November 16, 2017

Review: Ikea Nordmärke Qi Charger

Ikea NordmärkeWith the introduction of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X, Apple has added a feature that owners of many Android devices have enjoyed for awhile—wireless charging, or more correctly, inductive charging. While the connection between the phone and charger is wireless, there’s still the need to plug the whole thing into the wall, and the phone needs to be in close contact with the surface. As Apple opted to use the Qi standard, iPhones can take advantage of the variety of products already on the market. Ikea recently lowered prices and heavily marketed their existing Qi-based products towards iPhone users…

November 11, 2017

Link: The Case for RSS ☍

David Sparks:

For several years now, the trend among geeks has been to abandon the RSS format. RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a way to queue up and serve content from the internet. The MacSparky RSS, for example, gives RSS applications a list of all the articles I post here since you last checked int. It is a great way to read blogs and the backbone of podcast distribution. As social networks took off, a lot of my friends that were previously big RSS fans gave up on the technology and instead relied upon sources like Twitter and Facebook to get their news.

I’ve been an RSS user from way back (and have prominently featured links to subscribe to this site through that method), but after Google Reader’s demise have sort of bounced around on how I consume feeds. I was using Shaun Inman’s now-defunct Fever°, and later was using the new NetNewsWire’s built-in sync. After that, I was going to go all-in on Apple News by adding feeds, but only some worked, and I settled on following sites I liked on a separate Twitter account.

After re-evaluating my relationship with Twitter, I decided to dust off my Fever° install, fire up Reeder, and get my feeds updated. So far, I still get that can’t-miss aspect of things I enjoy, but I know that my traffic and viewing habits are only really passing through a few places—the Reeder app (or whatever RSS app I may try), my Fever° installation, and the sites producing the content. It’s a great feeling.

Link: Coming to Terms With Twitter ☍

Gabe Weatherhead for Macdrifter:

Without any humor or reluctance, I can say that Twitter is not healthy for me. This is a hard thing to admit. I’ve met some of my best friends through Twitter. I learned of major world events and new episodes of Adventure Time. I’ve seen enormous kindness and terrible betrayal through the lens of Twitter. Maybe this is the problem. It’s impossible to comprehend the variety of human experiences I need to interpret while scanning Twitter. Yet, Twitter is far from a magnifying lens. It’s more like a kaleidoscope or a fun mirror. It’s showing what humans pretend to be when we perform for each other. The greatest attractor in social technology is the grotesque exaggeration. We love to see the extreme. We eagerly drool when our view of the world is stroked and we are told that we are the righteous minority.

I have found that I’m having a hard time reconciling some of the irresponsible, stupid crap Twitter does as a company, the meta complaints about the service on the service itself, the amazing bits of knowledge shared, and the wonderful people I have gotten to know just a bit more. It’s a shame because it seems that a lot of social networks are terrible and have felt even worse over the last year, yet there isn’t somewhere else to go. I mostly swore off Facebook a few years back, and while Twitter isn’t doing some of the creepy things that Facebook has done, the company as a whole feels very tone-deaf.

At an event at my alma mater, Twitter’s Biz Stone once compared the service with ice cream, essentially that there may not feel like there’s a point, but it’s enjoyable. That analogy has been in back of my mind recently, with the context of the more toxic aspects of Twitter. It seems more like it’s ice cream that is made by killing puppies—there are certainly moments of pleasure with the end result, but you also feel pretty dirty and wrong when you think about what goes into it.

At this point, I’m not deleting my account or stopping use completely, but I may make a more conscious effort to scale back and even leave it off of some devices.

November 7, 2017

Link: Accidental Digital Detox ☍

Shawn Blanc on The Sweet Setup:

It was October. My wife and I had booked a cabin for a week. When we arrived, I discovered there was no wifi or cell service. We couldn’t make or receive any phone calls or texts, let alone check email, post to Twitter, etc.

It sounded awesome at first. During this time I was working as a marketing and creative director, and to say that my job was stressful was an understatement. I was putting in about 70-80 hours per week and was constantly responding to urgent issues and request.

This was the first time in years that I was fully cut off from my “inbox”.

My heart welcomed it.

But my mind and habits fought back; it was not easy to be disconnected.

And for the first few days I felt anxious and jittery.

This whole post spoke to me, as I took a few days off last week, drove up to Minneapolis, and was able to put work out of mind as much as I could. During the drive up, my phone wasn’t connected to the car (had a SiriusXM trial and wanted to maximize that). I was spending most of the time doing stuff, rather than socially loafing on Twitter or Instagram (I spent a few time at the end of each day to share a few pictures). My iPhone was used for finding places, taking pictures, and paying for things, but I was choosing moments to use my phone. My work email is no longer in the Mail app, but I did catch myself peeking at it on Friday, only to discover a situation I couldn’t handle until Monday anyway. There was a bit of frustration, but I made a conscious decision that I needed to be enjoying the time off.

Link: The iPhone X: An Ode to Ten Years of iPhone Design ☍

Sebastiaan de With found that the iPhone X features a lot of little touches that seem to be inspired from prior iPhones:

10 years ago, the first iPhones were in our hands and we were in awe at what a device its size could do. At the time, I also found the design of this device remarkable: it didn’t look like any other cellphone or Apple product. Its particular styling of metal and glass was a completely new thing. Apple would proceed to radically innovate in the industrial design of its iPhones for the next decade.

Looking at iPhone X, you can see how Apple has taken 10 years of those innovations in industrial design and essentially summarized it.

Besides profiling each prior generation of iPhone, there’s some stunning photography with this post.