Weeknote: Sunday 5th July 2020
We’re starting to emerge from lockdown (too early, maybe) but the world still feels very weird. Boris Johnson is still the most useless prime minister in history and I fully expect the Tories to dump him before the next election unless they fail to learn the lessons that Trump is teaching Republicans about what happens to parties who put their full loyalty behind a leader who is massively out of his depth.
Closer to home, I want to start venturing out more, before I go weird.
Interesting note in my journal this morning: Five years ago, I bought Julian Barnes’ book “A History of the World in 10 and a half chapters” and noted that I had never finished a Julian Barnes book.
I still haven’t finished a Julian Barnes book.
Make Time, by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. People have been raving about this book, but I’m not that massively impressed so far. It’s basically a set of three principles and some useful tips. They’re good principles, and good tips, but I suspect this book will only be life changing if you’ve never read another productivity book in your life. If that’s you, though, this will probably help!
Stuff I’ve been trying this week
I've been trying out Hey email. It's interesting, but it should be an app, and I would expect its features to be rapidly copied by other email apps. It doesn’t seem to do much more than Sanebox does, at lower cost, without the faff of having to redirect emails and/or change your email address.
Of course, what Sanebox doesn’t do is give you a fashionable new email address and mark you out as a silicon valley hipster, so… 🤷🏻♀️
IPad OS 14, iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur are now installed on all my daily use devices. Don’t underestimate the impact of these updates: although the feature lists are relatively short, they all offer interfaces that it’s OK to fall in love with again. So far, Big Sur is the buggiest, and please Apple tone down that translucency on the menu bar, but also the one that has the most changes so that’s to be expected.
And I now have a single home screen on my iPhone, with very few apps on. I suspect my home screen will end up being mostly widgets.
I’ve also been trying out GoodLinks as my place for saving links to read later. This one is leaving me a little cold. It’s a simple and clean interface, but it’s not cross-platform so I don’t really see what makes it better than just using Safari’s built-in Reading List feature, unless you want to organise your links with tags and stars and all that jazz.
Things I’ve read this week
Perhaps understandably, I’m fascinated by the long term effects of coronavirus. This article looks at some of the experiences of those “long-termers”. I think this is going to be a persistent theme over the next thirty years.
Worth noting: my father died of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a degenerative and fatal lung disease. Were COVID-19 to produce a spike in long term IPF, we are going to see a lot of people who have had few/mild symptoms die over the next few years.
A little more cheery, it looks like we might be on the trail of that illusive ninth planet again. Poor Pluto.
Just what we need: Pizzagate has been given a boost by TikTok. When will we learn that social networks have more cons than pros?
There is an appetite for change amongst the public, with only 6% of people wanting a return to the pre-pandemic economy. I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the context of the fall in GDP: how many people actually feel a lot better off now than 2002, when GDP was the same size? How much of that growth went straight into the pockets of the most well-off, rather than the poor?
Microsoft is shutting down its retail store. While I enjoy visiting the London one, this is possibly the least surprising thing of the week.
Surprise surprise, Facebook is a horrible, lying, cheating company. Who knew?