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Aaron Fisher - Profile picture

Aaron Fisher

Developer from the UK, currently making cool stuff at The Outlook Creative Group.
Podcasting weekly at munchtech.tv.

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Twitter…

It’s as though Musk has taken Facebook’s “Move fast and break things” motto and reduced it to “Break everything fast.”

https://daringfireball.net/2022/11/twitter_tumult


If ‘Edging’ by Blink 182 was released in 2001


2008 MacBook Air

I recently managed to pick up an original MacBook Air from 2008 in fantastic condition, it even came with it’s original charger and the original (optional) USB SuperDrive. This one is original 1,1 version so it has the 80GB 4200rpm hard drive that could be found in iPods at the same time!

I put a clean install of Leopard (10.5) on it as this is what would have originally shipped with it. For a 1.6Ghz Core 2 Duo with 2GB of RAM and the 4200rpm iPod drive, it’s actually pretty quick!

The 1,1 shipped with micro DVI (on the right), they switched this out for mini display port later in the year
The included (optional) USB SuperDrive

Stripping a 2006 MacBook battery

I have a 2006 black MacBook in surprisingly good condition for it’s age and I’m trying to keep it that way, but one of the things that has always concerned me is the battery going full spicy pillow mode and wrecking the plastic around it. I managed to find a super cheap official original battery online and my plan was to strip out the cells from inside and replace them with something of roughly the same weight.

The battery stripped of its…well…batteries:

Some scrap metal stuck down with some double sided 3M tape inside (with electrical tape covering any leftover wires):

The battery pack all screwed back together:

The battery pack back in the MacBook, good as new!


iOS 16 Initial Impressions

Every year I tell myself I’ll wait for the official release of iOS and every year, like clockwork, I end up installing the first public beta as soon as it comes out and this year is no different. Initial stability and battery life seem good, but there are definitely some “beta bugs” as there normally always is, which this year includes my phone getting abnormally warm whilst in use which is something I’ve also seen reported by others. Most apps seems to be pretty stable, the only one one I’ve had consistent issues with so far is Instagram which will occasionally just crash and dump you back to your home screen.

The lock screen

The changes Apple have made to the lock screen this year is probably the thing I’m most excited for, gone are the days when the lock screen was simply just that, a lock screen. With iOS 16 you can tweak it to whatever you want…well…almost. It’s got the classic Apple restrictions (“though shall not get creative”) but it was a nice surprise to see you can change fonts and colours, something I didn’t expect to see Apple allow you to do, which means you can avoid the dreaded clash between the clock text colour and your wallpaper, revolutionary I know. There’s a fixed area for you to add widgets below the clock and you can tweak what appears above the clock (in my case I’ve gone for date + weather conditions, although these often get cut off).

Speaking of widgets, they’re extremely limited at the moment with 0 third party ones available yet that I can see. This is no surprise with how early we are in the beta cycle and I imagine developers are not permitted to submit these to the App Store until after iOS 16 is available to the masses. Apple’s built in ones give a good indication of what’s to come though, I like the activity one (although whilst I appreciate the privacy aspect, It’d be nice if the Activity rings were visible even before Face ID had authenticated) and a few of the Home ones seem like they’d be useful but I’ll mostly be waiting on apps like Things to add support before adding any to my lock screen at this stage.

Let’s talk wallpapers! I enjoy the nice effect you get where on some images it’ll cut out the subject and slightly hide it behind the clock, the best bit about this is that it works in virtually any photo, you’re not limited to just ones shot with portrait mode that include depth information. You can see with my wallpaper below, it cut the subject out automagically and created the effect for me. It’s worth noting that if you add widgets below the clock, this effect appears to be disabled, which makes sense.

I do like the fact that you can have multiple lock screen setups and you can tie them to specific focus modes. Although this is not something I’ve got set up yet I imagine it will be useful for people who have gone all in on “focus”. I currently only really use “Sleep” and “Work” focus modes and I can’t really see a use for changing the lock screen for those at this stage!

I still wish we could change what the current flashlight and camera buttons could do, maybe next year?

Cutting out images

Now this is something that made me go “wow”, you can now tap and hold on an object/subject in photo and iOS will cut it out (removing the background) and allow you to copy and paste it elsewhere. It’s not perfect, but it’s damn impressive and I imagine it will only get better with time. I’m using it on an iPhone 11 so I don’t know if the newer iPhones with their fancier chips will do a better job.

I can’t say this is something that’s made me go “yes, finally, this was the missing feature!” but I can definitely see it being useful in the future on occasion. I think a more useful feature would be something akin to Google’s magic eraser tool, where you can manually or automatically remove things from images, but it’s a good start at least!

Example video from Apple

The other stuff

I’ve had audible feedback on key presses turned off for years on iOS but haptic feedback in the keyboard is really nice and something I’ve currently got enabled. I can’t say that it helps or changes anything in any way other than providing a subtle “bump” upon each key press.

Apple’s purchase of Dark Sky is starting to become apparent with the continued improvements to the built in weather app. Being able to see a detailed forecast per day is pretty much the last feature I wanted lifted from Dark Sky. If you tap on a certain day, you can see a graph for various parameters such as temperature, precipitation, feels like temperature and many more, nice!

Being able to snooze emails in Mail is a feature I see coming in very handy, probably more so on the Mac than the iPhone for me though. This is one of the features I used to love from third party apps such as Spark, so to see it be native to the built in app is great (no privacy/security trade offs).

Live text has a number of improvements and in general is still a feature that slightly blows my mind every time I use it, which is surprisingly more than I thought I would. You can now pause a video and capture text from within the paused frame, which is nuts!

Excited to be able to finally edit/unsend messages in iMessage, although it’s pretty difficult to test out at the moment as it relies on the other person to have iOS 16 as well. This just feels like something we should have had a long time ago, but better late than never right?

The Home app is much, much better now, although this wasn’t exactly a high bar. I haven’t noticed a whole lot different functionality wise but the interface for navigating around is much easier now, especially if you have more than a couple of rooms setup in the app (no more endlessly scrolling left and right trying to find them in a hurry).

Other than that, I haven’t really had anything else stand out to me. It looks like they’re changing a lot of little things, like the animation when you swipe down to open search from your home screen etc.

If you have a spare phone I’d say give it a shot, maybe wait on your main device though as your mileage may vary with bugs, battery life etc. I’ve not yet been brave enough to upgrade my main Mac to Ventura (and am very unlikely to before release) and my iPad Air 2 has been deemed “vintage” by Apple and thus won’t be getting iPadOS 16 or any more major updates!


Happy 15th birthday iPhone!


🤘


Pi-hole port 53 “address already in use” (Portainer/Docker)

I’ve been setting up Portainer (Docker) on an Intel NUC running Ubuntu but came across an issue when trying to get Pi-hole installed with a port 53 error.

This post is mostly for my own future reference but I thought I’d put it here in case it helps anyone else.

When deploying Pi-hole in docker (in my case through Portainer), if you get an error along the lines of “pihole 53 portainer bind: address already in use” then this may help.

First off, you can check if anything is running on port 53 with the following:

sudo lsof -i tcp:53

in my case I could see “systemd-resolved” was listening on this port (I’m assuming this is the systems internal DNS resolver?) and after some digging I found you can disable it with the following:

sudo systemctl disable systemd-resolved.service
sudo systemctl stop systemd-resolved

This solved my issue with deploying Pi-hole….but created another one, I could no longer resolve any Docker tags as I’d get a DNS error (“Temporary failure in name resolution”).

Turns out, disabling the internal DNS resolver will break DNS resolution, who would have guessed?! My solution was to set the nameserver to be my local DNS server (my Pi-hole in this case), I’d imagine you could set this to be Cloudflare (1.1.1.1) or Google (8.8.8.8) etc. too.

sudo nano /etc/resolv.conf

Mine was set to 127.0.0.53 by default, you can then change “nameserver” to the address of your choice.


My Ford Focus, complete with an indoor swimming pool!

I know everyone raves about inbuilt swimming pools but having one in my car is just not for me.

A number of years back I started to notice that it was taking longer and longer to clear my windows (on the inside) during the winter months and that it wasn’t just the “normal fog” you get but full blown condensation that had to be wiped away. Well, it turns out that Ford decided to give everyone who owns a MK3 Ford Focus the non-optional extra of having a swimming pool build up in the spare wheel well whenever it rains, I know right?! How nice of them! After some digging online it seems that the rear vents behind the bumper that allow air to escape the cabin also allow water in. Water would build up in the cavity behind them and then overflow into the rear of the car and if you were really unlucky it would overflow from the boot and down under the rear seats and under the floor. Luckily for me mine never got quite that far!

If you crawl up under the rear of the car, there are two bungs (one on each side), pull those out and they basically act like drain plugs. The first couple of times I did mine water poured everywhere, I eventually found that until I could permanently solve the issue I was best just leaving them undone (or I would duck tape over them if I was expecting to drive a lot in the rain) allowing the water that flowed in to flow right back out again.

After the latest round of winter I decided it was finally time to whip the rear bumper off and seal these vents once and for all (or at least I hope so). Getting the bumper off was rather easy, the biggest issue was the wiring harness for the rear parking sensors as it was brittle/stuck solid! Once the bumper was off it was just a case of removing the 4 vents (not the easiest of tasks but taking the smaller rear ones off first will allow you to get your hand in and release the larger ones from the inside). Cleaned up any left over water inside, filled it with some cavity wax and then applied some water proof silicone all around the vents essentially glueing them back on. Let’s hope it holds!

The problem seemed to be the poor seal these vents have with the bodywork of the car, they move/rattle around. It looks like the plastic/rubber seal may have once held tight against the car but overtime, as it dries out, less so. With this poor seal, the water that runs around the boot, behind the rear lights and down over these vents ends up just running inside.

My inbuilt swimming pool and yes, that’s mould, lovely right? ????
…all cleaned up and left to dry/air
The offending vents removed ready for some silicone
The vents re-applied with a generous helping of silicone

Moral of the story? If you own a MK3 Ford Focus and you find the inside of the car is oddly damp during the rainy season, take a look in your spare wheel well and see if you have any water build up.


App: Balance Lock

I’m not sure when the problem started but 9 times out of 10 when I re-connect my Caldigit Thunderbolt to my M1 MacBook Air, the audio balance will move to a random position between the left and right and yes, before you ask, I don’t get it either. Every time I have to jump into System Preferences and re-adjust, until today! Came across this simple little app called “Balance Lock” and it does exactly what it says on the tin, it keeps your audio balanced to a custom setting (in my case, the middle). I’ve been using it for a few days and every time I’ve re-connected my MacBook to the dock in the morning, I’ve gotten a little notification to say it’s re-balanced my audio, perfect!