Keyboard Bumps

Every time I sit down at a vintage Macintosh computer, there is an adjustment period when using the keyboard. I feel for the keyboard bumps using my index fingers to begin typing. This is because they are on the F and J keys on modern Macs and Windows computers. However, the position key bumps are on the D and K keys on Macs from the 80s and early 90s.

I finally started digging for some information on the changeover and found this Apple Support document about the “bumps” on the home keys

Dollar Macintosh SE Restoration

I shouldn’t place bids on computers I don’t need, but I did end up winning a Macintosh SE for only $1. It was listed as in good physical condition with the exception of a broken “enter” key on the numpad, and it would power on to a floppy disk icon. It turned out to be a pretty straight-forward restoration.

Upgrading the Trash Can Mac Pro

I recently purchased a used Mac Pro (Late 2013) that came with a quad-core CPU and the AMD D500 GPUs. This Mac Pro (the “trash can”) wasn’t really well received when it was released because it wasn’t as upgradable as its predecessor and stayed in the Mac lineup unchanged for almost six years.

After its successor reverted back to an upgradable form factor, the introduction of Apple Silicon, and the machine no longer being supported by the latest macOS operating system, prices have fallen to less than a tenth of its original price tag. But these are still very capable machines, and they can also boot to Linux or Windows 10, which is still supported by Microsoft.

Despite this machine not being known for its upgradeability, it’s surprisingly quick and easy for almost everything but the GPU. The RAM can quickly pop out and supports almost any 1866 MHz DDR3 ECC set up to 64GB (and it supports quad channel). The storage connector is non-standard, but with an easy-to-find nVME adapter, you can use a wide variety of M.2 NVMe SSDs to upgrade the storage. Also, the CPU is a standard Xeon socket, so while it’s not so straight-forward to get to the CPU, replacement is possible, and upgrading the CPU is the first upgrade I’m tackling.

15 Years of Web Development

In 2007, I was in the journalism program at the University of North Texas, and I started exploring Python and the Django project, a web framework developed at a newspaper. I found data-driven journalism to be an exciting intersection of computer science and traditional journalism, and I used Python to process data for articles I was tasked with writing and Django to present the data.

In August of that year, I got my first paid gig for web development. A local business needed a way to process a spreadsheet of inventory into individual pages so people could browse what equipment they had for sale.

The software development aspects of data-driven journalism ended up being more engaging to me than the journalism aspects. I considered switching my major to computer science, but I stuck with it and graduated with a degree in journalism. However, I ultimately ended up with a career in software development.

Creality Ender 5 with the 4.2.7 Board and Marlin 2.1

I’ve been baby-stepping my way into 3D printing for about three years now.

I started with the goal of wanting to print a particular model I found on the internet, and I worked my way towards how to print it. After each print, there was always something to adjust or upgrade, and 3D printing became a hobby.

The entire scene is a lot to take in. There are loads of different apps and file formats for the 3D modeling and CAD work, websites for downloading pre-made models, and concepts like slicing and gcode that the printer ultimately uses.

And that’s just the software side of things. On the hardware side, there are different types of printers (like filament or resin), different styles of each type, and different mediums for each printer type.

A Month with Linux

Last month, I tried using Linux for my daily driver and the results were mixed. While using Linux for work is as easy as using macOS, I had some minor hardware support issues, game controller issues, and I hesitated moving my personal computing needs to the platform.