White Rabbit Project

white rabbit project
Netflix released a trailer for their new show White Rabbit Project today. If you were a fan of Mythbusters, you’ll probably want to check it out. It stars the former Mythbusters build team, Kari Byron, Tory Belleci, and Grant Imahara as they go down the “rabbit hole to investigate weird and wonderful events from pop culture, science, and history.”

I was a huge fan of Mythbusters and was sad when they decided to part ways with the build team in the final season. I’m happy to see the gang back together. You can stream all episodes starting December 9th. Check out the trailer below.

Removing Public Beta Updates in macOS Sierra

Because I love shiny new things, I enrolled in the macOS Sierra public beta to play around with it before its general release. Once Sierra was released, I no longer wanted to receive public beta updates. In the past, I’ve gone to System Preferences -> App Store and disabled beta updates. Normally, this would remove the updates from appearing in the App Store’s Software Updates, however, this time I was still getting notified of new public betas. That’s when I found this thread on Apple’s forums. The solution, opening up Terminal and typing the following command: sudo softwareupdate --clear-catalog

Running the command removed the beta updates from the App Store and now all is right with the world. I thought I’d post this solution in case anyone else runs into this issue as well.

Update on iCloud Automatic Backups

I previously wrote how iCloud automatic backups were killing my internet connection and thought I’d provide an update, but first I want to discuss my experience with Apple support.

People who know me know I’m a huge advocate of Apple and their products. So, when something goes wrong, it is a bit disappointing. When I was troubleshooting the issues I was having with my iCloud backups I noticed that my iCloud storage was shrinking at a rapid pace.

phone backups

The amount of space my phone says I was using for backups.

It appeared that every time iCloud tried to back up and failed, the data that was backed up prior to the failure stayed in iCloud and there was no way for me to access it or delete it. Even after turning off iCloud backups, there was still over 50 GB of backup data that I could not remove.

When looking at the settings on my phone, it showed how much backup space I was using. According to the phone, I was using 8.8 GB of space on backups. This seemed correct and about what I was seeing before the trouble started. However, if I looked at the iCloud settings on my Mac or in iCloud.com, I would see something completely different. There, I would see over 50 GB of space being used for backups. This is obviously incorrect. Each time I attempted a backup and it failed, the number would grow.

iCloud backup storage

The amount of space iCloud said I was using for backups.

I contacted Apple about this, and while all the employees that helped me were very nice, none actually comprehended the issue and could provide me with a way to delete this backup data. I tried explaining the issue to several different techs, but none could give me an adequate answer. Finally, after a week of going back and forth via email with an Apple tech, I gave up and just told them to close the case. This was not going to get fixed because 1. They really didn’t understand the issue and 2. It was being caused by iCloud backups failing, which they also couldn’t solve. I was extremely disappointed by the support I received but there was nothing I could do at this point. I even had to upgrade my iCloud storage to 200 GB just so I wouldn’t get the space warnings on the 50 GB tier.

Fast forward a couple of months to the release of the iOS 10 Public Betas. I installed the beta because I’m a nerd and love to have the latest and greatest. After the third or fourth beta, I noticed that the 50+ GB of backup data no longer existed in iCloud. Everything started showing correctly on my phone, my Mac, and iCloud.com. Furthermore, backups were running without killing my internet connection. In fact, I am now able to stream media, backup my Mac data to CrashPlan and perform an iCloud backup all at the same time without an issue. I also noticed that my iPad, which backs up a lot less frequently, is backing up without issue now as well. Something with the way iCloud backups work must have changed with iOS 10. I’m really hoping that this continues through the public release and that backups continue to work. Otherwise, my phone will be stuck backing up at work only again.

,

The Rise and Fall of Hollywood

hollywood sign

YouTube channel Now You See It published a great video about the rise and fall of Hollywood. It’s a short video, so it is quick, top-level analysis that doesn’t get too deep, but it does do a great job covering the more momentous parts of Hollywood as a whole, from moving from the east coast to the creation of big budget blockbusters.

Old Hollywood has always fascinated me (especially the old studio system and mob connections), so this was right up my alley.

Prehistoric Wings Discovered in Amber

Scientists have recently discovered a pair of wings that belonged to dinosaur-era bird ancestors encased in amber. From The Verge:

In a new study published in the Nature Communications journal this week, researchers say that the wings have very similar structures, coloring, and feather layouts as the wings of modern birds, despite the fact they likely belonged to 100-million-year-old avialans called enantiornithes.

X-ray scans indicate that the fossilized wings — found in northern Myanmar — likely belonged to juvenile creatures, and contain skin, muscle, and claws, as well as various layers of feathers, arranged in a markedly similar fashion to those of birds. That’s not the only similarity: the feathers appear uniformly black inside the amber, actually show up in shades of brown, silver, and white under the microscope.

I love that discoveries like this are still being made. It gives us more insight into our planet’s past.