Writer Interrupted – New Episode

Episode 2 of the Patrons-only podcast, “Writer Interrupted” has been published patrons’ feeds.

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Working Tools 37. HEY

Heard of Basecamp? It’s a collaboration tool for remote teams.

Well, the guys behind it have been working on re-imagining e-mail. The aim is to put the user in charge. Privacy-driven, workflow-oriented, with some additional clever elements. It’s called HEY. If you have a half hour, go check out this video by the CEO.

I was seduced. Back in February, the company advised interested parties that they were opening a list for early access in June. I missed that, but eventually caught up and got my request sent in May. I believe, at launch (June 15th) there were 40 to 50 thousand people awaiting their invite.

Basecamp have been dripping out the invitations. The idea is that you use your code to sign up online and get your new e-mail address, and then download the relevant apps for your platform and get going. You have 14 days to try the service. If happy, you can sign up, for £99 per year.

If the service works, and does what it says it does, I will happily pay £99 per annum. That’s not to say that the service is perfect, or without missing features, but the pros outweigh the cons, – for me.

I kept checking my inbox for my code. I’d like to secure my favoured user name. FOMO anyone?

Then, Twitter blew up. Apple is threatening to pull the app – because the subscription element is outside the App Store. Ie: Apple doesn’t get a cut. That’s a no-no.

Unless it’s not a no-no.

There are plenty of examples of apps that already do this with no trouble – one of them being Basecamp. Other e-mail services do it too, Fastmail, Protonmail and Gmail, for example. I’m no expert on this sort of thing – go read John Gruber’s take, here.

I’m not a developer, nor an Apple shareholder. I’m not even a European regulator. (Look out Apple.) I’m a consumer.

I understand the debate – should Apple get a slice of everything that touches their platform or should other parties be allowed to profit from their own innovation atop IOS? There are good arguments on both sides, and I look forward to learning.

However – from a consumer point of view, I’m just annoyed.

Apple is the biggest company in the world. How in God’s name did they create a system that is inconsistent, opaque and so difficult to navigate? They approved the application and then changed their mind? OK on Friday, no good on Monday? Really? That’s the Quality system?

I feel for Basecamp, I’m sure this is not what they want to see. Some are suggesting this is a superbly engineered PR stunt. I imagine the same people think the Earth is flat and Covid-19 a hoax. Without IOS, Hey is crippled, headlines or no headlines.

The promise of the service is fantastic, the marketing clever, and the hype exciting. Bravo Basecamp – a rising tide lifts everyone.

Now, the tide’s out. Apple looks like a greedy monopolistic behemoth, stifling innovation.

Smart Apple would acquire Basecamp. Ruthless Apple would load the development team for its own mail applications, sherlock and supersede Hey.

Rotten Apple, in full view of its customer base, crushes an exciting initiative on the basis that, it hasn’t been cut in on the action.

I have no problem with Apple making money – but it takes a special kind of stupid to make yourself look this bad.

Legal counsel are telling Tim Cook that they can beat the anti-trust investigations in the US and the EU. Maybe they can. Regulators will never bring Apple down.

Greed and complacency might though.

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Members 76. Napoleon

“There is no such thing as accident, it is fate renamed.”

So said Napoleon Bonaparte, who did alright for himself, for a while at least.

Fate is, for want of a better phrase, having a laugh.

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Patrons Podcast Episode

Episode 1 of “Writer Interrupted” has been released to Patrons.

My writing is supported by people like you. The remainder of this post is reserved for Patrons. Patronage costs £5 per month. For this, you will get access to subscriber only posts in writing and audio, direct access to a patrons chatroom , and a digital copy of any and all work that I publish in the year. Become a Patron

Working Tools 36. Horses for Courses

I’m self-aware enough to know, that whining about whether to use one highly-priced bit of tech over another, is easily seen as a humble brag, or a first world problem.

Certainly, in the context of our world today, it’s entirely insignificant. Still winds me up though.

The Dream

Aspirational-me has just ordered a boom arm for my iPad. My desk will be clear, but for some artfully-placed stationery, and a coaster. With careful lighting, I will post on Instagram, #minimalsetup, #chillsetup. Each morning, I’ll write my journals, with the sun streaming in, showing off the gleaming ink from my fountain pens. Then, having meditated, my iPad will swing across, my keyboard emerge from a drawer and I shall morph into the digital entrepreneur, typing in Ulysses.

The Reality

Pragmatic-me has finished reinstating my Macbook pro and external display atop a book case, behind me. (Or #improvisedstandingdesk in Insta-speak.)

Why?

Lime Training and Consultancy Ltd (Lime) supports firms in the retail financial services space. Think Bureau de Change, Money Transfer services, and pawnbroking. Its job is to make sure that these firms are aware of regulation around money laundering and terrorist financing, and have policies, procedures and systems to ensure that they do the right thing. So, I keep abreast of what’s going on, keep firms informed, and ensure their procedures are current and effective.

Case Study

Boom! Regulation change. I need to read some, or all of; legislation (both the old version and the new one; lawmakers don’t publish “track-changes”), regulations, guidance (from multiple sources), professional commentary, and legal opinion. Firms need a distillation of all that.

“What’s happened? How does it impact us? What needs doing? Have you done it yet?”

Sometimes, things are straightforward. I can write a note, publish it as as a pdf and issue it with an imperious glare. Mostly though, I need to explain what’s happened and why, and suggest how things might be addressed. A collaboration ensues. There are many fantastic apps and tools that can be used for this. Trouble is, the firms will use e-mail, Word and Excel and only e-mail, Word and Excel. Given that the customer is always right, I therefore, use e-mail, Word and Excel.

In short, client work generally requires multiple browser tabs, annotated pdfs and screenshots, Word, Excel and e-mail. All to be open and easily accessible. Top notch file management and search is a must.

Possible on an iPad? Sure. Easy on an iPad? No. As to archives, Ipad OS is fine, as long as you have stored in your head the exact location of every file going back to 2009, because the Files App hasn’t got a clue how to find anything.

Word, Excel and multi-tasking all work on an iPad, in much the same way that a saucepan will boil over a lighter. It works, but you’re better off using the cooker.

Accidental Improvement

I’m still stabbing the display with my finger from time to time, but overall the arrangement works well. If I’m standing at a keyboard and screen, I’m in corporate mode. The change of location, posture and machine is an excellent prompt for the required mental gear change.

My writing is supported by people like you. Patronage costs £5 per month. For this, you will get access to subscriber only posts in writing and audio, direct access to a patrons chatroom , and a digital copy of any and all work that I publish in the year. Become a Patron

Members 75. Podcasts

Have you noticed? There’s a Patron’s Podcast now.

Oh, Yes. I decided that I wanted to make an audible version of these posts, and that I was going to do it myself. And it worked. Sort of.

My writing is supported by people like you. The remainder of this post is reserved for Patrons. Patronage costs £5 per month. For this, you will get access to subscriber only posts in writing and audio, direct access to a patrons chatroom , and a digital copy of any and all work that I publish in the year. Become a Patron