Tuesday, October 16, 2018

High Ground Advantage

Finally got the kid's iPads upgraded to the latest and greatest iOS which puts ScreenTime onto the devices and it's a pretty slick little tool. All the kiddos are too young to have iPad time where they are not being observed by their parents - so I don't need ScreenTime to tell me what they are doing - I KNOW. The kiddos use their iPads while I'm cooking dinner because it gives me enough peace that I make sure not to burn everything and cook a decent meal for everybody.
When cooking time is over, it's time to put down the screens and eat as a family. I'm the adult, and I win every time, but some nights it is frustrating for everyone. "Turn it off or I'm going to turn it off for you- and if I have to turn it off and you fuss you go to your room." Ugh... not fun, right? Because the times they aren't going to do it are the times they are tired, hungry, etc. and it just escalates.
ScreenTime gives me the +1 for high ground advantage. It's no longer me disciplining kids if they can't follow the rules, it shifted to them attempting to bribe me to give them an exception. That rhetorical shift is pretty dramatic in changing the tone of the situation and reducing the stress into getting the preferred outcome. Anyway - it's cool.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Let’s Talk Numbers - Cost of iPhoneX

I had a semi-annual tradition of buying a new iPhone and selling my previous one on eBay. The past year I bought an iPhoneX outright and my wife bought an iPhoneX on the Apple upgrade plan and I thought to myself, “I am really excited to see how the numbers work out in a year when we upgrade.” The problem is - it’s complicated.
  1. Mr. Chaos - iPhoneX = $1,238.05
  2. Mrs. Chaos - iPhoneX + AppleCare+ = $56.16✖️24 = $1,347.84
Right off the bat it’s not Apples to Apples, because AppleCare+ for the iPhoneX is $249 which is part of Mrs.Chaos’ upgrade package but I didn’t purchase. So one year later, as I sell my phone back, how do I calculate the true cost? Here’s my best attempt.
Mrs.Chaos’ phone can either be looked at as the phone for 1-year or as the phone minus the accessories (charger, lightning cable, EarPods) - which are not returned to Apple:
  • iPhoneX Upgrade 1 Year: $619
  • iPhoneX Accessories: Lightening Cable ($19) + USB Charger ($19) + EarPods ($29) + Dongle ($9) = $76
I tried to sell my iPhoneX on eBay and hit a scam issue, but I can make some assumptions about the price:
  • iPhoneX expected eBay: $785
  • iPhoneX actual eBay: $525
  • iPhoneX Apple Buyback: $525
The price of the accessories is important because when you sell on eBay, you generally sell the accessories. When you do an Apple buyback, you don’t return the accessories - so there is value you keep.
Here are the numbers I think matter.
Item Math One Year Cost
iPhoneX 1-year cost with AppleCare+ 1-year cost $56.16✖️12
Accessories: - $76
iPhoneX goodcase on eBay iPhoneX: $1,238.05
eBay Sale: - $785
eBay Fees: + $101.57
iPhoneX badcase on eBay iPhoneX: $1,238.05
eBay Sale: - $525
eBay Fees: + $68
iPhoneX Apple Buyback iPhoneX: $1,238.05
Apple: - $525
Accessories: - $76
Even in the best case on eBay, if you wanted AppleCare+, the Apple program is the least expensive way to do it. What I found more amazing is that the Apple buyback program provided me a better deal the actual eBay case - even though in theory I could have done a little better on eBay.
What happened on eBay was I had a big at $525 at about 3pm. At 4pm a bid came in that moved the price up to $785, which was high enough to discourage any other bids. Then, with my auction ending at 5pm, at 4:59pm and 30s the high bid was cancelled buy the buyer and it sold for $525. I cancelled the sale which hits my reputation - but whatever.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Yes, I Know It’s Crazy

I remember that first US Robotics Palm Pilot and how much I loved it - and that awesome collapsible keyboard that I bought. In the before time, in the long long ago, it was the most portable computing device out there and it boggled everyone’s mind.
Fast forward 20ish years and my iPhone XS Max is the most powerful computing device in my household and I keep wishing I had a keyboard for it. I did consider pairing an Apple Magic Keyboard with a nice canvas, but then I saw this amazing Zagg and like, I just couldn’t stop myself. Well, I put it on my wishlist, because I had a birthday coming, and then it appeared, because Mrs.Chaos knows me well. It makes me a little giddy to type on it.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

eBay, eh

Ever since my second iPhone (3G), I’ve sold my phones on eBay when I bought the new one and had a great track record. Sadly tonight was the exception to my great streak.
I end my auctions at 5pm PST on Sundays, as the statistically best time. What happened today? 3pm mediocre bid comes in. 4pm significantly higher (overpriced?) bid comes in. 4:59pm higher bid is cancelled and the drops back to the mediocre bid and closes. So, I earned from eBay less than I would have gotten selling direct to Apple.
Sadly, it seems like a scam to me.  The person who cancelled their bid has all purchases from a single buyer over the past couple of years - puppet account. I canceled the sale, which will probably hurt my seller rating.
The other problem is that I have a listing limit, and the iPhoneX is expensive, so I can’t list it again until the next month.  I gave in and I’m selling it to Apple instead - now I need to do a full price break down of everything.
On a positive note, my Apple Watch Series 1 sold for a great amount.

Friday, October 5, 2018

All Services Go

I never did get ChaosServer to boot off my external High Sierra install drive, but I was able to get it working. I booted into Internet Recovery Mode and from there was able to wipe clean my internal drive and install macOS High Sierra onto it.
I had this plan that I wouldn’t use any of the built-in macOS Server utilities, but I just couldn’t help myself - they are too easy! So I installed macOS Server and enabled the VPN and the DNS services. I use the DNS so that when I’m trying to access ChaosServer inside my network I can use the standard hostname and then it will use the internal IP address (rather than doing a loopback through the Eero). I’ve never had VPN before, but as I’ve been shifting more and more toward the iPad lifestyle, I had this idea.
On my iPhone / iPad setup the VPN and I installed the FileBrowser app which remotely mounts SMB drives in the iOS Files App. So now, while I’m out and about from the house, I can use VPN+FileBrowser on iOS to use my home system as my own cloud storage system. Which is great! I’ve had a lot of staredowns about moving all my personal files and photos to iCloud, but I’m old fashioned and I do have thins like prior tax returns, and credit reports, that I’m just not sure I want to be out there on iCloud. The final one is that I would probably need the 2 TB plan, and I’m just not sure I want to pay Apple that much money every month.

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Upgrade Journals

I’ve run a home server since the dawn of computing networking. In the earlier days, it was connected via modem 24x7 to the internet and shared that connection to the other computers around my apartment. It started as a Pentium with MMX, became a PowerBook G4 and these days ChaosServer is running on MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2011). This version started under Mavericks, and it’s time to clean install it to Mojave and get all my services up and running.
The first step is to trigger a SuperDuper bootable backup of the system, just in case. I have this super-cheap silicone case external drive case I use with bare drives to do all this stuff. Once that backup is complete, it’s Mojave time.

Except I hit my first problem, a Mid 2011 MacBook Air isn’t supported with Mojave. Well, let’s just go crazy! I’ll use MacOS Mojave Patcher to install it on an unsupported computer. Well, I tried to anyway, but it didn’t work.

Still, High Sierra does have the killer feature I wanted - AN EXCUSE to reinstall macOS. I’m just going to move forward with that. I use the process to create an bootable installer and I use my 250GB external micro drive. Ever year I think, “I really should just have a 32GB thumb drive” but every year I don’t have one and I just work with that I do have. You’d think at least this process would be easy, but that external installer just keeps stalling out on me and It’s been a couple hours tonight, so it’s time for bed.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Double Bump

For my generation, a car was freedom to explore the world. To this generation, they already have that with their phone. - Brianna Wu
Every week on the way to church we grab some coffee to power up. When Mini-Chaos and then Micro-Chaos got added to the mix, that mean that Mrs.Chaos jumped out of the car and I waited patiently for her. Before the days of mobile-ordering, this might mean 10m of waiting and having two little ones strapped into their car seats often translated into 10m of children crying. Yep. It was awesome.
One thing in that magical parking lot seemed to solve this problem: the double bump. For whatever reason, in the parking lot, there is one place where there are two speed bumps right next to each other and taking the boys over the "double-bump" almost always translated crying into laughter. Years later, and it's like a carnival ride. "Mom is going to go grab coffee." "OOHHHHHH!!!! Can we doe the DOUBLE BUMP!?!?" Yes, yes we can.
I look forward to a decade from now, fresh with their own driver's license. "What do you want to do?" "Dad! I'm going to go hit the DOUBLE BUMP!"