The Just-A-Second Edition Friday, May 11, 2018

Communication Multitasking: You Only Get 1h 12min/day Without Email, by RescueTime

Our research shows that the majority of us have a problem with multitasking communication tools. And while there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to when to use communication tools, it is your choice how you use them.

The next time you feel like jumping into email for “just a second,” take a moment to think about the true cost of that action.

In Defense Of Peeking At Someone Else’s iPhone Screen, by Heather Schwedel, Slate

I’ve given it some thought, and I’m not going to stop screen snooping. Instead, I’m going to defend the practice: It is perfectly fine to read along as you watch people in your line of vision write emails and compose texts and scroll through the internet. In fact, it’s an extension, and basically a harmless one, of one of life’s greatest pleasures: people-watching.

I Played Fortnite And Figured Out The Universe, by Robin Sloan, The Atlantic

Based on my experiments in the laboratory of Fortnite, I think Liu Cixin is wrong. Or at least, he’s not entirely right. Fortnite is more Dark Forest theory than not, and maybe that’s true of the universe, too. But sometimes, we have a lever against the vise of game theory, and in this case, it is a single bit of communication. I mean “bit” in the programmer’s sense: a flag with a designated meaning. Nothing more. My heart emote didn’t make Fortnite cuddly and collaborative, but it did allow me to communicate: “Hold up. Let’s do this a different way.”


Apollo 1.2 Is Packed With Redditors’ Feature Requests, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Version 1.2 isn't focused so much on major new features, but instead a huge wealth of small improvements based on feedback from the Reddit community that make for an even more delightful user experience.

There’s No Perfect Transcription App, But Otter Is Getting There, by Jared Newman, Fast Company

While Otter’s algorithms don’t produce perfect transcriptions, but it’s accurate enough to help you pick out which passages deserve more time for manual cleanup.

Find And Remove The Most Troublesome Apps On Any Device, by David Nield, Gizmodo

Bad apps are draining your battery life, sucking up your local storage, and causing your devices to crash more often than they should—and the worst part is, you might not realize who the worst offenders are. Here’s how to track down badly behaving apps on the major desktop and mobile platforms, and kick them to the curb.


Apple Invests $10M In Greenhouse Gas-free Aluminum Smelting, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

Alcoa and Rio Tinto are creating a joint venture in based in Montreal called Elysis, to help mainstream the process, with plans to make it commercially available by 2024. Along with swapping carbon for oxygen as a byproduct of the production process, the technology is also expected to reduce costs by around 15 percent.

Apple Leaves Overseas Cash Out Of Its Latest Quarterly Report, by Brandon Kochkodin, Bloomberg

There’s nothing rule-breaking about leaving it out -- some tax experts say it makes perfect sense -- but the move could make it more difficult to gauge whether one of the federal tax changes enacted last year is stoking corporate investment in the U.S., as the Trump administration said it would.

Bottom of the Page

I used to treat checking email as just a communication thing. Someone talked to me, I gotta figure out what he or she is talking about there and then. It's like I am watching television, and someone asked me who the actor is, and I do a quick googling at imdb, and answer back.

People smarter than me are probably shouting at me right now: that's not how emails should work.

Yes I realize that now.

Now, I treat checking email as another task in my to-do list. I only choose to do this task when I want to do this task, not when I get notified that someone is talking to me. I now have multiple inbox-rules to channel any emails I received to other different mailboxes. Only emails that meet a very narrow and strict set of criteria get to remain in the inbox and trigger my email alert notification.

(That's the situation with my work email. I don't check my personal email until I'm at home in the evening.)


The only snail mail I receive are either bills that tell me that I owe somebody money or statements that tell me that I don't have much money.

(Maybe I should declare I want to get into the Guinness World Book of Records by having the most postcards mailed to my mailbox.)


Once upon a time, I printed out all my important emails for safe-keeping. Floppy disks were expensive.

I have no idea where those print-outs went to.

(This was in the early 1990s.)


Thanks for reading.