Recent Articles By Andrew Orr [RSS]

I'm Wearing AirPods, Don't Talk to Me

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Rebecca Dolan writes about various reasons why people wear AirPods besides listening to music. Some people are wearing AirPods because they don’t want other people to talk to them in certain settings.

Zach Miles learned a valuable lesson shortly before graduating this year from Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma. Walking across campus while wearing his AirPods earphones kept people at a distance. “If you’re not in the mood to talk to somebody, or if you’re in a hurry, it gives someone a visual signal,” he said.

Mr. Miles brought that knowledge to his working life in Colorado Springs, Colo., where his AirPods remain a shield against awkward small talk. “It’s a crutch,” admitted the 22-year-old app developer.

Donut County Game Launches Tuesday for iOS, macOS

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Donut County launches tomorrow for iOS, macOS, Steam, and Playstation 4. I’ve had the chance to play it a bit on my Mac, and it’s a fun game. Raccoons have taken over Donut County by using remote-controlled holes that they use to steal trash. The main character is BK, who uses a hole to capture his friends and their homes to win prizes. But he ends up falling into his own hole accidentally, where he is confronted by the residents. It’s a physics-based puzzle game. You can explore peoples’ homes, each with its own environment. You move the hole to swallow their stuff, which keeps getting bigger. You can combine objects inside the hole for special effects, like bunny breeding (yeah a little odd). You can also launch things back out of the hole, to solve puzzles or destroy stuff. Basically, the goal is to swallow up everything in Donut County. Mac App Store: US$12.99. App Store: US$4.99

Donut County Game Launches Tuesday for iOS, macOS

Beware of Rich People Who Want to Change the World

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Beware of rich people wanting to change the world. Changing the world is something we hear quite often in Silicon Valley, but it usually rings hollow.

At first, you think: Rich people making a difference — so generous! Until you consider that America might not be in the fix it’s in had we not fallen for the kind of change these winners have been selling: fake change.

Of course, world-changing initiatives funded by the winners of market capitalism do heal the sick, enrich the poor and save lives. But even as they give back, American elites generally seek to maintain the system that causes many of the problems they try to fix — and their helpfulness is part of how they pull it off. Thus their do-gooding is an accomplice to greater, if more invisible, harm.

A good example of this is Elon Musk. If he can’t turn it into a publicity stunt, it doesn’t matter to him. Whatever happened to his “fixing” of the Flint water crisis?

Krome Photos is a Service That Edits Your Photos For You

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Krome Photos is a new app that sets itself apart from other photo editors. It’s a service where you send your photos to trained editors who edit your photo for you. Krome editors can improve color, merge multiple photos, change the background, add a person or create a whole new image. They also offer one free re-edit with every order. There are three order options ranging from US$3 to US$12. Your first design is discounted. Popular edit requests include changing the background and color, skin corrections, adding/removing people, adding props or a logo, combining multiple images (up to 4) into one, and fixing, restoring, and repairing a photo.

Krome Photos is a Service That Edits Your Photos For You

The NSA Continues to Violate American Rights

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The National Security Agency continues to violate American rights when it comes to internet privacy.

The government attempts to defend this spying by pointing out that its “targets” are foreigners located abroad. But this is no defense at all. Americans regularly communicate with individuals overseas, and the government uses PRISM surveillance to collect and sift through many of these private communications. The government has even admitted that one of the purposes of Section 702 is to spy on Americans’ international communications without a warrant.

I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!

Download Windows 95 On Your Mac As An App

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It’s now possible to download Windows 95 on your Mac right now, as an app. You can run it on macOS, Windows, and Linux. Slack developer Felix Rieseberg has created the electron app, and published the source code and app installers on Github. Apps like Wordpad, MS Pain, and Minesweeper all run just fine, like they would on the actual operating system. However, it seems like Internet Explorer can’t load web pages. The app is 129MB and only uses about 200MB of RAM, even if you’re running it with multiple apps and programs running. If you run into problems, you can reset Windows 95 inside the app and start over.

Download Windows 95 On Your Mac As An App

The Untold Story of Cyberattack NotPetya

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So far NotPetya has been the worst cyberattack in history, and now we’ve got the untold story behind it.

On a normal day, these servers push out routine updates—bug fixes, security patches, new features—to a piece of accounting software called M.E.Doc, which is more or less Ukraine’s equivalent of TurboTax or Quicken. It’s used by nearly anyone who files taxes or does business in the country.

But for a moment in 2017, those machines served as ground zero for the most devastating cyberattack since the invention of the internet—an attack that began, at least, as an assault on one nation by another.

Psst! *whispers* That nation was Russia.

Intel Power Gadget Monitors Your Mac's Energy Usage

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Traditional methods to estimate power/energy usage of the processor has always been a cumbersome task that included special purpose tools or instrumentation on the platform along with third party equipment. Intel Power Gadget is supported on Windows and macOS and includes an application, driver, and libraries to monitor and estimate real-time processor package power information in watts using the energy counters in the processor. In version 3.0 there are more features that include estimation of power on multi-socket systems as well as externally callable APIs to extract power information within sections of code.

Intel Power Gadget Monitors Your Mac’s Energy Usage

Advertising is Obsolete. Let's Kill It With Fire

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Advertising is obsolete, so let’s kill it with fire. Ramsi Woodcock of the University of Kentucky writes that if the only justification for advertising is that it informs, then it’s obsolete now.

Imagine a world wiped clean of advertising of all kinds…Would you still be able to find all the information you could ever want about products in this alternative world? Of course you would. Your friends, family and the host of complete strangers you follow on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and half a dozen other sites would continue to bombard you with information about their lives, including all the products they are using.

That argument make sense to me. However, he continues to write that advertising has another use: manipulation.