Crashing Clockwise #531: ‘I, Too, Like You’

Another Wednesday Sunday, another crashing of Clockwise. Being the fly on the wall of these conversations with you guys and your guests is quickly becoming a highlight of my week. You know the drill, let’s get going.

Audio narration generated using Shortcuts.


Dan Moren: I’m curious about how you consume books these days. Are you a paper book person, an e-book person, audiobook? And where do you buy them, and read them?

Well, now, that’s an interesting question. At this very moment, one two three four five six seven paper books on my nightstand, all begging to be read. Also on that nightstand, I have a Kobo e-reader with a couple of digital titles queued up, and that’s definitely my preferred way to read. I’ll download e-books from my library via the Libby app, which the Kobo can do on-device, or I’ll purchase them directly from Kobo if it’s not available to check out and I’m itching to read it now (which rarely happens).

But the true answer is that I haven’t finished any books this year (well, except for one that I re-read in the spring) because I also have an iPad mini chock full of hundreds of web articles saved to read. Those probably equate to dozens of novels consumed in terms of the number of words — actually, I’d love to know that…hopefully Pocket will come out with a wrapped’ feature soon — but little actual book reading gets done in any form lately.


Florence Ion: What are you doing with your health data?

In a word, collecting. I wear an Apple Watch every day, which keeps track of all kinds of metrics for me, from heart rate to step count to goodness-only-knows-what. For a few years, I was also stepping on our smart scale every morning to log my weight (which I’m only just now realizing I’d stopped and should start that up again). I’ve had connected water bottles, apps, and shortcuts to keep a history of my water intake.

But what do I do with that data? Not much.

I do occasionally like to go diving through the trends and make that weird frown-like shape with my mouth while nodding up and down as I come across some interesting insight. But I don’t have a primary care physician (I know, I know, I will) so I don’t really have anyone to share it with. I guess I’m just tracking on the off chance that it will be useful someday, and I’m happy to keep doing so as long as it doesn’t add much extra hassle to my day.


Mikah Sargent: How, if at all, have you used technology to help you with house chores?

The first thing that comes to mind is apps. I’ve piled reminders for chores into my task manager over the years, to varying levels of success. I particularly like when you can set a task to repeat X number of days after the last completion. So for things like changing out the cat litter, it’ll restart the clock for when I need to change it next, even if I didn’t get it down on the exact day that it was set to be due. Without those reminders, many fewer chores would get done around our house.

That said, I’m close to declaring task bankruptcy because of everything that’s gotten jammed up in there. Too many tasks are due today” not because they need to get done today, but because I set a due date so that I wouldn’t lose track of them, but I’ve yet to complete them. With dozens of tasks cluttering up my Today’ view, some chores have slipped through the cracks, which is no good at all.

That’s why, as of listening to the very discussion, I’ve moved a bunch of those chores and things that require nagging over to the Due app. Due’s claim to fame is that it will continually send notifications to remind you to get a task done until you actually check it off. I’m hoping that the combination of nagging, and having them separate and prominent, will help me to check them off.

The other bit of tech that has transformed a chore is our litter robot. This contraption scoops” (really pushes) the cat’s business away into a contained area, and then the box only needs to be switched out every few weeks. I love that I don’t need to scoop the cat litter every day, which used to be my least favorite household task, but the machine leaves a bit to be desired. I’m considering picking up a different style of litter robot because I don’t think I can ever go back to doing it manually.


Christopher Phin: What bit of old software, that you don’t use anymore, do you have a weirdly disproportionate crush on?

As a connoisseur of productivity apps, I still long for the days of Wunderlist and Mailbox. Both were best-in-class, offered delightful interactions and animations, and were each acquired and subsequently sunset”.

Wunderlist by 6Wunderkinder — a fantastic name for a business, by the way — ran my life in the same way that Things does now. I’ve always had an affinity for task management apps, and it was Wunderlist that instilled in me a need for them to look and feel good. It pulled me away from Reminders, and I doubt I could go back now. It was acquired by Microsoft and its spirit now lives on somewhere in Microsoft To-Do.

Mailbox was everyone’s favorite email app, which is a surprising thing to say because nowadays no one can agree on a good email app. It pioneered things that we consider table stakes these days: swipe to archive, snooze, and push notifications for emails. It was also the first app that I can remember to launch with a massive waitlist. It was fairly minimal in its design to begin with, but Mailbox had one of the best redesigns to fit in with iOS 7’s flat” interface. When you cleared out your inbox, it revealed a pleasant version of the mailbox logo and I aspired to see the new version each day. Dropbox eventually acquired Mailbox and killed it off a few years later without a replacement. The closest Mailbox experience I’ve found is Spark by Readdle, although I’d say that’s getting kind of bloated and losing the thread these days.


Bonus Question: Do you have a favorite holiday tradition?

When I was young, it was waking up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, after Santa had arrived, and sleeping next to the Christmas Tree waiting for the rest of the family to wake up and begin the festivities.

Nowadays, I like stretching the day out with baking cookies, opening stockings, and then getting to the gift-giving. Giving gifts is my love language (along with email), so it’s always an enjoyable day.


My Question: Which accessibility feature of your device(s) do you get the most use out of?

I’ve tried many features from the Accessibility pane of Settings over the years, and I actually just wrote up a big blog post about the Personal Voice feature this week. But the one I’m getting the most use out of is the Speak Screen’ feature, which you can use to have your device read out what’s on the screen. It’s kind of like a less detailed version of VoiceOver, and I use it to read articles out loud from apps that lack their own text-to-speech feature. I’ll also use it to proofread this very article!


This was fun, as always! But that first episode of December will be here before we know it! Until then, thanks for having me on yet again.

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