February 7, 2017

» Apple used to care about iBooks

Daniel Steinberg:

I’ve joked that if Eddie Cue loved reading the way he clearly loves music, then iBooks, the iBookstore, and iBooks Author would be amazing. Not only aren’t they amazing, they aren’t even good.

In 2013 I helped out creating ebooks for a family friends. I first did the Kindle’s version, and it was a painful experience — similar to making a website in the early days. I left the iBook for last, looking forward to the experience. A few days letter, I was back using the epub generator and converting it to the Apple format.

Sad to hear not much has changed.

February 5, 2017

An adorable little chaos inside your home

My safety razor, brush and shaving soap always go together underneath the sink… or at least they did until my 14 month old son started opening every drawer and cabinet in the house.

So I moved the razed to a top drawer. To say that my organizational OCD had an issue with this is an insight of how much time I waste in every one of my workflows. But the raw fear of our small tornado finding my Merkur razor fought fire with fire in my mind.

A week later, I’m actually enjoying the new setup. The razor, the blades and the altoids’ container for used blades now sit together on the drawer.

Parenting keeps generating outcomes likes this. I don’t know if it’s Stockholm syndrome, or sanity complacency. But the end of your personal efficiency brings some fun practical shortcuts through the valley of chaos.

Snippet parenting
January 15, 2017

Deplete Inventories

One of my new year’s resolution is to be frugal. Which as a high level virtue sounds great, but can be difficult to practice everyday. The best trick I’ve found is to not purchase anything if I have some of it left at home.

For most stuff, this means running out of my preferred brand, and dusting off whatever was replaced by it. Shaving creams, aftershave, meat spices and even ebooks.

Curious how long can I last, but I do like that it feels like a rule that nudges me in the right direction.

Lifehack Finance
January 11, 2017

The challenge of accepting the challenge

Sometimes you work with people that challenge you, other times, not so much. In most cases it has nothing to do with smarts, just the way a company’s processes work.

On occasion, you start to get challenged because you’re being left behind. You’re set in your ways, and don’t notice the changing landscape, attitudes and objectives.

Embrace the challenge. It’s not personal, it’s business. You’re getting a chance. Enjoy the gut feeling prism that has given you a new perspective.

Once you notice the challenge, take some time to figure out were the organization is going rather than running behind it. It’ll save you time later, and you might end up getting ahead in the process.

Snippet productivity
January 9, 2017

» Atlassian acquires Trello for $425M

It’s a great exit for Trello. Would have preferred that it was Github the acquirer, but it makes perfect sense for Atlassian.

It’s no surprise then, that the company’s press release specifically cites Trello’s popularity with business teams in finance, HR, legal, marketing and sales and notes that 50 percent of Trello users work in non-technical functions.

Trello is not efficient, it’s flexible. It doesn’t impose order like Jira, and if you use incorrectly it can be chaotic. But for many type of users, it’s the modern shared spreadsheet perfect for collaboration.

January 8, 2017

Make it easy to succeed

Are rules supposed to persuade or dissuade you from something? Take the following question:

Did you write today?

I ask and track this question in multiple ways. Its objective is to encourage me to write. But it’s really a reminder type of question. The problem is that I don’t forget to write each day, I struggle with writing.

A question that’s supposed to help me write should make a habit out of writing. It should be easier to successfully answer it than not. It should pull me towards the goal.

In which case a better question is:

Did you write 1 sentence today?

Success is learning the lesson, not passing the test. Even when I’m my own teacher, I forget this.

Personal Writing
January 5, 2017

Restrictions as minimalism

Back when I still had a Canon DSLR, my main lens was a nifty fifty. I love the concept of accepting its set of restrictions, and getting in return consistent beautiful pictures.

At the same time, knowing that it was probably the best bang for the buck, made me feel like a hip minimalist.

I need to apply this to other aspects of my digital life. My work MacBook Pro has many, too many, utilities and apps that replicate features the macOS already provides.

As I try to reduce friction in my workflows, I don’t necessary end up with increase productivity. I get endorphins from being smart about the workflow, which could come from the final work result instead.

I see a clean install in my future.

January 3, 2017

» What Apple gives you for $100 as a Safari Extension Developer 

Turns out, however, Apple did eventually publish the extension — they just never told us. We don’t know when it happened, but it was likely around or after Thanksgiving, because we’d checked a few times since receiving that last email saying we were still under review.

There’s very few cool/new extensions for Safari nowadays. This dev makes the case that it’s a terrible experience for programmers. iOS/Mac codebase consolidation is likely the cause, and again, the Mac gets a downgrade in experience because of it.

January 2, 2017

Not sharing is uncaring

It’s amazing the influence social network have in our life. The topic of followers and how to get more came up more than once during our Christmas family gatherings.

How many posts are ok? What sort of content is best? These were questions that didn’t need much explanation across generations.

The basic utility that social networks have become in the smartphone era is probably one of the fastest adopted applications ever.

I do hope this oversharing phenomenon will become this decade’s bell bottoms. Something my son will shudder and laugh at in the future.

January 1, 2017

Extrovert and introvert

Most people would describe their first impression of my Dad as quiet, and of my Mom as fun. I have always enjoyed hearing that I’m certainly my mothers son.

For a long time I wondered: am I good fun? or bad at being quiet?

There’s two situations that have given me clues that I’m more of an introvert that I let myself believe. Big social events and personal conflict. Both of these extremes exhaust me. More than swimming 5k, more than doing an all-nighter. I’m knocked out when I get home, and I’m tired for days.

In both cases, my extrovert script fails. There’s too many interactions in which you can’t plan ahead… or think about it for a while. But I’m OK with this.

My concern recently has been that I feel a kind of regret when I let myself go off script. When I’m perfectly honest and spontaneous, I later look back at the conversation with uneasiness. Because I know it could have gone better somehow.

I’m planning to work on this on 2017.

December 31, 2016

Cooking is coding. Your guests are QA , they just don’t know it.

During the last year, I started cooking a lot more. Mostly because I got into sous-vide cooking, and suddenly a lot of weird complex steps had a methodological process with logical flow.

By starting with something that was also new to my wife — which is an awesome cook — I managed to defeat my initial fear of failure. That’s dumb I know, but smart I’m not.

In just a few weeks I noticed the benefits of cooking. Not only did I help Ana during the week, but in most cases I felt happier after I finished cooking. Even if you’re preparing a vinaigrette for a salad, all the work cruft that’s top of mind when you arrive home is pushed away.

As with every new topic, I quickly realized how much I don’t know. Yet, there’s many shortcuts that with a 80/20 level of effort, get you to some delicious meals.

Since I mostly did meats this year, I’ll close with the easiest one: temperature. So much anxiety in my past cooking could have been avoided with a thermometer. Some people might have a 6th sense with cooking times, but for everyone else, there’s a target temperature and you’re done with it.

December 30, 2016

Does key clickiness hold the key for ideas to click?

Of course not. But as I go through the list of chapters of The Elements of Eloquence, this was only polyptoton I could come up with today.

Still, something strange is happening with my reaction to keyboards. And my preference is changing.

When my 12in MacBook arrived, I had a common first reaction: the keyboard click is weird — and the arrows layout sucks. For a few weeks the keyboard in the 2015 MacBook Pro and old wireless keyboard felt just right and at home.

Then last week I borrowed the newest Magic Keyboard from the someone on vacation at the office. Although it has more key travel than the MacBook keyboard, it’s closer than the old keyboards.

By the end of the week, the keyboard of the MacBook Pro 2015, started to remind me of the keyboard of the MacBook 2008 I use as a media server. The key’s felt mushy and too far apart.

As I write this, I’d rather reach for my MacBook 12in than my MacBook Pro. Maybe it’s complacency or muscle memory. But maybe just maybe, the new keyboards are better.

December 29, 2016

Placing a pledge on micro.blog

Next week Manton Reece is expected to launch a kickstarter campaign for Micro.blog — his upcoming social network / mini publishing tool.

I will place my pledge without pause.

My past software pledges (Ghost and Macaw) have not been a great personal investment, but I felt strongly about both. Ghost is the most similar, and the biggest disappointment since it hasn’t become the cheap and easy blog platform I’ve hoped.

But Manton has been dreaming and working on this project for a long time. His attention to details — such as how links should work — make me excited about his vision for a service. And his experience developing against Twitter, App.net and Flicker is a good enough reasons of why he’d want an alternative.

Software Snippet
December 28, 2016

Apple can make anything, just not everything

I’m in love with my AirPods. They’ve made me understand Apple’s priorities.

If Apple had to decide that in 2016 it would launch the AirPods or a new Mac Mini, I’m happy with the decision.

In just 1 week, small headphones without wires have changed how/when/where I listen to my iPhone. The effects of a sub $200 gadget are going to be significant in my behavior.

There’s no wire you can cut on a Mac that will have this effect.

Apple biggest constraint is opportunity cost. It’s a new MacPro vs augmented eyewear, it’s macOS features vs Siri features, it’s a new old thing vs a new new thing.

December 25, 2016

Holiday tidbits

Blade Runner 2049 Announcement I’ll allow myself excitement over this. The look is right and feel right — as in uncomfortable.

Shake Shack’s mobile app now takes orders across the US This could get ugly — and by this I mean me.

Spotify Updates Mac App With Full Touch Bar Support for MacBook Pro That was fast. Sadly no AppleTV or Apple Watch version in sight.

Duet Adds Touch Bar This is cool. If you have a 9.7in iPad, it’s fairly good Touch Bar test.