I have lots of ‘subscription’ emails arriving in my inbox. Some I have subscribed to, some I am not sure how I ended up being subscribed. I just found a great tool for unsubscribing from them all in one go. It’s called unroll.me and here are the results, I unsubscribed from 54 email lists!
An article at theatlantic.com
I just read a fascinating interview with Tristan Harris, former Google employee who worked on Google Inbox.
His thesis is simple. Google, Apple and Facebook all want their products to be one that we use. Therefore they have a system of rewards built into their apps that train us to come back again and again. The average smartphone user looks at their device 150 times a day. Each App want’s to grab our attention every time we pick up the phone. Tristan argues that a better product would be one that does what we want it to, not one that manipulates us into using it more.
This video makes the point well.
Is this article he talks about the ethics of the companies who are behind most of the technology we use and how they deliberately manipulate to be addicted to their product. “Never before in history have the decisions of a handful of designers (mostly men, white, living in SF, aged 25–35) working at 3 companies”—Google, Apple, and Facebook—“had so much impact on how millions of people around the world spend their attention … We should feel an enormous responsibility to get this right.”
Best of all he has some good ideas as to how we can take control over our iPhones. Stop unnecessary notifications. Get rid of distractions from your phone’s home screen. “Checking that Facebook friend request will take only a few seconds, we reason, though research shows that when interrupted, people take an average of 25 minutes to return to their original task.”
That itch to glance at our phone is a natural reaction to apps and websites engineered to get us scrolling as frequently as possible.
Read the interview here.
Or catch his TED talk here.
He has started a group called Time Well Spent who are encouraging developers to design apps with the user in mind.
Tab Launcher is a great little app that sits on the side or top of your screen. It’s like a manilla folder where you can put commonly used files. It makes accessing them much quicker. The great thing is you don’t have to actually move the files into tab launcher. Your files stay exactly where they are but this is an easy way to access them.
Things is still my favourite to-do app but Wunderlist is free and it’s Android compatible. Here’s how to export your to-do items from Things to Wunderlist.
The menus and dock in OS X change colour to give you an idea of what is under them. I’m sure some people find this attractive but it annoys me because it can make things less clear. Thankfully there is a simple way to turn it off.
Quicksilver is the first app I install on any Macintosh.
With Quicksilver you press the Apple key once and a window appears on top of everything else. From this window you can pretty much do anything: launch an app, find a file, find a contact, email someone, you name it. Here’s how to get it going…
Here’s how to customise your own Keyboard shortcuts for any OSX application menus. Continue reading 〉
Today I had a list of full names (eg “Ed Smith”) in a Numbers spreadsheet. I wanted to separate it into first and last name to be able to sort if alphabetically. It was harder than it should be – in my opinion Apple should have a firstname and lastname function! But they don’t. So here’s how to get first name and last name.