2021 MacBook Pro will ditch the Touch Bar and bring back MagSafe, say reports. I don’t know about the Touch Bar disappearing, but I expect it to look a lot more like the iPad Pro, have 4 USB-C ports, and thinner bezels than the current models do.

COVID vaccine rollout in New Jersey is disorganized and haphazard. After a few days of nail-biting stress and uncertainty about it, I, and the other adults in my family, finally got appointments for our first dose, for about three weeks from now.

My cheap plastic iPhone 7 Plus case broke and now I want a new phone. 😠😳😢😅

A noisy server that I once again love

I spent about two hours last night trying to figure out if I can move my FreeNAS server, which constantly generates about 40 dB of fan noise white noise in my home office, to the basement, so that I can escape the noise. The problem I have is that there is nowhere else in my house where I can get a wired connection. I tried a wireless-to-ethernet bridging solution, and was super disappointed with how slow it was (40 mbps up/down).

Then I thought about scrapping the FreeNAS server, because I don’t need such a robust platform for my backups. I started looking into buying a Synology or something and loading it with larger hard drives so I don’t lose capacity.

While I was doing that, I started moving files off my FreeNAS server to prepare for retiring it. Of course, in doing so, I fell in love with the dang thing all over again, because I released how many services I am running and how flexible and reliable it is. I would like to get rid of the fan noise, though, but if I do, I will then be bothered by the 25 dB of fan noise from my work laptop.

Impeached twice. Not a good look. Let’s hope for the sake of the country that this is a one-time thing.

I haven’t had my M1 Mac mini for very long, and have only done a little Xcode work on it thus far, but I already love having a silent desktop that has tons of power. Since yesterday, I have mostly used that power merely to move tons and tons of gigabytes of data around my home network and to cloud storage, and everything has been rock solid and unnoticeable.

I have been very busy automating processes at work. I just got access to Automation Anywhere, which is a cool platform to build bots with. My practice with iOS Shortcuts in the past couple weeks is serving me well with its click, drag, and customize programming steps interface.

The House of Representatives is voting for impeachment along party lines so far, which is disappointing but not unexpected. Republicans don’t get it. It’s shameful.

SteerMouse

On my M1 Mac mini, KensingtonWorks software somehow disables double-clicking on my Kensington Slimblade trackball. I can assign another button to perform a double-click, but it is hard not to double-click anyway, after doing so since the late 1980s.

I found a third party mouse utility called SteerMouse that does a much better job than KensingtonWorks, and offers a lot more options. I’m not sure I want to spend $20 on it, but I do like all my mouse buttons to do something.

Record low flu cases show how COVID-19 is more contagious and ‘less forgiving,’ experts say

This article in USA Today confirms my suspicions that all the anti-COVID measures would drastically reduce the prevalence of seasonal flu in the U.S.:

During the 2019 flu season from Sept. 29 to Dec. 28, the CDC reported more than 65,000 cases of influenza nationwide. During the same period last year, the agency reported 1,016 cases.

I get a vaccine every year for the flu—and luckily have not caught it since I was in elementary school—but other than that, I never think about it. My dream right now is that the COVID vaccine be the same kind of thing: a prick on the arm once a year, and otherwise nothing much to think about.

🎵 I’m trying out PlexAmp again, and am listening to Herbie Hancock’s “Gershwin’s World” (in ALAC) which has been in my library for over twenty years and probably hasn’t been listened to since 2000.

My thought of the day, as I do my house tidying: Systems of human behavior break down when people stop putting energy into them.

I have been writing Amazon product reviews thousands of words long this evening, on products as mundane but important as insulated coffee mugs. Ten years ago I was pretty close to being ranked in top 1,000 Amazon reviewers, and was very close, but couldn’t quite crack it.

Barry Season 3 Delay Has Allowed Season 4 Scripts to be Finished Ahead of Schedule

Per Ethan Anderton on SlashFilm, quoting Bill Hader:

“Right when the lockdown happened in March, we were a week away from shooting. So the last time I was in a room with a lot of people was the table read episodes one and two of season three, and we were ready to go. Then it all got shut down. Season three is completely written, ready to go, and then during this time we actually went and wrote season four. So we have both of those kinda done. We’re just waiting until we can start shooting again.”

“Barry” is a  sui generis example of peak TV. It takes a lot of risks in terms of both plot and tone, and so far they have all paid off. I certainly couldn’t predict how Bill Hader and Alex Berg were going to write their way out of the end of Season 2 of “Barry,” but I guess they cracked it and then some.

I made the mistake today of turning off my home media server (HP N54L) for a few minutes to see how quiet my office is without its fan running. Now I can’t help but be annoyed by it. 😀

Music for Programming is definitely not for me, but I love the all-text site design.

Why did I get a webcam again? 😂

I just got a Logitech C920 webcam to use for video calls at work. Testing it out has shown me that (1) my office looks awful, and (2) I look awful. 😅

I thought the default webcam settings made me look like Emperor Palpatine, but an image search soon revealed that Emperor Palpatine looks much, much better than I do. 😂

I did find out how to adjust the white balance to make me look less cadaverous. However, for now at least, I’m going to apply the built-in black-and-white filter to my video stream. I wonder if that will be annoying to others, but I like the simplicity of it.

Pelosi, Schumer Join Chorus Of Calls For Invocation Of 25th Amendment Against Trump. I cosign. Swear in President Pence and swear him out in about two weeks when Biden is inaugurated.

When “American Carnage” is the Tone at the Top

I was having a pretty good day yesterday, full of minor but meaningful personal and professional accomplishments, and then all hell broke loose in Washington, DC. I pushed the news of it away as best I could, so I am less informed than I otherwise would be, but I am sad, angry, and ashamed nonetheless.

Per Philip Rucker in The Washington Post:

The “American carnage” that Donald Trump vowed to end at the dawn of his presidency was revived in terrifying, treacherous form at its sunset Wednesday, as Trump made a fiery last stand and incited his supporters to storm and sack the U.S. Capitol as part of an attempted coup.

I don’t even know how to comment on this event without seeming glib, but I feel compelled to say something anyway.

I am, by trade, an auditor. One thing auditors are trained to investigate is called “tone at the top,” which represents the values expressed by the top management of a company which are expected from everyone who reports up to them.

After auditing for years, I have discovered that “tone at the top” is almost everything you need to know about an organization to get an idea how well and how ethically it is operated. Ethics and decency from the top of an organization really do trickle down all the way to the bottom and permeate it entirely. Moreover, they are strongly indicative of the organization’s *solvency*—its ability to hold together as a going concern over time.

When the “tone at the top” is selfish, vain, petty, petulant, aggrieved, unethical, amoral, and violent—as Trump’s has been—that tone trickles down to the whole organization, and pollutes the thoughts and corrupts the actions of the people within it. Unfortunately in this case, the “organization” is not just the Executive Branch, not just the federal government, and not just the Republican Party: it is the entire United States of America. What’s more, because the U.S. is a vastly influential country, the corruption and willful deceit at the head of it spills over into the rest of the world.

I feel like I have known this from the beginning—before the slow-moving coup even started—because I understood what the “tone at the top” was, and knew that it was vitally important. Knowing this, sadly, is not enough, because in a democracy a majority of people need to know this for things to turn out better. Being able to know this, like being able to discern the “tone at the top” as a new auditor, is a rare gift. It requires a trait that is not easily acquired, but is so difficult to teach and to learn that it is often considered to be innate: shrewdness.

That’s because “tone at the top” isn’t always as blatantly obvious as Trump’s vitriolic tweets and shambolic rally speeches. Understanding what the “tone at the top” really is, it requires a combination of healthy skepticism, decent powers of observation, and the knowledge of how things are supposed to work. You have to understand both context and subtext; subtext is much harder to grasp than context, but is often the more important to the two. You have to interpret people’s words and actions, and compare them to each other to see if the actions follow the words. You also have to have some kind of ethical foundation—which may be laws of the state, societal norms, or virtue ethics— on which to base your conclusions.

The human mind has evolved to do a lot of this analysis automatically. Consider that establishing whether you trust another person is, and always has been, an essential part of human interaction. But, like a lot of thought processes that are largely automatic, many times mental shortcuts are taken and the wrong choice is made. To be able to second-guess these automatic thought processes takes intellect, some degree of guidance, and a willingness to think a little harder.

I would not be surprised to learn that many of the people trying to unlawfully overturn the election—not counting the elected officials who are operating out of cynical self-interest—really do think they are making an ethical decision, and really do think they are doing the right thing. They just trusted the wrong person, or made the wrong decision about voting for or supporting, because they lack the shrewdness and imagination to discern that the “tone at the top” really does matter, and that bad words from a lazy president really will lead to riots in the streets.

I realized today that in, ACL, a scripting language I use at work, I have been using a mixture of PascalCase and snake_case (like this: Table_Name) that is the worst of both worlds in terms of typing difficulty. Fortunately, ACL is not case-sensitive.

It appears that the M1 Mac Mini I ordered is going to spend 8 hours today riding around on a delivery truck in an area only a couple miles from my house before it is delivered to me. That’s OK. I’m just excited to finally get it. My current Mac is almost 8 years old.

Neil Young and Jimmy Iovine sold part or all of their music catalog publishing rights to Hipgnosis. This closely follows Bob Dylan’s catalog sale to Universal Music Group. Strange things may be afoot in the music industry.

I posted my “Publish to Micro.blog” Scriptable script on the Automators forum to help share it with the people who are most interested in iOS automation.

I published a Scriptable script that lets you publish text posts to Micro.blog from any iOS text editor using the standard share sheet. I am excited to share it with the community. Maybe @jean or @manton would be kind enough to share it more widely than I can.

I have been using the Magnet app on my Mac for years now, and I still can’t remember any of the keyboard shortcuts for it.