March 27, 2023

‘Rewind’s new feature brings ChatGPT to your personal information’

Are you ready for the next mind-blowing frontier for these AI Chatbots” that are taking the world by storm? David Pierce shared an example on The Verge of what is possible when GPT meets your computer lifestream:

Dan Siroker, the CEO of, gave me a demo of the new feature ahead of its launch. He and I had never met before, but we’d emailed a couple of times, and he’d looked me up ahead of our meeting. So he opened up the ChatGPT For Me window, a separate chat window inside the Rewind app, and typed how do I know David Pierce?” A few seconds later, it spit back an answer: we had a recent interaction after I reached out to introduce myself. (True and true.) We scheduled a 30-minute Zoom on March 22nd, 2023 (true), and discussed a big launch happening at Rewind (true). It also linked to the calendar event for our meeting, my LinkedIn page from his browser history, and more. With 10 seconds and one paragraph, Rewind detailed our entire relationship.

A personalized large language model-powered assistant is a very exciting possibility. But, done wrong, could have disastrous consequences. Setting aside the potential privacy concerns of letting an app record everything we do on our computers — difficult to set asides, I know — also allowing it to slurp up all that data to train a model that’s a big black box on the web would be nerve wracking, to say the least.

But with things like Rewind’s ChatGPT for Me, I can see glimpses of a future where we can ask natural language questions about our personal lives and get genuinely useful responses back. It’d be the infinitely accessible, summarizable, and interactive super memory that so many of us long for. A truly personal assistant.

I’m not going to say that Apple is the only company I’d trust with this kind of access to my data. But it’s a short list, and I am curious and optimistic to see if something like ChatGPT for Me emerges from them down the road.


March 26, 2023

7 Things This Week, 2023-03-26

A weekly list of interesting things I found on the internet, posted on Sundays. Sometimes themed, often not.

1️⃣ Technology is getting bananas these days. Here’s a recreation of Steve Jobs’ voice responding to novel questions, in his style, through ChatGPT. 🤯 [🔗 @BEASTMODE //] (Via John Gruber)

2️⃣ This site/Chrome extension/shortcut makes it easy to share a full ChatGPT conversation. Rather than trying to capture a huge screenshot, just share the URL it creates instead. [🔗]

3️⃣ I used to have a general disdain for plug-ins (a general mistrust in things they weren’t natively built in) but I left that feeling behind long ago. Plug-ins for web services, launcher apps, and now ChatGPT massively expand and inspire new capabilities for these tools. Seeing as ChatGPT can write code and interact with existing APIs, I think this is going to be a boon beyond our imaginations. [🔗 Mitchell Clark & James Vincent //]

4️⃣ This LighterPack site helps you track what you bring when backpacking and how much each item weighs. It’s apparently popular with thru-hikers who tackle extreme distances and where pack weight is a key concern. [🔗] (Via Mitchell Clark //

5️⃣ Underscore” David Smith shares his appreciation for the quietly consistent health data that the Apple Watch collects for you. Even when fitness isn’t your focus, having that historical data is super helpful when looking at trend lines, and, in David’s case, helps reinforce that small changes to habits do make a difference over time. [🔗 David Smith //]

6️⃣ It’s so easy to anthropomorphize cute objects and I did so hard with this video of a slinky on a treadmill set to dramatic music. I can’t help but root for the little guy! [▶️ abzde //] (Via Jason Kottke)

7️⃣ I loved this collection of deliberately inconvenient everyday objects, including the uncomfortable watering can” and engagement mugs”. Usually, we’re thinking about how to optimize, but in this case architect Katerina Kamprani got to stretch her creativity in the other direction. [🔗 Katerina Kamprani //]

Take a Chance

Thanks for reading 7 Things. If you enjoyed these links or have something neat to share, please let me know.

7 Things

March 26, 2023

Know When To Fold Them

Yours truly, back in June of 2021, writing about Apple being tight-lipped on which features in macOS Monterey would not be coming to Intel-powered Macs.:

I actually think this was a calculated decision. Apple is rumored to still have more Intel Macs to introduce. Understandably, they wouldn’t want to draw additional attention to OS features that those brand-new Macs won’t be able to use.

Thinking back through the timeline all the way to WWDC 2020, I don’t think this rumor actually panned out. As far as I can tell, not a single Intel Mac has been updated or introduced since the advent of the M1 chip. That rumored Mac Pro update that I linked to didn’t pan out, and the Mac Pro you can still buy today runs the same generation of Intel Xeon W processors.

Apple waited until they had a winning hand with their own silicon, then laid their cards and walked away from the poker table.

My take back then was wrong, but they did (and do!) continue to have an Intel machine for sale. I still tend to think Apple’s comparisons in marketing will get more aggressive once they complete their divorce from Intel.


March 25, 2023

‘Good conversations have lots of doorknobs’

Adam Mastroianni, writing for their Substack newsletter, Experimental History:

It turns out that we like people the best when they respond to us the fastest––so fast (mere milliseconds!) that they must be formulating their reply long before we finish our turn.

Uh-oh. I must not be very well-liked at all in conversations because I’m typically a slow thinker. I like to wait until someone gets it all out and then give a measured response. Something to consider, I suppose.


March 24, 2023

‘A Eulogy for Dark Sky, a Data Visualization Masterpiece’

Srini Kadamati, a data visualizer, waxing eloquent on the virtues of the dearly departed Dark Sky app’s design:

But Dark Sky was much more than just an API or a set of forecast technologies.” The design of the Dark Sky mobile application represented a hallmark of information design because the team clearly obsessed over how people would actually use the app on a daily basis.

The design of Dark Sky was so wonderful that I could understand the shape of the weather at a glance, even from a zoomed out view of the app.

On the innovative temperature pills that made understanding the gist of the forecast possible at a glance:

In the Dark Sky app, the temperature pills” representing the forecasted temperatures for the upcoming week preserve their existing magnitude more effectively in the visualization. The temperature values are more tightly integrated with the visual representation, making the combined experience more amenable to quick comparison across multiple days.

Srini concludes with a plea for more contextual data experiences that draw on principles that guided the Dark Sky app:

Dark Sky started with publicly available data, augmented it with contextualized predictions, rigorously iterated on data visualization design, and packaged all of this into a contextualized experience to make weather data useful for me in my daily life.

While the availability of data has never been higher, we’re still missing software experiences that contextualize that data to make our lives better. Data alone isn’t enough.

Make sure you check out his article for the accompanying screenshots.

If you’re a recovering Dark Sky user like me, consider reading this post as pouring one out” for the Dark Sky app. And to ease the pain, I’ll point you toward CARROT Weather, which introduced a Dark Sky” layout as a way to welcome users like us. It faithfully recreates the day and week forecast layout that we relied on — with the artful, contextual shape of the weather — which Srini rightfully calls a data visualization masterpiece”.


March 23, 2023

‘Don’t be a knee-jerk’

Jason Fried on building systems that encourage thoughtful consideration of new ideas:

We don’t want reactions. We don’t want first impressions. We don’t want knee-jerks. We want considered feedback. Read it over. Read it twice, three times even. Ponder. Sleep on it. Take your time to gather and present your thoughts — just like the person who pitched the original idea took their time to gather and present theirs.

That’s how you go deep on an idea.

Although in my previous job we never quite got to the asynchronous freedom that Basecamp was designed for, it was something I wanted dearly and tried to push. As someone who likes to take their time with reactions to ideas, the deliberate slow-down of a write-up, rather than a live presentation, for new ideas was very appealing.

I do less of the type of work that requires presentations these days, but I still come back to writing things down when I need to think them through.


March 19, 2023

7 Things (Shared by ChatGPT) This Week, 2023-03-19

A weekly list of interesting things I ChatGPT found on the internet, posted on Sundays. Sometimes themed, often not.

So I opened up my list in Drafts today and realized I hadn’t saved a single link to share in 7 Things. My bad. But I had the idea to ask what ChatGPT would come up with to share with you all. And the results are, well, really impressive. I knew only one of them, but they’re all, indeed, interesting. Here are ChatGPT’s 7 Things this week (with my commentary italicized below each one).

1️⃣ Radio Garden - A website that allows you to listen to radio stations from all around the world in real-time, just by spinning a globe and clicking on a location. Check it out at

JB: For someone who sometimes has trouble picking music to play, just spinning the globe was a fun mechanic to get some music going. And it makes the world feel somehow smaller.

2️⃣ A Soft Murmur - A website that allows you to create custom ambient soundscapes to help you relax, focus, or sleep better. You can mix together different sounds like rain, thunder, waves, and birds, to create the perfect atmosphere. Check it out at

JB: I was able to put together a custom background sound to my liking — like the one in use in Dark Noise (campfire, rain, and thunder if you’re wondering) — in seconds.

3️⃣ The Wayback Machine - A digital archive of the internet, which allows you to browse over 20 years of web history. You can see how popular websites looked in the past, and even access pages that have been taken down or deleted. Check it out at

JB: An indispensable tool for maintaining a record of the ever-changing internet. I recently found the Rewinder extension which couples The Wayback Machine with the macOS Time Machine interface.

4️⃣ The Scale of the Universe - A website that allows you to explore the relative sizes of objects in the universe, from the smallest subatomic particles to the largest known structures in the universe. Check it out at

JB: I’ll never not be fascinated by the scale of things in the knowable universe. My favorite string of text found near the 1 femtometer (very very small) mark: Lengths shorter than this are not confirmed.”

5️⃣ Project Euler - A website that offers a series of challenging mathematical and computational problems, designed to help you develop your problem-solving skills. Check it out at

JB: Maybe the one dud link. I didn’t really understand the premise of the site. But if I had the time, I might check out some of the math problems here for fun.

6️⃣ Virtual Piano - A website that allows you to play a virtual piano using your computer keyboard or mouse. You can choose from a variety of instruments and play your favorite songs, or even compose your own music. Check it out at

JB: I played, as I do with any piano I come across, the Rugrats theme.

7️⃣ Window Swap - A website that allows you to view video clips of scenic views from other people’s windows all around the world. It’s a great way to get a virtual travel experience and see new places. Check it out at

JB: Another world-smallifying-contraption. Looks like it is snowing in the UK!

Take a Chance

Thanks for reading 7 Things. If you enjoyed these links or have something neat to share, please let me know.

7 Things

March 12, 2023

7 Things This Week, 2023-03-12

A weekly list of interesting things I found on the internet, posted on Sundays. Sometimes themed, often not.

1️⃣ Simply astonishing photos in 2022’s class of World Nature Photography Award winners. [📷] (Via Jason Kottke)

2️⃣ Holy shit! This might be my favorite AI art tool yet. Give it a terrible scribble and a description, and it returns an image based on your drawing. Here’s a fun example. [🔗] (Via Brett Terpstra)

3️⃣ This toot got a chuckle out of me. [🔗 @viticci //]

4️⃣ As did this one. I love me some dry humor. [🔗 @moltz //]

5️⃣ Matt Birchler is a good follow wherever you find him (Mastodon, RSS, YouTube, YouTube again…). Smart, considered, helpful takes, plus he shares a lot of podcast clips, which I’d like to do more of. [🔗]

6️⃣ Omnivore is another intriguing read-later app that I’m trying out. So far: native design is nice, very fast Share Extension, best-in-class audio readings, but less polished than I’d expect for an app that gets so close. [🔗 Omnivore //]

7️⃣ Jason Becker’s Letters project continues to lure me. He corresponds with someone each week (a new person each month) and publishes the conversation to his blog. It appears to be a fantastic way to break into new writing topics. [🔗 Jason Becker //]

Take a Chance

Thanks for reading 7 Things. If you enjoyed these links or have something neat to share, please let me know.

7 Things

March 8, 2023

The Yellow iPhone 14 Premiers at the ‘Ted Lasso’ Premier

Apple is nothing if not coordinated. Just yesterday, Apple released the yellow iPhone 14 and it’s already center stage in today’s hero image for the Ted Lasso season 3 premier press release.

The cast of Ted Lasso grouped in front of a blue poster for a selfie taken by the actor who plays Dani Rojas.
It just so happens that the cast (and Tim Cook) is gathered in front of a stark blue background poster for their selfie. (Image: Apple)

The yellow of the iPhone pairs nicely with the blue of the backdrop. Blue and yellow is, of course, the color palette of Ted Lasso itself1.

I extend a knowing nod and tip of the hat to the team that put all this together.

  1. And of many of the Ted Lasso-themed products I have in the HeyDingus Store. 👀↩︎

March 8, 2023

The Kindest Developer in the App Store Reaches 100 Million Downloads

Underscore David Smith, on his blog:

Widgetsmith has just achieved a remarkable milestone, surpassing 100 million downloads since its launch in September 2020. A number that I can’t really wrap my mind around. A number larger than the population of all but 14 countries (🤯).

A massive congratulations are in order for Underscore on reaching a truly mind-boggling number of people around the world with Widgetsmith. This milestone is the result of the consistent, high-quality effort put into his apps, and making the best product at the right time, but also a lot of help from many communities (indie app developers, Apple enthusiasts, the team at Apple that develop the tools and evangelize for developers, and more). And it couldn’t happen to a nicer, more earnest, caring, or down-to-earth guy.

As David hoped for in sharing this news, I, at least, find it inspiring to know that a one-person shop can indeed move the needle.