eXtensions - Wednesday 1 December 2021


Wednesday Diversion: Waiting for Monterey; Router Notes; Key Command Efficiency; Facebook Growth Trumps Genocide

By Graham K. Rogers


Waiting for Monterey has all the feeling of a Beckett play: nothing happens. Updating the home Wifi was mainly smooth: just a couple of hiccups. With the folio keyboard on the iPad Pro, key commands are in the main identical to those on the Mac, including those using the flexible Option key. Facebook's wrists are slapped by the UK competition regulator, while in SE Asia, growth trumps genocide.

There has still been no update to Monterey since its release over a month ago. I am annoyed that my web cam still does not work, although I can manage without. It is the same with the B&O Bluetooth speaker. If I want music, I can use an iOS device. However Apple has put out a firmware update for Beats Fit Pro (Joe Wituschek, iMore). There may be several who rely on their equipment and who may be frustrated that at the moment it is unusable. Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can only hope that the 12.1 update will be released within the next few days and I can use the webcam again. However, it is too late in one way as the teaching has stopped until the new year. Let me hope that I am able to run classes in January with the equipment working properly.

After a few days running a new Netgear router which updated my home system from 802.11n to 802.11ax (WiFi 6), the only problem (I thought) was the Philipps Hue lights which I control from the iPhone or iPads. The Hue bridge was still linked to the old network. To turn the lights on or off, meant a quick switch of networks. It only took a few seconds, but was less convenient than the one touch action it should have been.

At the end of the week, I removed the Hue bridge from the Airport Extreme router and connected its ethernet cable to the Netgear router. I was slightly surprised to find that there was no set up required. I was able to operate the lights right away. The setup when adding a new device is a little more complex and usually involves a QR code.

I disconnected the old Airport device, patted it on the top and said, Thank you, for its years of trouble-free service. I repositioned the new router to make better use of the available space and turned it through 90° so that the lights were slightly less bright. However there was one more device that I had forgotten. The Withings scales that I use daily were linked to the Airport device and needed the password for the new network. That was easily done, but this revealed another problem that I will need to contact Netgear to fix. In the meaning it works as it should.

My home system is now fully set up and all my devices are running WiFi6: just in time for the CES2022 announcement on WiFi 7 (2.4 times faster) which a Tweet showed will be made by Mediatek There may well be others, but this is all I have seen so far.

Wifi6 Router

While checking the settings for the new WiFi I reminded myself about the Option key which when used in conjunction with the menu bar icon, shows a more detailed display of the router settings. Last time I ran through a couple of other ways in which the Option key reveals more information or offers other ways to work.

I noticed that there had been a couple of other articles on this, specifically a link from MacDaily News to an article by Jonny Evans on Apple Must who started with the WiFi and Bluetooth ones I had mentioned. There are several more, including some related to the Finder and Preview. MacDaily News mentioned a couple of their favorites that I tried on the iPad Pro keyboard. With no Finder (or Preview) the iPad Pro has different outputs. While playing about I tried the bottom keys on the folio keyboard I use. I was surprised to see a new range of outputs so went through all the keys, from ` (top left) to / (bottom right). To save coding this in HTML, I took a screenshot.

Option key options

Adding the shift key creates a new range:

Option key plus shift options

In comparison the Mac keyboard appears identical. Keystrokes are a major key to efficiency and that is why I like the Folio keyboard on the iPad Pro so much.

Option key options on the Mac

In another link from Apple Must Jonny Evans discusses the way Ukraine has turned to the iPhone for help in its national census. The device was used in the US census recently with officials going door-to-door using the "devices to file responses from the 40% of the population who did not file manually online or via the mail." Evans adds, "Ukraine's move to adopt Apple's kit for the census is the latest in a long line of stories that show the extent to which Cupertino continues to reach segments that were not traditionally open to it before."

The Apple movie, Coda, has won a couple of awards: for Breakthrough Performer and Outstanding Supporting Performance. Stephen Warwick (iMore) reports on the Gotham awards that were recently announced. The article notes that these are the first two awards for Coda. It is a movie I would really like to see, but it remains unavailable in Thailand as far as I can see.

I was slightly surprised to see it listed on iTunes Movies this week, but when I clicked the panel, Apple TV opened and I had the same panel as before, showing a problem with the link. I suspect it may be connected to the way the subtitles are done as with other services, like Siri, because this does not work with Thai, no one is allowed to watch (or use the service) and devices such as the Home Pod are not made available except through the gray market. Of course, maybe the link is broken, but somehow I doubt it.

It was nice to see that the UK watchdog for consumer protection - the Competition and Markets Authority - does actually have some bite. It has announced that ""Facebook's acquisition of Giphy would reduce competition between social media platforms". Stephen Warwick (iMore) reports that, "The CMA has already fined Meta some £50 million over the merger and has now ordered Giphy be sold in its entirety." Needless to say, Facebook/Meta disagrees and will be exploring all avenues to wheedle their way out of this. I would be pleased to see the entire show broken up, with particular reference to Instagram.

The MIT Technology Review put out an article last week by Karen Hao, on the way Facebook and Google have spread misinformation. This is not the first time this has been suggested and with the ways the platforms have been influential, not only in pressuring people to buy products, but in elections, it is time that the authorities stop dithering and get to grips particularly with Zuckerberg and the power without responsibility that is exercised.

She begins with the ways in which these platforms had influence on Myanmar with regard to the Rohingya, turning a local dispute into a genocide. She also reports that similar tactics were used by "clickbait farms in Macedonia and Kosovo to reach nearly half a million Americans a year before the 2020 election". There is also mention of an idea that has been put forward several times before: the "reckless push for publisher growth". There are some interesting statistics about clickbait farms in South-east Asia, particularly Cambodia and Vietnam, almost all linked to Facebook pages.

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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