Jony Ive working with Airbnb. Who knew. (#jonyive #apple #lovefrom #airbnb #design #UI)

In a surprising move, Airbnb has a new partnership with Apple’s former designer chief, Jony Ive. As much as I like this guy’s work, something quite surprising struck me: Airbnb doesn’t sell any form of hardware. The last time I check, Jony Ive’s reputation is not about crafting the best user interface designs in the world, far from it. Who remember the switch to iOS 7? I do. Jony Ive was quite instrumental in the design of iOS 7 and it was a disaster. We are still paying the price today. It will be interesting to watch what comes from this partnership. Press release here.

SDDCbox project - update #2 (#macpro #apple #vmware #vmwarefusion)

My possible future Mac Pro configuration is taking shape. It all started here btw. Reading carefully the spec sheet, the base configuration sets the memory clock speed at 2666 MHz while the 12 cores CPU configuration is at 2933 MHz. Considering my use case, virtualization with VMware Fusion, I’ll take any non-GPU improvements possible. Speaking of GPU, I’m not sure about the performance difference between the base GPU card, a AMD Radeon Pro 580X, and the more powerful AMD Radeon Pro W5500X. I’ll probably keep the entry-level one saving memory for a bigger SSD. Maybe.

I’m not close yet to make the plunge and I’ll have to wait for November announcements as configuration updates, price changes or something else could greatly affect my buying decision. Stay tuned for update #3.

Waiting for iPhone 13. (iphone12 #iphone12pro #apple)

Thanks to iPhone 12, I can’t wait for the iPhone 13. The MagSafe is cool but is not perfect. 5G is nice but comes with a spotty coverage and puts a lot of pressure on battery life. The iPhone 12 Pro is a powerful monster but with fingerprint magnets and fragile glossy edges. Bezels are thinner and thinner but this big notch is still there. I’m skipping this year’s iPhone 12 and anxiously waiting for iPhone 13. Or whatever name they call it. Maybe just: iPhone Pro?

This is a drill (#iphone12 #apple #magsafe)

With the iPhone 12 and MagSafe, is Apple training us for a port-less iPhone 13? I think so. The removable of the Lightning port and skipping USB-C would be so Apple, an act of courage I guess. If they do remove all the ports from the iPhone, how do we deal with CarPlay? What about developers who use testing and development devices which requires the fastest transfer speed possible? Is there something in the works at Apple that would mitigates these challenges for the users? Another type of adaptor? Or maybe Apple is just waiting for a more drastic iPhone redesign (no notch?) to bend themselves to USB-C?

A14: from the iPhone to the Mac (#apple #A14 #applesilicon)

I love those feature highlights. Apple started to use them recently (September of last year?). If you look closely at the A14 feature highlights, I wonder what features aren’t required in a Mac? There is so many things that make sense on an iPhone, like everything related to ML. But, on a Mac? I’m not so sure. And, what features should be added to the A14 that doesn’t make sense on an iPhone? Increase high-performance CPU cores? And then what? What features are Mac specific that aren’t already handled by the T2 chip?

The 5G Enabler (#iPhone12 #apple #5G)

Last year, the iPhone 11 lacked 5G networks support. Apple was doomed. This year, the iPhone 12 does support 5G networks. Now the operators are doomed because of spotty coverage. There is something bad to look for if you want to get clicks.

I think 5G is more marketing than anything else at this point. The iPhone 12 will be the enabler of 5G network. People will demand it (even if their use cases don’t require it). This will in turn force operators to accelerate their deployment.

A wild dream (#apple #macpro #vmware #virtualization #lab)

I’ve been thinking of something really wild recently, for me at least: replacing my 2017 21.5 inches iMac with a Mac Pro. Here is why.

I work in IT (information technologies) as a data center related technology architect. Server virtualization, storage area networks, networking technologies are at the center of my professional universe. In the coming months, I’ll have to invest in self-training and experimentations a lot around VMware-related products and services. How can I do that efficiently while working from home? Here comes the Mac Pro idea.

In order to be able to run many virtual machines, a powerful physical computer is required: lots of memory, powerful CPU (more than 6 cores) and fast storage. My current iMac doesn’t meet these basic requirements (it is maxed out at 32 GB of RAM and it has a relatively modest CPU). A Mac Pro with the following specs would easily meet the challenge: at least 128 GB of fast memory, 8 cores CPU, builtin SSD and expandability.

Virtualization will required VMware Fusion Pro running on top of macOS. Then, the sky is the limit as I can then install ESXi hypervisor which will allow me to branch into more complex setup. This type of environment do require a lot of memory (a typical VM is about 4-16 GB each) and multi-cores CPU. Installing ESXi directly on the Mac Pro is not an option as I will need to have macOS running for all other tasks (I’m not even sure if it is att all possible).

How do I get there? Well, I’m still thinking about how I’ll buy that machine and get the additional RAM (I won’t go with Apple’s because $$$). Stay tuned.

Technical datasheet can be found on Apple’s website, right here in PDF format. I don’t want to switch to a Windows machine BTW, I’m too much invested in Apple’s ecosystem for that to happen.

A follow up to @mattbirchler on why opting for Newsletters instead of a blog? (#blogger #blogging #writing #substack)

In a recent blog post, the well known blogger and content creator, Matt Birchler, wants to understand why so many people are opting for emails (newsletters) over the web. I want to give my perspective on each of his questions.

What about writing in a newsletter is more enjoyable than writing for a blog?

My Numeric Citizen Introspection newsletter is a monthly one. I start writing the next issue at the beginning of each month. I hit “Publish and send” at the very end of each month. It gives me four weeks to nurture its content. When the end of the month approaches, the newsletter content is mostly complete and I like how it evolved from the beginning. It is a satisfying process. Then, I take a pause and look forward to start the next one. I like the regular beat of all this process. I wouldn’t do a weekly newsletter, though, as it requires much more time to do.

Are newsletter audiences more engaged than blog subscribers?

I’m not sure about this one in general. For me, it is too early to tell. My gut feeling is that people are more or less engaged the same way as they are with blogs. I’d like to be wrong, though, and have people engage more with newsletters.

As a reader, do you prefer reading in your email app to an RSS app (or just the web in general)?

I use Substack to build and send my newsletters. Each of them are also available via an RSS feed. Depending of the client used, the reading experience can be enjoyable on both type of clients. Personally, I do subscribe to Hey and reading newsletters with their client is really nice and provides a nice clipping feature which is very handy.

Do you not miss things like link posts and “going viral” which are much harder, if impossible to do with emails?

Link posts can be done in newsletters and they won’t go viral for sure. But, I’m not really looking for this kind of fame to be honest.

Is it easier to get people to sign up for a paid subscription compared to the web?

I’m still building this stuff and my newsletter is free for now. I get new subscribers regularly but not as much as I would like. I guess I still have to get the word out and be more “famous”.

A simple wish (@ulyssesapp @microdotblog #writing #blogging #tools)

You know what I would like that would be really really cool and useful for me and probably for many others? I’d like to see Ulysses add support for as a publishing destination (Ghost, Medium and WordPress are already supported). That would be really nice. 👌🏻I kind of like native app for the iPad but it’s not a writing tool in my opinion. My fingers are crossed. Please, share this post if you think you would benefict from this as a writer and Ulysses user.

Look who’s in town (#rssreader #rss #reading @reederapp)

The venerable RSS reader app « Reeder » turned to version 5 yesterday. I don’t know how I missed that one. Maybe because I moved from Reeder to News Explorer. I pay a lot of respect to the developer of Reeder. I’ve been using it for a long time. I wanted to have a look at version 5 so I bought it. Here is why.

Widgets. News Explorer hasn’t been updated to support them yet. Reeder now does. I love them. Read Later. Sending URLs to Reeder Read later is interesting and provides a better experience than in Safari Read Later. Tracking my own RSS feed for quality control. Oh and Shortcuts are also supported, something News Explorer don’t.

I think I’ll have to update my blogger workflow. 🤔

Software is art (@airbuddyapp, #macOS)

If you have a Mac, many battery-powered Apple devices, you need AirBuddy. Version has been in the works for a very long time and it is a major update. I’m so anxious to get my AirBuddy updated!

We don’t get to see this level of craft on computers these days. This reminds me how dire the macOS native application landscape has become over the years. With macOS Big, Catalyst, Apple Silicon Macs and universal binaries, one can hope for a brighter future.

Am I alone who think the AirBuddy logo is upside down?

Is there a pattern? (#apple #airpower #magsafeduo)

With the (re)introduction of the MagSafe for iPhone, Apple is trying to redo their AirPower introduction of 2017. On paper and on video, MagSafe looks cool, MagSafe Duo seems even better (more useful, transportability), but no word on availability and pricing, just like with the initial AirPower announcement. Is there something Apple didn’t learn here? Whatever happens, it is on my wishlist even if I’m not going to upgrade to the iPhone 12 this year.

I’ve been robbed by... @duggu24 (#bloggerlife #blogger)

For the first time in my numeric life (at least, from what I’m aware of), one of my article has been robbed by another guy. After discovering it, I asked for immediate removal but without success. So, today, I’m calling him out.

The robbed article is the one about upgrading from an Apple Watch Series 4 to Series 6 published on my main blog on October 3 of 2020 and on Medium. You can see the stolen article there. This article was then pushed on this fake Twitter account with 1628 followers. This Twitter account is apparently owned or operated by this guy, the thieve who is following four people and has only one follower (poor guy).

This hosting website seems to enjoy quite a bit of traffic. Good for him. All his articles is stolen stuff without any mention of the source. He must be proud of himself, I wonder if his parents are, though?

The main take out: I’m must be a good writer after all so people are starting to notice and copy my stuff.

I won't upgrade to the iPhone 12 Pro (#iphone12pro #appleevent #apple)

As great looking and powerful the shinny new iPhone 12 Pro might be, I’ll skip the upgrade this year. Sure, I tend to skip a few generations but there is one unexpected reason not to do so and another one more obvious. First, the problem is because of the current pandemic, I cannot see when I’ll return traveling around the world. Traveling is the best photography opportunity for me. Without travel, working from home all the time, there is no need to get the latest smartphone technology. Second, 5G networks maybe powerful, but the coverage is spotty at best. I prefer to wait a year for this coverage to increase before making the jump on the new iPhone.

Last year I upgraded from an iPhone 7 to an iPhone 11 Pro and I was delighted.

It Just Works™

Yesterday, just like mostly everyday since March 13th of 2020, I went for a long walk with my wife. Both of us had their AirProds Pro with us. I had the idea to try the audio sharing feature of iOS 14 (introduced in iOS 13 if I’m not mistaken). We both put our AirPods in and I selected a playlist. Then, using the media playback UI, I selected the audio sharing option, waited for my wife’s AirPods to show up, after tapping this pair, she then had to accept my invitation and voilà! We both had music in our ears! It’s a great case of “It Just Works”, something that we see less and less often these days, I guess.

On newsletters rising popularity #blogger #blogging #writing #writers

The rising popularity of paid newsletters is good news for many reasons. First, it’s a signal that people are willing to pay for great content without ads all around it. Second, some people value the direct relationship feeling with the writer compared to a traditional website. Third, the popularity of independent writing is rising which is giving back control to the writers.

In a recent article by Nick Heer on Pixel Envy, the author writes:

Yet, despite all of these clear advantages, I still find it difficult to think of my email inbox as somewhere I will go to find something enjoyable to read.

I find newsletters a wonderful medium that cut the noise from social networks. The reading experience can further be improved with a great email client like Basecamp’s Hey which provides a specific reading mode for newsletters call The Feed. You can read my review of this email client here.

Read more comments from Mr. Heer in his blog post. I started a newsletter a few weeks ago. For now and the foreseeable future, it will be free. I have to prove myself that I can meet the deadline every month with quality content. I’ll see how it goes.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

The web in 2020.

Please, have a look at this ten seconds GIF to appreciate how bad the web experience is in 2020. This is the “iPhone in Canada” website. I won’t include the hyperlink in this post. There are 30 trackers in this web page according the Apple’s Safari. Thirty. This is just one example of so many more that illustrates what happens when you no longer care about the actual end-users.

I accidentally clicked on a link to this website and then I remembered why I stopped reading it a long time ago.

Third-party Apple Watch Faces - Yes but no

Here is a super interesting article from David Shayer on Tidbits about why there may never be third-party Apple Watch Faces. According to this software engineer who worked on the first two releases of watchOS, there may be four reasons why Apple probably won’t make a watch face store: battery life, buggy code, Apple’s image, copyright worries. Besides many interesting insights on watchOS development and testing, the reason that caught my attention is about Apple desire to control their image.

What is the killer app of the Apple Watch? The watch face, duh! Apple is an image control freak and I don’t think they want a watch face store full of crappy and bad taste designs to show up on users’ Apple Watch. They lost control of the App Store, they don’t want the same story to happen with the watch. And I agree with this position. But there could be some sort of compromise, though. As pointed out by Matt Birchler in his commentary post to Tidbits article:

“_CarPlay is a great example of how Apple could do this right with watch faces: only allow a certain number of companies to make custom watch faces. have them sign additional agreements and have them go through tougher reviews. Maybe there are literally 10 companies who are able to make watch faces. Maybe Apple can reject a watch face simply because they don’t like how it looks._”

My guess is that Apple will look to add more watch faces through collaborative work, just like they did in watchOS 7 with the Artist watch face.

Photo by Daniel Korpai — Unsplasg