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.

Snippets
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.

Productivity
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.

Snippets
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.

Social
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.

Personal
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.

Keyboard
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.

Snippet
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.

tidbits
December 23, 2016

Top 5 2016 iOS Apps

I was planning to post this next week, but App Santa includes so many good apps, that I want to share early:

  1. Castro: With the release of version 2.0, this is my new default player.
  2. Tweetbot: The one and only. Likely I’d quit Twitter if Tweetbot wasn’t around.
  3. Day One: I use this app everyday. Version 2.0 shows promise, but speed is lagging. Still, best journaling app out there.
  4. Happy Scale: If you’re serious about tracking your weight, there’s no better app. I’ve tried them all.
  5. Inbox by Gmail: There’s something about Inbox’s UX that just works for me. Still can’t use it on the Desktop, but on mobile it’s my default mail client.

Finalist1:

  • Launch Center Pro: I always return this app to my homescreen. Even without complex scripts, it’s faster than going through screens and folders (Castro, Tweetbot and Happy Scale are launched from this App)
  • The Economist Espresso: At $2.99, it’s how I currently keep up-to-date with non-tech news.
  • Morning Reader: For tech news, this site/App has replaced Techmeme as my source.
  • Carbo: If it’s in a piece of paper, whiteboard, desk or post-it, I scan it with Carbo.
  • Plane Finder: I love looking at planes on final approach or taking off. Even at cruising altitude, this app lets you check everything you’d want to know about the flight.

  1. The easiest way to include more than 5, without including more than 5.

Review 2016 Apps
December 23, 2016

» Encryption App Signal’ Fights Censorship With a Clever Workaround

Andy Greenberg on Wired:

Now when people in Egypt or the United Arab Emirates send a Signal message, it’ll look identical to something like a Google search,” Marlinspike says. The idea is that using Signal will look like using Google; if you want to block Signal you’ll have to block Google.”

Smart. Since Signal is not as widely used as WhatsApp, blocking it doesn’t cause same uproar. This workaround ties its fate with Google, which is like using Godzilla for your canary in a coal mine test.

Snippets
December 23, 2016

» Cars and Trucks and Mac SUVs

Excellent point by Jason Snell:

So maybe it’s a mistake to think that Macs are trucks. Maybe today’s Macs are more like SUVs: they’re more expensive and better appointed cars. It’s a category that’s just as popular as the car, and way more popular than the pickup truck.

Any analogy taken too far always breaks down. But I think this observation works very well.

Snippets