The Boring-Phones Edition Thursday, April 26, 2018

Dumber Phone, by Nomasters

Can we leverage the aspects of smart phones that are amazing, while minizing the addictive aspects? What if we could make our phones so boring we just look at them we we have to? What if we could strip out most, if not all of the dopamine inducing features and leave the phone in a state that is useful but boring. This is what I’ve been experimenting with for the last month and this is what I’d like to outline here.

Smartphone Addiction: Do We Need A 'Recommended Daily Intake' App?, by Derek Beres, Big Think

We’re still too early in this addiction to understand long-term consequences. But all signs point towards a dementia epidemic, which is especially pertinent given how much memory we offload to our devices. Awareness of your environment is a critical step in orienting yourself spatially. When gazing at your hand you’ve completely removed yourself from the space you’re occupying.

Dust Particles

Don’t Buy The MacBook Pros Even On Sale, In My Opinion, by Casey Johnston, The Outline

When I started working at The Outline, I was offered a choice of a new MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air for my work computer, and I chose the MacBook Air, with its good keyboard that doesn’t break from dust. I’m fully committed to this bit.

MacBook Pro: The Butterfly Keyboard Effect, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

What's frustrating to many is that it often takes a painfully long time for Apple to say anything about anything — the company has a measure-10-times-cut-once philosophy — and, if the company has nothing to say, the company says nothing. And, unless and until the company says anything, it's impossible to know which of those states we're in.

Except, of course, the negative sentiment around the butterfly-switch keyboards may eventually force Apple into action either way.

Taking Care of Customers

Apple Failed Me, by Brian Fagioli, Beta News

Understandably, defects can happen on all products, and Apple can't be expected to fix its devices for free forever. I get that. Still, I thought the company would have taken care of it since it is still fairly new and it is clearly a defect. More importantly, I expected the customer service to be exceptional, where the employee would show empathy and understanding. The poor service was the worst part of it all -- it made me feel like a fool.

How To Download A Copy Of Everything Apple Knows About You, by Todd Haselton, CNBC

Apple's privacy team will reach out to request some of the same personal information above, in addition to your Apple ID, a registered product serial number and a previous AppleCare support case number. This is to verify your identity.

Then you'll wait. It took me six days to finally get the file from Apple. A second email included a password that's used to open the zip file, which is an added measure of security. By comparison, Facebook had my data within an hour or so, while Google took about 48 hours.


Why I Love Editing Video On iPad — And How It Could Still Be A Lot Better, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

These days, I edit more video on my iPhone or iPad than I ever did in my years as a film student. Between making reviews on iOS, testing the iPhone's cameras, and numerous roller derby how-tos, it sometimes feels like I live in my videography apps.

Pretext: Files-Rooted Simple Markdown For iOS, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Pretext integrates directly with iOS 11's Files app, making it easy to create or edit Markdown and plain text files stored across any of your file providers.

AmpMe Is A Clever iOS App That Lets You Sync Music Across Multiple Devices, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

AmpMe is an iOS app that allows you to play music in perfect sync across multiple devices. Its “Offline Mode,” makes possible to create a party regardless of Internet connectivity.


Why Data Scientists Should Start Learning Swift, by Jameson Toole, Heartbeat

Chris Lattner makes the case that Python, with its dynamic typing and interpreter, can’t take us any further. In his words, engineers need a language that treats machine learning as a “first class citizen”. And while he lays out deeply technical reasons why a new approach to compiler analysis is necessary to change the way programs using TensorFlow are built and executed, the most compelling points of his argument focus on the experience of those doing the programming.

Bottom of the Page

I have an iPad Pro. Probably ninety-percent of my usage on the iPad Pro is with two apps: Netflix, and Drafts.

Netflix is my night-time viewing entertainment. The other forms of entertainment that I consume -- e-books, podcasts, and audiobooks -- are all done on my iPhone instead.

Drafts is for taking notes at meetings and such. I prefer to use the iPad than my iPhone to take notes is simply because of the presence of a keyboard.

That's it. Those are the two apps. Those are the activities. The other apps that I do use occasionally are Safari to check on things, Settings to connect to my iPhone's personal hotspot, Evernote to check on my previous notes, and PowerPoint to do presentations.


I do like the iPad. I like that it is light and portable. I like that the keyboard is usable. (Not great, but usable.) I like that apps run fast, and Apple has gotten multi-tasking nailed down correctly.

So, I do need to figure out how to do more things on the iPad.

Or: I need to find new hobbies that I can do on the iPad.


I miss the 'Esc' key on the iPad's keyboard.


Thanks for reading.