Post-WWDC thoughts

... my general impression about where Mac OS is going is that Apple wants to turn it into a sort of low-maintenance system. The pretext is security: lock down this and that because it could be exploited; remove this and that because it’s code we can’t be bothered to update or optimise, it could potentially represent a vector for an attack, blah blah. Meanwhile, let’s also use these security measures to make the life of the already stressed-out Mac developers even harder.

In 30 years as a Mac power user, what I have been appreciating about Mac software was the ability to think and act outside the box, so to speak. In recent times, Apple seems hell-bent on keeping Mac software inside the box. The walled-garden model and paranoid security made and make definitely more sense on mobile systems. I appreciate being able to look for and install apps on my iPhone that won’t mess with my device or present a security risk for the operating system or for me as a user (although Apple hasn’t done a great job at keeping scams away from the App Store); but on the Mac I want to have more freedom of movement. I’m an expert user, I know the risks involved. Let me tinker. Give the option to have a locked-down Mac for novice users who expect to use it like an appliance, or in the same way they use their phones and tablets. Leave the ‘root’ door open for those who know what they’re doing.


To be clear. I like my Apple devices. I spend thousands of dollars on Apple products for my family and me. I have the right to complain where I think things are not meeting my expectations. Apple is not infallible.

Since Apple can’t be bothered to update the open-source components of their OS, I am happy they will be removing deprecated software. It is better to see the kids placed into foster care, then watch them be abused and neglected by their parents.

It’s getting a lot harder to defend Apple’s action. Many long-time Mac users that I know — I was the president of the Princeton Macintosh Users Group for about five year - and macOS developers, are not happy. I don’t think the concerns of this user base should be dismissed with a wave of the hand. It tends to get people angry when they feel like they are being told their concerns are irrelevant.

I switched to the Mac platform (from Windows) before it was cool. I switched because OS X was UNIX and because it had a usable GUI and I could run well built commercial software and use (or write) open-source software. OS X was open and I could tinker to my heart's content.

It feels to me that with each release, the *NIX part and the openness is being deprecated.

My kind of tablet by Riccardo MoriRiccardo Mori (Riccardo Mori)

My habits and preferences betray my somewhat long history with computers and technology. I didn’t grow up with smartphones and tablets. My first home computer was a Commodore VIC-20. I was 27 when I first used a mobile phone. Despite what some people may think, I’m not averse to change and my brain is still flexible enough to pick up new habits or change old ones. What happens when you get older, though, is you tend to consider more often whether changing a habit or rethinking a workflow is actually worth it. And what I’ve always said about the iPad in this regard is this: if I’m faster, more efficient, more productive with a Mac (or, in certain fringe cases, with an iPhone), why should I learn a more convoluted path to be able to do the same thing — but more slowly and less efficiently — on an iPad?

Riccardo hits the nail on the head. I've been an iPad user since the first iteration in 2010. While I love using my current iPad Pro, the hyperbole that the iPad is the only computer most people need bothers me. I perform too many computing tasks which, although possible on the iPad, are inefficient. While I can do much of my image editing in Adobe Lightroom Mobile, it takes me much longer to do so.

Large cities (or valleys) aren't the only places where innovation happens. I think Silicon Valley gets more attention and investment dollars than it deserves.

A series of studies from Tim Wojan and his colleagues at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service documents the drivers of rural innovation. Their findings draw on a variety of data sets, including a large-scale survey that compares innovation in urban and rural areas called the Rural Establishment Innovation Survey (REIS). This is based on some 11,000 business establishments with at least five paid employees in tradable industries—that is, sectors that produce goods and services that are or could be traded internationally—in rural (or non-metro) and urban (metro) areas.

The survey divides businesses into three main groups. Roughly 30 percent of firms are substantive innovators, launching new products and services, making data-driven decisions, and creating intellectual property worth protecting; another 33 percent are nominal innovators who engage in more incremental improvement of their products and processes; and 38 percent show little or no evidence of innovation, so are considered to be non-innovators.

The first table below charts this breakdown for rural and urban areas. Establishments in urban areas are more innovative, but not by much. Roughly 20 percent of rural firms are substantive innovators, compared to 30 percent of firms in urban areas.The Rise of the Rural Creative Class by Richard Florida witing for CityLab

New research indicates that the advice to walk 10,000 steps per day was more marketing than fact.

Scientific or not, this bit of branding ingenuity transmogrified into a pearl of wisdom that traveled around the globe over the next half century, and eventually found its way onto the wrists and into the pockets of millions of Americans. In her research, Lee put it to the test by observing the step totals and mortality rates of more than 16,000 elderly American women. The study’s results paint a more nuanced picture of the value of physical activity.

“The basic finding was that at 4,400 steps per day, these women had significantly lower mortality rates compared to the least active women,” Lee explains. If they did more, their mortality rates continued to drop, until they reached about 7,500 steps, at which point the rates leveled out. Ultimately, increasing daily physical activity by as little as 2,000 steps—less than a mile of walking—was associated with positive health outcomes for the elderly women.What 10,000 Steps Will Really Get You by Amanda Mull

The landscape of the social web. It’s an old post.

A last and different way to look at Social Networks could be the metaphor of landscapes, with mountains as barriers, and roads and rivers as attractors.

Closely knit groups would be villages, echo-chambers isolated villages with no nearby roads. Larger groups, sub-optimally meshed are towns and cities, where the risk of too little meshing lurks (homeless people, drop outs etc as a consequence). Lurkers might be unnoticed city dwellers, or tourists from other landscapes, that only become visible if they make themselves known as tourists, leave footprints or marks on/in the landscape as it were. (Kilroy was here). Lurking and Social Networks

Retail: C by an author

... I trusted that a company such as Apple would prepare their retail employees enough to provide what I consider basic information. This is what ‘taking care of the customer’ ultimately means, not just being superficially kind and welcoming and displaying a confident attitude. Design is how it works, not just how it looks, even in retail.