Using caffeinate to keep your macbook from sleeping

I use a Macbook Pro, running macOS Catalina, and have often found that it will sometimes go to sleep at unfortunate times. Namely, when I am downloading or uploading stuff. So this little HOWTO will show you one way you can prevent that.

Just use the caffeinate command. Simply open a terminal and enter:

Last login: Sat Jul 11 17:56:01 on console
yourname@your-MacBook-Pro ~ % caffeinate -s

As long as your system is on AC power, that command should prevent your system from entering sleep mode. Now your downloads/uploads will continue uninterrupted. And when you’re done, simply press CTRL+C while focussed on the terminal to cancel the command. You’re welcome.

Old MacDonald had a like-farm?

Social media are unquestionably a big hit and one of the biggest out there is Facebook with over a billion users worldwide. And one of the most successful features of Facebook is the so-called ‘like-button’, which is so great a phenomenon by itself that it even has its own wikipedia page. Such is the impact of the like button that I’m almost certain that at some point in the near future the dictionary definition of the word ‘liking’ will also include the very act of  clicking on that classic blue ‘thumbs-up’ icon.

Now while most uses for the like-button are entirely innocuous, I have been noticing a trend of some individuals posting a photograph accompanied by a message in the caption and some request to ‘like and share’ the item in question. Usually such photographs will depict a tragic scene, or some self-proclaimed ‘miracle’, or perhaps simply a ‘beautiful message’ either by some random swami guru from Timbuktu or Albert Einstein—the latter sometimes entirely misquoted, by the way. Then the strategy appears to involve playing on the emotional response the message may evoke in people to elicit a ‘like’ action from the viewers.

Here’s how it seems to work as I see it. Someone just uploads a dramatic image, such as say that of an intubated child, wearing a sad expression, apparently bedridden in a hospital and surrounded by life support machines. The poster then adds a lengthy caption with a touching explanation, such as that it’s someone’s son lying there and that he has a rare heart condition, that he is still on the waiting list for a heart transplant and that he would love nothing more than to play baseball with his friends again. This is then followed by a dedication, like for everyone whose life has been affected by heart-transplant waiting lists or whatever.  It could be real, or just invented… who knows? The main thing is that in the end it concludes with what I would consider to be a form of emotional blackmail. Because not only does it end with a request to ‘like and share’ the post, but then also invariably includes the condition that you should only do so if you care.

If I care? What is this nonsense? And other varieties on this theme also exist. For example sometimes such concluding remarks are phrased in the form of a cynical premonition, such as ‘I know some of you won’t share this, but those who care will’. And on occasion the caption will even bluntly state outright that if you ignore the message and don’t click on the like button right away, then you really don’t care. But whatever the exact wording, the emotional blackmail always operates by exploiting the false assertion that not liking is equal to not caring. Of course I care! Who wouldn’t? But excuse me all over the place if that doesn’t mean I’m going to spam all my friends with pseudo-philosophical or quasi philanthropic mumbo jumbo just because I get some kind of guilt trip laid on me if I don’t.

So what is up with these kind of messages on facebook? What is really behind them? It would appear that in some cases the motivation to post such messages are actually driven less by raising awareness for a particular issue or a desire to impart some words of wisdom unto the world, and more by economic factors. In fact there seems to be a whole business revolving around liking stuff on facebook and it’s called ‘Like Farming‘. Like Farming is essentially a scam that works by first creating a facebook page and then trying to get posts on that page to go viral by any means. This in turn generates more ‘likes’ for that page, and as subsequent posts on pages that you’ve liked will also show up in your news feed things start to get interesting. Because having access to so many news feeds means that when a page has been liked a lot, it becomes very attractive for businesses to advertise on it, or for one company buy it and then use it for marketing purposes. So how do you discriminate between innocent posts and the ones with financial motives in mind? I suppose just by realizing that no message worth liking or sharing should require any encouragement to do so.

A rose by any other name

I am Dutch and being Dutch I have been given Dutch names. A first name, a middle name and a last name, to be more precise. Now the last time I went to the USA, I frequented Starbucks establishments—a well known ‘java’ dispensing chain of cafes that appears to be ubiquitous, or at least so it seemed in the state of California. Now the funny thing is that with every order they ask for your name and then write that on the cup that will get filled with your coffee. So when your order comes up, they’ll be able to call out your name so you know your coffee is ready. Very convenient… in theory. But my names being Dutch, they kept misspelling it and mispronouncing it. Annoying, but what to do?

Initially I just made up names. It’s not like they’re going to ask for an identification card, right? I think at one point I may have called myself ‘Bob’ or ‘Jack’ because I reasoned those would likely be rather popular names and therefore less likely to invite spelling errors. On the other hand, very common names increase the risk of confusion: there might be another ‘Bob’ or ‘Jack’ waiting for his order. Now I could use more obscure names, like ‘Ferdinand Ignatius the 3rd Count Von Schtockhausen zu Lieberwurst’, but that might blow my cover as it sort-of sounds like I made that up (which would not be an unfair assessment). Also I fear it would be a bit of challenge to fit all that on a coffee cup, even the humongous specimens found in the US. So I recently decided to search the internet for a source of information that might tell me the etymology of my Dutch surnames, and whether I might be able to find a decent English version for either of them. That would be the best solution, I think.

After a bit of searching I came across the site “Behind the Name” where I was able to look up my first name. Apparently, the English equivalent would be ‘Maynard’. Cool. So then I continued with my second name. That was a bit trickier. As it turns out it’s Laurence, but in the US the more common spelling is ‘Lawrence’. Hence my comment on it being trickier. However, as both versions sound the same when called out it won’t make any difference which one I use. As a matter of fact, I’ve used ‘Lawrence’ in a Starbucks on Melrose Ave in Los Angeles at one time. Although they misspelled the name, I still got my coffee just fine as you can see in the picture. So I’ll go with Laurence here.

The way 'Laurence' is spelled at Starbucks.

The way ‘Lawrence’ is spelled at Starbucks.

As for my last name (‘Voogt’), well that really is a bit trickier as there is no English version for that one. There is however an English way of pronouncing ‘Vogt’, a name related to mine. Thus I imagine the correct way to say my name would be to pronounce it just as ‘Vogt’ but instead with the ‘oo’ sound as in ‘root’. With a silent ‘g’ it would therefore sound something like ‘voote’ instead of ‘vote’. One snag though: that would make my name sound like ‘voet’ which is Dutch for ‘foot’. And I can’t accept that because I support the metric system, so I guess I’ll just have to go with ‘Vogt’. The extra ‘o’ in ‘Voogt’ is probably a typo anyway.

Ok, nearly there, but ‘Maynard Laurence’ doesn’t sound quite right. To my ear ‘Laurence Maynard’ sounds better and that’s what I’ll use. So here is my full name in English: Laurence Maynard Vogt. Starbucks, here I come!