Time to make the jump to macOS Mojave 10.14 on my early 2013 15″ MacBook Pro. It’s a pre-TouchBar, pre-USB-C 16GB RAM MBP so I am nursing it as long as I can. I’ve made a couple of visits to an authorised Apple Service Provider Care over the years, the last in July to change its battery.
If you were not prompted to update, visit Apple’s Mojave page. See Gizmodo’s “14 Things You Can Do in macOS 10.14 Mojave That You Couldn’t Do Before” [link]. I look forward to the cleaning up of many cluttered desktops amongst my students by Stacks!
My MBP specs
Mojave popularises dark mode; our eyes sure need a rest!
The learning programme for second year RVRC students is made up of 12-hour forums in three pillars: resilience, reflection and respect. I offered RESL07: “Digital Literacies for the 21 Century” originally to a class of 15 but added the waiting list so there are about 30 students now which is unwieldy and its a struggle until I redesign the class.
This forum exposes undergraduates to a diversity of tools, to learn about selecting the right tool for a specific task or project, and then to appreciate competent use which amplifies ability. This is done through group work and comparisons which brings about the realisation that often a critical element to technological use is planning, communication and camaraderie.
They are quick to engage new tools so really it is about having purpose and being sensitive but also confident about the people they will work with.
After reading Lifehacker articles about methods for improving sleep for high-stressed desktop warriors, I used F.lux to reduce blue light at night. It is automatically triggered from sunset to sunrise based on your location. This is available on all platforms.
Well, adjusting screen brightness is important too. And ultimately for a good night’s sleep, stop using a device in bed.
Besides a better snooze, there was also research about harmful effects blue light could cause to the eye. And when I got new spectacles recently, blue filters were already a default provision in the new lenses.
Last week, new research further highlighted the possibility of permanent, irreversible damage to the eye – “Blue light from mobile phones and computers can cause irreversible damage to eyes: Scientific Reports study” [link]. The brief advice there was to “avoid looking at cell phones or tablets in the dark, and wear sunglasses that can filter both ultraviolet and blue light.”
Well, with that, all Mac users should now be keen to trigger Night Shift on their devices – on both iOS and macos). Go to Settings/System Preferences > Display & Brightness/Displays > Night Shift:
We will review our use of devices and cut down on mindless scrolling, I hope. But younger users, with long years of exposure ahead of them, will demand better solutions from device manufacturers. Notice has been served.
I was glad when SLA-NHB introduced One Historical Map in 2015 which now allows users to compare six street maps between 1966 and 2017. We first had that facility first via iRemember in 2009 but it disappeared, and so I was glad to see it return. And the site is easy to use – after an alumni reunion, we could validate our observation of how crowded the Faulty of Science in NUS had become!
Topographical maps were not available as yet and so it was with great excitement that the community greeted NUS Libraries announcement that they had mounted a “Historical Maps of Singapore” portal, consisting of topographical maps from between 1846 – 2018, which had been digitised with great effort, by a team from the Department of Geography.
You may view the maps online or stream them on Google Earth or other WMS (web map service) viewer. This is a treasure trove for teaching, research and an exploration of our landscape, and the changes it has experienced over time. A good place to start is your very own neighbourhood! Review the introductory guide by NUS Libraries here.
For example, in the Sungei Mandai Mangrove cleanup project, we will invite the volunteer Site Captains to trace the rivers from the mouth to their origins at the foothills. These topographical maps before the relentless pace of urbanisation in the 1960’s and 1970’s will prove to be an eye opener for us all,. I love how it’s available for close examination on our desktops – it will sure make for some exciting tabletop exploration by the LSM2251 Ecology class!
With my five and a half year old MacBook Pro in the shop for the third time, it was time to revive my mid-2012 Mac Book Air (MBA) which was on hiatus last semester. Having maxed its RAM at purchase to 8GB, and having changed the battery last year, it is in reasonable shape.
The internal hard disk is a fast SSD but small at 500GB. So my most immediate files are on the cloud in Dropbox, GDrive or iCloud (and at work, nBox or the office server). I’ll survive with some discomfort and that will spur me to replace the faulty 1TB SSD I got from from OWC (I bought the kit below). Once I get my replacement, the MBA will be ready for some heavy lifting.
Back up happens by virtue of working on cloud drives, and a background programme, CrashPlan Pro. And just in case, for the most current presentation, I have an emergency 200gb microSD card.
This mid-2012 Mac Book Air has a few ports: one thunderbolt, two USB3 and an SD card port. And I pack thunderbolt adaptors for VGA, HDMI and ethernet with it so that makes it functional in most places.
Some archives are residing on external 4TB and 5TB drives and must be backed up to Crash Plan Pro. Their subscription includes unlimited backups on multiple devices including external drives, so less e-waste at the user’s end eventually. I tried retrieval off files and its not bad. Important when pulling out relevant photos or videos from a field site ages ago!
If you have old Mac laptop and want a second life with it, check your model (Apple venue > About), and then examine your options at the OWC upgrades page. If your unit is DIY-capable, there are videos to guide you through the process. With the SSD HD and battery upgrades (and some repairs), my laptops are soldiering on in their sixth year and the iMac is doing well in it’s ninth year.