Marvel’s ‘Netflix for comicbooks’, Marvel Unlimited has been out in the U.K. for some time now. I was a subscriber at one time, but beyond Spider-Man and the X-Men I’ve never been a huge fan of Marvel’s characters. I’ve always been a DC man, but until recently keeping up with the stories was a fools errand. While I’m sure a lot goes into making them, it difficult to justify paying £4 for each issue, which is why I was really pleased to see that DC’s equivalent to Marvel’s offering, DC Universe Unlimited has finally launched in the U.K.
Twitter is all abuzz with Elon Musk hot takes, but all joking aside, I don’t think many people appreciate the cultural significance of Twitter. As a business they’ve seemingly failed to find a strong monetisation model for it but just in terms of its use around the world it’s an incredibly powerful tool.
I’ve read quite a few Stephen King book now, over the years, and one thing that never fails to amaze me is his ability to make even the most mundane setting thrilling, and completely blow away my expectations. The Long Walk is a good example of this. As the name suggests, it’s literally about a long walk, yet it’s an engrossing tale and, through his literary magic, King delivers.
I’ve written about my current obsession with competitive multiplayer games a few times recently, so excuse yet another gaming post. Quite a lot of my competitive gaming time has been spent in Battle Royale games. I think, at this point, I’ve played the vast majority of those with any popularity. I’ve spent many frustrating hours in Realm Royale, PUBG, Warzone, Naraka: Bladepoint, Super People. You name it, I’ve rage quit it.
One of the earliest games that got me into the genre was, of course, Fortnite. After doing the rounds, multiple times, I’ve come to a possibly controversial conclusion. Fortnite is the best Battle Royale (BR) game for normal people. Let me explain why. I’m going to assume, firstly, that if you’re reading this you know what this game genre is. If you don’t, however, Wikipedia has you covered.
Welcome to the first ever Denties Awards, where I will pick my favourite things from various categories that I’ve experienced throughout 2021. Some of my picks didn’t necessarily come out in 2021, that’s just when I got involved with it. So, without further ado, let’s get straight to the awards.
Apple has released many products over the years, with many of them quickly becoming a pop culture icon. The iPod, the iPhone and now the AirPods. I’m a huge fan of the AirPod range and have some AirPods Pro and AirPods Max and use them daily.
A few months back, Apple launched the spatial audio feature on Apple Music. This received some rave reviews and, while it sound quite good, especially with the AirPods Max I really couldn’t tell all that much difference between a spatial audio enabled track and a standard one. I’m not an audiophile so I don’t pretend I even really understand many of these so called audio enhancements. I stubbled across something, recently, however that has quickly improved the quality of the audio I’m getting from my AirPods by a noticeable amount. It’s something I’ve never seen anyone write about, so I wanted to share it with you all. It’s quite possible I just missed the posts and this is common knowledge. If so, please go about your business 😃
Apple Mail looks to be receiving some interesting new updates across Apple’s OS’s this Autumn, with new features like disposable email addresses, the ability to block various tracking methods and even custom domains. This seems like a nice little feature boost, so much so it had me doubting why anyone in the Apple ecosystem would opt for Fastmail over Apple Mail anymore.
Many iPhone owners have iMessages from years ago that they can’t access. For example, my wife and I simply want to read the first few messages that we exchanged in 2017, but we can’t. A friend of mine recently had to prove she had a relationship with someone for US immigration services, and she was able to quickly download an easily searchable file containing all messages without using a 3rd-party tool in her efforts to do so. But she doesn’t use iMessage, she uses another chat app.
At last check I had about 40GB of iMessage backups in my family iCloud storage. I’d never thought about actually accessing any of this data and finding old messages. I’ve searched my iMessage archive before, but have never thought about the issues I’d have trying to actually just view a chronological history of this stored data.
The fact I’ve never had a need to do it is, obviously, why it’s never come to mind but it has to be a crappy situation for those that do actually need it. I can imagine a common use-case for trying this in the first place is after a loved one passes away, which is not a time you’re going to want to be messing around with phones crashing and the like when you may just want to read some comforting words. Hopefully this is something Apple will address in the future.
One thing I thought may be a, slightly convoluted, option was to go to privacy.apple.com, first implemented to appease GDPR rules, and request an extract of your iMessage data. This, however, isn’t possible, as iMessages are not available as part of this export. I will assume that it’s because of encryption. There is an option, apparently, to view the archive database on a Mac, but that’s not going to be viable to many.
Long story short, I suppose, try not to retain anything too important to you in your iMessage backup, because it may be a painful experience to ever see it again!
I have a challenge for you. Think about someone you love or care about very much and write them an email, or letter. Something they can keep. Don’t be remembered by a set of iMessages stuck in an iCloud backup prison limbo.
For years now, people have questioned why Apple hasn’t gone all in on gaming, and created a games console. Games are a big part of the Apple App Store, yet the games don’t have a console to thrive on.
The thing is, Apple do have a gaming console. They have a load of them in fact, but no ones seemed to notice. Much as Apple has tried to ask ‘What’s a computer?’, people need to ask ‘What is a console?’
Almost every post I write at the moment seems to be prefaced with the statement ‘I’m an iPad Guy’ and it’s true. I love iPads, and my current 2018 12.9” iPad Pro has been my favourite Apple product I’ve ever owned. When Apple announced the amazing looking M1 iPad Pro a few weeks ago I instantly fell in love and knew I needed it … and then a few hours passed and my certainly started to wane a bit. I was debating with myself about ordering it a week later, but I went for ir despite my misgivings. Despite getting an order in quickly, it seemed that I wouldn’t be getting it until a week after launch, which gave me yet more time to possibly regret the rash decision. No one should be spending £1,200 on a luxury item you aren’t sure you really need or want.
I’ve been an iPad guy for a long time now, but I recently picked up an M1 Mac Mini because, shiny, and I’ve got to say I’ve been really impressed by it. It boots in seconds, and really flies, at least for the light work I do on it.
Chris Wilson recently shared a fun post featuring his favourite iPhone Apps of 2021. I’ve been enjoying using my Mac Mini so much that, when I saw this, I immediately thought about posting about that, rather than my beloved iPad1. I don’t think I’ve been using the Mac thoroughly enough to realy highight my favourites, or recommendations, so I thought I’d post a slighty different take by talking a little about the Mac apps I’ve grown fond enough of to put into my coverted dock space. By looking at a few of these apps, you will get a better feeling of what I use my Mac Mini for. I’ll likely follow up with an iOS / iPadOS version, thus specifically calling this out as a macOS Edition. So, without further ado, here is my current macOS dock.
(Apologies, it doesn’t seem to come out in the highest of resolutions)
I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time looking at email services recently. I really have no need for anything smart or clever when it comes to email, yet that’s not stopping me trawling through YouTube videos and written reviews of all that are available, yet again.
I’ve been a Gmail user since day 1, and I have an iCloud account which, again, I’ve had for years. I have one of the coveted @Mac.com addresses even. Both of these accounts contain a lot of history, and I’m unlikely to ever leave any of them, so the fact I’m insistent on still looking around is causing me no end of frustration.
There’s been a lot of talk in my timeline recently of people considering another move of service, or app, for their email usage. Because of this, it got me started on my own journey around the available options, and I think I’ve landed on a pretty revolutionary setup.
There are so many apps and services at the moment, for the humble email. This particular method has taken me some time to find, to be honest, and I’ve been pretty blown away. There are a few very unique components of this mail service (and app) that I wanted to highlight to you.
As I’m sitting here forcing myself to finish Ready Player Two, I’m already thinking of what to read next to clear my palette of this book. I don’t like to be negative about people’s work, and I can appreciate how much of a challenge it must be to write a follow up to such an original and popular book, but I am keen to get onto the next story.
I use Apple Books for most of my reading at the moment, and I like the feature it has to add books to your Want to read section. I’ve got quite an interesting mix of genres to read next including Recursion by Blake Crouch and I’m considering starting the Stormlight Archive. As I’ve been browsing through these books, however, my mind keeps wandering back to the best book series I’ve ever read, namely Stephen King’s magnum opus, The Dark Tower series and I lamented about how I wish I could read this again for the first time. It then struck me that I’d never read a book more than once.
… anyone who is shocked by these “revelations” is either not paying attention or is pretending to be shocked.
I agree with every word in Matt’s post here and, of the above statement, I’d definitely say it’s the latter option. There’s a strange aura around Apple and it’s fandom where people faint like a Victorian in too tight a bodice when they read a statement that reminds them that Apple are a business.
Isn’t it amazing what our brain decides is important sometimes? Instead of laying here at gone midnight getting some much needed sleep, I’m instead thinking about email. Or, more specifically, email services. Yes, I’ve hit peak exciting …
If my timeline is anything to go by over the last few days, I’m not alone. It sounds like quite a few people are considering dropping Hey and switching back to other alternatives. I’ve blown hot and cold on Hey since signing up almost a year ago and, seeing as my renewal is fast approaching, I’m back to considering if I get any benefits from using the system.
A few months ago I switched from using Google as my default search engine to Bing. I’ve been surprised by the results, and have stuck with it ever since. While I value privacy and advocate for people to have more control over what data is collected from them and in turn used on them, this wasn’t the reason for the switch.
I also fairly recently switched my main email account from Gmail to HEY. Again, privacy was not really a factor here. Gmail worked really well for me and, to be honest, email gave me zero issues or anxiety before switching so Hey, for me, is not really filling any niche I needed filling. So why change it up? Well, I’ve come to realise that I just like change for change sake. I find myself changing from service to service, not for any real perceived value, but just to try something new. Even if that new thing is inferior to the thing I was already using.
I’ve always been a big fan of games and gaming, ever since my family had an Atari ST back in the day. I built a gaming PC last summer and have been enjoying the Switch and Xbox Series X since launch. One area of gaming I’ve been dabbling in, to one extent or another, has been on iOS, however.
The iOS ecosystem is absolutely chocker block full of a huge swath of games, with varying degrees of quality. It’s often difficult to find the gems, or games that haven’t been completely crippled with in-app purchases (IAPs). Because I’ve been having a lot of fun gaming on my iOS / iPadOS devices recently I just wanted to share a few highlights of some particular current favourites. I emphasise current because this is not a ‘Top 10 iOS games’ list, simply some games that I’ve been enjoying a lot of recently. So without further waffle, on with my Now Playing list for iOS.
I’ve written about this before, but given the amount of times I’ve moved my blog around, I think the post has now been lost. Some recent changes in the latest iOS 14.5 reminded me about it, however, so I thought it was worth revisiting.
Greg, writing on gr36.com:
They don’t deserve to die and fade away once the newsfeed scrolls over them. Tweets don’t last, that’s part of why they feel so easy to write out. It’s why you feel so comfortable.
Twitter is “just heading to yoga” it’s not for passing on your ideas. Place some value on your words, please.
I’ve been debating internally about whether to write this post or not.
It looks like Google Stadia is not long for this world.. I’d like to be wrong, it’s an interesting idea, but stories circulating like this end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. The seeds of doubt are sown, and then Google is left with an even greater uphill struggle to encourage people to still invest in the platform.
Love it or loathe it, the team behind Hey have some very interesting ideas and, now that Hey for Work has shipped, they seem to be pushing out a lot of updates again. While this isn’t a shipping feature, as yet, this post from the co-founder Jason Fried sounds really intriguing:
Email is the internet’s oldest instant self-publishing platform. Except you have to define a small audience every time you write. But what if you didn’t? What if you could just email the web to reach the world? Introducing the HEY World experiment –> https://t.co/88jN5cHoOn
One of the guiding principles of Hey, to me, seemed to be some simplicity and relaxing of email norms such as inbox zero and the like, so a blogging platform in an email service does, at first glance, seem a bit odd. It is, however, as I said a really interesting approach and idea and it’s something I’d definitely jump on trying if it does every become a shipping product. How well something like this fits inside of an email service aside, it does feel like it could remove quite a lot of friction from the writing / posting process.
I’ve had my blog for a few years now, and it started off fairly well. I posted reasonably regularly and was enjoying myself. As time passed, and COVID hit us all like a freight train, my interest has waned and I’ve not posted for over 6 months.
All things considered, I think I’ve personally coped quite well with the seismic shift this world event has thrust upon me, my family, and everyone. That being said, with a day job, being a teacher for my little girl, and having no outlets outside of the home for over a year, things eventually start to take their toll. I’m getting to the point where the four walls of my home are starting to feel like a prison and breaking point is creeping up to me, both mentally nd physically, like a praying mantis ready to strike. Right now, as with many people, getting through each day is an achievement in its own right.
I wrote a short post about some of my impressions of the Hey email service after a few months of use. While the post was relatively well received I felt like I may have been unduly negative about Hey, and wanted to add a little more detail to perhaps balance the discussion somewhat.
One of the risks with my concerted efforts to post more, with less planning, is that I tend to start a post with a clear goal of what I’m trying to put across, which ultimately gets watered down, or plain forgotten, as I ramble on. This post, so far, is the perfect example …
Back to the point, there are a handful of features that I think Hey really get right. Despite my reservations or negativity put across in the last post I am currently using Hey, to give it more of a go, because of some very key reasons, which I’ll highlight here.
So many of the larger tech podcasts I listen to no longer ‘spark joy’ so I’m going to have a full clear out and start fresh I think.
I don’t remember the last time I heard a bit of information I care about on a podcast first, it’s generally regurgitation of facts I’ve already read about, or opinions that are repeated by the same small group across a multitude of places. You can usually guess exactly what (often negative) opinion these people will have without even hearing it.
Some more relaxing, and fun, podcasts I enjoy include:
FilmSack - FilmSack was one of the first podcasts I ever listened to. I’ve listened to every single episode since. The premise of the show is to find some generally bad / iconic / cult films to watch as a community and the hosts just talk about it. It’s a simple premise, but it’s fun, funny, and downright joy inducing.
Triforce - Lewis, Sips, and PyrionFlax from The YogsCast talking about nothing in particular. A relaxing and funny ride.
Core - Another Frogpants show, this time focused on videos games across a wide spectrum.
PAL KEYS - I’ve been a Pal Keys / Daryl Baxter fan for some time now. Daryl always gets some fantastic guests from the world, and surrounding ecosystem of video games for a good chat. I’m yet to hear a bad show, or discover a bad guest.
Mea Culpa with Michael Cohen - While this is clearly a bit of a cash in on Michael Cohen’s part, it’s also a fascinating listen into some of the insanity within Trump’s inner circle. It’s only two episodes in and I’m already pretty hooked.
While I’ll still be dipping in and out of more tech focused podcasts, I think there’s a need to step back a bit and focus on content that’s adding more to my life than frustration and negativity. The tech podcasting market is a busy, some may say saturated, market and so many of them feel like shows are being put out just because they have to. A lot of the passion has gone and it’s a simple business transaction. I can understand that. We all have to live and have bills to pay, but with limits time in the day, especially while I’m not having to commute about 5 hours a day, shows like that don’t have a place in my queue. Hopefully I can find more, smaller, shows and creators to start investing my time and ad clicks on beyond the list above.