July 26, 2017

Deplete Inventories 2

When shaving with a safety razor and brush, you usually fall down a rabbit hole of shaving creams and soaps. Last December I started to anxiously calculate when I should replace my favorite shaving cream — or maybe trying a new one? That’s when my frugal resolution for 2017 started.

Almost 8 months later, I still haven’t bought a new shaving cream or soap. Half-used and completely new ones keep appearing.

I miss having a new shaving thingy, but it feels great to finish up existing ones.

July 25, 2017

Read the chart out loud

When dealing with large datasets1 remember to tell yourself the story of the resulting chart.

Most of us usually create charts with some sort of agenda. We kinda know what we want to show, and therefore aren’t surprised with the chart if it fits our expectations.

The problem is that good data organized incorrectly can still look right. The most painless way I’ve found to try to catch these issues is taking a step back and telling a story of what the data is showing without thinking about your slide title. Just really read the data calmly, and you will likely catch a surprise or two.

Thankfully I’ve avoided a few charts with volume numbers until December 2017 (US vs world date formate), 1000x sales numbers (coma vs period thousand’s separator), and my favorite: 70 weeks per year (careful when how you use the DATE() formula).

  1. Anything that requires you to scroll down I’ll consider large. If all the data is viewable, it’s easier to keep a mental model of it.

July 24, 2017

Ride it out

There’s a moment at the end of a swim lap that you have to decide between stretching out and riding out your inertia — or doing one last stroke to reach the wall.

Of course there are different personalities: some prefer to hit the wall at full force, others do a final all out push just before the wall to glide into the finish.

A similar dynamic can also happen on projects. Some push their teams until a few hours (minutes?) before the deadline. I usually end up with a hard week and working weekend on the final stretch, but on the final days I let the team inertia set the pace.

Productivity Development
July 21, 2017

» Ghost != Medium

Dave Winer:

Think about Medium this way. It’s a big public legal pad. In a perfect world, no one owns the pad. When you want to write something you tear off a sheet, write, when you’re done you tack it up to a global bulletin board where everyone can see it. […] Ghost is not such a place, and neither is WordPress.

There has to be space for a pinboard.in for blogging/writting. A one-person operation that can renders pretty static html and can survive with respectful display ads or non paid accounts.

July 21, 2017

» Productivity Apps and Subscription Pricing

Michael Tsai:

Instead, we’ve seen subscriptions combined with price increases, customers balking, and insinuations that people just don’t want to pay for anything anymore. With more than one variable changing at once, I don’t think we can conclude that people hate subscriptions.

This ring true. It’s not as simple as saying I don’t like subscriptions.

July 12, 2017

» Microsoft boasted it had rebuilt Skype from the ground up’. Instead, it should have buried it

Chief among the issues is that the redesign imagines Skype as a youth-oriented social media app along the lines of Instagram or Snapchat, rather than a staid business communications tool.

I wanted to give the new version a chance… and I hate it so much. An I told you so is in order.

July 12, 2017

» The Secret Lives of Playlists

For all of its talk about prioritizing discovery” and knowing your tastes” […], what Spotify feeds to Browse and pushes to Discover is influenced largely by whether an artist already has a massive marketing campaign and corporate push behind them.

I’ve been using Google Play Music — instead of Spotify — for the last few weeks1, and I’m amazed with how much I enjoy the playlists.

Initially I thought it was a bit of placebo effect, but I’m now sure there’s some magic — or less influential marketing campaign — workings with Google Music Play’s playlists.

Seriously considering switching over from Spotify. Plus, the YouTube Red value of not showing commercials is great.

  1. Taking advantage if the YouTube Red trial.

July 8, 2017

Facial ID that requires you to mouth a password — using micro expressions — sounds like iPhone 8 stuff.

July 3, 2017

» Is it unethical for me to not tell my employer I’ve automated my job?

[…] I’ve basically figured out all the traps to the point where I’ve actually written a program which for the past 6 months has been just doing the whole thing for me. So what used to take the last guy like a month, now takes maybe 10 minutes to clean the spreadsheet and run it through the program.

Although a particular case, this sort of question will become more common with AI, machine learning, and other deep learning applications.

But as Battlestar Galactica thought us, all of this has happened before and will happen again — From Planet Money episode 606: Spreadsheets!:

And what happened was this accountant, he got a rush job from one of his clients. It was the kind of thing that in the old paper universe would’ve taken a couple days. This guy has this new electronic spreadsheet. So he plugs in the numbers, does the work in just a couple hours. Then, what he does - he just waits, let’s the thing sit on his desk for, like, two days, FedExs it back to the client. And the client was like, wow, you did it so fast.

There’s space for a lot of debate on ethical questions like this. But there’s opportunities created when industries

July 1, 2017

Baby Driver is a fun and exciting ride with a soundtrack that has so much character, it’s borderline a musical.

Highly recommended.

June 28, 2017

The new Hulu AppleTV app is so bad, it finally pushed us to cancel subscription (and we do watch a few shows).

June 27, 2017

» Parenting : Who is it really for?

[…] I realized that the parenting things I do for him are also for myself. And that’s an idea worth sharing.

I’ve re-read this blogpost a few times today. It has made question a few things and start doing others differently. Can’t think of a higher praise for something you read.

June 27, 2017

» Day One Goes Premium

This week we’re releasing the Day One Premium subscription service. It includes the ability to create more than ten journals and access all future premium features.

Not crazy about adding yet-another-subscription-service to my budget. But this is the new model for software companies, and I’m happy my favorite apps can find a way to exist1.

  1. 1Password being another example.

June 26, 2017

» How The iPhone Was Born: Inside Stories of Missteps and Triumphs

On the iPhone’s 10th birthday, former Apple executives Scott Forstall, Tony Fadell and Greg Christie recount the arduous process of turning Steve Jobs’s vision into one of the best-selling products ever made.

A cool new software keyboard development story from Forstall to add to the folklore. The rest I’ve read before, but still fun to see each of them telling the stories.

June 25, 2017

» The Last Mile for the iPad

7 years after the iPad release, some of us are still trying to parse out if it is a real computer. I, for one, have given up.

Great points of the rough edges that become apparent when you seriously try to use the iPad as your main computer.

While some are deal breakers right now, I think the iterative polish iOS will continue to get will address them eventually.

However, the lack of sustainable model for big iPad Apps is worrisome. This is likely a chicken and egg problem which Apple believes will improve once more pro Mac users pick up an iPad as a pro device and the demand appears. But for now, I strongly believe his gut feelings:

From the outside, it looks like the Mac is a platform to build a business on and iOS is the place to sell your passion products.