July 1, 2024

7 Things This Week [#147]

A weekly list of interesting things I found on the internet, posted on Sundays (but maybe Mondays). Sometimes themed, often not.

1️⃣ These crowdsourced captions for the Eddy Cue/Sam Altman photo op are quite humorous. 🤭 [🔗 @gruber // mastodon.social]

2️⃣ Microsoft has done a great job making their Surface products more repairable. I’m impressed by the QR code to their repair guide and markings inside the device etched there specifically to aid in repairs. [🔗 Shahram Mokhtari // ifixit.com]

3️⃣ I’m with Tyler Stalman in thinking this new Tom Hanks movie would be ideal for watching as Immersive Video on the Vision Pro. [🔗 @stalman // threads.net]

4️⃣ Jason’s short post is a good reminder that the internet is simply a reflection of our greater humanity. Not inherently good, nor bad. It just is. But I choose to return to find the nuggets that make me feel good. [🔗 Jason Becker // json.blog]

5️⃣ I’m with Matt here in feeling some frustration when folks say that Apple is introducing actually useful” features with Apple Intelligence. Yes, ChatGPT (and the like) are command line-like in that you type out your request, but millions of people are finding use in that text box. And while a command line requires specific commands to be useful, chatbots are way more accessible as they let you talk like a person to it and still get useful things back. Apple Intelligence will be awesome for the personal context, but I think it’s foolish to say that it’s the first useful AI. [🔗 Matt Birchler // birchtree.me]

6️⃣ Similarly, I bristle when people say there’s less good music than there used to be”. Maybe the music you like isn’t being produced as much, but good” and bad” music is entirely in the ear of the beholder. Nick Heer describes very well how our access to music is so bountiful these days. And reminded me that album releases used to be on Tuesdays, which I’d completely forgotten! [🔗 Nick Heer // pxlnv.com]

7️⃣ Congrats to the Inside Out 2 team on such a successful film (over $1 billion at the box office). I saw it last night and can confirm that it’s something special. A perfect sequel? No. But I felt seen in watching it, and I’ll be thinking about it for years, I’m sure. [🔗 Pamela McClintock // hollywoodreporter.com]

🔗 Take a Chance

Thanks for reading 7 Things. If you enjoyed these links or have something neat to share, please let me know. And remember that you can get more links to internet nuggets that I’m finding every day by following me @jarrod on the social web.

7 Things

June 26, 2024

Crashing Clockwise #560: ‘I Don’t Like It When I’m Disappointed’

Jumping into Clockwise, the tech podcast that uses half an hourglass for timekeeping”, with my own answers and opinions that no one asked for.

Mikah Sargent: Assuming that you use a voice-based virtual assistant, what are the one or two features that you know you can rely on?

Despite having a site called HeyDingus”, I don’t actually invoke Siri with its wake phrase all that often.

But keeping with the trend here, when I do use Siri, I’m also a big timer boy, particularly with our kitchen HomePod while cooking. My second most common use case is probably starting workouts on my watch. The list of options in the Workout app is extensive, so rather than find the app, scroll through to Outdoor Run’ and then adjust its parameters for a distance or timed run, it’s so much faster to say Hey Siri, start a 3-mile outdoor run”. CarPlay is the other place where Siri gets uses, but usually that’s just through the voice prompts it gives to respond to texts while I’m driving.

As a side note, my wife uses Siri quite often for adjusting smart lights in our house, while I tend to use the physical buttons I’ve set up, or Control Center, to turn things on and off. I had bet it would have been the opposite.

Lisa Schmeiser: If you had unilateral power to impose legislation regarding internet activity, what edict are we all now living under?

I’m surprised no one else brought this up, but my edict would be to bring about strict data privacy laws regarding the collection and sale of personal data online. With a large part of the TikTok ban being related to what kind of data can be harvested by that app and potentially be used for nefarious purposes, I think the general public would get behind such a law. It’s not just TikTok though, data brokering gives terrible incentives to apps and websites of all kinds to hoover up as much as they can about their users so that they can make a buck selling it to the highest bidder. Let’s get some protections going.

Dan Moren: Will Apple’s new Passwords app in their newest platforms change how you store, fill and manage, and use passwords?

Unfortunately, I don’t think so. In fact, I’ve been testing iCloud Passwords for most of the last year and, I have to say, it doesn’t work as smoothly as 1Password has for me in the past. In addition to filling passwords into log in fields across apps and the web, it turns out I look up a bunch of data that I’ve stored in 1Password, and doing that in iCloud Passwords has been a pain. Having a separate app is a major improvement (you can use it split-view now!), but it doesn’t yet cover all the use cases I have.

If I were starting from scratch without any habits formed around storing credentials, I think the Passwords app would be sufficient — and I’ll certainly recommend it to most folks — but I think I’m headed back to 1Password until Passwords gets a little more full-featured.

mb bischoff: How comfortable are you telling an LLM your most intimate thoughts, and will that change with Apple Intelligence when more on-device models are used?

See above for the data privacy laws that I’d like to see enacted, I’m not very comfortable putting any sort of personal or intimate stuff into an LLM chatbot text field. I do use them, but usually for coding help, assistance with rewording specific sentences, or Q&A. I’ve not yet uploaded my own documents or data (besides the occasional photo to get help with alt text, but I’m sharing those photos to the web anyway).

But if I want to use Apple Intelligence, that will necessarily change because it basically is only used for personal context situations. For it to be of any use, I’ll need to be okay with it churning through all the data on my device.

It all comes down to trust. Very few, if any, of the companies with LLM products have earned my trust when it comes to user privacy. But Apple has, and I know that they’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to make sure that they can’t end up with all that intimate knowledge about me on their servers. On-device (and Private Cloud Compute) help me rest easy in that regard.

Bonus Topic: Do you enjoy rollercoasters?

When I was young, I hated them. Then a switch flipped and I loved them. Now, though, I’m not as keen about them again. There are a number of theme park rides that I’d like to try, mostly because I’m interested in their story” while riding, but I no longer seek out the biggest, fastest, loopiest rides anymore.

Overtime Topic: How many email accounts do you actively maintain?

Thankfully, just two*. My work one, which is though Microsoft 365, and my personal iCloud address. That had an asterisk because I do have a number of Custom Email Domains set up with iCloud, and they work great. I also created a family alias address that sends emails to both my wife and I that we use for shared streaming services or anything else that we should both get updates for. Luckily, my email app of choice, Spark, plays nicely with both those custom domains and aliases. I occasionally have to jump into Apple Mail when something doesn’t render right, but most of the time it’s just Spark and those two” accounts that hold my email life together.

Crashing Clockwise

June 24, 2024

7 Things This Week [#146]

And now for something new! I’ve been on something of a… let’s call it a summer break” from blogging, so Robert offered to pick up the slack for 7 Things this week. I don’t really do guest posts here on HeyDingus, but I love linking out to other sites. And since Robert has his own website, I encouraged him to post something there and that I’d quote and link to it for issue #146. He was game, so let’s see what Robert’s found in his internet spelunking for us.

Hijacking 7 Things This Week”

Jarrod over at HeyDingus has been a little busy lately. I’ve missed his 7 Things This week” segment lately. So, I’m doing what any good best friend would do, and I’ve asked to guest post. So here we are, as my first true post on USB, I’m giving it a whirl. For those who aren’t familiar,”7 Things” is a weekly collection of 7 things Jarrod finds interesting. Sometimes themed, sometimes not. Here’s what I found interesting in the past week:

  1. I hate that this is a necessary thing in our society, but as an IT coordinator I am glad tools for school safety are within reach of even the smallest schools. The K-12 District I serve has been featured as a case study by Motorola. This project is ongoing and ever evolving! [🔗 Motorola Solutions Blog]

  2. Ever think about your last meal? Meghan Trainor talks last meals with Josh on a segment of my favorite channel: [🔗 Mythical Kitchen // youtube.com]

  3. Talking Tech and AI with Tim Cook. No summary needed. [🔗 Marques Brownlee // youtube.com]

  4. I’m not much of a gaming guy, but it sure was neat to see some of my favorite old Mac systems running Minecraft in this video. [🔗 Action Retro // youtube.com]

  5. This one will hit a small niche in this audience, but I love the community that has been built around the K12 Tech Talk podcast that has evolved into a forum for Technology Professionals working in K-12 Education to network and problem-solve together. [🔗 K12TechPro]

  6. Just a shameless plug for the 10 Best Days of Summer” and an organization for which I volunteer - if you’re in Michigan July 11-20 come check it out! [🔗 Ionia Free Fair]

  7. What will AI mean for HomePod? This article covers a lot of what I was thinking about it… [🔗 9to5Mac]

Thanks Robert!

🔗 Take a Chance

Thanks for reading 7 Things. If you enjoyed these links or have something neat to share, please let me know. And remember that you can get more links to internet nuggets that I’m finding every day by following me @jarrod on the social web.

7 Things

June 9, 2024

7 Things This Week [#145]

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

1️⃣ Such an elegantly made video. It doesn’t matter that I have no interest in coffee or how it tastes, but I appreciate great storytelling and this is excellent. (The behind-the-scenes is great too.) [🔗 James Hoffmann // youtube.com] (Via Matt Birchler)

2️⃣ I’m intrigued by this tinyPod, Apple Watch phone case thing. Pretty clever, but what I’m most curious about is how they’re converting the scroll wheel touches into watchOS interactions. [🔗 Ryan Christoffel // 9to5mac.com]

3️⃣ Anyone up for a game of Robot Or Not? (I won on my first try.) [🔗 app.humanornot.ai] (Via Kev Quirk)

4️⃣ I’m a sucker for a list of bits of advice, and this is a good one. [🔗 brendan // semi-rad.com]

5️⃣ AI text generation is coming for your personal conversations. How’s that gonna make you feel? [🔗 Neven Mrgan // mrgan.com]

6️⃣ AI generation is also coming for your intrapersonal conversations. And if I had a spare $200, this app that uses AI to ask you questions, transcribe your answers, do follow-ups, and format it all into an autobiography of sorts is probably what I’d spend it on. I’m very intrigued. [🔗 Autobiographer // apps.apple.com]

7️⃣ AI is also also coming for your playlists. This app generates a custom playlist for your road trip, taking into account the places you’ll pass through on the way. Very cool! [🔗 Trip Tunes // impresskit.net]

52 Albums Project

Tike Without Consequence by Alexi Murdoch (2000) — #20/52

I’ll be honest with you, I’m picking Time Without Consequence for one specific reason: it debuts with a perfect song, All My Days”. I don’t even remember if the rest of the album is any good! We’ll find out together shortly as the rest of it plays through…

Turns out, quite good! Boy his voice is lovely.

The album title, Time Without Consequence’, and that grayscale cover, so classic.

Follow along on the 52 Albums Project page where I’m making some playlists for you.

🔗 Take a Chance

Thanks for reading 7 Things. If you enjoyed these links or have something neat to share, please let me know. And remember that you can get more links to internet nuggets that I’m finding every day by following me @jarrod on the social web.

7 Things 52 Albums

June 9, 2024

My WWDC24 Wish List

A Siri that doesn’t suck.®

(Lol, there’s actually a bunch more that I’d like to see Apple improve and introduce, but this would be a great start.)

P.S. Turns out this was my 600th post on HeyDingus! 🥳


May 26, 2024

7 Things This Week [#144]

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

1️⃣ You can do some wild stuff with scroll-based animations just with CSS. [🔗 scroll-driven-animations.style]

2️⃣ Robin Rendle has a new blog for sharing things about CSS and I’m already hooked. (And I approve this transition from newsletter to blog!) [🔗 Robin Rendle // csscade.com]

3️⃣ Annie Mueller spells out clearly that how her body is used is entirely up to her. That this needs to be said in the year 2024 is appalling, but here we are. [🔗 Annie Mueller // annie.micro.blog]

4️⃣ Tim Cook had sick custom six colors Nike shoes to wear during the latest Apple Event. [🔗 Sarah Kearns // hypebeast.com]

5️⃣ Incredible pen ad. [🔗 Montblanc // youtube.com]

6️⃣ Quinn Nelson shows off the new Apple Pencil’s shadow effect, which is just the coolest little feature. [🔗 @snazzyq // threads.net]

7️⃣ James made a site and RSS feed for a neat new idea: a blog of the day. [🔗 James G // blogofthe.day]

52 Albums Project

Little Voice: Season 1 (Apple TV+ Original Series Soundtrack) by Little Voice Cast (2020) — #18/52

Little Voice is a show from Apple TV+ that you probably never heard of, although you might know the album by Sara Bareilles upon which it’s built (Bareilles was a creator of the show, and her influence forms the musical foundation of this soundtrack). The show was solid, if not stellar, but the music certainly stands out. It’s an album I return to regularly. [I should really check if Brittany O’Grady, the lead singer and star, has any new music out.] I particularly enjoy their rendition of Valerie” and the finale version of its titular Little Voice”. The music is all simple and true (😉) in the best way.

Follow along on the 52 Albums Project page where I’m making some playlists for you.

🔗 Take a Chance

Thanks for reading 7 Things. If you enjoyed these links or have something neat to share, please let me know. And remember that you can get more links to internet nuggets that I’m finding every day by following me @jarrod on the social web.

7 Things 52 Albums

May 9, 2024

Starting up PenPals with Justin Wong

I’m a bit delayed on my end, but I’ve started emailing with Justin Wong this month. Justin is a software developer who has an awesome website, wonger.dev., and is a Florida enthusiast (which you’ll see below 😉):

We have a lot of sprawling oak trees covered with hanging moss. And there’s a lot of palm trees. (fun fact - palm trees are actually a type of grass. The trunk of a palm tree is closer to celery than a woody tree trunk. It’s bendy enough to survive high winds, instead of snapping or uprooting) There’s short, stubby palm trees, crooked palm trees, palm tree nurseries, fun little ponytail palms, and tall, springy palm trees.

We got started with some introductions and discussed the pros of living in Florida or elsewhere with more distinct seasons, career changes, and eating habits.

I can tell this is going to be a fun month getting to know Justin.

Read the full conversation →


May 9, 2024

Wrapping up being PenPals with Ratika

Writing with Ratika this month stretched my skills in interesting ways. Her style encouraged me to get more creative with my descriptions and share more about what’s happening around me, not just within me. We got pretty meta though, discussing routines, the benefits and detriments of being online, and often our local weather. Here’s a bit from our final exchange:

I think our current zeitgeist puts a lot of pressure on us to have a perfect routine. What works for a YouTuber or a celebrity or an author might not work for us. We all live in different socioeconomic situations, with different privileges and abilities and responsibilities and priorities, and we each have a different way of defining joy, as well as what it means to have a good day”. So I’m not very particular about routines anymore–having some things to do regularly is fine, but the moment I get too particular about the details, I end up making things unnecessarily difficult for myself. Who do we have to please? We can all do with being easier on ourselves a little, I think.

Big thanks to Ratika for agreeing to take part in this project. I really enjoyed chatting with her, and look forward to reading more of her book as she publishes it chapter by chapter.

Read our entire conversation →


May 7, 2024

10 Last-Minute Predictions for Apple’s ‘Let Loose’ Event

I’ve been mostly offline for the last week, camping with my wife and dog, and taking a couple of trainings (Wilderness First Aid and AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, if you’re interested), so no big thinkpiece from me regarding Apple’s (presumed) iPad event tomorrow today. Also, I’ll be at work during the event itself, so don’t expect a live blog this time around. 😕

But I’m pretty excited to see what they have ready to unveil. It seems clear that it’s going to be iPad-focused — which is good since it’s been over a year since the last iPad refresh. I’m still pretty happy with my 2020 iPad Pro (except for a dwindling battery capacity), but my wife’s (7th-gen?) iPad has seen better days. We might have a hand-me-down situation in our near future.

Anyway, based on rumor mill and my own pondering, here are a few things I’m predicting we’ll see announced.

1️⃣ Apple Pencil Pro — This seems like the surest thing based on the event invitations, Tim Cook’s tweet, and the apple.com animation. What will come in a Pencil Pro? I think:

  • Vision Pro support for interacting with virtual objects and apps
  • Haptic feedback (important for operating in mid air” with Vision Pro)
  • Flip-around eraser mode
  • Physical or force-press button” (another Action Button?)
  • Magnetic attachment and charging will be a solved problem (maybe moved to a different edge?)

2️⃣ OLED Screen for iPad — Honestly, this is probably what I’m most excited for. The iPad Pro screen is great, but better contrast and true blacks will be awesome for what is a video-centric device for a lot of people.

3️⃣ M3 Chip Inside — This is almost a coin flip for me. It’d be kind of wild if Apple makes a splash by speeding onto the M4 chip even before the M4 Ultra makes its debut, but I also wouldn’t been too surprised. But if Apple can call the (fairly recently introduced) MacBooks Air the best laptops for AI with the M3 chips in them, I don’t see why they’d need to jump ahead to the next generation chip already. I think the new iPad Pro models will match the MacBooks Air chipset.

4️⃣ Every iPad gets an update — This is a bit risky, but, again, since it’s been over a year since any iPad was refreshed, they’re all plausibly due. Some might just get a chip bump, while other models get a design refresh as well.

5️⃣ New Pro” Keyboard Accessory — I think they’re going to learn even further into the Pro” moniker. The regular Magic Keyboard might stick around for some models, but I think they’re going introduce a newer, more advanced keyboard. Here’s what I’m hoping for:

  • USB-C data passthrough (the current Magic Keyboard’s USB-C port does charging only)
  • Wider hinge angle
  • Function row keys
  • Larger trackpad

6️⃣ Mac Virtual Display — While I’d love a virtualized macOS mode or (hybrid device), I highly doubt that’s coming anytime soon. But visionOS got a way to remotely control a nearby Mac, and since visionOS appears to be most closely realted to iPadOS, I think it’s within the realm of possibility that an iPad could get that functionality too.

7️⃣ Minimum storage space on the base-level iPad gets bumped up — The 10th-gen iPad starts at 64 GB and then the next tier up is 256 GB. 64 GB is simply too low. Even with minimal apps, that storage space is filled far too quickly, which makes installing any updates a real pain in the ass. And the next tier being almost a full 200 GB jump is kind of crazy. I’m hoping to see a minimum of 128 GB of storage across the lineup of new iPads.

8️⃣ Goodbye Home Button — Based on nothing but a gut feeling, I think we’ll the see the iPad (9th-gen), the last iPad with a Home Button, go the way of the Dodo. It’s time. They can keep the 10th-gen around at the sub-$400 price point and get all iPads on the full-screen interface. (That’ll leave just the iPhone SE with a Home Button — something else I think will get rectified in the next 12 months.)

9️⃣ Event video will be no longer than 45-minutes — 30 mintues seems a bit short, especially since I expect we’ll see some Pencil demos, but a full hour feels too long. So I’m splitting the difference.

🔟 AI will be said at least 15 times — Although I think Machine Learning” was a better term for this technology, at some point you just have to use the popular vernacular and Artifical Intelligence” won out. Apple really wants us to know that they’re working hard on AI features, and I think we’ll hear about it at least once every three minutes on average.

If all goes how I think it will, we’ll probably end up with a new 11-inch iPad Pro (with cellular, cause it’s the best), Magic Keyboard Pro, and Apple Pencil Pro in our household. I can’t wait to see how these picks turn out. Stay tuned for their grading!

Bonus, longshot, prediction: Updated keyboard, mouse, and trackpad accessories with USB-C, that work better across iPad, Vision Pro, and Mac (as ruminated on The Talk Show #499). And please, for the love of God, release a compact version in silver with black keys already.

Bonus bonus T-minus 7 minutes prediction: Freeform gets a major drawing/artist upgrade.

Apple Events

May 6, 2024

7 Things This Week [#143]

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

1️⃣ Good tip on sharing a specific quote from a webpage via iMessage. [🔗 Tim Hardwick // macrumors.com]

2️⃣ This use of a cross-section helps show how we perceive 4D objects in a 3D world, but it still messes with my mind and I don’t quite get it. [🔗 Rowan Fortier // youtube.com]

3️⃣ This is a solar-powered website, which means it sometimes goes down. It was at 7% battery level when I found it. [🔗 Kris De Decker // solar.lowtechmagazine.com]

4️⃣ Here’s a Stumbleupon-like website that shoots you off to another random neat site on the web. [🔗 theforest.link]

5️⃣ The coolest way I’ve ever seen to water crops. 🤯 [🔗 @imjustculture // instagram.com]

6️⃣ Who doesn’t like a fun fidget toy website? I’m sure they’ve created something quite special and useful with these pliable live models, but since I don’t know how I’d use it, I just like to play with the sliders. [🔗 robenrobin.nl]

7️⃣ Everyone loves a novelty roadside attraction on road trips. Here’s a super weird one in each state. A HeyDingus meetup at The World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things in Kansas, anyone? [🔗 thrillist.com]

52 Albums Project

Dark Horse by Nickelback (2008) — #18/52

I can’t say that I’m really a Nickelback fan, but Dark Horse holds a special place in my heart. For a full summer as a young teen working at Scout Camp, my cabin mates and I set this album, on full volume, as our morning alarm. We shot out of bed every day, bleary-eyed, but hearts racing knowing we had to turn the volume down before any of the naughty” lyrics would reach any campers’ ears. That is not to say that we turned it down low, no, it still blared, but it was at least contained to our cabin walls.

The high-octane vibes of this record bring me right back to those bright summer mornings. I had the time of my life working camp staff with some of the most dedicated and hard-working people I’ve ever met. It was my first taste of independence, figuring out who I was and wanted to be — it was where I broke out of the mold of the life I thought was set before me. This non-conformist” (at least to me at the time) album reminds me of that period of my life when I discovered I could chart my own path.

Follow along on the 52 Albums Project page where I’m making some playlists for you.

🔗 Take a Chance

Thanks for reading 7 Things. If you enjoyed these links or have something neat to share, please let me know. And remember that you can get more links to internet nuggets that I’m finding every day by following me @jarrod on the social web.

7 Things 52 Albums