Reading List for March 2021

In a continuation of my monthly recap of what I have read, or more practically, listened to; at least in terms of books. You can review the lists from January or February. With it being the very beginning of April, it is time to provide last month’s list with the items that I have listened to. As is the case for most of my books and podcasts, I listened to most of these at 2x or possibly even slightly faster.

Unlike January and February, I did not listen to nearly as many books in March. Over the course of the month of March, I managed to listen to 12 different titles. Of these 3 were titles that I listened to for the first time. Not listening to as many books makes a lot of sense given that the first three titles total over 110 hours of listening. I am guessing that I might listen to about the same number of items in April as much, or something similar. It all depends on how the month goes.

Disclaimer: the links below will provide a bit of a commission if you purchase anything.

Title Author First Listen
Evening and the Morning (Kingsbridge Book 4) Ken Follett No
Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge Book 1) Ken Follett No
World without End (Kingsbridge Book 2) Ken Follett No
Origins: Fourteen Billion years of Cosmic Evolution Nathan Hystad No
Mars Rover Curiosity: an inside account from Curiosity’s Chief Engineer Bob Manning Yes
First Encounter Jasper T. Scott Yes
The Salvage Crew Yudhanjaya Wijeratne Yes
The Jester James Patterson and Andrew Gross No
Valhalla Rising Clive Cussler No
Trojan Odyssey Clive Cussler No
Black Wind Clive Cussler No
Bourne Identity (Bourne Book 1) Robert Ludlum No
Total   12

Apple Announces WWDC21 Dates

Today Apple announced that they will be holding their annual World Wide Developer Conference, or WWDC, again this year. The theme for this year is “Glow and Behold”. WWDC21 will be held in an all-online format starting June 7th and going through June 11th. Apple’s WWDC20 was also held in an all-online format. While last year’s was due to Covid-19, and the reluctance to gather so many people in one place, there has been no mention as to why Apple is having an all-online conference.

Even though there is no mention for the reason, the all-online format is somewhat better for all developers because everyone can see the exact same sessions as the same time and there is no lottery for tickets, no rushing to be the first, and just like WWDC20, this is a free conference which provides more accessibility for all developers to attend. Everyone can see the same conference no matter where in the world they are.

Swift Student Challenge

Animoji in 3D of a student with a Graduation Cap, wearing gray glasses, with the Swift and Xcode icons reflected from an M1 MacBook Air.
Swift Student Challenge

Just as was the case last year, there is a “Swift Student Challenge”. The Swift Student Challenge, an opportunity for young developers to demonstrate their coding skills by creating a Swift playground, is now accepting submissions. These submissions are due by April 18th and all of the information, including the application to apply, can be found on the Swift Student Challenge website.

Some of the requirements for the application are:

To be eligible for the Challenge, you must:

  • Be 13 years of age or older, or the equivalent minimum age in the relevant jurisdiction (for example, 16 years of age in the European Union);
  • Be registered for free with Apple as an Apple developer or be a member of the Apple Developer Program; and
  • Fulfill one of the following requirements:
    • Be enrolled in an accredited academic institution or official homeschool equivalent;
    • Be enrolled in a STEM organization’s educational curriculum;
    • Be enrolled in an Apple Developer Academy; or
    • Have graduated from high school or equivalent within the past 6 months and be awaiting acceptance or have received acceptance to an accredited academic institution.

Apple will be releasing more information in the next couple of months. As has become my tradition, I will be making predictions of what we might see at WWDC once it is closer to the start of WWDC.

Source: Apple

wwriteLite 7.2.1 Now Available

There is an update to wwriteLite, to version 7.2.1. This is a minor bug fix that fixes an issue where you could not see the Markdown Preview text when using Dark mode and when the file being previewed is not using a template.

As always this is a free wwriteLite and it is available now. You can view the full list of changes by checking out the Change Log on the wwriteLite website.

Version 7.2.0 Notes
It looks like Bill Lumbergh and Dom Portwood have finally decided to jump into the 21st century. They have decided that all TPS reports needs to be submitted in Markdown for easy conversion to HTML so they can be viewed on the Initech, LLC intranet, called Ininet. Therefore, wwriteLite now needs to be able to support Markdown.

With version 7.2.0, you can now write Markdown, preview it by tapping on the Document icon in the toolbar. Once you have previewed your markdown you can import a CSS file from the Document Picker or via URL. Once used, the file will be downloaded and stored so you can use it on other files as well. You may also delete the CSS files by tapping on the “trash” icon in the menu bar.

Also added in this version is a new “Open Source” screen which lists the open source libraries used within wwriteLite. This is accessed via the “About” screen.

There is one tweak as well, the “Drag” icon has been removed and replaced with the Markdown Preview.

wwriteLite 7.2.0 Now Available

“Hey Peter, what’s happening?” It’s been about six weeks since the last wwriteLite update, and here we are with another one. This is a minor update, but it includes a big feature.

It looks like Bill Lumbergh and Dom Portwood have finally decided to jump into the 21st century. They have decided that all TPS reports needs to be submitted in Markdown for easy conversion to HTML so they can be viewed on the Initech, LLC intranet, called Ininet. Therefore, wwriteLite now needs to be able to support Markdown.

With version 7.2.0, you can now write a Markdown document and then preview it in HTML by tapping on the Document icon in the toolbar. Once you have previewed your markdown you can import a CSS file from the Document Picker or via URL. Once used, the file will be downloaded and stored so you can use it on other files as well. You may also delete the CSS files by tapping on the “trash” icon in the menu bar.

Also added in this version is a new “Open Source” screen which lists the open source libraries used within wwriteLite. This is accessed via the “About” screen.

There is one tweak that has been made to support the Markdown preview option. The “Drag File” button has been replaced with the Markdown Preview button.

wwriteLite is a free update and is available now. You can view the full list of changes by checking out the Change Log on the wwriteLite website.

Apple discontinues HomePod to focus on HomePod mini

I meant to post about this before now, but last Friday, TechCrunch reported that Apple was discontinuing the larger HomePod in favor of focusing on the HomePod mini.

The original HomePod is available “while supplies last”, however as of this writing you can still get an original HomePod in white from Apple, and the space gray model is sold out. You still might be able to get one from a third-party retailer.

I cannot say that I am surprised by this move. There has not been any hardware update to the HomePod since its introduction in 2017 and its release in February of 2018. After it was released, I wrote a couple of different reviews about the HomePod.

The original HomePod produces great sound, and I am somewhat sad that they are not doing any updates to the product because the HomePod produces much better sound than the HomePod mini. At the same time, I get needing to focus on one HomePod product and the HomePod mini being the focus makes sense. Given how many people are price conscious, you can get three HomePod minis for the price of one HomePod, and therefore creating a stereo pair of HomePod minis is still cheaper, even with AppleCare+ and tax included.

If Apple is going to focus on the HomePod mini, I hope they plan on releasing updates on a regular basis, otherwise I feel as though the HomePod mini will go the way of the HomePod and there will be no Siri-enabled HomePods available.

The original HomePod will continue to receive updates, but the real question is for how long. I suspect that it may only be a a few years of support left for the original HomePod, in terms of software updates, but I could be wrong.

Source: TechCrunch