“If journalists reviewed Macs like iPads”

In response to all the tech reviewers asking if the iPad Pro can replace the MacBook Pro, Fraser Spiers cleverly goes flipmode:

Firstly, consider the hardware. The huge issue with the MacBook Pro is its form factor. The fact that the keyboard and screen are limited to being held in an L-shaped configuration seriously limits its flexibility. It is basically impossible to use a MacBook pro while standing up and downright dangerous to use when walking around. Your computing is limited to times when you are able to find somewhere to sit down.

Not that you would want to use a MacBook Pro while standing anyway. The sheer weight of these devices means that your shoulder is going to take a beating if you switch from iOS to OS X. The current 15″ MacBook Pro tips the scales at 4.49 pounds – or three iPad Pros – despite having a lower-resolution screen and one less hour of battery life.

This reminds me of people who travel from one part of the U.S. to another and are upset that the exact same food options are not available to them. Every city has its strengths and weaknesses.

The same goes for our devices. Expecting an iPad Pro to have identical features to a MacBook Pro is an exercise in futility.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t compare the two devices, I’m just saying don’t be surprised when you discover their differences.

The 3.5 MM Headphone Port

Sounds like Apple might be killing off the 3.5 MM headphone jack on the iPhone 7:

Citing a reliable source, a report from Japanese blog Macotakara claims that Apple plans to remove the 3.5mm headphone port from the upcoming iPhone 7, helping to achieve a “more than 1mm” reduction in thickness compared to the iPhone 6s. While the screen shape and radius will remain similar, the device will once again become Apple’s thinnest iPhone ever, albeit with a new restriction: headphones will only be able to connect over Lightning or Bluetooth…

I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple did this. They have a long history of being the first to kill off things like the 3.5-inch floppy drive, the CD-ROM drive, and the original 30-pin USB cord for the iPod/iPhone (to name a few).

If Apple does decide to kill the headphone port, this will result in the collective tech press announcing Apple has gone too far and that this was a horribly dumb move that with come back to bite them in the ass. There will be a huge uproar, as if Apple decided to hire ISIS to run their human resources department.

Then, in the 3-9 months after Apple has introduced their new method for plugging in headphones, the other smartphone makers will get this path that Apple has taken the time and balls to wear down first.

And everyone will be ok.

iCloud Photo Library

Uh-oh. Stephen Hackett is done with iCloud Photo Library:

A bunch of empty duplicate albums would be annoying to clean up, but upon digging, I discovered that not all my albums had been duplicated. Some — including one with 1800 family photos from a vacation — had been overwritten with an empty album of the same name.

Turning iCloud Photo Library back on from my iPad introduced some sort of leftover data not deleted from my iCloud account, overwriting (and removing) newer data on my Mac.

Because I am a nerd, I have backups. I have all of my photos safe and sound, but I’ve got iCloud Photo Library off forever now. I can’t trust it after this failure. I know that there’s a lot of talk that CloudKit is better than the shit Apple first shipped with iCloud, but this is unacceptable.

Not cool.

I used DropBox to back up all my iPhone photos—specifically I used the Carousel app from Dropbox (I also use Image Capture in OS X to backup photos to manually backup an external drive).

When you launch Carousel, it immediately starts backing up your entire camera roll (with you permission). Over the last 8 years or so, Dropbox has earned my trust. When it tells me files have been synced, I believe them.

For whatever reason, Apple is still having problems managing files in the cloud, whether it’s music or photos. They really need to fix this.

Focusing Your Creative Energy

“‎The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” 

— Bruce Lee

Early in my career as a web designer I had trouble focusing. I started off projects strong, but I had trouble following through on them.

Looking back at my various failed starts and poorly executed work, I think of Cyclops from the X-Men series (Jerry Seinfeld says all we men consider ourselves low-level superheroes). Cyclops can’t control the energy beams that come out of his eyes — they’re extremely powerful, but also destructive and a waste of energy. Think of a fire hydrant without a hose attached.

Cyclops needs the help of special eyewear to harness his optical energy so that he can point it in the direction he wants, with the intensity he wants.

Creativity is the same way for me and lot of other people: our brains are inundated with tons of great ideas, but without focus they go out scatter-shot and wind up as unfinished projects, or worse yet, never make it into a sketchbook. It ends up being all wasted energy. I was never diagnosed with ADD as a child, but I feel as though I easily could have been.

Focus is still something I have to work on daily, but the good news is I’ve figured out techniques and habits over the years to channel my creative energy in one direction at a time. 

Below is a list of tools and technics I use to help me achieve focus. They can turn you into a creative Cyclops too.

Get a Notebook and Pen

A notebook and pen are essential before you even attempt to address the other sections. I don’t care if it’s Field Notes, a Moleskine, Austin Kleon’s Steal Like An Artist Journal, or a handful of loose sheets folded in half and stapled together.

Always be ready to write things down where ever you are. If your brain works like mine and you don’t write things down you will forget them. I guarantee it.

Baby Steps

In the movie What About Bob? (YouTube), Bob Wiley (played by Bill Murray) has his first appointment with his new psychiatrist, Dr. Leo Marvin (played by Richard Dreyfus). Bob has a multi-phobic personality and gets anxiety attacks all the time, every day. Doctor Marvin suggests Bob read his book, Baby Steps, which advises people make small, reasonable goals for themselves in the pursuit of their bigger goals. He tells Bob, “For instance, when you leave this office, don’t think about everything you have to do in order to get out of the building, just think to what you must do to get out of this room, and when you get to the hall, deal with that hall…”

We can apply this thinking directly to projects. Break them down from macro to micro. If you have to design a website, don’t think about designing the whole website.

Write down the baby steps:

  1. Capture Client Goals
  2. Request Content/Assets
  3. Create Site Map
  4. Wireframe Key Pages
  5. Design Key Pages 6. …etc.

If you ever reach an step that seems daunting, break that step down into sub-steps.

All I can say about Baby Steps is mash potatoes and gravy.


Checklists are very closely related to Baby Steps.

I use checklists specifically for client deliverables and requests. As soon as I complete a request from the client I check that item off my list.

I could write another whole post just on checklist methodologies. You can have project checklists, daily checklists, checklists for your checklists. The checklists are endless.

I recommend reading The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande for a thorough understanding of the power of checklists.

Repeat It In An Email

Whenever I reach a milestone or deadline on a project I email the client (and any other relevant people like project managers, team members) and in the email, I echo back their list of requests I captured.

I do this for two reasons:

  1. it lets the client see you’re listening to them (clients usually don’t notice when you’re paying attention to them, but they hate when you don’t listen to them)

  2. it helps me be sure I didn’t miss anything on my checklist

Tell Siri to Remind You

Most of you have a portable computer on you at any moment. Use it. Maybe you’re at lunch away from your desk and you get a great idea for your project. As soon as you get that idea, pull out your phone and ask Siri or Google Now, “In 15 minutes remind me to change landing page hierarchy based on Jen’s idea…”

Steve Jobs liked to say the computer is “a bicycle for the mind.” I love this phrase. I love it so much I created a Kickstarter project around it. I love it because it’s true. Amplify your mental abilities and creativity with your mobile devices. 

These devices are literally waiting to help you accomplish more.

Now Go Cyclops the Hell Out of Some Projects

I’m going to stop here before I list more tips for creative focus. I think this is a good foundation of ideas you can start applying to your you work right now.

They’re open to changing as needed to match your particular workflow.

If there’s anything you should take away from this it’s the importance of defining your goals and objectives and then breaking them down into manageable, actionable pieces.

You have the creative energy, now unleash it with focus.

“The perception of skill has led many, many people down a very dark path”

Most people can play daily fantasy or casino games without a problem. “I know there are people that can do it normally,” Mr. Adams said, but he is not one of them. He also acknowledges that he ultimately bears responsibility for his addiction.

Yet gambling counselors say they could more easily help people like Mr. Adams if fantasy companies did not portray their games as involving mostly skill. That alone is a risk for addiction, said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling.

“The perception of skill has led many, many people down a very dark path,” he said.

NYTimes: For Addicts, Fantasy Sites Can Lead to Ruinous Path

People, just don’t gamble.

The iPad Pro and Pencil Were Engineered Together

Interesting observations from John Gruber on the iPad Pro and Pencil:

For capacitive (finger) touch, the iPad Pro samples at twice the rate of previous iPads — 120 times per second instead of 60. With the Pencil, though, the iPad Pro samples at 240 times per second. The way the Pencil works requires cooperation with the display, and so there’s no way this Pencil could be made to work with existing iPads. The Pencil is not iPad Pro-exclusive out of product marketing spite — it’s exclusive to the Pro because the two were engineered in coordination with each other. And if Apple had designed the Pencil differently, to allow it to work with existing iPads, there’s no way it could have had this level of accuracy, because the tip would have needed to be broader and capacitive. (The Pencil’s tip is not capacitive at all — it doesn’t register as a touch at all on any other iOS device.)

I think it’s quite possible the iPad ends up being a slow win for Apple unlike the quarter-after-quarter smash hit the iPhone is.

Good Coffee

At The Awl, Matt Buchanan on The Cool Way to Brew Good Coffee:

This exchange was a series of dog whistles between two obnoxious people: I wanted the coffee most appealing to a coffee jerk; the barista told me that this shop was aggressively Goodc. If you are not a beanboi, but are vaguely aware that a certain kind of highly conspicuous consumer likely enjoys “pourover” coffee which is made agonizingly slowly, one cup at a time, then you might be wondering how an automatic machine that brews like a gallon of coffee at once became a Cool Brewing Method in this age of All Things Craft. (Or not! RUN AWAY FROM THIS POST NOW, SAVE YOURSELF.)

I admit I’ve become a bit of a coffee snob in the last few years and enjoy multiple, self-made, pourover cups of coffee per day. I live in San Francisco, what do you expect?

My current favorite brand of coffee bean is by Ritual Coffee Roasters.

‘Exclusive RIght’

From Reuters, Taxi owners, lenders sue New York City over Uber:

Taxi owners and lenders on Tuesday sued New York City and its Taxi and Limousine Commission, saying the proliferation of the popular ride-sharing business Uber was destroying their businesses and threatening their livelihoods.

The lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court accused the defendants of violating yellow cab drivers’ exclusive right to pick up passengers on the street by letting Uber drivers who face fewer regulatory burdens pick up millions of passengers who use smartphones to hail rides.

I use Uber all the time in San Francisco, but I’m also aware it’s not the most upstanding business.

There’s a reason people flock to Uber: the experience of requesting and paying for a ride is seamless. What pisses me off is hearing taxi owners whine, bitch, and complain about Uber rather than figure out a way to improve the process of hailing a cab. No group should have an ‘exclusive right’ to business over others. Fuck that noise.

[To be clear, I could spend many blog posts on how much Uber’s business practices piss me off too. They’re a shady bunch.]