not quite on the cutting edge
Thursday, April 3 2014
To update my iPad, I needed to have a functioning copy of iTunes working on one of my computers. At first I tried using the existing copy of iTunes on my MacMini, but it didn't seem to be detecting the iPad. So I "upgraded" the MacMini's software, something I never like doing because to do so is to open yourself up to a world of uncertainty. Sure enough, after the "upgrade," iTunes didn't even open. Lovely.
So then I tried installing iTunes on my main Windows machine, Woodchuck. Unfortunately, though, when I got the search results for "install iTunes," I absent-mindedly clicked on the first link, assuming that Google would have sorted the best to the top. Unfortunately, though, Google had put two ads at the top of the search results, and the one I clicked on fired up a poorly-written installer that started doing its installing from a window somewhat beyond the edge of my northmost monitor (I have five monitors!). I didn't noticed that this was a crapware installer without much interest in installing iTunes until I saw a graphically-jarring (and decidedly un-Applesque ad) for a "driver scan." The company I'd downloaded the installation from was called windownload.net and if I had more time and ambition, I would hunt its CEO down and clip his fingers off one by one while masturbating and cackling loudly. I killed the installation the moment I was aware of what was happening (in other words, just before it installed Search Conduit). By then, it had already installed at least two pieces of malware (both of which do the same thing as Search Conduit, so the question becomes: which crappy homepage and ad-laden search engines do you end up with?). One of these was called MySearchDial (which installs an especially ugly toolbar at the top of all browsers it finds), and the other (I forget what it was) left over a hundred entries in my registry. I had to get rid of all that shit immediately even though my Lightroom guy would be coming over soon and I wanted to get a few things done before he arrived.
Even with iTunes successfully installed on my main, it insisted on being a bitch. Unlike every other application on that machine, it couldn't find a way out to the internet (and yes, I poked around in Internet Explorer's settings, which for some reason it insists on using). Eventually I gave up and tried installing iTunes an old PC running the x64 version of Windows XP. But it's hard to find a version of iTunes that will run on that, and even when I did, it had the same problem of not being able to find a way out to the internet.
I eventually managed to get iTunes working on the MacMini (I had to throw the old copy in the trash and download it the installer), and once I did that, I could "upgrade" the iPad, taking it from iOS 4.X to 7.X. The new OS didn't install completely effortless; though I'd backed up the iPad before the "upgrade," all attempts to restore that backup resulted in a loop of inane menus, none of which led to data restoration. So I said fuck it and did a clean install, since there was nothing unique on that iPad that I needed.
I'm skeptical of the new "flat" design paradigm that seems to have come (of all places) out of Microsoft and quickly swept the UI design world. This new paradigm treats the appearance of 3D in design as a hangover from the tech-illiterate past, when interfaces were comprised of real objects. But when a design is made to appear as flat as possible, it becomes harder to distinguish objects from the backgrounds they are occluding. I have a feeling that this new flat paradigm, though it is already being treated as some sort of eternal truth that was only just discovered, will only persist for a few OS versions before designers move on to the next thing. Despite these contrarian-based reservations, I actually rather like the new interface, probably just because it suddenly makes my iPad look like a brand new and completely unfamiliar object. It's fine when that happens with an iPad, but I resist it strenuously on my main computer (Woodchuck), where I've somehow managed to maintain a Windows-2000-style desktop on a Windows 7 machine.
The new OS allowed me to view pages rendered by AngularJS and quickly find the solution to the problem of integrating the built-in cameras to web-file-upload functionality.
Late tonight when I went to take a bath, I found the hot water in the tank was only 90 degrees after a day of bright sun. Clearly something was amiss; it should have been closer to 150. So I flipped a number of valves to feed the antifreeze resupply system at 30 psi directly into the solar loop, a pressure sufficient to blow bubbles all the way through the loop and out the other end. In so doing, I discovered a massive bubble blocking the flow. It's a wonder the system has been able to collect any heat at all. I won't know until we have another sunny day, but my guess is that it will work much better when that eventually happens.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
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