J.D. Moyer

sci-fi writer, beat maker, self-experimenter

Category: Tech

Lightweight Chromebook for the Travel Win

I just got back from a family vacation in Spain and France, mostly to visit my dad and his wife who live in a small village near Avignon. As a family we’ve been trying to travel as light as possible. Last summer we flew on WOW Airlines and decided to not check any baggage, which limited us each to a 5kg carry-on bag. For this trip we flew Norwegian Air, which has a 10kg carry-on bag limit per person. That felt generous by comparison, and at the last minute I decided it might be nice to have some sort of computing device besides my phone.

I haven’t taken an expensive laptop on vacation since my MacBook Pro got nicked in Hawaii from our rental apartment. But with near-ubiquitous wifi in Europe, I thought it might be time for my own Chromebook. Kia bought an HP Chromebook 11 a few years ago and we shared it during our Italy trip last summer, but I knew she had a few projects to manage remotely on this trip, and there wouldn’t be much sharing. So I hopped on my bike and rolled down to Best Buy the day before our trip.

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Lyft (and Uber?) Drivers Don’t Know Where They’re Going

Logan Green of Lyft (photo by JD Lasica)

As part of an ongoing no-car month¬†experiment (not owning or leasing a car for the last eleven months), I’ve relied heavily on the freelance taxi/ride-sharing service Lyft. Overall my experience with Lyft has been good. The drivers are generally courteous, friendly (but not too friendly), and drive safely. In turn I try to be a good rider, being ready when drivers arrive, not slamming doors, and tipping (which Lyft allows in-app; their competitor Uber doesn’t). I like most of the drivers I meet, and I almost always give 5-star ratings.

But here’s the thing–if there’s any complexity to a pickup or drop-off location, most Lyft drivers will get it wrong. Lyft drivers rely almost entirely on GPS, and even though GPS navigation is a miraculous invention, it fails consistently with large buildings, detours, poor cell-service areas, and even some straightforward locations (GPS often ignores the street I live on and directs drivers to one block away from my house).

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How I Turned My Obsolete Early 2011 MacBook Pro Into a Screaming Fast Machine

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Back in 2011 my 15″ Macbook Pro was stolen while on vacation in Kauai. Though I never recovered that machine, Statefarm homeowner’s insurance covered the theft, and I was able to get a new 13″ MacBook Pro for the coverage amount less the deductible. I had a recent full backup, and only ended up losing a few days of email.

I’ve had the 13″ MacBook Pro ever since, and it’s one of my favorite computers ever. I use it for writing stories, making beats, writing this blog, some of my consulting work, all kinds of stuff. But over the last year it got really slow. Starting it up became a “walk away and get a cup of coffee” type of thing, and opening even lightweight apps triggered the spinning beachball.

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