Happy leap day! I just posted episode 15 of Timetable. On this episode, I focus on… well, focus. Specifically using the new routine of visiting coffee shops to provide more structure and productivity to my day.→ 2016/02/29 2:38 pm
Bill Simmons announced on his podcast last week that his new media site The Ringer will use Medium. He said they’ve been working with the Medium folks on it, although I don’t know if that means using existing features that are available to anyone, or if Medium has built anything custom just for The Ringer.
Digiday has a story about this, and about the larger context of how Medium is doing and evolving:
“At one point last year, a former staffer said, Medium decided to move away from funding publications directly and instead fund initiatives meant to grow audiences in specific areas such as women in tech and the election. Last year, it closed down Re:form and Archipelago, a home for personal essays. Its remaining verticals have been roped into Medium’s effort to generate more conversation with readers, with tactics like prompts at the end of articles.”
I’ve written several times about how Medium is worse than your own blog for building an audience, and worse for the open web if it continues down the Twitter-like path as a centralized social network. But encouraging larger publishers to adopt Medium is good, because custom domains will come along for the ride. Owning your domain and URLs is the first step to owning your content.
Dan Moren wrote an essay for Six Colors last week about why slowness is such a problem for the Apple Watch:
“The stale data and the lack of speed means that either you have to stare at your Watch for several seconds and hope the data updates; or tap on the complication to load the Watch app, which as we all know takes a good long while as well; or simply give up and pull out your phone. […] It’s not just that the Apple Watch is slow; it’s that it’s slow while promising to be faster.”
Both Dan and Jason Snell followed up on this topic in the latest Six Colors subscriber podcast. The problem, they recognized, is that the first Apple Watch tried to do too much. Apple should instead focus on a few core features and make them fast.
Which features? I still use the Apple Watch every single day, and I use it for just three things: telling the time, tracking fitness (including reminding me to stand up), and glancing at notifications.
Some people have stopped wearing their watch every day. Again, that’s fine. Curtis Herbert was falling into that category, until he went snowboarding with friends and realized how useful the Apple Watch is when you can’t get to your phone or tap buttons. In an article about the snowboarding trip, Curtis says the Apple Watch’s problems are solvable in future versions:
“Siri on the Watch will get faster. The battery situation will improve. The Watch as a whole will get faster. We’re spoiled by iPhone speeds and sometimes forget just how long it took us to get there, and the crap we dealt with until then.”
I’m not worried about the future of the watch either. Our early expectations were much too high — in contrast with the first iPhone, which exceeded all hopes because it was seemingly from the future already — and it will take a couple more years to catch up to where we’d all like the watch to be. In the meantime, the watch is useful today, even slow-ish.
When I tell people that I’ve started going to a new coffee shop every day for a month — and importantly, one which I’ve never been to before after living my whole life in Austin, with no duplicates or separate locations from a coffee chain — they usually ask: are you going to run out of places to go? At the beginning I didn’t know. And that has made it a particularly fun challenge, because doing something that you know is possible is boring.
I’ve never been interested in building an iOS app that someone else has already done. I’ve never been excited to write a blog post that is just a rephrasing of someone else’s idea. Starting a new project with a unique twist, even a minor one, is what makes our job as developers and writers fun.
And it’s easy to take a simple idea and build it into a more advanced project. On the latest Core Intuition, Daniel continues to suggest ways to add layers to my coffee trips, from adding photos, to publishing future locations ahead of time so that anyone can stop by and join me for a coffee. (I’m going to be doing this.)
Now at day 10, I can more easily answer the original question, though. I have 16 suggested coffee shops in the queue, so if I visit all of those, I’ll only need 4 more places to hit 30 new coffee shops in 30 days. A few of these might seem like borderline cheats — a donut shop, or a food truck to pick up a Thai iced coffee — but being exposed to new places I would never otherwise go is the whole point.
“Isn’t it more accurate to think of this as an iPhone 6S in a 4-inch body than as an iPhone 5S with ‘upgraded internals’? Other than the display, aren’t the ‘internals’ the defining characteristics of any iPhone?”
I agree with John. Other than the screen size, this phone will feel a lot like an iPhone 6S. And because I love the smaller size, I personally think it will have the best of both the 5S and 6S.
Prediction: this phone is going to be much more popular than people expect. I won’t be surprised if it takes the 6S Plus’s spot as the 2nd most popular iPhone.
NSDrinking is at Radio Coffee & Beer tonight, 8pm. Reminder that anyone’s welcome. Nice opportunity to chat with fellow Mac/iOS developers.→ 2016/02/25 12:20 pm
If you’re wondering what all these coffee posts are about, don’t worry. Maybe it’s all an elaborate stunt to test my microblogging platform.→ 2016/02/24 4:10 pm
I’ve now wrapped up the first week of my attempt to visit a new coffee shop I’ve never been to, every day for a month. To track the progress, I’ve created a web page with all the visits so far, the coffee shops I hope to try soon, and also a bunch of places I’ve already been over the years (and so which are disqualified from this endeavor).
This has required a little more planning than I expected. I’ll be going to all corners of the city to not repeat myself for a full 30 days. Even then, I’ll have to broaden my search to include more traditional cafes and donut shops too.
I’ve also realized that I need to do a better job of ordering something unique when it’s on the menu, or asking for a recommendation. After all, the point is to get out of the house more often — to take a break from the isolated work-from-home environment, be exposed to something new, even if it’s just a simple drink or view outside, and get back to my current projects refreshed.
“Facebook is using open web technology to power Instant Articles. I’m not sharing anything that isn’t already publicly documented on the Facebook developer site. People have trouble understanding this, I assume, because it seems so out of character for a big web destination like Facebook to care about the open web. It’s kind of a miracle. But there it is. The open web is about to get a real shot in the arm from a most unexpected place.”
I guess one question is whether there will be any other RSS readers that support Instant Articles. If we can get some of the benefits of Instant Articles, but outside of Facebook, that is something.
Facebook continues to roll out their Instant Articles format to more publishers. It’s now available to anyone, with this catch:
“You won’t be able to publish Instant Articles until your RSS feed has been approved.”
That’s just what we need: the worst part of the App Store approval process applied to the web. No thanks.
Google’s competing Accelerated Mobile Pages has problems too, as I mentioned in the last half of this post about the cost of links. Although unlike Facebook, which wants to trap content behind their own platform, AMP is at least more open and useful to the larger web.
I hate to say it but neither Instant Articles nor AMP are really good enough. I think we need a third standard for super-fast web pages. (Or do we? Maybe the web is okay as-is if we fight page bloat.)
Another day, another new coffee place I’ve never been to. Trying the iced toddy at Pacha and catching up on the morning’s email.→ 2016/02/23 9:29 am