Timeline Your Life

I wanted to get a more concrete feel for the time I’ve enjoyed – and to answer questions like “what was I doing in 2013?” so I decided to create a timeline. It’s a design challenge, On my devblog I wrote up all the different formats I experimented with before I arrived at what you see here (Complete with a minimap to try to restore context, that sense of “you are here” – even still it’s probably best taken in with a large screen)… More here.

Amazing how obviously simple this is and how well it condenses a life. Nice work Kirk!

‘What’ is next

The title is not a question. It is a statement that ‘how’ should not be the priority for the bigger tech companies over the next couple of years.

Look at what you do with your phone today; photography, organisation, games, navigation, communication, social networking, work, music, films, fitness, banking, reading etc etc. You can do practically everything you need to do and no amount of tinkering around the edges will grab millions of new users to a particular platform.

My iPhone has a notch at the top and the next iPhone may not. That’s not going to make me upgrade.

My iPhone takes decent photos and the next one may produce stunning images that are much better than what I can currently achieve. That’s not going to make me upgrade.

My iPhone gets through a day on one charge. The allure of 2-3 days in a future version will not make me upgrade.

The three potential improvements listed above are useful, but there is a problem in the industry that would stop me, and most others, from upgrading and that is the cost. We have reached a point where our phones do so much for us that improvements in one, or two, features are not enough to prise upwards of £1,000 from the majority of potential purchasers.

It needs a ‘what’. It needs a new feature that wows us in a way that we have not seen for some time now.

This does not need to be a feature as such, it could be a foldable phone that folds out to the size of a small tablet. It could be a phone that is powered all of the time through the air from multiple charging points. It could be many things, but it seems that these things are still some way off which is what is leading to the problems that the big players are currently experiencing.

I thought of this the other day when I was researching Huawei phones for a freelance article. I have been largely ignorant of Android in recent times and while researching it took me some time to understand the differences between the P20 Lite (£189) and the P20 Pro (£494). That’s a difference of £300 and I found myself leaning towards the Lite version because it looked similar and it seemed to do what I would need it to. With no emotional attachment to Android my natural inclination was to lean towards the cheaper version and to view the extras as mere money grabbing features that would offer few advantages to me.

It’s how I would feel if I needed a new washing machine. I would have no clue what most of the features did as long as it got my clothes clean and was fairly power efficient. I simply don’t understand the extras in a washing machine and that is the same position most people have when it comes to phones.

And this is why a ‘what’ is needed. We are too familiar with our phones and we are stuck in our ways. Apple’s focus on making products easier and more natural to use is commendable, but I’m not sure it will work favourably unless the company can come with with new features that actually do new things rather than improve on what we already have.

Which was the fittest country in 2018?

When it comes to stepping, Hong Kong took first place. Leading the charge in the nearly 24 trillion steps users took in 2018, Hong Kong steppers fit in 10,493 daily steps on average over 365 days. Spain came in second with 10,002 average steps. Ireland, Sweden, and Germany rounded out the top five countries who stepped it up in 2018 with 9,726, 9,609, and 9,601 average steps respectively.

Some interesting numbers here.

Smartwatches are complementary to mechanical watches?

Morgan Stanley says smartwatches will continue to take market share from mechanical and quartz products as Apple, Samsung, Fossil and others develop their technology.

That’s unlikely to hurt Swatch Group’s many high-end brands such as Longines, Breguet, Blancpain or Jaquet Droz. But, with the Apple Watch priced at about 450 Swiss francs, it’s a threat to low-end products.
“From a structural standpoint, we have become incrementally more bearish throughout the year on the impact smartwatches will have on the Swiss watch industry,” Morgan Stanley says.

Ms Lupo says the threat from the smartwatch revolution is overplayed. “Smartwatches are complementary to mechanical watches,” she argues. “In our city you see people with one each of their wrists.”

It’s difficult to envisage many millennials going to those lengths. But Ariel Adams says smartwatches are playing an important role in getting young people “to think and wear watches”… More here.

I don’t believe for a minute that ‘smartwatches are complimentary to mechanical watches’ and that they can help the growth of the latter.

As much as I love mechanical watches, my gut tells me that the future is one of these products becoming more niche over time. And it’s quite possible that the most common setup will be no device on either wrist for most people.

éf NOTE

The idea of a folding display might sound like a sci-fi fan’s dream, but the flexible future is already here! Following the release of a few bendable displays in recent years, designer Kizuku Kitada takes things to an entirely new level with this tablet notepad that features a complete 180-degree fold… More at YD.

OK, it’s merely a concept, but it would be nice to see something like this at some point in the future.

A human in the land of the Gods

Murray wasn’t a freak of technique like Roger Federer, nor a freak of endurance like Rafa Nadal, nor a freak of physics like Novak Djokovic. In many ways, he was all too human. He didn’t have an earth-shattering serve or a gigantic forehand, or even the advantage of left-handedness. What he did have was plenty of speed, bundles of intelligence and the pure, untrammelled desire that allowed him to hold his own in the most brutally competitive era men’s tennis has ever seen… More at The Independent.

Many people do not like Andy Murray and many of those people are British, or should I say English. He has been dubbed anti-English for more than a decade, even though the incident has been debunked by Tim Henman, and for some he comes over as a gruff Scotsman who is boring and in the mind of these people somehow a bad person.

He suffers from the same persona Gordon Brown did when he was our Prime Minister, a lack of media awareness and more importantly a lack of caring what the media think. He comes over as exactly who he is to me and has been refreshing to listen to over the past few years for the precisely the reasons many people don’t like him.

I suspect jealousy plays a part too. The English do not like people who succeed, they tend to prefer those who fall at the last hurdle because that is what the English do time and time again with only a few exceptions in recent history.

Andy Murray’s record is never going to trouble the greats of the game, three of whom he has had to play alongside for most of his career, but for a British tennis player his achievements are extraordinary-

3 Grand Slams (Wimbledon x 2 and the US Open)

2 Olympic golds

The Davis Cup (by far the majority of the points gained)

World number one for more than 40 weeks

Multiple ATP titles etc etc

For all of the above there are multiple other reasons for why he has received so many tributes today. The fact he is a decent bloke, his approach to women throughout his career and his humour. And the fact that I even named my dog, Murray, after him.

On 7th July 2013 my family and I witnessed the greatest sporting moment of our lives and it will live with me forever more. This followed years of hoping and wondering if a British tennis player could actually win Wimbledon, or a Grand Slam or anything goddam it! Well, he won the lot and will go down as one of the greatest British (Scottish) sportsmen of all time. Thank you Sir Andy.

DUOO

The laconic design of the writing desk reflects the purity of the lines and the absence of unnecessary details. The writing desk made of natural veneer preserves the texture of the wood. A writing table featured in the DUOO collection is a piece of furniture for modern and ambitious personalities who value comfort in all its manifestations… More here.

The words above are a little silly, but the design of the desk is perfectly simplistic.

Strange Horizons

Strange Horizons is a weekly magazine of and about speculative fiction. We publish fiction, poetry, reviews, essays, interviews, roundtable discussions, and art.

Our definition of speculative fiction includes science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, and all other flavors of fantastika. Work published in Strange Horizons has been shortlisted for or won Hugo, Nebula, Rhysling, Theodore Sturgeon, James Tiptree Jr., and World Fantasy Awards… More here.

If you are unaware of Strange Horizons, take a look. You may be surprised at how good the content is.

Spy on people with your AirPods

It’s an accessibility feature mainly designed for the benefit for the hearing impaired.

However, as some users have pointed out on Reddit and Twitter, Live Listen also means Apple users can listen to conversations going on in another room – as long as their iPhone is in the room, they have their AirPods in and Live Listen is turned on… More at The Independent.

No doubt the aim is positive, but did Apple really not forsee this as a potential problem?