First Post From macOS Mojave and First Impressions

So this is officially the first post from my computer after it got a nice little upgrade – macOS 10.14 codename “Mojave” was released yesterday and I’ve always been one to stay up to date with the latest and (sometimes not-so) greatest OS versions so I naturally jumped all over it.

So what are some stand-out features for me, the light-to-average user who occasionally does some heavy duty stuff? Well the first thing I noticed after installation was how much faster the boot sequence was. Though not nearly as fast as the new Macs with either solid state drives of PCIe storage, my Mid-2012 13″ MacBook Pro (with aftermarket 320GB SATA hard drive, 2.5 GHz Dual Core i5 and 8 GB RAM) booted up in a reasonable amount of time, compared to High Sierra which I dreaded doing cold boots from as it took forever.

I also noted some very definite performance gains – Apple seems to have lightened the operating system quite a bit. The responsiveness of my computer is much better and I’m not stuck staring at that dreaded pinwheel hardly at all. Looking at my SystemPal, it seems like the “wired” RAM (i.e. the part that is used by the OS’s base operation) stays well below 2 GB constantly:

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Compare this to the high 2.x to low 3.x range from High Sierra. This probably speaks to a majority of the performance gains.

For other features, Siri seems to be a little more refined and the native Apple apps have been updated to be compatible with what is in my opinion the coolest feature of this iteration, which we will get to in a minute. Before I get there though, I will say I also absolutely love “stacks” – it brings the functionality of stacks/groups that is found in iOS to macOS. It really helps keep clutter down, which is what makes this so nifty.

Now, before I get to the greatest feature of this OS, I think I should first talk about what annoys me. The big annoyance is that Safari still sucks the big one. Safari has always sucked, but it REALLY sucked in High Sierra. Every time I would try to launch it the computer would freeze. I don’t have that problem here but it does still take a big performance hit and it’s slow and clunky as always. As such, I’ll continue to use alternative browsers. I typically use Chrome for everyday use with Firefox for my 3D CAD software as Chrome just doesn’t run it smoothly but Firefox is a CPU hog so it’s not a good option for “light-to-medium” browsing. The other thing is that it still has the lackluster dock of 10.10 on. I miss the 3D Dock that was in OS X 10.9 and earlier. Not a huge deal as I use cDock to theme the dock.

So with that, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! What’s the greatest feature about macOS Mojave? Here it is…


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Isn’t that absolutely awesome? It’s so much easier on the eyes and it just looks cool. Dark background on light lettering? It’s a thing of beauty. I absolutely loved this sort of lighting scheme when Google debuted it on YouTube – I now run that in dark mode in all my browsers so its’ good to see Apple incorporate the same look into their OS. This would have been worth the upgrade alone, but of course everything else adds some icing to it.

So would I recommend upgrading? If you’re running High Sierra it’s a no-brainer. High Sierra is to Apple as Vista was to Microsoft – it was absolutely terrible in every way (bloated, slow, ugly, clunky, resource hog, etc.).  For earlier versions of Mac OS X/macOS; probably not a huge jump but the eye candy is quite nice.

Please keep in mind I’m not a tech expert so my words should be taken with a grain of salt, but for me, I quite like this change.


Cranes 101: Crane Tonnage Ratings


So I had an amusing thing happen to me at work today that happens fairly regularly, mostly from people who have never dealt with (or rarely deal with) cranes. It’s amusing and laughable to me but to someone who is not in the crane business or has no experience with cranes, I can see why this would be misleading. Namely, a crane’s tonnage rating. Alas, I’m using this as an opportunity to educate you a little about the crane world. I hope you all find this interesting and educational.

So here’s a brief transcript of the call:

Me: “(Company Name) this is Lynn how can I help you?”

Him: “I was wondering if I could get a price for your 40 ton.”

Me: “Sure, how much are you lifting and where?”

Him: “Uh, 80,000 pounds…”

Now, for the layperson, it might seem that a 40 ton crane should be able to lift 80,000 pounds (40 tons). However, anybody with any kind physics knowledge should know why this is not the case (it was obvious to me even before I worked in the crane industry).

So what is a crane’s tonnage rating? Simply put, it’s the amount of weight a crane can lift in its most ideal configuration at its shortest working radius. Take, for example, this load chart of a LinkBelt HTC-86100 mobile hydraulic crane. It has a tonnage rating of 100 tons, and as you can see at its ideal configuration and minimum radius, it can indeed support 100 tons of *total load* (more explanation on that later and why even that number is deceptive):

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So at 7′ away from its king, or center, pin (the pivot point for the upperworks), stacked with 32,500 pounds of counterweight, on full outrigger (support) spread and at only 38′ of boom (fully retracted), the crane can pick 100 tons. However, the more you push the boom out or the farther out from the center pin you have to reach, we can see capacity decreases exponentially. Further, as we have to add boom extensions or reach over obstructions that require the use of jibs (boom extensions with a fixed offset), luffers (adjustable offset jibs), etc. that further reduces capacity.

As for why that is, it’s a simple physics problem. It has to do with where the crane’s center of gravity is in relation to the center pin. The counterweight can only shift the c.g. backwards so much. There comes a point where the c.g. is so far forward of the center pin that it becomes unstable, and thus topples. There is also strength of material in the boom (be it telescopic or lattice) that can be a limiting factor as to the amount of weight the crane can support.

Alas, the weight of the actual item to be lifted is only part of the story. A further examination of physics makes it clear that there’s more to figuring out the “total load” than just the weight of the item. Simple physics makes it very clear that any weight at all dangling off the boom will affect stability. As such, one must also take into account the weight of the hook block, any rigging affixed to the load, and in some cases the hoist line (most manufacturers pre-deduct the weight of the minimum number of “parts” of line required to support the chart capacity – any additional parts of line must also be deducted or, in the case of Manitowoc crawler cranes, the entirety of the hoist line must be deducted). So that 80,000 pound load? Let’s say it requires an elaborate rigging scheme that weighs some 5,000 pounds and you have a hook block that weighs 2,500 pounds. Your actual total load is then not 80,000 pounds, but in fact 87,500 pounds!

In any event, we see that not even a 100 ton unit is sufficient for this potential client’s request, unless you’re just barely lifting it off the ground and no more than about 15 feet from the center pin. However, for this example let’s say we’re lifting 40 feet from the center pin at a height of about 70 feet. We’re going to need about 110 feet +/- of boom to get the required tip height and head room for the rigging, so to maintain a decent margin of safety, you’re looking at about a 275 ton crane, as shown in this load chart for a LinkBelt ATC-3275:

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Of course, this is just a simple example and assuming no real obstructions. If we have to stick a jib or luffer on it, you require an even higher tonnage rating than shown above, but I imagine you get the idea. In our load example, at the required tip height and radius, the total load we are lifting is still at about 70% of the rated capacity of the crane in this configuration.

Now, it should be said that most load charts have a 15-25% contingency built in so that you never exceed 75% (lattice boom) or 85% (telescopic boom) of tipping load when operating within chart. You can, in desperate situations, override the built in protections in the crane’s computer system (in crane operator jargon that’s known as “keying the crane”) but unless it’s like a matter of life or death or something there’s absolutely no reason to key the crane. That’s just playing with fire. Whereas you might not necessarily unbalance the crane to the point of instability (if within the contingency), you’re still likely risking component failure lifting beyond rated capacities. The takeaway: just don’t do it unless someone’s life literally depends on it.

So yes, crane tonnage ratings can be deceptive to someone not in the know, but now you do. I hope you found this interesting and you learned something. Cranes are fascinating machines and engineering marvels indeed, but when it comes to engineering a lift, there is a lot more than what meets the eye.

In the words of NBC, “The more you know…”

Hurricane Harvey – A Reposted Facebook Rant

Before we get into my reposted rant, let me express my sincerest condolences to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Abilene and Dallas/Ft. Worth are both far enough inland that I was not adversely impacted by the storm but my company has several branches in coastal cities that were and I have several bell ringing friends in Houston who were also devastated so I’m feeling the impact in my heart nonetheless.

That said, I’m going to repost a brief political rant over the storm here, not because I necessarily like to post those here but because this needs to be said. I do try to remain as politically neutral on my blog as possible, though sometimes it’s impossible. There are some takeaways from Harvey that everyone needs to wake up to. Hopefully after a major disaster like this maybe some people will wake up and smell the coffee.

Rant below:

The thing about science is that it is true and it doesn’t give a fuck about your worthless, uneducated opinion. Climate change is very real. Hurricane Harvey is living proof. Pretty much every other hurricane would have dissipated by now. Harvey is still a tropical storm and one not too far below a category 1 hurricane. 

I say this as a slightly right of center libertarian. I ain’t no bleeding heart, liberal tree hugging hippie snowflake. I just acknowledge science. The movie The Day After Tomorrow is coming true right before our eyes and the scientifically illiterate Bible thumpers in this country can’t see it. In their delusional state of confirmation bias they see it as the “end times” and nothing else. 

Even despite my antinatalist beliefs and believing that existence is inherently harmful, the reality is life will continue to exist on this planet for billions more years. We need to take care of our planet so those life forms after us can have the least bad existences possible. 

Put your Bibles down and learn some science. That’s all there is to say here. 

This rant can also be read on my Facebook page (link in the “contact me” section of this blog) and by all means comment both here and there. The bottom line is we cannot continue ignoring this problem and we need to address it head on. Go paperless, trade in those gas guzzlers, switch to LED light bulbs, do whatever you feasibly can. Every little bit helps.

We need to be better stewards of our planet than we are now. That’s all there is to say. If the destruction of Hurricane Harvey doesn’t wake you up to that, well, you’re pretty much hopeless.

You can read more at this link:

Potential Health Benefits of Tattoos?

Well, I think everyone knows the health risks of tattoos, including risk of infection and allergic reaction, of which the risk of both are all but eliminated when tattoos are done in a clean environment with sterile equipment and high-risk pigments (such as red) are spot test beforehand. However, can tattoos have an upside other than the beautiful artwork left behind and the adrenaline and endorphin rush that you get during the session?

Perhaps so. I happened across this article the other day that suggested people with multiple tattoos might demonstrate a small immune boost. Oddly enough, those with just one tattoo or were getting their first showed a dip. I guess the moral of the story is if you’re going to get tattoos get multiple!

Anyway, of course I take it with a grain of salt but as a tattoo enthusiast studies like this pique my interest. I imagine it’s like the consumption of alcoholic beverages though: there are some health benefits associated with it but they are not great enough to recommend it for all adults. Tattoos aren’t for everyone and I wouldn’t ever pressure anyone to get a tattoo, but for those who do enjoy them there might be a small benefit.

Of course, for me tattoos have benefitted me in a number of ways. I seem to have improved my pain tolerance over the course of my inked journey and I’m just more confident in my appearance overall now that I’ve decorated my own personal “temple” the way I see fit so yes, despite getting a bad reputation I know I’m far better for having tattoos and that they have benefitted both my physical and mental health.