fixed my iMac

years ago, my iMac was running craaaaaazy slow. it was pretty much unusable and seemed like anything that touched the disk took minutes instead of milliseconds. initially i thought it was from a macOS update (like maybe they didn’t bother testing on spinning disks anymore and just let things become unusable on old systems) but eventually realized it must be a problem with the hard disk drive.

all the disks i’ve had die in the past would make crazy noises leading up to an eventual complete failure. so this drive is quite strange with its S.M.A.R.T. data being fine and reading and writing working properly, but it just does everything 100X slower than it should. ðŸĪ”

at any rate, i realized i needed to replace the drive but the iMac is quite literally glued together! so i wound up just taping an SSD to the back and plugging it in with a USB adapter and considering that good enough. 😆

now i finally worked up the courage cut it open and do a proper drive replacement. it was scary but worked out pretty well! i got this OWC servicing kit from Amazon with all the tools to cut through and replace the glue.

you smack the suction cups on the corners of the display and then use the little plastic pizza cutters to press into the sides under the display and cut all the glue that holds it in place. this part was super scary and didn’t work quite like the instructions. i had to press much farther in to loosen and cut the glue and pull up on the display while doing it. it had me very worried about cracking the super thin display and making the whole computer worthless. once the display was off though it was simple to remove the hard disk and toss in the SSD.

the final step was putting glue strips back on and then very carefully lowering the display into place while connecting the tiny ribbon for it. this was challenging and in the end i was ever so slightly off so my display sticks out a bit on the right. you can’t really notice it with your eyes but running a finger along the edge you can feel it.

it seemed all was good until the next morning i walked into my office and saw… the display had fallen right off!!! ðŸ˜ą thank god my cluttered desk had a speaker and some pens that stopped it from smacking down on the desk or even the floor!

fortunately the glue was still sticky so i pressed it back into place and this time leaned the iMac backwards and things seem to be OK since.


my cat Storm passed away. i’m pretty heart broken, i loved her a lot.

Storm was already an adult cat when i adopted her from the animal shelter. my other cat Scratchy was so bored and miserable at home alone while i spent way too many hours at work so i wanted to get him a companion. like Scratchy when i adopted him, Storm was the cat at the shelter no one wanted. she was completely nuts but to me she was adorable.

her name at the shelter was Zephyr but i named her Storm after her disposition. i gave her her own room so she could take her time getting used to her new home, me, and Scratchy. she’d hiss and swipe at me every day when i brought her fresh food and water. i was expecting that and figured it would take a week or two for her to adjust to her new surroundings. it took a lot longer than that!

Scratchy was so happy to have another cat around and always wanted to play with her. Storm wanted nothing to do with him. she’d hiss at him when he came too close and sometimes chase him around the apartment. Scratchy never knew how to hiss until Storm taught him. i felt like this might have all been a bad idea with Scratchy now hissing and Storm being this insane gremlin that wouldn’t let either of us near her.

i think it took a few months for her to finally feel comfortable. she would come to me to be petted but only exactly how she wanted. if i pet too fast or too slow or with the wrong hand she’d freak out and bite! she didn’t like normal cat toys - only bottle caps. she looooved bottle caps. she also loved sleeping on weird rough things like book bags and paper bags. i imagined she must have been a stray and used to sleeping on gravel and playing with trash.

she would pick different random places to make her bed and territory. for some time it would be a particular chair or a random bag that was left on the floor or a tangle of computer cables on the desk. that time cracked me up actually. by then i worked at home and she had taken up residence behind my computer monitor. i’d be lost in code typing away and randomly out of nowhere a paw would fly out from under the monitor and claw my fingers or grab a pen or the mouse i was trying to use.

taking her to the vet was an absolute nightmare. she’d flip out and refuse to get in a carrier. at the vet they’d have to put her in a plastic box and gas her to sleep so they could give her shots. poor girl she was so crazy.

i don’t even know when it happened… i guess it was a very slow progression, but eventually she just became the sweetest, warmest, and most loving cat. while Scratchy kept busy watching animals out the windows, Storm was my work companion. on the desk, an extra chair next to mine, or directly on my lap, she spent the day watching me and being my coding buddy. she always needed to smell my beverages before i could drink them like some kind of personal food taster. 😊

every night i held Storm and told her what i got done that day and she’d listen attentively until she got mischievious and would paw at or lick my face and neck and turn her head upside down. if i went to bed without this nightly ritual she’d scream and yell until i came out and gave her the attention.

i’m going to miss my little gremlin so much. 😔


one of the upsides of a global pandemic has been that demo parties are forced to take place online. this is so great (especially for an american whose only made it to a couple european parties)! 😃

i had a blast watching and chatting along with revision and function which i always wanted to attend plus assembly and a bunch of others.

for his inercia party, ps did something really special and streamed his preparation work, demo shows, and seminars all throughout september. it was really fun to attend them and have something to look forward to with each.

as the party date approached i felt i needed to make some kind of an entry as a thanks for all the hard work the ps and alien01 put in doing what felt like an epic month long demo party! i have WIP on a demo but didn’t want to scramble to release it unfinished so worked to make a 4k procedural graphics entry inspired by paulo’s seminar and evvvil’s live streams.

it was really fun to make! 😀 i started it in top secret new demo tool in macOS writing in Metal Shading Language and making my poor laptop overheat. with a day to go I rushed to port it over to OpenGL GLSL so I could pack up and ship as a Windows 4k. (I had no idea how I would do a 4k on macOS. later at the party I talked with Alia who shared her tricks and secret tools! 😃) fortunately going from MSL to GLSL turned out to be a breeze and had my entry ready by the deadline.

the party was amazing. ps debuted his innovative shader royale system, there were great dj sets, and lots of great entries in all the compos. the closing ceremony even had jeenio serenading the results live. 😀

here’s my little 3,003 byte entry “containment”. it takes 15 seconds to compute then displays the results. i just tested on my nVidia 2070 so it probably only works on that or newer. BPL let me know it has some issue on the 970. anyway you can see the image for the results ðŸĪŠ

containment 4k procedural graphics


i hit a nice little achievement of 365 day streak with DuoLingo 🎉

it’s a really fun language learning app. they have it “gamified” nicely with achievements, leaderboards, experience points, unlockable bonuses, and streaks. it has been a nice replacement for me from playing C&C Rivals, hearthstone, or summoners war.

i started with learning Chinese and got through two tiers before things got really hard with dates and so i started mixing in Spanish lessons which are waaaay easier (both from being more similar to English and also having had lots of Spanish in grade and high school).

i was very competitive for awhile and got nearly up to the top league in the leaderboards. they had a bonus that would appear randomly each week where you could do an hour of lessons for bonus points so i would always jump on top of that and complete as many lessons as i could in those hours. since they removed that feature though i haven’t been as dedicated but have kept up at least a couple small lessons a day to keep the streak going.

i have no idea how effective it really is for becoming fluent in other languages but it is fun and satisfies that same reward system that games do while having more potential for being actually useful. 🙂

SketchClub 2.10

this month i shipped a big new update for SketchClub! it’s quite a big overhaul of the graphics engine. my goal for this update was to do these engine changes while preserving all the existing functionality, and intentionally leave new ui changes and other user facing stuff for a following update.

it worked out really nicely this way, and while flushing out some tricky glitches and device compatibility issues during the beta i ultimately did wind up sneaking in a bunch user facing changes too.

faster stroking, loading, saving, compositing, transforming, exporting, memory optimizations, procedural bristle brush upgrades, smudge and blur upgrades, gesture improvements, and lots more improvements.

people were especially happy about the tight layer thumbnails, support for tons more layers, direct import into gallery, and the blur tool enhancements. 🙂

iMore did a nice article on the best drawings apps in 2020 for the iPad and Apple Pencil and included SketchClub!

“Sketch Club is a super affordable drawing app that doesn’t skimp out on features.” thanks iMore!