A Modest Undo Proposal

Earlier today I posted that the iOS Shake to Undo feature needed to improve. When @martinfeld challenged me to suggest a better way, it got me thinking.

First of all, I don’t think this proposal has to replace Shake to Undo. It was a novel solution to a hard problem that many users now know and use. I also don’t think that a system-wide option means apps shouldn’t have an Undo button or custom gesture. But I do think a single, consistent, works-in-every-app option needs to exist that isn’t picking up your 12.9 inch iPad and shaking it.

In short, here is my proposed solution.

Control Center is a huge area of unused space, and I think a useful landing spot for an Undo button. As I later mentioned in the thread, I could see this button revealing a list of previous states to revert to, even a clipboard manager!

I hope iOS 13 has many new user interactions and the designers at Apple have come up with a better solution than tacking on a button in a relatively inaccessible, niche location like Control Center. But I do think its a reasonable approach given iOS’ current mental model and that a good bit of customers know about the area because of commonly used features like media playback control as well as brightness.

What do you think?

As I was discussing yesterday with a friend when talking about our new iPads, I think I would prefer a iPhone X like screen with 120Hz over an OLED at this point.

People who don’t see the use case for the “desk” mode of the Smart Keyboard Folio clearly haven’t sat in a recliner with their iPad.

iPad Pro 12.9 Hot Takes

Mind you I was only able to thumb around the iPad for a few minutes while it was still redownloading everything before having to head out but here are some quick thoughts.

  • Wow this guy is pretty unwieldy in hand. Notably heavier than my 10.5, which feels impossibly light.
  • I like how the keyboard includes the number row. I do not like the delete key location because it totally messes with my muscle memory of how iPads work.
  • I can’t wait to get my Apple Pencil and more importantly the Keyboard Folio for this device. I feel like I can’t properly evaluate it and compare it to my 10.5 until that occurs. 1
  • Curse Apple for forcing the home indicator on this device. Almost all my apps have not been updated and have the black borders. And some apps that have been “updated” like Facebook Messenger look horrid with a punted black status bar and home indicator strip. I hope this improves quickly.
  • I opened Ferrite and am very excited to edit tomorrow’s podcast on this guy.

By the way, I suppose I am officially ready to get rid of my 10.5 inch iPad Pro2. If you’re interested I’m looking to sell it for 700 with Smart Keyboard, Apple Pencil, and the Lightning to USB and Power adapter which is 950+ new from Apple today.

Maryland was deemed gerrymandered af. Glad they plan to fix it. Here’s the thing – it’s a solved problem. If they don’t use a purely algorithmic approach, I don’t think we’re making progress.

Introducing my new podcast, Overanalyzed.

Early in the year, my old coworker, Jun, and I were discussing how we missed our lunch time chats where we’d overanalyze various things going on in our lives. As two people who love podcasts, naturally we thought why not make a show of these conversations.

It has taken some time for us to get in a rhythm and find our stride, but today we’re announcing our fortnightly podcast Overanalyzed. There are six episodes up. The most recent one is fitting for today – it’s about taxation. Subscribe if you’d like and tell a friend!

🎶 Live at The Royal Albert Hall by Alter Bridge Review

When I got the email that Alter Bridge recorded a live album with a full orchestra I was extremely hyped. Strings sections with rock music is my kryptonite, in a good way. I’ve greatly enjoyed listening to it and I recommend you check it out too. If you like what you hear, I recommend you to sit down with the Blu ray and a surround sound set up and soak it all in. With a full orchestra, the added channels of separation make for a clearer and more nuanced experience.

The Blu Ray also includes interviews with the band and the various people who made this special set of shows a reality. It is cool to hear them talk about Words Darker Than Their Wings which was a stand out track during my first listen. Apparently its been a fan favorite they have considered playing live for years, but Myles wasn’t so sure about it. Once you hear it, you’ll understand why. He hits a note at the end that is in the stratosphere. With the swelling crescendo of the Parallax Orchestra behind him, it is a goosebump inducing moment. I’m glad they played it and hopefully next time I see them live the ice has been broken and they’ll play it again.

This is one of the better live concert videos I’ve gotten in some time. I’m excited to see what Alter Bridge does next.

2018 Mid Year Review

At the beginning of the year, I decided to craft some resolutions and for the first 3 months I did a good job of reflecting and providing updates.

The next three, not so much. I missed recapping April before leaving for our big vacation in May and since May was mostly spent on travel, there was nothing to say about my goals. I decided to skip June too and craft a midyear review article. It took me longer to get around to this than I wanted, but such is life.

Rather than concentrate on my progress, I want to talk about my goals at a macro level. I think its time to reevaluate them.

Ever since proposing and talking wedding, Rachel and I have started to budget together. I tried really hard to track my individual spending but it became really difficult though vacation and in a way, it doesn’t matter. As much as I want to track my own habits, our budget is now a team sport. So long as we get to where we want to be by the end of the year, I’ll consider it a success. This weekend we had a nice conversation about our budget and the next 18 months or so and I am really happy with our progress thus far.

Cooking for myself has been fine, but I have been eating out more for lunch lately as I create more work friends who want to eat out. I like to think of these outings as professional development and again – as long as I stay within the budget, I suppose its not the end of the world. The key is to not get lazy in the kitchen both in what I prepare and how often I make things.

Weight loss has been an interesting one. Looking back at March I remembered that I went under 230 that month. Well, vacation wasn’t kind despite walking 9+ miles a day. Luckily I have been hovering around 228 the last week. While in London, I was consistently filling my rings due to all of the walking. At that time, Federico posted about his health journey and I felt inspired to try and do the same. According to Activity++ (which allows for the 2 “rest” days in there) I have a 62 day streak of closing my rings. I’m really happy about that, particularly since my move ring is set for 750 calories. I have to work up a sweat and be intentional to break that. Like Federico, I have decided to put my health first and I recommend everyone give it a try. Its one of the best ways you can treat yourself.

iOS development is another interesting one. With grad school and work, I feel like I have no programming left in me. I’m done with this goal for this year, and frankly, for a while. Luckily, I am scratching my iOS itch in a much nicer way – I recently got the go ahead to try and do some ARKit work. I have been watching WWDC sessions and working in Xcode at my day job. Hard to beat that! I’m really excited and mildly terrified of this opportunity. I hope I am able to deliver something useful.

Finally, I am looking forward to finally getting this podcast out. It’s already up if you know where to look for it, but we haven’t officially launched because of our summer travel making it hard to get in a rhythm. We should be good now. Episode 4 is recorded, and 3 is 95% edited. With some work to the website and a submission to iTunes, we’ll be a real show. Though still green, I think the show has potential and it’s a lot of fun to make something with a friend again.

Unhealthy Relationship with Rest Days

As I have gotten into the routine of working out every day, I have run into a problem: Rest Days. Anyone with an Apple Watch knows how it incentives 30 minutes of exercise every day. This month was near perfect besides the day after WWDC. I’m working towards my 3rd straight perfect week badge. But I think my body is telling me today to take a rest day, and this isn’t the first time. Today I’m feeling especially run down and its a busy evening so I am contemplating a rest day more so than ever. I think my fear with taking a day off is associate with my fear of losing momentum. I need to get over the rings and focus on what will truly result in a healthy lifestyle.

Obscura 2

I remember when Ben first showed me the Control Wheel at Stumptown during my December trip to NYC, just days before he moved back to Dublin. He demonstrated it with pride, even when it was a proof of concept without the rich functionality and haptic feedback it has today. It was clear he was on to something.

I’ve been on the beta for quite some time, but I didn’t truly put Obscura 2 through its paces until I went on vacation the past 2 weeks. After vacation, I wish I had put Obscura on my home screen sooner.

Designed for one hand use, the Control Wheel is a natural way to interact with your iPhone’s camera controls. I love the haptic feedback, making you feel each refinement towards a perfect shot. Obscura also remembers your settings between sessions. I shot a lot with the telephoto lens on vacation and liked that it was still on it when I would reopen. You have to check out the animations between the different grid modes. Superb.

Obscura also makes it easy to take RAWs. I really don’t know what I am doing when editing them after the fact, but this phone has 256 gigs of storage so heres to having the data later on just in case.

The photo library viewer is organized in reverse chronological order and displayed by a swipe down on the viewfinder. I like how I can swipe up in the viewfinder to see my albums, including the automatically generated Obscura album. Tapping on a thumbnail shows you the full sized image along with all the metadata you’d ever want. From there you can apply one of 19 beautiful filters. There are 16 more available; 15 through in app purchase and 1 through sharing the app.

Future app development and features are already under development and I can’t wait to try them out. Experience the joy of capturing photos with Obscura 2 for 4.99.

Here are some sample shots from Canada.