Being There

There is a new retrospective book about Apple that’s just out, “After Steve: how Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul“, by Tripp Mickle. It sounds like a good book with some good stories. But many Apple followers are pointing out the flaws in the narrative. It seems the author doesn’t really “get” Apple.

But Apple is a weird company. Their business model, organization structure and decision-making confound many people in the business And while the author has some great first-hand accounts of what went on, it’s not the same as Being There.

If you want a good sense of how the story-telling can go right, I recommend “Creative Selection: Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs“, by Ken Kocienda. A big part of the reason this is a better book is because this author “was there”. Ken was Principle Engineer of iPhone Software at Apple, and specifically the DRI (Directly Responsible Individual) for the original iPhone keyboard. This story is from an earlier period, when Steve Jobs was still alive, but what’s important is that the narrative he presents of how things worked, and why, runs well with everything long followers of Apple understand about the company.

But Being There doesn’t solve everything. You still get differing perspectives. I’ve been in Silicon Valley a long time, and like most people here I have my own experiences of Being There. But when I talk to colleagues about “the good old days”, is remarkable how differently we remember some things. And I’m not talking about memories fading with time. We were looking at events from different perspectives, and with different information (and biases, and understanding), so we came away with our own differing narratives of how things worked, and why.

So I don’t judge this new book about Apple based on a simple question of whether the author got the story fully right. The question is whether it adds something valuable to the story. From the reviews, I think it’s worth a shot, so I’ll be picking the book up.

Normalize Being Kind

As I walk along the path near our home, I smile and say hi to people who pass. Some return the greeting, or smile. A few don’t notice me. And a few give me a look of consternation, or look down or away as they speed past.

It occurred to me today that it’s important that we all normalize simple acts of kindness. Especially those that don’t ask for anything in return. A smile. A greeting as we pass.

Too much of our lives has become transactional. We can battle this by the simple act of being kind. Being friendly. And not wanting anything in return, but maybe a nod to the beautiful day.

Learning Swift andSwiftUI

This is a great time to get started learning Swift and SwiftUI. The language and tools have matured to a very usable state, and there are some excellent learning resources out there.

I’ve been learning Swift and SwiftUI for a bit now and I’m getting fairly proficient. During this journey I’ve taken several online courses and bought quite a few books. Most of these were very well done and I’m glad to have supported their creators in some small way. But a few really stand out.

Big bonus for the 2021 Holiday season, these folks are all having Black Friday or Holiday sales. See each site for details.

Hacking with Swift is a website by Paul Hudson that teaches Swift and SwiftUI. His free course 100 Days of SwiftUI is excellent. If you like his style (and his dogs!), he also has some paid options that are very much worth the money – several books and an excellent online membership called Hacking with Swift+ (https://www.hackingwithswift.com/plus) Paul keeps creating new lessons and updating old ones and I subscribe so that I can have access to all of it. (Plus I like supporting Paul’s fine work!)

The books that have really made a difference for my deeper understanding of Swift and SwiftUI are all written by Daniel Steinberg at Dim Sum Thinking (https://dimsumthinking.com). I first met Daniel some years ago at a technical conference where he gave a short talk. I was immediately impressed with his teaching style and the way he brings to life the underlying structure and logic of the programming language and related libraries and tools. His books and lectures go beyond simple “how-to” to teach how things work and why. You can find his brilliant books, including a full bundle of them, and his videos and other work at https://editorscut.com, and he sells his books as eBooks at Gumroadhttps://editorscut.gumroad.com

If you are coming from a Design Background, or if you are like me and are very much NOT a designer, then you’ll get a lot of value from the courses at Design+Code – https://designcode.io. Meng and Stephanie are great instructors! Their courses are first-rate, and you can get started for free. I especially love the visual, hands-on teaching method. Also, if you join there are design tools and other extras.

There are so many other wonderful books and courses out there, you can simply poke around and find something to your liking. I feel guilty not listing all those that I know. But the most important thing is to start. Pick a course, free or paid, and get rolling. Try to do a little every day and you’ll make quick progress. And don’t forget to have fun!

Are You Susceptible?

One of the problems we face is that it’s easy to get people to agree with the premise that social media manipulates people, but difficult to get them to believe that they, personally, are being manipulated.

“You’re converting people’s lives into digital models. Collecting all the data the leave out in the world, and using that to both forecast their behavior and to manipulate them.” – Roger McNamee

The manipulation is generally very subtle. But a small effect, repeated and built over thousands of interactions, can develop into substantial changes in behavior, and in beliefs.

This all seems pretty innocuous when it’s a laundry soap advertiser trying to get you to switch to their brand. But various kinds of bad actors have also used these tools very effectively.

These bad actors don’t need to reach everyone. They only need to find those who are susceptible to their manipulation. Then they turn the screws to get what they want.

Quickly send directions to your Tesla

I frequently look up things on my iPhone or iPad. If I then decide to drive there, it’s easiest to send the location to the Tesla for the in-car navigation instead of looking it up all over again when I get in the car.

It’s done, simply:

From the location in Apple Maps, touch the “Share” icon

Lookup the Location, and select “Share”

Select the Tesla app to share with your in-car navigation…

select the Tesla app to share with your car

You will get a brief “Sending” status while the destination is sent to the Tesla app, and then on to the car…

Brief “Sending” status while the destination is sent to the car

And then a status indicating that the destination was successfully sent to the car!

Destination successfully Sent

it’s a little thing, but quite nice.

Now if Tesla could just do better support for music libraries, and Apple CarPlay, and …

You should wait to install MacOS Catalina

 

There is a lot of really great stuff in Apple’s new macOS release, Catalina (macOS 10.15).

But there is also a lot changed that can cause problems.

I strongly recommend you wait until the first major update (likely macOS 10.15.1) before upgrading to macOS Catalina.

If you do decide to upgrade to Catalina, be sure to take all the usual extra precautions, especially to make a full image backup of your main boot drive. Right now, my recommendation is Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) which has a new version available that works with Catalina. (SuperDuper, my other long-time favorite, has not yet (as of this writing on October 8th, 2019) released a version that works with Catalina.) 

The makers of CCC have written a great blog post, which also explains a bit about what is changed in Catalina that makes it complicated to support and why having a fully bootable backup is essential for safety. (tl;dr – it’s the only way to go BACK to Mojave.)

https://bombich.com/blog/2019/10/07/cloning-catalina-carbon-copy-cloner

I always recommend maintaining a fully bootable backup that’s updated on a regular basis, but before this Catalina upgrade, it really is absolutely essential. 

 

For a full review of macOS Catalina, check out MacStories: 

https://www.macstories.net/news/macos-catalina-the-macstories-review/

Feast!

at the inclusion camp event hosted by Fenixia Foundation at Punta de Gloria Resort, there was a traditional Philippine feast for the volunteers, staff, and families…

Before:

… and after:

Clarity on Facebook…

"Just a reminder that every Facebook privacy scandal you’ve heard about for the past seven years — Cambridge Analytica, passwords stored in plain text, that thing where they were demanding email account passwords, using two-factor phone numbers for user account lookup, the private data sent to Facebook by developers using the company’s SDK, and so on; I could do this all day — was committed while the company was already promising the FTC to not violate users’ privacy."

From https://pxlnv.com/linklog/facebook-ftc-privacy-agreement/