Jason Becker

Apparently when Comcast sees a closet like this, it is the equivalent of saying “shibboleet”. Got his direct number and his supervisors.

How does “airplay this to my HomePod” not work with Siri? I mean Jesus, does anyone at Apple use this stuff?

It seems like ever rock song lives in the high F/G territory, which is literally the highest note I can hit but just barely.

I got a HomePod. It’s kind of bad. Probably will buy at least two more at some point.

We live in new construction. I had them run Cat6 everywhere in the house. Like, several thousand dollars worth of up-charged CAT6.

It’s still not enough.

The Lady Astronaut Series

I just finished the two published books in The Lady Astronaut series. They are tragic and triumphant, somber and delightful. There are incredible, meaningful character relationships and humor in a rich scientific alternative history.

I found myself in tears many times reading these books. Each time it was for the same reason. At a particularly difficult or wonderful moment in the story, the protagonist, Elma York, would find herself reaching for and finding her Judaism.

After surviving a meteor strike on the eastern seaboard of the United States (setting in motion our alt-history), at the very first moment that the action seemed to pause because our characters reach some form of stability, Elma pauses, suddenly feels the grief of all the loss that has just happened and finds herself performing kriah. Maybe it’s because in the last year or so I’ve buried two grandparents and two uncles, one of whom was like a father to me that this act touched me so deeply. But actually, I suspect that it’s because of the lack of characters in fiction whose Judaism is consequential, even when the story is not about their Judaism. I am not sure if someone who is not Jewish could understand the depth of meaning conveyed to me in that action.

At another point in the story, Elma is able to see her husband one last time before a period of years they would spend apart. They thought they had said their goodbyes, but the rules were broken and she was able to reunite with him briefly. A burst into tears when she realizes, just as she sees her husband, that they were reunited on Rosh Hashanah, and greeted each other with l’shanah tova tikatevi v’taihatem/I.

Or when her commander switches Elma to kitchen duty, despite her protests about often being placed doing “women’s work”, despite her enjoying cooking, and despite her not wanting any special treatment, only to have him reveal that her special skill that evening and for the next week was knowing how to make a seder and keep Kosher for Passover. It would take an entire third novel to try and capture and convey the kindness I personally felt from this.

Or when she shares Yiddish insults she remembers from speaking with her grandmother, which is something I did with my grandmother who passed this year.

Or when she helps a grieving, non-Jewish husband recite the Kaddish for his Jewish wife who passed.

Or when she says the shehekianu.

The Lady Astronaut series may be the first books I’ve ever read that are not about Jewish identity that still makes Jewish identity a consequential, real, meaningful part of one of its characters. Judaism is not an aesthetic, it is not a shorthand for personality traits, and it is not an identifier. The Judaism in these books is powerfully used to convey a richness that taps deep wells of emotion that I’ve rarely felt accessed.

This isn’t an iPad Pro announcement. It’s the opening argument for ARM on the Mac.

It’s just baffling to me that folks are clamoring to recreate the laptop form factor with iOS. I’d much rather see an ARM-based macOS laptop that’s MacBook sized with 15-20hrs of battery life.

I can’t think of an app on iPad that isn’t in macOS, or isn’t a web app that would ditch native as soon as iOS gets a more powerful browser, that’s critical for work. Pretty much all the iOS only stuff exists to work around limitations Macs don’t have.

I don’t understand the argument that iPad should basically become a MacBook bc some people think that iPads are cooler.

It almost always comes down to “the future!” as though that’s not a path we control. By using a Mac, I’ve been in the future all 8 years the iPad has been out.

I have been accused of paranoia with regard to legal fights for “religious freedom”. “But you’re Jewish,” they say, and, “shouldn’t you want to protect religious minorities?” But I know better. Because I am Jewish, I know your supposed protection is really a weapon against me.

You know you’re a product manager when you’re super excited about the way a table in your administrator panel looks and feels.

Do I recommend creative works, or am I recommending my emotional experience of those works?

If whatever you’re doing right now is not reading The Calculating Stars you need to stop and do that instead.

I’ve loved Explosions in the Sky for years, and even I forget just how remarkable The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place is sometimes.

If finishing a book makes you feel slightly more human, I might actually like you.

Others need not apply.

If you scream, people say you’re melodramatic; if you submit, you’re masochistic; if you call names, you’re a bitch. The best thing is to suffer mutely and yearn for a rescuer, but suppose the rescuer doesn’t come?

— The Female Man by Joanna Russ

Someone posted this playlist to r/postrock and it is 🔥.

I am struggling through The Female Man, because it’s so powerful and painfully relevant. It’s so potent that I find it hard to believe it hasn’t grown in power since it’s time.

To be reading this book and facing this reality feels horrible, and I’m a white, cis, het, wealthy guy

It has been really tough to face some things I could do to succeed, but that I won’t. Not bc of a moral stance, but bc of my own emotional weaknesses. At the same time, I have found a small amount of solace in finding some things I’m really good at. Still, I wish I was it all.

I still can’t get comfortable with certain tasks on iOS. For example, I hate organizing things on my phone or iPad. Who feels like it’s a good experience moving things around your home screen?

The thing I’ll miss most while traveling this weekend is my fancy keyboard.

How have I dealt with the Mac App Store for this long and just learned about softwareupdate -i -a?

Slowing Down

Over the last few weeks I have been resurrecting some old reading habits. I am trying to spend more time reading long form articles and books and far less time in “conversational spaces” (insert social media site of choice here).

I don’t miss the conversation.

Although for years I’ve practiced, “Don’t read the comments, ever,” I still continued to actively engage on Twitter and recreated a Facebook account a couple of years ago. I slowly removed sites from my RSS reader that I found cropping up other places. My New Yorker subscription and The Economist subscriptions were cancelled. I left many articles unread in Instapaper. Short articles and comments that I could actively boost and engage with that led to sharing my own thoughts that were boosted and engaged with was addicting and felt like the better way to “keep up”.

Who needs to keep up?

There are a lot of things that led to my changing habits, but perhaps the most important factor was realizing that I could slow down. When my own life ramped up in activity and complexity, I could go days without checking “feeds”. I never missed a thing that mattered. “Keeping up” really meant collecting scraps of thoughts and sharing scraps of thoughts like staring down this small section of bark on this fascinating tree at the entrance to a forest.

Now that I have stepped back to take a broader view, I am much happier. It turns out that I can far more effectively limit what I read to things I am actually interested in when sources are controlled by me. Social media is really good at following individuals, but any one individuals overlap with my interests is always imperfect. When I follow someone for their mechanical keyboard glamor photography, I am also inundated with their views on immigration. As a result, spending time reading on the internet meant allowing the internet to dictate my mood. Now I can go to a set of feeds or a new source or website that only posts pictures of puppies when I am in the mood to look at puppies, and Trump can keep being a massive piece of shit somewhere else.

I am creating a filter bubble, not for confirmation bias but for sanity’s sake, not to silence view points but to ensure I spend time learning from what I read, considering my views and those of others, and enjoying my hobbies.

I would much rather read a long article in The Weekly Standard than the screed of some distant connection on Facebook. I would rather learn about current events from The Washington Post, read considered views in Slate or The Atlantic, or engage in magazine-style, long form journalism of all types than catch up on Twitter.

Social media crowded out quality media and I allowed it to because it kept my racing brain constantly fed and offered me some sense of validation and connectivity when I jumped into the fray.

I don’t want to jump into the fray as much anymore, I get almost no satisfaction from it. And I’m tired of eating cheap take out every night when I can afford a healthy, complete, and expertly prepared meal.

A few years ago I started to use Goodreads and take its annual reading challenge seriously so that I pushed myself to read fiction novels, which always brought me joy. We also cancelled cable, not to watch less television and movies but to watch less unintentional television and movies. The problem wasn’t how much we consumed but how much of it was there because it was meaningless, thoughtless, background noise. Both of these changes have been a part of my good mental health. I don’t know why it took me so long to apply the same thinking to the rest of my media habits.

I really dislike the redesign coming to Overcast. For the first time since it came out, I’m seriously considering a switch…