🔗 The Surface Duo, Microsoft’s first-ever Android phone, is $1,400

    The Surface Duo, Microsoft’s first-ever Android phone, is $1,400

    A foldable can be a big-screen device for watching video, playing games, using a tablet-style app, or browsing a desktop webpage. The Surface Duo will never be a good device for these use cases. To be clear, the device does have a mode that merges the two screens into a big 8.1-inch display, but it’s going to have a big gap down the middle.

    There are aspects of the duo that seem really interesting to me:

    • looks good for reading
    • using the second screen as a keyboard looks like a nice option
    • the app pairing looks well done
    • Support for the Surface pen is really nice (imagine that with concepts app!) Basically, it makes me wonder if it could replace my tablet and phone which is exactly what it should do! It is also clearly the type of device that is full of compromises and has a high “early adopter cost” (not to mention high price).

    But I have to wonder what an Apple version, with pencil support, would be like.

    I’m really enjoying using Stoop for newsletters…but I wonder if setting up a specific email address for newsletters and using a separate email app would be just as good or even better in some ways…

    I used ferrite with a bluetooth keyboard for the first time today. It’s even better!

    Okay…let’s see what this is like (me photoshop/lightroom subscription runs out in February. I have no intention to renew. Procreate and the affinity apps do all I need. But maybe adobe will prove me wrong)

    On Small Phones

    In some ways, I miss my iPhone SE. With the renewed rumours of an iPhone SE 2 (fool me once…) I thought I’d finish writing a post I started on the benefits of small phones.


    I have the smaller iPhone Xs but even this beast can be difficult to fit in some of my pockets! Every now and then, I accidentally set off Siri as my phone gets squeezed in my pocket.

    With the old iPhone SE size phone, I can’t remember ever having issues with buttons being accidentally pressed. Admittedly, siri was on the homebutton back then but there was still the volume button.

    One Handed

    I have larger hands and long fingers but I often default to the bird pecking approach to using the iPhone Xs. It’s not terrible, but I miss the ease of using one hand and being able to touch the whole screen. Not to mention how secure it felt in my hand all the time.

    This is a business point but a year or so ago, I noticed that the iPhone SE/ the iPhone 5s? was clearly the most popular phone around. Maybe not more than all the android phones combined, but more than any other individual model.

    The price was surely a big part of that for a country with slower mean salaries than say the US or UK. Many of those users wouldn’t replace an SE with any regular iPhone due to the price. That’s potentially a lot of lossed customers and service revenue.

    From the personal side, I find it harder to recommend an apple device to Polish friends as it can be a signifcant percentage of someone’s sallary.

    No other companies are doing it

    One of the things that is great about Android is the variety. If you need a specific type of device, you can get it. It’s basically the free market dream. But, there aren’t any companies making small phones anymore.

    That’s a real shame as some users do want smaller phones.

    Wouldn’t it be great if Apple was the company offering more variety than the whole Android ecosystem (at least in some aspect).

    Less distracting

    Personally, I find smaller phones discourage me from fidgetting with them. Perhaps it’s just not looking at YouTube or maybe it’s just harder to use (which encourages you not to use it).

    Perhaps that’s a strange idea — the device is better because it’s worse…

    Helps with other issues

    As the iPhone SE was simplified, it had some unexpected benefits. For example, as the iPhone SE’s screen was smaller and lower resolution than the iPhone 6S (which had much the same hardware), it had better battery life and faster performance.

    Those are significant benefits.

    Admittedly, there were some downsides but perhaps an iPhone SE 2 would have some performance related benefits.

    Will it happen?

    I’ve had my phones of an iPhone SE 2 or SE version of the iPhone X (an iPhone SE X if you will 🥁) raised before only for nothing to come. Maybe the same will happen again… but perhaps this time something is coming.

    I guess we’ll see.

    I was starting to regret moving from Ulysses to iA Writer but then I set up Typora to access my iA Writer file database and I remembered why I changed. I can easily use multiple app to access the same files or switch to another tool with no effort.

    Goodbye Apple UK, Hello Apple Poland.

    Well I finally did it. I switched from my UK based Apple iTunes account to a Polish based one. A couple of years ago (sometime after June 23, 2016) I realised I probably wouldn’t be returning to the UK in the short run and looked into changing to a Polish account. The additional benefits of paying less for the same products and spending money from my account which is more regularly topped up were key factors. But there was an issue. Switching accounts ends any subscriptions and a couple of years ago I had a few (Apple music, Ulysses, FitStar and a couple more). So I was stuck, especially as they didn’t run out at the same time. I would have to lose key apps while I waited for my other subscriptions to expire. This morning I finally made the jump. I had moved away from some of these subscription apps (YouTube music, where I switched my Google account to a Polish one no problem and iA Writer) and so I was finally free to make the jump. I still lost another few months of my Drafts subscription and I’ll have to wait longer for AppleTV+ or other subscription services, but the long-term benefits are worth it for me.

    I just wish Apple made switching countries easier, I completely understand why they don’t want to (preventing abuse) but it sucks to be caught in the crosshairs.

    🔗 Mu Two | Next Generation 63W Dual USB Type-C Wall Charger - Kickstarter

    Mu Two | Next Generation 63W Dual USB Type-C Wall Charger - Kickstarter

    Simultaneously charge your devices with the dual USB Type-C ports. Designed with a primary USB C port for the latest Type-C charged laptops, and secondary USB C port for tablets and smartphones.

    This is probaby the closest I’ve come to “Shut up and take my money” in a long time. I have a Mu Traveller Duo and it’s fantastic. This seems like the same device for the next generation of devices.

    Challenge: Use a voice assistant more

    There’s a piece of data that makes me the most skeptical regarding voice assistants is how (in general) younger people prefer to text rather than call. Perhaps that reflects that younger people are less willing to use a voice assistant than type commands. On the other hand, I know many parents who say that their kids “talk to Google” or Alexa. Not having a smart speaker probably makes me biased here, but I still wonder if trying to make voice the primary method of interaction is flawed.

    To investigate for myself, I decided to set a challenge for the week.

    Try to use Siri for all my interactions.

    I’ve already had to set up some new Siri shortcuts to do this and I hope it will give me a different perspective on voice assistants.

    Song link have made some iOS shortcuts! This is great! Now I just need to test them out.

    Opinions on the best keyboard for an iPad Pro (rocking the 10.5).

    🔗 Addicted to Screens? That’s Really a You Problem - New York Times (I have thoughts)

    🔗 Addicted to Screens? That’s Really a You Problem - New York Times

    In his original manual for building enthralling smartphone apps, Mr. Eyal laid out the tricks “to subtly encourage customer behavior” and “bring users back again and again.” He toured tech companies speaking about the Hook Model, his four-step plan to grab and keep people with enticements like variable rewards, or pleasures that come at unpredictable intervals. … “It’s disrespectful for people who have the pathology of addiction to say, ‘Oh, we all have this disease,’” he said. “No, we don’t.”

    His basic premise is that even if things are addictive we have agency and can resist. That’s a good thing to point out but its the secondary part I find hard to stomach. He tells companies how to create their apps to encourage addictive behaviour and then chastises people for not realising this and doing something about it. It’s classic Silicon Valley bubble where everyone knows these things but why would someone think they should disable notifications when they register for a new app, or have someone see their screen to shame them into not using a social media site.

    Imagine if there was a new chocolate bar on the market and it was tasty and so a hit. Then a consultant tells them to add addictive drugs to their chocolate bar (which they do) then they add more and more and more. Now the consultant tells people it’s their fault that they didn’t know that the chocolate bar would have drugs added, it’s not the chocolar bar companies fault and they should join narcotics anonomous like all the sensible people.

    That’s what this sounds like to me.

    Stoop Version 2: Subscribe to YouTube Channels

    Stoop version 2: Subscribe to YouTube channels

    Stoop 2 is now available in both the App Store and Google Play Store. It brings lots of little improvements over the first version and one big one: you can now subscribe to YouTube Channels and have them delivered right to your Stoop where they’ll be neatly organized, alongside your newsletters.

    Part of me thinks this is a great addition…and the other part of me thinks “great, you just reinvented RSS”

    Erm…iOS 13.1.2 you okay?

    My AirPods (gen 1 almost …three years old…no that’s impossible?!?!) are starting to get really buggy. They keep cutting out and disconnecting after about forty minutes. No warning or “saddest sound in the universe” beforehand. I fear they may not be long for this world 🙁.

    Just curious for work. Anyone had any experience using the inbuilt call recorder with Skype on Windows? Is it any good? Any alternative options?

    So I’m using Windows 10 at my new job. There’s a lot not to like but there are some interesting aspect.

    • Windows hello is nice (Apple Watch unlock on a Mac is better)
    • onenote is kind of cool
    • I like the titles I still prefer macs.

    Just before iOS 13 came out, I gave ferrite another go. It didn’t stick with me before but now I get it. With the added iOS 13 support for external storage, it’s made my weekly edit and upload the church sermon much easier. Big fan.

    When you discover song.link had an alpha api.

    The tempation to chromebook

    I really want to try a chromebook. There’s something about them which really appeals to me. It’s probably because 90% of my day job is Chrome based applications (and the other 10% is creating silly graphics of my colleagues).

    There are, however, a couple of things that really put me off.

    1. Google
    2. I basically have one already

    Google is one of those companies that I wish I could trust but every moment they seem to move towards some better privacy standard, their underlying business model prevents that. When you don’t pay a company directly, their incentives to do the best thing for you will always be limited.

    My Macbook (and iPad pro with iOS 13?) can basically serve as a chromebook already. When I need to access a website that requires chrome–or in effect requires chrome–I can open a chrome window and get to work. The downside is that I might as well just be using a chromebook anyway. Perhaps with the improvements in iOS 13 I may even been able to access and use these services on my iPad.

    So when the Pixelbook or HP Chromebook X2 (both tablet hybrids with pen support and a firm base) pop up on social media or in some news publication, I always stop for a minute and wonder: What would it be like to use one?

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