Feature Archive

My Backup Strategy

Time Machine Preference Pane

We all know backups are important, but they’re not as flashy and interesting as the next Apple Silicon Macs or nifty new piece of software. So they don’t really get discussed as often as they should. But in honor of World Backup Day, which I didn’t know existed and just happened to conveniently take place while I was already working on this piece, I thought I’d share my current backup strategy.

Macs

We have three Macs currently in use in our house — my work MacBook Pro, my wife’s MacBook Air, and our Mac Mini home server. The Mac Mini has an OWC ThunderBay 6 connected with a handful of drives inside — an SSD boot drive, a couple of 4TB drives for storing media, and a couple of 8TB drives for storing backups.

The Mac Mini shares the backup drives over the network as Time Machine destinations. And every Mac in the house backs up over Time Machine to these drives. So all of our local backups and media are stored in a single box — the ThunderBay.

We use TimeMachineEditor to have a bit more control over when our Time Machine backups take place. I have the Mac Mini setup to backup in the middle of the night and the MacBook Pro setup to backup at lunch time on weekdays.

The Mac Mini and my MacBook Pro are also setup with Backblaze to continuously backup all relevant data to the cloud. We will likely setup Backblaze on my wife’s MacBook Air too, but she only recently started using it again and we just finished the initial Time Machine backup.

iOS Devices

I pay for a 2TB iCloud storage plan that is shared with my wife. Our iPhones and iPads all backup to iCloud nightly. We store all of our documents on the service too.

We don’t use iCloud Photo Library, though. Instead, we use Google Photos — the primary reason being their excellent Partner Sharing feature. The feature automatically shares each photo and video to each other’s library. This means we don’t have to worry about who took a given picture or where the full version is stored — we both have access to all of the.

And seriously, Apple, get that feature figured out so I don’t have to maintain an additional service.

But Google Photos doesn’t give us the option to store local copies on the Mac, so a few times each year we manually backup photos from our iPhones and iPads to the Mac Mini server using the Photos app.

So every single photo we take and video we record is stored in six locations — the original device, Google Photos, the iCloud device backup, the Mac Mini’s media drive, backup drive, and Backblaze. It might seem like overkill, but our family photo library is almost certainly the most important data that we have and I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Overall

The pillars of my backup strategy are Time Machine, Backblaze, iCloud, and Google Photos. As I mentioned above, it would be nice if Apple finally introduced a solution for family photo libraries. Then we could eliminate Google Photos from our setup and we’d no longer need to manually backup photos to the Mac Mini, since the Photos app offers the option to store full size local copies of everything in your iCloud Photo Library.

But in terms of locally stored backups, I’m pretty happy with the setup. Since everything is stored inside the OWC ThunderBay 6, if there was ever an emergency, I could grab my iPhone and the ThunderBay. Those two items contain all of the important data in my life.

iPhone Home Screen

It’s been a little while since I published my home screens. But after seeing my buddy Josh Ginter publish his, I thought I’d share what my current iPhone Home Screen is like these days. It’s undergone quite a lot of changes over the past month or two — at least by my standards.

iPhone Home Screen — February 2021

I’m using an iPhone 11 Pro with the linen wallpaper and the following apps on my Home Screen:

  • Messages
  • Fantastical — I’ve tried a lot of calendar apps, Fantastical is the best.
  • Jetpack — a shortcut that launches a modal view of site stats in the WordPress app.
  • Camera
  • Headspace — an excellent meditation and mindfulness app. Full disclosure, Automattic allows me to expense the costs of the subscription.
  • Ulysses — my favorite writing app on the platform. Everything I publish on Initial Charge starts in this app.
  • LookUp — I don’t think most people have a dictionary app on their Home Screen anymore — Siri does a lot of that work for many, I suspect. But I still prefer a dedicated app for looking up definitions and LookUp is the best one I’ve found.
  • Simplenote — I do support for Simplenote at Automattic and I may or may not be running a beta version with a different icon. I use this to store all of my work-related notes.
  • Things — there’s no to do list application that has ever clicked for me like Things has.
  • Reeder — I use this app to follow a single RSS feed — the one generated by Shaarli. I have it configured to only mark items as read manually. It syncs read status over iCloud and acts as an excellent read later client.
  • Day One — the best journaling app on the market. I use it to save thoughts, long term storage of my bests photos — with context — and to generally document my life.
  • P2s — this is a custom icon for ReadKit, setup through Launch Center Pro. I use it to read P2s, the internal weblogs that we use at Automattic for company-, team-, and division-wide communication and documentation.
  • Edit — a simple, in a good way, text editor by Kyle Dreger.
  • Photos
  • Balance — a shortcut that combines all of my finance-related apps into a single launcher. Like a folder, but with a nifty icon.
  • Bear — my personal notes app. I’m actively looking for alternatives at the moment — ideally, I’ll find something that’s self-hosted or works with markdown files on an FTP server.
  • Clock
  • Calzy — I go back and forth between this and Calcbot. I’m in a Calzy-type of mood at the moment.
  • Spark — I’ve spent far too much time switching between email clients. None of them do everything I want in exactly the way I want it to. But Spark comes the closest.
  • Prism — I’m not much for streaming audio services. I like owning my audio files. Prism, combined with Plex is the perfect setup for me.
  • Unread — my favorite RSS application. It’s the best for reading feeds. I use Tiny Tiny RSS as the backend service with the Fever API.
  • Icro — with my newfound adoration for Micro.blog, it’s only natural for me to have a client app in my dock. I’m cycling through the options now to see what one is the best.
  • Safari
  • Overcast — I’ve been getting the itch to try out other podcast clients lately. But I sort-of expect I’ll come back to Overcast when I’m done. It’s solid.
  • Pandora — I use the service for their excellent customized radio stations. I have a 90s Alternative station that has been meticulously tuned for years.
  • Maps
  • 1Password — the best password manager available.
  • iTunes Store — I default to purchasing CDs, but when I buy digital, I use iTunes. I also launch the app regularly to look up artists and albums for the previews.
  • Screens — I use this to manage our Mac Mini home server and to help out my mother-in-law with tech support.
  • TestFlight
  • Find My
  • Code Editor — I wrote Initial Charge’s WordPress theme on my iPhone and iPad, all in Code Editor. It’s also invaluable for managing files on my web server over FTP.
  • Shortcuts
  • Airport — a nifty app that allows you to discover joinable TestFlight betas.
  • App Store
  • WordPress — another app that I do support for at Automattic. I use it for work as well as publishing on a few private family sites.
  • Prologue — from the developer of Prism, Prologue is an audiobook app that syncs with Plex.
  • Settings

I’m hoping to start publishing these more regularly again. I really enjoy sharing my home screens and reading about others’ too. Perhaps doing one device at a time is the best way to lower the barrier to entry.

YouTube Over RSS

Ever since I started moving my web hosting to SiteGround, I’ve been on an open web kick — even more so than usual. I’ve been setting up my own systems to move away from the bigger centralized web services. One of the first things I did was install Tiny Tiny RSS.

I’ve used RSS readers since the Google Reader days and have moved to a number of different services throughout the years — most notably Fever and Feedbin. Tiny Tiny RSS is unlikely to be the last, but it’s the system that most recently picked up the mantle.

I’ve taken this transition as an opportunity to try and disassociate myself from social media. My hope was to move my consumption of Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube over to RSS. The ideas I’ve had for moving Twitter and Instagram over haven’t been as smooth as I’d like, but that’s a story for another day.

Moving YouTube to RSS has been perfect for me, though.

Prior to using YouTube over RSS, I would open the YouTube app on my iPhone or iPad, browse the subscriptions tab and save any video I wanted to view in my Watch Later playlist. Then I’d start watching from there.

I think that’s a fairly common usage pattern, but I had a couple of issues with that setup:

  • There was no concept of seen/unseen within the Subscriptions tab. You would always start at the top of the list, ordered by most recent, and then scroll through until you started seeing videos you’ve already looked at.
  • Since I was doing all of my viewing within the app — both watching videos and browsing for videos to watch — there was a draw toward the Home tab to find more.

YouTube over RSS solves all of that. Every single video gets fed into Tiny Tiny RSS as a feed item and synced to Unread. I scroll through the videos in the article list, moving each video I want to view into my read later system (currently Shaarli), then mark everything as “read” when I get to the bottom. I never see those feed items again unless I specifically choose to.

Shaarli, by default, publishes an RSS feed for each link saved to it, so I follow that feed in Reeder, which acts as my read later client (I have it setup to only mark things as read manually — it works great). The YouTube videos are all intermingled with the other links I save, but a quick search for “youtube” will find all of the unwatched videos, serving as my Watch Later playlist.

From Reeder, I send it through Opener to view in the YouTube app.

Does that sound a bit convoluted? Probably. And I’m certain there’s a lot of room for improvement to help streamline much of the process. But for now, this is how I watch YouTube and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You see, I spend significantly less time on YouTube now. That second point in the list above essentially never happens anymore. Since I launch directly into the video that I plan to watch and my “watch later” list exists outside of YouTube, I don’t have the same draw to browse the Home tab.

But beyond that, it gives me a bit more freedom on the web. If another video service comes along that features creators I want to watch, as long as they offer an RSS feed, it doesn’t matter that they aren’t on YouTube. With my setup YouTube itself is insignificant, it’s just a video player app. In that way, RSS is the great equalizer.

And that’s likely why YouTube doesn’t make it easy to follow channels by RSS. They don’t offer any type of feed discovery on channel pages and the OPML download that used to be available from a difficult to find subscriptions page disappeared sometime last Fall. Each channel does still have an RSS feed, but you have to work a little bit to get it.

You can use this URL template for each feed:

https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCGYdWR8QUYn88lG0PBeJQ_g

That’s an RSS feed for my buddy Matt Birchler’s A Better Computer channel, which is excellent. If you haven’t already subscribed, I would encourage you to do so — by RSS or otherwise.

The bit after channel_id= is what you’ll need to change. The example above is A Better Computer’s channel ID, but you’ll want to change that for the given channel you’re looking to subscribe to. For many channels, the channel ID is right in the URL. For example, here is the URL for A Better Computer:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGYdWR8QUYn88lG0PBeJQ_g

As you can see the bit at the end matches the channel ID in the RSS feed.

For channels that have a customized URL, it’s a bit trickier. I suggest entering their URL into the YouTube Channel ID tool on Comment Picker. It’ll display some additional information, like the channel owner, start date, and some statistics, but the Channel ID part is what you’re looking for. Add that to the end of the RSS URL and enjoy following YouTube creators in the RSS client and service of your choice.

Web Hosting

SiteGround Homepage

I’ve been hosting Initial Charge and my other web projects on Media Temple since sometime in 2009. Prior to that, I was using 1&1 for hosting. I made the move at that point because I wanted something better, with an emphasis on user interface, and because I wanted to be where the cool kids were.

You see, I knew that Shawn Blanc hosted his site on Media Temple. He was, and continues to be, someone I look up to in this whole web publishing space. But after nearly twelve years with Media Temple, I’m feeling the itch to seek greener pastures again.

I have some degree of familiarity with who the big players are in this space. With my work at WordPress.com, I often interact with users that are coming from or moving to other web hosts. But that doesn’t really give me a good indication of who the good hosts are, just who is popular. So before I made a decision of who to move to, I needed to do some research.

I watched a handful of YouTube videos comparing several of the top players. Darrel Wilson has some great videos in this space, ranking the top contenders and focusing heavily on speed and reliability. I also did a bit of web searching to see what others are saying.

The web searches were mostly unfruitful. The vast majority of articles I found felt more like they were motivated by what services offer the best affiliate programs, rather than by who has the best service.

In the end, I determined SiteGround is the way to go.

The plan I chose was priced a bit higher upon renewal than my Media Temple plan — about $25–30 per month, depending on the frequency of billing, compared to the $20 I was paying Media Temple. But that doesn’t take into account the cost of SSL. You see, Media Temple can use Let’s Encrypt, but there wasn’t a way to automatically renew the certificate. So I either had to pay Media Temple for an SSL certificate or manually renew it periodically.

I was just paying for SSL certificates because the hassle of manually renewing the Let’s Encrypt certificates was too much of a hassle. But that increased my hosting costs by $79 per year for each certificate I had. With one for Initial Charge and one for #OpenWeb, that put my effective monthly payment at around $33 per month. That’s actually higher than SiteGround and if I switch hosts, I can easily add SSL to all of my other projects with automated renewal at no additional cost.

I purchased SiteGround’s GrowBig plan last week and have started moving my web projects over one-by-one. So far I’ve moved a static site, and migrated two sites to WordPress — one from Squarespace and one from Tumblr. It’s been a very enjoyable experience. SiteGround makes deploying WordPress sites quite easy and they offer a plugin — SG Optimizer — that works hand-in-hand with their hosting service to setup caching and site performance features.

I plan to migrate my remaining sites over the coming weeks — including Initial Charge, which I’ll do last so I can perfect the process and minimize any interruptions. I’m hoping their migration plugin will do the trick, but am prepared to handle things in a more manual fashion, if necessary.

But this has also given me an opportunity to build some other projects that I’ve had in my mind for a while. The first is a weblog designed to obfuscate my usage of Twitter and Instagram — mike.rockwell.mx. Essentially, most of what I publish to Twitter will be posted to my own site first and automatically shared to Twitter using IFTTT. The photos I publish there will also be cross-posted to Instagram using an iOS shortcut to streamline the process.

My goal is to think of mike.rockwell.mx as my canonical location for more personal and short-form sharing. And to think of Twitter and Instagram more as syndication channels — similar to RSS, but with built-in interaction mechanisms. Down the line, I’d like to pull those interactions back into mike.rockwell.mx, but I’m still trying to figure out the best way to do that or whether or not it is realistically feasible.

For anyone curious, the site is using the Twenty Nineteen theme with some CSS customizations alongside the Two Factor plugin, Akismet, and Jetpack for traffic statistics, backups, and some security features.

I have more projects up my sleeve, but they’re mostly for me personally. I’d like to build out my own cloud services suite, of sorts. With a self-hosted RSS reader, read-later service, and a notes system being high on the list. Depending on how that goes, I might be writing about them here in the future.

This experience has further bolstered my love of the open web. This stuff is really fun. And it feels good to have more ownership and control over what I publish online. I’d like to see others start doing the same. I think it would do a lot to improve our collective mental wellbeing and facilitate more healthy conversations in general.

The Goal Should Be to De-Escalate

From my Twitter thread on January 6:

That thing where you draft a dozen tweets and publish none of them.

Because you have no faith that anyone is able to have rational, reasoned discussion on this platform. Or anywhere else for that matter.

It’s easier for level-headed individuals to be silent. And that’s part of the problem. When only the angriest, most divisive voices speak, those are the only voices heard.

To clarify, this should in no way indicate that I’m in support of the events from today. The people who broke into the capital should be charged in a federal court — throw the book at them.

I’ve seen a lot of outlandish comments since publishing this thread — a lot of anger and erratic calls for extreme measures of various sorts. And I get it, it was a truly sad day for our country and heightened emotions are to be expected. But this should not be met with further escalation. Escalation is what brought us here.

We need to find a way to calm everyone down, to reduce the ever-widening gap between the two groups in this hyper-polarized society. To find a way for us all to coexist peacefully. If we don’t, things will only get worse. I don’t want that to happen, no one should.

The goal should be to de-escalate, not create further division. And there’s not enough people of influence acting in favor of the former.

The Invisible Hand

John Gruber, on the difference between Facebook and algorithm-free anonymous message boards:

We instinctively think that 8kun is “worse” than Facebook because its users are free to post the worst content imaginable, and because they are terribly imaginative, do. It feels like 8kun must be “worse” because its content is worse — what is permitted, and what actually is posted. But Facebook is in fact far worse, because by its nature we, as a whole, can’t even see what “Facebook” is because everyone’s feed is unique. 8kun, at least, is a knowable product. You could print it out and say, “Here is what 8kun was on December 29, 2020.” How could you ever say what Facebook is at any given moment, let alone for a given day, let alone as an omnipresent daily presence in billions of people’s lives?

John’s gone off the rails a bit when it comes to some of his writing lately, including some portions of this piece, but I agree with this specific section.

8kun, 4chan, and sites of their ilk are more honest than Twitter and Facebook because they’re a known quantity. You know what you can expect when you go there. Their open and anonymous nature means that they’re filled with some pretty despicable content, but everyone’s words are on equal footing and there’s no algorithms influencing what you see. There’s no platform using their weight to condone or discredit any of the commentary. The speech is what it is.

But with Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube there is an invisible hand influencing what you do and don’t see. And because of this, it’s impossible to truly know what people with opposing viewpoints actually think and what information you should or shouldn’t pay attention to.

Every person is influenced by their surroundings — their friends, family, the shows they watch, the publications they read, and so on. You as a person and the opinions you form about, just about everything, are a product of what you surround yourself with. And when you spend a fair amount of time scrolling through social networks where the invisible hand is deciding to some degree what you see, that invisible hand has a tremendous amount of influence on your world view.

But here’s where it gets even worse. One would assume that you could simply delete your Facebook account, stop visiting YouTube, and abstain from Twitter to prevent that influence from entering your life, but that’s not actually enough. When all of your friends and family use these services, they carry that influence with them and pass it onto you through their actions and communication. It’s practically inescapable.

I still hold out hope that the open web will prevail in the end. That these platforms will eventually fall out of favor as we collectively move toward technologies that let you own your content and control what you read without the influence of an invisible hand. It’s only a matter of time before the accessibility of the tools, level of frustration with existing platforms, and cost reaches a tipping point.

But if Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others wanted to, at the very least, delay the inevitable, they could start deemphasizing the algorithmic timelines and move to reverse chronological feeds based on posts from your friends/follows. But I don’t expect that to actually happen. The services are fueled by engagement. And anything that diminishes engagement is doomed before it even has a chance to see the light of day.

Thoughts on M1 Macs

This week’s Apple event was exactly what we all thought it would be — the announcement of the first batch of Macs powered by Apple Silicon. They detailed the M1 chip and introduced a new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini.

Mac Mini

The Mac Mini was the most surprising to me. Given the power consumption of Apple’s existing chips, Mac notebooks felt like a safe bet to be included in the first group of machines. A new Mac Mini is quite the welcomed introduction, of course, but I’m not sure if anyone expected it with a good degree of confidence. Especially given it’s spotty upgrade history — Apple notably waiting four years after the introduction of the 2014 model before releasing the 2018 iteration.

I’m pretty excited about the new Mac Mini, though. As many of you may know, I’ve been considering an upgrade for quite some time. The Mac Mini that we’ve been using as our home server is from 2011. It isn’t officially supported past macOS High Sierra and it’s performance when ripping and converting Blu-ray discs leaves a lot to be desired.

I’m still waiting on actually benchmarks from reviewers before pulling the trigger, but if Apple’s numbers are to be believed, I think we’re in for a real screamer in the M1. An 8-core CPU, up to 8-core GPU, the integrated Neural Engine, and unified memory architecture seem like a massive upgrade when compared to Intel chips. Intel’s been floundering for a handful of years now, AMD recently surpassed them in performance, and now Apple’s moving to their own chips. The folks at Intel have their work cut out for them.

The Mac Mini as a whole isn’t necessarily a strict upgrade, though. The M1 model is limited to 16GB of RAM — that’s compared to the 64GB limit of the Intel-based model, which is still available for sale, to be clear. I can’t speak to specific workflows that would necessitate the additional memory and I’m not sure if changes to the memory architecture of the M1 would result in needing less memory for given tasks (more efficient usage, for example), but if you feel you need more than 16GB of memory Apple isn’t giving you the option on an M1 Mac.

And that 16GB memory limitation is across the board for all models announced by Apple at their event. These Macs are only available with 8GB or 16GB of memory.

Back to the Mac Mini, this also means the end of upgradable RAM. One of the things that appealed to me about the Mac Mini was the ability to upgrade it over time. That was hindered a great deal when they moved from 2.5-inch drives to SSDs that were soldered to the logic board, but up until these M1 Macs, you could still upgrade RAM yourself.

For thrifty buyers, that gave you the option to save a bit of money at the time of purchase and acquire less-costly aftermarket RAM, upgrading it yourself. If I purchased the 2018 Mac Mini, that’s exactly what I would have done — bought it with 8GB of RAM and then upgrade it sometime after purchase. With the M1 Mac Mini, for both internal storage and memory, you’ll need to get what you need right out of the gate.

The M1-powered Mac Mini also saw a reduction in ports when compared to the Intel-powered model. The Intel Mac Mini has four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, HDMI, audio out, and ethernet. Of the lot, the M1 model lost half of the Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports.

The changing port configuration won’t have any impact in how I use the Mac Mini. My current Mac Mini has a ThunderBay 6 connected over Thunderbolt (through Apple’s Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter) and occasionally has a USB-A Blu-ray drive and/or an external SSD connected over USB-A. None of that will change if I end up with the M1 Mac Mini. I’ll still be able to connect all of my accessories without issue — I’ll even be able to drop the Thunderbolt adapter.

The last change is simply cosmetic — the M1 Mac Mini is only available in silver. I was looking forward to purchasing a Mac Mini that was more similar in color to the ThunderBay 6 that it will sit on top of. It’s not that my current, silver Mac Mini is an eye sore or anything, but it would have been nice to have some uniformity on my server shelf. I hope Apple offers the Mac Mini in space gray again at some point in the future.

MacBook Air

My wife is a school teacher and was suddenly forced to work from home earlier this year. At the time she was teaching pre-kindergarten and didn’t need much in the way of technology in order to provide her students with regular instruction. This year, though, she’s teaching fifth grade and with that comes the need to manage online teaching portals, video calls, and documents — often simultaneously.

The only computing devices she has at home are her iPhone and an iPad Air. They’re more than enough for her everyday tasks and were usable when working from home with her pre-k class, but she recently spent about a week working from home teaching fifth grade and it was usable at best.

Her school is opened up again, but there’s no telling when or if it could be closed again for some period of time. So she has her eye on acquiring a new laptop. I think this new MacBook Air would be the perfect fit. It has incredible battery life — up to 18 hours according to Apple — a fan-less design, and all of the great features of the previous MacBook Air.

I am a little surprised that there was no change in pricing for this new model. The Mac Mini’s starting price is $100 lower, after all. And while it’s easy for me to say Apple should lower the price, without much knowledge of the factors that lead them to the $999 price point, it sure seems like it would be possible now.

Given that Apple’s designing the chips in house, the MacBook Air is almost certainly their biggest seller giving them economies of scale, the M1 in the MacBook Air starts with a 7-core GPU, and the machine is available for $899 with education pricing. It just seems like this would have been a good time to lower the price a smidge.

Even still, this looks like a great machine overall. Like with the Mac Mini, I’ll wait for reviews, but I expect my wife will end up with the base model MacBook Air in gold before too long.

MacBook Pro

The new MacBook Pro has all the same features of the previous, two-port model but with the M1. When compared to the MacBook Air, it has better battery life, no 7-core GPU option, and an active cooling system.

The cooling system seems to be the real differentiator here. Like the rest of the lot, we’ll have to wait for reviews and benchmarks, but I suspect the performance differences between the Air and the Pro will come down to cooling capabilities.

The Pro’s fan should give it the ability to sustain higher clock speeds for longer than the Air can while under load. So unless there are some more inherent differences between these two machines’ M1s, this seems to be all there is to it. And if that’s the case, for short bursts, the Air and Pro (with the same number of GPU cores) should preform identical to one another. The difference wouldn’t be noticeable unless you’re performing longer, sustained tasks that tax the system.

If that theory pans out, I feel like the vast majority of users should just opt for the MacBook Air. You’ll save a little bit of money, still get incredible battery life, and much of the same performance. Unless your workload involves heavily taxing sustained tasks, I just don’t see the reason to spring for the Pro.

Future Macs

This initial batch of Macs powered by Apple Silicon is a huge step forward, for sure, but I’m still left wondering what the rest of the lineup is going to look like long-term. The 16-inch MacBook Pro, 21.5-inch iMac, 27-inch iMac, iMac Pro, and Mac Pro are still left unchanged.

These also happen to be the machines that are built with more desktop-class components. And there’s a lot of questions left unanswered in that regard. Is Apple going to release another chip or collection of chips for these machines? Should we be expecting an M1X? An M2? Will these other machines be available with more than 16GB of RAM?

And what about the Mac Pro? Is Apple going to release a machine powered by Apple Silicon that has the ability to install and upgrade internal components? None of this first batch of M1 Macs support external GPUs, so is this the beginning of the end for AMD or Nvidia powered graphics in Macs?

Will Apple consolidate the lineup at all? Will the 27-inch iMac and iMac Pro be merged into a single offering? Is the current Mac Pro the last Mac Pro?

We could speculate all day, but what I can say with certainty is that I haven’t been this interested and excited about the future of the Mac in a long time.

Digital Social Distancing

A handful of weeks ago I started unfollowing people on Twitter. Whenever someone consistently shared anything that made me upset or angry, whether I agreed with their position or not, I unfollowed them.

Before I started unfollowing, I made extensive use of Tweetbot’s mute feature to remove this type of stuff from my timeline. Initially doing so by muting some keywords, but too often things would slip through the cracks. So I began muting individuals for a period of timing — sometimes for a week, and other times for a month. But what that resulted in was the anger and frustration returning to my timeline once the mute filter lapsed.

So I began unfollowing. And some of the people I unfollowed are genuine friends of mine. But I’ve sort-of reached a breaking point. I was becoming more and more miserable with each passing day and my Twitter timeline — a place that used to be filled with links to neat applications, interesting gadgets, and positive ideas — was filled with political stories that just made me unhappy.

I don’t want to lose those friendships, though, I simply want to take a break from their ability to inject those sorts day-wrecking tweets into my life. So for every person that I unfollowed, I added them to a private list on my Twitter account. That way, once things have settled down a bit — hopefully in about a month or so — I’ll be able to refollow and start conversing more regularly again.

But I propose a term that can be used for this:

Digital Social Distancing: the act of distancing yourself from others on social networks — by unfollowing, muting, etc. — with the goal of preventing anger from infecting your mental health.