Window Management on the iPad Sucks

Quinn Nelson boils down one of the biggest frustrations with working on an iPad in a short succinct video on Threads.

Frankly, I am surprised this is something I am just now learning. I wish I could say I was surprised by this but I have said this for some time now, Apple does not care about iPad-first users.

The last thing the iPad needs is a spec bump

David Pierce writing for The Verge:

Before they even launch, I feel confident telling you these are the best iPads ever. But after all these years, I still don’t know how to tell you whether you should want an iPad. Or what you’d want to do with it. 

I think the iPad’s modular potential is actually much bigger. 

If Apple wants to get there, it needs more accessories — so, so many more accessories. The iPad is a screen and a processor, and everything else should be an add-on for whenever you need it. Give the gamers a controller and an external GPU. Give the music lovers a speaker dock, and give the smart home fanatics a bunch of buttons that connect to various devices. The photographers need lenses; the spreadsheeters need a keyboard with function keys. The Pencil and the Magic Keyboard are a start, but Apple needs to do much more. The company needs to spend less time worrying about the iPad itself — a device famous for how long it lasts and that hardly anyone is using to its full potential — and more time on how to make it more than just a tablet.

Ultimately, the biggest problem for Apple might just be math. The current iPad Pro starts at $799, which is already more expensive than some MacBook Air models. Want cellular connectivity so you can use the iPad anywhere? That’s another $200, but a good modular gadget needs it. The current-gen Pencil is another $129; the Magic Keyboard, another $299. (I don’t yet know what the new models will cost, but Apple’s not really in the habit of making things cheaper.) That’s $1,328 for the full iPad experience, and we’ve only scratched the surface of what this device could do with the right accessories and app support. And so far, when Apple does introduce new accessories, it has mostly just made things more confusing.

Where does all of this leave Apple? Stuck. The iPad is great, it’s a smashing success, it’s a terrific device, I love the iPad, but the iPad seems to be stuck in an endless upgrade loop without ever actually getting better. 

If Apple wants to make its tablet into the world-beating device it could be, it’s going to need to accessorize.

I love my iPad, but as I have said before, Apple doesn’t care about their iPad-only users. It has seemed to have been a secondary or tertiary device behind the iPhone and Mac. I am hopeful that Apple will find a way to begin rectifying that and if a new Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard are in the works I think it is a good start.

But I agree with Pierce here, cost is going to be a major factor. If I can get a MacBook Air for significantly less than it would cost me to get an iPad and the necessary accesories to do the things I want with it then what’s the point?

Pulitzer Prize Board Recognizes Student Journalists

From Pulitzer Prize Board:

As we gather to consider the nation’s finest and most courageous journalism, the Pulitzer Prize Board would like to recognize the tireless efforts of student journalists across our nation’s college campuses, who are covering protests and unrest in the face of great personal and academic risk. We would also like to acknowledge the extraordinary real-time reporting of student journalists at Columbia University, where the Pulitzer Prizes are housed, as the New York Police Department was called onto campus on Tuesday night. In the spirit of press freedom, these students worked to document a major national news event under difficult and dangerous circumstances and at risk of arrest.

I also want to share this short article from Sharon Otterman and Santul Nerkar at The New York Times that tells the story of how two different universities handled the same problem. One used police and a show of force, while the other invited them to the table for a peaceful resolution.

Who Spends $1000+ on Courses?

This isn’t a clickbait title, or some sensational headline. This is an honest question that I have had a really hard time understanding.

If you are like me you will have stumbled upon productivity podcasts, blogs, YouTube channels, and more. Some of those creators have courses. Things like how to use a specific app, how to set up a personal knowledge management (PKM) system, or how to use your iPhone better are all subjects you can find courses on.

Many of those courses cost a reasonable amount of money. Anywhere from $20-$100 is reasonable to me for an online course. Obviously the more production value and content justifies a larger cost, and I happy to pay for courses I think are worth the money within that price range.

However, there are also courses that I have found that are in excess of $1000, sometimes double. My mortgage doesn’t even cost this much.

The latest example, and this by no means is an anomoly, is Nick Milos “Writing Original Works” course.

Join our 3-week live workshop to learn a reliable process that turns your linked notes into clear, meaningful writing that connects with your readers. Learn how to hone your voice and improve how you write original works you are proud of. Experience a complete solution to your writing process.

It costs $1507 for the workshop, and if you want to get everything it costs $2400.

Here’s what you get (for the $1507 version):

  • 1 Workshop
  • 3 Live Theory & Skill Sessions With Nick Milo
  • 3 Live Writing Workflow Sessions With Nick Milo
  • 3 Expert Sessions: Authors, Researchers, & Editors
  • Your Personalized & Proven Writing Process
  • The Six-module Wow Curriculum With Exercises
  • Peer Feedback & Self-assessment Rubric
  • 12+ Student Showcase Sessions
  • Lifetime Access To The Wow Curriculum
  • Lifetime Access To Your Workshop & Recordings

I understand that some people write these off as investments, and even fewer have their employers pay for these courses, but I can’t imaging anyone looking at a receipt for a $1500 writing course and considering it a worthwhile investment.

So I ask, who the hell are these courses for?

To me, it looks like a cash grab to get a few suckers to shell out the money. Hell, if someone gets just 10 people to cough up the cash they get over $15,000. Not bad for 9 videos, a few live streams, and some documentation.

Maybe I am totally off base here, but I simply think that this is highway robbery for knowledge workers and becomes the bad apples that spoil the bunch for other creators making reasonably-priced courses.

Do you know of anyone paying these prices for courses? Let me know.

Cloudflare CEO buys paper to stop criticism

Jamie Tarbay writing for Bloomberg (via Archive.org):

Early last year, a twice-weekly newspaper in Park City, Utah, published a story on the rejection of a state measure that would’ve allowed tech billionaire Matthew Prince to build an 11,000-square-foot mansion on a hill with little say from locals.

It was the first time the Park Record had ever written about Prince’s mansion. And then something curious happened: The paper started covering Prince’s plans more regularly, and positively.

One major change had occurred at the Park Record between the time of that first story and the rest: Prince bought the paper. And Don Rogers, the editor Prince hired to run it, is living rent-free in one of his properties at the moment.

Rogers says he doesn’t believe Prince’s ownership of the paper (or his current living arrangements) poses a conflict of interest. The Park Record identifies its owner in coverage. Even so, this arrangement is one of the multiple ways that Prince has irked some Park City denizens. They accuse him of steamrolling his way into a new sprawling home that would eclipse surrounding residences and challenge local height and size limits. They’ve painted him as a bully who turns petty when he doesn’t get his way. And at an April 30 review to consider an appeal of his project’s approval, they plan to fight back.

Just learned about Fontshare and their awesome fonts that are totally free to use for commercial and personal use. Needless to say I am saving them now for my next project.

How this $40 pencil nearly went extinct

This video from Wall Street Journal is a fantastic short doc about the history of the Blackwing 602 pencil and how it nearly went extinct.

I absolutely love docs like this. It’s short, informative, niche, and well edited. Sign me up for any and all other documentaries like this out there.

A New Addition

I’m elated to share that my daughter, Sloane, was born 13 days ago. She’s a happy and healthy girl born 3 weeks early. She has beautiful blue eyes, a fierce set of lungs, and loves being a night owl.

As a new parent there’s lots of learning being had, sleep being lost, and mistakes being made. But that’s parenting, at least that’s what I’ve been told by everyone who has shared their experiences.

It’s been incredibly emotionally and physically draining these past couple of weeks but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

The Future of Podcasting

I have been thinking a lot about the podcasting industry lately. The main thread is how even though there were massive layoffs in the podcasting industry, ad revenue and listenership continues to grow. It seems the podcasting industry is set to have the same fate as the newspaper and television industries, which had to “do more with less.”

Just last year, Spotify laid off large portions of its staff, including the podcasting department, on three separate occasions. Other companies that laid off staff include Pushkin Industries, which let go 30% of its staff, WNYC, which also laid off staff in the podcasting division, and podcasting and radio powerhouse NPR did the same.

Now, the podcasting industry isn’t totally destitute. Just this past month, Joe Rogan signed a new multi-year deal totaling $250 million with Spotify, and the comedy podcast SmartLess with hosts Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Shawn Hayes signed a $100 million deal with SiriusXM.

Here’s the kicker: neither of these huge signings are platform exclusive. Spotify is no longer walling their podcasting garden. Instead, they have had a change of heart and are opening up their podcasts to any player you want. That said, there are podcasts that come out on their respective app first and then it is available to the rest of the public after a period of time. Still, it is a win for podcasting and a win for RSS.

Amanda Silberling wrote something for TechCrunch about the decision for these companies to minimize workers to maximize value; and it has stuck with me for some time.

This “maximum growth” mindset has poisoned venture-backed digital media companies like Buzzfeed, which descended from a shining star to an IPO embarrassment. The “middle class” of podcasters can’t rely on Spotify, and other media workers can’t rely on failing media conglomerates like G/O Media and Vice anymore. Over the last few years, worker-owned media outlets like Defector, Aftermath and 404 Media have begun cropping up, often founded and staffed by journalists who had been repeatedly laid off from mismanaged media companies. Now the podcasting industry is facing the same reckoning as Spotify’s losses prove that growth can’t take priority over sustainability. Already, podcast studio Maximum Fun has adopted a worker-ownership co-op model, and as podcasters continue to lose trust in big corporations like Spotify, we’ll see this trend continue.

For me, this is where I have been spending most of my focus lately. The independent podcasts that don’t have millions of dollars behind them. These are also the major majority of podcasts on the internet. The podcasting ocean has several big whales, but swimming amongst them are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of minnows.

Silberling already mentioned Maximum Fun, but another worker-owned podcast that’s on my radar is Never Post, “a podcast about and for the internet.”

Mike Rugnetta, the host of Never Post, said it best in their trailer episode.

I love the internet as a place, a piece of technology and also, conceptually as a set of protocols that … link stuff. That connect things; massive numbers of things in surprising, illuminating, confounding, and yes occasionally ENRAGING ways. The human experience is vast and so I guess of course it is vast also … online. I wanted to make a show about all of this; I have for a long time: a show not just about the internet specifically, but for the internet – demonstrating and sharing a love of it through its complexity, and all the ways it puts vastly different things in close proximity. Taking that idea, and making it a piece of media – that does the very thing it is about.

This is where I hope the future of podcasting goes, something that is more sustainable, independent, and passionate. I know this can easily be read as me dunking on major podcasting studios and platforms for being big spenders, but I understand their side of things. If you want lots of revenue it is better to manage a few big whales than thousands of minnows. Still, I hope the minnows win out as everyone continues to cast their own net in the podcasting seas.

Never Post Episode 0 Independent Media Roundtable

To kick things off, we had a roundtable conversation with a trio of makers and thinkers, all of whom are creating independent media. They are Gita Jackson (Aftermath), Alex Sujong Laughlin (Defector Media), and Rusty Foster (Today in Tabs).

We wanted to talk with Gita, Alex and Rusty about the current state of media, and why each of them has decided to strike out beyond the big, legacy media organizations and create something new.

Never Post is a brand new podcast but this first episode as well as their official first episode has made it part of the conversation for one of my favorite active podcasts.

Hearing these guests, as well as host Mike Rugnetta, share their experiences in navigating today’s internet to make something that is sustainable and also respectful for their audience provides a window into something I hope others do.