11-inch iPad Pro Experiment

From Ryan Christoffel at MacStories:

This is probably too general of advice, but I’d recommend that if you expect to regularly use your iPad Pro as a tablet, the 11-inch will likely be your best option. If, however, you expect to use it almost entirely with a Magic Keyboard attached, the 12.9-inch is a good bet. Both devices can work in both modes, but the 11-inch is a better tablet, and the 12.9-inch is a better laptop.

I really enjoyed this article, as it captures a lot of my feelings regarding using the iPad as your primary computer. As my personal laptop begins to age, I find myself using my work issued MacBook Pro for most of my “computer” tasks, and an iPad for nearly everything else. The iPad Pro + Magic Keyboard combo is a very versatile (albeit expensive) solution for almost anyone now. If you’re going to go that route, the biggest decision is how much you want to use it as a traditional tablet.

You’re Not Going Back to Normal Office Life for a Long, Long Time

From VICE:

And even if an employer does everything right, a COVID-19 outbreak at the office will remain a distinct possibility. Considering what it will take to get everyone back to the offices—what with the masks, the empty offices, the staggering, the uncertainty, and the overarching anxiety—perhaps the question isn’t when the WFH-ers will return to work again, but when they’ll head back home.

Reading this article makes it abundantly clear that it’s going to be a while before folks who are able to work remotely should even think about going back to the office. I’ve started to mentally prepare myself for many, many more months working from my house. Taking the bus to work, riding an elevator up 23 floors to go work in close proximity to tons of other team members, bouncing between meetings all day sounds like a recipe for spread of the virus. Even if my office opened up today, I doubt I’d be very interested in going back until there’s good treatment options or a cure.

I’ll be honest though – the remote work part has actually been pretty good for me so I’m not super excited about going back anyway. I’m certainly tired of being so isolated, but I’ve always been a homebody and introvert, so this only feels a little abnormal to me. The general slower pace has been really good for me though.

How Apple reinvented the cursor for iPad

From Matthew Panzarino, at TechCrunch:

The new iPad cursor is a product of what came before, but it’s blending, rather than layering, that makes it successful in practice. The blending of the product team’s learnings across Apple TV, Mac and iPad. The blending of touch, mouse and touchpad modalities. And, of course, the blending of a desire to make something new and creative and the constraint that it also had to feel familiar and useful right out of the box. It’s a speciality that Apple, when it is at its best, continues to hold central to its development philosophy.

This was a really neat deep dive into the process around developing the new cursor UI/UX for iPadOS. I’ve given a spin on my 9.7″ iPad and a Magic Trackpad and left very impressed … at least, when it was in an app that was using native controls. The cursor changing shape and magnetically attracting to targets is a magical feeling the first few times you see it. Especially give its Apple’s first attempt at bolting a new interaction model to the iPad I’m very hopeful about their ability to make their most versatile computer even more so.

I also really dig these types of articles and wish I’d see more of them. I feel nowadays everything is either a 10k word review or clickbait hot takes. Techno-optimism is something that has died in the past few years, and I appreciate authors who still can still write as if they’re excited about tech, not permanently skeptical of it.

Almost everything on computers is perceptually slower than it was in 1983

From @gravislizard on Twitter:

one of the things that makes me steaming mad is how the entire field of web apps ignores 100% of learned lessons from desktop apps

While the delivery is a bit too get-off-my-lawn for my tastes, this twitter thread by @gravislizard has a lot of points I agree with. For someone that makes a living on the web UI side of things, even I can admit that most web user interfaces these days are brittle, unintuitive and slow.

Automatic shuts down service, asks customers to recycle adapter

From Automatic:

We will be shutting down all operations at 11:59 pm, PT, on May 28, 2020, and, as a result, your service will end at that time. All features of your Automatic service will remain active up until the shutdown. At that time, all features of your Automatic service, including Crash Alert and Real-Time Location & Sharing, will stop. We ask that you please discard your adapter by following standard electronic recycling procedures. You do not need to send your adapter back to Automatic.

Automatic, if you aren’t familiar, makes a little car adapter that sends all sorts of into about your trip (MPG, distance travelled, fast starts/stops and more) to a web service so you can track how you’re driving over time. This could be especially useful for folks that travel for business or folks like me that have an older car that doesn’t display MPG data.

I’ve had one of these in my car for nearly a decade now, and at the end of the month, it’ll be useless. I can only assume the reason they’re just shutting it all down and asking folks to dispose of the adapter is that the IP is more valuable to the company’s parent (Sirius) than it would be to open source the website and APIs.

Just another reminder that most smart home and IOT hardware is just pre-trash: it’ll be eWaste as soon as the company can’t keep growing or turn a profit. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been looking more and more into IOT stuff that works with HomeKit and doesn’t require a web service to run.

Why is my own data least important in search?

From Tech Reflect:

I don’t know if this is a macOS or iOS specific thing, but it’s a trend on those platforms in recent years that is very frustrating. It’s hard enough finding things on the internet but once you find them, it should be easy to find them again.

The order in which iOS shows you Siri search results is indeed puzzling. I get there’s a privacy v. convenience tradeoff argument that can be made but it’s not that this data isn’t on your device in these instances. I feel the pain of this whenever I dabble with Apple Maps in particular. Addresses of people I’ve taken the time to create contact cards for or based on areas it knows I’ve been to should be prioritized and used in search results, yet it rarely is (Apple has a TON of information in my travels on my local device and seems to completely squander it).

Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting

From Julio Vincent Gambuto:

Until then, get ready, my friends. What is about to be unleashed on American society will be the greatest campaign ever created to get you to feel normal again. It will come from brands, it will come from government, it will even come from each other, and it will come from the left and from the right. We will do anything, spend anything, believe anything, just so we can take away how horribly uncomfortable all of this feels. And on top of that, just to turn the screw that much more, will be the one effort that’s even greater: the all-out blitz to make you believe you never saw what you saw.

I’ve already started seeing some content like this on the web and on TV. I, like everyone else, want to get back to “normal”, whatever that is. However, I do hope we try to be a slightly better version of ourselves as well and not try to paper over it with frenzied consumer spending.