Granting permission for an app or service to upload our contacts can be quite useful. It can also be dangerous to the privacy of everyone involved, and people are understandably losing trust in large parts of the tech industry.
But what if it wasn’t a binary, all-or-nothing permission? What if we could limit access to a specific set of contacts?
Maybe it’s a group we add contacts to, maybe it’s a switch we could flip on each contact (something like ‘Shareable’ or ‘Public’). It would be nice if we could also flip this switch on our own cards, for when we share them with someone new.
An obvious drawback is that the onus is on the user. I might be willing to flip that switch when a friend or colleague asks, but I wager a lot of people wouldn’t want to bother. It might lesson the very meaning of having this mechanism. A possible logical conclusion of all this might be some kind of centralized service for storing, sharing, and controlling our contact information (setting aside my distaste for the business side of Facebook, it does have some great options here, right down to controlling which friends, if any, can see each personal detail such as your home address, email, and phone). But that’s another discussion.
I don’t think these controls would be a panacea, but they might give more people the flexibility and privacy to use contact-powered apps and features. Between some of my contacts being my various doctors and a few friends who don’t want their information uploaded to most services (for good reason), I would certainly like to see more attention spent on these problems.
I don’t run across subscribe-able calendars on my iPad all that often, so I was delighted to find one on Nintendo’s E3 teaser page. It was just a quick two-step process. Nice.
First, it’s back to being free to everyone. I tried Patreon-only for a while, but subscriber growth plummeted. I get great feedback on the newsletter overall, so maybe I didn’t do something as well as I should have, or maybe I need to add something more to justify a Patreon-only tier. We’ll see.
I also switched the backend from MailChimp to Revue. It’s a newer alternative to MailChimp that focuses on things more in line with what I care about: writing and sharing good reads from around the web.
From a friend of mine, in a chat thread about portable battery packs:
Fun fact: when we’ve had amputees test myoelectric limbs we’re developing, they often volunteer that they’d like a USB charging port so they can charge their phones from the big battery in the limb. We then explain that it’s a big engineering challenge to get the limb to last all day on a charge, as things are, so there’s not residual capacity for phone charging. They inevitably reply “If I have to choose between my arm working or my phone, I’m going to choose my phone.”
I think a lot of hate for the MacBook Pro Touch Bar comes from I Hate Change-ism or just plain group-think. I think this happens with a lot of new products and tech, and I find it to be obnoxious and repetitive. There, I said it.
Anecdotally, I’ve struck up conversations with a few strangers in cafes and lounges, and they’ve had positive, unique perspectives on it. Generally they like it, they don’t miss the F keys since they “barely” or “never” used them, and they have fun discovering the new or previously hard-to-access features that apps place in the Touch Bar.
But there are also plenty of happy experiences and positive anecdotes to be found. Here’s a brief selection of links I’ve been collecting:
- The Touch Bar makes the Mac more accessible to me – by Steven Aquino
- I really love the Touch Bar as an online grad student – by Reddit user Gigantic_John_Stamos
- I love my 2016 13″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar – Beardo01
- A tip from Dave Murdock about Safari, the Touch Bar, and Picture-in-Picture mode
I hope these can help some people see how the Touch Bar is an improvement for good portion of users.
Ulysses for iPad, iPhone, and Mac has a straightforward Favorites mechanism. You can mark any sheet (document) a favorite, no matter how many groups (folders) and sub-groups you have. Favorites then appear in a dedicated, top-level Favorites section near the top of the Sidebar. It’s a great way to keep easy access to work-in-progress sheets across multiple projects.
Blendle is an attempt at micro-transactions for news. Whether you use the website or its iPad and iPhone app, you can pick your favorite topics and publications, dump a few bucks into your account, then skim a tailored selection of stories Blendle thinks you want to read. You get to see headlines and brief summaries. Clicking through to read an entire article will quickly and silently pull anywhere from 15¢ to 50¢ out of your balance.
As much as I want to help news get as far away from advertising as is pragmatically possible, I think Blendle’s approach to curating articles could use a pivot. Or maybe it just needs an alternative interface for people like me who want to skim all available news and cherry pick what we want to read.
In other words, I wish Blendle had the option of looking and working like a traditional newsreader a la Fiery Feeds, NetNewsWire, Feedly, and their ilk.
I have around 350 feeds in my Feedly Pro account, organized by topic across some two dozen folders. I use Fiery Feeds to read, so my typical approach is to tap a folder like Apple, Game, or Photography and skim through headlines and brief excerpts from the sites I follow for each of those topics. When a headline grabs my attention, I tap it and read.
I like this approach because it allows me to quickly get at least a basic snapshot of the happenings in any of my interests and industries at any time. Algorithmic, curated content has always proven to miss things that I deem important, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or Blendle.
I like Blendle’s overall mission, and I’d like to see it grow and gain more of a foothold. I’d also like to see more experiments in this space. At the least, give it a look, maybe a try, and share it with some friends who might like the way Blendle serves up news and interesting articles.
I haven’t used a particular app in a little while. I just got a new Mac and I wanted to start fresh with it, so I had to re-download said app.
As it turns out, the app received a major paid upgrade since I last used it. The bad news is that I can’t find a download for the previous version for which I have a serial number. Now I need to spend $40 if I want to use this app again. Hooray?
By comparison, I re-downloaded a subscription app from the Mac App Store. I started it up, and it found my App Store receipt/account whatever and started working right away. No serial numbers. No $40 dead-stop paywall. No digging through email. No contacting support. It Just Worked.
I’m not trying to make a grand blanket statement about one business model or another. This is a large, complex discussion, and there is no One Business Model to Rule Them All.
But in this particular instance, I need to spend $40 I wasn’t planning on spending if I want to get back to work. From a user perspective, this sucks.