I Wrote This #2

by FIGBERT

Hi! So, I just started this series and I already missed a week. Oh well. This week was a crazy week for Apple and their operating systems, as they announced iOS 14 and macOS 11 Big Sur at this year's WWDC. I've also started working on a new game project, another little side project, and finding a good alternative to Keybase now that it's owned by Zoom.

Jailbreaking my iPhone

When I was a kid – or at least, a younger child than I am now – I had a friend who jailbroke his phone. I thought it was super cool, and wanted to do the same. At around the same time I was watching TechSource, I got deep into those Top 10 Amazing Jailbreak Tweaks compilations. However, I wasn't allowed to jailbreak my phone because my parents said it wasn't allowed, and that was the end of that.

Until last week, when I decided to jailbreak my iPhone 7 running iOS 13.5.1 using the checkra1n hardware exploit. To do this, I couldn't use my USB-C to Lightning cable due to a known issue and instead swapped to a USB-A to Lightning cable with a USB-A to USB-C adapter. After jailbreaking the phone, I began to install a host of tweaks. One of the most interesting things I learned about the jailbreaking community is that charging upfront for apps is quite common for premium and well-known tweaks, which stands in high contrast to the iOS App Store's ubiquitous freemium payment model (a free download followed by a monthly subscription) especially in the light of the Apple-Hey.com controversy of recent weeks.

All in all, I spent around USD$21 on tweaks, which is infinitely more than I have spent on the App Store – so maybe charging upfront does work. Huh.

Updating my iDevices to Developer Betas

Soon after completing the jailbreak, WWDC happened and new developer betas were released. Never one to miss jumping on a hype train, I updated both of my main devices to the new software. These new betas come with a whole host of bugs, as is to be expected, which I plan to write about in a blog post coming soon. So far, however, I'm liking these updates – the PiP on iOS is incredible, and the new design on macOS is growing on me.

Some interesting resources:

Interestingly, I was having a bunch of issues with brew (curl was broken?) after updating to Big Sur but now it seems to be working flawlessly. Very nice.

Making a Doughnut in Blender

For my next medium-large project, I'm going to need to make some 3D art and models. One problem: I don't know how to do that, or rather, I didn't. Thanks internet! I powered through the incredible Blender Beginner Tutorial Series by the Blender Guru. Here's my final animation:

Replacing Keybase

Now that Keybase is compromised, I thought it would be good to seek out an alternative. Initially, I thought that keys.pub would be perfect – I thought it was a slightly-tweaked fork. However, this does not appear to be the case. Instead, it seems kinda like garbo – it doesn't have the budget Keybase had, and as a result, is majorly lacking in features. However, I've replaced it completely, and am happier with this setup than I ever was with Keybase. My new setup uses Matrix and Riot for messaging, Jitsi for video chat, Syncthing for file storage, and an Indieweb h-card for identity verification. I plan on writing more about this at a later date, but I'm really pleased with the results so far.

Future Projects

I've got a few interesting projects in the pipeline at the moment, not counting the few articles that I've already promised to write: Glitches in macOS Big Sur and How to Fix Them and How to Replace Keybase in 4 Easy Steps. My next major project is a dreidel game/simulator for mobile devices – I plan to code it with Godot, make the models with Blender, and do any music/sound stuff in FLStudio. Naturally, I'll keep you all updated on any progress there.

I'm also working on a much smaller project that should take around a day or two to complete. The working title is "howmanyisraels.com" – essentially, it's a website that takes the size of the State of Israel, and compares it to the size of a given location and tells you how many times Israel could fit inside it. All I need to do is find a suitable mapping API (preferably not by Google) that will tell me the size of different locations and I can whip it into a static site!

I'm also planning on revamping the txtodo macOS app with Mac Catalyst, which I feel I haven't properly explored. I've also discovered a bug in the app that causes issues when tasks are modified by CloudKit instead of the user, so I'm going to have to work on that as well. Shouldn't be hard!

Let's go. In and out. Twenty-minute adventure.

Interesting Blog Tidbits

I'm not sure what tense to write my headers in – I currently write them in present continuous tense but I am considering writing them like I do Git commits. Huh. I'm also committing to writing more non-update blog posts (i.e. the two I mentioned above), but we'll see how that goes. Writing is hard, and you shouldn't make false promises. I'm also working on implementing webmentions to the site, which is a little difficult with a static site but I'm going to give it a try. Lastly, I really need to learn how to use vim but it's so goddamn hard. I'm writing this blog post with it but I'm definitely not using it to its full potential at all.

New Music

Wow, these have been a great two weeks for the Israeli music scene. In no particular order, here are some good new songs (basically in the order they appear on the trending tab):

I know music isn't tech, but I like it and now it's a recurring section.

Wrapup

So, that's been this week's update. I'm really enjoying writing updates on this blog, and I hope you stick around. Until then, farewell!

-- FIGBERT