watchOS 7: A BirchTree Concept

Matt Birchler:

My ambitious, but largely practical concept for what I’d like to see from the next generation of watchOS.

A pretty neat concept that includes a few things I’ve really hoped for: integrated sleep tracking, the idea of a “day off”, smarter auto-replies and an improved low power mode.

I use AutoSleep but would love to see if Apple could add to this space – either adding new APIs or rethinking the way sleep tracking is done.

YouTube + RSS

Thomas Brand:

YouTube used to make its videos more accessible to visitors by publishing the channel RSS feeds, but ever since the algorithm took over YouTube has obfuscated RSS in an effort to control content delivery and drive advertisement revenue. Don’t be a victim to the algorithm in 2020, subscribe to RSS feeds on YouTube and support the Open Web.

This is a clever way to keep up with the YouTube content you want to without needing to log into the site or deal with algorithmic suggestions that you may not be interested in.

Donald Trump is impeached and faces trial in the US Senate

BBC News:

Donald Trump has become the third US president in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives, setting up a trial in the Senate that will decide whether he remains in office.

There’s what, a 1% chance that Trump gets removed via a Senate vote? Even knowing that, the House did the right thing. Even if this turns out to be a slap on the hand for the president, it’ll be a historical marker that we said his behavior is not okay and there are consequences for bribery, obstruction of justice, and lying.

The Vox explainer on the subject is super helpful. The sentence “President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office” says it all.

Project Connected Home over IP

Apple Newsroom:

Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance today announced a new working group that plans to develop and promote the adoption of a new, royalty-free connectivity standard to increase compatibility among smart home products, with security as a fundamental design tenet. Zigbee Alliance board member companies such as IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian are also onboard to join the working group and contribute to the project.

While this is just a press release, it’s still good to see these companies trying to move closer together, not further apart. I’ve been slowly migrating things in our house over to a Homekit / Homebridge setup but still using our Google Homes to trigger a lot of actions with voice. Ideally, keeping things platform-agnostic would allow me to just choose the best tech and then all of the main voice assistant vendors would work with them.

The name Project Connected Home over IP really rolls off the tongue, eh?

Introducing MusicBot: The All-in-One Apple Music Assistant, Powered by Shortcuts

Federico Viticci, writing for MacStories:

The result is, by far, the most complex shortcut I’ve ever ever created (MusicBot spans 750+ actions in the Shortcuts app), but that’s not the point. MusicBot matters to me because, as I’ve shared before, music plays an essential role in my life, and MusicBot lets me enjoy my music more. This is why I spent so much time working on MusicBot, and why I wanted to share it publicly with everyone for free: I genuinely believe MusicBot offers useful enhancements for the Apple Music experience on iOS and iPadOS, providing tools that can help you rediscover lost gems in your library or find your next music obsession.

Uhhh, this is kind of amazing. I hope that someone sees this and makes a proper app that does roughly the same thing! Marvis Pro does a lot of neat things with the Apple Music API but this is on another level.

Healthcare gaslighting

This entire thread is worth a read.

The $100M ARR club

Alex Willhelm for TechCrunch:

That said, there is a club of private companies that are really something, namely private ones that have managed to reach the $100 million annual recurring revenue (ARR) threshold. It’s not a large group, as startups that tend to cross the $100 million ARR mark are well on the path to going public.

Super proud to be working for a company that is realistically working towards this goal. So many companies look at valuation without taking into consideration sustainability.

Holiday Movie Power Rankings

About 5 years ago (!) I posted my Holiday Movie Power Rankings. I still think that the list holds up. The biggest change I’d make is move A Christmas Story down a notch or two and move Elf up.

As far as how much time I spend watching Christmas movies these days, that list would be replaced with Polar Express and the final 20 minutes of the Home Alone movies on repeat clocking in at the top. Having a 6 and 3 year old will do that.

“Big Bang” releases vs. incremental value

I was surprised to see that Music fixes were rolled into the new MacOS 10.15.2 release that came out this week. While I’m pleased to see that they’re iterating on the “new” app and taking customer feedback into consideration, I’m wondering why Apple isn’t shipping releases like these incrementally. Frankly, the same could be said for a lot of their applications.

With the fairly well-documented iOS 13 and Catalina update quality issues still fresh in mind, the company really needs to both focus on the quality of their overall platforms and the way in which they release software. One arrow in their quiver could be shipping updates to the core OS separate from apps unless required by new hardware changes. Does it add additional QA burden to test multiple permutations of software/OS combos? Yeah, it does. But when OS releases are tied to hardware releases at times it can be helpful to approach the rest of their software rollouts incrementally rather than shipping everything at once.

There’s no good reason that Music on MacOS or iOS can’t ship with smaller UX enhancements separate from an OS release. Same goes for Mail, Safari, etc.