You may have seen Janet Jackson can crash your laptop, but has it ever played classical music at random?

In trying to help a friend with computer troubles remotely, I jokingly asked if he was playing Janet Jackson albums near his laptop. He thought I was joking but no. Computers and requencies are weird. Rhythm Nation has the power to crash computers (with spinning hard drives.)

It turns out that the song contained one of the natural resonant frequencies for the model of 5400 rpm laptop hard drives that they and other manufacturers used.

The manufacturer worked around the problem by adding a custom filter in the audio pipeline that detected and removed the offending frequencies during audio playback.

Janet Jackson had the power to crash laptop computers – The Old New Thing
Careful playing near old hard drives.

This reminded me of the time in college I had a roommate who’s computer would play classical music at random. One of the weirdest things I’ve ever encountered in my years of computing.

I had to look for an archived version of this support article because it last affected Windows 2000. (Which was like, 7 years ago, right?)

During normal operation or in Safe mode, your computer may play “Fur Elise” or “It’s a Small, Small World” seemingly at random. This is an indication sent to the PC speaker from the computer’s BIOS that the CPU fan is failing or has failed, or that the power supply voltages have drifted out of tolerance. This is a design feature of a detection circuit and system BIOSes developed by Award/Unicore from 1997 on.

Microsoft KB Archive/261186 – BetaArchive Wiki

Credit to fuzzynyanko on reddit for linking to a video of this in action.

Minecraft says No NFTs

Minecraft and NFTs | Minecraft

Each of these uses of NFTs and other blockchain technologies creates digital ownership based on scarcity and exclusion, which does not align with Minecraft values of creative inclusion and playing together. NFTs are not inclusive of all our community and create a scenario of the haves and the have-nots. The speculative pricing and investment mentality around NFTs takes the focus away from playing the game and encourages profiteering, which we think is inconsistent with the long-term joy and success of our players.

We are also concerned that some third-party NFTs may not be reliable and may end up costing players who buy them. Some third-party NFT implementations are also entirely dependent on blockchain technology and may require an asset manager who might disappear without notice. There have also been instances where NFTs were sold at artificially or fraudulently inflated prices. We recognize that creation inside our game has intrinsic value, and we strive to provide a marketplace where those values can be recognized. 

It’s great to see Minecraft putting their foot down and rejecting the entire premise of NFTs as detrimental to their values. Buy a link to a picture for piles of money. And hope it never decreases in value when the value of it to begin with is… ¯_(ツ)_/¯

They’ve even gone a step further in clearing prohibiting their use in Mincraft.

As such, to ensure that Minecraft players have a safe and inclusive experience, blockchain technologies are not permitted to be integrated inside our Minecraft client and server applications nor may they be utilized to create NFTs associated with any in-game content, including worlds, skins, persona items, or other mods

MINECRAFT’S STATEMENT ON NFTS

NFTs have no place in video games and seeing Minecraft take such a strongs stance will protect players, keep the game about gaming and fun versus speculative investments and will be a positive fo the longevity Mineaverse.

In praise of In Praise of Shadows

The essay viewed from a desktop monitor.

In Praise of Shadows

What was a batch of random sticks and leaves just a moment ago—click!—is now a complex web of marvelous shadows.

Robin Rendle

I enjoyed the presentation of this essay as much as its message. Opening it up on my desktop with its massive screen, reading the essay was like peering through a fence line. With each little glimpse of the world beyond holding up a post-it note of thought.

One thought. One moment. One quote. One picture.

I strolled through this essay. Stopping to admire the scenery and reading each little note as I passed by. I was struck by just how peaceful it was to enjoy. The web is brightly lit and devoid of shadows. It was nice to remember the shadows and breathe them in.

Pixels to iPhones

🔗 WE SWITCHED FROM ANDROID PIXEL TO IPHONE – B3N.ORG

We’ve exclusively used the Google Nexus (now Pixel) lines for the last 7-years, so this is quite the change. I like the Nexus/Pixel lineup for their predictable security lifecycle (compared to other Android manufacturers), lack of bloatware, and consistent UI.

Since the smart watch ecosystem never managed to produce anything small enough or good enough, my wife has been thinking about an iPhone SE / Apple Watch combo.

I’ve been looking at options and researching how iPhones have come along in the years since we had them and how much it will cost us to make the switch.

I had to reboot the Pixel several times to fix issues every few days. Bluetooth works on the iPhone.

I can’t agree more about Bluetooth. We have owned Nexus/ Pixel phones for the past 8 years. The bluetooth has always been a problem for the Pixel phones. They’ll pair to headphones, but will still play through the phone’s speaker. Or will simply refuse to pair, pretending Bluetooth doesn’t exist, nor does any other device.

Though one major loss I had failed to consider in our impending move to iPhone was the lack of call screening.

So, Google’s Pixel call screener is a massive advantage over anything iPhone has–the virtual assistant with live transcription on Pixel is a feature iPhone lacks. With iPhone, I pretty much have to let unknown callers go to voicemail, and then we’re playing phone tag.

The number of calls I get daily that I never see, or that I can have Google’s Assistant screen for me is superb. I open the phone app sometimes to see 20 voicemails of 5-7 seconds for robo callers who weren’t quick enough to hang up.

Even when a call does get through, I can press a button to have Google answer the call and display the text of what is being said by the caller. At which point I can either have the robot continue to ask questions or answer the call myself.

We will continue to use Google Fi as a carrier. Their pay-for-what-you-use pricing continues to frustrate all of the major carrier sales people we encounter in electronics stores. They stride up to us with huge smiles asking how much we pay for our cell phones.

On average $90/month for about 3GB of data between us. The most we’ve used (since Feb. 2020) is 5.36GB and paid $115.

After using the Pixel’s “a” models which set us back $350-400, the iPhone SE’s $500 price tag is bearable. While the prices on the iPhone 13 line starting at $700 is hard to swallow.

I don’t care about 5g. We don’t have a plan with it and I don’t see the need. It frustrates me in 2022 I need to give up my beloved USB-C port for a proprietary lightening connector again. I lose my headphone jack (yes, I still enjoy wired headphones) and I gain wireless charging.

But none of that excites me. It feels like more money for less phone. Though the iPhone does appear to have caught up too and surpassed the Pixel’s photo processing.

We are still debating the right time to buy new phones. It’s not like they ever go on any meaningful sale. Maybe we swap carriers again and take advantage of them. We’ve made the round from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint (RIP), and T-Mobile. We live in a major metro area so the reception on every carrier is nearly identical. There’s noticeable drop when you get into the rural areas of the country off Verizon’s network, but that’s not worth paying for those rare times.

The cost of swapping the ubiquitous USB-C cords all over the house (and cars) for Lightening doesn’t excite me. Wireless charging seems neat but we’ve never had that either. So more new hardware to support it. It’s an expensive purchase that begets more purchases. And I refuse to use the glass computer without a case. I don’t understand those of you running around with naked phones. And AppleCare… Is it worth it? I haven’t even looked at how expensive that’s gotten. There’s a certain joy (and privilege) to being able to walk into a Best Buy and replace your phone for $400 if something happens to it.