How to transcribe audio to text using Dictation on a Mac

You can use the Dictation feature built into your Mac to transcribe audio files, and in my experience, it's been about 98-99% accurate, so it saves a lot of time if you want to index your audio files, or you need a transcript for some other purpose.

These instructions were last updated for macOS Monterey 12.4.

First, open up System Preferences, go to Keyboard, then the 'Dictation' tab:

Apple Dictation System Preferences

Turn on Dictation, and when prompted, accept the terms for Apple's Dictation service. Also take note of the 'Shortcut' (e.g. 'press dictation key' or 'press control twice'. You'll use that to activate dictation later.

How I rip DVDs and Blu-Rays into my Mac (2022 Edition)

It's been more than a decade since I wrote Ripping Movies from Blu-Ray, HD-DVD and DVD, Getting them onto Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, etc.. Heck, back then I didn't write everything as a 'blog post'—that was labeled as an 'article' :P

In a surprising twist of fate, we went from a somewhat more centralized online media situation back then (basically, Netflix) to a hellscape of dozens of streaming services today. And in many cases, older movies can only be found as used and/or pirated DVDs on eBay!

Thus, I'm writing a fresh guide to how I rip DVDs and Blu-Ray discs into my Mac, then transcode them with Handbrake. Heck, some people who are deeper into the r/datahoarder rabbit hole even have dedicated transcoding servers so they can generate optimal archival copies in 4K, 1080p, etc. akin to how YouTube and other online platforms set up their files!

But for me, the basic process goes:

Using a reverse-NFS mount to access Docker container's data from macOS

For years, Mac users have dealt with slow filesystem performance for Docker volumes when using Docker for Mac. This is because the virtualized filesystem, which used osxfs for a while and will soon be upgraded to use VirtioFS.

But if you need to do large operations on huge codebases inside a shared directory, even using NFS to share from the Mac into Docker is a lot slower than running a native Docker volume or just using files inside the container's own filesystem.

macOS Disk Utility APFS Case Insensitive filesystem

Installing the Asahi Linux Alpha on my M1 Mac mini

After upgrading my main workstation to a Mac Studio, I decided to break tradition.

Usually, I sell off my old workstation to offset the cost of the new one. But just last week, Asahi Linux announced their first alpha release.

Asahi Linux MacBook Pro

If you haven't heard of Asahi, it's a Linux distribution based on Arch Linux that aims to bring a polished Linux experience on Apple Silicon Macs (all the current M1 Macs, and any new Apple Silicon Macs that come in the future).

Mac Studio is 4x more efficient than my new AMD PC

Last month, I built an all-AMD PC to try out Linux Gaming with Steam and Proton, and so I'd have a faster native Linux build machine for my various compilation tasks.

This month, Apple introduced the Mac Studio, and as a now full-time video producer, it was a no-brainer for me to upgrade from an M1 Mac mini.

Mac Studio M1 Max Hero

My Mac Studio arrived Friday, and over the weekend, I spent some time benchmarking it against not only my M1 mini, but also my new AMD Ryzen 5 5600x PC build.

My Mac Studio's specs:

New Docker for Mac VirtioFS file sync is 4x faster

Docker for Mac's shared volume performance saga continues!

After monitoring the issue File system performance improvements for years (discussion has moved to this issue now), it seems like the team behind Docker Desktop for Mac has finally settled on the next generation of filesystem sync.

For years, the built-in osxfs sync performance has been abysmal. For a Drupal developer like me, running a default shared volume could lead to excruciating slowdowns as PHP applications like Symfony and Drupal scan thousands of files when building app caches.

Or God forbid you ever have to install dependencies using Composer or NPM over a shared volume!

It got to the point where I started using NFS to speed up volume performance. Heck, the Docker team almost added Mutagen sync, which I tested successfully, but it caused problems for too many projects.

Automating the Uncommon - AnsibleFest 2021 presentation

At AnsibleFest 2021, I presented a session titled Automating the Uncommon - Ansible automates everything!.

Since watching on-demand versions of the AnsibleFest sessions requires a signup, I thought I'd also post the session to my YouTube channel, so everyone can learn from it without registering. The session seemed well-received, and I hope it shows that, as I state in my 'Rule of Golden Hammers':

Jeff's rule of Golden Hammers - If you know a tool well enough, and the tool is good enough, it's okay to do weird things with it.

I demonstrate how I use Ansible to:

The Apple M1 compiles Linux 30% faster than my Intel i9

(With a caveat: I'm compiling the ARMv8 64-bit Pi OS kernel.)

It seems every week or so on Hacker News, a story hits the front page showing some new benchmark and how one of the new M1-based Macs matches or beats the higher-priced competition in some specific benchmark—be it GeekBench, X86-specific code, or building Emacs.

Well, here's my quick story.

I've been doing a lot of work with Raspberry Pis lately—more specifically, work which often requires recompiling the Pi OS Linux kernel for the aarch64 architecture. I recompile the kernel enough I made my own shirt for it!