Tweet, Tweet

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We all know that the world is going to hell. Given the rising risk of nuclear war with North Korea, the paralysis in Congress, warfare in Yemen and Syria, atrocities in Myanmar and a president who may be going cuckoo, you might think 2017 was the worst year ever.

But you’d be wrong. In fact, 2017 was probably the very best year in the long history of humanity.

It’s good to get some perspective, get away from the talking heads on TV and dire predictions of gloom and doom and realize that, by the numbers, the world is actually getting better, not worse. Can and should we do more? Absolutely. But let’s not let the weight of what’s not gone right burden us so much that we can see what has.

Microsoft is still a virus. AD starts seeping into everything.

It’s far more relaxing over here than Twitter. Leaving Facebook, and now, mostly, Twitter behind has been very good for me.

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You can draw a straight line from the bad incentive structure forced upon news outlets to the unprecedented divisiveness in our country. And it’s time we realized what’s going on.

Fantastic read, well worth the time.

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In the fall of 2016, Rob Gregoire, a hunter and nearly life-long Montanan, won a state lottery for a permit to take a trophy elk in the Crazy Mountains, which rise from the plains about 60 miles north of Yellowstone National Park. Landowners around the mountains were charging about $2,000 for private hunts on their ranches. “That’s just not what I do, on principle,” Gregoire says. So he found a public access corridor that would take him into prime Crazies elk country—the federal land covered by the permit, which in total cost about $40.

Such trails have led into the Crazies for generations. And disputes between landowners and those who would cross their properties on these trails reach back nearly that far, too. By 2016, the trailhead Gregoire found was “the last non-contested public access point on the 35-mile-long eastern flank of the Crazy Mountains,” he would write later to his U.S. senators.

Yet even on what Gregoire thought was a public throughway, the Hailstone Ranch had posted game cameras and signs claiming that the Forest Service didn’t have an easement to use the segment that crossed the private property. After consulting with the Forest Service, Gregoire decided to hike the route anyway. He used an app to stay on trail where it seemed faint, to make sure he kept to public land. Then one evening as he returned toward the trailhead after an unsuccessful hunt, Gregoire found a deputy sheriff from Sweet Grass County waiting for him. The deputy handed Gregoire a ticket for criminal trespass. After court costs, the ticket cost $585.

Ridiculous. When republicans talk about taking land away from the government and giving it “back to the people”, what they really mean is take publicly owned land and give it to wealthy landowners. These landowners then then put up no trespassing signs. How is that giving land back to the people again?

Ok, so it’s no where near as nice as a dedicated Twitter client. But it’s fun.

Combining Spotlight, Jekyll, and Automator makes for a pretty nice way to quickly publish. Not quite as smooth as a dedicated Twitter client, but close.

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Obviously, Scrivener doesn’t turn you into a writer anymore than handing you a paintbrush turns you into Picasso, but if you’re looking for a tool to help you on your journey, it’s a great choice.

I used Ulysses when writing my NaNoWriMo novel, but Scrivner was a close second choice. I’m not sure if it’s quite for me, but it’s an intriguing app.

Enjoying rediscovering indie Mac applications and the open web. Things we lost along the way, but some of us are keeping it alive.

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SOCRATES: In fact, it is as if you know that you are wrong, and yet rather than seek that which is right, you complain whenever others point out how wrong you are.

This is so, so good.

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Air pollution that can cause respiratory illness and other health problems was far less regulated before the EPA was founded. The EPA estimated that the Clean Air Act, which regulates pollution from industries, prevented more than 160,000 early deaths, 130,000 heart attacks, and millions of cases of respiratory illness in 2010 alone.

But sure, let’s get rid of the EPA and bring back acid rain.

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Every week we post a new interview with someone about what software they use on their Mac, iPhone, or iPad. We do these interviews because not only are they fun, but a glimpse into what tools someone uses and how they use those tools can spark our imagination and give us an idea or insight into how we can do things better.

I’m not sure why I decided to do this, but there it is. I love my desk, my Mac, and working from home, I suppose that’s why I felt like sharing it.

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James Dyson, the British inventor and businessman behind Dyson, has announced the company famous for vacuums and hand dryers plans to develop a battery-electric vehicle. In a letter to employees, Dyson said the company would have the vehicle ready by 2020.

Another company to keep an eye on. I love the fact that we’re living through a transportation revolution.

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We’re really happy to announce that SuperDuper! uses snapshots on APFS boot volumes when copying. Copies should be much more reliable and less error prone, and (as usual) the whole process happens completely transparently to you, the user.

SuperDuper! is one of the best Mac apps out there. Does it’s job and does it well. Having a system cone is one-third of a correct 3-2-1 backup strategy. Have three backups, two local (one Time Machine, and one system clone), and one remote, like BackBlaze. Set this up and forget about it, and if (when) something happens, you’ve got three chances to get back your precious data.

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In Hello Internet episode 4, CGP Grey introduced a metaphor for work-life balance as four light bulbs — work, friends, family, and health — between which one can allocate 100 watts, total. So it’s possible to shine brightly in one area at significant cost to the others, or to try to have a mediocre spread between all of them.

That’s an interesting way to think of it. I like it.

Why do people deny the science of climate change?

Mostly because of ideology. Jump to Post

Nice summary of what we know about climate change. I’ve never understood the opposition to environmentalism. Who doesn’t want clean air, energy independence, and the jobs created by the renewable energy industry? Here in Iowa, we have factories that build windmills, that are major employers in fairly rural areas. It seems to me that most opposition to climate change science is rooted in loyalty to a party, which in turn is rooted in deep-seated cultural beliefs and animosity towards highly educated “elitists”.

I once had coffee with a climate skeptic who explained that he simply believed that the science was shoddy, but in the same conversation pointed me towards creation science as an example of science he believed in. I’m not sure if he caught on to the incongruity of the two claims. I’m a Christian, I believe that God created the universe, but how he did it is a mystery to me. I don’t believe Him to be a God of confusion, so I don’t understand why the Earth appears to be millions of years old if it is not. I do however believe that the process of science, the back and forth, proving and disproving, debating and digging and testing the world we live in, is a means by which we can discover the mechanics of God. The rules He set in place that govern our lives, like gravity, like the way light travels on a wave, like the way positive and negative attracts.

Proverbs 19:20 says “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” It seems unwise to discard the advice of people who work in climate science about climate science, and instead claim to believe a politician with ties to the oil industry.

I’ve heard other arguments against climate change like “God is in control of the weather.” OK, true. But won’t God also allow us to experience the natural consequences of our actions? If I drop a brick on my head, it’s going to hurt! If we are poor stewards of God’s creation, I imagine He’s going to let us experience the consequences.

In Christianity, you must believe that Jesus is the son of God and that he died for your sins, and accept that as the only way to Heaven after death. The wonderful and terrible thing about science is that it doesn’t matter what you believe. You can believe in a flat Earth all day long, doesn’t make it true. You can claim that climate change is a hoax all you want, but the oceans are warming and rising, and the ice caps are melting, and the forests are on fire, and the weather is getting more extreme, and everything the environmentalists said was going to happen… is happening.

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What Apple is doing is good for consumers. We don’t need creepy ad groups tracking everything we do. If you do want that, there are Web browsers that aren’t so intelligent that will allow that to happen. You can also disable the Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature if you wish. I’ll stick with Safari.

Me too.

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His video also discusses myths of cinematic portrayals of archery. He posits some interesting theories in this highly fun-to-watch video.

Incredible. I could watch this all day.

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Why have human beings’ brains evolved to discard perfectly valid information when it does not fit their preferred view? This seems like bad engineering, so why hasn’t this glitch been corrected?

Cognitive scientists have proposed an intriguing answer: our brain assesses new information in light of the knowledge it has already stored, because in most cases that is, in fact, the optimal approach. More likely than not, when you encounter a piece of data that contradicts what you believe with confidence, that piece of data is in fact wrong. For example, if I told you I had observed a pink elephant flying in the sky you would assume I was either lying or delusional, as you should. It is a reasonable strategy, but it also means that confidently-held opinions are difficult to change.

It’s incredibly difficult to change your mind about a topic once you’ve already bought into a preferred answer. Even more so when part of your cultural identity hinges on that belief. In the follow up article, Tali Sharot recommends finding common ground that works in the favor of both parties. Seems reasonable to me.

From Daring Fireball: Facebook Enabled Advertisers to Target ‘Jew Haters’

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Facebook has no conscience, it’s bad for mental health, and every time I’ve logged in lately I’m log out feeling worse. No more of that.

In an interesting, but not surprising note from John’s linked ProPublica article though:

Two: as David Simon noted, “I kind of love that ‘Jew hater’ aligns cleanly with the Second Amendment demographic. The algorithms don’t lie, do they.”

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Handy chart.

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“This is something which today people do not think is possible,” said Musk. “To think the truck doesn’t have enough power or it doesn’t have enough range. With the Tesla Semi, we want to show that, no, an electric truck can out-torque any diesel semi, and if you had a tug-of-war competition, the Tesla semi will tug the diesel semi uphill.”

I’m afraid the days of long-haul trucking as a career field might be numbered.

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By undercutting the gravitas white supremacists are trying to accrue, humorous counterprotests may blunt the events’ usefulness for recruitment. Brawling with bandanna-clad antifas may seem romantic to some disaffected young men, but being mocked by clowns? Probably not so much.

Which brings us to Charlottesville, and the far right rallies that will surely follow. To those wondering how to respond, Dr. Stephan says that “nonviolent movements succeed because they invite mass participation.” Humor can do that; violence less so.

The broader issue, in her view, is this: Why do oppressive regimes and movements invest so much in fomenting violence? (Think of our president and his talent for dividing the country and generating chaos.) Because violence and discord help their cause. So why would you, she asks, “do what the oppressor wants you to do?”

This is a good idea. I support the mocking of morons.

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It will require a struggle to make America reality-based again. Fight the good fight in your private life. You needn’t get into an argument with the stranger at Chipotle who claims that George Soros and Uber are plotting to make his muscle car illegal—but do not give acquaintances and friends and family members free passes. If you have children or grandchildren, teach them to distinguish between true and untrue as fiercely as you do between right and wrong and between wise and foolish. We need to adopt new protocols for information-media hygiene. Would you feed your kids a half-eaten casserole a stranger handed you on the bus, or give them medicine you got from some lady at the gym? And fight the good fight in the public sphere. One main task, of course, is to contain the worst tendencies of Trumpism, and cut off its political-economic fuel supply, so that fantasy and lies don’t turn it into something much worse than just nasty, oafish, reality-show pseudo-conservatism. Progress is not inevitable, but it’s not impossible, either.

A fascinating historical perspective of how we got to where we are today by Kurt Andersen writing for The Atlantic. Andersen focuses on how the counterculture movements of the ’60s morphed into a widespread belief in conspiracy theories adopted and expounded on by the right. Long, but well worth the time.

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You don’t have to pretend to be a family to be courteous Or kind. Or protective. All those values can be expressed even better in principles, policies, and, most importantly, actions

I’ve worked with companies that do this, and it always felt… weird. I didn’t want to have a family, I just wanted to do great work for an organization with a mutually beneficial arrangement That’s not to say that you can’t form close bonds with those you work with, or have a deep appreciation for the company you work for, but it can never, and should never, take the place of your actual family.

Working on my microblog cross posting to Twitter.

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So, I managed to download within the three day window during which the infection was unknown, managed to hit the one download mirror that was compromised, managed to run it and breeze right through an in-retrospect-sketchy authentication dialog, without stopping to wonder why HandBrake would need admin privileges, or why it would suddenly need them when it hadn’t before. I also likely bypassed the Gatekeeper warning without even thinking about it, because I run a handful of apps that are still not signed by their developers. And that was that, my Mac was completely, entirely compromised in 3 seconds or less.

This is how you handle a compromise in your systems. Full transparency, an explanation of how it happened, how they are handling the issue, and how their customers can stay safe. Panic, once again, doing the right thing.

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We — Manton Reece and Brent Simmons — have noticed that JSON has become the developers’ choice for APIs, and that developers will often go out of their way to avoid XML. JSON is simpler to read and write, and it’s less prone to bugs. So we developed JSON Feed, a format similar to RSS and Atom but in JSON. It reflects the lessons learned from our years of work reading and publishing feeds.

I guess I’ll know it’s time to leave my favorite news reader when this format is adopted by Daring Fireball but not supported by NetNewsWire.

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Amazon has officially unveiled its latest Echo product: a touchscreen device with built-in Alexa called the Echo Show. The device was extensively leaked this week, but is now available to preorder from Amazon for $229.99.

I’m interested in where this is going.

Should be good.

I think I’m getting it now.

This is just another test of the microblog format.

This is just a test of the microblog format.

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Indeed in this case, where unroll.me is owned by an analytics service, it appears that the entire purpose for the service is to get access to user email data for monetization. So apparently Unroll.me, with access to its user email accounts, collected their Lyft receipts, anonymized them, and sold them to Uber. I’m pretty sure people signing up for unroll.me don’t expect that to happen.

David reinforces a point that we have heard so often it’s become cliché, “if you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product”. Shortly after reading this post I saw a recommendation for Readdle’s free Spark mail client. I’ve given it a try in the past, but it didn’t suit me. After reading the privacy policy, I think I should probably go back in and properly delete my accounts. From what I can tell, Spark:

  • Several analytics packages:

We use third party services, such as Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics and Amplitude, to collect and analyze how you use Spark. These services may collect information about you and your usage of Spark in accordance with their respective privacy policies.

  • Uses my primary email address to send me spam:

We might use that email address to reach out to you periodically with information about features, updates, announcements or to request your feedback.

  • Stores my email username and password on their servers:

Where OAuth is not supported we keep your account username and password on our secure servers.

  • Downloads my email to their servers:

We then use the authorization provided to download your emails to our virtual servers and push to your device.

Readdle goes on to explain that they primarily use the email headers to send push notifications for new mail, that they do not sell your information to third parties, and that you can unsubscribe to emails at any time. Readdle makes some great apps, ones that I use quite a bit, but I wish they’d reconsider using server-side processing for Spark. If they worked out a way to do what they needed to do on-device, Spark would be a much more attractive option for my email.

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The advantage to using Linode is that since it’s a virtual server, rather than a VPN service, I’m completely in charge of the setup and configuration of the VPN server. Again, this isn’t foolproof, because my traffic is only encrypted between my Mac and the Linode server, meaning that if Linode decided it wanted to track my outbound traffic, then I’d be in much the same boat as before. (Essentially, Linode becomes my de facto ISP.) Given, however, that Linode’s main business is hosting, and that they have their own pretty strong privacy policy, I’m not particularly concerned on that point. But, again, that’s subject to the vagaries of business.

In reference to my previous post on the subject, this is the only method of using a VPN for privacy that I can recommend.

Spoiler: yes.

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Back to the headline. Could this be the future of the Mac? As iPhone processing power increases, could Apple create a hybrid desktop product driven by some future version of the A10 Fusion (the 64-bit system on a chip that drives the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus), a product that looks and acts like an iPhone, but that doubles as a desktop experience when you plug it into a dock, complete with large display, mouse, and keyboard?

I’ve been saying this is the future for years. This is the only direction that makes sense. Given enough computing power a phone will eventually be the only device we need.

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Jack Kerouac spent the summer of 1956 manning a fire tower on Washington’s Desolation Peak, in the northern Cascades. He didn’t do much writing there, apparently, despite being alone with pencil and paper. But he stayed for 63 days. The views were good.

Maybe this is what I need to finish my NaNoWriMo project.

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Machine learning is different. Now, instead of humans designing algorithms to be executed by a computer, the computer is designing the algorithms. It is still Artificial Narrow Intelligence — the computer is bound by the data and goal given to it by humans — but machine learning is, in my mind, meaningly different from what has come before. Just as Shannon fused the physical with the logical to make the computer, machine learning fuses the development of tools with computers themselves to make (narrow) artificial intelligence.

Like I was talking about in On Computing Tomorrow, the ability of computers to generate algorithms, or entire programs, is potentially fatal to a certain set of developers. I’m certain my role in DevOps is not immune. If you can ask a computer to look at a git repository and build the exact right environment to support that application, what need will there be for sysadmins or devops? Far less than what there is now. This train isn’t going to stop, and like all technology, we either need to get on board or get run over.

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Perspectives in OmniFocus allow you to include additional task details like due date, defer date, flag status, and project status to customize your task views even further. If you wanted to see only tasks that are available to be worked on right now, require you to have access to your Mac, and are due next week, perspectives allow you to find the tasks that meet this criteria quickly and easily.

Without OmniFocus, I’m positive there are important things in my life that would not get done. OmniFocus helps me to forget about when to take the trash to the curb, when to pay bills, and when to change the oil in my jeep. It also helps me make sure that I’m making progress on all the projects I’m working on throughout the day.

While I’m at work, I have an OmniFocus perspective that filters out everything that’s not relevant that I’ve committed to working on today. Before and after work, I shift over to my “Today” perspective to see everything that I have on my plate for the day.

OmniFocus is an essential piece of software for me, and I highly recommend it to anyone who feels like they have more to do than they can keep track of. In today’s world, I imagine that’s just about everyone.

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Holding the S8, I’m struck by the fact that nothing about it feels especially surprising, and not just because damn near everything about it has been leaking for the past few months. The boldest feature is every phone’s more important feature: the screen. On the S8, it extends up and down to cover nearly the entire front of the phone. It also curves around the left and right, something Samsung is calling the “infinity display,” which gives it the look of not having any bezels at all. And speaking of curves, the four corners of the screen are also slightly curved instead of squared-off, which adds some elegance and perhaps some screen durability.

But will it explode?

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Restating, underscoring, or even strengthening those scientific results won’t solve that problem. The results already come from multiple fields, are reinforced by multiple lines of evidence, and have been vetted (extremely vetted, you might say) by several extended, multi-layered review processes. Collectively, we don’t know how to “know” anything more confidently than we know this stuff.

If someone chooses to simply reject those scientific institutions, procedures, and results, then piling on more facts is beside the point. It’s not about facts any more, it’s about the authority of the institutions.

I understand why politicians who get their funding from oil companies want to discredit global warming and research into climate change, what I don’t understand is why that willingness to disregard established facts trickles down to everyday republicans.

I’m starting to think that this has more to do with tribalism than actual beliefs. The right-wing tribe believes this set of ideas, given to them by their elected leaders, and nothing will change their mind about that.

Given that we can now safely refute any scientific research (biased), well reported news story (fake news), and even disregard things we’ve seen and heard ourselves (he didn’t really mean that), we have entered a dangerous era where a major section of the population has decided to make up their own reality.

How can we have a meaningful conversation when your loyalty to your tribe means more than facts, reason, or logic?

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You will never get any more out of life than you expect

Keep your mind on the things you want and off those you don’t

Things live by moving and gain strength as they go

Be a calm beholder of what is happening around you

Looks like I’ve got a new podcast to check out.

Because the truth of the matter is that, however you go about it, you do need to build your capacity for hard, focused work. That is vital in an age of complexity, where we need to carve out a niche. Most of us aren’t making widgets anymore, and much of that work is being replaced by machines anyways.

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I’m not sure if I’m ready to drop $80 on his course quite yet 1, but I completely agree with what he’s saying here. The ability to concentrate on difficult problems for an extended period of time is only going to become more valuable. Far too many people spend every spare second they have looking at their phone, literally falling down stairs so they don’t miss the latest snapchat alert.

It kind of feels like our lives are made up of a countless number of weeks. But there they are—fully countable—staring you in the face.

Sometimes life seems really short, and other times it seems impossibly long. But this chart helps to emphasize that it’s most certainly finite. Those are your weeks and they’re all you’ve got.

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Reminds me of Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. “That the powerful play goes on, and you get to contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

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Sal Soghoian, writing for MacStories:

Here’s a thought experiment. Let’s imagine that Apple decided to combine their engineering resources to form app teams that delivered both iOS and macOS versions of applications.

In such a scenario it may seem logical to retain application features common to both platforms and to remove those that were perceived to require extra resources. Certainly Automation would be something examined in that regard, and the idea might be posited that: “App Extensions are equivalent to, or could be a replacement for, User Automation in macOS.” And by User Automation, I’m referring to Apple Event scripting, Automator, Services, the UNIX command line utilities, etc.

I’ve said many times that one of the main reasons I came to OS X is the underlying Unix utilities. I literally can’t do my job without the command line. It’s always in my dock, it’s always open, and I’ve got it customized just the way I like it. There is no replacement for the terminal, and no App Extension can provide a way for me to string together the tools I use to get done what needs to get done.

In such a world like Sal is imagining, I would have to find an SSH app like Prompt and setup my entire development environment on a Linux server somewhere. While possible, it’s not economical and it’s certainly not how I’ve become accustomed to working. I don’t think I’m alone in this either, anyone who does web development relies on command line versions of Python, Ruby, PHP, or Perl, along with a host of other small utilities to do things like syntax checking or unit tests.

I think it’s possible that Apple could remove the Terminal from OS X, along with the Unix utilities, similar to what they’ve done with iOS, but I don’t think they will. Apple uses OS X to develop their own software, so they know what the developers need to be efficient and productive. However I could see a world where you had to install Xcode and enable “developer mode” to get to the Unix utilities. We may not be far away from a day when OS X no longer ships with Terminal.app, but I think we’ll always have a way to install it when there’s real work that needs done.

I think Apple may be heading in the wrong direction, and it’s sad to see Sal be let go, but I’m glad to see him carrying on fighting for the users.

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Today we’re making Instapaper Premium available to all Instapaper users, free of charge. Instapaper Premium is the best way to experience all that Instapaper has to offer, and we’re excited to open it up to everyone.

I’ve been an Instapaper user for as long as I’ve known about the service, and a premium subscriber for as long as it’s been available. I was worried when Marco sold Instapaper to Betaworks, but Betaworks did some good work on the service. I started to hope that Instapaper had found a stable home and that my Saturday afternoons were safe for catching up on interesting reading.

When Pinterest bought Instapaper, and acquired a majority share in Betaworks, I started to wonder about the long-term viability of the service again. Would Pinterest keep it around? Would Instapaper line up with Pinterest’s future goals? We’ve all seen popular services be acquired by larger companies just to be unceremoniously scrapped. Thinking through the goals of the two services however, I believe that Pinterest is more interested in watching user behavior than making Instapaper a profitable stand-alone service.

In that light, yesterday’s announcement that they were doing away with Instapaper’s revenue model of selling premium subscriptions makes sense. It’s in Pinterest’s best interest to get as many subscribers frequently using the service as possible, presumably to leverage machine learning on the back end to be able to serve up better targeted advertising in their main Pinterest service. So, I think the service will be fine, at least for the time being. While I’m often adverse to such intrusive monitoring of my online activity, with Instapaper I’m completely fine with it. My Instapaper queue comprises who I wish to be, my ideal self is interested in reading everything in the queue. My actual self sometimes selects all and deletes.

Sometimes, not all the time. When that lovely Saturday afternoon comes and I’ve decided to read, Instapaper is waiting for me. Sometimes on a Sunday morning, early in the day before the kids get up, I’ve made my coffee and found my seat on the couch. The house is quiet, Oliver settles at my feet, and Instapaper opens up the world to me.

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macOS Sierra 10.12.1, released yesterday, includes hidden Apple Pay images that depict the brand new MacBook Pro with an OLED touch panel that’s set to be announced by Apple on Thursday, October 27.

The “magic toolbar” looks like it will replace the function keys, along with the escape key necessary for using Vim. I’ve seen questions asking what Vim users are going to do. For a moment I started to worry myself, although I’m not using MacVim on my Mac anymore, I still need to use it regularly on servers, and on servers I’ll have no .vimrc customizations for remapping keys.

However, since the point of the touchscreen is to be able to dynamically assign keys as needed, I bet when the Terminal is open, the escape key will be right where it needs to be.

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But isn’t it expensive, and doesn’t it overload IT? No. IBM found that not only do PCs drive twice the amount of support calls, they’re also three times more expensive. That’s right, depending on the model, IBM is saving anywhere from $273 - $543 per Mac compared to a PC, over a four-year lifespan. “And this reflects the best pricing we’ve ever gotten from Microsoft,” Previn said. Multiply that number by the 100,000+ Macs IBM expects to have deployed by the end of the year, and we’re talking some serious savings.

There’s a few guys at a place I used to work who really need to read this article.

Previn ended the session with a fact worth noting. “Every Mac we buy is in fact continuing to make and save IBM money.”

(Via DF, of course.)

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Apple today announced an event that will take place on October 27. Here’s what the invite looks like:

I would have loved it if they’d used the same cursive font.

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The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well. Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches. Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:

Reminds me of a saying I heard first from 37 Signals:

If you are trying to decide between a few people to fill your position, always hire the better writer. I don’t care if that person is a designer, programmer, marketer, salesperson, whatever. Assuming your candidates are fairly equally skilled and qualified overall, always hire the better writer.

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How it works: Tiny chips implanted in Nathan Copeland’s brain are bypassing his broken spinal cord, relaying electrical signals that govern movement and sensation to and from that robotic arm.

What was science fiction when I was a kid is quickly becoming science fact. What a time to be alive.

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2) Effective immediately, Sailors in paygrades E1-E3 will be addressed as “Seaman,” E4-E6 will be called “Petty Officer Third/Second/First Class” as appropriate, and Senior enlisted in paygrades E7-E9 will be “Chief,” “Senior Chief,” or “Master Chief” depending on their paygrade. • For example, a Sailor will no longer be called YN2. Instead, they will be called a “Second Class Petty Officer” or “Petty Officer.” • There will no longer be a distinction between “Airman, Fireman and Seaman.” They will all be “Seaman.” • This cultural change will not happen overnight. It will take a measured approach to make it the norm.

Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I post something about my time in the Navy, they up and change how it works. Ridiculous idea to get rid of the rates. Learning another sailor’s rate and rating let you know immediately what their specialty was, and how much you might have in common with them.

I worked hard to be IT1, glad I’m not active duty to see this.

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9to5 Mac in reference to “courage” from the September Apple event:

It’s likely a reference to a comment by Steve Jobs when he was asked to explain another controversial omission of an established standard: the lack of support for Flash in the iPhone and iPad …

The video of Jobs makes a good point, and comes across better than Schiller did.

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We will make Vesper for iOS, Vesper for Mac, and Vesper’s JavaScript sync service open source on my personal GitHub account. This code will also be provided as historical artifacts: they’re not intended as active projects. They’re also not intended as examples of how to write apps these days.

I applaud the team’s decisions to open source the Vesper code base, especially the syncing component that Brent put so much work into. Perhaps, like the ill-fated Letters.app, Vesper’s demise will give way to new applications that may fare better.

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I don’t know how the executives at Mylan sleep at night.

I do. On gigantic mattresses stuffed with money. This is why the Libertarian ideal of a society free from government interference won’t work. The corporation will take ever advantage they legally can to gain as much profit as possible.

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On a more philosophical level, this journey has served to remind me again of how terribly delicate is the fabric of civilization, of the vigilance required to protect it and of the slow and painstaking work of mending it once it has been torn. This is hardly an original thought; it is a lesson we were supposed to have learned after Nazi Germany, after Bosnia and Rwanda. Perhaps it is a lesson we need to constantly relearn.

Incredible work by Scott Anderson at the New York Times. Take a day or two and read the entire thing. For those of us living in peace and prosperity, where the biggest problem we have to face is paying an extra dollar for a cappuccino, we need to remember that evil is always waiting at the gates. There are always those who would throw the world into chaos. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

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Being an athlete is simple – all you have to do is strive.

I enjoyed this set of videos from Strava.

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And yet, the Americans were . . . wow. They were amazing. What else could you say? Part of the pleasure was appreciating the team’s depth. Yes, Simone Biles is the greatest gymnast in history—she was even before she won her first Olympic gold last night—but she has astonishingly talented teammates. Laurie Hernandez doesn’t just look like she was drawn by a cartoonist; every leap seemed accompanied by a thought bubble filled with exclamation points. Aly Raisman tumbled with a regal quality that was absent even four years ago, when she won gold in the floor exercise. She seemed to stick her landings by fiat.

Dominating.

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She’s focussing on the two-hundred-metre freestyle to qualify for the Olympics, but she admitted a soft spot for the butterfly. “It’s really hard,” she said. “This is why I love it.”

An amazing and inspirational story. It is far too easy to forget the human stories of the refugee crisis stemming from the Syrian civil war. These are real people with lives and dreams that were thrown into disarray when their country was torn apart.

My message to the world.
#YusraMardini


Yusra Mardini ( @YusraMardini1 ) Aug 7 2016 1:09 PM

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I’ve been working the last few months on an update to the OmniFocus Video Field Guide. I’ve updated it for several new features and gone deep on the iOS Automation and URL linking. I’m making final edits and additions over the next few days and intend to publish it sometime Sunday (probably late).

OmniFocus is where my stress goes to die. It’s where I regain control of my life. My system for making sure that things that need done aren’t forgotten. Bills are paid, calls are made, and projects move forward. It’s also where ideas go for evaluation. If I have an idea for a new project I’ll drop it in OmniFocus and let it sit there for a while. I might file it away in it’s own project folder, put a “Defer Until” date on it for the weekend, and let the idea sit and stew for a bit.

If the idea has merit, if I keep coming back to it and deferring it more than once or twice, then I focus more on it and start to eck out next actions to start making it a reality. I know there are a lot of task management apps out there, and even a few analog systems like the Bullet Journal, but I’m so invested, and so used to how OmniFocus works that I have zero motivation to move to anything else. By this point, OmniFocus works the way my brain works, it is my trusted system.

That’s all thanks to David Spark’s OmniFocus guides. I adopted his system years ago, modified it slightly and made it my own. I’m looking forward to seeing where he’s taking the guides next.

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President Barack Obama used his Democratic National Convention speech to make the case that Hillary Clinton is the best person to be president and that she will build on his time in office.

I’d like to vote for Obama for a third term.

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The object of education is not to fill a man’s mind with facts; it is to teach him how to use his mind in thinking. Henry Ford

Farnam Street has quickly become one of my favorite sites. Well thought out articles about critical thinking and intellectual pursuits.

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Have you ever noticed that the secret to all the secrets is that it’s never the easy path?

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One key to mastery is what Florida State University psychology professor Anders Ericsson calls deliberate practice – a ‘lifelong period of… effort to improve performance in a specific domain.’ Deliberate practice isn’t running a few miles each day or banging on the piano for twenty minutes each morning. It’s much more purposeful, focused, and, yes painful. Follow these steps – over and over again for a decade – and you just might become a master:

Focus and mastery of your chosen craft are topics that I’m deeply interested in, so this article checked all the right boxes for me. In the age of distraction that we live in, where any hint of boredom can be quickly and easily erased by Twitter or Buzzfeed, I believe that the ability to focus, and focus intently for extended periods of time is only going to become more valuable for people who work primarily with their minds.

Each day is an opportunity to either sharpen your saw, or let it rust. Taking action to ensure that you are focusing on the right things at the right time gives you an advantage.

I’d be remiss not to mention Shawn Blanc’s “The Power of a Focused Life” course. I’ve not taken the course yet, it’s a bit pricey, but I’ve followed his work for long enough that I understand where he’s coming from. To do your best work consistently, and to always be pressing the boundaries of your capability, to always be making yourself just a little bit better every day, these are the traits of a master craftsman.

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However, the main reason was to explain how our actions fit into a larger picture, so that they would seem less random. The point of all this was, and remains, accelerating the advent of sustainable energy, so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good. That’s what “sustainable” means. It’s not some silly, hippy thing – it matters for everyone.

By definition, we must at some point achieve a sustainable energy economy or we will run out of fossil fuels to burn and civilization will collapse. Given that we must get off fossil fuels anyway and that virtually all scientists agree that dramatically increasing atmospheric and oceanic carbon levels is insane, the faster we achieve sustainability, the better.

Here is what we plan to do to make that day come sooner:

Tesla is the most interesting company in America today.

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He saw Trump as driven not by a pure love of dealmaking but by an insatiable hunger for “money, praise, and celebrity.” Often, after spending the day with Trump, and watching him pile one hugely expensive project atop the next, like a circus performer spinning plates, Schwartz would go home and tell his wife, “He’s a living black hole!”

It’s a shame that the people who need to hear this message the most are the ones least likely to be reading The New Yorker on a regular basis.

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My ★★★★★ action-thriller novel, CHANGER, is now available as a beautiful, 474-page paperback!

I’ve been following Matt for years, I even used some of his code in Paragraphs. I was interested, if a bit reserved, when he said he was leaving programming to be a writer, but here we have the result of his work.

I ordered an autographed copy. Least I could do for enjoying both his writing and his code for so long.

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Tiff and Marco go undercover into Starbucks once more, this time to find their favorite cold drinks.

I love listening to these two, a great couple with a great idea.

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I, of course, am stuck in the past, not willing to give up—or even share—the ownership of my words. Still clinging to a publishing model that may soon be as outdated as print. Erik’s hybrid system is probably the right way to accomodate the new realities while still maintaining control. But I’m not a fan of the new realities. I know the niche I’ve carved out is vanishingly small, but it’s all mine.

I keep this site for many of the same reasons Dr. Drang mentions. It’s all mine, a little piece of the internet that belongs only to me.

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I look at this iPad Pro, being updated via my Mac, imagining the horses that were used to deliver materials to Henry Ford’s factory.

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I’m sure it happened to you too.

Just remember. That horrible moment when you time-travelled using undo - to copy and paste that line you deleted twenty minutes ago but for some reason you really, really, need it now - and then you hit a key and insert a letter. And just like that, your way back is gone.

The only appropriate reaction to that is either eating your computer or turning into a hulk and going on a neighbourhood-destroying rampage.

Yea, as a matter of fact, that has happened to me. Great Vim tip, especially combined with saving work when switching away from Vim.

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… it does allow anyone in your Skype or Outlook or Hotmail contacts lists to waltz onto your Wi-Fi network — should they ever wander within range of it or visit your home…

Any Windows users out there might want to hold off for a few on that big upgrade.

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We launched AWS Device Farm earlier this month with support for testing apps on Android and Fire OS devices.

I am happy to give you a heads-up that you will soon be able to test your apps on Apple phones and tablets! We plan to launch support for iOS on August 4, 2015 with support for the following test automation frameworks:

This is very interesting news for the thousands of iOS and web developers out there. I wasn’t too surprised at the Android device testing, but this is something different.

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Writers, nutritionists, doctors, chefs and Michelle Obama have all been promoting a hot new diet: home-cooked food.

Looking at this list makes me never want to eat out again. (via The Loop)

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I could see that my 9-to-5 job wasn’t my destiny. It didn’t fulfill me or stimulate significant personal growth. It wasn’t that I was bored, but it was more like feeling out of place—I could and should do more with my talents.

I know the feeling. Right now I’ve never been happier with where I am in my career, but the feeling Kevin describes is how I felt for seven years at my previous job. I felt like I was slowly atrophying in that cubicle. Today, after making the jump to a much smaller company where I have much more responsibility, I feel like I’m doing the best work of my life. It was scary, but worth it.

I can’t quite make up my mind on how I feel about “link blogging”. On the one hand, there’s already a lot of people out there who do it better than I can. On the other hand, sometimes I want to share something and make a few pithy comments about it. It’s out of that second feeling that this script is born.

The script started out as an Automator action, but having an Automator wrapper around a single shell script seemed like overkill.

#!/bin/bash
	
TITLE=`osascript -e 'tell application "Safari" 
	set pageTitle to (do JavaScript "document.title" in document 1)
end tell'`

URL=`osascript -e 'tell application "Safari" 
	set pageURI to (get URL of document 1)	
end tell'`

TEXT=`osascript -e 'tell application "Safari"
set selectedText to (do JavaScript "(window.getSelection().toString())" in document 1)
end tell'`

QUOTEDTEXT=`echo -n ">"; echo -n $TEXT`

LINK=`echo -n [Jump to Post]; echo -n \($URL\)`

NAME=`echo $TITLE | sed s/\ /-/g`
USERNAME=`whoami`
POSTNAME=`date "+%Y-%m-%d"-$NAME`	
echo $POSTNAME
POST_FQN=~/Public/Site/_posts/$POSTNAME.markdown

POST_DATE=`date "+%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"`

echo "---" >>$POST_FQN
echo "layout: post" >> $POST_FQN
echo "title: $TITLE" >> $POST_FQN
echo "date: $POST_DATE" >> $POST_FQN
echo "---" >> $POST_FQN

echo "$LINK" >> $POST_FQN
echo "" >> $POST_FQN
echo "$QUOTEDTEXT" >> $POST_FQN
echo "" >> $POST_FQN

echo $POST_FQN

/usr/bin/open $POST_FQN

That first line is pretty ugly. I don’t recall when I wrote this, but it’s been working reliably for long enough that I don’t feel the need to change it just yet. Then again, a shell script that calls AppleScript that calls JavaScript seems pretty ridiculous.

This script looks at the current web page in Safari and grabs the title, URL, and any selected text and builds a new post in the format my site builder script expects. Similar to my previous New Post script, this one opens the new file in MacVim, ready for writing.

I call the script from Quicksilver using the Run… command, and tied the command to ^⎇ ⌘ P for a hotkey.

I might start putting more links on the site. There are often things that I find might be interesting to a certain segment of the Mac community, mainly the more technical and scientific groups, that I haven’t done anything significant with. I’d like to change that.

Marco Arment takes Apple to task over the decline in their software.

Apple has completely lost the functional high ground. “It just works” was never completely true, but I don’t think the list of qualifiers and asterisks has ever been longer. We now need to treat Apple’s OS and application releases with the same extreme skepticism and trepidation that conservative Windows IT departments employ.

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The canary in the coal mine?

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It makes sense that you’d need a special tool or kit to replace a cracked screen, but why should I have to send away my laptop in order to upgrade the hard drive? Why should I have to be without my phone or tablet for a week while the battery is replaced because it will no longer hold a charge?

A computer becomes more useful the smaller and faster it is. No one, other than geeks, ever cared how computers were put together, or how they worked. They only cared how they could use them to design a building, or research brain injuries, or plan a trip to Africa to drill a well. Real work.

The argument for repairable hardware is similar to the argument for open source; it misses the point of computers.