24 Empty Bits

About calendaring

While I’m trying not to drown in all the posts and talks about yesterday Apple Keynote.

Last month I was reading this article by Ben Brooks about the features a calendar app should have:

Each event shows the title, location, weather (if wanted), and start time […] The colored bar to the left of each event denotes the duration of the appointment in orange/red and the travel times to and from the appointment in slate/blue. Ideally the app sets those automatically by grabbing travel time info from a mapping site (from a location you specify, to the location specified in the appointment).

And as soon as I’ve seen the new inspector for the Calendar app in OS X Mavericks yesterday, I remembered it[1]. But I really didn’t expect it.

calendar_inspector

That’s one of the features I was waiting for.


  1. It’s not exactly what Ben was thinking of, but it’s really, really close.  ↩

About computing consciousness

Fascinating and ambitious.

Giulio Tononi, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, argued that consciousness can be measured—captured in a single value that he calls Φ, the Greek letter phi. […]
An interesting consequence of the theory, at least as Tononi and Koch have articulated it, is that anything with a phi greater than zero possesses at least a shred of consciousness. By that definition, many organisms, and even some computers, are conscious by virtue of the ways they integrate information.[1]

Journaling with Drafts and Day One (Revisited)

I really liked Jarrod Whaley’s post in which he explains how to link together two great apps Drafts for iOS and Day One to get a very fast way to save your thoughts.

Sometimes I just want to dash off a thought really quickly–without launching DayOne, waiting for it to open, entering my passcode, tapping to begin a new entry, and so on and so on. I decided I’d find a quicker way to add entries to my journal

He uses Drafts on iOS and a combination of Hazel, Shell Script and Day One CLI on OSX to get a piece of plain text converted in a great diary entry.
There is just one little problem – even though it’s not a problem – your Mac has to be always awake to let Hazel doing its job and sending your thoughts to Day One, if it is not, you will end with Hazel sending them to Day One at a different time from the one they were created[1].

So I made some little adjustments to Jarrod’s idea, according to my needs.
As him, I decided to use Hazel to monitor a folder I called DayOneDrafts, placed in my Dropbox folder.

The 'set color label' action is optional

The ‘set color label’ action is optional

In this folder I will store the text files captured with Drafts on my iPhone or iPad using this Dropbox Action.

Dropbox Action

Then we have to integrate Hazel and Drafts, I have choosen to do it using an AppleScript and the Day One CLI. I’ve to say thank you to Brandon Pittman and this article about his use of AppleScript with Day One CLI.
Here Brandon’s code readapted for Hazel:

set entry_file to POSIX path of theFile

tell application “System Events”
set file_date to creation date of (info for theFile)
set entry_date to ((month of file_date as number) & “/” & day of file_date & “/” & year of file_date as text) & “ ” & (time string of file_date)
end tell
set the_script to “/usr/local/bin/dayone -d=‘“ & entry_date & ”’ new < ” & entry_file
do shell script the_script


  1. The time in which you start/wake your Mac and Hazel can start his job.  ↩

My Backpack

I know it is a very geeky post but I’d like to share what stuff and gadgets I usually carry with me during my day-to-day life.
Working as a sound engineer at MathLab Recording Studio, I’ve to choose a powerful-but-portable setup.
My backpack of choice is the Incase Compact Backpack.

Here we go:

Yep. I'm a bad photographer.

Yep. I’m a bad photographer.

Devices:

  • Apple MacBook Pro 15" with Retina Display with 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM
  • Apple iPad 3rd Generation – 32GB
  • Apple iPhone 5 – 32GB

Storage:

Accessories:

  • 85W MagSafe 2
  • 12W USB power adapter
  • 5W USB power adapter
  • 30-pin Dock cable (for the iPad)
  • Lightning cable (for the iPhone)
  • Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter
  • Thunderbolt-to-Firewire 800 adapter
  • Apple Camera Connection Kit

Sound

Miscellaneous

  • My wallet
  • My keys

Coming full circle

Everything seems in motion, all the things seem growing, moving to something different, maybe better. In Murakami’s Norwegian Woods, Time really flows inevitably. But at the end nothing changes.
It’s been just a journey. No step forward. You find yourself circling.

Back and forth.

Suspended

Everytime I read something by Milan Kundera I find myself in a strange, fuzzy and suspended dimension.

Even tough the Time is usually the main character of his novel, everything seems timeless, put on hold.

The Joke
The Unbearable Lightness of Being

About Contexts and Data Analysis

After I have been listening to the third episode of The Menu Bar I really don’t know how I didn’t read this post by Amit Jain on SpinHalf.net before.

Looking at yesterday release of Google Now and the first reviews, Amit’s words during the podcast sounds like a prediction.

The world is filled with information and companies like Apple or Google have been collecting huge amounts of users’ data: habits, likes, purchases, locations, calendars, searches, queries.

Billions of sensors will wake up thousands of times everyday to take a peek into the world they are in and generate massive, massive amounts of data. But data is not context. its interpretation is. Interpretation is the tallest step to context. It is an effort to make sense of the collected data and what an effort it is.[1]

The problem is not how and if we are able to collect or gather data, it is how we should interpret and use them. This is the greatest challenge of our time.
Tech companies have to manage all of these information and build a system to get the best out of them, not only stocking them in useless and meaningless databases.
There is a need for context:

Context in the domain of machine learning and informations is the idea about the circumstances that precede a query and follow the results[1].

There is a need for devices capable to understand and process this amount of data:

In order to ask the right questions, our devices need to know us. The most essential aspect of context is the user, us[1].

The devices have to get consciousness of us, they need context of where, when and how we are using them. This could imply that before being conscious of us, a device has to be conscious of itself. And so we would be able to build devices that understand each other[2] in a context-based-way not in a merely data-based-way[3].


  1. http://spinhalf.net/context/  ↩

  2. Just consider what happens when you are working on your Mac with your iPhone and iPad on your desk and suddenly you receive a message through iMessage. All your devices start ringing, buzzing and making noise. If only our devices had consciousness of themselves, only your Mac would display the incoming message – and all notifications should work this way. Example given on the third episode of The Menu Bar  ↩

  3. We have got Macs that understand data coming from iPhones and vice versa.  ↩

The Problem With Young Bands Today

The lack of limitations is not a good thing. In fact, it’s the enemy of creativity.

Sometimes people forget that, especially in music and recording, less is better.

I would say another problem with the accessibility to recording equipment today is that many of us enter “the studio” totally unprepared. We actually don’t know our songs well enough to record them. Sure we may know our parts, but we don’t know the inner workings of the song as a piece of art. We don’t know what little touches the song might need or how it should flow.

This is a problem of the music production, people think that spending money on the famous and most–used gear automatically makes you a sound engineer and a producer. What people, and especially young musicians, should understand is that you need experience to produce and arrange a great song. In music nothing just works and there is not anything ready out–of–the–box. You need patience and practice, time and training. Nothing should been taken for granted.

They lack humility.

Facebook gives Google the middle finger

Android will face some internal wars between who basically created it and who is forking it.

About Facebook’s moves

People, Don’t App

That’s the tagline used by Zuckerberg showing the new born Facebook Home. They would like to move the user’s attention from the apps on his phone and let him focusing on the people inside his Facebook profile – building basically an-app-of-apps. That’s Facebook Home a social-hub, a really big app (deep integrated with the OS – an additional layer between the user and the OS) that contains everything you would ever need to interact with your timeline.

Facebook Home will be so integrated, or at least will present itself this way, that it will look like the OS itself, to not-geeky people. It’s been built to be always-online, but not in the way we are used to think of it. You will be always-online, always logged-in in you Facebook profile. Your phone home screen will always show the latest posts on your timeline, all the latest photos uploaded, all the latest check-in marked – all the new things, you’re friends are doing at the moment.

As Mat Honan writes about Facebook Home on Wired.com:

Facebook Home, as Zuckerberg says, is built around people, not apps. Chat Heads personalize your conversations with constant visual reminders of who you are talking to. Updates from friends just magically appear on your lock screen. New messages trickle in while you read the news of the day. It’s your friendly companion, right on your lock screen. As long as it excels at connecting you with other people, and has a clean straightforward design that’s easy to use, it wins. I mean, look at how well that’s worked out for Facebook itself.

[…]

Facebook itself is a triumph of mediocrity […] It’s certainly not the best app platform, the best address book or the best messaging service. Likewise, it’s so easy to hate on Facebook for privacy policies, or the annoying ads, or for constantly rearranging things, or the things your crazy uncle posts there or, well, hell — take your pick. But Facebook is really, really good at connecting people. And that means it can be just OK at everything else.

Then the release of Facebook Home opens not-so-little problems about privacyOm Malik on Gigaom.om:

If you install this, then it is very likely that Facebook is going to be able to track your every move, and every little action.

[…]

And most importantly it is Facebook, a company that is known to have played loose-and-easy with consumer privacy and data since its very inception, asking for forgiveness whenever we caught them with its hand in the cookie jar. I don’t think we can be that forgiving or reactive with Facebook on mobile. source


Sources:

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