Tommy.

The extended range battery for my Boosted Board V2 will ship in two to three weeks. I’m very excited for Spring to come!

Guy who claimed to get his news from print papers didn't really turn off Twitter

I feel sorry for linking you guys to the piece of Farhad Manjoo yesterday. Even though he brags about unplugging from Twitter in his story, he probably just scammed us:

The evidence is right there in his Twitter feed, just below where he tweeted out his column: Manjoo remained a daily, active Twitter user throughout the two months he claims to have gone cold turkey, tweeting many hundreds of times, perhaps more than 1,000. […]

He retweeted news stories from others and commented on others’ tweets about the news on most days during his period of being “unplugged.” […]

After trying, and failing, to get him to own up to the fact that his assertion that he had “unplugged” from social media was not true, I asked him whether perhaps his use of social media was messing with his own self-perception. He didn’t respond to that question.

It’s fine if you use social media. None of us can probably avoid it completely. Just own it. Don’t claim how “unplugging” has made you a better person, when in fact you just stayed the same dude.

Nick Heer:

Beyond that, it’s 2018 — telling people not to follow news accounts on Twitter is just yelling into the wind.

Only the “I get my news from Twitter” is a mantra with tech writers, bloggers and podcasters all around the web.

Sticking with the analogy, “mindfulness guidelines” on how to use Twitter and Facebook for news are the “filter and light cigarettes” of our days.

Slow Jammin' the News

Farhad Manjoo in a story for The New York Times:

In January, after the breaking-newsiest year in recent memory, I decided to travel back in time. I turned off my digital news notifications, unplugged from Twitter and other social networks, and subscribed to home delivery of three print newspapers […].

I have reduced my digital input significantly in recent months, as well. It had all become a cluttered, noisy and attention-draining mess. I still get my news from selected online sources only, though, and I tend to avoid paper whenever possible as it tends to always grow in piles. Piles only grow bigger, never get read and tend to stress me out. I have curated my news sources down to what I believe to be a reasonable balance between breadth, inclusivity and personal sentiments. However, I haven’t used Facebook and Twitter in all of 2018 and so far I haven’t missed a thing.

Turning off the buzzing breaking-news machine I carry in my pocket was like unshackling myself from a monster who had me on speed dial, always ready to break into my day with half-baked bulletins.

The “newsfeed” is the new smoking.

The World's Oldest Message in a Bottle

Tonya Illman found the oldest message in a bottle ever recorded on a beach in Australia. It had been set adrift from the German ship Paula over 131 years ago in 1886. Megan Specia in a story for the New York Times:

When the bottle was set adrift, Grover Cleveland was the president of the United States, Queen Victoria was shortly to celebrate 50 years on the throne of England, and the Industrial Revolution was in full swing.

The Illmans created a website dedicated to the bottle and its backstory.

Horror story of the week: "When Twenty-Six Thousand Stinkbugs Invade Your Home"

Kathryn Schulz in a story for The New Yorker:

Stone and Zimmerman live just outside Landrum, South Carolina, in an A-frame cabin; upstairs in their bedroom, French doors lead out to a raised deck. That week, autumn had finally descended on the Carolinas, killing off the mosquitoes and sending nighttime temperatures plummeting, and the previous evening the couple had opened those doors a crack to take advantage of the cool air. Now, sitting in front of the TV, Stone suddenly realized that she’d left them open and went up to close them.

Zimmerman was still downstairs when he heard her scream. He sprinted up to join her, and the two of them stood in the doorway, aghast. Their bedroom walls were crawling with insects—not dozens of them but hundreds upon hundreds.

I can’t stop scratching myself.

★ Unfounded criticism of third-party apps on Apple Watch

For some bloggers, third-party apps on Apple Watch have hardly any value. It’s either because the frameworks to develop apps for the watch suck - which might be the case - or just in principle because the whole app on the watch thing is a failure and Apple should focus on the watch as a timepiece instead with customizable watch faces and an always-on display.

I don’t get this criticism at all. On the contrary, I’m glad Apple still regards third-party watch apps as a priority.

To me, third-party apps are what make the Apple Watch a great device, one that I wear daily and don’t leave the house without. Perhaps, with deeper support for developers, third-party watch apps could be made even better, but the truth is there is hardly stagnation in development for the watch.

In recent months, many watch apps have received great updates that take the functionality of the watch to yet another level. For instance, Slopes, my favorite app for tracking ski and snowboard runs, and Carrot Weather, probably the best app ever, have become so good with their latest updates that if Apple somehow cut watch support for them, it would break my heart. Besides the aforementioned, I use complications for Just Press Record, a better voice recorder, and WaniKani, a tool to learn Japanese Kanji - two apps that go beyond fitness tracking and notifications which supposedly are the only things the watch is good for.

On the other hand, I don’t think making the watch a “better” timepiece would make it any more compelling to me. Depending on the implementation, I would probably be annoyed by a shining always-on screen on my wrist which has to be micromanaged and turned off anytime I find myself in dimly lit situations like in a car after hours or in bed. Also, I would rather have only Apple’s current line of watch faces than an AppStore flood of poorly designed free-with-ads custom watch faces.

I would be less compelled to wear my watch if Apple somehow turned back the clock on third-party app support. If anything, make the watch an even better platform for developers.

The craziest line a snowboarder has ever done

I was surfing the web for Transworld Snowboarding magazine before my winter vacation in the Swiss Alps. You know, checking out the pros to kinda get the mojo flowing. This was when I stumbled upon the cover shot for the March 2014 edition. The picture features snowboard legend Jeremy Jones standing in a 21,500 foot high vertical wall of icy spines that makes the Pass of Caradhras look like snow kindergarten. The whole thing got my nails so rolled up, I had bad dreams for days after watching the behind the scenes and the video of the actual descent.

How the loudest iPhone critics come crawling back

Vlad Savov writing for The Verge:

Then the iPhone X came out and for a couple of blissful months I shrugged it off. I thought the notch looked goofy while having the potential to be iconic, and I knew from the reviews that the camera was no threat to Google’s Pixel greatness. I also blanched at the $999 price tag, which inevitably spiraled up into four figures. So that was that, I would learn to live with the Pixel 2 XL with the iffy screen and accept life’s imperfections. But then I got an iPhone X in my hands at the start of this year, and that’s when all the trouble started.

Interesting to see how most of his former issues with the iPhone - the lack of a home button, the notch, the price-tag and the lack of the headphone jack, are eventually becoming non-issues.

These self-declared skeptics ring the click-bait bell against any new Apple product for a couple of weeks, until they come back.

Skiing Robot

You gotta love this skiing robot. He takes a hard beating racing down the slopes, though. It reminds me of my own early days on two planks. Lots of crashes then, too.

I feel you, little guy.

Me racing in style

Vainglory 5v5

I’m excited for the upcoming Vainglory 5v5 update. It looks pretty rad.

Vainglory is the game that has stuck with me far longer than any other. It’s de facto the only game I play. Continuous updates for many years, amazing artwork, no crappy in-app money snatching, great performance and graphics - it’s the poster child of games on iOS and Android.

Also, it’s the only game that has ever survived an Apple keynote. (Remember those DOA keynote games like Clumsy Ninja, Mario Run and Anki Drive?)

Now watching the Falcon Heavy launch live stream. I so hope all goes fine…

Among all the HomePod reviews released today, iJustine’s is by far my favorite.

When will camera apps on iOS get rid off these annoying camera shutter sounds?

Today’s WOD

This one was a doozy:

2 rounds of 3 AMRAPs @4min (a total of 6 AMRAPS)

16 cal row 8 thrusters @43kg 4 lateral burpees over the bar 16 cal AirBike 8 power snatches @43kg 4 lateral burpees over the bar

4 min rest between each AMRAP

8 min rest after 3 AMRAPS

It started off easy but quickly turned into a delirious struggle. I found it practically impossible to work through more than one round of each AMRAP.

I finished at 321 reps.

Those who call for a Snow Leopard strategy for iOS and macOS today, are the ones who’ll cry “Apple has lost its mojo” tomorrow.

Please more driverless transportation

I love this concept by a startup called Nuro.ai, founded by former Google engineers.

Nuro is focused on deliveries, specifically the kind that are low-speed, local, and last-mile: groceries, laundry, or your take-out order […].

There’s no driver seat because humans were not meant to operate this vehicle.

Delivery driver is a job with no future. I can’t wait for the broad-scale arrival of automated, electric vehicles carrying goods through our cities. Less congestion, pollution, noise and faster, simpler deliveries. Solutions like Nuro’s or this six-wheeled sidewalk robot are desperately needed.

No Van Gogh, but Here’s a Gold Toilet

My favorite story from last week: The White House’s request for a Van Gogh painting to decorate President Trump’s living quarters was turned down by the Guggenheim’s chief curator, Nancy Spector.

As an alternative, The Post said Ms. Spector offered up what one might call a “participatory sculpture”: a fully functional, solid 18-karat-gold copy of a Kohler toilet titled “America” that more than 100,000 people had already used in a museum restroom.

“It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care.”

★ Re-understanding what needs to be done with Things 3

I have been a victim of my to-do list for years. A looming mountain of tasks, reminding me of how little I am getting done.

My list of unchecked to-dos stands out as the confession of a procrastinator. It’s paining me with guilt. Why do I have these tasks that I never check off but only push further ahead in time?

Todoist offers an objective measure to my productivity. Or lack thereof. They call it Karma and guys like me can’t escape its sharp edge.

My Karma level has remained stagnant at around 11900-ish for a while now. It’s a proof of mediocrity. I’m never to reach Enlightenment. A “meh”-productive failure.

I have repeatedly tried to escape this downward spiral of demotivation that is my to-do list by the habit of switching task management apps.

The wave of nerdy excitement that accompanies the set-up of a shiny new app wears off quickly. This habit has hardly ever helped me get better at managing my tasks. Neither of my transitions, whether it was formerly from OmniFocus to 2Do or from 2Do to Todoist, has fundamentally changed my “get something done, already” problem.

Well, time was surely ripe for another app transition then, wasn’t it? And so I recently left Karma behind and switched from Todoist to the redesigned Things 3.

Things feel different with Things 3 now. The pacing has changed. And so have my inner tensions.

For a long time, I haven’t made this kind of progress with the mess that is my productivity as I have with Things 3.

What I am accepting more each day, is that most things-to-be-done deserve less eagerness and attention than my busy mind claims they do. Labeling work and productivity as a constant “struggle” or a “hustle” is bullshit. And Things 3 is a strong tool to support me in this position.

But will it forever put to rest the eternal question of which is the best task manager? I’m not sure whether this is the actual question to answer.

For my switch to Things 3 from Todoist, I used my usual scorch-it-all-to-the-ground approach of deleting my old task management app and all its content from all my devices first, then starting with the new one from a clean slate.

Who needs the old task-cruft, anyway? Once you delete your to-dos, you’ll find out how little most of them matter. It feels great. Like opening a window in the morning after a hung-over night in a dorm overcrowded with teenagers.

I started with Things 3 only on iOS.

Why not start small and keep it small for once? I am using multiple devices in concordance - iOS and macOS - but my iPhone is the central, most important hub for everything.

Don’t listen to gurus that implore you to push this button and that, get all the apps for all the platforms and choose an app for its “feature-completeness”. These people are full of shit.

Start small. Don’t create dependencies. Things 3 embodies this mindset but it allows you to take off from there. If you want to.

The iOS app gives you everything you’ll ever need. It’s beautifully serene, yet more than powerful enough on its own to guide folks like me and you through our days.

At around 10 bucks, it’s rather expensive for an iPhone app. It’s still significantly less than its 50 bucks macOS counterpart. If one day you find more comfort in having the additional Things 3 on your Mac, perhaps try the free 14-day-trial, first.

I’m glad Things 3 is not part of the subscription shit show that some popular apps have moved to.

Things 3 acts as a benevolent being with a helping hand on your shoulder. It’s not a stern authority lashing a whip.

Marius Masalar put it best in his article on eight months with Things 3:

I find myself wondering if what I want in a task management app is a grandmother (“it’s okay dear, you can try again tomorrow”) or a coach (“it didn’t get done — what are you going to do about it?”).

An easy answer for me: Fuck the coaches. We all need more of grandma, instead.

Here is a work-in-progress conclusion of my struggles with Getting Things Done, the system: Some things are great about it, but others are fundamentally flawed.

The “mind-like-water” thing is GTD’s big bingo. Much of the rest of it, like The Weekly Review, countless drawers to sort your stuff into, nagging tickler files, its embarrassing “created with business executives in mind” coat of paint, not so much.

Even though Things 3 is essentially GTD, you can cherry-pick the “mind-like-water” raisins and toss the David Allen old-guy-in-a-suit rest to your liking.

Things 3 has the great feature of areas made for people like me that prefer some sort of looser organization of tasks over the notion of priorities and dependability that comes with projects. Not every task in Things 3 has to live inside a project. Yet, areas still allow for a grouping of related tasks.

Things 3 also allows you to create checklists within a task. I prefer such a checklist within a single task over a project with each item as a separate task nine times out of ten.

Projects are indeed rare exceptions within my task management system. If something isn’t a true project with a start and an end (think Ikea manual), I won’t create it as one.

The classic GTD mantra of “every task lives within a project” is a hoax. If I bring out the trash and thereby check off the last task within a project called Home, do I really have completed my area of life called Home then?

Home is forever repeating. So are Work and Travel and so on. Why would I want to build these areas as projects?

If a task in my Inbox demands too much further fiddling - rearranging, resorting, tagging, prioritizing, rescheduling - something is fundamentally off. Things 3 allows you to go as deep as you want - deadlines, due dates, reminders, tags and all. Or you can just not care and dumb a task in the Someday or Anytime categories.

One of the most annoying issues I had with Todoist was its labeling of tasks as overdue if I didn’t check them off on a due date. Yes, these task may be overdue, but who cares? Stop blaming me, computer. Things 3 just quietly carries these tasks over for today or tomorrow or the day after.

I do live by accountability to my goals and I hold high standards for myself. But I don’t need my to-do list to be a brat about it.

I prefer to set all parameters of a task (like the area it belongs to or the reminders I to want to receive) on entry so that I don’t have to rework my Inbox repeatedly. Too much reviewing - especially, if it doesn’t result in deleting a task - doesn’t help my GTD.

I can’t always forgo the concept of the Inbox, though, and Things 3 doesn’t allow to turn it off.

I set up Things 3 to pull in tasks from Reminders.app because I want to get all the support I can from my pal Siri. If I tell my pal Siri on my iPhone or on my Apple Watch or on my Mac to remind me of something, it will get imported as a new task within the Inbox of Things 3. That’s pretty nice, even though it’s somewhat of a hack and not new.

If I wanted to commit to the native Things 3 Siri integration on my German iPhone, I’d have to contort to a weird Dr. Strangelovian German-English (“Tings”) to get it to work. Most often my attempts sadly end up with Siri failing like “I found this on the web for you…”.

Besides the ability to email a task into Things 3, Siri is the only automation worth having with my task manager. The supposedly more powerful integrations and X-callback URL options that come with Todoist or OmniFocus have never been a proper cure for the disarray in my task management system.

I don’t feel the same devotion to automated or computer-generated tasks that I do to the ones I create manually. What I type into my task manager is more likely to get done. I can’t fully explain why. Maybe it’s the blink of an instinctive distrust of the machine, a resistance to follow the orders of a computer, a potential evolutionary safeguard a human harbors against the dystopian AI future that’s looming ahead of us. Maybe it’s just me. But I prefer to manually enter my tasks into Things 3, even if it is slower than other ways and lacks the natural language input Todoist has.

Manual data entry is where the app’s beauty shines. And design does matter.

I have fallen in love with the Magic Plus Button in Things 3 that is so much better than the standard Plus Button in other apps like Todoist. I drag it to create a new task directly into areas, bypassing the Inbox, all the time.

Then there is the Today view which lists all your tasks for the day alongside the items within your calendar. It’s a killer feature that’s so much more correct than the opposite approach of the Reminders integration within Fantastical.

I use the stock iOS and macOS Calendar.app for calendar management and data entry. It trumps all other third party calendar apps in terms of speed and data visualization.

I now only refer to my Today in Things 3 anymore.

I also love This Evening within Today. At present, my life is rather binary. There is work and there is after-work. Many tasks don’t matter till I come home from hospital, so why not put them where they belong?

It’s annoying that I have to assign tasks to This Evening manually every day. I’ll hope this gets better in a future update to Things 3.

Some further things to take note of: I am not a collaborator. My task list is my holy-place and I don’t share it with others. I didn’t care about sharing in Todoist and I don’t miss it in Things 3.

I don’t look back on completed tasks too much and I haven’t opened the Logbook view in Things 3, yet. It might be nice to have if you need it, though.

Tagging is seated in a second or third row in Things 3 when compared to Todoist but I feel like with all the theoretical benefits of tagging - whether it’s tagging to-dos or files or whatever - it hardly ever pays off in practice. Search within Things 3 is great and it gets you to what you’re looking for, even if you slacked out with your homework and didn’t implement a proper tagging system.

As a side note to tagging: Who cares about “contexts” anymore? That old relict from GTD days past even in a fresh paint hasn’t aged too well.

Things 3 is a great app for all those of us that can’t opt for the Luke Skywalker way of life on a desolate island with frog-nun caretakers and green space-walrus milk, fresh from the teat, cut-off from the daily demands of our galaxy.

Meanwhile, I’m practicing “mind-like-water” with Things 3. Perhaps, it’s a solution to many troubles I have with getting shit done. A potential step closer to being one with the “productivity-force” if there is such a thing, after all.

Looking for a quick way to screw up your weekend? Try a 1 minute AirBike sprint.

Big plans for the weekend: AeroPress instead of the Hario V60.