyboard that might actually last more than a year or two: The 2019 16” MacBook Pro.

There’s more to this laptop than the keyboard, of course – beautiful huge Retina display, powerful CPU and GPU options, enhanced cooling, all in a package not much larger than the outgoing 15” MacBook Pro – but the keyboard is both a source of relief for would-be buyers as well as basically an admission from Apple that they made a mistake.

Between this computer and the upcoming Mac Pro, Apple seems willing to acknowledge and rectify previous decisions to put form over function at all cost. That’s a great sign for a company that doesn’t always like to hear that it’s wrong about something.

Also of interest to tech nerds, and directly related to technology and privacy is a great article by Mattt of NSHipster detailing how the technology in your iPhone can be used to track you.

Device Identifiers and Fingerprinting on iOS

While it’s true that there are a lot of entities that would love more information about you, the advertising industry is one of the most manipulative and cynical.

So they enlist the help of one or more advertising firms, who promise to maximize their allocated budget and provide some accountability for their spending by using technology to target, deliver, and analyze messaging to consumers.

Each of these tasks is predicated on a consistent identity, which is why advertisers go to such great lengths to track you.

Google Claims a Quantum Breakthrough That Could Change Computing

Google and IBM have a bit of a difference on the particular calculation Google’s quantum computer supposedly performed. Google says a traditional computer couldn’t do it in 10,000 years, IBM says it could theoretically be done on a current computer in 2.5 days.

I don’t really know what this means at this point except a lot of companies are working on quantum computing and that it takes temperatures close to 460 degrees below zero to make it happen.

That’s cold.

Researchers hack Siri, Alexa, and Google Home by shining lasers at them

Quick, everyone do finger quotes while saying “lasers”.

“Lasers”

Even before I was finished reading this article, it did occur to me that this could let someone unlock your house fairly easily if you have any smart locks installed. I guess if you have a canister in the house with a virtual assistant inside, either don’t tie it to your home automation, or don’t put it anywhere it can be seen through a window.

Countries Are Falling Far Short on Action to Tackle Climate Change As Fossil Fuel Use Increases, Says Energy Report

It’s depressing enough that our use of fossil fuels is increasing NOW, but it’s projected to continue that way until at least 2040.

I don’t know how long we can keep saying “this is really it, we have to change NOW” before we admit it really is too late. I have no expectation that humanity is going to do the right thing with respect to our response to climate change.

Well, on that depressing note, let me take this opportunity to plug myself and Vic Hudson’s BubbleSort empire.

Vic and I are currently podcasting about the last season of Mr. Robot for BubbleSort TV. Our coverage of episode 6, 406 Not Acceptable, should be out tomorrow.

Also Clay and Vic and I kicked off a new tangent BubbleSort podcast called Rabbit Hole, in which we discussed Clay’s plan to help Vic morph into an incredible moon photographer.

Finally, on a tech-related note, I am going to migrate off WordPress at some point and go all static using Hugo to generate static site pages for me. It’s what Vic is using for BubbleSort, and it’s very flexible and surprisingly capable. And not serving up hackable scripts that are bloated and slow definitely has appeal.

That move is probably a ways off, but, while it may break individual post URLs, the domain URL will be the same, so you’ll always be able to go to https://wtfweekly.me/ and get your fix.

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