Tech Optimism Battling Privacy and Ethics

The magic of tech, the fear of tech, regulation, and the Apple way.

Om Malik, in a link to Joi Ito on the topic:

I often worry, that just as pro-technology narrative got carried away from 2010 through 2017, we are seeing the pendulum swing to the opposite extreme and taking away some of the magic from technology.

To me the magic of technology is the same as tech optimism. It’s the mindset that technology can and should be able to fix all which ails us, and also which bothers us. It’s a broad definition, but it’s the thinking which led us to here. To now.

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  • Handkerchief Everyday Carry Thoughts

    It can be gross, but also very handy.

    My grandfather, as I am sure many grandfathers do, always seemed to carry a handkerchief. Typically, I would see him pull it out to wipe his nose, or actually blow it (shudder). Always seemed weird to me, and I never understood it.

    And then I happened to put one in my briefcase and it came in handy — a fair amount. And my youngest daughter will tell me “this is handy, you should always keep these for me.” So for the past ten months I’ve been carrying a handkerchief with me whenever I leave the house, wondering what good it could be. And these are also very popular in the everyday carry (EDC) community, so I wanted to figure out what the draw was. Here goes…

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  • First Impressions

    A bunch of impressions on new gear I am testing.

    I’m not quite ready to review this stuff, but I thought I’d share some initial thoughts on each of them. First up the Vortex Core, then a new wallet, a knife, a new app, and lastly a method I am testing for organizing my GR1 better.

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  • A Few Travel Essentials

    I do not like traveling without these.

    Over on Everyday Wear, Steve and I detail out our packing lists on a regular basis. The neat side effect of that work is that you get a very good sense for what you pack, and what you didn’t end up using. It’s incredibly effective at lightening your load out. It also works well to help you identify stuff you pack that you really find essential. That’s what this post is about.

    And no, I don’t do the Craig Mod method, however I do recommend his tip for showing up to the airport stupidly early.

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  • A Potpourri of Thoughts Largely Around iPad

    Some thoughts about Slack, keyboard switches, and more paranoid level security when working on an iPad.

    It’s time we talk about Slack and the damage it is doing on the workplace. Then we can talk about keyboards, and iPad file archive security.

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  • The Royal Kludge Keyboard — A $40 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

    A $40 keyboard that I expected to be crap, but turns out I am impressed with it.

    I’ve been trying to convince everyone at MartianCraft that they really need to switch to a nice mechanical keyboard — rightfully many began asking which is the best Bluetooth mechanical board. Which is funny, because the serious mechanical keyboard market seems vehemently opposed to such an idea. However, it had been some time since I looked into it, and all I really knew is that the Matias Laptop Pro is ugly and huge, so that it was out.

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  • Instagram, Watches, VPNs, Battery Backups for Travel

    A bunch of follow up and some thoughts on a better travel setup for writing on my iPad Pro.

    Last week, I talked about how I am moving away from Facebook “owned” properties, and I’ll give an update on that this week. Also I have some follow up on my watch explorations, some thoughts on VPNs, and lastly I want to talk about my experiences using battery backups when I am traveling. Maybe more.

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  • The ‘Guru’ Trap

    Sometimes you shouldn’t be excited when your favorite blogger goes full time at it.

    Random observation that I find to be rather true. Person, likely a blogger because that’s where I see this happen, starts to write about a topic. It’s an important topic to them because they are really trying to fix something in their professional or personal lives. I think the biggest of these being software reviewers and productivity hackers.

    Anyways, they start writing about these topics and the ways they are trying to find better tools in their lives. And their sites get very popular because what they are saying is resonating and helping a lot of people. Soon the sites are so popular and they are making enough money from them, they have such a passion for them, that they go ‘full time’ on the site and that topic.1

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    1. In writing this I didn’t have any one site in mind, but this is a common trend I’ve seen in the past decade. 

  • Entertaining Yourself on Flights, and Social Media

    Creating discipline around social media and how that has trickled down to in flight entertainment too.

    Allow me to start by saying that this is not a typical “stop using Facebook” post from me, nor is it about any one item of social media — shit it even extends beyond social media to many forms of communication. Anyways, I recently read this post from Derrick Reimer, and in the post he has a fantastic term which is new to me “greedy communication”. Here’s how he explains it:

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  • Toiletries Kit Setup

    Refining and reducing my toiletries kit for travel.

    I’ve talked a lot about setting up my EDC kits, but one topic I gloss over a lot is my toiletries. Which until my last trip I thought was a refined masterpiece. Turns out, it was far bulkier than I need. And given that I am regularly keeping track of my packing lists now, some things are glaringly obvious.

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  • Engadget’s Article ‘How to actually get work done on an iPad’ misses the mark

    Bad advice, decent advice from me, Nebo, backpack sale.

    In browsing around tech-blog-land, I came across this post which I was naturally excited to see, despite the overall condescending nature of the title. I took a read and quickly realized the article was a pile of trash, so we start this week looking at that, before moving on to good tips, Nebo, and backpack sale.

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  • Casio G-SHOCK GPW-2000 ‘Gravitymaster’

    Let’s talk about this amazing G-SHOCK watch I have fallen in love with.

    When I reviewed the Lum-Tec, I talked about what I am looking for in a watch, and truth be told I have tried to sell that Lum-Tec a couple of times, not because I dislike it, but because I wanted to try this watch. Luckily, I found this watch for a bargain price and thus I was able to keep both watches for the time being. This Gravitymaster is one I’ve been drooling over for quite some time.

    And yes, we are really talking about a G-SHOCK.

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  • App Odds and Ends

    My iPhone home screen layout, kid app IAPs, Pages Collaboration, Basecamp 3,, call blockers, and an illness tracking app.

    I’ve got a lot of random things to go over as it relates to apps today.

    iPhone Home Screen Changes

    Talking about your iPhone home screen used to be a thing, even on this site, but it’s been quite some time since I’ve talked about it. With the iPhone X I originally set up the device with 3 rows of apps and the dock. Recently though I changed that to 5 rows and the dock, or all but one row. I’d do the full screen of icons, but I really can’t figure out which others ones I would possibly want.

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  • Machine Era Field Pen

    Another brass pen, but this time it writes in space.

    A new brass pen, that uses a Space Pen refill and just might be far more durable than the Space Pen refills themselves — which is saying quite a bit. But it’s quite heavy, so let’s start by talking about that.

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  • Allow me to introduce Charles

    Basically every cheap and free app is violating your privacy in ways you didn’t expect.

    There’s long been a development tool called “Charles” and in simple terms (as I understand it for you readers, not developers) it’s a way to see what you are sending over the network from software projects you are developing. Think of it as a way to debug where the problem lies in a piece of software (am I sending the wrong data, to the wrong place, or everything from the app is fine). Just a bit ago Charles Proxy came out for iOS, and it’s pretty amazing and terrifying at the same time.

    What Charles for iOS allows you to do is to create a local VPN proxy, which sends all your network traffic on your device through the Charles app — thus allowing it to see everything sent, and record that for you. This data doesn’t leave your device, it’s not some remote server providing the logs, it’s all local. This is kind of like running Little Snitch on your Mac, except it’s a log and not a tool you can use to block stuff.

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  • Lum-Tec B38 GMT

    A new go to watch for me.

    The first thing we need to get out of the way is that this is a quartz watch. I wrote a bit about my evolving thinking about quartz versus mechanical watches, here. Basically, the lack of accuracy and the delicacy of mechanical movements can make bad options for watches when used particular ways. More than that, I wanted something which could be a better everyday watch, which can blend in many circumstances, while looking sharp.

    This is where the Steinhart Ocean Vintage Military failed me: has lovely as the watch is, it really only worked with a couple NATO straps and the bracelet it came on. But it had one feature I didn’t want to lose: great lume on the hands and dials. I could read the time at 4am without squinting.

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