I just stumbled on this series of videos Narragansett Beer compiled: an oral history of the Hotel Vernon, the Yacht Club, and the speakeasy in the cellar.
I’ve had an unopened iPhone XS on my desk since last Monday. I ordered it through the iPhone Upgrade Program, and I’m trying to decide if I’m going to keep it.
After owning the original iPhone for three years, and an iPhone 4 and iPhone5 for two years each, I switched to buying a new phone every year. I calculated that the depreciation on the iPhones 6, 6S and 7 was about $300 in the first year, and $200 in the second year1, so it was costing me an extra $100 (plus tax) in the odd years to buy a new phone instead of holding on. That worked out to less than an extra $50/year (plus tax) to own the newest phone every year, compared to holding on to a phone for two years.
$50 each year seemed like a great deal for the latest technology, but that value proposition has changed. The costs I’ll incur if I upgrade this year include:
- Sales Tax: $84.25
- AT&T Upgrade Fee (plus tax): $31.88
- The last payment on my iPhone X (since it’s only been out 11 months): $49.91
- The residual value of a two-year old iPhone X, if I were to keep it another year and own it outright. This is tough to estimate, but resellers are offering $225 - $350 for a two-year iPhone 7+ right now; let’s go with the low-end to make the medicine easier to swallow: $225.00
The total cost of $391.04 is the amount I’ll save if I wait and buy next year’s iPhone, instead of buying the iPhone XS and upgrading again next year. Spreading that premium out over two years is roughly $200/year (including tax); that’s a massive increase over the prior situation.
Part of that increase is that the iPhone Upgrade Program includes AppleCare+, which I’ve never purchased before. Part is that the iPhone X and XS are more fundamentally more expensive than previous generations. Part is the cost associated with just handing the phone back to Apple, instead of dealing with the hassle of a private sale. But I’m not sure if the cost is justified, for me, this year.
The improvements aren’t as numerous, either:
Maybe the strongest indication that I should pass on the iPhone XS is that I haven’t caved in to the temptation to open it yet.
I think I’ll be skipping this one.
My son loves watching the airplanes vectoring for landing at our local airport. I wrote a custom Siri Shortcut that scrapes Flight Aware and shows you information about the next flight scheduled to land at the specified airport (KORH in our case).
You can download it here.
I caught Radiohead at TD Garden last night; they played a really great set:
- Desert Island Disk
- Ful Stop
- 2 + 2 = 5
- All I Need
- No Surprises
- Everything in Its Right Place
- The National Anthem
- How to Disappear Completely
- You and Whose Army?
- There There
- Street Spirit (Fade Out)
- The Numbers
- Lotus Flower
- Fake Plastic Trees
- Exit Music (for a Film)
- Karma Police
With the release of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, Apple added support for FLAC playback. Kirk McElhearn wrote:
But I looked at the iPhone 7 tech specs, and it also says that it supports FLAC, so maybe Apple just means that the files can be read by third-party apps. If FLAC were natively supported on last year’s phone, a lot of people would have heard about it. I think that this has something to do with iOS 11. Because I looked on an older version of the iPhone 7 tech specs page (via the Wayback Machine), and FLAC support is not mentioned.
I maintain an app that plays back local files, and as of the initial release of iOS 11, I couldn’t find an API for facilitating playback of FLAC files. I asked on Stack Overflow; the question received a fair amount of traffic, but no clues.
The other day, I realized that my app is able to playback FLAC files with no changes to my code. It appears that, as of iOS 11.2, the
isPlayable property of
true when backed by a FLAC file.
It’s nice to see that Apple has made this functionality available to third-party apps with no extra complexity.
With the recently released homebridge-nest-cam plugin, my old Dropcam has new life in HomeKit. This, combined with Steve Troughton-Smith’s tweets about the Pi Zero W, has sparked a desire to setup additional HomeKit cameras.
I ordered a Pi Zero W Camera Pack, and set about following Wojtek Pietrusiewicz’s instructions for configuring it with homebridge-camera-rpi.
It was easy to get the Pi connected to the network, but I ran into trouble when I needed to install
ffmpeg. I couldn’t get it working, and based on some comments, I think it may be fairly difficult to install. I’m speculating that something changed between the Rasbian Stretch image of November 2017 and the image of March 2018.
Instead, I used the pre-built image of homebridge-camera-rpi. After using Etcher to flash the image onto my microSD card, the only modifications I made were to the
/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant-wlan0.conf file to add my network SSID and passkey, and to tweak the settings of the plugin in
With that, I was able to see the Pi on the network (via Lanscan), and add it in the Home app.
The Homebrew team has reverted their previous decision to force
python to point to
python3. What a confusing mess.
According to PEP 394,
python should point to
python2, for consistency across Unix-like systems, so this restores compatibility.
A quick update on the Python/Homebrew situation; it looks like
node-gyp has been updated to correctly find Python 2.7.x.
With that change, I’ve now removed Python 2.7.x from my
.bash_profile. I’m still leaving
python@2 linked via
brew link python@2 --force), so that I can can run
python2 for access to a Python 2.7.x environment.
If anyone out there is still using the File Transporter system, there’s a compatibility issue with High Sierra. The last version available via the official update channel is 4.2.12, but there’s a patch for version 4.2.18 available from their support site. This restores access to the Transporter Library.
This issue reminded me that support for this system ended in September, 2017, so I’m on borrowed time. I just upgraded to the 2TB storage plan on iCloud, so I may test migrating the data I have on the File Transporter into iCloud… but that seems risky.
I missed the memo, but back in January Homebrew announced that as of version 1.5,
python would be upgraded to use Python 3.x. This change went live on March 1, and I noticed it over the weekend while tinkering with Homebridge.
While I was rebuilding Homebridge with the latest version of Node.js, I kept banging into
node-gyp errors having to do with using Python 3.x. I’m not alone, though there is already a pull request to fix this issue.
For the time being, I’ve made two changes to please
Forced a link of the new
brew link python@2 -f
Added the following to my
~/.bash_profile, so that
python will point at
I think I’ll revert the second change once the
node-gyp issue is resolved, to begin forcing myself to use Python 3.x.