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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.)

My Search Engine Is Perhaps My Favourite Tech Service

There’s a lot of talk about Google Search these days β€” and how AI is affecting the search quality. Parts of the algorithm even leaked recently, showing that they’ve actively lied to the public. And the general discussions surrounding whether Google is getting worse, has been going on for way longer. But I’ve sidestepped this whole thing…

A while ago, in my quest to use less stuff from the largest tech companies (and due to privacy concerns), I used DuckDuckGo for over a year. But while I liked the design, I found myself having to type !g, and go to Google, to find what I was looking for.

Then I tried Neeva (RIP). And I liked that I didn’t have to scroll past ads, but the Norwegian results were terrible.

However, for the last two years, I’ve used Kagi Search β€” and ever since, it’s been one of my absolute favourite tech products. And yesterday they published a blog post called What is next for Kagi?, which I liked, and that spurred this post.**Β 

I like being the customer

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An Introduction to Mad Max

I recently saw a film poster to Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga - so I thought I’d might watch Mad Max: Fury Road again. I think I remembered it being pretty good - but after rewatching it, I thought: “Uhm, I think this is the best film I’ve ever seen??"

So I’ve spent some time the last two weeks getting into the Mad Max Franchise. I’ve always known about it, but never really had a relationship to it. But now I’m a fan!

This post is a part of a sort-of series I'm calling "Noob teaching noobs". So I absolutely don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to Mad Max, or films in general!

I’m not going into why Fury Road is so amazing here. Instead I’m going to give some pointers on how to get into the series.

Worth your time

There are many famous franchises out there - but most of them take a little lifetime to get into. There’s so much Star Wars/Trek, Game of Thrones or Marvel stuff out there. But Mad Max is much more manageable, and the high notes are so great, that it’s absolutely worth your time.

You can absolutely just watch Fury Road, without doing anything else before it. If you’re going that route, you can read this little footnote for a tiny bit of background. πŸ‘‰πŸ» 1

I watched Fury Road blind, and then went back to the three old ones - but it could also be fun to simply watch them in chronological order!

Mini reviews of the first three

Read More's Amazing New Reply Feature

Both, and the Fediverse at large, sometimes feel like they’re just a few puzzle pieces away from being really great. And recently, added one of those pieces!

Because, you could already follow my blog, via the username, on things like Mastodon. And if you saw one of my posts on your timeline, you could comment on it directly. However, it was a bit difficult to comment on it from the website here. But look at this beautiful piece as the bottom of my posts now:

And when you click through one of the links, you get sent back to the post and can add your comment.

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Why I Use Fastmail

Lenke til norsk versjon

A couple of months ago, I “recruited” a friend to use the e-mail service Fastmail. And today, in a group chat, I “bragged” about me getting paid a sweet 50 cent (like it’s my birthday) for this! 1 πŸ™ŒπŸ»

One of my friends, obviously very impressed by my business acumen, asked “Well, what’s your pitch for Fastmail?” β€” and this post is my answer to him! And if I’m lucky, I’ll get a whole dollar next month. πŸ™πŸ»

The Fastmail logo.

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Lovely Attention to Detail

I love unnecessary details. I know that, for many people, this has about zero value. But even if it doesn’t serve a function (and there is an argument for the example in the video below having a function), small things like this simply brings joy. For instance, my mom’s car is nicer than mine - and one of the small things, is that the thump you get when you close the door, is so much nicer! And software can give this feeling as well.

Video from Quinn Nelson's (Snazzy Labs) Threads account.

Two quick tips for apps (that I’ll write more about later) that has excellent feel: Bike and Paper

I mean, just look at the way the text moves in Bike! 😍

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