Tracking my keys with Tile

I misplaced my car keys (again). This time the key fob was attached to a Tile tracker. The iPhone app showed the keys being close but I couldn’t hear the chime so I assumed they were outside. The app displays a small green circle on a map and the tile/keys is located within.

In the screencast above the blue dot is me, moving around relative to the circle. I hurried this demo a bit and the app was playing catch-up. The device and the app work better in practice than my demo suggests. I’ve been impressed so far.

Creepiest Dating App. Ever.

“The Dating.ai app works by analyzing a reference a photo you upload or select from a list of popular celebrities provided within the app, and then scanning through thousands of profile photos from popular dating services like Tinder, Bumper or Plenty of Fish to find people who look very similar. The idea of finding everyday people who look like your favorite celebrity is just a selling point, because, in reality, Dating.ai can be used to find all kinds of people, from people who look like your ex, to versions of yourself of the opposite sex.” More »

Ash Furrow

Mastodon is a microblogging platform, often compared to Twitter. If you’re not familiar with Mastodon, you can probably skip this interview. You’ll find a good explainer here. Ash Furrow is the administrator of one “instance” of Mastodon. In this 25 minute interview he answers the questions below.

  1. Would you mind telling us a little about yourself? What do you do when you’re not feeding and caring for Mastodon.Technical?
  2. How did you get involved with the Mastodon movement?
  3. When did Mastodon.Technical go live? Do you recall who was Tooter #1?
  4. Are you (now or previously) active on other social media platforms?
  5. While a lot of people are apparently happy with Facebook and Twitter, many others are fleeing and looking for something else. What’s happening?
  6. What are the important differences between Mastodon and the more established social platforms?
  7. There have been no shortage of Twitter “replacements” but few have gotten traction. Is Mastodon different? Why?
  8. The “federation” concept seems pretty simple to me but I keep reading about users who find it confusing. Is this a problem?
  9. Are there instances operated by hate groups? Have you had to ban users from your instance?
  10. What is the biggest misconception about Mastodon?
  11. How much time do you invest each week working on your Mastodon instance?
  12. As it grows, do you feel trapped in any sense?
  13. As the admin for your instance, you are — I assume — all powerful. You’ve published user guidelines, have you had to exercise that power?
  14. What would you like the Mastodon Federation to look like a year from now?

Google replacing Google Talk with Hangouts

I loved the bare bones simplicity of Google Talk (Gchat?) as it appeared the sidebar of Gmail. Don’t recall why I turned it off. Seeing stories today that Google forcing the switch from Talk to Hangouts. I preferred the spartan UI of Talk but like Hangouts well enough for this.

I only use it with a handful of online buddies who don’t have an iOS device. 90% of my IM’ing happens Messages on my iPhone. But I’ve added Hangouts to the Gmail sidebar and will leave it for a bit.

Renaming files when exporting from iPhoto

Once upon a time file names could only be a certain length. Was 7 characters for he name and 3 or the extension? 8 characters for the name? I can’t recall but somewhere along the way this limitation was lifted and we can name a file something useful. But I never developed the discipline to take advantage of this and have some old files with names like 4777959349_o.jpg . In my OCD moments this bugs me and I might take a few minutes (or a few days) and rename offending files.

I rarely see file names in iPhoto (I refuse to call it Apple Photos), just the Title I enter when adding photo. But my buddy George Kopp pointed out I can change the file name to the Title when exporting images for backup. This short screencast (4 min) shows this feature.

AirPods: First hundred days

I am not an audiophile. I thought the AM radio (WLS) music coming out of the dash speaker on my Ford Falcon sounded pretty damn good. During the 70s I wore headphones four hours a day. I lived through the refrigerator sized speaker era. It all sounded good to me.

But the music never sounded as good as it does coming from the tiny Apple AirPods. Is that perceptual? Maybe. But all music is perceptual unless you have a spectrum analyzer implanted in your head.

I’ve never heard better, more natural, separation. I was listening to CSN&Y (on the highway) this morning and could hear acoustic guitars in my left ear (for lack of a more scientific description). Even that little raspy sounds made when the fingers are dragged along one of the base strings (?). I could shift my awareness to the base in my right ear. (Channel is a better word, isn’t it?) And the vocals were somewhere in the rear-center of my noggin.

It feels like I’m hearing these songs for the first time. I know, I know… this is old news to you pros with the big cans clamped to your head. And good for you.

I’m seeing more AirPods here in the coffee shop every week. If I’m familiar with the person I ask how they like them and why they decided to give them a try. Usually some variation of the story above.

There are probably a lot of good reason NOT to try AirPods. That they’re made by Apple is not one of them.