Foolish Chatter

geekery, and so forth w/ @alsmo

Author: Alan Smodic

  • The Apple News Experience

    But the actual reading experience often stinks — most articles from most publishers in Apple News are lousy with huge ugly ads, breaking up each article every few paragraphs. And the ads are often almost comically low-class chumbox scams. I posted screenshots of a few of them just a few weeks ago on Mastodon.

    Daring Fireball: Apple Again Hikes Prices for Its Media Services

    I don’t follow the news of the day via RSS, so I actually enjoy relying on Apple News to read quality journalism that I’ve selected. Luckily, my ad blocking at the DNS level removes a lot, if not all, of the crap Gruber mentions above. It’s really awful for a paid service from Apple to be so crappy.

    What’s even worse for me is the below. Block a news source to tailor your experience? Instead of just not showing you that publication, we’ll still populate our news feed with it, but just show you that it’s blocked.

    Um, how about just not showing it to me? Since, you know, I blocked it. 🤷‍♂️

  • Integrations allows the convenience of creating tasks without leaving your email or switching between applications. As a productivity boost, it saves you from distraction because you can stay in, or out of your inbox.

    Integrations for Desktop: connect your favorite apps

    These direct integrations are the reason I ever started using Spark in the first place. When the desktop redesign lost these, I stayed with the classic version, and consistently lived in fear the would one day stop supporting it.

    Now, 😅, I can safely move over to the new Spark Desktop and continue to send tasks directly to my desired third parties. 👏

  • Flighty 3.0

    Last year I had a flight get cancelled about an hour before it was supposed to start boarding. I got an alert from Flighty, immediately dashed over to the nearest gate agent, and got rebooked on another flight before American Airlines notified me that the original flight had been cancelled.

    This happened to me last month while en route to the airport. I received a notification from Flighty that my flight was canceled. I trusted it and turned around. About 20 minutes later, the airline sent me the same notification. 🤷‍♂️

    Flighty is truly a remarkable app and it pays for itself every time I fly.

  • Worth mentioning here since I’ve noted in the past how much I enjoyed using Neeva’s search product:

    … there is no longer a path towards creating a sustainable business in consumer search. As a result, over the next few weeks, we will be shutting down and our consumer search product, and shifting to a new area of focus.

    Bummer, but a shift to AI is not a surprise. I do like Neeva’s inclusion in Poe’s list of chatbots. I assume that will continue.

    For where I’m searching now, I agree with Gruber. Kagi is where it’s at.

  • Scott Pilgrim anime

    Anime studio Science Saru will be helming the revival, and Bryan Lee O’Malley, who created the original comic, will serve as writer and executive producer alongside Edgar Wright, who directed the live-action film, and BenDavid Grabinski.

    The entire cast, Bryan Lee O’Malley and Edgar Wright are all involved!? Awesome.

  • Oh, actually, quick diversion. The fact that that link opens the Google Maps app is the coolest thing about Arc’s app — and potentially the most transformative.

    Honestly, quick access to the sidebar on the go is super functional. And having it open in the respective app is icing on the cake. Loving this new Arc companion 👍

  • 5.0

    Our app was previously developed using React Native, which is a hybrid web technology that enables JavaScript developers to build mobile apps.

    However, we encountered several limitations due to its hybrid nature, such as poor performance and the inability to create native features like Widgets and Shortcuts integration. In this brand new app, I have used Swift and SwiftUI to overcome these limitations and provide a smoother, more native experience.

    The app had gotten so clunky to use that I moved bookmarking to, but I missed’s web API and all of my automations through Zapier and IFTTT.

    Now, I’m back. What a great update from! This came as a complete surprise, as I had no idea this was in the works (thankfully I still subscribed to its RSS feed). It looks great, and adds a ton more functionality.

    I renewed my yearly subscription on the spot.

  • RSS needs a rebrand

    I still think website feeds have something of a branding problem. “RSS” and “feed reader”, despite the former term being an acronym for “really simple syndication”, sound technical and hard to use. It is just as easy to follow a site with a reader as it is on any social media platform. We can and should make this a less scary proposition.

    I couldn’t agree with this more. RSS is fantastic, but it’s so hard for me to get my non-techie friends into it. It’s hard to believe that this hasn’t been solved yet by one of the many RSS readers that grew from the demise of Google Reader (I personally use Feedbin).

    Surely, there’s a major opportunity here for someone to seize.

  • ChatGPT vs Google

    But I think the bigger problem is that Google no longer feels complete. I used to be able to weed out the junk by writing more specific queries. Now, such queries—as well as searches for phrases that I know exist on the Web—commonly turn up nothing.

    SEOs caught on to the “more specific queries” game by calling those long-tail searches. Now, Google is content spam on top of content spam underneath loads of ads and Google SERP features.

    What Neeva is doing with AI has been great for me. And, as always, Matt provides the best rundown of how it works:

  • Because this sounds awful to me.

    Apple’s first mixed-reality device, likely to be dubbed the Reality Pro, will launch this year with an immense amount of new technology, ranging from dual 4K displays to a flexible OLED screen on the front that shows a user’s eyes. It will have more than a dozen cameras that can analyze the wearer’s body, eye movements and the external environment.