Crashing Clockwise #528: ‘The Jeweled Dung Beetle’
Hey, I’m so excited to be here on episode #528 of Clockwise with you all! Long-time listener, first-time caller.
Wait, did you just say “four people”, Dan? Cause there are definitely five of us altogether here. And “four tech topics”? Yeah, I think you’re experiencing an off-by-one error, buddy.
Oh, okay, I guess we’re just blowing past my comments and onto washing clocks with cats. Cool. Um…can you guys even hear me? Is this mic on?
Mikah Sargent: Tell us about a recent software bug that has gotten on your nerves.
Not to pile onto Rosemary’s answer (and what Federico Viticci said the other day), but I’ve been struggling again with a bunch of Shortcuts bugs lately too. It’s been painfully laggy when building shortcuts both on my iPad and my M1 Mac mini. Getting shortcuts to show up consistently in the share sheet has been impossible — I just have to try again, sometimes again and again. And there are a number of actions that just don’t work when you’re running them. Plus all the never-ending sync and duplicate conflict issues. These are things that never used to be a problem, but have gotten worse and worse over the past few years…weirdly, it seems, right after Craig Federighi declared that Shortcuts was “the future of automation on the Mac.” If that’s true, the future is looking ever dimmer and I hope that report about Apple taking a pause in next year’s OS development to address bugs includes those in Shortcuts.
Rosemary Orchard: Is it good for big tech companies (Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc) to be involved in the creation of standards (Qi, USB, etc.) or is it better for them to be defined by external bodies, and who should those be if you think it’s better for them to be external?
I feel pretty strongly that the big tech companies should be involved with creating and updating standards, and for a couple of reasons. For one, they’ve attracted a lot of the most talented and brilliant engineers, and those are the people we want to help develop the technology that we will all end up using. Plus, they probably have better insight into how products are being used in the real world by real people. Through their customer service arms, they hear about the struggles that everyday users face, and those friction points should inform and shape standards. But, I think the standards bodies should be chaired or headed up by an impartial third party.
I’ll also take a moment to recognize that I’m heartened by the fact that Apple seems to be contributing more, or at least more visibly to important standards. We all know that they played key roles in developing USB-C and Thunderbolt, but now they’ve essentially given away the designs from MagSafe to Qi2, a bunch of the HomeKit framework to Matter, and now it sounds like their Home Key tech will form the foundation for that new Aliro smart lock standard. They put a lot of R&D and care into the UX for their own products, and by them being intricately involved in making standards, the rest of the industry is benefiting too.
Dan Moren: Should Apple be forced to make its messaging system (iMessage) work with others and embrace a standard that works with everybody, or is this something that is a bit of a “tempest in a teapot” or overreach from Google’s side (now that they’re asking the EU to strong-arm Apple into interoperating)?
You know, this will probably come across as me being an Apple apologist, but no, I don’t think they should be forced into this decision. Don’t get me wrong, I would love for Apple to support a more modern texting standard like RCS so that the world can start to transition away from SMS and MMS. I would enjoy the typing indicators, better group threads, reactions, and other benefits it would bring when texting Android users in my life, of which there are plenty. I can’t decide if Apple has concerns about RCS in general — maybe regarding encryption and how messages are stored? — but it’s hard to imagine that RCS would be worse than SMS in any way. Or maybe they’re dragging their feet because it probably won’t help iPhone sales.
But there are plenty of other alternative messaging services out there for people to stay in touch across platforms. Google itself runs (and has killed) more than a few. For the EU to force Apple into either adopting RCS or adapting iMessage to work on Android would feel like an overreach when it’s not a case where there are no other options for people to use.
Jason Howell: It used to be that video game movies and TV shows (like the Mario Bros movie and the rumored Legend of Zelda movie) were really risky and cringy, and there weren’t many examples of good products that had come of those, but have times changed?
In short, yes. People seem to crave nostalgia more and more these days. I’m all for it! I, myself, have been able to get better insight into pop culture because of adaptations like these. The Last of Us was never a game that I was going to play. But I got to enjoy the story of it because of the HBO series, for example.
I think it’s natural that when you love something, you want more of it. If that means big-budget shows and movies for niche intellectual property, I think these past few years have shown that people will vote for it with their dollars. Bring on the Spyro the Dragon live-action mini-series!
Bonus Question: What is the coolest natural feature you have ever personally seen?
I’ve been to a lot of cool places, but I can’t say that any particular one of them sticks out. If I had to choose, which I guess I do, I would say Mount Rainier in Washington State. It’s an imposing figure stationed in the background of every view from Seattle and Tacoma. And quite intimidating when you know you’re about to attempt to climb to its summit.
My question: Are you a read-later or watch-later saver, and, if so, how do you manage your queues?
I have a huge save-for-later problem. At this current moment in time, I have…oh, roughly 1900 articles saved across two apps that I’m definitely still going to read. And 693 YouTube videos that I’m for sure going to sit down and watch when I get a spare 209 hours.
My journey through read-later apps is a storied one, but right now I’m saving them into Pocket with a swipe left from Reeder, my RSS app, or with Pocket’s share extension. For saving YouTube videos, I use the excellent Play app by Marcos Tanaka, which too few people know about. I use its share action in the share sheet. There used to be a shortcut that I’d use for everything, and it would sort out which app to send the link to based on its URL, but Shortcuts’ bugginess (see above) led me back to the native extensions.
Well, I hope all that came through and you can fix my audio in post. You guys didn’t really leave me with much time to get in those answers — I had to talk so fast!
Oh, what’s that? This is an open invitation? Great! Maybe I’ll see you next week! 😉