Computers Are Supposed to Help Us Solve Our Problems

August 7, 2018 · 10:08

Sameer Samat details the new Android Pie on Google’s blog:

The latest release of Android is here! And it comes with a heaping helping of artificial intelligence baked in to make your phone smarter, simpler and more tailored to you. Today we’re officially introducing Android 9 Pie […]

I wanted to comment on two of the new features…

That’s why Android 9 comes with features like […] Adaptive Brightness, which learns how you like to set the brightness in different settings, and does it for you.

I have been using iPhones and iPads since 2008, and always relied on Automatic Brightness. I don’t know what Apple did, but I never had an Android phone which handled this function, as well as iOS does — I’ve always had stuttering or sudden brightness shifts, including flickering while it’s been adjusted. All this on many flagship phones, including older Nexus devices and more recent ones like the Galaxy S8.

At-a-Glance on Always-on-Display: See things like calendar events and weather on your Lock Screen and Always-on Display.

I have always found it curious that Apple chose not to use the Lock Screen in a more productive fashion (widgets do not count). Just weather information could be easily included and it’s something I miss every day. And since we have a OLED screen on the iPhone X, that could be taken advantage of even further. Burn-in could present a problem and perhaps that is why Apple isn’t in on this, but I can imagine a scenario where one tap on a screen shows upcoming calendar events and the weather, while two taps wake the screen.


Computers are (partly) supposed to help us solve our problems. This isn’t being pursued as I had hoped it would be. We’re 11 years in and iOS still can’t do things that my simple Nokia could, such as setting it to Do Not Disturb mode for a precisely set amount of time. iOS 12 will introduce a few new features that help in this regard but there’s so much more that could be done. My iPhone know’s my daily schedule and how I use it — it should adapt automatically. When I walk into the gym, it should suggest launching Overcast and Workouts (on my Apple Watch). When I leave, it should suggest that I text my wife, informing her that I am on my way and share my ETA. When I get into my car in the parking lot beneath the gym, it should launch Waze and guide me to where she is. I do this every single day and I should not have to manually repeat these steps every time — the OS should have learned by now. It has my location, it knows my routine; it should help automate repetitive tasks automatically.


How to Install Python3 via Homebrew on macOS

July 20, 2018 · 12:25

I just had to install Python 3 on both Macs and the whole process had some issues, so this is what I had to do to get everything running correctly:

  • I assume you already have Homebrew installed; if not then follow the instructions here and then run the following commands…
  • brew update
  • brew upgrade
  • sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/Frameworks
  • sudo chown -R $(whoami) /usr/local/* if using bash or sudo chown -R (whoami) /usr/local/* for fish
  • brew install python3
  • brew link python3
  • brew doctor

That’s it.


How to Create a macOS Mojave USB Drive Installer

June 27, 2018 · 13:43

The macOS 10.14 Mojave public beta dropped yesterday and while some of you will go crazy and install it as your main OS, it is preferable to install it on an external drive for testing purposes only. While you can just download the installer as a developer or public beta tester and proceed to install it directly, creating an installation drive (e.g. on a pendrive) has its benefits, especially if you foresee the need to install Mojave more than once.

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Locked Out of My FastMail Account (Sort Of)

June 9, 2018 · 19:43

I finally got around to setting up 2FA for my FastMail account on Wednesday, preferring to switch over to 1Password, to an authenticator instead of SMS. I forgot I would need to create an app password for my iPhone to continue receiving emails on it. FastMail was nice enough to notify me of this via email, as a reminder, but I did not receive this email, because I was locked out, because I didn’t create an app password, because I completely forgot about it.

Yeah, my bad.

The upside was that I was happy for two days because I barely got any email (a few slipped by on my other accounts). The downside? It’s the weekend and I am calling email bankruptcy.


2018 Apple Design Awards Winners

June 8, 2018 · 14:09

WWDC wouldn’t be the same without the Apple Design Awards and they’re back this year with some great finalists:

I especially recommend getting Alto’s Odyssey if you haven’t played it yet — it’s an aural and visual masterpiece.


Keyboard Maestro Macro to Change Theme in Tweetbot 3.0 for Mac

May 16, 2018 · 12:19

I quickly created this Keyboard Maestro macro, which switches the theme in the new Tweetbot 3.0 [App Store] from Light to Dark and vice versa.

The default shortcut is ⌥⌘L, which I adopted from Ulysses. Feel free to use anything you feel comfortable with. You will also need to make sure that the TweetbotTheme variable is set to either Light or Dark before running it for the first time — I didn’t (yet) bother with a pop-up asking for a correct input if that variable is empty.

Tweetbot 3.0 – Switch Theme.kmmacros


Tweetbot 3.0 for Mac is here!

May 15, 2018 · 20:27

Tweetbot 3.0 for Mac dropped today! I’ve only had a few minutes to play with it so far, but it’s looking like a solid release — I’ve taken to some of the new functionality immediately.

The new 3.0 isn’t a free upgrade this time, which isn’t surprising, since we haven’t paid for the Mac version since 2012 and it’s 1.0 release. Since I practically live on Twitter, I had no qualms about the price, but your mileage may vary.

No complaints or regrets so far — I’m very happy with the new version.

Tweetbot 3.0 for Mac — $9.99 / €10.99 / 47.99 PLN


How to Get Webmention Working Under WordPress

April 26, 2018 · 14:56

I learned about Webmention from Manton Reece, after he launched Micro.blog. Basically, Webmention is a standard for having conversations on the web, between different websites. These can be interpreted as comments or whatever a site’s owner wants them to be, e.g. likes, etc. To get these running under WordPress, you will need to either code Webmention into your theme or take the easy path and install two plugins…

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1Blocker X for iOS — New App, More Rules

April 25, 2018 · 12:15

The guys behind 1Blocker for iOS and macOS are launching 1Blocker X tomorrow, with support for many more rules by combining several content blockers into one app — this rewrite took them 6 months, which is why I completely understand their need to make back their investment. Salavat Khanov wrote up all the new features of 1Blocker X on their blog — it’s an interesting read — and now that I finally understand how it works under the hood, I’m upgrading tomorrow, when the app goes live. You can pre-order it today though…

1Blocker X — $4.99 / €5,49 / 23,49 PLN


Hey Siri, Set the HomePod’s Volume

March 16, 2018 · 13:04

I discovered an interesting tidbit regarding setting the HomePod’s volume:

  1. The buttons on top of the HomePod change the volume in 5% increments on each tap.
  2. The voice command “Hey Siri, louder / quieter”, “Hey Siri, increase / decrease the volume”, etc. changes the volume in 10% increments.

Also, Siri really shouldn’t need to hear the “Hey” in “Hey Siri” every single time I need something from her.

“Siri, just do it.”


Using a Raspberry Pi Zero W to Add a Camera and a Xiaomi Air Purifier 2 to HomeKit via Homebridge

March 1, 2018 · 15:04

I recently purchased a Xiaomi Air Purifier 2, to avoid having dirty air in my apartment. Unfortunately, this product does not integrate with HomeKit. I am generally averse to having my “connected” home accessible from the internet, but I did want to use the HomeKit automation features. Setting this whole thing up just for one air purifier did seem like a lot of hassle, until I found out (from Steven Troughton-Smith) that you can get a Raspberry Pi Zero W with a camera module, which also works under HomeKit. Two-in-one? No need to ask me twice.

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The New YouTube App for Apple TV Is a Disaster

February 20, 2018 · 16:11

I have been using the new Apple TV YouTube app for these past few days and, to be frank… I absolutely hate it. YouTube, with one fell swoop, broke:

  • the ability to touch the edges of remote’s trackpad to skip 15 seconds in either direction;
  • the sounds which accompany navigating the UI via the trackpad;
  • the possibility to scroll the timeline in a very precise fashion, with visible thumbnails;
  • the ability to touch the trackpad to bring up the timeline.

This app is so badly designed and breaks the tvOS UX paradigm to such an extent, that I will not use it until it is fixed. Everything about it is so tragically bad — it’s basically a copy of their web player — that I’m utterly surprised Apple review let it through. At this point, I would prefer to not have the app at all than to imagine people using (and getting used to) this garbage.


Alto’s Odyssey Is Available for Pre-Order!

February 12, 2018 · 09:54

I wrote a short piece on why I loved Alto’s Adventure so much a few months ago:

These weeks were incredibly taxing, ultimately driving me into severe depression, which took me over two years to shake. I did find one way to keep sane at the time, during those long hours in the halls of the hospital my mom was in — by playing Alto’s Adventure [iOS / Android] when my stress levels were particularly high or there was just nothing else to do. I would completely lose myself in the wonderfully calming music, various sound effects, and flowing gameplay, while skiing down the slope of the endless in-game mountain. At one point Alto’s Adventure was the only experience that would calm my frayed nerves.

I don’t know what I would have done without this wonderful game, but I would like to deeply thank the team behind it — Snowman — for their efforts. They will always have a special place in my heart.

This was partly done in anticipation of Alto’s Oddysey — the sequel to that fantastic title. Well, it’s up for pre-order today, which I did, and I can’t wait until February 22, when it’s scheduled for release.

Alto’s Odyssey — $4.99 / €5.49 / 23.99 PLN


I Cannot Disconnect From Wi-Fi Under macOS Sierra

January 4, 2018 · 13:12

Isn’t it ironic that so many people have issues connecting to Wi-Fi networks under various version of macOS on their MacBooks, while my issue is the exact opposite — I cannot disconnect Wi-Fi when tethering from my iPad.

Pressing “Disconnect” from the menu does nothing. Turning off Wi-Fi only reinstates the connection when I turn it back on. The only method that works for me is sleeping the computer1 — it’s disconnected after waking.

Frustrating, as is everything that doesn’t work correctly.

  1. For the record, it’s a 2016 MacBook Pro 13″ without the Touch Bar.

More Christmas App Store Deals — 22/12/2017

December 22, 2017 · 18:32

A few of my favourite games went on sale today, including Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango. Going through this list, I was quite surprised to learn that I have many of the apps listed below — I’d hate to see a tally of my purchases.

See all the deals→