New technologies, not for savages

Apple shows you their interest by where they ship features first.

The first time I noticed this was back in the nineties when Apple produced the “toilet seat” iBooks. They were the first laptops that shipped with built-in WiFi. Looking backwards at the iMac line (and the introduction of USB) confirmed the consumer bias. It was “better” for Apple to introduce these features in new hardware that would have new consumer interest and therefore spur adoption.

You only then have to look at the features introduced to iOS over the years to see where the drive is – from multi-touch to biometric fingerprint sensors. It’s clear their attention has been on IOS to push the platform to new heights.

And most recently the Watch. Apple have added Force-touch and full biometrics to their latest consumer device. They’ve added Force touch to the MacBooks and We will see some of these technologies making their way to the Phone and iPad but it’s unlikely that we’ll see any of them make it to the Mac proper.

We will have to rely on logging into our Macs with plain old passwords, like savages.


Anyone who knows me will know that I’ve always been a fan of solar (photovoltaic) energy production. This goes from tiny little solar panels that I used with Coder Dojo to wire up fans and LEDs to larger scale panels that are used to keep my phones and other devices charged when out and about.

My latest purchase is the Anker 14W Solar Panel Foldable Dual-port Solar Charger.

I was pretty pleased with the package – it was smaller than I expected and seemed sturdy enough. It fits neatly into my hiking backpack when I’m not using it and when I am using it, I’ll tie it using cords to the back of the back – the built-in rings seem very resilient. The company advises using the included pockets for holding devices you’re charging (to keep them out of the direct sunshine). I’d like them to be a little bigger but that’s only because my devices are a little bulkier.


I tested this during the week in some weak summer sunshine here in Northern Ireland and I was able to generate nearly 7 Watts (5.09 Volts, 1.35 Amps). That’s about 50% of the potential output of the panel but considering I was just sitting in a park with plenty of surrounding tree cover, no effort being made to optimise the angle and a little bit of cloud cover – coupled with the weak Northern Irish sunshine – I was happy to see I could easily power and charge a phone.


Your phone likely needs 5 Watts of Power (5 Volts, 1 Amp). The average PC USB port outputs 2.5 W (5V, 0.5A). Your iPad needs about 12 W (5.1V, 2.1A). The device I’m using to measure this is a pass-thru USB power monitor by PortaPow. It can check any USB port for power output and is cheap as chips. For the aspiring geek it’s a useful informational tool.

I’ll be using this panel to charge an Anker 13000 mAh portable battery (superseded by newer models like the Anker Astro e7 with double the capacity). 25600 mAh seems like a lot but the iPhone 6 has a 1810 mAh battery and therefore I’d expect to get 10 charges out of this. Which should be good enough for a week of outdoor usage (assuming I’m using the screen a lot).

Next week I’ll be testing the charger in Southern Spain. I’m interested to see what the difference in throughput will be and how fast it will charge my external battery.

Christianity is at a crossroads.

A call went out from a local Pastor to support a bigot and racist.

Christianity is at a crossroads.

Behind it lies the sins of their forebears, from child abuse to witch burning. From the denial of science to their role in subjugating Africa and appeasing the Nazis.

Straight ahead lies oblivion as the same tired doctrine of exclusion and resistance to progress dooms them.

But turning at the crossroads represents and opportunity. If God is real and God is love then the Churches need to re-evaluate their default position.

The Churches were wrong about heliocentric models, they were wrong about the earth being flat and they were wrong about gravity. They were wrong about inter-racial relations and civil rights, they were wrong about organ transplant and class structure.

Christianity doesn’t have to doom itself to following demagogues into obscurity and they can accept secular life and equal marriage just as easily as they have ignored the Bible on whether or not it’s appropriate to eat Steamed Mussels in a White Wine Sauce.

I’m left with the question; What would Jesus do?

And I find myself unwilling to believe that he would rally himself with hatred and riots. Or would preach condemnation based on race. The only time I read about his wrath was when usurers turned the Temple into a market place. I think Christianity needs to have a deep reflection about what it has become.