May 11, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 19

  • lite lightweight text editor written in Lua for Windows and Linux.
  • Blurred • reduce distraction by dimming your inactive background apps.
  • Hidden Bar • Another free utility that helps hide menu bar icons.
  • Aware • simple menubar app that tracks how long you’ve been actively using your computer.
  • GitHub Codespaces • full Visual Studio Code experience without leaving GitHub. Whoa.
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May 9, 2020

First, it was Craigslist, next it’s Zapier

Kameron Tanseli, on his blog:

So my advice if you’re looking for your next indie software idea. Just observe what these no-coders are automating on Zapier and build a nice UI around it.

Makes so much sense for me. Simple advice to keep close by.

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May 6, 2020
Wool (Silo #1)
★★★★☆

Wool (Silo #1) by Hugh Howey

I’d started the original Wool book a few times, but it never stuck. Nothing like a quarantine to make a story about living in a silo interesting. Have to say this was a great read. Probably the most page turning book of the year for me — at least the only that made me stay up until 4am at a point.

I enjoyed the characters and story. And the author drops enough clues of what happened to the outside world to satisfy some of my disaster movie genre curiosity. Moved on the next in the series right away.

May 4, 2020

Apple Updates 13-inch MacBook Pro with Magic Keyboard

Tom Boger, Apple’s senior director of Mac and iPad Product Marketing on apple.com:

With these updates, our entire notebook lineup features the Magic Keyboard for the best typing experience ever on a Mac notebook […].

Will wait for benchmarks to see how bad I feel for going for the MacBook Air last month. But the fact that the whole lineup now has the new/old keyboard is great news.

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May 4, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 18

  • Size.link • Visualize dimensions in Augmented Reality. Very useful.
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April 28, 2020

goodbooks.io:

Good Books is a curated collection of book recommendations from the world’s most successful, influential and interesting people. We’ve spent 6 months analysing 15,000+ book recommendations and have handpicked the best to add to your reading list.

Beautiful site design. Linking here so I don’t forget about it next time I’m wasting time looking for a book.

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April 28, 2020

New Linux Pop!_OS Auto Tiling

System76 on youtube.com:

New to Pop!_OS 20.04, auto-tiling organizes your windows for you so you can spend more time and focus on the task at hand. Use keyboard shortcuts to move, swap, and resize windows to your liking.

I’m a sucker for tiling UX, but this looks particularly simple and useful. All the macOS versions I’ve tried are too hackie to set up… might setup a VM to play this this.

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April 25, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 16

About a month worth’s of links:

  • Tip is a programmable tooltip that can be used with any Mac OS app github.com
  • Tidi helps organize your Download (or other folders) with reminders and an easy interface. tidi.app
  • Service Station is a macOS app for customizing your right-click menu in Finder. servicestation.menu
  • Salmon is a macOS search tool specifically for files and folders. salmon-app.com
  • Turn a Wyze Cam v2 (and Pan) into a Webcam.
  • ViDL •  Mac app to download videos from YouTube and hundreds of others websites. GUI wrapper around youtube-dl.
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April 25, 2020

A MacBook SE could destroy Chromebooks and Windows laptops

Roland Moore-Colyer on tomsguide.com:

Given the cult-like following Apple has, if it can make a 12-inch MacBook that sits somewhere between say $600 and $900, and retains a premium design, then it’ll almost certainly sell like crazy. This is another incentive for macOS app developers to get on board as they’d have a strong guarantee that efforts to rework their apps would pay dividends, both figuratively and literally.

Not sure destroy is the right word. But high-end Chromebooks and mid-range Windows laptops would suffer, and I would love the clarity of recommending a MacBook on the $800 range.

However, the question would be how Apple would differentiate with iPad. Historically Apple has no problem cannibalizing themselves, but always to push a newer technology. To do it as way to offer options will be a new approach. One that I don’t think will happen under Tim Cook.

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April 6, 2020

Blogs are Really Most Sincerely Dead

Chuq Von Rospach on his blog chuqui.com:

And that’s where the sad reality comes in. A Blog is no longer a viable place to create content and expect to attract traffic to it.

Lots to chew on here.

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March 30, 2020

WhatsApp for iOS 13 Now Has Share Sheet Contact Suggestions

Michael Potuck on 9to5mac.com:

The update makes it more seamless to share content directly with your contacts in WhatsApp from the web, apps, and everywhere else you can pull up the Share Sheet in iOS.

😱 Thought this wasn’t a public feature. Will make link sharing much more useful.

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March 27, 2020

Zoom — Great Tech, Iffy Privacy

Doc Searls on blogs.harvard.edu:

If you were in a browser instead of an app, an extension such as Privacy Badger could tell you there are trackers sniffing your ass. And, if your browser is one that cares about privacy, such as Brave, Firefox or Safari, there’s a good chance it would be blocking trackers as well. But in the Zoom app, you can’t tell if or how your personal data is being harvested.

After the last year’s Mac hidden web server case, we officially discourage Zoom’s use at work. Currently I use Zoom Redirector to force the web client.

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March 26, 2020

Nine Inch Nails Ghosts V-VI Released

nin.com:

GHOSTS V: Together is for when things seem like it might all be okay, and GHOSTS VI: Locusts… Well, you’ll figure it out.

Soundtrack for these strange times.

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March 23, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 12

  • Snap Camera • Lenses for your desktop conference call.
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March 16, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 11

  • Apple Announces WWDC 2020 Will Be a Digital-Only Event Set to Take Place in June macrumors.com
  • Apple to close US retail stores and all others outside China until March 27th theverge.com
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March 3, 2020

Apple Rumored to Release a 14-Inch MacBook Pro to Replace 13-Inch Model

Tom Maxwell on inputmag.com:

There’s a new investor note out today from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo which says that Apple is planning to revise the 13-inch MacBook Pro later this year. The laptop would be bumped up to a 14.1-inch display with mini-LED technology and also see Apple replace the much-derided butterfly keyboard with a scissor switch Magic Keyboard.

Been holding on to my work 2015 MBP for this one.

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March 2, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 9

  • Tot • new minimal text editor app from Iconfactory. tot.rocks
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February 24, 2020

More Mac OS Catalina Complaints

Riccardo Mori on morrick.me:

What we’ll see in Mac OS 10.16 is probably going to be the proverbial moment of truth.

I so hope this is the case. Catalina has been an indifferent release for me — but mainly because I took extra steps last year to quit geeky shortcuts I was using. Which is bad news if you aren’t getting anything in return for the sacrifices”.

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February 24, 2020

EU Commission Recommends Switch to Signal

Laurens Cerulus on politico.eu:

The use of Signal was mainly recommended for communications between staff and people outside the institution. The move to use the application shows that the Commission is working on improving its security policies.

I’m curious of what does the EU use for chats internally. I see an overlap on this going forward: if Signal is more secure than Slack/Teams/whatever… doesn’t internal communications now become the weakest link?

Internal systems do have the additional layer of controlling those that have accounts, but I struggle with my team to keep communications on official channels — I’m sure it’s a common case.

What I’d love would be a federated system akin to Mastodon, where we could run an instance of Signal and control users with accounts on it.

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February 17, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 7

  • Google Fi SIM cards are now available on Amazon inputmag.com
  • Clear Linux is Faster than Ubuntu and Federa even cheap laptops. phoronix.com
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February 13, 2020

SwitchGlass Mac Application Switcher

John Siracusa on hypercritical.co:

SwitchGlass adds a dedicated application switcher to your Mac in the form of a floating window that shows an icon for each running app.

I purchased his previous mini-app (Front and Center) as a way to support him — but this one I do see using. Why?:

  1. Alphabetical sorted Dock on the side of the screen,
  2. Shift-click to alternate between Active or Show All Windows.

And knowing John’s OCD, he sweated all the speed and design details.

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February 7, 2020

Email Client/Service from Basecamp Announced

Jason Fried on hey.com:

With HEY, we’ve done just that. It’s a redo, a rethink, a simplified, potent reintroduction of email. A fresh start, the way it should be. For web, iOS, and Android.

Color me excited.

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February 3, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 5

  • Apptivate global hotkeys for your files and apps. Oldie but goodie — just reinstalled this after years.
  • Fantastical is teasing the features of it next big upgrade.
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January 27, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 4

  • My WiFi Sign → quickly create a printable sign with your WiFi credentials. Very useful.
  • Audius streaming service and iOS app is out. audius.co
  • MarkTwo → web-based Markdown editor that stores files in Google Drive.
  • Tomato 2 → free Mac pomodoro timer written in swiftUI.
  • Clew → Cloud search on Mac for Google Drive, GitHub, Figma and Dropbox.
  • The new Chromium Microsoft Edge is officially available for Mac and Windows blogs.windows.com
  • Winston → a free typewriter simulator for macOS.
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January 26, 2020

Icon Badges on Task Managers

Mike Rockwell, on initialcharge.net:

I use Things and have it setup to only show badges for items with a deadline. And I only add deadlines to a few tasks each week.

Great tip, just switched to this setting.

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January 17, 2020

Hindenburg Research on Opera

On hindenburgresearch.com:

We think Opera collapses on its own worsening financials, with that timeline accelerating significantly if Google bans its lending apps or if its Chairman/CEO continues to draw cash out of the business through questionable related-party deals.

They basically pivoted into a very shady mobile lending business. So sad to read.

Although, on the investor.opera.com you are greeted with this:

The Company is aware of and has carefully reviewed the report published by the short seller on January 16, 2020. The Company believes that the report contains numerous errors, unsubstantiated statements, and misleading conclusions and interpretations regarding the business of and events relating to the Company.

Oh, drama.

Update: Arjan from Opera writes:

Sounds like there’s something fishy on the reporting. Shouldn’t have posted without reading more.

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January 15, 2020

The Apple Archive

Sam Henri Gold presents applearchive.org:

Dedicated to the unsung studio designers, copywriters, producers, ADs, CDs, and everyone else who creates wonderful things. 

This is amazing. Already blew past by bedtime hour browsing through the 2000’s.

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January 15, 2020

Sian Cain, on theguardian.com:

In a letter filed this week in federal court in New York, Audible’s attorneys, writing on behalf of both sides, announced that the parties had resolved their disputes and expected to submit the settlement documents by 21 January. No other details were provided.

Doesn’t sound like the feature is coming anytime soon.

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January 13, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 2

  • Front and Center window management app that replicates Classic MacOS bring all to front” behavior. By John Siracusa, instant buy.
  • Firefox Lockwise — password manager — take your passwords everywhere mozilla.org
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January 8, 2020

Share Before You Solve It

Great message by Andrew Duckworth:

However you do it. It’s vital to share. And share what you’re working on before you solve it”.

The earlier you share an issue or idea the more room you have to ask the right questions and get answers you can handle.

This is the sort of quote that lies at the intersection of productivity and creativity. I’m keeping this one around.

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January 8, 2020

Paul Graham on Having Kids

Very thought provoking essay by paulgraham.com:

What I didn’t notice, because they tend to be much quieter, were all the great moments parents had with kids. People don’t talk about these much — the magic is hard to put into words, and all other parents know about them anyway

With a a few hard punches:

I hate to say this, because being ambitious has always been a part of my identity, but having kids may make one less ambitious.

​And a closing slap in in the face:

[…] The fact is, most of the freedom I had before kids, I never used. I paid for it in loneliness, but I never used it.

This one inspired me to revisit a few drafts and put something together.

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January 8, 2020
Foundryside (Founders, #1)
★★★★★

Foundryside (Founders, #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

Enjoyed this book from the first page. The world it creates incorporates magic incantations with coding, and the results works perfectly for me. The characters are good, and the story is very well timed. It’s the beginning of a series, and I’ll be back without a doubt.

January 4, 2020

Wyze Confirms Server Leak

Catalin Cimpanu on zdnet.com:

Song said the exposed database — an Elasticsearch system — was not a production system; however, the server was storing valid user data.

Elasticsearch is a really powerful tool, but it loves data. The more the merrier. If you designed a safe(ish) production environment and change management process for it — then things should be ok. But dev environments usually have more relaxed rules - which is ok, they also have less less data to work with - which is a pain to test, which usually leads to lets just copy prod data for a test” - which becomes the weakest link in your security chain without you realizing it.

Song confirmed that the leaky server exposed details such as the email addresses customers used to create Wyze accounts, nicknames users assigned to their Wyze security cameras, WiFi network SSID identifiers, and, for 24,000 users, Alexa tokens to connect Wyze devices to Alexa devices.

As a big Wyze user: dammit.

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December 16, 2019

Tidbits for 2019 Week 50

  • Photo Editor : Pixlr Editor - 2020 version pixlr.com
  • I’d buy this Apple TV Remote in second if available internationally. Update: it is just $20! someone in Zürich please buy me this.
  • Craigslist Launches Mobile Apps. This AppStore thing might take off. 9to5mac.com
  • Plex launches ad-supported streaming service in over 200 countries. techcrunch.com
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December 2, 2019

Tidbits for 2019 Week 48

  • Dual-screen Android/Linux Cosmo Communicator is out. I love this modern Psion Series 5 exists, just can’t justify one. zdnet.com
  • Add CarPlay to Any Car With an Android Tablet and Adapter redmondpie.com. This is very hacky, but still intriguing.
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November 28, 2019

Deep Brain Stimulation Knocks Swimming Ability

Denise Grady on nytimes.com:

A lifelong swimmer leapt into deep water near his lakeside home, and was horrified to find himself completely unable to swim. Had his wife not rescued him, he might have drowned.He had recently received an electronic brain implant to control tremors and other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and somehow the signals from the device had knocked out his ability to coordinate his arms and legs for swimming.

What the heck? Just one initial study, but interesting to see where the research leads.

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November 27, 2019

The Case for Pull Rebase

Enrico Campidoglio on his blog megakemp.com:

[…] git pull isn’t actually a core command per se, but rather a combination of two other commands: git fetch and git merge; the former downloads any missing commits from a remote repository, while the latter merges them into your current branch.

Very educational post, and great recommendation. I’ve been bouncing off the article here in the office, and even if you don’t go ahead with his reco, the discussions started have been useful.

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November 25, 2019

Tidbits for 2019 Week 47

  • Looom iPad + Apple Pencil artsy looping animation app. Keeping an eye for when it’s out.
  • Legra, render your image using Lego like bricks.
  • The 50 best nonfiction books of past 25 years. One down, many to go. slate.com
  • Open source illustrations kit, free for commercial and personal use. Good to keep around. illlustrations.co
  • Maxtand portable sit-to-stand desk. Very temped to back this. kickstarter.com
  • Spark iOS updated with new design and more customizable UI. Will give it another try.

w46Done

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November 20, 2019
The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World
★★★★★

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World by Charles C. Mann

Some books are hard to put down, this one was hard to abandon. It took me most of 2019 to read it, and although it’s long (~600 pages), the slowness was mostly because some of the ideas had to be digested.

The Wizard and the Prophet was a strange book for me. It’s the typical show-off book to causally mention you’re reading, but I struggled with it silently. It’s surprisingly, or even purposely, not an opinionated book. Even though it deals with many of topics I’d argue loudly with my uncle. It’s a extremely factual book, with the only preaching it hints at being: to always look for some unseen impact in all the simplifications that are required to arrive at these facts.

Above all it’s a calming book. It has a soft cadence that would make me read, stop, think, and picture many of the ideas. Lastly at least for me, it’s a humbling book. Many concepts that I attributed to recent fads, or corporate marketing are shown to have origins decades, and even centuries, in the past. It shows people that died not being rich, even though their work has improved my life even more than a smartphone or an app even could.

I can’t recommended it enough. I even bought a copy for my uncle — not to argue, but because I’m curious if given the facts, we can have a more intelligent argument.

November 18, 2019

Great Tip for Window Management in macOS Catalina

Ryan Hanson on medium.com:

With Catalina, Apple made some incremental updates to macOS’s built in window management, including the addition of default menu items for tiling windows left and right in the Window” menu for an application. Interestingly enough, we can actually configure keyboard shortcuts for these menu items directly within macOS.

It didn’t even occur to me to configure with the default keyboard shortcuts functionality. Giving it a try this week in with a slight modification:

WM ShortcutsWM Shortcuts

This way I can have both the full Window style and also the simpler move to side of same screen mode.

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November 18, 2019

Tidbits for 2019 Week 46

  • Drafts Mac Beta with support for actions is out. This post being generated via my Dropbox Action.
  • New MacBook Pro 16 is imminent according to Mark Gurman on twitter.com
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November 14, 2019

1Password takes $200M Series A from Accel

Dave Teare, founder on blog.1password.com:

Accel will be investing USD$200 million for a minority stake in 1Password. Along with the investment — their largest initial investment in their 35-year history — Accel brings the experience and expertise we need to grow further and faster.

Hmmm… color me worried. While it’s not a marketing filled PR post, it’s a bit light on details. The one thing that jumped at me was:

Security is a process, not a product. 1Password already has the most modern security design, and Accel will help us take our processes, protections, and research to the next level.

Ok, I buy this. Just like anti-virus apps evolved from static definitions to behavior analysis, I can totally see how the next step in the _password maintaining _toolset is something that requires a lot of investment.

I’ve been a 1Password user for 11 years: it’s the first app I install on any new devices (Mac or iOS) and my trusted app given it’s function.

I’m totally along for the ride, and trust their love for the product. But still, it worries me.

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