I noticed a big price drop on the Chord Mojo, a highly rated headphone DAC/amp combo. I have birthday money in my pocket, but I don’t think a new DAC is the best way to spend it.

🎵 There’s a new, remastered version of “Jollification” by The Lightning Seeds out now.

Things don’t look too good for “Sunnyside”, which looks to be cancelled in all but name. I watched the pilot a couple weeks ago, and found it the most sitcom-y of Michael Shur’s shows so far, which isn’t a good thing.

At some point, Apple Music started supporting a lot more terrestrial and online radio stations. I’m listening to WQXR American Standards, which wasn’t available before unless I launched the TuneIn app or something similar.

I don’t know what to say re: everything at the moment. 🤷‍♂️

Beats announces Solo Pro on-ear headphones with noise cancellation

Chris Welsh from The Verge reports:

Beats is today introducing the Solo Pro, a $299.95 set of wireless headphones that add noise cancellation to the on-ear form factor shared by the company’s long line of previous Solo headphones. These are, for all intents and purposes, the Solo 4 Wireless, but they’ve been rebranded to match the Powerbeats Pro (and iPhone 11 Pro and every other tech product that now has “pro” tacked on to its name). The new headphones, Beats’ first on-ears with active noise cancellation, will ship on October 30th.

I wonder if these are the rumored Apple over-the-ear headphones. I will hold out hope that they are not, and that some crazy high-end audiophile headphones are still in our future.

🎵 How did I not know there was a new Avett Brother’s album?

I have learned that my 2013 rMBP is too old to be compatible with Catalina’s Sidecar feature. I guess it’s one less thing I have to worry about.

Apple Releases macOS Catalina With Find My, Screen Time, and No More iTunes

My Catalina upgrade was a headache. Here is a bullet list of my woes:

  • The install process stalled for about an hour on “Setting up your Mac”. I eventually gave up waiting and forced my Mac to shut down. Luckily, after a reboot, the installation continued and completed in mere seconds.
  • System Preferences alerted me that there was a problem with my iCloud account sign-in. Entering my credentials again (several times) did not resolve the warning. I ignored it, at first, until I discovered the following two items.
  • All my iCloud drive files in the Documents and Desktop folders were missing.
  • My iTunes library was not displayed in the new Music app. I eventually found a preference that had to be enabled that brought them back, after a slight delay.
  • To fix the iCloud account and iCloud Drive problems, I signed out of iCloud Drive. During the sign-out process, I let it back up all my files to a local folder, which took a long time. After the backup finished, I signed back into iCloud, and iCloud Drive re-downloaded all my files. It took a while for my files to re-appear; the wait was stressful, even though I have backups.

This was another one of those years in which a macOS upgrade made me wish I was an iOS (and now iPadOS) user only. That said, my computer did not get bricked, which happened with an automated Windows 10 update on one of my other machines a little while ago.

The local high today is predicted to be 93º. I really miss fall, which is a season we used to have between late September and late December.

🎵 I discovered new albums by “The New Pornographers” and “Belle & Sebastian” today. They totally made my day.

Apple’s New Map, Expansion #5: Northeast U.S.

Apple Maps is significantly better in my part of the world (New Jersey) than it was a couple days ago. Justin O’Beirne documented many of these improvements in an epic article, full of graphics that illustrate the types of improvements that were made:

On September 30, 2019, Apple’s new map expanded to the Northeast U.S. This is the fifth time that Apple has expanded its new map since its public launch in September 2018.

The before-and-after screenshots in his blog post tell a dramatic story about filling in all sorts of mapping data gaps. I am seeing the same kinds of dramatic changes illustrated in this article in the maps of my hometown in the metro-Hartford area and of my current town, in the metro-New York City area.

I hope that Apple was also able to improve its routing algorithms for driving directions. I have been disappointed with both Apple Maps and Google Maps on numerous trips to, and around, New York City in the past year. Both were bad at recommending a sensible route, and in similar ways.

I should start a “Why did I even read this article?!” link blog.

📺 I am excited that “The Good Place” is returning tonight. This season will be its last. I hope they nail the ending. 🤞

I long for the days where the tech podcasts I listen to are less politically charged than the political podcasts I listen to.

I know the iOS 13 beta season was rough, but iOS 13.0 (non-beta) was not so bad for me. I think the press has been overly harsh about the production releases (13.0 and 13.1) so far.

Nancy Pelosi Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump. (Sigh.) Finally.

I just learned that to replace the busted blender jar and lid in my kitchen will cost $175 + tax. Excuse me while I lift my jaw up off the floor. I guess I’ll go buy a new blender.

How to Boil the Perfect Egg

I am 100% on board for a new food column in the New York Times by J. Kenji López-Alt:

Years ago, in an effort to answer a perennial question — what’s the best way to boil an egg? — I hatched a plan using the only method I know: lots and lots of testing.

Kenji’s egg boiling method, which is egg steaming actually, is probably better than my own, which I picked up from Alton Brown. The way I do it makes perfect whites and yolks, but the eggs are nearly impossible to peel. Apparently, steaming eggs makes them easier to peel. I have got to try it!

I hope that today wasn’t the last day this year that my family will visit the beach.

🕹 I will probably hold off on trying Apple Arcade until it is available on Apple TV. I prefer gaming with a controller and on a big screen. I am currently very much into my Nintendo Switch again, and don’t need more games right now, either.

I am giving Icro 2.0 a serious go right now, and I am very impressed.

Cooking updates: Homemade chicken soup is still delicious, even after three weekly iterations. As a bonus for my kids, I am baking a chocolate snack cake for tonight’s dessert.

Web browsers I use, ranked in the order of how much I like them

  1. Safari: This is the only browser I use on Apple’s platforms. It is fast, has just enough extensibility to block ads (with 1Blocker), and has a great reader view. The only reason I use the others is that I have a Windows computer and a work computer that runs Windows.
  2. Firefox: Firefox’s looks and speed have improved since the last time I looked at it (a couple years ago). It is the most privacy focused browser there is, and its reader view is great.
  3. Chrome: This browser keeps getting worse. It lacks a reader view and it soon will not support uBlock Origin. Privacy, efficiency, and even speed do not seem to be priorities for its development team any more.
  4. Edge: I wanted to like Edge when Microsoft first released it, but I still can’t get on board with it. It underperforms Chrome on my system.

For non-work browsing on Windows, I’m switching back to FireFox.