⌘ February 13, 2024

Crashing Clockwise #540: I Did Something Bad’

The tech podcast that runs at 30 frames per second.”

Audio narration generated using Shortcuts.

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Mikah Sargent: Tell me about one or two of your favorite PC or Mac apps that you really enjoy.

Well, I always like giving shoutouts to my favorite apps, so I appreciate this question. Since I’m sure you already know about my mainstays like Things and Drafts, I’d like to pitch one of the menu bar apps that I really like. Dropzone 4 lives in the menu bar and expands out into a drop zone” as you drag items near it. It’s part Yoink in that it gives you a place to temporarily drop stuff like photos and files while you figure out where they need to go next (without clogging up your desktop). But it’s also partly a triage mechanism because you drop items directly into folders or apps or shortcuts that you’ve pinned into the zone. And finally, it’s part Shortcuts because you can also pin actions in Dropzone. You can drop a file or link onto actions like Install Application”, Shorten Link”, or Zip Files” to have things just happen.

It’s super handy and can be gotten directly from the developer’s website, on the Mac App Store, or from Setapp.

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Aleen Simms: What are your favorite apps for taking, editing, and/or sharing photos on your mobile touch-based devices?

I wish I were a better photographer, but I’m not willing (yet) to put in the effort to become one. So for now, I basically just shoot with the stock camera app on my iPhone and I hardly ever edit my pics more than the occasional crop job.

I do have and pay for Halide, specifically so that I can use their Macro Photography mode with my iPhone 13 mini. But I use even that feature less than a handful of times each year.

As for sharing photos, that’s usually done through my microblog and Instagram — although these days those two destinations are closer than ever because I’ve set up a Make.com automation to crosspost anything I share to Instagram as a new microblog post. So everything I send to Instagram also ends up on my own website and is available to see via Mastodon.

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Dan Moren: Do you think Vision Pro Personas are acceptable or ever will be acceptable?

When it comes to Personas, I recognize that they’re not perfect but I’ll be damned if they’re not incredible. The fact that you can create an astonishingly accurate 3D version of your face and torso with barely two minutes of scanning and processing is frankly amazing. And I don’t think they look as weird as other people seem to. If you’re the only Persona in a big meeting room full of normal camera views, sure, you’re going to stand out. But for one-on-one video calls or especially Persona-to-Persona calls, I think they’re pretty great.

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Ant Pruitt: With Bluesky being open to anyone, do you even care with all the other social media platforms out there? Does Bluesky have a chance?

In two words, not really. I’ve had a Bluesky account for several months and do crosspost to it via my Micro.blog account. So you could say that I’m a fairly active poster on Bluesky. But I never browse my timeline there and only interact with the platform if I get a reply there.

Their AT protocol sounds interesting, and I’ve heard that it would be a technically better protocol than ActivityPub for many of the federated use cases out there, but I think they were too slow to catch the post-Twitter bandwagon — which is too bad because they were already in motion long before Elon Musk took over there.

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Bonus Topic: What is your favorite board game or card game?

If you asked me this growing up, it would undoubtedly have been Parcheesi — a game that taught me that grandmas can be ruthless, even to their grandchildren. Many laughs and frustrations were had around the dinner table due to that game.

But in recent years, my go-to board game has been Ticket to Ride. The objective is to build train routes that connect the cities you’re dealt. But there are limited resources and a certain amount of luck involved. I love that it can be slow-paced, allowing for conversation while you play. Also, you’re kind of doing your own thing, and only occasionally crossing paths with the other players — at least until the end of the game is sneaking up and available track options are limited. The tension builds throughout the game as you desperately hope no one will build their track in the critical spot you need.

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Overtime Topic: Is there a way in which you use technology to prevent yourself from messing something up?

Oh man, there are plenty! Between shortcuts and Drafts templates, I’ve got a lot of little tricks that help me format things just right. I’m also a big proponent of using the Remind me to do this when I leave work” phrase with Siri to make sure timely or location-dependent tasks don’t get forgotten.

But perhaps my favorite automation in this regard is the one that controls all our smart home devices like lights, fans, and thermostat to go into their away-from-home or arriving-home states based on when the first person gets home or the last person leaves our house. It’s so handy to know that I can just walk out the door and we won’t waste electricity, heat, or money.

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My Question for Readers: What’s your favorite charging gadget?

For me, I might have to go with the MagSafe Duo charging pad. I know it hasn’t received much love from the press and Apple has actually discontinued it, but I think it’s fantastic. It folds up smaller, flatter, and lighter than any other similar product out there, and needs just one lightning cable. Plus, it looks great! Mine lives on my bedside table but gets taken along for any trips too.

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