Farewell Google+

Yesterday, Google announced that during an audit they found evidence that some 3rd party apps may have been granted overly broad access to your data, but they can’t confirm this:

We made Google+ with privacy in mind and therefore keep this API’s log data for only two weeks. That means we cannot confirm which users were impacted by this bug. However, we ran a detailed analysis over the two weeks prior to patching the bug, and from that analysis, the Profiles of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts were potentially affected. Our analysis showed that up to 438 applications may have used this API.

As the first action to combat this they are shutting down Google+ for all consumers. Goodbye, Google+.

I remember when G+ first launched and being the tech person I am, I had to give it a try. I thought their “circles” ideas was a smart feature and could be an interesting way to use one social service and reach a subset that is interested in certain parts of your life. Share family photos with family, share coding tips with peers, etc.

The circle idea didn’t matter to me in the end, because after about a week I was annoyed that they didn’t offer a standalone Mac/iOS app and they offered no API’s that third parties could tap into to create an app. Like Tweetbot is to Twitter. So I stopped visiting the site.

I personally gave up on it after that first week but figured I give it another try with my Laravel News site and auto share post over to it. I can say it’s sent no traffic in the past few years and the service was a complete ghost town.

I believe with the backing of Google they really had a chance to make something decent but from an end user perspective, they failed at every part. I think really what it boiled down to is it was created as a reactionary product. The passion was never in it.

Snaps from the 2018 USNWC Build Your Own Boat Competition

This past weekend USNWC had their annual Build Your Own Boat competition and it’s always a lot of fun, so I loaded up the family and went to see all the crashes. Here are some of the pictures of the boats before they launched down the whitewater.

Unfortunately, we arrived a little late and couldn’t get good seats to see them in action but I was able to record the Batman boat as it went down the channel.

It still amazes me that we all carry around a device in our pockets that can take great pictures, videos, and all that goes into editing. I shot all the above on an iPhone and used iMovie for the Youtube video.

 

Blogging vs Twitter

I came across this great blog post by Chad Dickerson where he and a friend decided to be more mindful on what they use Twitter for so it doesn’t suck the life out of their blogging.

Chris Shiflett and I were talking recently about blogging and how Twitter had sucked some of the life force of it out for both of us. Ideas that might have become blog posts were getting distilled down into 140 (and then 280) character tweets and something was lost in the process.

The whole post really resonated with me and if you’ve been thinking about blogging then I encourage you to go read it.  At the beginning of this year, I started a personal 30-day challenge to blog every day. After 30 days I kept going and I stuck with it almost through April then it became sporadic. Here is a chart of new blog posts I wrote here this year:

 

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2018 Posting Schedule

 

I don’t remember exactly what happened that caused the new posts to totally drop off but two things stand out to me. First is in December I read Deep Work by Cal Newport which really pushes for you to quit social media. Then the second is I bet around June life happened and I just went back to the path of least resistance, composing a short missive on Twitter.

Now for the rest of the year, I’m going to try and revive the challenge that I started the year with except this time only post new things on the weekdays. If you’ve been wanting to blog more consider doing it with me. Just get in touch and we can cheer each other on.

 

Master Todoist with 5 Minute Productivity

My friend, Chris Gmyr just launched a new Youtube series called 5 Minute Productivity and the first set of videos is all about Todoist. According to Chris, here is the inspiration behind the series:

I’ve been interested in productivity over the last few years and trying to improve my own systems. There are already a ton of information out there, but I wanted to make a learning resource that was simple to follow and easily digestible.

All of my videos will be around 5 minutes long (but definitely not over 10). And will touch on all aspects of productivity and use cases. The initial videos below are only a starting point and primer for what I’d like to do to get my recording and editing workflow improved.

If you’ve wanted to improve your productivity with Todoist definitely give the series a watch.

First Night Mountain Bike Ride

Last night, after work I hit the local trails with the goal of riding until dark so I could try out the pair of Lezyne lights I bought. According to this mountain bike light review, the Lezyne seemed to do a good enough job and was the cheaper of the lights tested so I went with it. I was not disappointed.

On my ride, I rode right up until dusk and then turned both lights on (handlebar mounted and helmet mounted) and it instantly made a world of difference. As it continued to get darker the lights really impressed me. The only thing I didn’t expect was the number of bugs flying at your face. I guess I should have thought of this because it’s no different than a car, but it’s much worst when your heart rate is 180 and you are breathing with your mouth open.

I am curious to see if after it’s fully dark if the bugs are less crazy, but I’ll find out soon enough. This is definitely something I want to continue doing through the winter and I’m a little disappointed it has taking me this long to try night riding. I’ve been really missing out.

Book Review: Finding Flow

I just finished reading Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on the psychology of engagement with everyday life and it’s a book I thoroughly enjoyed.  It’s designed to show you how most of us go through our lives unaware of our emotions, which causes us to bounce between anxiety and pressures of work and passive boredom in our leisure activities.

To give you an example of one section that resonated with me is washing dishes. I know people who absolutely hate doing that task and will grumble the entire time. I personally am not fond of it either, but internally I always make tasks a competition with some strange internal goal. For washing the dishing I might see how I can arrange the dishes to turn the process into an assembly line or see how fast I can get it done. The same with unloading from a dishwasher. I try to see how few trips I can make to put them in the proper place.

This is just but one example of the book and it’s full of great insights on how to get into a state of “flow” where you forget your surroundings and focuses totally on the task at hand. I know most of you are developers and I feel like this book is one that many of you will enjoy.

For a little more on the book check out his Ted talk below:

 

If you’d like to get a copy of the book check out the Amazon details page and look under the “Used” page. I was able to pick up a paperback for around five bucks.