hypertext, words and more


  • I am not interested in shelling out money to use productivity apps. This is for two reasons:

    1. Most productivity software has moved to a subscription model. No thanks.
    2. Apple provides these out-of-the-box on iOS and macOS. Seems good!

    If those two items resonate with you, you’ve come to the right place. There’s of course problems with staying with the Apple ecosystem. For example features and bugfixes typically only ship once a year. Sometimes, you get no features at all in a given release cycle! A small trade-off for inexpensive productivity apps.

    I love Obsidian. Especially because you get a lot for free. But, I keep coming back to the Notes App. It is simply too easy to use and frankly more available when I just need a place to jot something down. It also seems that Apple is making incremental steps to improve Notes, especially in the context of Apple Intelligence making its way to iOS users very soon:

    That being said, the true power of the Notes app lies hidden within another another app altogether… Shortcuts! iOS Shortcuts are the key to unlocking more effective productivity across the Apple ecosystem.

    I’m shamelessly re-posting Volkov’s iOS Shortcuts from his piece titled, The Digital Minimalist’s Complete Guide to Information Management in Apple Ecosystem:

    Basic with No Tasks:

    Daily Plan based on Reminders:

    Daily Plan based on Things 3 (latest version):

    Daily Plan for TickTick (a bit different logic):

    I recommend taking Volkov’s Shortcuts and editing them to your liking! For example, I like the ‘Basic’ shortcut as a base template. I edited the shortcut to always save a note in a Daily Notes folder and to always default to ISO 8601 date format (e.g. 2024-06-29).

    Probably anecdotal at this point, but I keep my Shortcut on my homescreen over the actual Notes app, so I can always tap right into my Daily Note:

    If you want my fork of Volkov’s daily note shortcut, you’re welcome to have it:

  • Saira Mueller at Wired:

    The first step to breaking a habit is the same as building one—make a list of the behaviors you’d like to stop doing and put them into priority order. If you try to do everything at once, you’ll likely just get overwhelmed and give up, says Alana Mendelsohn, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Columbia’s Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. Even worse, when we’re stressed out or tired, we instinctively revert back to our established habits—making it harder to break the ones you no longer want.


    If you’re trying to check your phone less often, David Kadavy, author of Mind Management, Not Time Management, suggests locking it in a lockbox for part of the day. “Make it as hard as possible to actually perform the habit,” he says. While you’re still going to get the cue to check your phone, the effort of going to the lockbox and unlocking it can help block the behavior from triggering. Or, say you’re trying to check social media less often: “Just delete the social media apps from your phone,” says Kadavy. “Block them with the parental controls or, at the very least, don’t have them on your home screen.”

    I’m sure you’re just like me. In search of a way to spend less time on your phone. I’m here to confidently say that these techniques do indeed help.

    Step 1: setup Screen Time on iOS

    ScreenTime on iOS is very effective. There’s really no need to put your phone into a lockbox. However, if you’re trying to kick the nicotine habit, I hear that technique works well.

    Step 2: disable notifications (or delete the app outright off your device)

    I have found that disabling notifications on troublesome apps is pretty effective. Deleting them off your device is 100x more effective. I deleted Twitter off my phone and while I still have an account, I have found myself in a better place mentally. Instagram still vies for my daily attention. Now that it is essentially a WhatsApp clone, full of direct messages, I can’t stay away. Now it’s just a matter of trying to read my DM’s each day before I go over my allotted Screen Time.

    Let’s say you delete all these social apps off your phone. The good news is you can still check your Twitter timeline or Instagram DMs on the web from your computer. When I’m on my laptop I’ve found that I enter into a sort of “GTD mode.” I’m in, and out real quick. Avoid the mobile app timesuck at all costs.

    You’ll quickly begin to realize that the mobile apps are all designed to pull you in and keep you on. Once it clicks for you, it’ll become so easier to stay off your phone and fill that time with shit that actually matters like reading, gaming, exercise, learning or whatever floats your boat.

  • The iPhone has no doubt been a crazy success since the early days. But how did the iPhone end up being such a success? Speculation, rumors and the lack of a design-first company in the market left Apple wide-open to squeeze into a already crowding market of cell phones and catalyze the smartphone industry into the behemoth that it is today. It took years of research, iteration and trial and error to produce the first iPhones. Apple was prototyping devices in secrecy with fabricators in China as early as 2005 with Foxconn and Pegatron. Looking back, we can see the design lineage and early ideas that were afoot in the company.

    Early on, there was a bet that the clickwheel, an invention of the successful iPod could be re-used in the iPhone. Thanks to @DongleBookPro, and (a few others over the years), we have some interesting images of late Acorns OS. Apple installed numerous diagnostic tools on these devices such as fabricator diagnostics, carrier and engineering diagnostic UI. Hap Plain of Cult of Mac put together this video showing just how rudimentary some of these early P-series iPhones worked here:

    The rudimentary touch-operated Acorn OS that ran on these prototypes eventually were refined and became the much beloved iOS. For further reading I recommend 9to5mac’s piece on the history behind Acorn OS and how it came to be.

  • According to this official tweet from LA Metro:

    It’s happening! It’s long been known that LA Metro has been working on upgrading its TAP system, and it’s about time. Contactless payments are clearly the future. New York City has had it for nearly a year (although, not all 472 stations support it yet). I wonder if TAP contactless will be live by the time iOS 14 hits the ground running?

  • Duolingo’s Premium subscription offering, which launched in 2017, has contributed to a meteoric increase in annual bookings. It continues to invest more and more R&D into AI and machine learning to power its tutoring software and growth. Duolingo raised some serious money from Alphabet bringing the total valuation of the charming Pittsburgh startup, to roughly $9 billion:

    Popular language learning app Duolingo has raised $30 million in a series F round of funding from Alphabet’s investment arm CapitalG. […]

    Duolingo claims 30 million users are actively learning languages on its platform, and it has emerged as one of the most downloaded educational apps globally. Since its last funding round more than two years ago, it has more than doubled its employees from 95 to 200 and has opened additional offices in Seattle, New York, and Beijing. It also now claims annual bookings of $100 million after it launched its premium plan in 2017, a significant increase from the $33 million it drew in last year.

    (via VentureBeat)

  • Links: March 2018

    This month I collected some interesting links worth sharing. Some notables include: an iOS AirPod concept design, Starbucks bathroom reviews website, a post from Scott Galloway on marriage, and the technology behind my website page transitions and more.

    Starbucks Bathroom Reviews

    Living in NYC, finding a clean public bathroom can be difficult. Finding one without a security code can be even more rare. Let this incredible website be your guide. 😎

    Reading Time WP

    This plugin looks cool. It provides a reading time estimate for your posts in WordPress. Gonna check it out. Stay tuned.


    If you’re wondering how I setup page transitions on my website — barba.js is how. I fully plan on writing a installation/customization tutorial at some point. It’s weighs in at 4.4 kb JS file which isn’t shabby. And has all sorts of neat bells and whistles.

    iOS Airpods Sharing Concept

    Uhm. This is seriously so fucking cool. What a great idea. This whole concept stems from such unique problem that requires a unique solution:

    The AirPods are arguable one of Apple’s best products, their simplicity, and intuitiveness make them an essential daily device. However one disadvantage is the lack of ability to share music with friends. Back in the 3.5mm analog days, this was accomplished with a headphone splitter […]

    […] this is easily achievable with an iOS software update that could enable users to share their iPhone or iPad’s audio with multiple friends who also have AirPods:

    Knockoff iPhone X Notches

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery I suppose.

    I Do

    I follow Scott Galloway pretty religiously. Back in 2015, my friend Tim Kosters (@sretsok) introduced me to his You’veTube channel. Scott is an accomplished professor at NYU, and previously been a board member at Eddie Bauer, The New York Times Company, and a few others. From time to time Scott pens personal advice and this one hit home for me.

    In my experience, the most rewarding things in life are family and professional achievement. Without someone to share these things with, you’ve seen a ghost — it sort of happened, but not really. However, with the right partner, these things feel real, you feel more connected to the species, and all “this” begins to register meaning.

    Not quite a blogroll, but maybe a start

    Chris (@chofficehours) of runs a fantastic blog worth subscribing. Lately, he’s been writing a lot about remote worklife, blogrolls, and blogs (with a little b like this one). There’s a growing problem with the Twitter echo chamber, I don’t feel like I’m part of any community on Medium, and I go to Hacker News a little too often — what’s the fix? Blogrolls? More blog aggregators? Interesting words from an interesting guy.

  • Good news everybody!

    Yeah, this is going to be awesome. May the web enjoy healthy browsing again.

    While I may be in “AMP is bullshit” camp, I can still respect the solution it is trying to solve. I totally agree with others that it is the web developer’s responsibility to load pages fast. As John Gruber points out, it is in the interest of publishers to use AMP as Google features AMP-ready cards in search queries.

    Which… is dumb. But oh well. However, when a user shares a webpage from the Safari sharesheet it will save me the headache of thinking about AMP.