I try out Apple’s new HomePod for TidBITS


As someone who’s ambivalent at best about listening to music, I’m not an obvious user candidate for Apple’s new HomePod speaker.

After all, the audio device is inextricably tied to the Apple Music service and aimed at those with ravenous appetites for all manner of melody. The speaker is, first and foremost, a music appliance.

Yet, I adore the HomePod.

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I like winter just fine if I have a snowblower

For this Puerto Rican, living in Minnesota can be a trying experience.

Oh, summers are just fine, especially when deliciously wet, Caribbean-like air slaps me in the face. (Once, when I was visiting friends in San Juan, the weather was hotter and more humid in St. Paul, which sounds crazy but is not uncommon.)

Minnesota winters, though? I have been in the Twin Cities for three decades now, and I still have my “dear God, what have I done?” moments in January or February when the mercury takes a polar plunge.

But, over the years, I’ve learned to make my peace with the fearsome King Boreas.

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Twitter for Mac is no more; I try alternatives

As a Twitter power user, I’m in mourning because my favorite Mac-based software for accessing the popular social network will soon be no more.

That application, also called Twitter, is an elegant one-column construct that for years has permitted me to effortlessly and enjoyably access my various accounts. Now, though, Twitter is killing off the Mac app. That’s a shame.

With a sniff and perhaps a barely audible sob, I must move on.

For a TidBITS article, I kicked the tires on three Mac-based Twitter-app alternatives.

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I partake of the wireless-charge revolution

Of the many, many tech gadgets I’ve tried over several decades as a tech writer, a few stand out in my mind because of their ingenuity, beauty or both.

The TDK Wireless Charging Speaker is one of these. Made by then-Minnesota-based Imation in a licensing deal with Japan’s TDK, the compact audio gizmo kicked out nice sound.

But what made it unusual was it’s top surface, which incorporated a wireless-charging technology call Qi (“chee”).

Newfangled at the time, Qi allowed certain kinds of phones (including iPhones, if they were fitted with a special kind of case) to replenish their batteries simply by being placed on a wireless-power surface.

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