Speak, Don’t Stomp

Carl Barenbrug on being rational

Upon reflection, it is entirely someone’s prerogative to block me for whatever reason they may have. That’s not something I’ll lose any sleep over. But, you know what would have been a little more rational? Taking the time to email me and explain their issue. Open an asynchronous dialogue like a decent human being where you can give your words and actions a little more consideration

I might start a movement about slowing down and thinking instead of reacting to the barrage of stimulus we get on a daily basis. I’ve done it, as will have most of you, when I should have opened I dialogue and tried to talk.

I’ve also been blocked by people that I follow very closely and took it amazingly personal, when they could have had a number of reasons to ban me from their timeline!

I am a huge proponent of talking to people that think different to you, and in in many ways don’t like you. If nothing else it gets you used to living with people that oppose you so you don’t live in a bubble.

The Simplicity Of The iPad Is Its Biggest Attraction

I seem to be writing about the iPad a bit more, simply because people are thinking and talking about it more following WWDC2021. You can guarantee this always happens at two points, following release of new hardware, and after software updates. Amplify this double of Apple have released a new iPad and then talked about a software update that hasn’t met imaginary predictions. So, currently we are in the middle of a perfect storm, or I guess an imperfect one.

The common consensus seems to be that the iPad needs to move forward and be more like the Mac. There is some long held belief that the iPad Pro must start to deliver everything to everyone, becoming more like a traditional commuter — when in fact the opposite is true.

I love having a iPad because it can do everything I need. If I want to chill out on the sofa and read a bit, or I want to scribble some notes in a meeting it is perfect. I also know that of I need to draw out some design concepts, illustrate a document or connect a keyboard to write out a blog post it can do all that and more — with ease, and most of all simplicity.

I can get in depth and have side by side windows, Slideover ones and picture in picture stuff going on, but I can also open an app in full screen by default and everything else gets out my way. No docks to hide, no menu bars or anything else to worry about — a procrastinators dream.

Some of these feelings come from working on a Mac all day. The iPad feels different and more relaxed, but even when I used an iPad as my main computer I just loved the way it was simple to understand and got where I needed it to go. I wasn’t trying to force a square peg in a round hole, I wasn’t expecting it to do anything more that I needed it to, because when push comes to shove, better tools are available.

I must applaud Apple for achieving this mix of power and simplicity for iPad OS. Every time “someone familiar with the matter” starts to talk about making the iPad like a desktop computer I feel a little bit of dread that the iPad will loose its charm. Push too far towards the work, and loose its way with everything else it is great at. I wish Apple would bring the iPad out into the sun with feature parody, but it doesn’t need anything else to be a great iPad. For everything else, there’s a Mac for that.

Will The iPad Ever Move Out From The Macs Shadow?

Before we get anywhere into this post, I absolutely refuse to start this stupid debate again. I love the iPad, I used it as my only device for years, and now I use a Mac because it fits my work life better. It is because I love it so much that I appreciate everything it can do for users.

As many others did, I sat and watched WWDC2021 and expected the iPad to go up a gear. It did in many ways, but the updates still left many wanting more. I don’t believe users should be up in arms at the exclusion of “pro apps” and screaming for the myriad of features that were never promised by Apple — but with that said the iPad still feels a little stagnant.

Apple can’t or won’t make the iPad too powerful because they want you to buy a Mac too. For proof of this look no further than the upcoming Universal control. A feature which feels like an extension of Sidecar, allowing you to move your mouse across the many screens you have at your disposal. Be those Macs or iPads. Yet even this feature isn’t universal at all.

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You can only use this control from a Mac. So if you were thinking you could use your iPad and move your mouse across to grab a file from a Mac, you have another think coming. Unfortunately Apple still view your iPad as Mac adjacent. A supplementary device that is amazingly powerful but just not quite there.

I worked from an iPad for around 7 years, since before the iPad Pro was even a thing. So I know what an iPad is capable of and I know where it’s limits are. You will get no wild claims from me about where you can and can’t work. Yet the iPad still seems to exist in the shade of the Mac. Not quite achieving its potential.

Seemingly for the fear of cannibalising Apples computer market. The taste left in many users mouths is one that all the moves Apple make are to entice customers to purchase more devices. Hey, they’re a company, that’s the way companies grow. But after years of users waiting and wishing for things I am starting to get the feeling that the prayers will always go unanswered.

Undeniably the iPad makes strives forward each year - some small, some large. Yet the potential is never met, and perhaps never will be. I dream of a world where the iPad steps into the sun and becomes its own thing, because it’s only Apple holding it back now.

Hate what you hate, and enjoy it

One of the best things about blogging and sharing things on social media is the constant changing environment and shifting your perspective. Yesterday I shared a few thoughts on what I am going to try and stop on Twitter. The level of what about this can get annoying, so stopping it myself is a worthwhile endeavour.

Most people seemed to share a similar outlook, and the tweet below from Andy made me think a little more or letting people enjoy the things they enjoy - but also hate whatever they want to hate.

This wasn’t directed at me, but seeing as I had not long shared my post, I took it as a sub tweet or at least something to pay attention to. Well, he’s dead right.

It’s important that everyone has a way to vent when they want to. If the prevailing opinion is that you should let people enjoy whatever they want, then we should be letting people hate whatever it is they want to hate.

Hate what a political party is up to at the moment? Let it out. Want to tell others have stupid Apple is? Go for it. Enjoy the release without 17 replies telling you how wrong you are.

But what about...

There are so many things I love about Twitter. It was the first social network that clicked for me, despite having a Facebook account for a while before hand. The fast moving pace of updates and the activity levels of people that I enjoyed following just made it a place I wanted to be.

When I first started using Twitter I was hacking the iPhone and had a pretty successful side hustle unlocking them and helping others develop Cydia hacks. I was also really deep into Android Twitter building loads of friends that I still speak to all over the globe. I had a place, a constantly changing environment surrounded by people I wanted to deal with. I got hate from Apple fanboys but I didn’t care. This was me and I loved it.

The user base then felt like it was tiny. People that I spoke to in real life didn’t really use Twitter that much, but fast forward to now and it feels like everyone is here. It’s still fast moving, but it’s huge and often times exhausting. So I’ve tried to quit, more than once. Yet I keep coming back once I feel better, and then it got too much again, and the world goes around because I never learn.

Trying to work out what is so exhausting is the puzzling part. Partly it is the speed of information flowing past, slowing down always proves effective. However I have never really ever managed to put my finger on why, until today.

Listening to an episode of ‘You’re wrong about’ recommended by Gabz the concept of “What about…” was given as becoming exhausting and it instantly clicked of me. I love hearing other peoples opinions on things, expressing myself and giving far too many of my own outlooks in replies to tweets — and this is part of the issue. Opinions are something everyone has, and should be happy to share them with others, but when there is so much noise it gets frustrating.

As the host points out, When you tweet your three favorite bagels, someone will come back “but what about Poppy seed..”. The solution is not to stop people from replying to tweets, or limiting them in anyway, because that’s just not Twitter. To be honest I don’t think there is a solution, apart from not using Twitter so much.

I am certainly going to be more aware of the replies I make to others, and simply enjoy the sharing of opinions.Maybe write a blog post or two instead. Replying only when I have something to add, or a question is asked. This isn’t going to stop me going down rabbit holes and wasting time, but it should help my mental health a bit.

I Love The Journey

It’s amazing how easy I am to sway into using something else. I’m perfectly happy using obsidian, bar a few tiny things, yet here I am setting up Craft because it got daily notes.

It’s not that I have anything to gain, and it’s not marketing hype, I think I just like playing with new things and trying out other ways.

I guess it’s a bit of a waste of time but it give me quite a bit of enjoyment so what’s it matter. I enjoy the journey of transferring my information, setting things up to work for me. Those little “a ha” moments when you find a little feature that works are as enjoyable as finding a robust system and sticking with it.

More Thought Less Action

Don’t get me wrong, there are massive advantages to fast moving, constantly updated feeds of things happening. Twitter has been instrumental in so many positive things in the world it is worth remembering at every turn. However I want to live in a world with more thought goes into things posted.

Books are written almost a year before they come out. Tweets take about 24 seconds to launch. Which world would you like to live in, book-world or twitter-world? - Seth Goodin

There should be a holding cell. What if instead of launching your tweet into the internet its kept to one side, like your drunken texts to an ex, they remain until you confirm your intention to send later on. A get out of jail free card for those tweets you really shouldn’t have sent, and a way to make sure your feelings are straight before you throw your thoughts into the conversation.

How many of your tweets or status updates would be deleted if you had to confirm sending them 12 hours later?

Insides vs Outsides

Laura Turner on How Twitter Fuels Anxiety

Using Twitter, I am constantly comparing my insides—my anxieties, fears, and insecurities—with other people’s outward selves: their accomplishments, polished selfies, and edited articles.

You see. We all know this. We all pick the best photos, apply the best filters, and also some use god awful filters that look nothing like them. Yet we don’t see to extrapolate this to others.

The anxiety fuelled by social media is often predicated on the comparison of the expression of others lives to our own. Yet nothing is real! For much of the web, inner selves are not the ones that are on display. The constant battle to win approval by making yourself as appealing, approachable and inoffensive is a pressure felt by all but ignored in equal amounts.

Constant observation is a way of life for some and the next generation looks set to be worse. We have become so used to look at other peoples lives so much that we expect our own to be under the same scrutiny.

If There Could Be Only One Fix For iPadOS

Mat Birchler on Multitasking vs Parallelism:

the ability to me to tell my computer to do something, and then I move on to totally different things while it does its thing. For me it’s out of sight, out of mind, but it’s still happening.

This for me is THE biggest issue I have with iPad os. By either inability or oversight, nothing can operate in the background well enough. Dropbox can’t sync correctly, I can’t upload a long video to YouTube very well, and generally doing something complex can suck at times.

It annoys everyone, full time iPad users included, so why the OS still can do this is beyond me.

But what’s the old iPad Pro saying “the next OS update will fix everything”.

Where Do Your Values Fit?

I am making my way through the wonderful book “Think Like a Monk” by Jay Shetty. It’s hard going, because there is so much to think about I have to stop and digest much of what is being introduced. One of the largest ideas I have found beneficial is the idea of a ‘Values Audit’. A dedicated time where you asses where your perceived values fit into your life, and make some conclusions towards your actual values.

For example someone may claim their values are spending time with their family, but can’t put their phone down to interact with their children. Or you claim there is no time to exercise, but spend hours a day watching TV. This can lead you to be self critical, but there is no need, really what comes from this is more shaping of your actions to display what you value the most.

As my granddad would always say to me “talk is cheap, actions pay the bills”. It’s free and easy to outline the inner working of yourself in words, but your actions quite often display other things. A recent book I read on called Ruined by Design by Mike Monterio discussed a similar thing when designers do things they don’t want to do, but fail to stand up for their values. Leading to a large portion of companies implementing manipulative practices, but this doesn’t just apply to designers.

How many of us would take a position or a job that doesn’t fit in to our values. To use myself as an example, would I design for a company that portrayed dark patterns? Would I write for a company that tracked its users and showed loads of adds? Would you?

Of course many of us would. Taking a job simply because it is with a company we want to work for, but doesn’t display any of our values. There is a certain amount of fighting from the inside you can always do working for a company that doesn’t stand for you, and there is no shame or accusation in that. However it’s important to be aware of whats happening and do these value audits regularly.

Being mindful about the practices you have, your outlook on the world around you and most of all, your output into the world. If at all times we can ensure our true inner values are being portrayed and supported, the world would be a much happier place and you will be a much happier person in it.

Bring The Humans Back!

Amelia Tait on algorithms taking creativity out of social media:

In the future, social media giants should bring back more of the human touch. In the real world, trusted individuals curate our museums, galleries and music festivals – why don’t we have the same approach to creative content online?

I guess this very much depends on the scope of 230. The old definition for the protection was that if you did any moderating then you were liable, but seeing as moderating is a product of scale where does this get to?

Human curation would be lovely to have, it works pretty well on micro.blog, but you very quickly start to see the issues. Bias and control starts to show even at very low levels, so in large scale social media it would become impossible.

We can still dream though. A time where algorithms couldn’t be gamed by spamming content, where people took pride in the content surface on their website, and the cream always rose to the top. Happy time.

I’m Not Like You Think

I completely missed last week being mental health awareness week in the UK. A period of time dedicated to making people more aware of mental illness, and perhaps try and remove some of the stigma associated with both suffering with an illness and indeed seeking help. I have been very open about my struggles with my mental health in later life, I only discovered that I had mental health issues later on when I knew what they were.

At a time when I knew what mental health issue were and how to deal with them. For the longest time I had no clue that the ups and downs that I felt were not normal feelings and in fact something to pay attention to. The weird thing that people come to realise when they get to know me personally, is that I am not how I appear online. Despite all the tweeting, the publishing and the podcasting, I am very introverted.

I am outgoing when I need to be, or when required by the situation. I can adapt to almost anything and not worry too much about my internal feelings. But this is usually followed by a need to ‘recharge’ my social batteries that have been depleted.

Introverts get their energy by being alone or in small groups, while extroverts get their energy from larger groups of people. – Ellen Hendriksen

I suffer greatly from big swings in my outlook on life, and the largest take away I have become used to over the last decade is — that’s OK. However. With all the positive things going around about mental health, I still get loads of push back. It’s still normal for people to tell you to “get over it” or “man up”. That is somehow acceptable in the modern age, to dismiss someone because you think their issues are not important.

This isn’t random people either. Many work colleagues and friend are perfectly fine to say these kinds of dismissive things about others mental health, and a few even believe it doesn’t exist!

When things like mental health week come around, it’s easy to think that it is the people that suffer from issues that this week is for. It’s for the people that don’t want to talk about their issues, but I believe it is more for everyone else. No one wants to talk about these things, and accept that they are happening all around us. These weeks are for the people that push back. That tell me to “get on with it” and belittle the way I feel.

It’s OK for me to not be OK - and it’s got sod all to do with you.