Hey, this is the last you’re going to hear from me in 2019 because I’m taking 2 weeks off. I’ve always figured that if I built a business that couldn’t do without me for a bit then it wasn’t one that I really wanted to be in. I’ll still be reading feeds, and maybe posting an update to my site, but there will be no emails for at least two weeks, maybe three.

For 2020, I’ve got a book in the works about the rules you need to survive freelancing. If you want to see me plan and write it support me on Patreon. I’ve got a bunch of keyboard cases to review for iPad users and some more headphones that are coming down the review pipeline. I plan to play Apple Arcade games with my kids one day and make a video about which games they laughed at and which ones a 3-year-old can actually play.

Really, there are a bunch more videos and posts planned in 2020, mostly focused around getting your work done with an iPad. I may even film some of them while I’m “off” because both my wife and I need some time to ourselves to do things that aren’t with the family. I bet all parents need that, time to just do what you want and are interested in.

If there is anything you want to hear about, want me to review, or not review, hit reply and I’d love to hear about it.

If you’ve found my content helpful I’ve opened up a Patreon page. You can help ensure that more helpful content keeps coming.

I Shipped

Monday I wrote about my less expensive noise cancelling headphones. I used them most of the day today with sick kids home I needed a bit more sound isolation to make sure I could focus. Just as comfortable today as when I purchased them.

Things updated to version 3.11 this week so if you’re interested in what’s new, I put together a video about what’s new in Things 3.11. While I can’t do this type of stuff for every application out there, I’m going to pick 2 or 3 that I use regularly and try to keep up with videos on the new stuff.

For the developers among you, I wrote a guest post for SpinUp WP about using Git Hooks to automate your workflow. I use Git Hooks in about 70% of the projects I work on because they make stuff so much faster.

Friday Five

1 Publishers Restricting Library Access to Ebooks

So the big publishers are restricting access to Libraries when it comes to purchasing ebooks in the first 8 weeks of publishing. While I can see that it’s possible that Library lending cuts into initial purchases of ebooks, I’m not sure it’s as big an impact as the publishers think.

Heck they even say that they “fear” it’s cannibalizing sales. They don’t know it they just fear it.

Now of course what the publishers won’t do is backtrack on this decision of their sales numbers don’t pick up after they make this change. I expect they’ll keep restricting access to their books and try something else to boost their sales.

I want to support authors (I care less about publishers who seem to lend little outside of distribution to the whole process) and when I read a good book from the library I order it. I borrowed it in the first place because I wasn’t sure it was a book for my shelf, those I simply buy out of the gate. I make at least one purchase a month because I read it and enjoyed it. Most times I haven’t even finished my Library copy and I’ve made a purchase.

2 Daydream What You Want for Christmas

Daydream with Jamie Todd Rubin:

With Christmas just a few weeks away, I’ve been daydreaming. When I daydream–something that occurs with increasing frequency these days–I often find myself having imaginary conversations with people. Sometimes these are people I know, and other times they are constructs, like characters in a story, that allow the conversation to progress the way I want it to. Recently, in on one of these daydreams, someone asked me, “What do you want for Christmas?” Without hesitating I replied, “All I want for Christmas is to be a syndicated columnist.” Perhaps the most telling piece is that, while the conversation was imagined, I spoke those words aloud.

I think this is an important question to ask, and an important activity. Daydreaming about what you want.

Every year I spend an entire day out relaxing thinking about what it is that I want out of the year and life in general. I think that it can be summed up in one idea.

I want to wake up and investigate things I think are interesting.

Some days that’s code. Other days it’s reading and compiling notes for a book I want to write. Sometimes it’s figuring out the best way to make cookies, and then eating them all before I have to share them with the kids.

I’d be happy writing books, doing work on YouTube, and many other things that would fall into the category of finding interesting things and sharing them.

Do you have one thing you’d like to do? One idea that frames the dream you have?

3 The Messy Desk Busyness Number

My desk and workbench also show how busy I am.

What I noticed about my desk, was that it was like the overcast clouds that had rolled in: much of it seemed to be covered, and in disarray. I tend to turn to the desk to my left to write things down, open books, read magazines, etc. but that part of my desk is hopeless at the moment. It is covered in to-do lists scribble on legal paper, with piles of books, and magazines and Post-Its and other stuff.

Whenever my desk is like this, I am usually overwhelmed. I start making lists. I begin to wonder if the critical things that I am working on are more important than clearing up some surface area. That’s when it occurred to me that I have the perfect measurement to gauge my own level of busy-ness: desk-coverage.

I recorded 4 videos yesterday and much of the b-roll for them. I shipped code and read a book and my office was a disaster at the end of the day. It’s still pretty gnarly actually and just like Jamie, the cleanliness of my work surfaces is a good indicator of how busy I am at any given moment.

It’s also a good indication of how stressed/busy I feel with work.

The house is a good indicator for the family in general.

Does the same idea map for you?

4 Airtable and Shortcuts with Chris

Started working with Airtable this morning to build a chore tracking sheet for kids. Of course Chris Lawley has a good video for an introduction to Shortcuts and Airtable.

5 So – Link in Bio?

Anil Dash on “link in bio”

If anyone on Instagram can just link to any old store on the web, how can Instagram — meaning Facebook, Instagram’s increasingly-overbearing owner — tightly control commerce on its platform? If Instagram users could post links willy-nilly, they might even be able to connect directly to their users, getting their email addresses or finding other ways to communicate with them. Links represent a threat to closed systems.

Ultimately not allowing links is a form of control, and it’s teaching us that this is what the web is. I actually enjoy Instagram, though it’s the social network I’m most likely to waste time on. I hate Facebook and don’t have an account but I’m not sure than any “open and decentralized” version of Instagram is going to fly.