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👟 44,638 steps oughta do it
Dumbing down your smart phone, throwing the switch, and 44,638 steps in the City of Brotherly Love.
We made it, folks. It’s another week, and if you celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s a special one. May your dinner be delicious, your conversations be lively, and your food comas be brief.
A Tip for the Modern Worker
Make your smartphone a little less smart. Our smartphones are so smart, they can vie for our attention all day long. Need to focus? Turn off notifications and place your phone face down or in a drawer while you’re working. Better yet, use airplane mode. Minimizing notifications has a side benefit, too. By only having notifications for the apps you truly want to interrupt you, you free more of your time for other pursuits instead of checking your phone whenever it prompts you to.
I tweeted that out exactly a year ago and it’s part of my Handbook for the Modern Worker. You know that application that vies for your attention all day? Or perhaps a few of them? Yeah, they’re the problem. I’ve flat-out deleted them when they’re an intrusion on real productivity but barring that, turning off notifications can be a real time saver. Make your phone work for you, not the other way around. It’s there for your convenience, so don’t be a slave to it.
I drew this and wrote the accompanying annotation as part of my #365DayDraw project 6 years ago today.
Wait, you don't think it's obvious? I think the affordance is rather clear. No, I don't think we need a user guide and FAQ
I do this kind of thing for a living, at least on web and mobile. It frustrates me when people decide that their user interface is so problematic they need a user guide or frequently asked questions. Do you? Really? I think when the subject matter bears explaining, sure. But as a general orientation for how to actually use your user interface? Nah. Go back to the drawing board, sharpen your pencils, and make a better UI. As a fun challenge this week, I gave DALL-E the following prompt to see how artificial intelligence would fare in creating the drawing. I fed it the following instruction:
line drawing of a weathered wooden electrical switch with the word "off" at the bottom in block letters
Well, that happened. 44,638 steps. At least that’s what my phone is telling me after running the Philadelphia Marathon yesterday. It was a
rather cool freaking frigid morning for a race, yet the sun gratefully shone on us the entire time.
It was my daughter Elizabeth’s first marathon ever! She had a great time and finished really strong. Amy and I ran the race too and we have plenty of stories to tell. I’ll leave you with a few highlights here and then drop a link to my full race report in a future edition.
Security was rough. We waited in long, cold lines for far too long to get into the venue. I literally had 10 minutes to pee and shed my goodwill clothing before the race started.
I got to run with Ithaca friends Art and Alex for the first 4 miles. Very fun to share miles with friends, because the marathon, despite me being around 8,394 others, can feel rather lonely.
The crowd support was A+. Tons of people lined the course and the energy was really great. Kudos to them for sticking it out in the near-freezing temperatures.
My Honey Stinger chews held up pretty well. Two packages were sacrificed for the cause, and I kept them warm and pliable by running with the active package in my hands. I also hydrated sufficiently, taking water at every opportunity.
I did really well until about mile 20, which is my usual, but I didn’t fall apart nearly as badly as in prior marathons. I walked a few water stations and probably gave up a few minutes, but I’m happy with my finish.
When you stop running after 3 hours and 41 minutes, your body temperature can become a problem. Despite having a space blanket that swirled around me in the apocalyptic wind, I was really cold after the race. Dare I say, uncomfortable. I managed to shuffle back to the hotel in time to get warm under the bed covers and take a hot shower to raise my core temperature.
🌿 I decided to try growing indoor herbs this winter. I have an office window that’ll fit eight 4” pots, so I bought this seed set on Amazon (my local Agway was out of seeds) and got ‘em started. Cue the basil, cilantro, mint, dill, chives, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
🖼️ I have a ton of old printed photos, loose and in albums, but I never look at them! I tried to use a dedicated scanner to go digital a few years ago but it was too onerous. I came across Google’s PhotoScan app, which promises to take multiple scans of an image to eliminate glare and improve quality. They delivered on both promises: each scan took about 10 seconds and the quality is fantastic. Plus, it auto-rotates your images (for the most part) so you don’t have much to do after you scan. And, it’s free.