Linked List Archive

The Initial Charge Linked List is a collection of notable links and brief commentary, with entries regularly added throughout the week.

The Black MacBook ➝

A neat little video from Stephen Hackett discussing the black MacBook. I remember when these came out and wanted one desperately. But in the end, I wasn’t willing to spend the extra $150 just for the black casing and ended up with the white model instead.

It was an excellent machine and served me well for about five years before I purchased an 11-inch MacBook Air to replace it.

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A Touching but Troubling Ad ➝

JF Martin, on Apple’s latest holiday ad:

On many occasions, parents will give the kids an iPad in order to… calm them down. These little girls certainly seem to move some air around them. Apple wants us to believe these moments become an opportunity for creative expression. Maybe. But this parenting behaviour is far too common in our society. Sure this same thing happened before the iPad. Parents would put us in front of a TV show or a movie so we can give them some relief. Yet, with the iPad, it is even more common because of the device portability. I see this as setting our kids aside from our society, our reality. They no longer learn from their parents, they learn from the Internet.

This was my exact reaction to the ad as well. The ending is quite heartwarming, but all of the moments leading up to it gave me pause. The parents sure seem to push the iPad on these kids a bit more than I would prefer.

Comparing this new ad to, what I consider to be, the best ad of all time. Which was released by Apple in 2013 and has a similar spirit to this new one. The teenager in the 2013 ad isn’t being pushed toward using devices, he uses them as a way to express himself and share memories with the family. It isn’t a result of parents occupying his time, it’s something he wanted to do.

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Half-Life: Alyx Announcement Trailer ➝

I was a huge fan of Half-Life back in my PC days in the early 2000s. I sunk countless hours into Half-Life 2 and like many others have hoped that Valve would eventually release a new game in the series. I’m a little bummed that Alyx is being released as a VR game, though, I just can’t imagine myself investing the amount of money necessary to get a VR setup built out. I just hope they release an alternative version of the game that doesn’t require a VR headset and can be played on a console or operating system that I’m actually willing to use.

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How to Get an Old macOS Installer From Apple ➝

If you have older Macs around the house, this link might be worth saving for a rainy day.

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How to Add Wireless CarPlay to Any Car With an Android Tablet ➝

This is actually pretty rad and seems like a neat weekend project to play around with. But taking it a bit further, it makes me wonder how much it would cost and how difficult it would be to replace my car’s head unit with something that I could get wireless CarPlay on.

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Facebook, Google, and a ‘Contract for the Web’ ➝

Matthew Butterick:

So it’s flabbergasting to now see Berners-Lee in the New York Times sidestepping any accountability, and instead promoting himself as the restorer of the web’s virtue. Berners-Lee is pushing what he calls the Contract for the Web, which he describes, with no irony, as a “global plan of action … to make sure our online world is safe, empowering and genuinely for everyone.” He assures us that “the tech giants Google, Facebook, [and] Microsoft” are all “committing to action.” What a relief! Berners-Lee still seems to think Big Tech can do no wrong, even at a time when public and political opinion are going the opposite direction.

I don’t think I’m nearly as negative as Matthew, but I do find it ironic that this “Contract for the Web” is being supported by Google and Facebook.

Google is the primary driving force behind a project which essentially created a dumbed-down version of HTML, that thousands of websites have been functionally forced to implement in order to maintain reasonable rankings in search results. But many of these AMP sites are nearly indistinguishable from one-another and the improved page load times that AMP promises could just as easily been obtained by building a fast non-AMP website to begin with.

And then there’s Facebook, which has built one of the largest walled gardens the internet has ever seen.

It sort of discredits the whole endeavor, if you ask me.

(Via Nick Heer.)

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The Stock App Experiment ➝

Josh Ginter switched to the stock Mail, Calendar, Notes, and Reminders apps after the launch of iOS 13, to see if the new versions would be suitable for his needs. In the end, he ended up switching back to the third-party apps he was using previously. But it’s interesting to read his reasoning as to why he prefers the third-party option in each of the app categories.

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The Flashing Webpages ➝

Elliot Clowes:

I’ve noticed more and more websites now only loading images on a page when you scroll to down to them. It’s called ‘Lazy Loading‘ and I hate it. I’m all for saving bandwidth and improving page loading times but this trend is incredibly annoying.

I completely understand why web developers choose to use lazy loading on their sites, it’s heavily encouraged by Google in their Page Speed Insights tool and is commonly suggested in online guides as a way to improve load times. But using lazy loading is often times exactly as its name suggests — lazy. It doesn’t lead to a good experience for site visitors and doesn’t actually accomplish what should be the end goal — sensibly sized web pages that load fast.

The problem is that the right way to do things isn’t easy. The task of properly sizing and optimizing images is tedious. And it’s often difficult to know what can safely be cut from your design without being a detriment to the site. But those time consuming and difficult tasks are really what needs to be done, not simply enabling lazy loading.

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