Instagram edges

I can’t believe how much the little teaser edge on this set of Instagram photos makes me want to scroll sideways to see the whole set.

I’m guessing they used an app on their phone to offset the series of photos slightly, but I’m reminded once again how fun it is to watch the innovation happening at the edges of any community, when people push the boundaries of a space. When Instagram first launched photo sets I hated them but I’ve eventually grown accustomed to looking for the icons indicating more shots. But this is a brilliant solution.

I’m surprised this isn’t a default feature of Instagram already, to produce slight offsets.

Custom apple watch faces

Wow, so it’s possible to create an app that replaces the watchface. Why doesn’t apple make an app and API to make this into part of their product? I’d even buy faces if they were treated like ringtones, where I have to pay a buck to get each one I like.

The one above is gorgeous and does a better job than any current official Apple options at being both information rich and minimalist at the same time.

Apple’s blind spot

Chris Glass’ mock-up for a new Apple Watch face is exactly what I’d want if it were available. It boggles my mind that Apple still doesn’t allow or offer custom faces years after the launch of their watches.

That was the one thing I loved about a Pebble watch. They had a huge public gallery of faces online and there was an explosion of options that reminded me of WinAmp skins. Yes, that means 20,000 useless ugly faces but there were also a couple dozen clean useful options I found that made my Pebble watch more useful and valuable to me.

Why does Apple keep sleeping on this?

Self-doxxing

Thought experiment: is it possible to write a paragraph about your life so filled with minor but important facts that someone could figure out how to answer every challenge question possible and retrieve your password from almost any system on earth? Screenshot 2018-10-10 16.18.55.png

(to be clear, nothing above is true)

It’s possible

We *do* this: we pull over for ambulances, and that’s amazing.

For reasons: for the needs of our future selves & of people we don’t know – it’s complicated.

But in every state in America I’ve visited – from Georgia, Florida, Missouri, to California – I’ve seen this happen.

We DO this, so I’m reminding myself today: it’s proven we can institutionalize empathy by designing systems that arrest our senses & remind us of our own personal stakes … and the vulnerability of everyone else we love.

Chris Wetherell wrote the most optimistic thing I’ve read in years, quoted in its entirety above.

Too often I’ve encountered a distinct lack of empathy in a system or in a person and thought it’s impossible to reach or teach or change it for the better.

Then I read this and realized even within those systems or people, I’ve seen absolutely everyone across the board do the right thing at the right time and pull over.

So it is possible. We just have to figure out the ways we can replicate this and design it into other systems for the good of everyone.

Every stupid thing about going from Manhattan to the Newark airport on a Friday afternoon

  1. The train from Penn Station is faster than a car in traffic, but most NYC subway lines don’t go directly there and you might have to take 2-3 different trains to get to Penn Station. This will take time.
  2. Penn Station is a disorganized pit filled with thousands of people, and there are two ways to get to Newark airport by train, NJ Transit and Amtrak, and they are both priced extremely different (about $13 vs about $50) and take two different lengths of time to get to the airport station.
  3. They don’t assign departure tracks until a train arrives in the station for the 5-10min wait before it departs. So you have throngs of hundreds of people standing around train monitors waiting to hear when a track is announced with less than 10 minutes to get to the track and on the train.
  4. When a track is announced for a train, two hundred people will slam into the same stairwell to try and get to the track immediately.
  5. The lines will be too long at the NJ Transit ticket vending machines to make the train. You won’t see any signs for tickets with humans at a booth selling them.
  6. The MyTix phone app for NJ Transit tickets is one of the most poorly designed apps I’ve experienced in years. It took about 15 to 20 screens to sign up for an account, connect PayPal to buy tickets, search for a ticket and finally buy it. Also, you’re warned several times you can’t use the MyTix app on any other device you own.
  7. NJ transit sells four different kinds of rail tickets and I’m supposed to know the difference between light rail and NJ rail tickets among the options.
  8. There are two stations with the word Newark in them on your way to the airport. Lots of non-native speakers get off at the downtown Newark station instead of the Newark airport station.
  9. NJ Transit trains don’t have any digital readouts or indicators of what the next stop is, or even maps inside the cars to tell you what stops are on your journey, just the scratchy voice announcements when you enter each station.
  10. You pay for your ticket in the exit turnstiles in the station. The QR code you get on the phone app has a zoom function, but the QR code reader doesn’t scan it zoomed in, I had to unzoom it to get it to work.
  11. There are no signs to explain how to pay for a ticket or leave a station, it was pretty much chaos after 50 people got off and wanted to go through a turnstile.
  12. The Newark AirTrain to the terminal was down, but there was no signage, only a guy standing there saying you needed to take a bus downstairs.
  13. A bus arrived every 10 minutes to take people to the terminal but there were no signs for where it would pick up or drop off so people randomly wandered around the station until one arrived, then they all clustered onto it.
  14. The entrance to Terminal 3 at Newark International Airport has dozens of doors along its front, but they’re all locked and marked as EXIT ONLY. The single entrance in the center of the building has a massive slow revolving door that refuses to move when too many people get into it or get too close to the door.
  15. There are dozens of signs for the TSA PreCheck security entrance, but none for the regular one, so the person posting up on the TSA line has to tell thousands of people each day they’re in the wrong line.

Apple Watch tip: auto-install all apps

This past week I set up a new Apple Watch and I ticked off the box for auto-installing all apps on my phone. I’ve been extremely selective in the past but realized maybe it didn’t matter much with the larger screen on the new watches.

A couple of days later, having 2FA and password manager apps on my new watch saved my ass royally when a cab drove over my accidentally dropped phone in NYC last week.

At the Apple store, I had to log in to my Apple account to get a new replacement phone, but with a completely broken phone holding all my passwords, I couldn’t do it.

Having my password manager on my watch saved me.