Foolish Chatter

geekery, and so forth w/ @alansmodic


  • I like new hardware ideas; it’s no fun to think that the phone is the last device we’re going to need. But I can’t see why anyone would want this. At least when Amazon and Facebook tried making their own branded phones, they were actually phones that did everything we expect a modern phone to do. Who wants a phone-sized remote control for their phone?And as a dedicated device mounted on your car dashboard, how is it not an invitation to be stolen? It looks like a phone that was left in the car.

    Daring Fireball: Spotify’s ‘Car Thing’

    I didn’t expect John to have this harsh a take on someone trying something new. There are at least a couple thoughts that came to mind when reading this:

    • If someone is only concerned about music and doesn’t want the potential distraction of their phone when driving, this might help.
    • Weren’t GPS devices similar as a dedicated device mounted in the dashboard somewhere? Seems to me this Spotify Car Thing would also be simple enough to put in a center console when you park. I remember friends doing this with the faceplate of their CD players.
    • This could be especially useful for folks with older cars.

    Again, seems cool that Spotify is trying something. If it doesn’t work or catch on, then kill it off. :shrug:

    I happen to live in a larger community with golf cart paths that can take you wherever you want to go. We have a Bluetooth speaker attached to ours and it’s really annoying to fiddle with the phone while on a joyride with our daughter. I ordered one of these to see if it’d make listening to music a more manageable experience.

    The bigger question is whether or not I stay with Spotify long-term. For now, though, we’ll give this Car Thing a shot.

  • Maybe someday someone will make the perfect AirTag wallet for me, but it hasn’t happened yet.

    The Elevation Labs AirTags Wallet Insert – MacSparky

    I, too, have gone down this path to find a suitable AirTag wallet. However, the thickness of the device is just a little too much for my slim wallet.

    My suggestion is to see if you can compromise. I pre-ordered the Chipolo Card Spot, which is a slim, wallet-sized tracking device from Chipolo that works with the Apple Find My network. I’m looking forward to finally trying it once it ships.

  • Apple is trying to thread the needle with AirTags, allowing them to be used for good but not for evil. It’s complicated, and Apple knew that going in—but it turns out it still has a lot to learn.

    Apple issues an AirTag status update – Six Colors

    One update I’d love to see is a trusted partner network for your AirTags. It could even be as simple as having shared tags amongst Family Sharing members. My wife, for instance, shouldn’t have to get the ping on her device if she happens to take my car somewhere.

  • 1/22: Switching to Brave

    At the beginning of January, I noted my aim to move to Brave as my default browser.

    This has become something of a monthly theme where I’m looking to change some of my computing workflows throughout 2022. And, honestly, this one may end up being the easiest to accomplish.

    I’ve been using Brave full-time for a while now and I’m completely happy. It helps that it’s Chromium-based and thus supports all of the extensions I used on Chrome. And, while I don’t have any need for the crypto features, it at least lets me turn that functionality off.

    I still use other ad & script blocking measures, but I like that my browser has a default mechanism to capture a majority of these upfront. And I suspect removing the Chrome bloat has been a sigh of relief from my MacBook Pro. With Chrome, my fans constantly spun. Not so much, if at all really, with Brave.

    I see nothing but positives at the moment, and don’t see myself reinstalling Chrome ever.

    Secondarily, I did check out Vivaldi a little bit, but not as much as I’d hoped. I still have it installed and look forward to testing is customizations and pro-user functionality.

    For the first time in a while, I’m excited about browsers and look forward to seeing how some of these companies can innovate in this space.

    I’ll post about February’s activity soon, which may be more about reading workflows than one specific app.

  • All I need to do to open an Amazon search page with my affiliate link included is to prepend “az” to my search query. I can do this directly from Safari’s Address Bar or Spotlight on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. I typically use Alfred as a Spotlight replacement on the Mac, and it works there, too.

    Search Better with Keyword Search and Shortcuts — HeyDingus

    This post reminded me of my Alfred style search in iOS note.

    Keyword Search, and the process HeyDingus mentions in the article above, is also a powerful Safari extension in this regard. There’s a lot of action that can happen in iOS Spotlight these days if you put in a tad bit of extra effort.

  • Bring back Dashboard?

    The type of things I would have glanced at dashboard for, is just a quick swipe away on my iPhone.

    Apple Should Bring Back Dashboard – Initial Charge

    Or a glance at my watch. I do think notifications on Mac needs a complete rethink, though.

    *see also: https://512pixels.net/2022/01/apple-should-bring-back-dashboard/

  • MacSparky’s Comms Board

    This is the array of apps I keep on a separate space to the left of my working screen. It’s a collection of my communication apps. The idea of this is to keep communications separate from my working screen and require me to intentionally switch screens to go into that mode.

    My Comms Board – MacSparky

    This is a good idea and I wish I had thought of doing it before.

    I’m a big fan of splitting out apps into fullscreen mode on my Mac that I swipe in and out of, but I’m ashamed to admit I don’t really utilize a second standard (non fullscreen) desktop with (more than two) apps set to specific areas. I’m about to fix that.

    Side note: I’m loving how much more David is blogging now that he’s gone full-time with MacSparky.

  • With some small changes, Apple could empower more people to close their rings. It encourages better behaviors without penalizing for a day off when rest is needed, or an injury or illness sidelines you for a little while.

    Close Your Rings Differently – nahumck.me

    Tim has a couple of good options in his post above, and I totally agree with the sentiment.

    Pushing yourself when sick or hurt isn’t ideal, nor should you feel discouraged when breaking a streak because of it. Rest days are just as important, and I hope Apple acknowledges that for users who rely on the Activity app.

    One additional item I’d add is the option to add a mindful minutes ring. Apple could do a lot to push mental health for all by simply making it stand out a bit more. The pieces are already there with watch notifications and guided sessions through Fitness+, and this would be the extra nudge that some need to ensure they’re in a better headspace.

  • Replacicon

    A simple little app that let’s you easily change the icons of third-party apps on your Mac. But it also watches for app updates in the background so your customized icons are not lost.

    Replacicon – Initial Charge

    An instant buy. Thanks, Mike!

    Learn more:

  • For the fifth year in a row, we’ve doubled the number of our monthly active users, going from 24 million MAU on December 31st, 2020, to over 50 million by the end of 2021.

    Brave Passes 50 Million Monthly Active Users, Growing 2x for the Fifth Year in a Row | Brave Browser

    Count me as one of those users.

    I’ve been meaning to write about this, but I’m still formulating the full 2022 plan. Essentially, I’m in search of alternatives for some of the major things I do on the web. I want to better safeguard my privacy, support good companies and contribute more to the open web.

    Up first was browsing. I have already been using Brave as my main browser, but I’ve now uninstalled Chrome and am trying out the customizations found within Vivaldi.

    Currently installed on my MacBoook:

    • Brave
    • Vivaldi
    • Firefox
    • Safari

    At the end of the month, I’ll check back in and tee up February’s activity.