Author Archives: Les

MacID for iOS: Unlock your Mac without a password

Passwords: absolutely dreadful things. You want them to be complex and long enough to make it seriously difficult for anyone who gets hold of your toys from guessing them, but you’d also like to be able to remember them, and type them correctly the first time.

Newer iPhone models get around this with the Touch ID thingy, where using a fingerprint will unlock your phone (I like this, works well for me). But what about actual computers, eh? Well, some Windows PCs come with fingerprint readers – my work Dell has one, but I found the software to be intrusive, awkward and annoying. And I don’t mean Windows in this particular instance. But so far, Apple haven’t incorporated this into Macs. But there’s now a nicely cheap iPhone app that seems to do the job.

MacID for iOS by Kane Cheshire costs £2.99 or $3.99 (prices in other countries no doubt vary). Install it on your iPhone and download the free companion app to your Mac. The two talk to each other over Bluetooth. All you have to do is authorise the phone to unlock the Mac – you have to enter your password into the Mac app, where it’s stored in encrypted form, and not transmitted to the iPhone or anywhere else. The app hooks into the login screen so that when you’d normally enter your password (which you can still do if you’re so inclined), your iPhone will pop up a message stating that the Mac wants to be unlocked. Tap on the alert then press your registered finger on the button and your Mac will unlock.

I’ve got this working on my iMac and MacBook Air, and so far I’ve had no trouble at all. And I just noticed that you can also use the iOS app to lock your Mac.

Nice, and well worth a try – check out the developer’s site for more details:

MacID

Weightless Stuff Report – 26 January 2015

Another day of not doing a lot. Well, we[1] did go out earlier and took one of his daughters for lunch, but as this didn’t actually involve me walking very far, I won’t bother with the step count.

Here’s a boat from Porthcawl’s marina. It was a pleasant contrast to the shiny pleasure bots occupying most of it

Billy Joe

Billy Joe

Camera: X100S
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/800s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 800
Taken: 24 January, 2015

[1] My brother[2] and I
[2] Hi Geoff  :wave:

Ben Aaronovitch – the Peter Grant Series

Now this is a prime example of my tuit shortage issue. I read a few reviews of Rivers of London,[1] when it came out a few years back and mentally filed it as something I’d probably enjoy. Ben’s name was familiar to me – he wrote a couple of Doctor Who stories that I’m rather fond of – Remembrance of the Daleks and Battlefield. Rivers of London had an interesting premise – young police officer falls down a metaphorical rabbit hole and finds that contrary to all reasonable expectations, magic is real, as are ghosts and all manner of odd entities. And he finds himself becoming apprentice to the Metropolitan Police’s sole remaining wizard. And all this done with a fair dollop of humour. Now anyone who pays any attention to the kind of books I mutter about here would think that this is a Les sort of thing, and they’d be quite right.

But somehow, I didn’t quite get around to reading the book. It was followed by a sequel, Moon Over Soho, and still I didn’t find a tuit. And that was followed by Whispers Underground and Broken Homes, when I finally did something. I got the audiobook of Rivers of London from Audible, which was read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith in a delightfully deadpan manner. And I loved it so much, that I followed it by listening to the sequels, which developed the story nicely.

And when the latest book, Foxglove Summer, came out late last year, I got that from Audible too. And then I bought the lot for my Kindle…

Rather than go into detail about plots[2], I’ll just mention some of the background…

We first meet Peter Grant as a just-qualified Constable in London’s Metropolitan Police, about to be assigned to his first posting. Hoping for something at least moderately interesting, he’s initially assigned to the Case Progression Unit – an admin job. This changes quite rapidly after he encounters a ghost, closely followed by an actual wizard, or “Practitioner”, Chief Inspector Nightingale, a man with an interesting past who’s older than he appears to be. How much older remains to be seen. Peter finds himself assigned to Nightingale’s department, which up to that point, under the terms of an old agreement consisted of Nightingale and nobody else. But times are changing, and more magic is manifesting, and the Folly, as Nightingale’s operation has been known for a very long time, has to respond.

And much follows, involving the personifications of London’s rivers[3], malevolent entities and deeply nasty consequences for Peter’s close friend and colleague Lesley May[4], consequences which influence events as the series develops.

Which leads to one of the interesting things about the series – doing magic has consequences. Do too much of it and your brain will degenerate. Do any of it and any nearby computers or smartphones will have their processors turned to sand.

In the most recent book, Peter’s taken outside his comfort zone (London) and into rural Herefordshire, where he encounters some quite different threats.

Good stuff, highly recommended. If you’d like to get a flavour of the books, there’s a short story available on Ben’s blog:  Temporarily Significant: The Home Crowd Advantage.

You might also want to check out the official website for the series: The Folly

For anyone not AdBlocking, Amazon links follow:

[1] For reasons of something or other, this was titled Midnight Riot in the US
[2] Which would rely on my memory more than seems sensible
[3] Including all the covered over and generally lost ones like the Fleet….
[4] For reasons of publishing, her name was given the spelling Leslie in the first book

Weightless Stuff Report – 25 January 2015

Steps taken: Not a lot

Today’s plan is for a quiet day in, so I’ll do the usual daily post a bit early, as there will be even less to report than normal.

This is another photo I took at Porthcawl yesterday. Other than cropping slightly, this is a straight out of the camera JPG from the X100S. I was drawn by the colours and textures in the door:

Rusty

Rusty

Camera: X100S
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/400s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 400
Taken: 24 January, 2015

 

Weightless Stuff Report – 24 January 2015

Steps taken: 4,974

Despite not being in the right place for my usual Saturday visit to Frankie & Benny’s, the tradition was maintained, as my brother[1] and I went to his local branch. Breakfast was eaten. We then went to Porthcawl for a stroll along the seafront. This may have involved a pause for a coffee and a Welshcake. It definitely involved this view of the sea:

Sea view

Sea view

Camera: X100S
Aperture: ƒ/9
Shutter speed: 1/280s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 800
Taken: 24 January, 2015

After a relaxed afternoon, we visited Pantruthyn Farm for dinner. Curries were consumed.

And now it’s time for a relaxed evening.

[1] Hi Geoff  :wave:

This accounts for a lot…

A lot of the perceived high cost of the lovely lenses Fujifilm make for their lovely X-series cameras. This promotional video shows just how much of the work is done by skilled humans and how little is mechanised.

Warning: may induce drooling in photographers and cries of anguish from credit cards:

Weightless Stuff Report – 23 January 2015

Steps taken: 5,532

I had another moderately productive day in Bristol, which may have involved lunch at a rather nice little restaurant that does superb burgers. Spyglass is well worth a visit for a good deal on lunch (burger and chips for £5) and a nice selection of craft beers.

Then it was off to the station to get a train followed by another train which took me to Pencoed, which is where I am.

Here’s a totally unrelated photo of a nice bit of detail on Hylton Castle

Stag

Stag

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/5.6
Shutter speed: 1/50s
Focal length: 116.1mm
ISO: 400
Location: 54° 55.3381′ 0″ N 1° 26.5926′ 0″ W
Taken: 3 January, 2015

Weightless Stuff Report – 22 January 2015

Steps taken: 6,553

Yes, it’s back to the weightless reports as I am in Bristol, and didn’t fancy squeezing the scale into my bag…

After the usual hotel breakfast, I headed to the office, where I did stuff of a work-related nature. I popped out briefly for a sarnie at lunchtime, then did more stuff.

After all that stuff, I went for dinner at Pizza Express[1] with a colleague. Food was eaten, wine was sipped, and chat was had, before we headed to our separate hotels.

On my way back, I took the X100S out of my bag and got this photo of the harbour area:

Bristol

Bristol

Camera: X100S
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/2s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 22 January, 2015

And I remembered to check on something I’d spotted on my way to the office. This caravan thingy serves various food thingies:

Pickle

Pickle

Camera: X100S
Aperture: ƒ/2.8
Shutter speed: 1/25s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 22 January, 2015

It must be doing well, because they’ve got a smaller one around the corner, which perhaps inevitably is called…

Ickle

Ickle

Camera: X100S
Aperture: ƒ/2.8
Shutter speed: 1/25s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 6400
Taken: 22 January, 2015

Nice.

[1] Just for a change

Weight and Stuff Report – 21 January 2015

Weight: 218.6 pounds (15 stone 8.6 pounds, 99.2 kg)
Steps taken: 3,516

Wait? What? Up again, to the highest weight of the year so far? Mutter, mutter.

Anyway, I’m now in Bristol, so the next few days will be weightless reports. I’m sure you’ll all be eager to see what happens to my weight when I return to Losing it HQ….

Today’s photo is another one from the coast. Here we can see a couple of ships waiting for the tide (or something) so they can come in to the Tyne, and a couple of anglers waiting for a fish.

Waiting

Waiting

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/14
Shutter speed: 1/200s
Focal length: 36.6mm
ISO: 500
Taken: 17 January, 2015

Weight and Stuff Report – 20 January 2015

Weight: 218.1 pounds (15 stone 8.1 pounds, 98.9 kg)
Steps taken: 2,892

Mutter, mutter, up again today…

Here’s another ghost sign. I’d actually call it a double ghost, as half of it is an older version…

Ghost of the Coast

Ghost of the Coast

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/10
Shutter speed: 1/200s
Focal length: 88.2mm
ISO: 1250
Taken: 17 January, 2015