iOS App Icons Should Snap to a Grid

Rands published a Tweet asking others to show their iPhone home screens and being the nerd that I am I couldn’t get enough of scrolling through all the replies looking for inspiration. One thing I noticed in quite a few of the replies was many had the apps they use pushed down where you can easily access with one hand. Here is an example:

Apparently, you can’t do this without janky workarounds like blank home screen or Makeover. I tried the invisible but it’s actually black so you need a black background, and Makeover just seems like too much trouble.

I wish Apple would just make the app icon grid snappable, or drag/drop so I could put stuff where I want. On my phone I only have the top two rows to push the others so I can access them easier and would be much less dim to have this feature included.

How GDPR Will Change The Way You Develop

Over on Smashing Magazine, Heather Burns recently published a guide on the GDPR. As someone in​ the United State, ​ I’ve been hearing rumors we could be affected as well, but I found this interesting in her post related to personal data:

The European data protection frameworks pertain to personal data. This is defined as “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person.” This can be one piece of information or multiple data points combined to create a record.

The European term “personal data” differs from the American term “personally identifiable information.” The latter pertains to a much more limited set of information than the European model. It also does not see information as contextual, whereas the European framework emphasizes the risks inherent in data aggregation.

I’m really pessimistic on this law, our elected leaders can reduce the size of our national parks to allowing drilling, yet we can’t collect a username/email/password without going through tons of red tape? Seems like our priorities are out of whack to me.

Berkshire Hathaway’s 2017 Annual Report

The Berkshire Hathaway’s annual report recently published and as always it’s full of great wisdom by Warren Buffett. Here are a few of the quotes from this letter I loved.

When talking about shareholders: ​

While I’m on the subject of our owners’ gaining knowledge, let me remind you that Charlie and I believe all shareholders should simultaneously have access to new information that Berkshire releases and, if possible, should also have adequate time to digest and analyze that information before any trading takes place. That’s why we try to issue financial data late on Fridays or early on Saturdays and why our annual meeting is always held on a Saturday (a day that also eases traffic and parking problems).

We do not follow the common practice of talking one-on-one with large institutional investors or analysts, treating them instead as we do all other shareholders. There is no one more important to us than the shareholder of limited means who trusts us with a substantial portion of his or her savings. As I run the company day-to-day – and as I write this letter – that is the shareholder whose image is in my mind.

Mr. Buffett also mentions the 10-year bet he made and won and closes that section out with this gem:

Performance comes, performance goes. Fees never falter.

Always remember that when you are investing.

Rands: How to Write a Blog Post

Rands on how to write a blog post

Randomly think of a thing. Let it bump around your head a bit. If the bumping gets too loud, start writing the words with the nearest writing device. See how far you get. The more words usually mean a higher degree of personal interest. Stop when it suits you.

Wait for time to pass and see if the bumping sound returns. Reread what you’ve written so far and find if it inspires you. Yes? Write as much as you can. No? Stop writing and wait for more bumping.

I can never wait for the second part, let time pass, reread, edit, and then publish. I’m more of a find inspiration, write it, and publish, all in one sitting. I know that’s bad but otherwise, ​I’ll never publish. It’ll sit in my drafts for years, collect dust, and then be forgotten.

This blog is a way I can do my current publishing style and not feel bad about. Hitting publish is all that matters. If something gets some traction I can always edit or refine later.

Operator Mono and Alternatives

Since first seeing Operator Mono by Hoefler & Co. I’ve been in love with the font. I bought myself a license and have been using ever since.

Of course, when I share screenshots on social media I get a lot of people asking me about it and when I send them the link they get sticker shock on the price and it is expensive at $199. I personally justified it because I know I’m going to use it for many years and it’s something I can own forever. Granted I’m lucky that I am in a position where I can spend this amount of money on a font.

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If you like the font and the italic comments but the price is too expensive, Matt McFarland put together a post outlining alternatives and how to set those up.

This is nice as it gives everyone an option that wants this setup.

Hand-drawn​ maps from running routes

On the Strava blog they have just highlighted an artist and runner named Owen Delaney who creates these wonder map images after his runs:

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In the interview when asked about the process, Owen says:

I’ve always enjoyed looking at maps, but now I’ve got a good excuse for it! I’ve been finding more and more inspiration online from the map makers of years gone by, and a lot of the daily maps are following their styles, with the 17th & 18th century being my favorite eras. It amazes me how accurate they were hundreds of years ago, without all the technology we have today. So with that research, I tend to have an idea for how I want the map to look before I’ve been for my run (or occasional walk, I’ve not got the legs for running every day…), and with limited free time, I try to keep them pretty quick to do.

I personally find that using competition against friends inspires me to push harder and keep working out, but I love the idea of tying it to a creative act so you aren’t reliant on others.

iPhone Home Screen

This is my current iPhone home screen and a few times a year I like to take a screenshot just to see what changes and how my patterns move. With the screenshot let me explain why I have the apps that I do and why they are set up​ like this.

The first two rows and not really used. I have the apps because there is a chance I might open them but mainly they are used to just push the others down so I can access them easier with one hand.

The third row features Safari, Tweetbot, Calculator, and​ Strava. Safari is my primary browser on the Mac and iOS, then I use Firefox for dev work. Tweetbot for getting social, the calculator I use all the time and Strava for working out.

​The next row features Pocket, Spotify, Bear (black icon), and Reeder. Outside of Spotify, these haven’t been getting a lot of use lately. I just haven’t felt like reading or making notes on the phone when I’m usually within reach of a computer or a notebook.

Next, we have Audible, Slack, Day One, and Todoist. I love Audible, Day One, and Todoist. Slack is needed for work so it gets a home, but I’d prefer to not even have it on the phone.

Finally, in the bottom bar, ​I have Airmail, Messages, Telegram, and Kindle. I keep switching between Airmail and Inbox by Google and now that I’ve used Airmail for a few weeks I’m missing Inbox. The searching in the official app is just so much better, but it doesn’t have integrations for things like Todoist. I’m pretty certain I’ll never find a perfect email app.

So there you have it. My current home screen as of February 22nd, 2018. ​If you have any questions, feel free to ask below.