April 9, 2019

Break Up of iTunes is Coming

Steve Troughton-Smith on twitter.com:

I am now fairly confident based on evidence I don’t wish to make public at this point that Apple is planning new (likely UIKit) Music, Podcasts, perhaps even Books, apps for macOS, to join the new TV app. I expect the four to be the next wave of Marzipan apps.

I still pay for iTunes Match, so usually when on a deadline I’ll close everything but iTunes and the task at hand — only listening to my brain circa 2012.

But even the webish chimera of Spotify on the desktop is a better music app than iTunes. I don’t think an Apple Music on the Mac app will never get the love and attention that iTunes once got, but if it’s an iPad based version, it might me good enough.

April 8, 2019

Productivity Isn’t About Time Management. It’s About Attention Management.

Adam Grant on the nytimes.com:

A better option is attention management: Prioritize the people and projects that matter, and it won’t matter how long anything takes.

​Which sound very kumbaya, but when carefully defined it becomes a bit more defendable in real life:

Attention management is the art of focusing on getting things done for the right reasons, in the right places and at the right moments.

And the money quote for me:

If you’re trying to be more productive, don’t analyze how you spend your time. Pay attention to what consumes your attention.

This last one made me pause, I’m deep into the if you don’t measure it, it doesn’t exist camp, and tracking what you’re up to is a given. But this suggest that should put more effort into where you attention wanders towards… a mindfulness concept that I can buy into.

I love articles like these which make me question my current truths. Will probably digest for a few more weeks, but it’s to bookmarked to reread in a few months. ​


Tidbits for 2019 Week 13

  • Geeks can daydream, but the battery world runs on lithium-ion, and there’s no replacement in sight.
  • HomePod is now $299, down from $349. Don’t doubt it’s the best sound for the price, but without Spotify is not even an option for me. Maybe at $199…
  • Amazon’s Project Kuiper would make my father-in-law so happy. Broadband satellite based internet for remote areas would make many millions of lives better. Go Bezos.
  • The Powerbeats Pro are the AirPods sporty me would have wanted. The actual me finds the case too big.
  • Simplify for Gmail Chrome extension brings a little of Inbox to Gmail. Code on GitHub and made my former Google lead designer. Update: works on Opera, and it’s really great.
  • Cloudflare’s App with Warp VPN makes an intriguing case: more secure and faster than without. In waiting list.
April 2, 2019

Ars Technica says goodbye to Google Inbox

Ron Amadeo preserves for future generations, this is what Google Inbox was like:

The Sweep button and at-a-glance info cards represent my favorite bit of design philosophy in Inbox: by default, it treats emails as groups of disposable garbage.

Bundles, sweeps and all the features added to my favorite email app since Sparrow. Its ability to deal with a lot of noise and finding the signal still doesn’t exist in Gmail.

April 1, 2019

Burger King is introducing a Whopper with Impossible Foods Patty

Burger King’s chief marketing officer, Fernando Machado, said that in the company’s testing so far, customers and even employees had not been able to tell the difference between the old meaty Whopper and the new one.

Not sure this is a feature of Impossible Foods, or a bug of Burger King. Still, I’ll try this as soon as I get a chance.

April 1, 2019

Wired on Cloudflare’s New VPN

Casey Chin:

The technology that Cloudflare is betting will make Warp fast is a protocol invented by Google called QUIC, and it could one day make the rest of the internet faster and more reliable.

Hold on a second, this sounds fishy…

Cloudflare is using a draft of the IETFs QUIC specification for the connection between its mobile app and its servers.

Never mind. That’s better.

This all sounds as a modern version of Opera Mini, and something that Opera and Google have been trying to do in recent years but technology and privacy concerns held it back. I’ve used the app for DNS and the speed improvement is noticeable — so I have no doubts Cloudflare can make the tech work.

The privacy verdict is still out there, but if they deliver on the speed claim, it becomes a game of lesser evils… do you trust Cloudflare more than your ISP and/or mobile operator? I know I do.


Tidbits for 2019 Week 12

  • I didn’t know The Matrix code scenes came from sushi recipes.
  • The new iPad Air and iPad mini available for in-store pickup. I’m going to wait for it to show up on Adorama to order . Ordered.
  • Gmail swipe actions on iOS soon. But still no bundles… Oh how I miss Google Inbox.
  • Stories about Apple Watch ECG feature really make me think: a) I should get my Dad one, b) Health features are a powerful reason to upgrade soon for myself.
  • Twitter new dark mode for OLED screens on iOS/Android. Apple has to include dark mode in iOS 13.
  • Wyze Sense $20 sensor kit announced. Insta-buy, I really like our Wyze setup at home and this looks well integrated.
  • Apple mumbles sorry for MacBook keyboard issues. Not good enough. They need to change the design yesterday and include the 2018 model in the extended warranty.
  • MKBHDs AirPods 2nd Gen video review is great.
  • The Original AirPods Firmware also appears to have gotten an update. Reports include snappier™ connections.
March 31, 2019

The Transition from Why” to What”

Tasha Eurich interviewing Whitney Johnson:

Journaling is helpful, when done properly—if you spend too much time on why” questions and emotions, you will wallow in the past. Tasha suggests asking yourself three questions:

  • What went well today?
  • What didn’t go quite as well today?
  • How can I be smarter tomorrow?

Really good journaling tips on their conversation. The above structure feels similar to me, but could be a clearer tip for someone who wants to start journaling.

HT to Christian for the recommendation.

March 30, 2019

There’s No Goodbye in the Endless Texting Conversation

The etiquette of texting is, of course, different than an in-person conversation, but it can still feel like your conversational partner’s silence means something. Did I say something weird? Or is she just busy?

When almost all of your family and friends interaction happens on a WhatsApp group, the implications of this take a whole new level.

March 29, 2019

Apple cancels AirPower product

In an email, Apple’s SVP of Hardware Engineering writes:

After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project.

Ouch. No conspiracy theory here, they just couldn’t deliver. I find it surprising they didn’t reduce the scope to something similar to the dozens of Qi wireless chargers that exists already.

March 28, 2019

Signal & WhatsApp, softer than Tofu?

Keybase on Whatsapp:

We actually DO take great issue with their claim of forward secrecy while encouraging your chat partners to back up” their chats with you to the cloud, entirely defeating the purpose.

Excellent point. I keep forgetting about these backups as the weakest link.

March 26, 2019

Drafts for Mac: The MacStories Review

This is not one of those apps. It is an app written from the ground up for macOS, which works as expected with the system features.

I recently started using Drafts on iOS again and while the UI still feels like a flight cockpit, the level of power is amazing. For the Mac, it translates to a much simpler app, but that will change when it gets actions.

For a taste of the feature check this overview by MacSparky.

March 24, 2019

The New iPad Lineup

The iPad 2019 lineup clarity is something I wish for the Mac’s 2020 lineup. Five models: iPad, iPad mini, iPad Air, iPad Pro (11in), iPad Pro (12.9in). Starting at $329 for the iPad 9.7in 1, it increases to $399, $499, $699 and $999 for each base model respectively.

As geeks we lament that inconsistency between technologies: Apple Pencil 2 and FaceID on the Pro versions versus Apple Pencil 1 and TouchID in the rest of the models. Or the biggest gripe for me, the obsolete design language of the bottom devices once you compare with the Pro versions — they’re not different designs, one is old and the other new.

If you don’t get too geeky though, when asked the critical question by a friend or relative: which one should I get?, you’ll actually see consistency. They all support a pencil, yes one is better, but the other one isn’t bad. They all have a good screen, again one better and another one that doesn’t refresh at 120 Hz. You can go on and on with the processor, connector, speakers, etc.

In an age of complex technology, you arrive at a simplified matrix of consistent features with good vs better implementations. With each of the models being a clear response to a corresponding: if you’re willing to spend $X, Y is the best model. Try doing that with a Mac nowadays.

The iPad Pro Air 2019

I’m writing this on my 2017 iPad Pro 10.5 512Gb. It was my family wide birthday gift that year. It’s an amazing machine - two years in, I still haven’t managed to slow it down with anything I throw at it. This iPad Pro es effectively the new iPad Air, with an older processor, faster refresh screen (Pro Motion), better camera, and 4 speakers vs 2 of the new Air. But a week ago the 10.5 Pro was $649, while the remixed Air starts at $499. It’s a simplified version for its target audience. In fact, if you have a gullible geek friend with a 10.5 Pro, bait him/her to upgrade, and get the device at a hefty discount. Or try to find one in a clearance sale, because at the same price, the old 10.5 Pro is a better device than the new Air in my opinion.

Back to the mini

Before the iPad, the iPhone, the Pocket PCs, the iBooks, the Palms, there was a Newton 2100 MessagePad in my heart bag. The Newton 2100 was a powerful 8.3in x 4.7in device with a stylus that could replace your desktop computer for certain tasks, but it wasn’t meant to. The iPad mini 2019 is a 8.0in x 5.3in device that supports the 1st Gen Apple Pencil and can replace your MacBook for certain… you see what I’m getting at?

It took Apple 7690 days to launch a proper replacement, at least on paper. Because even though the iPad mini design is 7 years old, the pencil was needed for it to be considered as viable descendant.

As you might imagine, all this is just me justifying my upcoming purchase. I’m not planing to add an iPad to my gear bag, I’m actually going to replace the iPad Pro 10.5 with the mini. I will miss the bigger screen for watching video, reading comics and books. The magazine size of the iPad 10.5 is the perfect around the house device. It’s true that more than any other previous iPad, I do stuff on it for which I’d pulled out the laptop before, and the laptop sized screen has a lot to do with it.

But when I really need stuff done, or I’m heading out the door for a trip, the MacBook is the one that goes in the bag. Right now, that’s how I work. Here’s where the Moleskine sized device beacons for me. It’s why I still have and use my 2013 iPad mini 2, even though it’s painfully slow. Because for me, there’s less confusion between what a MacBook, a small iPad, and an iPhone are for.

Wildcards: iOS 13 vs ARM MacBooks

There are two nonexclusive scenarios that might make me regret or be glad of replacing the Pro, these are:

  1. iPad specific features in iOS 13: which is rumored and likely. I’ll miss not being able to play with Apple’s vision of pro tablet features on a proper sized” device.
  2. ARM MacBooks: rumored, but less likely in the current year. If Apple announces the current iPad Pro 12.9 hardware, but running macOS — all bets are off.

So this is the state of my iPad mind at the moment. I haven’t ordered the new iPad mini yet, but mostly for logistics reasons. I’m also going to put my iPad Pro for sell in the coming days, and hope not to be left without one or the other for long.

  1. $250 if you search for sales.

March 17, 2019

Flickr In Memoriam” accounts

Flickr Blog:

In memoriam accounts will preserve all public content in a deceased member’s account, even if their Pro subscription lapses. The account’s username will be updated to reflect the in memoriam” status and login for the account be locked, preventing anyone from signing in.

This is a great feature for a paying service. There have been discussions before on what happened with digital catalogs once again you die — an issue that will become more relevant.

Also happy to see Flickr back in the news.

March 14, 2019

Dropbox adds three-device limit for free users

Dropbox has quietly updated its website to allow users on the company’s free storage plan to only connect up to three laptops, tablets, or phones to their account at one time

My iCloud only experiment is going well. I am using a second free Dropbox account for my microblog. But on the Mac, Transmit works great to connect to Dropbox easily, only using two devices towards the new limit.

I understand why Dropbox will do this, but as an user, only an introduction of a cheaper plan than the $9.99 one would bring me back.