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    Why I Don’t Love Web Apps

    And a call for help

    I absolutely get why companies make web apps instead of native apps. Why juggle tons of platforms and languages if you don’t have to? Furthermore, being on the web makes you free from platform gatekeepers!

    It can also benefit users, by giving the same experience everywhere, making more software cross-platform and accessible on more niche platforms, and more.

    And if a developer has 100 hours to develop a client for their service, the user experience very well might be better if they spent all of it on a web app, instead of spending 25 hours on four different native clients.

    There’s also a bunch of terrible native (or “native”) apps. One example is phone apps that simply are terrible web wrappers that just want to be able to track and notify you more than they can in a web browser. 1

    A bar chart that compares software quality of ‘Web apps’ and ‘Native apps’. There are bad and great apps of both kinds, but the ceiling of the latter is higher.

    When I say that I prefer native apps, I don’t mean that there are no great web apps (like Figma) or bad native apps. My point is that the ceiling of the latter is higher, and that all the best apps I’ve tried are native.

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    Chromium and Nested Backdrop-Filters

    If you’re like me, you sometimes get these small (often technical) problems, that you work on for so long — and you refuse to surrender.

    I had this with CSS a couple of months ago:

    I had a menu, that had transparency and blur, and then I also had a submenu that I wanted to have the same. But the submenu just. wouldn’t. blur!

    It works perfectly in Gecko and WebKit — but after countless hours, I found the problem: If an element has a backdrop-filter, Chromium won’t let its children have it as well. 1

    I had to design around it, and moved on with my life.

    A few moments later…

    I recently moved to Micro.blog. And one day I was scrolling down my timeline…

    Scrolling the timeline, with a picture of a great sunset making a nice blur below the header.
    Ooh, look at that nice blur!

    Then I opened the submenu:

    When opening the submenu, you can see that the blur effect isn't on it - so that you see way too much of the text beneath.
    Motherføcker!

    There it was — the same bug! I’m not alone!

    The fix

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    ✉️ To SigmaOS’ CEO: This Is What I Don’t Like About Arc’s Direction

    I really, really like the Arc browser. But as I alluded to in this post, I have some reservations regarding it, and don’t feel like it’s going in a direction that I like. In the post, I said that I might try SigmaOS again — and I am. 1

    I mentioned this in their community Slack, and their CEO, Mahyad, asked me what about Arc’s direction I don’t like. I must say, the dev team seems very active, nice, and open to input! So this post is my reply to his question.

    (And here’s a link straight to the TL;DR at the bottom.)


    Hi, Mahyad — and thanks for asking! I wrote a blog post called «I Just Want A Nice Browser!», which might give you a hint, heh.

    And let me also say that I’m a bit worried about your direction as well — but I’ll come back to that. 😉

    Two fundamentals I don’t love, but that I don’t need to go too much into

    1. I don’t love that Arc is built on Chromium — as I think Google has more than enough power over the web as it is.
    2. I’m not against supporting any VC funded company — but in combination with an unclear business model, I become more skeptical and worried if our incentives align. 2

    My main issue, though, is regarding AI

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    The Prettiest Voice Since Allison Krauss

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    I’m testing Tidal these days, and wanted to test the audio quality vs. Spotify. I happened to stumble upon a new track by an artist I like during testing, so that was the first track I tested. 1 And holy føck if this isn’t one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard:

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    I Just Want a Nice Browser!

    Two sad browser stories

    I’ve followed the Spicy Takes™️ surrounding the Arc Browser recently, that started in the Ruminate podcast and went on to the MacStories Weekly Issue 408.

    And I agree with most of what John Voorhees is saying, and also Matt Birchler, who said: «The Browser Company feels gross to me right now».

    Much of it is about ethics and AI. In general I agree with them, but this subject won’t be the focus of this post. (I’ve written more about AI here and here.)

    Instead I’ll tell my browser story, and explain why both Arc and Firefox makes me sad.

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    AI Is Just Different

    The discussion around the ethics and legality surrounding AI has been a constant the last year — and it’s culminating in some important trials that’s coming up.

    I won’t go into the entire thing here — I just want to focus on a specific argument that I often hear when it comes to the way these large models are trained. It oftes goes something like: «But how is this different from how humans have always been learning and iterating on previous knowledge?» or «The information was available on the open web, so it can be used for anything!».

    I think these are terrible arguments.

    Humans are allowed into shopping malls.

    However, that’s simply not an argument for that cars should be allowed there as well — whether they’re driven by a human or autonomous.

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    A Couple of Chill, Mostly New, Indie Games

    I love small, chill indie games. They’re cheap, and the money goes to small developers who needs the support. Many have short gameplay loops, that make them easy to fit into my schedule. And many of the ones I like have non-realtime gameplay, and that, coupled with low hardware demands, makes them well suited for playing on my laptop. My MacBook isn’t a slouch - but it’s no gaming rig.

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    An Idea For Better Music Streaming

    I sadly don’t have the abilities to live out this idea — at least not alone. So everyone who finds this, is welcome to steal it or riff with me!

    I’m currently trying to transfer from Spotify to Tidal. The main reason is that I want to use a service that pays artists better — and it’s a nice bonus that the sound quality is better. However, I prefer Spotify’s app and features. 1 And this inspired me to write out an idea I’ve been thinking about for a while.

    Inspired by Mastodon, Apple’s MusicKit API, Podcasts and PeerTube

    Third-party first

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    Apple Is Not the Reason I’m Buying Apple Products - These People Are

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    In the court cases against Epic, this round of regulatory scrutiny from the EU, and other more, Apple has made their sense of entitlement abundantly clear. Every piece of business that happens on their platforms, is to their credit. And developers are lucky to be able to pay them almost a third of their revenue for the privilege of being on their platforms. If Apple understands that their relationship with developers is reciprocal, they’re hiding it well.

    I like all my Apple hardware. Heck, I even love some of it! I also like the operating systems, the general focus on privacy, and the way the different parts of the ecosystem work together. But I think I could enjoy a Framework laptop, Asus phone and some Sony earbuds as well! The things Apple makes and does isn’t the main reason I keep buying Apple products. It’s all the fantastic third-party developers, mostly indie, who make great software for the Apple platforms.

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    Why I Think Apple’s Fine is Fine

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    Today, Apple got hit with a €1.84 billion fine — for anticompetitive behaviour in the music streaming market.

    I’ve seen people saying this doesn’t make sense, as Spotify has a larger market share than Apple Music — but that’s not what the complaint is about. The thing is, that Apple has used their size, ecosystem and general market position to give Apple Music a larger market share than they would’ve gotten if they had to compete fairly. Apple is about 80 times the size of Spotify. To put that into perspective, that’s about the same ratio as a rhino compared to a golden retriever. 1

    The dog might have the Rhino beat on «amount of fur», but that doesn’t make it «more powerful».

    Here are some of the smaller things Apple are doing:

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    A Good Way to Get Home Row Mods on a Mac

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    (If you already know about Home Row Mods, click here to go straight to my quick method for getting it on your Mac - even on the .internal laptop keyboard)

    As part of my ergonomics voyage, I’ve been working on getting home row mods on my keyboard. This excellent guide provides tons of info on this, but the short version is this:

    To contort your hands less when using modifiers (like shift and control), the letter keys on your home row serves double duty: They’re the letters if you tap them, but modifiers if you hold them.

    Letter keys A, S, D and F, with icons for modifier keys on them.

    The home row letters on the right side is usually used as well, mirrored from the left. Image from the guide.

    Image of the ZSA Voyager split keyboard.

    Many users of this completely gets rid of the regular modifier keys. But it can be benefitial as a compliment to those as well, by reducing the amount you use them.

    Tapping vs holding

    But what’s constitutes a tap and what constitutes a hold? That’s the central question here…

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    Why do so many apps have weird margins?

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    There are tons of services, apps and clients for text based social media. But why are almost all of them wrong about timeline margins?

    Out of touch Skinner-meme, with the text: «Am I wrong about timeline margins?» «No, it’s most apps who are wrong!»

    To show what I’m talking about, here’s Threads as an example:

    Screenshot of Threads. Point explained below.

    I get that you want to start the text quite close to the username, and that avatars are taller than usernames on some services. But I still think that left-margin is a sin! It wastes space, and makes the entire screen lopsided.

    I went through many apps checking - and many of the apps are good and well-designed in general! Many of them are Mastodon clients, because that service has a fantastic 3rd party ecosystem. Also, they’re all iOS apps, because that’s what I have. Would be interested to hear about the situation on Android!

    OK, here are some more offenders:

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    Today’s Keyboard Maintenance

    Today, I finished the first step of my Ergonomics Voyage: Making some modifications to my keyboard.

    Key layout

    The most important change, was activating home row mods. So I’ve made it so tapping

    a s d f works as normal — but if I hold them, they act as

    Ctrl Opt Shift Cmd .

    And then I’ve mirrored it on the other side, to j k l ø .

    Failed at software

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    🌱 How I Manage Windows

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    Rafael Conde, posted on Mastodon today:

    We’re sharing how we use the Desktop and how we size/position windows on our Macs on our work Slack and it’s absolute madness.

    And, then followed it up with a poll:

    Time to fess up, how do you primarily use windows “on your” Mac? Bonus points if you reply with a screenshot 📸
    ⋅ Wherever the appear, I don’t know
    ⋅ Centered (think Apple marketing shot)
    ⋅ Fullscreen (as big as you can make them)
    ⋅ Tiled (in a grid, like taking up half the screen)

    I, as many others, have strong feelings about this. And I’d love for this to become the next «Default apps»! So I’ll start.

    I’m a big tiler.

    I switch between my MacBooks 14 inch screen, and my Studio Display’s 27-inch screen. But no matter which I’m on, I move my apps around quite a lot, and almost always in

    • quarters,
    • halves,
    • and wholes (not fullscreen mode).

    Here are some examples:

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    🌱 My Tech Setup

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    I’ll make separate posts for my software and bass guitar setups, but here’s my current tech hardware setup.

    My screen, screen light, microphone, numpad, keyboard, trackpad, wrist rests, Airpods and iPad. I have a monitor stand (but the screen is not on it).

    The overview. Details incoming!

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    🌱 The Ethics and Principles Behind My Blog

    These are my goals: Be a pleasent place for people visiting, that respects their privacy. Be a good citizen of (a lose definition of) the indie/small web. Even though my impact is small, I can still try to make it positive. This page (and the actions taken based on it), is under constant evaluation. It’s meant as a living post. 🌱 So feel free to contact me with feedback on this - especially if I fail to meet my goals.

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    My Ergonomics Voyage: Part 1

    Prologue, and the first steps

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    I’ve been a nerd my entire 34-year-long life. So naturally, much of it has been spent in front of computers using keyboards, and I’ve never experienced any discomfort related to this.1

    I don’t know if it’s due to my age, or just the fact that I’ve worked even more than usual on keyboards, but lately, I’ve started to notice discomfort. Especially in my left hand, but a bit in my right as well. Luckily, there’s nothing anywhere else, and it’s not that bad. But I want to take action to try to stay ahead of it.

    A bit about my current situation

    The last couple of years, I’ve been working mostly in my small home office, which was OK, but not great. Just a couple of weeks ago, I finally got my own (external) office, so the situation has improved. However, I’ve been stupid, and also worked quite a bit on my laptop on our kitchen table lately.

    Here’s my current office setup:

    Apple Studio Display with height adjustable stand. iPad next to the screen. Electric standing desk. Trackpad, keyboard and numpad, with wrist rest ahead of it.

    Not visible in the photo, is my Herman Miller Aeron chair, foot rest, and standing pad.

    Good things about my setup

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    Pedal tuners and product design

    Firstly, sorry about caring a bit too much about guitar tuners. You see, as a side gig, I help people with their pedalboards (especially people using multiple guitars on stage), and I often recommend that they get a new tuner. But no tuners are exactly like I want!

    While this post is mostly hard core nerd out on pedal tuners, there are also some comments on product design in general. Let’s go!

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    Guide to card sleeves

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    «Why?»

    Card protectors, or sleeves, are perhaps the most common accessory for games. There are two main reasons for sleeving your games:

    1. To protect the cards (kinda says so on the tin)
    2. To increase the sense of quality, much like component upgrades

    The protection part is especially important if the cards are of high value and/or gets shuffled a lot. Both are true with most collectable card games (CCGs), like Magic The Gathering – and this is why the sizes used for these games has the best selection. Shuffling with sleeved cards feels a lot better than unsleeved, so that affects both point 1 and 2. You can also get them with matte finish, to reduce glare.

    Here’s a guide to how you should proceed if you want to sleeve:

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