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🌱 My Watch Collection (Of Only Sub $100 Watches)

And my wife’s way nicer collection

Even though I like tech, and Apple gear, I don’t have smart watch. And the main reason I that I like (mostly mechanical) watches too much. But even though my dream watch is an old Explorer with faded Tritium, I only own very cheap, oddball watches. And I’ve greatly enjoyed finding bargains that still looks good and works well - several of them from Russia/USSR.1

Casio A500WGA-9DF

Every watch collection, no matter the budget, needs a digital Casio. And to me, this (and its silver sister) is, by far, the coolest.

Raketa Copernicus

This hand-wound beauty has some really unique hands, and a pleasing dial. And it comes in several (more or less original) dial and colour variations. As will become apparent, I really like smaller watches like this!

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Please Don't Kill The "Today View"

The boys over at the Connected podcast have discussed the Today View (specifically on iPhone) the last few episodes. And late to the party, here’s my short take.

The Today View is the screen of widgets you get to when you scroll left on your Lock Screen or first Home Screen. And they were speculating that it might get removed in time, as it doesn’t get much love from Apple. They didn’t say that they wanted it to go away β€” but it was also clear that they wouldn’t really mind.

I would.

Because I think it serves a very specific purpose, and fits very well with my use of Home Screens.

Because I’m a One Home Screen Kinda Guy, which I change with Focus Modes. This also makes me a heavy user of the App Library and Spotlight for launching apps and shortcuts. But to me, the Today View is a perfect spot for something I have no other place for: Widgets I always want quick access to, but that I still don’t use so often that it gets a spot on my one Home Screen.

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Similar Apps to Bear and Things 3

I saw a simple question on Reddit today, and it sparked an answer.

Any other apps similar to Bear and Things 3?

Looking for similar apps to these two that perfectly balances minimalism, functionality, and UI/aesthetics.

I interpreted this as not being about the specific functionalities, and the types of apps (note-taker and task-manager), but the way those apps feel. Because, if you haven’t used them, you really should. They are truly special pieces of software. I will write more about some of these apps later, but …

Here’s my answer:

Oooh, I like this question!

I’m the kind of person who really values how a piece of software feels (in addition to looks and works.). But I 100% get that I might seem like an idiot for using pricier, and maybe less powerful, software, just because I think it’s nice, heh.

I really like both Bear and Things, but I’ve gone for a workflow where I mostly use plaintext/.md files, which I then access from different apps. The files are located in the folder for NotePlan, which I use it because it has good task and calendar support, so it fills the function of both Bear and Things. And compared to Obsidian and Logseq, it’s closer to Bear in terms of nice-ness β€” though not quite at that level.

Here are som apps I’d say are on that level, though:

These are apps that (mostly) adhere to principles of Fast Software, the Best Software, and are filled with details you might not appreciate at first glance.

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My shoes broke, so I did something radical

… but it shouldn’t be!

Sometimes, the best units of clothing are those you’ve had for a while. It’s been worn in, and seems to have moulded to your body. However, that makes it even sadder when it gets a hole or something β€” and I assume many of you have kept using an item way longer than you should. It’s just so damn comfortable, so you don’t care that your nipple is poking out of your sweatshirt, The People Eater style.

Recently, I had this happen to a pair of shoes β€” and that’s when I did something that shouldn’t be as radical as it is.

Blown out heel, tired leather, and worn down sole.

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Two (Ultra-Cheap) DI Boxes From China

One good, one terrible

Recently, I bought a couple of very cheap guitar pedals from China (through AliExpress). I’m working on making some pedalboards for some young family members, and I want to see how cheap I can get it without it being terrible.

My cousin plays the bass (like myself), so I would like to incorporate a DI box in his setup β€” so I ordered two different ones.

This Rowin DI (€20),
and this Dolamo DI (Β£16).

And the difference was huge!

Noble knobs were otherwise engaged when the photo was taken.

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🌱 What Makes Telegram Great

Chat apps: Part 2

People, myself included, will endlessly discuss the features and details of their favourite apps for email, calendar, task management and note-taking. But “no one” talks about chat apps β€” even though many people probably use this type of app even more. I recently wrote about this here, and that I think it’s a bummer that chat apps mostly rely on one of two things: Military-grade security, and lazy lock-in.

I, of course, get why it is like this: Network effects, and switching costs, are of course much higher with chat apps than other apps. A less reported on part of the EU’s Digital Market’s Act (DMA) is actually trying to do something about this, with the demand for chat interoperability! Matrix is also working on this.

However, as someone who’s used plenty of chat apps, one really stands out, in terms of quality and features β€” and that’s Telegram. I also regularly use iMessage and Messenger (in addition to a bit of Signal and WhatsApp) β€” and those feel like such a let-down by comparison. This post is me giving concrete examples of why. 1

Telegram does have a bunch of "social media features", like channels (one-to-many communication), huge groups (up to 200k), etc. - but I've never really used these. So I'm looking at it simply as a chat app, for individuals and smallish groups.

This is not an endorsement of Telegram, nor the people behind it, though.

(By the way, click here to skip the preamble.)

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Things I've Enjoyed This Week (22)

Here are some of the things I enjoyed this week. (I hope this can be a recurring thing!)

I’m in the fortunate position of having watched very few films. So now I’m trying to go back and view a bunch of stuff I haven’t watched, but really should watch. My wife has seen way fewer films than even me, though β€” and she will join me for some of it!

This week I’ve really liked Django Unchained, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (the best Indiana Jones movie in my opinion), Kong: Skull Island (the best I’ve seen in the Monsterverse) and Good Will Hunting.

I also can’t recommend Caravan of Garbage on YouTube enough. Top-tier Australian movie banter! Like I mentioned in my Mad Max post, I like to watch the Caravan of Garbage episode after I’ve watched a movie (any movie).

How It Feels to Get an AI Email From a Friend, is a beautifully written post, and a great read. By Neven Mrgan who works for the excellent Panic.

I also really liked the post Consumption-to-Creation Ratio by Manuel Moreale! Made me want to keep up. πŸ’ͺ🏻 (But in a good and chill way.)

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When Was the Last Time You Heard Someone Discuss the "Quality" of a Chat App?

Chat apps: Part 1

What constitutes a “good” car? (Yes, “car” β€” I’ll get to chat apps, I promise!) If I were to answer for myself, I’d split it up into three factors (with one added as a bonus):

  1. Security
    • This is important, both for the people inside and outside the car!
    • … but it’s not the only factor, of course.
  2. Features
    • Size, range, etc. β€” things you can do with it.
  3. Comfort, and sense of quality
    • This isn’t about what you can do with it, but how it feels to do them. In a car, this could be sound (or lack thereof), looks, driving experience, how it feels to open and close the doors, and other small, and large, things.
  4. Price
    • Maybe this shouldn’t be here β€” but when picking a car, it’s often about getting the most features, comfort, and security for the price.
    • (“Quality” can also be interpreted as how fast it breaks, which could also be included in the cost of owning the vehicle.)

Luckily, the car market is pretty competitive β€” so there are plenty of options. And you don’t have to buy the same brand as your friends and family! But I want to compare it a bit to chat apps, and both the market and discussions surrounding them. Because even though most of us use chat apps numerous times every day, I’d argue both the market and discussions are lacking.

To me, it seems like most apps only have one of two value propositions β€”

even though I’d say all the factors from above applies to chat apps as well: Security (and, the connected, but separate, Privacy), Features, Comfort and sense of Quality, and Price. (The way we pay for chat apps is often with “personal data” and “viewing adds”.)

The first proposition is good ol' “Lock-in”

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🌱 Some Scripts for Native Tagging of Markdown Files

One thing I like about Markdown is the way the files are just plain-text files, that can be opened and read in different programs and contexts. As much as I can, I try not to lock down my content, or workflows, into specific apps. But I still want to use nice apps! So sometimes I have to jump through a few hoops to make things interoperate. I’ll go into more detail on my workflows later β€” but I thought I’d share some scripts I use in one piece of the puzzle.

Here's the link to the scripts. I started with a script from this repo, which I then spent a good amount of time editing (with the help of an LLM). So feel free to come with suggestions for how they can be improved!

First, here’s what they do:

What I want is to be able to tag things in the different programs I use, and then automatically apply native Finder/Files tags to the files themselves. If I want to make three tags called “Bass guitar”, “Music” and “Effect pedals”, I would write #Bass guitar# #Music #Effect pedals#. (Notice how the multi-word ones also end with a #.)

The scripts come in three different flavours:

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Does Apple "Care" About Our Privacy?

This post was originally a Mac Power Users thread.

One of the questions that started a discussion, was (paraphrased) whether Apple “cares about the privacy of its users”.

I think these are some important nuances to Apple’s decisions surrounding privacy:

  • Sometimes Apple will make something more private because they hope it will be a selling point. I don’t mind that at all! That’s “just as nefarious” as them making something good because it will sell.
  • Other times, Apple will make something more private that just so happens to benefit Apple and harm their competitors. A good example here, is them locking down the NFC chip on iPhones. (Here’s a good post discussing this.)
  • And sometimes they’ll do something that benefits them even though it’s bad for their users' privacy. For instance, they don’t mind tracking us to serve us ads, as long as they’re the ones doing it.

And the billions they accept from Google, to make their search the default in Safari, is another example of the latter.

If Apple really cared about our privacy, they would, of course, choose a default that doesn’t track us β€” like DuckDuckGo. And it feels a bit hollow when they’re like “Yeah, we care about your privacy β€” but not like not-accept-$20-billion-for-free-care, you know!"

So, while I do think “privacy” is an argument for choosing Apple products, I think they’ve proven that they don’t care about our privacy. Whether that matters, is a different question! ☺️

(This discussion also spurred me to write about my search engine of choice, Kagi.)

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