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A 300 post collection


Social Media Shifts

 •  Filed under Social Media, Posts

Social media is always on the change. They clamber over each other to promote their best features and in come cases even copy the features of social media networks. I'm looking at you Instagram!

Through all this changing landscape there's been one slow less obvious change that has happened over the last couple of years.

Goodbye Twitter

It's been a quiet on Twitter recently. With the absent Patrick Rhone and Kurt Harden on my Twitter timeline, I found that I wasn't checking in on my timeline as often. There seemed to be little point.

So over the weekend I removed the Twitter app from my phone and I removed all the lists I subscribe too with the exception of one. I then logged in to the Twitter website on my phone and then closed the tab down. The change has been positive.

I'm no longer a slave to the Twitter app on my phone. I'm no longer checking my timeline on an hourly basis. I'm no longer thumbing through the moments tab just to see what's going on. I like Twitter's Moments section but the lack of filtering on topics is infuriating. Yes, I would like to see the latest scores from the NFL, but I can't be bothered with things like celebrity news, football news and trending posts on Twitter.

I mentioned that I removed all but one of the lists I created. While lists were initially a good idea on Twitter they haven’t changed to keep pace with Twitter and now are nothing more than a less useful form of your timeline. I think lists can still have their place on Twitter but as of filtering your timeline rather than being a separate list. You still have to follow everyone on each list but with a change of a dropdown, you can change the accounts that are displayed on your timeline. Perfect for sports enthusiasts who might like to keep an eye on their timeline during major sporting events.

I also have less notifications distracting me. I did have notifications on for direct messages but that's just something that I now check on the mobile Twitter site. Replies aren't so important that I need to know about them right away and knowing about my latest new follower isn't worth checking out unless I'm not working and I have the time to do so.

Twitter has always been something of a necessary evil for me. It's now just a placeholder for myself on that network and I don't see me using it often for anything else but cross posting from other places like Instagram and Pocket. And I think that's a real shame. Twitter had such great promise in the early days but the changes over the last few years have seen the usual crowd I follow fall away from it and finding people with similar interests is possible, but it's not the same as following people that you have connected with and know.

Hello Instagram!

And while Twitter has been suffering it seems that Instagram is flourishing. Multiple photos on posts, stories (although I've still not used these), bookmarks and the soon to come collections has made Instagram a rising social media star for me.

Once I thought of it as nothing more than just a place for selfies, but having spent the last couple of years on it, it's definitely more than that. The creative spark behind a lot of the accounts on Instagram is great to see and the visual timeline is so much more appealing and positive than browsing my Twitter timeline.

It's not without it's faults though. The comments on posts is a nightmare to navigate. Frequently people simply comment with another person's name and that's it. It adds no value to the comments section but it's a quick way of notifying that person about the post. I think Instagram could definitely improve it's comments section by allowing you to filter comments and promote comments that are like by many.

Considering others

And while there are other places like Snapchat, Ello (still going?), and even a couple of new places, I've been slow to consider setting up accounts on other networks. Mastodon is a newcomer to social media and while the promise of a less centralised social media network is promising, the truth is that I simply don't have the time for it.

The recent closure of App.net taught me that it's wise to weigh up a social media network before you create an account on it. Sure, you can grab your handle and start posting, but what real value are you going to get from it? I suspect in most cases the answer is little. Social media networks are designed to be places where you consume data. To do that social media networks try to wall you in with features and formats that are special to that one network.

I'm glad to say that Micro.blog by Manton Reece is hoping to change all that by creating a social network that is powered by one of the oldest timeline tools on the Internet. RSS. Using RSS feeds, Micro.blog aims to break down the barriers of wall garden social media networks and provide something that uses a publishing medium you're already using. Your own blog. I'll be glad to see that released and hopefully soon.

My changing tastes in social media is down to the fact that I’ve less value in Twitter and more value in Instagram. One is getting weaker and the other is getting stronger. Twitter isn’t a sinking ship yet, but it’s far from a great place to be. I’ll stick with the more positive and visual Instagram for the foreseeable future.

New iMacs on the way

 •  Filed under Posts, Apple, Technology, Freelance

Great to hear that new iMacs are on the way.

Regarding iMacs, Schiller also said that new iMacs are in the works, slated for release some time this year (no specifics other than “this year”), including “configurations of iMac specifically with the pro customer in mind and acknowledging that our most popular desktop with pros is an iMac.”

The Mac Pro Lives by John Gruber

I've been looking to replace my MacBook Pro for a while now. I do most of my work at home and it's rare that I do serious development during a client visit. While the MacBook Pro made sense at the start of my freelance career, I think an iMac would be better for myself.

The question of what to do on client visits though remains. Should I still keep the MacBook Pro for client visits? Unless I'm called on to write code during that visit (I never am) then I think it's safe to say that I can relegate the MacBook Pro to another younger member of the family who can use it for school work more effectively than I would use it as a second development machine.

I'm still debating the purchase of an iPad Pro to act as a portable device. I would use this more for admin, marketing and writing and planning tasks. Anything that isn't writing code essentially.

I'll get the desktop hardware sorted first before I go down this road though.

The Deep Productivity Seminar

 •  Filed under Posts, Nicholas Bate, Productivity, Learning

Yesterday I attended the Nicholas Bate's Deep Productivity seminar in Oxford. It was a great chance to meet a fellow and much respected blogger and at the same use the course to gather up all the important bits about productivity.

The venue of the seminar was in the Magdalen College School. It was unlike any school I've ever visited and is also the oldest school that I've ever been in. If you like Harry Potter you will love this place.

I arrived a bit early being just around the corner for accommodation. I got speaking to Nicholas and a few other attendees to the seminar and then the hard work began at 9am.

The seminar was extremely valuable and it was a good opportunity to re-visit some strategies to help stay focused and productive. I also walked away with a number of books from Nicholas that have been added to the top of the reading list.

So what did I get from this seminar then?

Well, the whole point of this wasn't to learn something new. I'm a big fan of Nicholas Bate's blog and his material so I was already familiar with a number of strategies, but where I previously got this information over a long period of time, the seminar provided the opportunity to consolidate all of this information into a single form that I could digest more easily and refresh my brain.

It was also a great opportunity to meet Nicholas and other attendees.

All in it was a great investment of my time and I hope that it can yield some great results in the weeks, months and years to come.

Thank you Nicholas for putting on a superb event and it was great to finally meet you good sir!

For the attendees, I've managed to go my first 24 hours without bread as my first actionable item. Started yesterday during the seminar (thanks for the nudge NB) and made it to this morning by having cereal and a smoothie rather than toast. Yay!

Back to work

 •  Filed under Posts, Golf, Ethan, RGU

It's back to work for Ethan with the first RGU under 14s session of the year. Plenty to work on!

Weekend Report #8

 •  Filed under Posts, Weekend Reports

Again, this was sitting in my drafts. Doh!

The weekend was something of a blur. After a trip down to see a client and a few days back at my desk catching up, I was glad to have some downtime with the family.

Saturday started as it always does with Drew's Little Tiger Cubs class. As always he's slow to start with the warm ups but as soon as they get to the kicking and punching he's front and centre! After that it time to head home as Jen was going for the day so it was just me and the boys. Drew was invited to a birthday party next door so I took him through for that will Ethan entertained himself on the Playstation.

Sunday was Ethan's first group lesson with the rest of the Juniors at Paisley Golf Club. Even though he's hardly had a chance to play on the course over the winter, Ethan's been improving his swing over the winter and this will be a big year for him. His lesson went well and he learned a few things the hard way but it's sometimes the only way you learn.

Sunday morning was also my first jaunt back out on the mountain bike. The first bike ride of the year is always rubbish. You find out it now that your bike needs a service or new parts and you're also getting back on the bike after a number of months since the last time you were on it. This year was no exception.

With a slow puncture at the rear I decided to top up the wheel with air to see how slow it was. Unfortunately my pump split in two and couldn't get any air into the wheel. I had enough air to get back to the card, but it did cut my ride significantly short. Added a new pump and a new rear tyre (it is blading) to the bike shopping list.

Sunday afternoon saw Drew heading out for a Little Tiger Cubs assessment. He's been attending the classes for a few months now and he's earned the stripes for his belt. At his assessment he earned his next belt up and walked away with a certificate.

Pro devices in the wild

 •  Filed under Posts, Technology

At the start of this week I was visiting a client for a catch up and a chance to go over a project I'm working on with them. It was great to hear from the client that they're exceptionally happy with the progress, but that's not what this post is about.

During my visit I couldn't help but notice the two Surface Pros in my client's office. It was the first time that I have seen these devices out in the wild.

After quizzing my clients about them for half an hour and a quick demo it was fair to say that the Surface Pro have not only been really well designed but also specced well. Each of the devices were being used for the usual office tasks but they were also used as development environments and in each case plugged into a dual-monitor setup. As a portable device it's light years ahead of the iPad and in my eyes better than the iPad Pro.

As an Apple fan I've been disappointed with the distinction between the iOS operating system and macOS. While iOS was made to drive portable devices, it is certainly not the ideal environment to be doing any kind of software development. Apple have been expanding their mobile products to be bigger and faster and now we have the iPad Pro as the ultimate touch device that Apple offers. The problem is that the device still uses iOS.

When you're limited to the apps that you can install and the amount of access you have to a device I think it's hard to justify the label of "Pro" on the iPad. When I first heard about the upcoming release of the iPad Pro I assumed that a touch version of macOS would be offered. Sadly that wasn't the case.

When I look at the Surface Pro I see a portable device that can replace a desktop and a laptop but is also really effective when you're on the go.

Will it replace my MacBook Pro?

Not in the near future. I still love working in macOS and it's where I've invested my time to get a range of apps and tools that work well for me. I'm not about to give that up in a hurry.

It's fair to say though that I've now been put off from purchasing an iPad Pro. I don't see the benefit. If I can't run a terminal client and a text editor to write code then it hardly qualifies as a "Pro" device.

Weekly plan bars

 •  Filed under Posts, Tools, Productivity

I've been having a successful run with the bullet journal and implementing Mike Rhode's daily plan bar but as a weekly view rather than a single day's view. Daily plan bars go on the left while a list of tasks for the week goes on the right. I'll do a better write up of this in time complete with a more annotated description.