The Arrive-First Edition Sunday, October 20, 2019

You Can Now Hike The Appalachian Trail Virtually, by Taylor Gee, Outside Magazine

Lisa Zaccone was racing her coworkers to Chicago. Except, not really. They were tracking the number of steps they took each day, converting those steps into approximate mileage, and competing to see who, in a hypothetical trip starting at their office in Ann Arbor, Michigan, would arrive first in the Windy City.

Doing those calculations every day for everyone in the office was a lot of work, so Zaccone asked her son, John, a 31-year-old software engineer, to create an app that tracked the progress of their footrace for them.

John didn’t say no, even though he had never developed an app before. He wasn’t that kind of software engineer. But his mom was asking, and who can turn down their mom? So he began working on a way to track those steps. However, John thought he could do better than the imagined road walk from Michigan to Illinois that his mother and her coworkers had come up with. Instead, he coded the Appalachian Trail.

How To Use Your Phone More Mindfully In 9 Simple Steps, by Brandi Neal, Bustle

Dr. Nicole Taylor is an associate professor at Texas State University’s Anthropology Department who researches social media trends. She told Bustle for a previous article on social media use and mental health that social media use can help people connect "with a more diverse, global community than is possible through face-to-face engagement," but that "those connections lack the depth of face-to-face interactions," which can result in feeling lonely — which not great for your mental health.

If passively scrolling through your phone is hurting your mental health, taking time to use your phone more mindfully can help you reset how you interact with it. (Because unfortunately, it's not like phones are going away anytime soon.) It might be time to put your digital BFF on do not disturb and seek out some tools that can help you have a healthier relationship with your phone.

Don't Call Yourself A Programmer, And Other Career Advice, by Patrick McKenzieKalzumeus

Don’t call yourself a programmer: “Programmer” sounds like “anomalously high-cost peon who types some mumbo-jumbo into some other mumbo-jumbo.” If you call yourself a programmer, someone is already working on a way to get you fired. You know Salesforce, widely perceived among engineers to be a Software as a Services company? Their motto and sales point is “No Software”, which conveys to their actual customers “You know those programmers you have working on your internal systems? If you used Salesforce, you could fire half of them and pocket part of the difference in your bonus.” (There’s nothing wrong with this, by the way. You’re in the business of unemploying people. If you think that is unfair, go back to school and study something that doesn’t matter.)

Instead, describe yourself by what you have accomplished for previously employers vis-a-vis increasing revenues or reducing costs. If you have not had the opportunity to do this yet, describe things which suggest you have the ability to increase revenue or reduce costs, or ideas to do so.

Why Big Tech Companies Keep Pouring Money Into Hardware When Apple Still Dominates, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

While Google and Microsoft have to deal with scores of partners to make hardware that runs their operating systems, Apple controls both the hardware and software and can dictate the entire user experience. It's the foundation of Apple's $266 billion in annual revenue.

Still, there are strategic reasons for big software companies to launch their own hardware, even if they aren't throwing off billions in profit like Apple.