Numeric Citizen Introspection Newsletter #13

This is my introspection summary on my numeric life for 2021-08. Now entering year two of this newsletter existence.

For this issue of the Introspection newsletter, I made a few changes. First, you’ll see that section headers are different, more graphical and visual. Second, the highlights section structure is simpler and has a better presentation. Highlights are put together by using some of my posts previously published in a more fluid layout. The distinction between sources from which they come from is no longer being shown either. A Tag line preceeds each highlight. Finally, the last two sections were swapped as it makes more sense to finish with the “What’s next” section. These are small tweaks should improve your reading experience. Let me know what you think.🙂

There is life after Instagram after all

Glass is finally out, and I’ve been trying it as soon as I received my invite. Based on my experience with Glass, I like it, but space in my digital life is scarce for another service addition. 🤩

I want Mac OS Tiger widgets back

I’m still not found on the way widgets are handled on macOS. Under macOS Monterey, things are exactly the same. I think Apple is focusing on making the widgets bar the same across devices instead of maximizing each platform uniqueness. By looking at macOS history, Mac OS Tiger was much better in that respect. Why is Apple can’t build on past visual design success? 🤨

Electron-based apps have bad press

I’ve been a user of 1Password for maybe three or four years. I like it but there is some troubling future it seems. AgileBits, the company behind it, announced a change of direction with the upcoming major version of 1Password by going to an Electron-based app for the Mac edition. It is hard to understand such a move by a company whose main product has always been Mac native. I don’t get it. 🧐

Excited for a keyboard

I bought the new Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID to make some room on my desk. I love the convenience of the Touch ID, but I must admit that convenience has a price. I love the typing experience with it, though. Bad keyboards are a thing of the past for Apple. 🧑🏻‍💻

Safari 15 won’t be a disaster after all

Apple finally nailed the design of the iPhone version of Safari with beta 6 of iOS 15. It seems Apple had trouble figuring it out. It’s funny that Apple kept both versions of the design and added a toggle in Settings so users can opt-in or opt-out of the new design. I’m all in. 👍🏻

I didn’t know that I wanted a MacBook Air

I’ve been experiencing the MacBook Air, old (2013) and new (2020), in recent weeks. It’s a first for me, and I fell in love. I’ll have much more to say about this saga in the near future. Stay tuned. ☝🏻 

1️⃣ A new antitrust bill (PDF) in the US could transform the iPhone experience more than any new release of iOS. Third-party App Store and payment processing engine, removal of default apps, etc., are threatening the iPhone as we know it. 😒😔

2️⃣ This month marks the tenth anniversary of Steve Jobs's resignation from Apple. Ten years, already. I don’t remember that specific day where Steve resigned from Apple. But I do remember when I heard the news about his death. The official press release from Apple is still available here. 😔

3️⃣ The Mac means business, according to Apple. Processing power, battery life, security, experience are the main themes. I love this mini-website design: clear, concise, lightly animated. Back in the days when I was working for an Apple dealer, selling the Mac to the business was a constant struggle. The Mac entered by the back door, always.🧑🏻‍💻

4️⃣ There are interesting discussions surrounding the 1Password 8 Early betas using Electron. AgileBits is using SwiftUI for its iOS version but not for the Mac version. Why? Some will say that Apple’s unifying platform isn’t mature enough. Well, why are they able to build the Shortcuts editor on macOS Monterey with it, then? That’s not the most basic app to start from and probably compares quite favourably with 1Password’s inherent complexity. The other thing is AgileBits recent fundings. They were probably asked to move the business in directions that aren’t Apple-friendly by people who don’t really give a damn about native and non-native apps.

Instagram is slowly and clearly leaving traditional photography behind. Too bad. A recent video published on the Instagram website is officially announcing another round of changes that are focused on making Instagram a video-sharing platform. If you were looking for a sign of change to look elsewhere, now is the time to do so. Alternatives are scarce, sadly. 😞 Glass is the closest thing to Instagram’s original incarnation.

My main blog (here: https://numericcitizen.me) is hosted on WordPress.com, which I’m super happy with. It requires very little management, but for hosting photos, I think it is not well suited because publishing content requires too much effort. Over the years, I tried different photo-sharing services, but now I’m using SmugMug1. It’s fast, customizable and easy to publish new content. If I want to write a story with my photo though, I prefer to use Substack for this2. That being said, read this article if WordPress is something you are looking into for hosting and publishing your photos. 👈🏻

If urbex photography is something you practice or find fascinating, 500px has a great article on the subject:

Photographers have been drawn to abandoned places for generations; even legendary pioneers like Paul Strand and Walker Evans visited the occasional ghost town and found an eerie beauty in derelict buildings. Today, photographing abandoned buildings has never been more popular, as more artists have realized the significance of preserving our cultural heritage through images.

Great tips (be safe, use wide-angle lenses, use bracketing), great photos and references. Speaking of urban exploration, consider this scene.

Can you imagine if we spent the time to gather all the abandoned stuff around the world to recycle materials instead of digging the ground even deeper?

I miss doing some urbex. It’s been quite a while since my last session with my friend. This particular scene is interesting for many reasons. One being the letters spread all over on the floor. What are those letters about? Who sent them? When?

Leave a comment

First, this tweet shows a powerful image and the story behind it about the climate crisis. I’m unable to embed the tweet in here but I encourage you to pay a visit to see the quick documentary.

Speaking of climate crisis, aren’t all the words been said or written about it to help people realize we are in a deep crisis? An exerpt from a story (“All The Right Words On Climate Have Already Been Said”) about writing or not another poignant take on an already wildly used theme.

« Let’s give the article she was starting to maybe think about asking me to write that I was wondering if I could write the absolute biggest benefit of the doubt and imagine that people read it and said, “Wow this is exactly how I feel, thanks for putting it into words.” What then? What would happen then? Would people be “more aware” about climate change? It’s 109 degrees in Portland right now. It’s been over 130 degrees in Baghdad several times. What kind of awareness quotient are we looking for? What more about climate change does anyone need to know? What else is there to say? »

I like this story about the effect of climate change on our daily lives on the scale of a single person’s life. Climate change is real. Finally, this article from the New York Times helps illustrate the anomaly of temperature records recently observed in Portland and Vancouver. The trend of the last decade is clear and frigtening because we don’t know the slope of the temperature increase curve: are we at the beginning of it, in the middle or at the end?

The big story this month is about Apple’s initiative to “scan” images in a user’s iCloud Photos library, on the device, for child sexual abuse material (CSAM - PDF). Privacy protection groups are furious and ask Apple to change its mind. It’s a complex, polarizing matter. It has become a PR nightmare for Apple, they tried to explain in details what it is all about in a FAQ page.

I'm no expert in this, but I have to wonder about something: where does it stop for Apple? Where do they get their mandate from to legitimize their initiatives? It cannot be only because the technology is now available, isnt’t? Why is the government absent from these initiatives? Contrary to many experts, I don't see how a government could ask Apple to scan for other things and Apple to accept. That's not how this thing works. People are always wary of governments, exceptially in the US. That being said, I'm curious to see if Apple will delay these initiatives. Michael Tsai has a great summary post on the controversy from which I like this thought:

You shouldn’t upload anything to the cloud that you want to keep private. — Michael Tsai

We have a generation that is visually native. Their communication default is something akin to FaceTime. — Om Malik

Attention is our most important tool in the task of improving the quality of experience. — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The amount of time I invest in different things is an indicator of what my life is made of. — Kenta Nagamine

If you think about a surveillance world, a world where you know that somebody is always watching everything you’re doing. And in the case of a phone or a computer, it’s also what you’re thinking. Because you’re typing in searches and so on and so forth. I think in that kind of world, you begin to do less. You begin to think less. Your freedom of expression begins to narrow and the walls move in on you. I start thinking about that at its natural endpoint, and I don’t want to be a part of that society3. — Tim Cook

Job description: making sure older iPhones work fast with the most recent iOS release. Cool. I thought Apple was programming their iPhone for obsolescence.

I’m fully vaccinated.😇 I did my duty, did you? I’ve got the AstraZeneca first, then Moderna4. Seems to be the best combinaison according to the following tweet.

Speaking of vaccination, this shouldn’t be a political issue, and yet, according to these data visualization graphs, it is, in the US. Finally, still on the subject of COVID-19, do you remember the Google-Apple notification exposure framework? It’s a set of APIs at the operating system level for developers to build applications to allow people declare their positive status following a test for COVID-19. Sadly, in the US, very few people actually used the system to do so. People need training on using digital tools. Eventually that will become a second nature… for the next pandemic. 😔

Do you know what Twitter’s Revue service is? It is a new offering by Twitter to compete against Substack to build newsletters. Revue got acquired by Twitter last year. Twitter officially launched the service this month. I tested it and I love it a lot. Will it be enough for me to switch from Substack? I don’t think so. Will I find a use for Revue in the future? Probably yes. Read this issue to know more about my experience, and where it could fit in my digital life. 🗞

Now, turning to September to see what Apple has in store for us. It’s their annual new products galore. Looking forward to the Apple Watch Series 7 and the iPhone 13. According to rampant rumours, the Series 7 could be 1 mm larger.⌚️📱💥


This concludes the Numeric Citizen Introspection Newsletter #13 for August of 2021. I would love to get your feedback and read your comments. Thanks for being a subscriber. Thanks for reading! 🙏🏻

1

Glass will never replace Smugmug for me.

2

See My Photo Legend Series on Subnstack.

3

This quote by Tim Cook illustrates, to me at least, that with Apple scanning for CSAM is doing exactly that for me and many others, feeling tracked.

4

I felt really bad for 48 hours after getting both of them.