I decided to merge this blog with the one at my main site, and so this will be the final post at this domain. So head over to my other blog and follow me there.
I have an incredibly geeky need to log information about my life–for my own uses, mind you–and a big part of how I address that need is in journaling with DayOne, an app with variants on both OS X and iOS. It syncs flawlessly across devices and (Apple’s) platforms, and has a well-designed interface which makes it a joy to use. The act of writing stuff in DayOne is great for me, which is why I have to find some problem with it.
Sometimes I just want to dash off a thought really quickly–without launching DayOne, waiting for it to open, entering my passcode, tapping to begin a new entry, and so on and so on. I decided I’d find a quicker way to add entries to my journal. Luckily, the developer of DayOne has implemented a pretty handy (if basic) command-line interface, which means that it’s easy to script and automate the app. What I ended up with is this: I type my markdown-formatted entry in Drafts, fire a Dropbox action, and…that’s it. It doesn’t open another app. It just adds the entry to my journal in the background. It takes a little bit of work to set it up, but it’ll save you a lot of time over the long haul. It’s awesome.
Do you see that? Anyone who writes code in this style (or who deploys includes which import code in this style) should be flogged, beaten, bludgeoned, flogged again, pummeled, and flogged again. Use white space. Indent. Organize. Readability matters.
How can we talk about who’s “winning” if we can’t agree on what “winning” is? In case you hadn’t noticed, the gadget business isn’t all that much like Formula One racing, Yahtzee or curling. There are no rules; there aren’t any well-defined opposing forces; the battle has no beginning or end. And zero-sum thinking — the assumption that one company doing well hurts another, or that all companies are even playing the same game — is often out of whack with reality.
I didn’t realize until just now that sanity is, in fact compatible with discussion of gadgets. This changes everything.
Kidding aside: the childish black vs. white, oppressively binary way of thinking that so pervades tech journalism is more than a nerdy fanboy phenomenon. Our entire culture operates this way. We hate ambiguity. We loathe nuance. We think people are either Americans or Terrorists. If a movie makes money, it’s good; if a movie makes money, it’s bad. And so on. Nearly every human judgment is artificially constrained within an infantile boolean-only logical system.
Anyway, let’s get back to what we do best. Reality TV: cultural feces, or The Literature Of Our Age? (Hint: feces.)
I’ve recently started learning Python, and in the process I’ve become a huge fan of a Python coding environment for iOS called Pythonista. It allows one to actually run scripts on an iPhone or an iPad, and given the fact that it has a great URL scheme, some really cool things are possible.
I decided last night that I’d try to create a means with which to easily send myself reminders on my iOS devices, using a Pythonista script and Drafts. The script takes minimal textual input from Drafts in the form of a note on one line and an interval of time (in minutes) on the second line. I fire a Drafts action, and that’s it. At the appointed time, I’ll receive a native iOS notification containing my reminder.
I find it really handy: there’s no need to fumble with Reminders.app, set a date and time, etc. And it’s also far, far quicker than trying to set a timer in Clock.app.
If you have both Drafts and Pythonista on your device(s), give it a shot. The relevant code, the Drafts URL action, and more can be found in my post on the Pythonista user forums.
Here’s Jesus Christ, Silicon Valley on Google Glass:
I have to admit that my initial reaction upon seeing a pair was indeed one of childlike wonder. As in, “I wonder what will happen if I kick this guy in the nuts?”
The answer to that childlike question: there would be a POV video of your foot striking his oysters. That video would be on Google+. No human being would ever see that video. But lots of Google’s servers would see that video, and would run ads for athletic cups directly on the retinas of douchebags wearing Google Glass.
And the cycle repeats.
Until a Douchebag Singularity results in a giant, swirling black hole in which douche is infinitely dense.
Google’s ex-CEO and current Official Sayer of Stupidities Eric Schmidt thinks paying taxes in Great Britain is for plebeian shitmunchers.
Mr Schmidt defended his company’s practice, suggesting that its contribution to the UK economy was more important than the tax it paid to the Exchequer. “We are investing heavily in Britain,” he said. “We power literally billions of pounds of start-ups through advertising networks and so forth, and we’re a key part of the electronic commerce expansion of Britain, which is driving a lot of economic growth for the country. So from our perspective, I think, you have to look at it in a totality.
And then the asshat decides to add this little bon mot:
The people we employ in Britain are certainly paying British taxes, and more importantly, they’re British citizens and they’re driving a lot of GDP.
This sort of thing is easy enough to get away with in the United States, since our Congress is a wholly owned subsidiary of Whoever Has $1, but that bird may not soar so gracefully on the other side of the pond.
You can’t get Facebook Home on your iPhone. But very soon you’ll be able to get one of the most buzzed-about features from Facebook’s new mobile software: “Chat Heads” are coming to iOS devices, via a Facebook app update.
Awesome. Now I finally know for sure that I want to delete this app.
Check out this excerpt from a “DEA Intelligence Note”:
On February 21, 2013, the DEA San Jose Resident Office (SJRO) learned that text messages sent via iMessages® [sic] between Apple products (iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch® [sic], and iMac®) are not captured by pen register, trap and trace devices, or Title III interceptions. iMessages between two Apple devices are considered encrypted communication and cannot be intercepted, regardless of the cell phone service provider.
One’s imagination instantly leaps to images of thousands of petty criminals and drug dealers tossing their “burners” in the trash, and then queuing up at the Apple store for an iPod Touch. And then texting C|NET to thank them for the tip.
Note the humorously clueless conflation of the entire Mac product line into simply “iMac.” ↩