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Careful Tech

Careful Tech

By Matt Hauger
Reflections on media, technology and authentic humanity.
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099: Just $349 to make my iPad... worse?

Careful Tech

112: The joy of not caring TOO much about your gadgets
There’s a certain joy in loving something, but not loving it too much. To being satisfied with “good enough” over “the absolute best.” That’s why I typically love the Wirecutter—it balances “great” against “practical.” But the site may have missed the mark in a recent article about making espresso at home. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0. “Making Espresso at Home Is Kind of a Nightmare—But If You Insist, Here’s How to Do It Well” by Brian Lam at the Wirecutter
June 02, 2020
111: How to make fan-free sports entertaining
If you remove the fans from the arena, you might lose the energy that makes the NHL playoffs worth watching. Here are some ideas for addressing this challenge. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 22, 2020
110: Disembarking from the gaming train
By the time I graduated from college, I had ignored gaming for a solid four years. An entire generation of consoles, including the first Xbox and the Gamecube, had come and gone—and barely registered a blip on my radar. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 20, 2020
109: “Picture in picture,” but for every iPad app
I’d love to be able to float widgets above my iPad apps. I’d love to be able to toss a timer into the corner and have it stay there. I want a persistent little sketch pad available for doodling on at any time. I want a ‘Now Playing’ doodad that will always show the current song. I my FaceTime video conversation to follow me around as I hop into and out of other apps. iOS 14 concept by Parker Ortolani Introducing the iOS Block by Jay Machalani Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 20, 2020
108: Why do so few podcasts include chapters?
Some of the longest-tenured and most popular podcasters don’t add chapters to their shows. Why not? Here are some reasons why podcasters eschew chapters (and why they might want to reconsider). Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 18, 2020
107: AirPods Pro noise cancellation isn’t miraculous (and I can prove it)
I like the AirPods Pro; they’re an impressive extension of the original AirPods’ value case: easy, quick, convenient. But don’t fool yourself; noise cancellation on the AirPods Pro isn’t miraculous—or even really all that impressive! Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0. “AirPods Pro observations (that I haven’t seen elsewhere)” on Careful Tech.)
May 14, 2020
106: Keeping your Spotify recommendations pure
If I logged into the Echo using my own Spotify account, my recommendations would soon be overrun with Disney songs and obscure 80s pop music. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 13, 2020
105: A standalone Apple Watch to break bad iPhone habits?
The Watch, by being less capable, ironically offers a more fulfilling computing experience, by constantly bouncing us back into the real world and towards more fulfilling experiences. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 12, 2020
104: iPad Multitasking Keyboard Shortcuts
There’s still no way to enable split screen mode from an external keyboard, even now, after the release of the Magic Keyboard. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 11, 2020
103: Nowhere to look (Zoom calls are pointless)
Where do you look awhen you’re Zooming (or Skyping or FaceTiming)? Either you’re looking at the other person, you’re looking at the thumbnail of yourself, or you’re looking at the camera. Each one of these has intrinsic, fundamental problems. Kate Murphy: “Why Zoom is Terrible” Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 06, 2020
102: Bargain FOMO (or why I won’t try Ulysses as my text editor)
Does it bother you when you find out that others are paying a much cheaper price for the same product? Should it? Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 01, 2020
101: Drag and drop for the iPhone?
The iPhone is nearly the iPad mini’s size. Why shouldn’t it get the best iPad features? Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
May 01, 2020
100: Screen scratch zen
My Apple Watch has a scratch. But instead of ruminating on my own clutziness every time I see it, I’m borrowing an approach from my meditation practice. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
April 30, 2020
099: Just $349 to make my iPad... worse?
Does the Magic Keyboard case make the iPad worse... at being an iPad? ATP episode 375 Mike Rockwell’s review on Initial Charge Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
April 29, 2020
098: Like butter scraped over too much bread
When I saw the trailer for the new Michael Jordan documentary, it was like I heard a cartoon record scratch sound. I was... unpleasantly surprised. The Last Dance trailer on YouTube Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
April 27, 2020
097: iPhone mouse support
Did you know that you can use a Bluetooth mouse with your iPhone? It’s true, and it’s... weird. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
April 25, 2020
096: Is Apple buying product placements in virtual Broadway performances?
It’s really interesting how many pairs of AirPods show up on patched-together pandemic performances. A few examples: "Gaston" "We’re All in This Together" "Alexander Hamilton" Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
April 23, 2020
095: Kids’ TV limits during COVID-19
COVID-19 has changed everything, and our parental approach is no exception. Since the coronavirus-imposed lockdown, we’ve grown far more liberal about allowing TV time, at least on the weekend. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
April 21, 2020
094: Second-hand impressions of the new Magic Keyboard
Over the weekend, the Magic Keyboard arrived for some customers in Asia. Here are my ‘second-hand’ impressions of their impressions. Impression videos: Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
April 20, 2020
093: Why I write “podcast scripts”
Um… (Why I write outlines before each podcast.) Short one today, and kind of a “back-of-house” focus. I thought it might be worthwhile to share a little bit about how the sausage gets made. My MO for creating this podcast each day. So different podcasters have different philosophies on show prep. Some completely wing it. They may have a general idea of what they’re going to talk about, but they improvise, playing off of their cohosts to create something spur-of-the-moment Others are more like an NPR host, carefully preparing a script and effectively reading it on the air. I fall somewhere in between, but if I’m honest, a little bit closer to the latter.. I come into each recording session with a pretty well-fleshed-out outline of what I want to say. There are a bunch of reasons I do this. For one, while I may have a topic in mind before I record, I’m often surprised to see just how much that topic can shift, based on what I write down. Occasionally, I end up discarding my original idea and picking a different topic entirely. Second reason for outlining my podcast scripts: I make a better show when I plan it out ahead of time. There’s a limit, a legit ceiling, to how clever I can be off the top of my head. When I improvise too much, I feel like I too often just scratch the surface of a topic. Gaps in logic and obvious corollaries go unexplored, just because they didn’t spring to mind in the moment. Whereas when I outline, and especially when I read through that outline a time or two, I end up restructuring my thoughts into something resembling an argument. “Oh, that belongs up there,” or, “Hey, that’s kind of irrelevant, isn’t it!” Finally, while outlining my ideas ahead of time requires some time investment on the front end, it saves me a ton of work in postproduction. Because I know pretty much what I want to say, I don’t go chasing ideas down rabbit trails that lead nowhere. I don’t stuff every pause with meaningless filler words like “Ummmmmm”, “Errrrrr,” “So…….”. And I’m less likely to stumble over my own tongue trying to get my ideas out of my brain. Now, I do still occasionally mess up. And I haven’t yet excised the word “Um” from my vocabulary. But those missteps are relatively minimal, and fairly easy to clean up in the post-podcast edit. I edit the podcast on the iPad, mainly because my favorite app is so geared to that specific use case. A quick swipe of the Apple Pencil, and that “Um” is banished to the digital netherworld. Of course, there are downsides to scripts and outlines First, you lose a little bit of spontaneity and energy when you have a script in hand. It’s just easy to hear to difference between a recitation and an improvised take. I try to keep my delivery loose and relaxed, but I know it’s not quite the same as “doing it live.” Second, this approach really works best for a solo podcast. If I had a cohost (which I’d love to eventually have!), I’d need to be a little bit more nimble, a little better able to give and take on the fly. But for now, it works for me. I like the end result, and I feel like it’s worth the investment. So that’s my justification for the podcast outline. Just in case you’re curious, I’m gonna dump this outline into the show notes, so you can see for yourself how closely I hewed to my script for this episode. What’s your take on podcast show prep? Do you like to plan every pivot, or do you prefer to show up and see what spills out of your head? I’d love to hear from you…Thanks very much Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
April 18, 2020
092: What’s the best-sized iPad Pro?
So which is the “One True iPad”? The 11-incher or the 12.9er? Josh Ginter: “One Week With the New 2020 iPad: Moving Back to Small” Greg Morris: “Moving to the Bigger iPad” Matt Birchler: “Big or Small iPad Pros?” Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
April 17, 2020
091: Give Screen Time some teeth
Give me a more powerful weapon against time-wasting apps—something I can’t override with a four-digit passcode.
April 15, 2020
090: Rewarding yourself for online creativity
Give yourself a reward—a carrot to see you through the low-motivation, low-energy days. And, to reinforce the creative habit, choose a reward that matches the habit—something that will make your creative work easier, more fun, or more interesting.
April 15, 2020
089: The next step in iPad productivity
Now that Apple has added proper mouse cursor support to iPadOS, what’s keeping the iPad from competing more directly with PCs?
April 13, 2020
088: Praise for the Watchsmith app—and a suggestion for its future
This week, Apple Watch fans are buzzing about a new app from David Smith called Watchsmith, which allows you to customize your Watch face complications by time of day. It's an amazing idea, well-implemented, but it got me thinking; what if Watchsmith offered alternative, NON-time-based triggers?
April 10, 2020
087: What would make me buy a cellular Apple Watch?
If I had the cellular Apple Watch, I would at least feel safer while out for a run; I could call for help if I needed it. But that's not enough to justify the extra cost.
April 09, 2020
086: Reviewing the consensus mid-range espresso machine
Even if this machine only lasts for three years, it will save me thousands of dollars.
April 08, 2020
085: You’re gonna scratch that Apple Watch
I have scratched the screen of every Apple Watch I’ve ever owned: Series 1, Series 3, Series 4, and, now, Series 5
April 07, 2020
084: Ordering groceries online during a pandemic
I felt silly, wearing my safety goggles and face mask. But I was determined to take COVID-19 seriously.
April 06, 2020
083: Podcasting from a full house with thin walls
I feel self-conscious when I’m recording. I don’t want others to hear me. Yes, I’m aware of the irony!
April 03, 2020
082: Building good technology-reinforced habits during COVID
Despite its many negative impacts, the pandemic may offer a good opportunity to revisit our daily habits and trajectory.
April 02, 2020
081: Master iPad text entry with this one weird trick
The swiping keyboard works with the Apple Pencil—in fact, it works a little bit BETTER with the Pencil than with your finger!
March 30, 2020
080: Videoconferencing from a treadmill desk
The biggest problem is the movement. When I’m treading, my head bobs—up and down and side to side—in the frame. It looks like I’m grooving to some inaudible, chill music.
March 26, 2020
079: Dreaming of iPad text entry via the Apple Pencil
Better late than never, right? Text entry via the Apple Pencil will make the iPad a more viable general-purpose computer, with or without a keyboard. Video Game Coin sound effect by harrietniamh. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
March 20, 2020
078: What tech products will sell well during the pandemic?
Some companies may stand to benefit from the widespread cultural change caused by COVID-19.
March 19, 2020
077: COVID-19’s long-term impact on the movie theater industry
Once the public tastes first-run movies at home, will they want to come back to the local multiplex? Might COVID-19 accelerate the decline of the movie theatre and shift more entertainment to the living room?
March 18, 2020
076: Tips on working from home
As COVID-19 unexpectedly forces millions to work from home, I wanted to share some advice, as a long-time-remote worker.
March 16, 2020
075: The podcasting treadmill desk
Whatever the treadmill makers say, these things make a lot of NOISE.
March 13, 2020
074: Caught between computers
In terms of computing platforms, I‘ve been set adrift.
November 16, 2018
073: Smarter AirPods gestures
I’d like to see Apple add another setting to the AirPods’ “Double-tap on AirPod” options: “Single.”
November 14, 2018
072: iPad Pro first impressions
As I played with the devices, I realized that the 11-inch iPad Pro makes compromises in all the wrong places.
November 12, 2018
071: The $100 “iPad Pro”
I’m bummed to miss out on the hotness, but here’s the thing: I can meet these “needs” without dropping $1,200 on an iPad Pro, a Smart Keyboard, and an Apple Pencil. It simply requires some creativity—and some willingness to compromise.
November 05, 2018
070: The sorry state of meditation apps on the Apple Watch
The dearth of Apple Watch meditation apps may be a symptom of a deeper issue.
November 02, 2018
069: ISPs and deceptive billing
I’m sympathetic to our ISP’s sorry state, and I’m rooting for them to pull out of their apparent death spiral. I’m even willing to pay a bit more to help them survive. I’d just rather see them hike their rates honestly, instead of slipping in a bogus charge and hoping that customers don’t ask questions.
November 01, 2018
068: Debating an iPad Pro purchase
Debating an iPad Pro purchase
October 30, 2018
067: A long-time Windows power user switches to the Mac
Adopting macOS wasn't quite what I expected—hardly the aesthetic epiphany promised in those old John Hodgman ads.
October 30, 2018
066: How much should Apple Watch cell service cost?
Why not just pony up for the cellular model? It costs too much!
October 29, 2018
065: Imagining external touchscreen support on the iPad Pro
I’d like to see the iPad Pro support external touchscreen displays—effectively turning a touch monitor into a giant iOS device.
October 28, 2018
064: My one big gripe about the new Apple Watch
Apple Watch Series 4 battery life • Voicemail intro • We are coming from the same place! • Outro
October 25, 2018
063: Tipping at the iPad cash register
The quintessential modern etiquette dilemma.
October 19, 2018
062: Is checking luggage a life hack?
By the time I've disembarked from the plane, stopped by the restroom, and found my assigned baggage claim area, my bag is often already there.
October 18, 2018
061: AirPods are everywhere (except for here)
AirPods have clearly broken through in a huge way—but you wouldn’t know that, walking around my neighborhood.
October 17, 2018
060: “Is anybody there? Does anybody care?”
Yes, I’d love a larger online audience, but would that really make me happier? Would strangers’ appreciation make me feel more loved or less isolated?
September 19, 2018
059: Apple Preorder Night (2018)
My mad, late-night preorder dance, with a twist.
September 14, 2018
058: Apple keynote guilt?
Geeks invest too much time and money in these Apple keynotes. But we’re not unique in our love of frivolous distraction from the “real world.”
September 12, 2018
057: Why are America’s playgrounds deserted?
Modern playgrounds are better than they’ve ever been. So what’s keeping the kids away?
September 10, 2018
056: These boots were made for treading
When I first cobbled together my treadmill desk back in 2014, building the desk itself wasn’t the hard part. The real trouble was my feet.
September 05, 2018
055: You already have everything you need
If we’re honest with ourselves, it’s not the tools that hold us back from creating stuff on the internet. The real obstacles to creative productivity? Low motivation and overcommitment.
August 31, 2018
054: Apple ditching 3D Touch? Good riddance.
If Apple ditches pressure sensitivity in the iPhone, I won’t mind.
August 28, 2018
053: Starbucks as your office
The work-at-a-coffee-shop experiment.
August 27, 2018
052: AirPods after 18 months
I’ve owned AirPods since soon after their release in late 2016. After a year and a half of daily use, I recorded some thoughts.
June 27, 2018
051: Best buy: on Facebook and Instagram
Many observers scoffed at the billion-dollar price that Facebook paid for Instagram. Who’s laughing now?
June 22, 2018
050: Does a treadmill desk make losing weight easier?
If I eat irresponsibly, I gain weight—no matter how far I walk.
June 21, 2018
049: Is it too late to switch to the Mac?
After a quarter-century using Windows, I'm finally getting a Macintosh. Did I wait too long?
June 20, 2018
048: Podcasting on the Run (Literally)
What would happen if you recorded a podcast WHILE running? Let's find out!
June 09, 2018
047: My Favorite Black Friday Tradition
A few years ago, I surrendered any right to sneer at eager Black Friday shoppers.
November 24, 2017
046: The AppleCare Gamble
I’m betting on my own ability to prevent iPhone catastrophes.
November 23, 2017
045: Measuring magic
My sleep-tracking app is surprisingly accurate, and I enjoy peeking at the trend lines every once in a while. But I don’t actually do much with all that data.
November 22, 2017
044: Okay with Terrible
Publishing something imperfect, let alone something that's genuinely bad, is difficult for me.
November 21, 2017
043: Portrait mode grossness
Even if the Portrait mode algorithms improve, I'd like to see some support for touching up problematic depth maps.
November 20, 2017
042: Irredeemably Brutal
Football is irredeemably brutal. A new test may help us confront that fact.
November 17, 2017
041: Never Unintentional
The internet has fundamentally changed my relationship to content. I won't go back.
November 16, 2017
040: Smart Homes are Dumb
For basic home operations, rock-solid reliability is the only feature that matters.
November 15, 2017
039: Why Apple’s retail stores make me nervous
I grew up shopping in dingy, cavernous, fluorescent-lit warehouses. But Apple outlets resemble high-end, big-city fashion boutiques, more than they do those Rust Belt K-Marts of my youth.
November 14, 2017
038: Apple Watch as Shower Speaker
I want the Watch to show up as a system-wide audio target any time it's connected to the phone—just like standalone Bluetooth speakers and headphones do.
November 13, 2017
037: Waiting for Podcasts on the Apple Watch
Users shouldn’t blame third-party for the Watch’s podcast unfriendliness. The real issue here? In the two-and-a-half years since the Watch first launched, Apple has dropped the ball on podcast support.
November 10, 2017
036: Inconspicuous Consumption
A device as expensive as the iPhone X serves as a negative status symbol in some circles.
November 09, 2017
035: Analytics be Darned
When I stop delighting in the work for its own sake, I soon stop working altogether. When I let website analytics or podcast download stats serve as my primary motivation, discouragement festers, and I soon stop writing. It’s happened a half-dozen times before.
November 08, 2017
034: Never Not Connected
As I tally the hours, I'm struck by how much of my life is spent using gadgets.
November 07, 2017
033: iPhone X Delights & Gripes
On Friday afternoon, UPS dropped off a new toy. My thoughts after a weekend with the iPhone X.
November 06, 2017
032: Consumed with Media
How do your media habits compare to the average American's?
November 03, 2017
031: Read-It-Never
Clicking ‘read later’ isn’t about bookmarking great content. Rather, it’s my way of ignoring how little great content I actually read.
November 02, 2017
030: Thoughts on Apple’s Fired Engineer
The vlogger probably wasn't aiming to gain YouTube subscribers by sacrificing her father's job. But that's what happened.
November 01, 2017
029: iPhone X and the Apple “access economy”
The “Apple access economy” incentivizes problematic journalism.
October 31, 2017
028: iPhone X and hidden fiddly bits
Some future iPhone will inevitably ditch all ports and buttons, leaving only the touchscreen accessible to the end user. It will be beautiful, glossy—and permanently sealed.
October 30, 2017
027: iPhone X, ordered
Anecdotally, buying the X felt no different than previous iPhone preorder nights. In fact, it might have been the easiest preorder purchase I've ever made.
October 27, 2017
026: Trailers for Trailers
Many action-heavy trailers now begin with a stinger—a 4–5 second preview of the trailer’s most exciting scenes, stitched together with fast cuts and scored with a cacophany of rising sound effects. It’s literally a “trailer for the trailer.”
October 26, 2017
025: Hotel Wifi is the Worst
Funnily enough, the internet service gets worse as the hotel gets nicer.
October 25, 2017
024: Breathe Glitch
The “Breathe” animation on the Apple Watch has an annoying little hiccup. Once you see it, you can't unsee it.
October 24, 2017
023: I'm a Bad Uber Rider
Why had Uber drivers given me bad ratings? I had thought I was a model rider.
October 23, 2017
022: Technophobes Fly, Too
The move away from shared screens on flights isn't welcome for those who struggle with tech.
October 20, 2017
021: Adblock Guilt
Despite the crisis in web publishing, and despite publishers' increasingly desperate pleas, I don't feel guilty enough to turn off my ad blocker.
October 19, 2017
020: Only Monsters Speed Up Podcasts
Yes, accelerating playback may save you time, but it also has nasty side effects better left avoided.
October 18, 2017
019: Jerry Seinfeld is My Spirit Animal
How Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity mantra inspires me to blog and podcast daily.
October 17, 2017
018: Tribal Malfunction
Tech brand loyalty is a malfunction of our tribal programming, and it works against our own best interests.
October 16, 2017
017: Stealing My Attention
Tech distraction suppresses our agency, deadens our compassion, dulls our consciousness, and drowns out our sense of purpose. When distracted by our gadgets, we stop pursuing noble causes and instead squirrel away hours, chasing red badges and refreshed timelines.
October 13, 2017
016: Trump Tremors
The election has thrown American society into slow-motion shock. The tech industry continues to convulse, too.
October 12, 2017
015: Memories vs. Math
If I buy an iPhone X, I'll justify the $1,000+ price tag by pointing to its killer camera.
October 11, 2017
014: Facebook Escape
Quitting Facebook is hard. But a few simple steps made deleting my account feel anticlimactic.
October 10, 2017
013: Twitter Bankruptcy
Although it’s painful for a Twitter “completionist”, Twitter bankruptcy is good for the soul.
October 09, 2017
012: Make Something Wonderful
When I ignore my desire for affirmation and appreciation and instead simply focus on expressing something genuine, blogging and podcasting are much more fun.
October 06, 2017
011: Punching Down
The world’s most dominant technology firm doesn’t need an army of apologists, patrolling the Internet for proof that Apple was right.
October 05, 2017
010: The everyday annoyance of quitting Facebook
Facebook isn’t just “sticky” from a relationship perspective. There are also some practical annoyances that make it difficult to resist the blue behemoth.
October 04, 2017
009: Blaming violent video games
We happily steep ourselves in foul waters, then act surprised when monsters emerge from the depths.
October 03, 2017
008: Putting the iPhone’s expense in context
The iPhone X’s $1,000 price tag isn’t quite so hard to swallow when you consider the standalone gadgets that the device renders unnecessary.
October 02, 2017
007: Polite Mode
If our devices can encourage exercise and meditation habits, why shouldn’t they encourage polite social habits, as well?
September 30, 2017
006: Why the Apple Watch could replace the iPhone
It’s not difficult to imagine the iPhone being “eaten alive,” its role absorbed by devices at either end of the size spectrum: the iPad on the large side, the Watch on the small.
September 29, 2017
005: A Long Sentence, or a Short Paragraph?
Last night, Twitter began public testing of a long-rumored, controversial increase to its character limit, doubling the quota from 140 characters to 280. It’s the most significant change to the service since its debut over a decade ago—the difference between a quip and a quote, between a thought and an idea, between an objection and an argument.
September 27, 2017
002: ‘Planet of the Apps’ vs. ‘House of Cards’
What can other House of Cards and the Handmaid’s Tale tell us about Apple’s prospects in streaming video?
September 22, 2017
001: Hodinkee
The best Apple Watch Series 3 review wasn’t written by a tech journalist but by a watch nerd.
September 21, 2017