Category: Technology


  • Out of Office – A Neat Little Trick to Reduce Work From Home Friction

    Out of Office – A Neat Little Trick to Reduce Work From Home Friction

    Knowing when someone can be bothered when working from home is hard, so I created an automated way to clearly show those lovely housemates of yours that it’s fine to interrupt, or to please wait for a little while.

    I understand the problem. Show me the setup!

    Remember the video of the guy getting interviewed on BBC that had his family come barging in the office while he tried to explain the political climate of Korea?

    Of course you remember it. It’s etched into your brain because it could so easily be you. It could be any of us. In fact, virtual meeting “fails” are all the rage now that more and more people are working from home.

    And since the moment you were forced to start working from home three months ago, you’ve lived with a quiet, or maybe not-so-quiet fear about your kid bursting into the background during your important client call and asking you to do the finish cleanup work on their latest toilet production.

    I have good news for you and the good news is that 1) there’s no need to sweat the uninvited home office guest anymore because it does happen to everyone, and 2) if you have children or roommates or significant others who aren’t complete monsters and who have some respect for social norms, I have a pretty cool way to prevent the accidental Zoom bombing.

    There’s a space between the unintended drop-in and business as usual

    I’m lucky because I have a dedicated workspace in my home that’s away from the foot traffic of day-to-day life. I’ve also worked from, or in an office with fewer than 5 people, for close to a decade now. Point is I can be easily forgotten by the rest of my family when I’m “at work”.

    That was until the pandemic hit and every one of my kids were at home every hour and minute and second of every day. Did I mention they never leave home ever?

    Because of our new-found always-togetherness, I felt more of an impulse or a need to be more present for my family. Also, the number of times that Jackie or the boys had a question or needed help with something had a bit of an uptick.

    The thing is though, we had already established that “dad’s working”, so they didn’t want to interrupt. And because they didn’t want to interrupt I’d always get these faint taps on the door or a set of eyes peering in just a crack. Both of which are creepy as hell.

    We needed a signal! We needed some kind of way for me to indicate that I’m interrupt-able or bother-able, or that I’m neither.

    I got to work and with a smart bulb and some basic automation, created a mostly full-proof and automated way to show “I’m in a meeting” or “Please, come in!”

    I’m going to show you how you can setup the same thing at home too.

    Building An Automated Do Not Disturb system

    My beautiful in-ceiling Hue light

    Stuff You’ll Need

    Getting Started with Automated Do Not Disturb

    I ended up choosing the Hue family of products because they seemed to have the most integrations with other systems, with the smallest amount of fuss.

    I’m the first to admit they’re a little on the pricey side, which is why I went with the bulbs instead of one of their super fancy sconces or decorative light fixtures. Those things get stupid expensive, and simply weren’t worth it for what I was making.

    What I set out to build is essentially an automated on/off switch that turned the Hue light on when a meeting was about to start, and turned it back off once the meeting was over.

    I’ve been using this setup for a few months now and I’m super happy with how reliable it’s been, although it does have one point of failure that I’ll get into more later.

    Step 1: Pick Your Light Location

    I spent more time than I’d like to admit figuring out where the best place to put my smart bulb would be. We have recessed (can) lighting outside of my office, so I ended up taking out one of our standard ceiling bulbs and replacing it with the smart bulb.

    Putting the bulb in an existing socket kept me from needing to do any kind of home remodeling or fixture hanging, and honestly, it’s the most conspicuous place I could put it. It’s almost impossible to miss if you come by my office.

    Find the place where your smart light is going to be noticed by as many housemates as possible, and screw it in.

    Step 2: Set Up Your Home Bridge and Connect Your Smart Bulb

    I’m not going to get into the specifics of setting up the Hue system, but I mention it here because it’s a necessary step.

    Follow along with their setup documentation and instructions within the Hue apps and you’ll be up and running quickly. It took me about 20 minutes to set everything up.

    NOTE: The Hue Bridge does need to be plugged in with an ethernet cable to work, so if your home router doesn’t have physical ports, you might need to add a small network switch so the Hub can be plugged in. It doesn’t work wirelessly.

    Note 2: You’ll need to create an account on meethue.com for the automation piece. It’s also needed to control any of your smart home devices from a remote location, so a bit of a no-brainer.

    Step 3: Connect Hue and Google Calendar to Zapier

    The next thing you’ll need to do is create “Triggers” in Zapier between Hue and Google Calendar. Since you’ll probably be adding these apps for the first time, you’ll need to go through a short authorization process to grant access to Zapier so it can see your data in Hue and Calendar.

    You’ll create one trigger to turn the light on when your calendar event starts, and another one to turn it off when the event is over. Simple enough, right?

    Create a Google Calendar Start Event Trigger

    Choose the Calendar You Want to Use
    I have my work calendar setup for this one

    Customize the Event
    After some trial and error, I set the start time at 15 minutes before my my event starts. What I found is that the Zapier automations aren’t super precise, so there were occasional times that the light would come on after the event had already started. A 15 minute buffer mostly resolves that issue.

    Create a Set Scene Zapier Trigger
    Now that you’ve connected Google Calendar and setup that piece of it, you’ll want to create the automation that actually turns the light on.

    You want the “Set Scene” event from Philips

    Choose the account you created when setting up your Home Bridge

    Customize the Scene
    I’ve chosen “Savanna Sunset” because it was easily the most grabbing of all the pre-configured scenes. If you get really nerdy you can create your own custom scenes and really fine tune that color palette. I’m lazy, so I haven’t done that yet.

    NOTE: There’s some very important, yet understated text in that last screenshot, which is the point of failure I mentioned earlier in this article”

    NONE OF THIS WILL NOT WORK IF THE LIGHT SWITCH IS TURNED OFF

    Trust me, I know.

    In order to save you some setup time you can use the Zaps I created and just put in your own account information.

    And that’s it! You’re ready to go. Now whenever your Google Calendar events start and stop, a giant glowing red (or green or blue or yellow) orb will illuminate and signal to your family and loved ones that you’re either in a meeting, or created a fake event to give yourself an extra 30 minutes alone to scream into a pillow.

    Whatever you need it for, this automation will be there to help.

    P.S. I found an iOS App that solves a similar problem. It isn’t automated, but it lets people share whether or not they can be disturbed with the people they live with. It’s called Oh Bother and looks pretty cool. Check it out.

    P.P.S. Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts and feedback about my last post. I know it was a little bit heavy, but I felt like it needed to be. It created more private conversations than probably anything I’ve written before. I’m glad we can all learn together!

    P.P.P.S (or is it P.P.S.S.?) If you run into any issues with your Do Not Disturb setup, feel free to give me a shout and I’ll do my best to help out.


  • How to Keep News from Monopolizing Your Life

    How to Keep News from Monopolizing Your Life

    I haven’t read the news regularly in a year or so and I never watch the news on TV.

    At a time when I was really struggling with distraction and anxiety I found that the constant feed of noise and depressing garbage didn’t help. Weird, right?

    So one day I deleted all of my news apps from my phone and turned off all my email news alerts as an experiment, just to see how hard it would be to live without the news in my life.

    How long would it take before I became an uninformed leech on society?

    Would I even be able to survive not knowing if Donald Trump said something awful in the past 24 hours? (Turns out he did and I didn’t need a news alert to inform me).

    Would the New York Times continue to exist without my annual $96 contribution?

    So yeah, I turned it all off and canceled some subscriptions, and I figured like with most things, I’d be back again before long. Or I’d slowly let the news trickle back in, but this time I’d be more organized or disciplined about my consumption.

    I was wrong on both accounts.

    I never turned any of it back on again.

    And I don’t miss it at all.

    I went from chasing a dragon to slaying that same dragon in an afternoon, and the interesting thing is that it bothered me how easy it was to quit, which is a totally normal thing to be bothered by. Right? Why couldn’t I just be happy about the fact that news no longer dominated my life?

    How to Stay Informed Without Being Owned By the News Rat Race

    I couldn’t figure out how I was suddenly ok without the constant stream of dopamine and adrenaline into my brain. Shouldn’t I have been missing the news more than I was?

    I also couldn’t figure out why it didn’t bother me more that I was becoming an uninformed slug. Where was my sense of civic responsibility?

    But after several months of self-observation I started to realize that I wasn’t uninformed at all. In fact, short of living in a shanty in the Yukon Territories in a polar bear commune there’s literally no way to “hide” from the news in 2019. Hell, even in remote Canada Verizon can probably “hear you now”.

    Important stories and updates will always bubble up in one way or another. A friend will send a text, news will crop up in a social feed, or someone will mention the latest happenings in a casual conversation.

    Things that matter will eventually get our attention. They just will. And they will without us seeking them out in any way. Or that’s been my experience anyway.

    Here are a couple hot tips I’ve employed that add to my news consumption experience, as limited as it may be. These measures help me to be aware of the world around me without allowing the news to consume my life.

    1. I don’t engage (or even follow) news social accounts – The only official news channel I follow on Twitter (as far as I know) is @ap_oddities because it shares headline gems like “Police in Sweden say a wanted man was found asleep in a bed in a furniture store.” I find that I prefer to get the news from individuals that I either know personally or have followed for a long time and with who I’ve built some level of trust. Most official news accounts have a slant of some kind, and the news is simply more interesting when it’s presented by “real people” anyway. I get a better feel for the real human impact when stories are shared by people instead of “outlets”.
    2. I do follow Beautiful NewsBeautiful News is a new website that I love so much. It acknowledges that so much of the news today sucks, and it shares one amazing beautiful news fact each day. Did you know that U.S. Cancer Survival Rates are Rising? Well I just learned about it from @beautiful_news! It’s a young website but I love everything they’ve done so far. It’s great that they’re making a concerted effort to share nice things, and the visuals are so well done. I’d go as far as to say they’re beautiful.
    3. I spend an hour browsing AllSides once per weekAllSides presents all the biggest news stories with a brief synopsis and then links to more in-depth related articles from the Left, Right, and Center. By reading the news this way I don’t end up in too much of an echo chamber when it comes to the type of information that I’m consuming. And to be clear, I don’t subscribe to the site in any way. I simply visit the website once a week when I have some downtime.
    4. I read my local newspaper – I read the Daily Herald because I like to know about the new FroYo place that’s coming to town. It’s also fun to read stories about the obscure county employee who got caught stealing petty cash. You know, the hard-hitting journalism. Jokes aside the local news is important to me because it feels like a place where I could effect some type of change in this vast world, so I like to stay up on what’s happening close to me.

    Could you dial back your news consumption?

    Hey, I never want this blog to be overly prescriptive because I’m an actual mess who is still working out so many things, but that won’t stop me from posing the question. How would your life look differently if you consumed less news or consumed it differently? Have you changed your news habits in the past? What’s worked (or is working) for you? What do you struggle with when it comes to the news? Hit up the comments!


  • Apps That I Use Every Single Day

    Apps That I Use Every Single Day
    I keep my most-used apps on the lower half of my home screen so they’re easier to get to.

    Curating a list of apps that I use every single day was harder than I thought it was going to be. There are many many apps that I use almost every single day, but there are exactly ten that I can say I use literally every single day.

    And so I don’t perjure myself in the event this blog post is ever presented as evidence in an iPhone-usage court of law, I ultimately used the criteria that in the last 30 days I’ve used the apps listed below at least 29 times.

    And just so this isn’t another random listicle polluting the internet, I’ve also included links to some helpful guides I’ve personally used to really get the most out of each one of these apps. Enjoy!

    1Password

    My master password is 👆🖨. Get it?

    I feel like I’ve gushed at length about 1Password but it’s become an integral part of my life. Full stop. It’s important for maintaining secure and unique passwords, and it’s an incredible tool for that purpose. Where 1Password truly become daily game-changing software for me, was when I started tapping into features like one-time passwords, storing numbers like SSNs and birthdays, and even tracking details like expiration dates for memberships, passports and driver licenses. There’s a bunch of other non-password stuff you can do with it too.

    1Password Resources

    Safari

    This search engine of choice is a blog post for another day.

    I surf the web every day 🏄‍♂️. And I use Safari for that. I wrote an entire post about some of the reasons I use Safari and some tips for getting started if you’re using another browser right now.

    Safari Resources

    Drafts

    This blog post started in Drafts before I knew it was gonna be a blog post. Initially, I started making a little list in Drafts about apps I really love and enjoy using every day. And now we’re here. Basically, I capture everything from my entire brain in Drafts and then see where it goes from there. Sometimes my drafts get deleted, and sometimes they evolve into something useful or dare I say, important? Drafts has become an every day must-use app for me.

    Drafts Resources

    Bear

    I love the little icons I can choose for every tag. Look at that Cobalt color scheme too 😍

    The best way I can describe Bear is that it’s sort of like Evernote? It’s a system for storing notes and text in Markdown. I can add pdfs and stuff like that to it too, but that’s a more rare use case for me. Some example entries include “Stuff I Want to Get for our Kitchen” and “Printer Cartridge Models”. I’ll also use Bear to draft important emails occasionally. The search within Bear is nice and quick, and it has a useful tagging system to keep things organized too.

    And while it might seem contradictory to use Drafts and Bear together, lots of my Drafts end up as notes in Bear eventually. Bear is where I keep reference material that I want to keep around and check back on often.

    Day One

    I clearly don’t get out much

    Day One might be the most beautifully-crafted software I’ve ever owned. I mean it. I genuinely love using it every day. And I think if I didn’t enjoy using the app so much, I never would have established a daily journaling habit that’s lasted for a full year now. The app just gets out of the way in an extremely elegant way.

    Every day I find a new little delightful surprise when I use the app, like the ability to automatically import my instagram posts, or something more subtle like looking at all of my blog post entries on a map. I look forward to adding whatever’s on my mind into Day One each day.

    Day One Resources

    • Day One in Depth – This is a course that I took that’s really well done. It’s $29 and while the video overviews of the software are nice, I could have figured all that out on my own. The most helpful takeaway from the course for me was all the different ways and ideas for using Day One each day. I’d definitely recommend it. [The Sweet Setup]
    • Day One Journal Series – [Day One website]

    Reminders

    Yes I lay out my clothes for the following day every single night. Leave me alone.

    I use Reminders to remind me to do things. That may sound pretty obvious, but Reminders isn’t a Todo app for me. I literally tell Siri to “remind me to tell Jackie about what happened at work today” or “Remind me to change the laundry in 45 minutes”. It’s a little utility to remind me to do things that won’t take long to do, or I can’t do right now, and that I also don’t want to forget. I use Reminders to remind. Imagine that.

    I haven’t taken a deep dive into the new iOS 13 Reminders app yet, but I’m not sure a lot of the extra stuff that’s been added will be for me. Some of it even seems ahem … heavily inspired 😒 … by my next favorite daily app.

    Reminders Resources

    Things

    Things is my actual Todo app. It’s also very good software and feels incredibly solidly built. I’m pretty sure I’ve used every todo app on the planet. Yes, even that one. And while there are many apps that have way more features than Things, and are seemingly more powerful, the relative simplicity of it is what I like most about it.

    Things is powerful in all the right places, and beautifully basic everywhere else. Omnifocus felt like sitting in the cockpit of a helicopter. Google Keep was like riding a unicycle. And Things feels like a finely tuned supercar. I can get in and “just drive”.

    • All The Things – Productivity Course – This is another course that I purchased and can highly recommend. There are a few parts of Things that I had a hard time matching to exactly the way I work, and this course helped me figure out some ways to make the app work similarly to the way that I do. [The Sweet Setup]
    • Creating Repeating Todos – This wasn’t terribly intuitive to me at first, but now that I understand it I love the way repeating tasks work in Things. [Things website]
    • Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac – A major selling points for me on Things is that I can control the entire app without touching my trackpad or mouse. Woohoo!

    Streaks

    I’ve used Streaks off and on for a number of years and have recently added it back to my arsenal. I’ve always liked the idea and implementation of the app. It’s like a habit tracker where you log certain activities that you want to do on a regular basis. In the past the app has been overwhelming to use because any day I’d break a streak and have to start over at zero again, I’d feel a major sense of failure.

    The good news is that recently (in the last six months or so) something clicked and I realized that every time I started to use Streaks in the past, I’d also add 5 new habits that I wanted to add to my life. This time I’ve started with some basic habits that are high on my priority list and I don’t intend to add anything new until everything I’m tracking now is routinely happening every single day without question.

    I have Streaks for brushing my teeth twice per day, not eating after 8:00pm, weighing myself, writing, and praying. Nothing major, but they’re all little things that I know will have a very positive impact on my life over time. This time around Streaks has “stuck” much better and doesn’t have the attached guilt if I need to start over sometimes.

    Fitbit

    I know that Apple Watches are all the rage these days. I’ve owned two of them, and from a technological and fashion perspective they’re far superior to anything that Fitbit makes. BUT, and this is a very personal but, I really do like the simplicity of FitBit.

    I own the Fitbit Flex 2 and unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Fitbit makes it anymore. WHAT A SHAME. I love it because it doesn’t even have a screen. At the time I bought it I paid around 60 bucks. It tracks all my activity and sleep, but doesn’t have the ability to interrupt my day with notifications.

    Also, if it breaks at some point, it was inexpensive enough that I’m not going to be bent out of shape about it. The fact that it doesn’t have a screen makes it almost indestructible though. And sure, there are tradeoffs, and again, if my biggest priority were “best tech gadget” then the Apple Watch would win by a country mile, but there’s still something really charming about the simplicity of FitBit which is why I haven’t given it up quite yet.

    MAKE ANOTHER SCREENLESS FIT BIT, YOU COWARDS!!

    That’s It. That’s the List.

    What are the apps that you use every single day? What can add to my future app list that I haven’t already? FEED MY APP HUNGER.


  • Automattic Bought Tumblr and That’s a Good Thing

    Automattic Bought Tumblr and That’s a Good Thing

    Today Automattic bought Tumblr. That beloved microblogging platform of yesteryear? The one that was the Snapchat equivalent of GenXers like myself? While I never maintained a super active Tumblr, I always loved the concept — share pics and interesting links and quick thoughts effortlessly. I even tried something similar in the early days of this blog with Post Formats.

    Bring Back Microblogging

    The concept of microblogging is so attractive to me for the same reason that Instagram is attractive. I don’t need a full post or editorial process to hit the publish button. Sure there are Influencers who have an Instagram workflow but my 400 and some odd followers aren’t expecting anything too special. I’ve made it a point to set the expectations bar as low as possible. Case in point.

    And I get it — footnotes and a bibliography aren’t a requirement for publishing a WordPress post either, but WordPress has historically shied away from these little content types that are so easily digestible and that really reduce the friction for publishing and creating more. Gutenberg doesn’t discourage short content, but it doesn’t exactly encourage it either since it introduces layout tools and a block creation process that leans more heavily toward editorial than a quick brain dump.

    And I’ll even go as far as to say there’s a psychological roadblock to putting out new content when I feel like whatever I’m working on is going to be measured like an article or something way more formal than it really is.

    I know you’ve felt it too.

    This Isn’t a One Horse Race

    There are services that exist like micro.blog, which I’ve explored before, and are cool in their own right, but there’s no audience. It’s the ultimate chicken/egg problem.

    Twitter has been trying to fill a gap that Tumblr’s left behind too, with longer character limits, threading, and more supported content types.

    But Twitter is gross in so many ways.

    And that’s not to say that Tumblr or TumblePress or whatever isn’t susceptible to abuse or trolls or other garbage, but at least I know that the foundation of the platform will have a value system of open web standards and transparent development practices. That openness is what drew me to WordPress in the first place .

    CAN YOU IMAGINE IF THIS BREATHES LIFE BACK INTO RSS??? WHAT IF AUTOMATTIC REBUILDS GOOGLE READER TO SUPPORT FOLLOWING YOUR FAVORITE TUMBLOGS?? I’M TRYING NOT TO GET AHEAD OF MYSELF.

    Beyond that, I believe an acquisition of this kind really starts to introduce the WordPress name into the same conversations as other major social platforms. It becomes more household. From a branding standpoint, it makes a ton of sense because a lot of my friends know of WordPress, but few know what it actually is. They all knew Tumblr and used it regularly.

    A Few Other Cool Things

    Here are a few other quick things that I thought about that are super nice bonuses and good outcomes from this move:

    • 200+ people will keep their jobs. Many of these are engineers who have worked on big apps at a very large scale.
    • Maybe some of these engineers get reassigned to projects like WooCommerce and turn it into a truly scalable eCommerce platform?
    • The Tumblr native app was always great in my opinion. Seeing what the Tumblr team can bring to those apps is very exciting. I’d love to open the WordPress iOS app to create instead of having it on my phone as a comment moderation tool.
    • A fresh perspective on publishing, in general, can’t hurt.
    • The WordPress brand is further solidified and gets used alongside Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and the like.
    • WordPress powers like 88% of the internet or some obscene percentage.
    • Developing with an open web value system gets a new life, especially if Tumblr (or its WordPress-powered equivalent) can return to a place where we can quickly and easily be fans, creators, and make something that’s “all our own” without needing a computer science degree.

    GeoCities is always a running joke around the internet, but I’d love to see us return to a place where “this is my working sandbox of thought and personal development” is more widely accepted.

    Let’s get rid of some of the polish, accept that every piece of content won’t be perfect, and return to a place where we can get our hands dirty and publish fearlessly.

    I’m stoked to see what happens next with Tumblr.


  • Why I Use Apple Safari – And Some Tips for Getting Started

    Why I Use Apple Safari – And Some Tips for Getting Started

    I’ve been using Safari as my primary browser for about 2 months now and honestly, other than a few small adjustments, it’s been pretty great. I wanted to share some of the little gotchas I encountered and some of the benefits I’ve seen since switching to Safari. I’ll also share some of the things that are still lingering annoyances but that I’ve learned to make peace with.

    Never in a million years did I think I’d use Safari as a daily driver. I don’t really know why. Maybe because when I made the switch from Windows to Mac in 2012 Chrome was the one thing that helped me feel like I wasn’t being torn away from my loving family? Maybe because every time I went to one of those hipster coffee shops all the Insta-guys and gals were using Safari and I didn’t want to lump myself in that crowd? It’s also just as likely that I was too lazy to even consider other browser options since Chrome had been mostly fine for as long as I remembered.

    Why I Dropped Chrome

    I could go on for a while about why I dropped Google Chrome but it really isn’t important for this post. I’ve had privacy concerns for a while but ultimately the thing that turned me off was aesthetic decisions with the browser. It’s getting uglier and harder to find commonly used options. It’s also more of a resource suck than anything else on my computer (other than Slack 😒) so I decided to try something new.

    I tried Firefox and while I liked a lot of things about it, I couldn’t stick with it. I don’t even recall my specific grievances but I vividly remember the frustrating feeling I had almost daily when using Firefox.

    And now I’m using Safari. Out in the jungle of the internet adventuring every single day (sorry).

    Things I’ve really liked about using Safari

    I have a somewhat comprehensive list but I’ll share some of the highlights of what I’ve really liked about browsing with Safari that simply aren’t available in Chrome.

    • Most people use Chrome – I know this is kind of a strange pro, but especially working on a digital team it’s actually really nice when everyone else is using Chrome by default. Because I’m using Safari I can spot issues in my normal usage that may not normally come up until some kind of QA or client review. We can be more proactive about resolving Safari-specific bugs and don’t have to backtrack when we get to the end of a project.
    • Better battery life while browsing – I don’t have any specific data here but I have a 2018 MacBook (which has been a great computer) and the battery life is noticeably longer when using Safari for browsing.
    • Lower CPU usage while browsing – I’m sure this is directly related to the last bullet, but my whole computer performs so much better when using Safari. Chrome could use 4+ Gigs of RAM and 100% CPU on its own. Safari rarely exceeds 1GB of RAM usage and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it spike beyond 20% CPU.
    • Reader View Reader view is pretty phenomenal, especially for ad-heavy articles. Sure, blocking ads works well enough, but I find it really nice to remove the design entirely so I can focus on the words in a distraction-free way. [Screenshot of Reader View]
    • 2FA from Messages – Safari supports auto-fill from the Messages app for any 2FA auth codes. That means I don’t have to copy/paste. The browser takes care of it for me. Woohoo lazyweb! [Screenshot of autofill for 2FA]
    • Easier payments with Apple Pay – For the stores that support it, I don’t have to enter any credit card information when I’m shopping online. I authenticate on my phone with TouchId and I’m good to go. [Screenshot of Apple Pay in Safari]

    All of these little things add up in terms of being nice to use and general overall convenience and getting my work done. Of course, it isn’t all roses.

    Things I haven’t liked about using Safari

    • The Dev Tools in Google Chrome are much more robust. The Safari dev tools do enough for the type of work I do, but for the hardcore developers they may fall short.
    • Smaller extension library – There are browser extensions for all of the services I use regularly every day, but the Chrome library is much much bigger. I don’t have as much customization control as I did with Chrome, but in some ways that’s a good thing (and a blog post for another day).
    • More prompts to allow desktop notifications – This might be anecdotal, but I think I get a lot more desktop notification prompts using Safari. I know when we’ve implemented these requests server-side for clients the Safari notifications were always much easier than Chrome or Firefox, so my assumption is there are a lot more sites asking to send desktop notifications to Safari users. Luckily there’s an easy way to disable those requests.

    Quick settings and preferences for customization

    As I mentioned before there aren’t as many customization options in Safari as there are in Chrome or Firefox, but there are enough for me and what I do each day. Here are some of the settings I changed right away when switching to Safari and small customizations I’ve made along the way.

    Rearranging extension buttons

    I didn’t find rearranging icons to be terribly intuitive so here’s a gif of how I got everything to the location I wanted. By default the 1password extension is added to the left of the browser search bar, which is not where I wanted it to be. I moved it back over the right where it belongs.

    Enabling developer tools

    Developer tools also aren’t enabled by default, so I had to go in and turn those on, which was easy enough to figure out.

    Go to Safari —> Preferences —> Advanced and then choose the “Show developer menu in menu bar” option. You can also press Command + Option + U on any page to show the full page source.

    Turning on full website address

    One of the most annoying things I encountered early on was Safari only showing my keyword searches in the URL bar instead of the URL for the actual page that I was on. That can also be easily addressed in the same Advanced menu.

    Showing link previews

    Safari also doesn’t show a URL path when hovering over a link by default which is something I use all the time and would have easily been a dealbreaker if it weren’t so easy to display.

    To turn this on, go to View —> Show Status Bar and the links will display when hovering.

    I’m going to stick with Safari

    Now that I’ve made it through all of the initial sticking points of changing browsers I not only get a great browsing experience, but I also end up benefiting from a bunch of fringe benefits like better privacy, performance, and continuity across all of my devices (something I didn’t really touch on in this post). I never thought I’d say it but I think I’m all-in on Safari now.

    Have any of you tried Safari in the past or already use it as your daily driver? I’d love to hear about any hacks or add-ons that have helped you get more mileage out of it.


  • What’s on my desk?

    What’s on my desk?

    Quick disclaimer: I definitely cleaned my desk before snapping these photos. Please don’t believe for a second that my desk looked like this for more than 60 seconds. In fact, the Coke Zero is already opened.

    I’m still not totally sure why I put this blog post together other than I’ve always enjoyed seeing what’s on other people’s desks. So I figured “Hey, I can be other people and maybe the other other people will like seeing how I’ve got things setup.”

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  • Social Media as a Deliberate Tool for Good?

    Social Media as a Deliberate Tool for Good?

    Note: My tone in this post is a little more serious than what you’ll typically find on this blog. If you’re here for lolz, come back again soon!

    The thoughts of this post have been swirling in my head for the better part of a year. My personal use of social networks has dwindled over the last several months. Not to say I’ve been inactive, I’m just using social media less often.

    This isn’t one of those posts where I exclaim my abhorrence for social media and delete all of my accounts in protest. That’s not to say I haven’t felt that urge before either. Some days social media is just TOO MUCH and the only logical solution seems to be to erase that shit from our lives for good and move on.

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  • How I Backup My Personal Computer

    How I Backup My Personal Computer

    When it comes to protecting data, I’m all about redundancy. If I don’t have at least two additional copies of every single file on my computer, it’s not sufficiently backed up.

    First thing I should mention is that I use a Mac computer. In fact, all the computers in our home are Macs. This isn’t a political statement so please save your flames, it’s just something I need to mention so you know right away that your mileage may vary with the information in this article.

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