Linked List Archive

The Initial Charge Linked List is a collection of notable links and brief commentary, with entries regularly added throughout the week.

Shortcuts for Mac ➝

Steve Troughton-Smith discovered that Catalyst on macOS Catalina includes all the Shortcuts frameworks. And I’ll tell you what, I’d be a lot more productive on the Mac if I had Shortcuts at my disposal. I’ve tried building workflows in Alfred and I’ve played with Automator, but nothing has clicked with me like Shortcuts has.

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On Microsoft’s Surface Duo and Neo ➝

John Gruber:

But in very typical Microsoft fashion, the Neo and Duo are both just prototypes. They’re over a year from shipping according to the company, the software is so early days that the media weren’t allowed to play with them, there’s no word on pricing, and Panay admits they haven’t even decided fundamental aspects like how many cameras they’ll have.

And in the meantime, they’ve completely overshadowed the real products Microsoft actually announced yesterday.

Microsoft announced some pretty neat products, but who knows what changes will take place in software and hardware before they actually ship. How many of the neatest little features will be scrapped because they can’t quite get it right before it’s time to ship? How many hardware details will change because they discovered that the original design just isn’t sturdy enough?

Microsoft’s product announcements would be a lot more compelling if they only unveiled things that were just weeks away from release.

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Apple Rumored to Release iPhone SE 2 Next Year ➝

Benjamin Mayo, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

Apple is set to launch the next version of the iPhone SE 2 in the first quarter of 2020, according to renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The new phone will be more affordable than the rest of the Apple iPhone lineup and feature newer internals, like an A13 processor with 3 GB RAM, in a familiar iPhone 8 chassis.

I wouldn’t mind seeing a new 4-inch iPhone in the lineup, which would allow Apple to serve a segment of the market that practically been abandoned by smartphone manufacturers. But I suppose a replacement for the iPhone 8 will have to do. I just hope they improve the camera system — it really is a massive leap forward compared to the iPhone 8.

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Apple’s Abysmal Mail Toolbar ➝

Craig Grannell:

On [iOS 12], you have immediate access to options that let you flag, file, archive/delete, reply, and start a new message. It’s not overly complicated, and it looks fine. Also: all these actions are fundamental to rapidly dealing with email. Now, you only get archive/delete and reply.

This change is a bit baffling to me. Why would Apple remove quick access to so many useful features in favor of this “archive plus junk drawer” setup? Luckily for me, the vast majority of the email I receive is simply archived. But for anyone that frequently perform other actions, this change is terrible.

But I think Apple can do better than simply reverting to the previous design. Why don’t they give us the option to customize these buttons, so that each user can have exactly the ones they want? By default, Mail can display the most commonly used options alongside a generic “more” icon. That can serve as the junk drawer for the rest of the options. And within that menu, Apple could also offer the ability to customize the order of each icon and whether it’s shown at the top level, directly below your email, or within the menu.

There was a time when Apple offered that sort of customization — remember the bottom tab bar in the old iPod app for iPhone?

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iOS 13.2 Fixes the HomeKit Grouping Issue ➝

One of the biggest annoyances since upgrading to iOS 13 is that HomeKit devices that contain multiple accessories are grouped into a single tile in the Home app. For example, we have a few of the iDevices Switches that contain a power outlet and a night light. Prior to iOS 13, those two items were separate tiles, but not the case on iOS 13.

That doesn’t sound too bad, but what that means in practice is that you have to tap into an accessory group to control an individual item. And for devices with multiple sensors, you can’t simply glance at the tile to see data, you have to tap to open the tile to see readings from each sensor.

But Aaron Pearce noticed that the iOS 13.2 beta gives you the option to ungroup the accessories so they can be controlled on their own individual tiles. Accessories are still grouped by default, but I’m glad we’ll have the option to separate them now.

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Amazon Announces Updated Eero Router ➝

Eero was my go to router hardware before they were acquired by Amazon. But unfortunately Amazon had to add a bunch of Alexa cruft to the product, which I’d prefer to keep out of my house. Now, when it’s time for me to purchase a new router setup, I’m not sure what I’ll do. Hopefully my current Eero routers will last a good number of years and maybe there will be some well-designed,rock-solid competition at that point.

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Mouse and Trackpad ➝

Marius Masalar:

My usage is by no means exclusively as described above, but in general if I’m moving a cursor and clicking, it’s with the mouse, and if I’m navigating a canvas or scrolling, it’s with the trackpad.

I can’t say that this approach will make sense for everyone, but now it feels natural to me and has noticeably reduced my wrist and finger pain after long days at the computer.

I’ve been struggling with some relatively minor RSI issues lately, almost certainly because of my mouse usage. I’m not sure if using both a trackpad and mouse with different hands is going to take for me, but I’ll definitely give it a try.

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Day One Adds Templates Feature ➝

From the Day One Weblog:

You will now have access to a Day One managed Templates Gallery, built right inside the app, that will be updated over time with new templates. You’ll also be able to create and save your own templates. Templates have been a requested feature by many faithful users and can help users overcome writers block, capture information quickly, track items/routines/changes over time, and help form a consistent journaling habit.

I’ve been been using a template for Day One that I setup and launch through Shortcuts. But having something like this built right in seems like a killer feature.

(Via Lee Peterson.)

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