Persistent Rumours about Upcoming MacBook Pro Redesign (#apple #macbookpro #m1chip #applesilicon)

MacBook Pro

The latest report from MacRumors about Apple’s upcoming MacBook Pro redesign is quite interesting and intriguing.

First, the removal of the TouchBar and the return of the MagSafe technology is utterly surprising. If this is the case, Apple would be undoing five years of design decisions. A side effect of the TouchBar removal would be a more competitive pricing of the MacBook Pro line.

Second, the rumour about Apple opting for an all-out flat edge design makes me think the new MacBook Pro would be similar to two iPad Pro linked together with a hinge. Obviously, the screen parts would be thinner than the lower body of the MacBook Pro. Intriguing.

Now, if these rumours materialize, to me, it would mean that the current 13” MacBook Pro would be no longer necessary with a 14” model in its place. If that’s the case, the 13” MacBook Pro was only a transition and temporary move from Apple.

We are at the beginning of another exciting year for Apple.

Mailbrew is getter better and better (#mailbrew #newsletters)

My Mailbrew profile page

Mailbrew received a big update this week. The change log is pretty extensive. The most important change is that the home page and the whole user experience for that matter is now more about reading your digests than the brews edit view. I like this change a lot. Digests are presented in the order they were received. You can go from one issue to another easily for a specific brew. You can also select a specific brew to see associated digests. The reading experience is better overall compared to HEY’s Feed view. The only missing thing is a “save clip” option.

Beside links to external content, within a digest, when it is appropriate, there is a button for entering a reader view. In this view, a minimalist browser will let the reader immerse himself to limit distractions. It reminds me of the Safari reader view. There is always the save button available to put aside an article in case you don’t have time to read it at the moment. Mailbrew provides a separate list for those saved items.

There are a ton of other small change and improvements. Sharing our brews is easier. Sharing a digest also is closer at hand. All in all, this is a solid update to an already excellent service. You can read my initial review of Mailbrew here. If you want to subscribe, please do me a favour and use this link.

Optimizing my blogger workflow (#writing #tools #workflow)

This is a test with (redacted) currently in alpha, which introduces support for posting to Micro.blog. I’m a big user of (redacted). This new feature alone could significantly enhance and simplified my blogger workflow. I’ve been waiting for this feature for a long time. When the update is ready, on iPad or the Mac, it means that I’ll be able to start the initial writing in Craft, then export to (redacted) using the TextBundle format, finish the editing in (redacted), then publish to Micro.blog. On the Mac, the same sequence applies, rendering MarsEdit unnecessary. How cool is that? Optimizing my workflow is very satisfying. 😎👨🏻‍💻

This is a first post with (redacted), things could break. 

A fix is coming (#apple #M1macmini #bluetooth)

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At long last, relief is in sight. My M1 Mac mini is not able to keep a stable Bluetooth connection with Apple’s Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse. It’s very frustrating. While waiting for a permanent fix, I’m using a USB PC mouse, and I keep my Magic Keyboard connected via a USB-C to lightning cable connected on my LG Ultra Fine 4K monitor. What a messy experience for such a small performance wonder.

Mac sales booming but the best is yet to come (#apple #m1mac #applesilicon)

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Thanks to the small wonder, the M1 chip and the Apple silicon transition, Mac sales are booming. According to a recent IDC report, Mac sales are up by nearly 30% compared to the same period, a year ago. Apple’s market share increased globally by 1%, which is quite impressive for Apple.

My take: I have the feeling that we ain’t see nothing yet. As the work-from-home trend continues, with the rest of the MacBook Pro line still to transition to the M1 chip, a long-awaited redesiged iMac, 2021 could be a monster year for the Mac and Apple. And beyong 2021 and the pandemic? Ask Horace Dediu.

Programming, mathematics and brain activities (#research #computers #computerscience)

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What does it take to be a hood programmer? Or better yet, what does it take to like programming hence writing or reading algorithms? Math? Language? Arts? A combination? When I started in computer science at the University, my friends thought that I was good at maths. It wasn’t the case. Before deciding which field I would like to study, I was afraid of computer science, thinking myself that we had to be really good with mathematics. My experience shows that it is not the case. I’m average at maths but good at programming and in computer science in general. Is it surprising? According to this article, no. In fact, computer programming isn’t the same thing as doing maths from a brain activity perspective. It is more like something very demanding where a totally different part of the brain is solicited. Fascinating. It may (or may not) explain why you can be good in computer science but not as good in mathematics. Who knows.

By having a better understanding of what parts of the brain are solicited, we may find common ground with other disciplines. It is really hard to attract people in computer science and knowing what it takes from a brain perspective could help direct efforts of recruiting the right people who will like to read and write algorythms but are not good at maths!

Ten Reasons to love RSS feeds (#rss #openstandard)

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Alan Ralph, in a blog post, exposes ten reasons why he loves RSS feeds. I agree on all accounts. When I look closer, it all comes down to: control. Control is something we don’t have these days on social networks and social media. We live in a numeric world full of algorithmically-generated feeds and content. We lose control of our feeds. George Orwell was right.

RSS feed, a simple and open standard, is the key, within an RSS reader, of a more open and user-centered and mostly ads-free Internet. RSS feeds are important.

On the original iPhone, back in 2007 (#apple #iPhone #blackberry)

Steve Jobs with original iPhone

Thirteen years already. Gosh, time flies. Steve Jobs announces the iPhone. One of his best presentation. I remember it so well. At that time, I was a huge user (and fan) of the Blackberry. After using a RIM two-way pager for a while, I upgraded to Blackberry with a bigger screen with a monochrome display. But, with the iPhone, I knew, deep within me, this would be a real game-changer. My feelings were the same as with the launch of the Macintosh. What I didn’t know, though, was how profound and long-lasting the iPhone-effect would be on the rest of the tech world. We still feel its effect these days. I had to wait until the iPhone 3GS, in 2009, to get my hands on one for my personal use. I was still using a Blackberry for the office. Yep, I had two smartphones with me all the time.

Unsplash is growing fast — and I like it even more! (@unsplash #photography)

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Unsplash started the year 2021 with a bang; they are introducing a visual search feature. How cool is that! Use cases for this feature are aplenty. Imagine you come across a great picture on Unsplash and would like to see if there are any more variants of it. Here comes the new visual search feature. Here is another one that could be a game-changer. Suppose you happen to find a picture online that is tied by a very restrictive license. Copy this image URL and paste it in the visual search of Unsplash to see if there are any similar pictures. Voilà! As the Unsplash library doubles every year, the probability of finding an alternative image increases. Lastly, the visual search feature helps you determine if a specific image on the way comes from Unsplash. It is useful to find the creator of the image when no credits are given.

Next week - back to a "normal" day job (#blogging #writing #personalnews)

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Next week marks the end of a three-week vacation. I’m lucky. Three weeks where I forgot about my work and became a full-time blogger, writer, content creator. Time flies. There is a need for normality, I guess, and this means returning to work.

Expect a less frequent publishing schedule. Don’t worry; I won’t go very far, thanks to our new confinement and curfew starting this very Saturday. Oh well.

Use case for multi-user support on iPad (#apple #ipadOS #iPad)

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In his predictions for iPad in 2021, iPadInsight puts multi-user support on top of its list for iPadOS 15 without mentionning a real use case beyond the obvious. Let me explain.

Do we ask multi-user support on iPad because it is something we take for granted on “traditional” computers? Or is because there is a real use case for that feature, beyond the classroom or the conference room? Does the multi-user support solve the problem of your friend borrowing your iPad while keeping him or her from seeing your stuff?

Enabling multi-user support on the iPad has profound implications. How would the instant-on, instant-use experience be impacted by having multi-user enabled? Is the security enclave capable of holding more than one user FaceID? How iCloud Drive data be handled if users both have their data in icloud, the same way as on macOS? What about apps collections being different from one user to the other, how the iPad homescreen change upon logoff-logon? How fast? What kind of pressure does this feature put on the iPad system memory? Would this feature enabled on the Pro line only?

For me, the iPad is a personal device, just like the iPhone. Apple likes it this way, for their bottom line. That’s my guess.

Another wild Microsoft rumour about Outlook (#microsoft #rumours #outlook #office365)

Microsoft converts Outlook website into a progressive web app

Here is another wild one: Microsoft is reportedly working on making Outlook a progressive web application for all platforms. Progressive web application isn’t new and Microsoft already makes a version of Outlook in this format. What is new is that it would replace all native versions of the Outlook client: no more are native versions of Outlook for Windows or the Mac.

I’m not sure if this is good or bad news. I’m always wary about cross-platform tech. There is always something lost in translation. The other question that comes to my mind, why is Microsoft moving way from native applications in its ecosystem?

Yet, not all is lost, a good side effect of this move would be to reduce memory consumption on the client. As use can see in this tweet, the native version of Outlook can use large chunk of your computer memory.

About this rumoured big Windows visual overhaul (#microsoft #windows)

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If only Microsoft could finish the job started with Windows 7. Windows 10 user interface is a bunch of previously used visual elements that Microsoft doesn’t care to clean up. For example, consider the computer settings area. On the surface, the iconography speaks the recent visual langague defined by Microsoft. But, as you try to go deeper to change a less frequently used setting, you’re back to a pre-Windows 10 era. I don’t believe Microsoft will do this “major” refresh as recently reported by Windows Central, not in a way they refused to do in the last ten years, anyway.

As a side note, colour me Apple fanboy if you want, but many pundits will grumble when Apple is actually refreshing the user interface like they did with macOS Big Sur (or iOS 7, remember?). At least, it is either consistently clean or consistently ugly, depending of your aestheticism tastes. You won’t as easily find a macOS Yosemite visual asset in macOS Big Sur or even macOS Catalina. Inconsistencies do exist in macOS but they are usually limited to very specific visual tweaks (like to trafic lights placements).

Wordpress.com: six years already (@wordpress #blogger #bloggerlife)

Six years anniversary on Wordpress.com

WordPress ExactMetrics

I got this notification in the Wordpress.app this morning. Six years already. Over the years, I became a paying subcriber of their Business plan. Automattic offers great support when you need it. But in the least year or so, I noticed a change in the way they do business with us, paying members. There are a lot of reminders about additional services available to us. which aren’t free, by the way. They keep advertising their ExactMetrics service that I don’t need with tricks that I don’t appreciate as shown in the second screen shot above. Recently, they started to advertise WordPress courses on the main admin page on WordPress.com. I really don’t like the trend. And this story by Alan Ralph doesn’t help either.

Thoughts on Flash and the iPad (#apple #iPad #adobeflash)

Steve Jobs iPad 2010

I want to pick from this blog post from Initial Charge. I remember a small story when the iPad came out in 2010. After a few days of playing with it, I went to the office to show it to a few of my coworkers when I got my iPad. After a few minutes of demonstration, I got two remarks. One was about the lack of a USB port. The second was about the lack of support for Flash-enabled websites. On that one complaint, I remember arguing about the simple fact that moving your mouse cursor around would trigger some flash-based animations like making a button bigger or showing up a menu on many websites. There was no such thing as a “mouseover” event on the iPad, so those websites that were dependant on this would break the interaction experience. At this very moment, I thought Adobe Flash was doomed. More than ten years to get rid of this crasp. That was long.

Don't forget about RSS feeds (#blogger #rss)

RSS Feed

Paolo Amoroso writes on his blog:

Back in the early days of blogging, the tech press bashed RSS out of existence as it was supposedly too complex for ordinary users. To the point new bloggers don't even know what RSS is, some recent blogging platforms don't support RSS, and the blogs of new startups sometimes don't provide RSS feeds.

It’s a shame in a world where open standards are on the way out. RSS feeds are another important part of Podcasts, another open standard where big tech would like to monetize, i.e. make it proprietary.

Amoroso continues:

The readers who subscribe to your RSS feed always see all of your posts. No matter what Google, Facebook, or Twitter decide.

A long time ago I decided my blogs feeds would push the complete content of the articles. As I don’t have ads on my blogs, I don’t really care if the readers consume the content from the RSS feed only. RSS feeds are conduits who escape any algorithm-based feeds. It’s the most direct connexion between a blogger and their readers.

For the best part, Amaroso nails it:

They are the readers you want. The superfans who share your work. They may be bloggers themselves and link to your posts from theirs, or enable other opportunities such as guest blogging or podcast interviews. Those few RSS subscribers are much more engaged and valuable than the many who don’t even click links on social media.

If you know how to use RSS, you’re my best friend, you are more then welcome.

You can find my main blog feed here. For my micro blog, the feed is here. Hope you enjoy.

A new kind of goal for me - writer engagement (#writing #blogger #bloggerlife)

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Writing is an important part of my life. It’s all about feeling creative, thinking, taking a pause of everything else. As a blogger, I like when people stop by and take the time to read my blog articles and then response with a comment. It doesn’t happen as often as I would like. I would say, one percent of my visitors will do it.

For 2021, I decided to set a new goal for myself: stopping by, taking the time to drop a meaningful comment on a blog post or an article from someone else. I call this goal writer engagement. Some platforms are easier to interact with than others. I like both Medium and Substack for this. Responding to an article or a newsletter is just a few clicks away.

So, today, I dropped two comments. One comment to a post from MG Siegler about writing more often on medium. The other comment about a way to consider the iPhone 12 Pro Max as a tool for photography, from a too technical point of view.

So, will you drop a comment today? Feel free to engage too and maybe start a conversation, why not!

Why I didn’t write a personal year in review for 2020 (#blogger #bloggerlife #writing)

Journaling space for my future year in review for 2021

The year 2020 came to an end without me posting my personal year in review. You might wonder why. I read many reviews in the last few days. Most of them are delightful to read as they contain gems about personal lessons learned, personal discoveries, etc. To write those reviews, you have to be prepared for that particular intention to write about it later. Without notes, it’s nearly impossible and takes too much time to prepare. It also would be too easy to miss essential tidbits.

What about 2021? Good news, for 2021, I want to be ready. Now it’s the best time to get organized. All year long, I’ll be using the excellent notes taking application called Craft. I already started to put things down. The picture at the top of this post is a glimpse at my journaling space structure, where personal notes will be confined all year long. I’ll use a monthly section for each domain or theme I want to touch on in this future year in review. I’ll see where it goes.

Pinboard, Pocket, Raindrop, Instapaper, Notion? Which tools is best for you? (#blogger #bloggertools #writers)

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Alan Ralph on Why I Use Pinboard As My Reading List

I’ve mentioned before that I use Pinboard for bookmarking webpages of interest so that I can refer to them later. I realize this might seem like an odd choice, given that there are more obvious candidates such as Pocket or Instapaper, so I’ve decided to summarize my reasoning

I could add other apps and services like Raindrop (which I tried) or even Notion (which I love) as places to save bookmarks. It’s tempting to use more focused tools to fill a very specific part of a workflow. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of preference or workflow optimization (you can read about my recent workflow update).

I'm afraid your maths are right, @brentsimmons (#covid19 #vaccination #usa)

COVID-19 Virus Rendering

Brent Simmons trying to determine where the US should get back to normal. After some maths, he asks:

“(Is any of my math wrong? There’s no point in being overly-precise here — but please tell me if I’ve made some error that changes things significantly.)”

I’m afraid his maths are right, even if they aren’t precise. Things could change, though, after Biden is officially in his Office. Even though, change of government takes a lot of time in the US.

I said it in the past: COVID-19 shows how weak the US is as a country to fight this non military war.

So many questions lefts unanswered (#apple #iCloud #death #legacy)

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In What to do about Apple devices and iCloud content when the owner dies from AppleInsider, there are so many unanswered questions. For example, are the requirements from Apple different from one country to another? Something critical when someone dies, having access to his or her smartphone with a PIN. Without it, the challenge is close to impossible to meet. That is one of the many requirements explained in A Guide for Preparing to Leave Your Numeric Legacy.