The Resist-the-Urge Edition Monday, October 2, 2023

The People Going 'Monk Mode' To Limit Social Media Use, by Anne Cassidy, BBC

With the proliferation of social media platforms and devices vying for our attention, a growing number of people are looking for ways to help them resist the urge to continually check notifications and scroll through social media feeds.

This has seen a surge in popularity this year of an approach to productivity called "monk mode". This involves dedicating yourself to a single task with no tech or other distractions.

Apple Has What It Needs To Launch Its Own Google Replacement, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

John Giannandrea, a former Google executive who now oversees machine learning and AI at Apple, has a giant search team under him. Over the past few years, his group developed a next-generation search engine for Apple’s apps codenamed “Pegasus.” That technology, which more accurately surfaces results, is already available in some Apple apps, but will soon be coming to more, including the App Store itself.


To be clear, the technology at the heart of Spotlight and app searches is limited compared with what Google can do. But it does provide the underpinnings if Apple ever wanted to release a full search engine.


Microsoft Lists Is Now Available For Everyone On iOS, Android, And The Web, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Microsoft Lists allows you to create, manage, and share lists across devices, complete with ready-made templates for tasks like expense tracking, recipe making, gift ideas, and much more. You can easily share lists with colleagues, friends, and family so multiple people can contribute to a list.


Your Project Management Software Can't Save You, by Matt Alston, Wired

A huge part of your job today may be simply resolving and reconfiguring the natural entropy in your office, but poorly communicated deadlines will remain so whether they’re written on an index card, sent in an email, or appended to a “task” in Asana. If you put something on a digital kanban board without enough information, it is no more useful than it was before you created the task. Workforce software is offloading the job of managing projects to countless mini-projects, each only as useful as the skill and utility of the individual user. And we can’t expect each user to be both a maker and a self-manager, especially with the imperfect tools on the market. When we line up the Trellos, Asanas, Wrikes, Airtables, and endless clones of the same inherent project-management misses, their differences matter less than their end results—to paraphrase Anna Karenina’s line about families, each project-management app promises the same happiness, but each creates unhappy users in its own way.

The Story Of One iPhone Factory Powering Apple’s Pivot To India, by Billy Perrigo, Time

Set back from a dusty highway in South India, three newly completed factory buildings rise up behind a black spiked iron fence. In their shadow, several yellow construction vehicles sit beside mounds of upturned soil and the skeleton of a half-built warehouse. On a May afternoon this year, a group of women in blue and pink uniforms hurried from one building to another over the din of traffic and construction.

This factory complex in Sriperumbudur, an industrial town in Tamil Nadu state, is one of Apple’s most important iPhone assembly hubs outside of China. It is operated by Foxconn, a Taiwan-based electronics manufacturing company. Three times per day, the gates to this factory open to swallow buses ferrying thousands of workers—around three-quarters of them women. These workers spend eight hours per day, six days per week, on a humming assembly line, soldering components, turning screws, or operating machinery. The factory is one of the biggest iPhone plants in India, with some 17,000 employees who churn out 6 million iPhones every year. And it’s fast expanding.

Bottom of the Page

If Apple is close to launching a new general-purpose search engine that will challenge Google, I doubt the Cupertino company can keep that a secret. If Apple has even an ounce of ambition in creating this product, we will probably know the existence by now.

Hey, if Apple can't even keep the secret car project a secret, I doubt it can keep a search engine -- with all its spiders all over the webs -- under wraps.

(Unless -- let me wear my conspiracy hat -- it's all hidden behind iCloud's Private Relay?)


Thanks for reading.