January 12, 2022

Snippet: The United States’ Most Prestigious Business Publication Addresses ‘Green Bubbles’ ☍

Nick Heer covers that argument again:

I have written before about how iMessage is a platform differentiator for Apple, but I do not think it is as bulletproof as either its biggest fans or extreme antitrust detractors believe. More to the point, I do not know anybody who uses just one messaging service.

Articles like these read mostly as an avenue to show that some young people are sometimes shallow, as most of us probably were at that age. I remember when zipper binders were the trendy item among my peers, or when the popular kids wore Abercrombie and Fitch. If a person refuses to go on a date with someone solely because of the phone they use, that seems more like a red flag that should be avoided.

Snippet: iPhone & Its Impact on Mobile ☍

Om Malik:

In the late 1990s, when mobile chip behemoth Qualcomm still qualified as an upstart, I started writing about the mobile Internet. I dreamed of a mobile broadband revolution. It was when Japan and the now-forgotten iMode service enthralled the world. Imagining the future, I wrote enthusiastically about everyone — Ricochet, Nokia, Blackberry (when it only made pagers), Treo, Palm, and Windows CE devices.)

Intuitively, I knew that much like how when the (landline) phone network was decoupled from fixed connections, the always-on Internet, too, when set free from the fixed network, could profoundly impact society and its people. However, it was at the introduction of the iPhone launch in January 2007, it slowly dawned on me the world had changed. The future had arrived quietly, amidst a lot of skepticism. The magnitude of change was enough for me to overlook the launch of the Apple TV or dismiss the transition to the Intel processors. iPhone was all that was on my mind and how it would change the mobile landscape.

The last fifteen years have flown by and the iPhone launch event still feels like yesterday. Without waxing nostalgic too much, I thought Malik’s post did a great job of looking at some of the lasting effects of the iPhone and how it changed the mobile industry.

Snippet: Drop Everything and Go Watch Springboard ☍

I was recently listening to the most recent episode of John Gruber’s podcast, The Talk Show, and The Verge’s Dieter Bohn was a guest talking about a new half-hour documentary. I missed it when it was posted about a month ago, but it’s now available on The Verge’s app, as well as their YouTube channel:

In 1998, Donna Dubinsky and Jeff Hawkins quit Palm, a company they’d founded, to begin a new one: Handspring. They had a simple goal in mind: to eventually create the smartphone. Years before any of the technology was actually ready, their tiny startup began laying the necessary groundwork for what would become the Treo.

In Springboard: the secret history of the first real smartphone, we document the history of Handspring, from its dramatic beginnings to its tragic end. Along the way, we hear from five of the key players who tried to invent the modern smartphone years before the technology world was ready for it. It’s a story that interweaves the dotcom crash, technological innovations, wireless carrier resistance, and much more.

This brought back a lot of memories for me, but even if you were unfamiliar with PalmOS, Handspring, the Treo, or that whole time period in tech, it’s a fun viewing.

Snippet: What Demoralization Does to Teachers ☍

While not the usual tech things I highlight on here, this was a sobering article from last year by Anne Helen Peterson on something we all should be concerned about. Even if her portion doesn’t convince you, the responses from teachers in the second portion will:

Burnout, [Doris A.] Santoro explains, is a form of depletion — but also posited as imminently solvable, if the teacher just draws on their reserves, their resilience, their deep love for the profession. Within this figuration, a failure to recover from burnout is an indication that you simply don’t love teaching enough.

Which is bullshit, of course. As Santoro writes, “our current predicament has many teachers running on empty, even those with good boundaries and solid self-care practices.” What educators are feeling right now — what they’ve felt over the last year — is not just frustration and fear inspired by the pandemic. It’s not just burnout. It’s way beyond that. It’s chronic burnout and deep demoralization as their labor is increasingly under-funded, under-valued, and under-resourced.

The profession has been at a breaking point for some time — and has remained in tact on the strength of teacher dedication. But no amount of passion can withstand chronic devaluation and exploitation.

Snippet: Why David Sparks is No Longer Practicing Law ☍

David Sparks:

What stands out to me most when I consider my life as MacSparky is how much more I have left to do. I have so many ideas and so much more that I’d like to explore and share. I’ve been talking for the last year about contextual computing. I think this can change people’s lives, but I never seem to be able to get enough time to put enough attention on it. I’ve got other ideas that I would like to share and teach.

This sense of unfinished business stood out for me as I considered my two careers and started thinking about how I would report back to my friends in the Creator’s Guild about what I would do.

At one point, I asked myself if I got hit by a bus and was lying on the side of the street, where would I want more time: as MacSparky or as a lawyer? The answer was clear and immediate. I have so much that I want to still do as MacSparky. I’m good at being a lawyer, but I don’t feel like I have anything left to prove.

That led me back to the question I wrote when I first started this process, “What is my purpose in life?”

While it’s easy to say one should quit their job and pull all their time and effort in a passion project, Sparks discusses the motivation, process, and carefulness for the change for him. Considering how great the MacSparky content already is, I’m excited to see what it’ll look like with even more time devoted to it.