Liftoff #130: A Salted Almond in Space »

This week on Liftoff:

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have splashed down after their historic mission to the ISS, and SpaceX’s finally gotten a Starship test article to hop in Texas and the OSIRIS-REx team is gearing up for their sample return flight. Also: Ceres’ bright spots, government contracts and an update on the SLS.

My thanks to our sponsors:

  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Enter offer code LIFTOFF at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.
  • Tuparev Technologies: Introducing StarBrush: Modern astronomical imaging tool for everyone.

Ungeniused #111: Rock Paper Scissors »

This time on Ungeniused:

Rock Paper Scissors is an ancient way of solving problems and owning your friends.

My thanks to Adina Hurley for joining us this time.

This episode was sponsored by:

Kbase Article of the Week: MacBook Air (Original), MacBook Air (Late 2008), and MacBook Air (Mid 2009): Recovering a Lost EFI Firmware Password »

Apple Support:

Learn what to do if you are unable to choose a desired startup volume using the Boot Picker, or if you no longer remember the EFI firmware password that you’ve set on your MacBook Air (Original), MacBook Air (Late 2008), and MacBook Air (Mid 2009).

I’m so excited to see what comes next.

If you cannot remember the EFI firmware password for your MacBook Air, please schedule a service appointment with either an Apple Retail Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider.


Sponsor: SheetPlanner: The Ultimate Tool for Organizing Information, Managing Projects and Getting Things Done »

SheetPlanner helps you organize information, manage your projects, and schedule your tasks and activities with unparalleled power and flexibility.

Get organized…
Organize information using the Outliner to provide structure. Populate the start, finish and progress columns to create a schedule and track progress. Add custom, text, number, date, symbol, list and picture columns to track additional information.

Make a plan…
Visualize tasks with start and finish dates on the Timeline. Change the Timeline scope to get a high level view of your project over multiple years or zoom in to weeks or even days for more precision. See the progress of each task in the Timeline. Customize the color of Timeline bars. Preview and print the Timeline.

Get things done…
Use filters to focus on what’s important, due today, due tomorrow, or whatever criteria you determine. View filtered tasks in the timeline, month and yearly calendar. Check items off as they are completed in the outline, timeline, month or year views. Hide completed items to stay focused.

You can download SheetPlanner from the Mac App Store, where a 21-day trial is available.

Mac Power Users #548: Jumping Into Markdown »

This week on Mac Power Users, David and I get into Markdown in a big way:

From jotting quick notes to writing for the web, Markdown has become a very popular choice for formatting plain text. It’s syntax is human-readable and easy to learn. This week, David and Stephen teach Markdown 101 covering the more complex things the language can do.

On More Power Users, I shared some details of planning 2020’s Podcastathon for St. Jude and David made me buy a Stream Deck.

My thanks to our sponsors this week:

  • Sanebox: Stop drowning in email!
  • Indeed: Get a free $75 credit to boost your job post.

Why Apple Believes It’s an AI Leader »

Samuel Axon at Ars Technica:

I spoke at length with John Giannandrea, Apple’s Senior Vice President for Machine Learning and AI Strategy, as well as with Bob Borchers, VP of Product Marketing. They described Apple’s AI philosophy, explained how machine learning drives certain features, and argued passionately for Apple’s on-device AI/ML strategy.

This is a really interesting interview that’s well worth a weekend read.

Big Sur Enters Public Beta »

Jason Snell has an in-depth look at what you can expect from macOS 11.

I’ve been running it on my secondary Mac, and while there are rough edges, overall, I’ve been spending most of my time with it considering the design. This has caused me to re-read my review of OS X Yosemite, which was the first release with the “flatter” design we still see today in Catalina. In it, I wrote:

While this new version of OS X is structurally the same as all of its predecessors, there’s not much left of that original Aqua look left.

Apple didn’t go all iOS 7 on OS X’s ass, though.

That may have finally happened with Big Sur. There’s a big emphasis on text and large white areas that used to have more color to them. This change is going to be a wild one to watch.

Computers Are Dumb »

James Vincent at The Verge:

There are tens of thousands of genes in the human genome: minuscule twists of DNA and RNA that combine to express all of the traits and characteristics that make each of us unique. Each gene is given a name and alphanumeric code, known as a symbol, which scientists use to coordinate research. But over the past year or so, some 27 human genes have been renamed, all because Microsoft Excel kept misreading their symbols as dates.

The problem isn’t as unexpected as it first sounds. Excel is a behemoth in the spreadsheet world and is regularly used by scientists to track their work and even conduct clinical trials. But its default settings were designed with more mundane applications in mind, so when a user inputs a gene’s alphanumeric symbol into a spreadsheet, like MARCH1 — short for “Membrane Associated Ring-CH-Type Finger 1” — Excel converts that into a date: 1-Mar.