The Writing-Apparatus Edition Saturday, August 18, 2018

Writers Have Always Loved Mobile Devices, by Laura R. Micciche, The Atlantic

Writing never happens in the abstract, but only by means of objects—not to mention identity, sensory experiences, memory, nostalgia, hopes, and more. Mobile writing devices help make writing intimate. They empower writers to feel a connection with the world via their tools. Mobile devices are especially good at this because they are adaptable, span a range of material and digital forms, and are experienced as uniquely deliberate lifestyle choices. Whether inspired by the sleek slope of an antique writing desk, an off-the-shelf laptop, or a distraction-free mobile app, writers long for an experience of writing that connects the body and mind to the writing apparatus. Often, that feeling is just as enticing as writing itself.

RIP Time Travel - A Seldom-used Apple Watch Feature Set To Disappear With watchOS 5, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Developers testing the beta releases of watchOS 5 noticed the toggle disappear from settings —before the feature stopped operating completely.

This isn't the first time Apple has drastically changed aspects of the Apple Watch over the few years it has been around. Apple took its time working out the best way for users to interact with the wrist-worn device.


Make iMovie Output Full-Resolution Video, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

The problem is that iMovie doesn’t let you set a project’s resolution manually—for that you seemingly need the $300 Final Cut Pro X—and on the Mac, it fixes the project’s resolution based on the first clip you insert.

This problem has stymied many people, and there are numerous YouTube videos suggesting that you create a new project and drop a high-resolution photo at the beginning of the timeline to set the project to a higher resolution. That trick didn’t work for me. But I figured out a different way of convincing iMovie to allow me to export a 4K file.

Brainstorm Ideas With These Three Mind Mapping Apps On iOS And macOS, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

If you're already a natural doodler, then mind mapping is going to feel second nature. If you're not, if you're under pressure and need to get things done right now —take a moment to do mind mapping anyway. This is the kind of tool that will save you time later and when things are urgent, and it will prevent you missing things too.


Google’s Brin Cops To Plan To Reclaim Lost Decade In China, by Ellen Huet, Bloomberg

The change of heart is also the clearest sign yet that some Googlers view the pullout as a costly miscalculation. That's locked the company out of what is now the largest internet market, where hundreds of millions of people use homegrown services from Baidu Inc., Tencent Holdings Ltd., Meituan Dianping and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to search, communicate, order food and shop online.

Other U.S. technology companies stayed in China and have tried to influence the government from the inside, rather than disengaging. Apple Inc., one of the few U.S. tech giants with a thriving Chinese business, is now worth $1 trillion – a crown Google parent Alphabet Inc. might have captured first if it had an equivalent operation in the world’s most populous country. Mozilla, a progressive organization that’s no fan of censorship, has operated a version of its Firefox browser in China for more than a decade, preferring to adapt its approach rather than leave.

InfoWars Videos, Podcasts, And Social Posts Have Disappeared. Here's Why Its Website Won't Be Next, by Glenn Fleishman, Fortune

Infrastructure companies have largely turned a blind eye to the objectionable content that Jones and other InfoWars hosts spew—ranging from the absurd (accusing Obama administration officials of using chemicals in water to “turn frogs gay”) to the unspeakable (alleging that the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre was faked). But those who battle for free-speech say that hesitation may be a good thing. It is too easy, they argue, for companies to pull the plug on groups who need the Internet’s freedoms most.

Does InfoWars need those protections? That’s the subject of robust debate. But here’s a look at who handles the so-called “back end” of its website, what those companies’ stated policies say, how they are at odds with some of Jones’s actions over the last year, and why some experts believe they should keep working with the toxic media outlet.

Bottom of the Page

I have just finished reading The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin, translated by Ken Liu. Perhaps my expectations was raised too high by all the awards and all the positive reviews, or perhaps hard-science-fiction is not really my cup of tea, but I didn't truly enjoy the entire book. There are parts of it that I liked, such as the chapter on the Trisolarans, but there are parts that I really have to pushed myself through, such as all the chapters on that video game.


Thanks for reading.