September 20, 2019
The Gods ThemselvesThe Gods Themselves

The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov

It amazes me how Asimov writes about people set in science fiction worlds. His description of sci-fi is so clear, it makes the human drama taking place in it never look out of place.

I had never heard of this novel before my friend Mauricio recommended it last December — and it was a great holiday quick read.

One of Exhalation’s short stories reminded me of it, and I had forgotten how many ideas were causally in it: para-universes, lunar colonies, alien civilization and culture. While it’s a 70’s book, it holds extremely well, with many sensitivities like the role of gender and the cost of clean energy that could have been written today.

If you haven’t read Asimov before, this isn’t the best book to start — it get a bit slow with long dialogs in the middle. But if you like his other books, or hard Sci-Fi; it’s a must read.

September 18, 2019

Exhalation by Ted Chiang

I’m not usually into short stories, but this science-fiction book was a pleasure to read. On most of them I was hoping they would go on a full book length, that’s how good they were.

While they’re not Three Body Problem level mind blowing, they’re appropriately close for the shorter format — anything more would have felt forced.

Absolutely recommend this book, and I’ll be checking out other from the author.

September 16, 2019

Tidbits for 2019 Week 37

  • TextMate 2.0 is available (and alive?!). Wouldn’t believed it if I hadn’t seen the commit.
  • The feature-rich Vivaldi browser finally arrives on Android.
September 11, 2019

Apple September Event Roundup

My favorite quotes regarding yesterday’s Apple event.

Om Malik, on

They opened it with Apple Watch so that tells you the primary driver of the growth going forward

Mark Gurman, on

The iPhone 11 starts at $699, down from the iPhone XRs $749 price last year. The XR stays in the lineup for $599, a $150 decrease for a phone that’s only a year old. That’s one of the biggest year-over-year reductions in iPhone history.

Stephen Hacket, on

The iPhone 11 is a correction for Apple, re-alining the product line to how customers thought of it, and the iPhone 11’s new price of $699 is a reflection of that.

M.G. Siegler, on

The iPhone is now officially a camera. I mean, it has been a camera for a long time. The most popular camera in the world, as Apple is quick to point out each and every year, a decade on. But now it’s really a camera, as today’s keynote made clear.

September 9, 2019

Tidbits for 2019 Week 36

  • Apple Music launches a public beta on the web. Likely the iTunes for Windows replacement.
  • Sonos’ first portable speaker is the $399 Move. A bit too big in price and size, but happy they’re in the category.
September 8, 2019

Almost Everything About Goodreads Is Broken

Angela Lashbrook, on

What Goodreads is good for is keeping your own list of books you want to read or have read this year. It’s a list-making app. And while that’s useful, it doesn’t live up to the company’s full promise of being a haven for readers.

Here, here.

Overall, though, the Goodreads users I chatted with were frustrated by the ugly design and poor functionality of the site overall yet feel like they have few places to turn to keep track of books they’ve read or want to read.

I go from periods of complete abandonment of my goodreads account, to catching up on my read list. Mostly because I enjoy the centralized repository from different sources — Kindle, Apple Books, audiobooks and some physical books.

However I never use them as recommendation source. And for wishlist of books, I actually use goodreads to feed my Trello Books board, which feels way more natural to peruse when I’m deciding what to read next.

September 2, 2019

Tidbits for 2019 Week 35

  • Apple releases iOS 12.4.1 to re-patch vulnerability reintroduced in iOS 12.4
  • NetNewsWire RSS Reader for Mac is Back. I’ll stay with Reeder, but such a great free option.
  • Nintendo of America announces Mario Kart Tour will be available on 9/25 for iOS and android.
  • Instagram tests Threads’ app with automatic updates for close friends. No thanks.
  • Apple fixing Siri’s privacy concerns. Better later than never, super clear 1-2-3 improvement explanation of changes.
  • Fitbit debuts $200 Versa 2 smartwatch, Fitbit Premium subscription service. What the Pebble could have been.
  • Prizmo 5 for iOS released. Will test for a few days.
  • T-Mobile adds eSIM support for post-paid plans on iOS. Hopefully this means the Google Fi support for iOS is not far behind.
  • Xnip Screenshot App for Mac. My new screenshot app, and I have a lot of em.
  • Apple Invites Media to September 10 Event at Apple Park. Excitement never gets old.
August 26, 2019

(AMD) Zen 2 Missives

Matthew Dillon1 on

Don’t get me wrong, Intel will catch up. Eventually. But the days of Intel’s domination of the CPU are over. TSMC is not being bankrolled by AMD, they are being bankrolled by the likes of Apple, Google, and others. Samsung and TSMC both have a lot to lose if they get behind. Domination of the fabrication node is a monopoly that Intel has definitely lost.

This means that from here on out the CPU race between AMD and Intel is going to remain relatively neck and neck. That is my belief anyhow.

Not sure how accurate, but the best short overview (and forward view) on the new Intel vs AMD performance reality.

  1. Matt Dillon of Dragonfly BSD fame.

August 26, 2019

Tidbits for 2019 Week 34

  • Apparently Apple Arcade will be $4.99 monthly with family sharing. Sounds like a great price.
  • Disney+ will available on all platforms except Amazon. A family meeting will decide if we replace Netflix with this.
  • Also rumored/leaked is Apple TV+ $9.99 Price. This will be wait-and-see for me.
  • The Matrix 4, or a movie in that universe is happing. So excited. What can I see, other than the sequels1, I enjoy Wachowski’s movies.
  • Apple Card is now available in the U.S. Applied, wasn’t instantly accepted. Uh oh.
  • Chromium Edge is in beta release. Not bad, but in good with Brave for now — sorry Opera.
  • Netflix Collections are human powered playlists. Remember when they had a bounty for the best recommendation engine?
  • New Paperlike 2 screen protector for iPad with supposedly less color interference. In kickstarter now, I’ll wait for it to arrive on Amazon and try for sure.

  1. In later viewings I’ve come to like the sequels by themselves. It’s in the context of the original that my expectations went wild.

August 24, 2019

Consume Less, Create More


But the real tragedy of modern technology is that it’s turned us into consumers. Our voracious consumption of media parallels our consumption of fossil fuels, corn syrup, and plastic straws. And although we’re starting to worry about our consumption of those physical goods, we seem less concerned about our consumption of information.

Fun meta essay worth reading.

Reminded me a little about this post a while back.

August 22, 2019

Instant Coffee That Tastes Good

Oliver Strand on Issue No. 5 of my current favorite coffee newsletter The Filter:

 […] but instant coffee is getting good now that good roasters are getting into instant coffee.

This is while testing Verve Coffee, but he also mentions Swift Cup Coffee and Voilà instant coffee.

I’ve wanted to try these fancy instant coffee’s since hearing about them from Marco Arment on #ATP. Now that I’m going on a Disney trip with the whole family, seems like a good time.

August 19, 2019

On the Contents Page and Pages of Content

Receiving a Wired Magazine in the late 90’s provided with hours of restrained entertainment. Starting with the ritual inspecting every page from start to finish — regardless of the article from the cover that had piqued my interest.

Physical magazines have an index, but its UX doesn’t require you to choose an article to get started. The experience invites browsing.

This mindset is missing from the a la carte on-demand infinite availability nowadays. Even when casually reading newsletters, I get an urge to unsubscribe to most of them because many weren’t exactly what I wanted to read at that moment — which is a weird anxiety for something that is not work.

By just switching view modes — from an inbox overview to advancing from within each newsletter to the next — I felt the anxiety of the paradox of choice melt away, and enjoyment of fun time wasting reappear.

August 19, 2019

Tidbits for 2019 Week 33

  • The Cloudflare public offering is very appealing. Revenue, growth and strong product.
  • The Lexend fonts are intended to help improve reading speed now available in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Not sure I’d like to read with it, but it’s good to have.
  • Gist Press lets you press gists into a friendly article format. Always go down a rabbit hole with things like this, and I don’t regret it.
  • about:blank is a paid app that blocks websites in safari for iOS and macOS. Similar in spirit to the open source Lockdown. I’m weak, need some sort of time setting to go and use this.
  • IKEA creates business unit just for smart-home products. Not surprising, but good signaling that the category is about to hit the early majority.
August 18, 2019

Sonos’ portable smart speaker leaks in greater detail

Jon Fingas, on

Known as the Sonos Move, it won’t be just a slightly squashed Sonos One with a battery. There looks to be a recessed grip to help you tote the speaker from place to place, and that’s where you’ll also find the previously rumored toggle between Bluetooth (portable) and WiFi (home) connections.

Been holding up on expanding my Sonos Play: 1, and if this is around $200, very likely will get one.

August 16, 2019’s Clickbait is Shameful

I really cannot believe a reputable online publication with a print magazine allows things like these to happen. Here is the headline:

Barnes and Noble’s New CEO Just Revealed a Brilliant Plan to Save the Company

And then a few paragraph’s in you get this nugget (emphasis mine):

Here are three brilliantly successful methods Daunt used in the past that he could very possibly employ at Barnes and Noble

WTF? How did this get pass an editor? How isn’t this just plain lying?

The sad part is that it’s a good informative article, if framed correctly as a thought piece given Daunt’s past work.