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Reflections on media, technology and authentic humanity.
Jun 2, 2020
112: The joy of not caring TOO much about your gadgets
There’s a certain joy in loving something, but not loving it too much. To being satisfied with “good enough” over “the absolute best.” That’s why I typically love the Wirecutter—it balances “great” against “practical.” But the site may have missed the mark in a recent article about making espresso at home. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0. “Making Espresso at Home Is Kind of a Nightmare—But If You Insist, Here’s How to Do It Well” by Brian Lam at the Wirecutter
May 21, 2020
111: How to make fan-free sports entertaining
If you remove the fans from the arena, you might lose the energy that makes the NHL playoffs worth watching. Here are some ideas for addressing this challenge. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 20, 2020
110: Disembarking from the gaming train
By the time I graduated from college, I had ignored gaming for a solid four years. An entire generation of consoles, including the first Xbox and the Gamecube, had come and gone—and barely registered a blip on my radar. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 19, 2020
109: “Picture in picture,” but for every iPad app
I’d love to be able to float widgets above my iPad apps. I’d love to be able to toss a timer into the corner and have it stay there. I want a persistent little sketch pad available for doodling on at any time. I want a ‘Now Playing’ doodad that will always show the current song. I my FaceTime video conversation to follow me around as I hop into and out of other apps. * iOS 14 concept by Parker Ortolani * Introducing the iOS Block by Jay Machalani * Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 18, 2020
108: Why do so few podcasts include chapters?
Some of the longest-tenured and most popular podcasters don’t add chapters to their shows. Why not? Here are some reasons why podcasters eschew chapters (and why they might want to reconsider). Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 14, 2020
107: AirPods Pro noise cancellation isn’t miraculous (and I can prove it)
I like the AirPods Pro; they’re an impressive extension of the original AirPods’ value case: easy, quick, convenient. But don’t fool yourself; noise cancellation on the AirPods Pro isn’t miraculous—or even really all that impressive! * Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0. * “AirPods Pro observations (that I haven’t seen elsewhere)” on Careful Tech.)
May 13, 2020
106: Keeping your Spotify recommendations pure
If I logged into the Echo using my _own_ Spotify account, my recommendations would soon be overrun with Disney songs and obscure 80s pop music. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 12, 2020
105: A standalone Apple Watch to break bad iPhone habits?
The Watch, by being less capable, ironically offers a more fulfilling computing experience, by constantly bouncing us back into the real world and towards more fulfilling experiences. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 11, 2020
104: iPad Multitasking Keyboard Shortcuts
There’s still no way to enable split screen mode from an external keyboard, even now, after the release of the Magic Keyboard. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 6, 2020
103: Nowhere to look (Zoom calls are pointless)
Where do you look awhen you’re Zooming (or Skyping or FaceTiming)? Either you’re looking at the other person, you’re looking at the thumbnail of yourself, or you’re looking at the camera. Each one of these has intrinsic, fundamental problems. * Kate Murphy: “Why Zoom is Terrible” * Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 1, 2020
102: Bargain FOMO (or why I won’t try Ulysses as my text editor)
Does it bother you when you find out that others are paying a much cheaper price for the same product? Should it? Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Apr 30, 2020
101: Drag and drop for the iPhone?
The iPhone is nearly the iPad mini’s size. Why shouldn’t it get the best iPad features? Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Apr 29, 2020
100: Screen scratch zen
My Apple Watch has a scratch. But instead of ruminating on my own clutziness every time I see it, I’m borrowing an approach from my meditation practice. * Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Apr 28, 2020
099: Just $349 to make my iPad... worse?
Does the Magic Keyboard case make the iPad worse... at being an iPad? * ATP episode 375 * Mike Rockwell’s review on Initial Charge * Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Apr 27, 2020
098: Like butter scraped over too much bread
When I saw the trailer for the new Michael Jordan documentary, it was like I heard a cartoon record scratch sound. I was... unpleasantly surprised. * The Last Dance trailer on YouTube * Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Apr 24, 2020
097: iPhone mouse support
Did you know that you can use a Bluetooth mouse with your iPhone? It’s true, and it’s... weird. _Video Game Coin_ sound effect by _harrietniamh_. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Apr 22, 2020
096: Is Apple buying product placements in virtual Broadway performances?
It’s really interesting how many pairs of AirPods show up on patched-together pandemic performances. A few examples: * "Gaston" * "We’re All in This Together" * "Alexander Hamilton" _Video Game Coin_ sound effect by _harrietniamh_. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Apr 21, 2020
095: Kids’ TV limits during COVID-19
COVID-19 has changed everything, and our parental approach is no exception. Since the coronavirus-imposed lockdown, we’ve grown far more liberal about allowing TV time, at least on the weekend. _Video Game Coin_ sound effect by _harrietniamh_. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Apr 20, 2020
094: Second-hand impressions of the new Magic Keyboard
Over the weekend, the Magic Keyboard arrived for some customers in Asia. Here are my ‘second-hand’ impressions of their impressions. Impression videos: * https://youtu.be/zasIJXYALS0 * https://youtu.be/2vmGgZkFK40 * https://youtu.be/j2ndl1FMQ2A Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Apr 17, 2020
093: Why I write “podcast scripts”
Um… (Why I write outlines before each podcast.) * Short one today, and kind of a “back-of-house” focus. * I thought it might be worthwhile to share a little bit about how the sausage gets made. My MO for creating this podcast each day. * So different podcasters have different philosophies on show prep. * Some completely wing it. They may have a general idea of what they’re going to talk about, but they improvise, playing off of their cohosts to create something spur-of-the-moment * Others are more like an NPR host, carefully preparing a script and effectively reading it on the air. * I fall somewhere in between, but if I’m honest, a little bit closer to the latter.. I come into each recording session with a pretty well-fleshed-out outline of what I want to say. There are a bunch of reasons I do this. * For one, while I may have a topic in mind before I record, I’m often surprised to see just how much that topic can shift, based on what I write down. Occasio…
Apr 16, 2020
092: What’s the best-sized iPad Pro?
So which is the “One True iPad”? The 11-incher or the 12.9er? * Josh Ginter: “One Week With the New 2020 iPad: Moving Back to Small” * Greg Morris: “Moving to the Bigger iPad” * Matt Birchler: “Big or Small iPad Pros?” Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Apr 15, 2020
091: Give Screen Time some teeth
Give me a more powerful weapon against time-wasting apps—something I can’t override with a four-digit passcode.
Apr 14, 2020
090: Rewarding yourself for online creativity
Give yourself a reward—a carrot to see you through the low-motivation, low-energy days. And, to reinforce the creative habit, choose a reward that matches the habit—something that will make your creative work easier, more fun, or more interesting.
Apr 13, 2020
089: The next step in iPad productivity
Now that Apple has added proper mouse cursor support to iPadOS, what’s keeping the iPad from competing more directly with PCs?
Apr 10, 2020
088: Praise for the Watchsmith app—and a suggestion for its future
This week, Apple Watch fans are buzzing about a new app from David Smith called Watchsmith, which allows you to customize your Watch face complications by time of day. It's an amazing idea, well-implemented, but it got me thinking; what if Watchsmith offered alternative, NON-time-based triggers?
Apr 9, 2020
087: What would make me buy a cellular Apple Watch?
If I had the cellular Apple Watch, I would at least feel safer while out for a run; I could call for help if I needed it. But that's not enough to justify the extra cost.
Apr 8, 2020
086: Reviewing the consensus mid-range espresso machine
Even if this machine only lasts for three years, it will save me thousands of dollars.
Apr 7, 2020
085: You’re gonna scratch that Apple Watch
I have scratched the screen of every Apple Watch I’ve ever owned: Series 1, Series 3, Series 4, and, now, Series 5
Apr 6, 2020
084: Ordering groceries online during a pandemic
I felt silly, wearing my safety goggles and face mask. But I was determined to take COVID-19 seriously.
Apr 3, 2020
083: Podcasting from a full house with thin walls
I feel self-conscious when I’m recording. I don’t want others to hear me. Yes, I’m aware of the irony!
Apr 2, 2020
082: Building good technology-reinforced habits during COVID
Despite its many negative impacts, the pandemic may offer a good opportunity to revisit our daily habits and trajectory.
Mar 29, 2020
081: Master iPad text entry with this one weird trick
The swiping keyboard works with the Apple Pencil—in fact, it works a little bit BETTER with the Pencil than with your finger!
Mar 26, 2020
080: Videoconferencing from a treadmill desk
The biggest problem is the movement. When I’m treading, my head bobs—up and down and side to side—in the frame. It looks like I’m grooving to some inaudible, chill music.
Mar 20, 2020
079: Dreaming of iPad text entry via the Apple Pencil
Better late than never, right? Text entry via the Apple Pencil will make the iPad a more viable general-purpose computer, with or without a keyboard. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Mar 19, 2020
078: What tech products will sell well during the pandemic?
Some companies may stand to benefit from the widespread cultural change caused by COVID-19.
Mar 18, 2020
077: COVID-19’s long-term impact on the movie theater industry
Once the public tastes first-run movies at home, will they want to come back to the local multiplex? Might COVID-19 accelerate the decline of the movie theatre and shift more entertainment to the living room?
Mar 16, 2020
076: Tips on working from home
As COVID-19 unexpectedly forces millions to work from home, I wanted to share some advice, as a long-time-remote worker.
Mar 13, 2020
075: The podcasting treadmill desk
Whatever the treadmill makers say, these things make a lot of NOISE.
Nov 16, 2018
074: Caught between computers
In terms of computing platforms, I‘ve been set adrift.
Nov 14, 2018
073: Smarter AirPods gestures
I’d like to see Apple add another setting to the AirPods’ “Double-tap on AirPod” options: “Single.”
Nov 12, 2018
072: iPad Pro first impressions
As I played with the devices, I realized that the 11-inch iPad Pro makes compromises in all the wrong places.
Nov 5, 2018
071: The $100 “iPad Pro”
I’m bummed to miss out on the hotness, but here’s the thing: I can meet these “needs” without dropping $1,200 on an iPad Pro, a Smart Keyboard, and an Apple Pencil. It simply requires some creativity—and some willingness to compromise.
Nov 1, 2018
070: The sorry state of meditation apps on the Apple Watch
The dearth of Apple Watch meditation apps may be a symptom of a deeper issue.
Oct 31, 2018
069: ISPs and deceptive billing
I’m sympathetic to our ISP’s sorry state, and I’m rooting for them to pull out of their apparent death spiral. I’m even willing to pay a bit more to help them survive. I’d just rather see them hike their rates honestly, instead of slipping in a bogus charge and hoping that customers don’t ask questions.
Oct 30, 2018
068: Debating an iPad Pro purchase
Debating an iPad Pro purchase
Oct 29, 2018
067: A long-time Windows power user switches to the Mac
Adopting macOS wasn't quite what I expected—hardly the aesthetic epiphany promised in those old John Hodgman ads.
Oct 28, 2018
066: How much should Apple Watch cell service cost?
Why not just pony up for the cellular model? It costs too much!
Oct 28, 2018
065: Imagining external touchscreen support on the iPad Pro
I’d like to see the iPad Pro support external touchscreen displays—effectively turning a touch monitor into a giant iOS device.
Oct 25, 2018
064: My one big gripe about the new Apple Watch
Apple Watch Series 4 battery life • Voicemail intro • We are coming from the same place! • Outro
Oct 19, 2018
063: Tipping at the iPad cash register
The quintessential modern etiquette dilemma.
Oct 18, 2018
062: Is checking luggage a life hack?
By the time I've disembarked from the plane, stopped by the restroom, and found my assigned baggage claim area, my bag is often already there.
Oct 17, 2018
061: AirPods are everywhere (except for here)
AirPods have clearly broken through in a huge way—but you wouldn’t know that, walking around my neighborhood.
Sep 19, 2018
060: “Is anybody there? Does anybody care?”
Yes, I’d love a larger online audience, but would that really make me happier? Would strangers’ appreciation make me feel more loved or less isolated?
Sep 14, 2018
059: Apple Preorder Night (2018)
My mad, late-night preorder dance, with a twist.
Sep 12, 2018
058: Apple keynote guilt?
Geeks invest too much time and money in these Apple keynotes. But we’re not unique in our love of frivolous distraction from the “real world.”
Sep 10, 2018
057: Why are America’s playgrounds deserted?
Modern playgrounds are better than they’ve ever been. So what’s keeping the kids away?
Sep 5, 2018
056: These boots were made for treading
When I first cobbled together my treadmill desk back in 2014, building the desk itself wasn’t the hard part. The real trouble was my feet.
Aug 31, 2018
055: You already have everything you need
If we’re honest with ourselves, it’s not the tools that hold us back from creating stuff on the internet. The real obstacles to creative productivity? Low motivation and overcommitment.
Aug 28, 2018
054: Apple ditching 3D Touch? Good riddance.
If Apple ditches pressure sensitivity in the iPhone, I won’t mind.
Aug 27, 2018
053: Starbucks as your office
The work-at-a-coffee-shop experiment.
Jun 27, 2018
052: AirPods after 18 months
I’ve owned AirPods since soon after their release in late 2016. After a year and a half of daily use, I recorded some thoughts.
Jun 22, 2018
051: Best buy: on Facebook and Instagram
Many observers scoffed at the billion-dollar price that Facebook paid for Instagram. Who’s laughing now?
Jun 21, 2018
050: Does a treadmill desk make losing weight easier?
If I eat irresponsibly, I gain weight—no matter how far I walk.
Jun 20, 2018
049: Is it too late to switch to the Mac?
After a quarter-century using Windows, I'm finally getting a Macintosh. Did I wait too long?
Jun 9, 2018
048: Podcasting on the Run (Literally)
What would happen if you recorded a podcast WHILE running? Let's find out!
Nov 24, 2017
047: My Favorite Black Friday Tradition
A few years ago, I surrendered any right to sneer at eager Black Friday shoppers.
Nov 23, 2017
046: The AppleCare Gamble
I’m betting on my own ability to prevent iPhone catastrophes.
Nov 22, 2017
045: Measuring magic
My sleep-tracking app is surprisingly accurate, and I enjoy peeking at the trend lines every once in a while. But I don’t actually do much with all that data.
Nov 21, 2017
044: Okay with Terrible
Publishing something imperfect, let alone something that's genuinely bad, is difficult for me.
Nov 20, 2017
043: Portrait mode grossness
Even if the Portrait mode algorithms improve, I'd like to see some support for touching up problematic depth maps.
Nov 17, 2017
042: Irredeemably Brutal
Football is irredeemably brutal. A new test may help us confront that fact.
Nov 16, 2017
041: Never Unintentional
The internet has fundamentally changed my relationship to content. I won't go back.
Nov 15, 2017
040: Smart Homes are Dumb
For basic home operations, rock-solid reliability is the only feature that matters.
Nov 14, 2017
039: Why Apple’s retail stores make me nervous
I grew up shopping in dingy, cavernous, fluorescent-lit warehouses. But Apple outlets resemble high-end, big-city fashion boutiques, more than they do those Rust Belt K-Marts of my youth.
Nov 13, 2017
038: Apple Watch as Shower Speaker
I want the Watch to show up as a system-wide audio target any time it's connected to the phone—just like standalone Bluetooth speakers and headphones do.
Nov 10, 2017
037: Waiting for Podcasts on the Apple Watch
Users shouldn’t blame third-party for the Watch’s podcast unfriendliness. The real issue here? In the two-and-a-half years since the Watch first launched, Apple has dropped the ball on podcast support.
Nov 9, 2017
036: Inconspicuous Consumption
A device as expensive as the iPhone X serves as a negative status symbol in some circles.
Nov 8, 2017
035: Analytics be Darned
When I stop delighting in the work for its own sake, I soon stop working altogether. When I let website analytics or podcast download stats serve as my primary motivation, discouragement festers, and I soon stop writing. It’s happened a half-dozen times before.
Nov 7, 2017
034: Never Not Connected
As I tally the hours, I'm struck by how much of my life is spent using gadgets.
Nov 6, 2017
033: iPhone X Delights & Gripes
On Friday afternoon, UPS dropped off a new toy. My thoughts after a weekend with the iPhone X.
Nov 3, 2017
032: Consumed with Media
How do your media habits compare to the average American's?
Nov 2, 2017
Clicking ‘read later’ isn’t about bookmarking great content. Rather, it’s my way of ignoring how little great content I actually read.
Nov 1, 2017
030: Thoughts on Apple’s Fired Engineer
The vlogger probably wasn't aiming to gain YouTube subscribers by sacrificing her father's job. But that's what happened.
Oct 31, 2017
029: iPhone X and the Apple “access economy”
The “Apple access economy” incentivizes problematic journalism.
Oct 30, 2017
028: iPhone X and hidden fiddly bits
Some future iPhone will inevitably ditch all ports and buttons, leaving only the touchscreen accessible to the end user. It will be beautiful, glossy—and permanently sealed.
Oct 27, 2017
027: iPhone X, ordered
Anecdotally, buying the X felt no different than previous iPhone preorder nights. In fact, it might have been the easiest preorder purchase I've ever made.
Oct 26, 2017
026: Trailers for Trailers
Many action-heavy trailers now begin with a stinger—a 4–5 second preview of the trailer’s most exciting scenes, stitched together with fast cuts and scored with a cacophany of rising sound effects. It’s literally a “trailer for the trailer.”
Oct 25, 2017
025: Hotel Wifi is the Worst
Funnily enough, the internet service gets worse as the hotel gets nicer.
Oct 24, 2017
024: Breathe Glitch
The “Breathe” animation on the Apple Watch has an annoying little hiccup. Once you see it, you can't unsee it.
Oct 23, 2017
023: I'm a Bad Uber Rider
Why had Uber drivers given me bad ratings? I had thought I was a model rider.
Oct 20, 2017
022: Technophobes Fly, Too
The move away from shared screens on flights isn't welcome for those who struggle with tech.
Oct 19, 2017
021: Adblock Guilt
Despite the crisis in web publishing, and despite publishers' increasingly desperate pleas, I don't feel guilty enough to turn off my ad blocker.
Oct 18, 2017
020: Only Monsters Speed Up Podcasts
Yes, accelerating playback may save you time, but it also has nasty side effects better left avoided.
Oct 17, 2017
019: Jerry Seinfeld is My Spirit Animal
How Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity mantra inspires me to blog and podcast daily.
Oct 16, 2017
018: Tribal Malfunction
Tech brand loyalty is a malfunction of our tribal programming, and it works against our own best interests.
Oct 13, 2017
017: Stealing My Attention
Tech distraction suppresses our agency, deadens our compassion, dulls our consciousness, and drowns out our sense of purpose. When distracted by our gadgets, we stop pursuing noble causes and instead squirrel away hours, chasing red badges and refreshed timelines.
Oct 12, 2017
016: Trump Tremors
The election has thrown American society into slow-motion shock. The tech industry continues to convulse, too.
Oct 11, 2017
015: Memories vs. Math
If I buy an iPhone X, I'll justify the $1,000+ price tag by pointing to its killer camera.
Oct 10, 2017
014: Facebook Escape
Quitting Facebook is hard. But a few simple steps made deleting my account feel anticlimactic.
Oct 9, 2017
013: Twitter Bankruptcy
Although it’s painful for a Twitter “completionist”, Twitter bankruptcy is good for the soul.
Oct 6, 2017
012: Make Something Wonderful
When I ignore my desire for affirmation and appreciation and instead simply focus on expressing something genuine, blogging and podcasting are much more fun.
Oct 5, 2017
011: Punching Down
The world’s most dominant technology firm doesn’t need an army of apologists, patrolling the Internet for proof that Apple was right.
Oct 4, 2017
010: The everyday annoyance of quitting Facebook
Facebook isn’t just “sticky” from a relationship perspective. There are also some practical annoyances that make it difficult to resist the blue behemoth.
Oct 3, 2017
009: Blaming violent video games
We happily steep ourselves in foul waters, then act surprised when monsters emerge from the depths.
Oct 2, 2017
008: Putting the iPhone’s expense in context
The iPhone X’s $1,000 price tag isn’t quite so hard to swallow when you consider the standalone gadgets that the device renders unnecessary.
Sep 29, 2017
007: Polite Mode
If our devices can encourage exercise and meditation habits, why shouldn’t they encourage polite social habits, as well?
Sep 28, 2017
006: Why the Apple Watch could replace the iPhone
It’s not difficult to imagine the iPhone being “eaten alive,” its role absorbed by devices at either end of the size spectrum: the iPad on the large side, the Watch on the small.
Sep 27, 2017
005: A Long Sentence, or a Short Paragraph?
Last night, Twitter began public testing of a long-rumored, controversial increase to its character limit, doubling the quota from 140 characters to 280. It’s the most significant change to the service since its debut over a decade ago—the difference between a quip and a quote, between a thought and an idea, between an objection and an argument.
Sep 22, 2017
002: ‘Planet of the Apps’ vs. ‘House of Cards’
What can other House of Cards and the Handmaid’s Tale tell us about Apple’s prospects in streaming video?
Sep 21, 2017
The best Apple Watch Series 3 review wasn’t written by a tech journalist but by a watch nerd.