Apple Music is slowly being exposed as a bit of a shitshow under the covers. I’ve been fortunate not to have run into many of the issues folks are bringing up, but I definitely feel the pain of a poorly executed user experience, especially on the desktop. The bad news is that a lot of […]
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At the end of last year, my wife and I decided to cancel our U-verse service and move to Xfinity internet only. We had talked about this for a while but ultimately decided that the cost (and overall lack of interest in watching TV most of the time) meant that we were throwing a decent […]
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About a year ago I bought an eBook + video series from Wes Bos on leveling up in Sublime Text. I read about 20% of it and somehow forgot about it after the fact. Well, about a week ago I decided to finish up and it’s taken a text editor that I was actually on the fence about (I have lately been flirting with Atom for a while) and made me feel like I’m in complete control of the application.
In particular, the chapters on workflow, packages and quickly moving around the editor with the keyboard have made me much more efficient on the current project I’m involved with at work. If you’re a Sublime Text user and want to up your game significantly I highly recommend this book.
George Stocker, on How to destroy Programmer Productivity:
Ultimately, each of us controls what makes us unproductive. I suck at peaceful confrontation. I either come of too strongly, or I sit there and let the other person walk all over me. I’m really not good at it at all. As such, I don’t have any good advice for handling the external forces that contribute to not being productive, but I do know this: Whatever I can control, I should control.
This is a constant struggle for any developer – not only the external forces in an office that cause tons of issues, but the personal preferences around how software is set up. Being a morning person, I try to get into the office early and that gets me a long way. But I’m still a mere mortal, so I have to do everything in my power to reduce other distractions.
Keeping my dock hidden on my Mac alone is such a huge boon to my productivity – having an office and the ability to blast music all day goes a long way as well. I’m also super careful about what apps are on my home screen – I keep all social media on the second screen – and which apps can actually send push notifications.
From Relay.fm comes Liftoff, a podcast about space exploration. Looking forward to more of this. Love the icon, too.
Joe Casabona writes about 2 months with an iPhone:
But as I use the iPhone more and see how well it actually works, it’s clear that Android is great for some things. But needs to mature in other aspects. And I think Google knows that too. The change in treatment of Android over the last few years has been noticeable. It’s like Google said, “GUYS. We need to fix this mess.”
Good take on the good and the bad of using an iPhone 6 after spending years on the Android side. Seems like most articles these days are Apple folks who are fed up and switching to Android, so it’s interesting to see the other side of the coin from time to time. While we all have our complaints about the Apple world, the integrated nature of Apple products can be a huge peace-of-mind boost if you buy in.
Heck, even I’m tempted to switch to Android sometimes – the new Moto X looks particularly outstanding. But when I really think about it, I feel like iOS is still the place for me. Who knows, I may still switch back to Android one day. But at this point, I feel like the perfect setup is Apple hardware backed with Google services.
James Archer writes about the Hamburger Menu:
As an industry, we had somehow gotten “confusing and difficult navigation” mixed up with “fun and engaging user interface,” and convinced ourselves that people would put up with frustratingly vague navigation because it was cool and animated. It took a long time for the industry to finally break that habit.
I feel like I fight this battle with every new design concept comes my way these days, and rarely is it done with user experience in mind. More often than not, it’s put in place to satisfy multiple stakeholders who all want their pet page/project front and center. Out of options, the designer chooses a hamburger navigation option to appease all involved. The user doesn’t win here.
Mr. Archer gives a lot of good examples of why this style of nav is rarely a good idea, as well as a few good solutions for simplifying when you’re on a mobile layout. Definitely worth a read.
Marco Arment, talking about the ethical dilemma of using ad blockers:
I recently started using Ghostery on my computers, and a simple homemade iOS content blocker that I may release for iOS 9’s launch. The web performance improvements with these are staggering, and the reports of quite how much Ghostery is blocking on most pages is shocking and disgusting.
I struggle with the similar ethical quandary. I have been using Ghostery for a while as well, and I’ve decided to allow Google, the Deck and a few other Ad publishers through. I want to support sites if they have chosen an ad-supported model as long as they do it in a moderately tasteful way. But to me, web tracking and retargeting is a bridge too far.
What’s great about Ghostery is that it allows you to choose to either block all 3rd party trackers/ads or specific ones, and you can even choose to do so one a per-site basis. This lets me show ads from certain networks I know of and ‘trust’ on some level, while blocking all of the shadier services. It’s a simple add on for Chrome, Safari or Firefox and it dramatically decreases the load time on most web pages, and gives you some level of peace of mind.
As others have pointed out, trackers and ads nowadays aren’t just something you can simply ignore. It’s code, executed on your machine and dramatically slows down the load time of an average web site by a few seconds most of the time. This has costs in terms of time, bandwidth, privacy and even on an ethical level.
I’ll keep tweaking my Ghostery settings to let some types of ads through, but undecipherable tracker names with no obvious benefit … you’re on notice.
Mashable’s great article about the failure of Google+:
By early 2014, less than three years after its big launch, the Google+ team had moved out of its coveted building to a spot on campus further from Page. Gundotra announced his departure from the company that April — in a Google+ post, of course — to pursue “a new journey.”
I always felt like Google+ checked all the boxes of what features a great social network should have with the exception of one: nobody used it. Unfortunately for Google, that’s kind of the most important one.
From Jeremy Keith: It’s funny, but I take almost the opposite view that Nilay puts forth in his original article. Instead of thinking “Oh, why won’t these awful browsers improve to be better at delivering our websites?”, I tend to think “Oh, why won’t these awful websites improve to be better at taking advantage of […]
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