eXtensions - Monday 30 March 2020
Monday Diversion: Internet Gremlins from Stay at Home Use; Adapting to a Changed World
By Graham K. Rogers
With increased use of the internet due to so many people now working at home, it is reported (Stickboy) that True has its engineers working to triple bandwidth to allow for this increased use. Of course if True has suddenly, magically been able to triple the bandwidth capacity, why could this not have been done before? On Monday I saw a note on Seeking Alpha (Brandy Betts) reporting that Microsoft's cloud services have seen a 775% increase in demand in the past week in regions with shelter in place or social distancing orders. Extrapolated to other services, that would explain a lot.
After a few days looking at Netflix output, I switched to AppleTV+ as The Banker is now available and I had wanted to see that ever since it was announced. It was delayed for a while over a legal problem (understandable when you see the movie) but was now on my list. Apart from the content, some of which made me really angry - us white folks can never fully understand the forces of racism, express or implied - I was a bit annoyed by the constant feed drops. Netflix does not seem to be affected at the moment, but the signal dropped several times and for a change it was not my own router (the internet light was flashing away merrily there).
I will not know what I have on film for a few weeks yet as the shops are closed. I already have two rolls for pickup, but if the shop is closed, there is nothing to be done. I wrote recently in a 3-part article on camera types, about the expanding use of film, noting how in the last couple of years, manufacturers have been developing new films.
Now, DL Cade reports in PetaPixel, Lomography have released a new B & W 35mm film, "that originates from a roll of German cinematic production film". This is not the only product that uses cinematic film, but this has been created with a specific chemical layer removed so it can be developed in the same way as normal black and white film. Whether it is ever available here, its release only (so far) as 35mm limits its use for me to an extent as I prefer working with medium format. I am still waiting to get my hands on that newly released Ilford Ortho film.
Now that I have completed the marking of the student work I was thinking of updating to Catalina which is now on 10.15.4. Or at least I was until I saw that some users are having problems with the Finder seizing, while hoakley (The Eclectic Light Company) reports that Apple has changed fixing preferences again which can now only be done from the Rescue partition. There are some mysteries to how this all works and why.
I am still making several attempts each day to update the AppleTV from 13.2 to 13.4 but each time it fails on the installation about the time that I would see Verify on my iOS devices. After a couple more attempts, I turned off the device and removed the power cord (again). This time I also restarted the WiFi router. Once all was running again (I checked that the internet was connected), I tried the AppleTV update again. As always, the download itself is fine, but the checks and setting up are where the problems lie. And . . . Nope.
There is not a lot a user can do. With the Mac I can play about with the Terminal if necessary, and there is a certain amount of access with iOS devices and iPads, but the Apple Watch and AppleTV are one remove away from the user and unless one has access to special tools (and the knowledge), we are limited to what we see on the menus. The next thing available to me is Reset or Reset & Update, but that means I would have to re-enter all details which is a bit drastic: not when there are no shops open for rescue. Who wants to wipe a device unless absolutely necessary?
After viewing many videos of crowd problems in different countries, I was prompted to make a comment after seeing a clip on Twitter of Americans looting. We have also seen panic buying in Australia, Britain and the USA, and I seriously wondered in the comments I made how Western civilization is so often promoted as an ideal. I was reminded of the George Carlin quote, "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups".
For some of us there are many problems, particularly in the treatment of the poor and low income earners. It has been clear that countries like Italy have been left to fend for themselves, although they have now received help from the enemy: China, Cuba and Russia; while other European countries and the USA help themselves. Some wonder if Western civilisation can survive and Ali Demirdas in The National Interest discusses how these events in previously thought of powerful nations will change the people and the political systems in the long run. These fragmented attitudes were also highlighted by comments in Deutsche Welle which outlined the potential north-south split over ways to help Italy. The group of friends is not so friendly in a world crisis.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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