Farewell Minecraft

I don’t play games much but I have had a Minecraft account for many years without any problems. After Microsoft took over Minecraft I put off moving to a Microsoft account for as long as possible – fearing the worse. Once the day came and they insisted I moved to the dark side it was as bad as it could possibly be. Anyone else would just move the Minecraft account details but being Microsoft to get from A to B you have to go via C and F having ticked boxes D and E on the way.

Having successfully moved the account I did manage to use it once. But attempting to log in to the new account today for the second time I am greeted by:

To which the obvious solution is to give up, close the account and move on vowing never to touch anything bearing the Microsoft name again. But this is Microsoft so even closing the account becomes a labyrinthian chore which is going to take some time.

It is the inability to access the account as usual which is the problem. But this being Microsoft they are able to utilise their full computing power and will get back to you in thirty days. Bizarre.

Restoring sounds to the iPad via memory lane.

I was confused as to why the iPad would play music and the sound on videos but fell silent while playing games. I eventually realised it was in Silent Mode. Swipe down from the top right corner to open the Control Centre and tap the Bell icon to toggle Silent Mode on and off.

Best of all – this also restored sound to the wonderful SoundForest app which had been silent for a while. Created by Justin Alexander it seems to have been abandoned but still functions on the latest devices.

Many (many!) years ago I wrote a little thing for the Amiga called Beat Sheets which triggered brief sound samples. It was part of a series I created for children called Kids Disk, which were distributed on floppy discs for free from Public Domain libraries via snail mail. It was written with AMOS, which was pretty fancy for the time, probably in 512 kilobytes of memory. I did add a hard drive to the Amiga at some point which added 20 megabytes of storage – which I described at the time as “like having a vast empty warehouse to store stuff”; for context the SoundForest video below is 155 megabytes.

Lo and behold (isn’t the Internet wonderful?) someone had a video of Beat Sheets in action which they seemed to be running in an Amiga emulator…

Beat Sheets on the Amiga 1993

Fast forward several decades and SoundForest is a far more sophisticated app, downloaded from the App Store and running on a hand held device with a terabyte of memory. It follows the same idea of tapping sound samples into a grid. You can extend your song by swiping to the left for a fresh sheet. Tapping the top bar stops and starts the player and double tapping changes the speed. Different sounds are available in the various environments – jungle, desert, ocean etc. Great fun.

The Reset

Over the years the old Mac had become such a tangled mess (the oldest file dates back to 2009) and iCloud Drive had become inaccessible from the Finder which insisted I needed to log in although everywhere else insisted I was logged in, and everything was working normally, but System Preferences refused to let me log out. Having tried killing birds and all manner of Terminal artfulness which failed to change anything I decided to just set up a new account and move into that. Alas this meant finding all the Serial numbers/licences for a lot of apps etc. Most seem to working now but I am sure something will turn up and refuse to work. Have made a fresh Time Machine and will try and keeps things better organised until the new iMac’s arrive.

Have reduced the web site to a minimalist HTML site because that is all it needs to be. Yes you could make a case for a little CSS design but we will live with it for a while. Have removed the Indie Web stuff from this blog as I was not using it and had no real interest in doing so; similarly the link to micro.blog is gone as I do not do the social/interaction thing so derived nothing from it – as excellent as these projects are and worth supporting if that is your thing. At some point I will develop my own theme for this blog.

Onwards.

More Apple weirdness

Amphetamine is one of those neat little things that sits in your menu bar and does something useful and does it well.  It keeps your Mac awake for as long as you need. Hence the name.

 

Apple claims that it will lead users to start consuming drugs and alcohol but I have been using it for years and do not consume drugs or alcohol.   Perhaps Apple may be mistaken in their silly assessment.

Curiously asking the iPad to Look Up Amphetamine it suggests the app (and a film)…

 

You can sign a petition to support the developer. If you own the app you can give the app a 5 star rating on the App Store if not you can get it from the App Store. It’s free.

Mac Bravery

And so here we are again. With a new MacOS version imminent I contemplate erasing the hard drive and starting afresh – again. Alas I have not been brave enough to do it for many years and so a new version just updates the old version amidst all the accumulated crud. And when I occasionally buy a new computer the hard drive size will be enormous compared to the old one so everything gets copied over, because there is so much space in there, and we carry on. The oldest file on here dates back to 2007.

How many versions of GHC does a chap need?

ghc versions

But this is a whole new era and we are moving from iterations of macOS 10 to the all new and shiny macOS 11 and so I will definitely be doing it this time. Deep down I know that something is going to get screwed up – like that account for something or other that I use daily and set up 10 years ago which will now require a password which I will not have saved anywhere – or more frustratingly I will have saved it but cannot now find it anywhere.

I did a full back up yesterday and a mere 13 hours later it had copied all of the 4.5 million files.. did I mention the crud?

So I am planning on using a blank partition on an external drive and booting from that with a fresh install to see what happens and if I can produce a functioning system. If that works then the big red ERASE-AT-YOUR-PERIL button will be clicked and we will be crud free – for at least a week.

Blog tweaking

The current SemPress theme places the Header image between the title and the start of the articles…

…which may be what was intended but I wanted it behind the title text so it was time to do some more CSS tweaking. Having moved the image I coloured the text from the cloud’s colours, used the darker blue corner of the sky both as a shadow under the title and as the background colour behind the articles. I rounded the corners of some images and the article’s panels.

Of course the moved image was screwed up on smaller screens so it is no longer shown on mobile devices – although some tablets will show it in landscape mode but not in portrait mode.

The amendments, which override the default CSS, now look like this:

As I’m sure there will be more to come I leave this here as an Aide-mémoire.

Yadit #100DaysToOffload

Too many distractions

On TV quiz shows one frequently see old people explaining that now they are retired there is so much to do they wonder how they ever found time to go to work. Despite my best intentions to spend my retirement catching up with all the stuff I have never really got to grips with – half understood software, half learnt programming languages, books that were purchased but never read etc. – the torrent of new stuff continues to overwhelm. I should draw a line and say no more… but

The update to Logic looks exciting and Arturia’s extended free licence for Pigments and Analog Lab shouldn’t be wasted. And I am already way behind on the Tidal training sessions. Not to mention the endless opportunities to explore the musical backwaters available to stream.

And then I am about to throw out the sourdough starter I started a few days ago when the weather was warm but abandoned when the weather turned colder – my home is not warm enough ordinarily to sustain the beast, but, I think, ‘it does smell like a good starter’, so I gave it a feed and a drink and it has been bubbling away all day; so the weekend will be spent cultivating some bread.

Not to mention being on fox cub watch…

There is no time for this 100 day nonsense…

Yadit #100DaysToOffload

Installation fun

Attempting to update TidalCycles only managed to break everything. Everything seemed to be in the right place but nothing was aware of anything else. Apparently it is a common problem. Perhaps it was the multiple versions of ghc…

or the changes to cabal, or the Mac’s recent switch from bash to zsh. After wrestling with it for a couple of days I gave up and deleted random .ghc and .ghcup directories and did a complete fresh install which seemed to sort things out.

Far simpler was Nextcloud which just involved uploading a php file which when executed checks that the required components are available and then installs and sets up everything for you. Their iOS app gives access to your Personal cloud from anywhere.

Yadit #100DaysToOffload

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