Items of interest, October 19, 2021

The Dutch magazine De Groene Amsterdammer has done a few articles on right-wing populism in the periphery, arguing that this populism is filling the gap where the ‘visible government’ disappeared. These are in Dutch but are of lasting interest, so I’m linking them here:

Hoe Den Haag uit Nederland verdween (How The Hague disappeared from the Netherlands – The Hague being the seat of government). This article talks to people from across the political spectrum, including the leader of the local PVV in Pekela, who is trying to win support by focusing on issues that are more like the old school labour party’s focus than that of a far-right anti-immigration party.

Nederland kent ook een geografische kloof (The Netherlands also has a geographic rift) offers more of the same, including some numbers on local school and library closures over the past few decades.

After the latest Apple Event, I had some thoughts on the value proposition of M1 Pro and Max chipsets and my own computer use. I’m reposting the thread here with minor revisions:

Once again, I have been successfully Marketed To in the sense that these new superpowered MacBook Pros are definitely Things I Want. However, I have no use case for them for as long as my 2013 iMac and 2015 MacBook Pro can handle everything I actually use them for, which are the same things I used them for in 2013 and 2015, apart from some simple music stuff that I’ve been doing this year.

Takeaways from the #AppleEvent :

  1. US prices less outrageous than I expected (NOTE: EU Prices actually as outrageous as I expected with EUR amounts greater than the USD amounts);
  2. Super-powerful laptops that are worth every penny IF you have the use case. If not, don’t bother;
  3. Apple is backtracking from bad decisions from the later half of the Jony Ive era by getting rid of the Touch Bar, reintroducing ports including HDMI, and generally not trying to make the lightest laptop ever;
  4. In that context, the notch is probably a fresh bad decision, but not one that matters that much. The notch is a minor quirk that you can mock for a few seconds and then move on. It won’t ruin the user experience like the Touch Bar and the lack of ports did. There’s even an odd charm to its bodgyness – proof that it’s not a form-over-function device. (That’s not quite the whole truth but it’s not far from it.)/li>
  5. Finally, Tim Cook’s presentation skills work so much better in these pre-recorded events than live. Let the guy have his tall grass and his room full of memojis. Like the notch, Tim Cook is often a bit ridiculous, so it’s arguably the case that the new MacBook Pros are the first that reflect the company CEO’s personality.

Asahi linux is not a distro but “an overall project to develop support for [M1] Macs” and as such may become more important as these Macs age.