Apple Vision Pro - After Three Months

Before the Apple Vision Pro launched, I had concerns that it was going to mirror the launch of the Apple TV, but I was optimistic enough to pre-order one.

I felt good about the promise of spatial computing, the hardware having more power for mixed reality gaming than the competition, and the screens having the resolution needed for watching movies.

It has let me down in two of those three areas. It’s not an ideal computing platform, and there are better gaming platforms even for VR. But it’s a great content platform.


Apple Vision Pro - A Mirrored Launch

There is a lot going against Apple Vision Pro before it launches. Besides the overall price, its utility now and in the future are still up for debate. Will it live up to its pitch as a general-purpose computing platform or will it end up just another headset?

I’m optimistic enough about Apple’s vision for spatial computing to pre-order one. I did so with some concerns about how the visionOS ecosystem will develop, and I keep thinking its launch reminds me of the 2015 Apple TV launch.


Cross-Platform Mobile Development Options

At work, we are planning the development of a mobile app that will need both an iOS and Android application. So besides just making two native versions, we are also looking at options for cross-platform development.

Framework Options

  • React Native
  • Flutter
  • Microsoft MAUI (formally Xamarin.Forms)
  • Strada (part of Hotwire from 37signals)

Why are we not considering a progressive web app (PWA)?

We kind of already have that. When iOS 16.4 was released with web notification support, we added it. We also use Turbo (part of Hotwire) to make the interactions feel like a client-side app.

Users are still requesting a “proper” mobile app that installs from an app store. But we’re not begrudgingly planning this mobile app. I think it will be fun to build.


Keyboard Bumps

Every time I sit down at a vintage Macintosh computer, an adjustment period is required to use the keyboard. Modern Macs and Windows computers have keyboard bumps on the F and J keys that you feel with your index fingers. However, Macintosh computers from the 1980s and early 1990s have keyboard bumps on the D and K keys that you feel with your middle fingers.

It finally bugged me enough to do some digging for information on the changeover, and I 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 being in good physical condition with the exception of a broken “enter” key on the numpad. It would power on, but it would hang on a floppy disk icon. Restoring it turned out to be pretty straight-forward.


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 and Django to process and present data for the articles I was tasked with writing.

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.