Dithering Digest 13 - Weekly Tech Roundup

Posted by Colin on Fri, Feb 2, 2024

Welcome to issue #13 of the Dithering Digest Weekly Tech Roundup of geeky news and links.

Have a lovely weekend, and enjoy the links.

How to set up recurring reminders on iPad and iPhone

Apple has made many improvements to the built-in Reminders app over the last few versions of iOS and I have moved more and more of my task management to it recently. This guide will show you how to get the most out of recurring reminders so you never forget bin day again.

Also don’t miss my shortcut for dumping your brain into Reminders quickly using your voice.

🔗 https://www.howtogeek.com/681620/how-to-set-up-recurring-reminders-on-iphone-and-ipad/

Old software you forgot about

I really enjoyed the trip down memory lane provided by this article. WinAmp was always running on my PC alongside MSN messenger to talk to friends with that annoying nudge sound if you didn’t answer within 5 seconds. Some classics in here.

🔗 https://www.howtogeek.com/msn-gamespy-winamp-and-other-nostalgic-software-you-forgot-about/

Is the Raspberry Pi getting too expensive?

Jeff Geerling does a dive into whether the Pi is getting too expensive and looks at some alternatives. It seems like the Pi is still a great machine, especially if low power consumption is a key factor for you, but I was surprised at how many low cost tiny PC options are around now. Seriously considering a mini-PC as a home lab server in the near future.

🔗 https://www.jeffgeerling.com/blog/2024/when-did-raspberry-pi-get-so-expensive

Writing is better for your brain than typing

A recent small scale study carried out at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology has concluded that writing is better for learning than typing. By monitoring students on an EEG they found that more regions of the brain were active during handwriting than typing. They conclude that this will lead to stronger memory formation and therefore better learning.

There is similar research into journaling for mental health being more effective when handwritten than typed, perhaps because writing is slower and gives more time for thought formation and reflection. I currently type my daily journal for mental health (which I plan to write about in the near future) but I may look to go halfway and use the Apple Pencil with GoodNotes instead. I find the ability to search my journal outweighs any benefits to having it on paper.

🔗 https://www.theregister.com/2024/01/28/handwriting_vs_typing_study/

Raspberry Pi Company to go public with an IPO

The Raspberry Pi Trading Company (the commercial arm of the Raspberry Pi Foundation) have appointed bankers to prepare the way for the company trading on the Stockmarket. Many tinkerers and makers are concerned that this may mean the company becomes profit-driven and will result in products more suited to manufacturing than the hobbyists but CEO Eben Upton insists that while he is in charge it will be business as usual and the increased funding will actually allow for better products.

🔗 https://www.theregister.com/2024/01/30/raspberry_pi_ipo/

Elon Musk’s Neuralink endeavour are now ready to attempt their first human trials. The aim is to create a Brain Computer Interface (BCI) that will initially allow basic control of a computer for people with spinal cord injuries or ALS. Long term he hopes that all humans will have access to this to effectively allow everyone full access to the internet and all knowledge simply by thinking. This would surely be the singularity and the next major evolution of humans, or the apocalypse and brain hacking. Either way it will be fascinating!

🔗 https://www.theregister.com/2024/01/30/neuralink_first_human_trial/

Apple News

OK so it has been a pretty big week or so for Apple News, including the release and people taking the first orders for the Apple Vision Pro headsets, but I want to focus on these articles about changes to the App Store mostly as a result of US and EU legal action.

Apple releases iOS 17.3 with Stolen Device Protection

Apple released iOS 17.3 with Stolen Device Protection, shared playlists in Apple Music and more. The stolen device protection is opt-in but I would recommend switching it on. Without it, it can be trivial for a thief to change your Apple ID password just by shoulder-surfing and getting your passcode. This would not only stop you from tracking and erasing your device, but could also lock you out of your other devices and lose all of your iCloud data, including your photos!

🔗 https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2024/01/ios-17-3-adds-multiple-features-originally-planned-for-ios-17/

Game streaming rules change for iOS

In a surprising move Apple has made a change globally to allow game streaming services on iOS. This would allow the likes of NVIDIA’s GeForce Now to exist on iOS natively and not through a web browser, enabling you to play many games that are not available on iOS.

It also means it is highly likely that FortNite could return to iOS devices in the near future, something that my kids will be very happy to hear.

🔗 https://sixcolors.com/link/2024/01/apple-changes-game-streaming-rules-on-ios/

Apple changing rules to comply with EU Digital Markets Act

This one is big. And also incredibly complex. I have read many articles on this but I think this one by John Gruber at Daring Fireball breaks it down the best, especially with the bullet point summary near the bottom.

The biggest thing from this in my opinion is the addition of 3rd party App Stores. Not quite the full side-loading that is available on Android (with all the security implications that brings) but a decent halfway house. Apple still retains some control to try to maintain safety and security for users but it will allow developers a lot more choice for accepting payments etc. It will also open up apps that could not exist before (mostly porn and gambling, but there may be other previously banned categories of app that can now exist).

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but as the UK is no longer part of the EU and this update is locked to EU only, I will have to wait until the UK force a similar law before I can try it out. I suspect user pressure will make the UK act on this sooner than later.

🔗 https://daringfireball.net/2024/01/apples_plans_for_the_dma

Computer Joke of the Week

Why do computer scientists get confused between Halloween and Christmas?

Because Oct 31 = Dec 25

If you have any cool projects or tinkering you are doing, let us know and we will feature it in future issues of the digest. I would love to hear what you are all dithering on!

Until next week, happy dithering!

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