The Power of Positive People

“I argue that the most powerful thing you can do to add healthy years is to curate your immediate social network,” said Mr. Buettner, who advises people to focus on three to five real-world friends rather than distant Facebook friends. “In general you want friends with whom you can have a meaningful conversation,” he said. “You can call them on a bad day and they will care. Your group of friends are better than any drug or anti-aging supplement, and will do more for you than just about anything.”

In my early thirties, I noticed my circle of friends getting smaller as many of friends, and myself, started settling down. Then in my late thirties, as everyone was starting families, the number of friends got even smaller. This is definitely a feature not a bug. I wish I’d learned this sooner. Letting go of negative friends is hard, but benefits you in the long run. The small circle of friends I have definitely fit this description.

CarPlay is finally (just barely) good enough that you should never look at your phone while driving ever again

Matt Haughey wrote about his experience using CarPlay. About 5 years since it’s been released, he feels it is “good enough”. He does point out what, I think, is the biggest flaw with CarPlay.

See this CarPlay screenshot? Notice how there are three icons along the left side showing my last three used apps? You know what happens when you use a few apps, then someone texts you but your Messages app wasn’t used recently and you stay on this home screen view? That’s right, you’ll never know you got a new text unless you change screens to the one of all your apps and spot a red “1” on your Messages app.

Apple treats the icons in the dock as recently viewed or used instead of static icons. When I’m driving, I want those three icons to be Google Maps, Overcast, and Messages. That’s it. Those are the apps I use the most while driving. If I need another app, I will go look for it when I need. I don’t need that app taking up space when I want to listen to the Padres game on the MLB app that one time while I was driving, for example. Matt’s example is the best. I will never know if I’ve received a text message if the Messages icon gets bumped off the CarPlay dock. It’s probably the only reason why I pick up my phone while driving. I would hate to miss a text from my wife asking to pick up something on the way home.

I love CarPlay. I would be hesitant to buy a car without it (ahem, Tesla). I really hope Apple takes a look at this behavior and at least makes it an option.

Dad Things

I’m thrilled to announced my new podcast interview series Dad Things. It’s an interview series where I talk with other people about what it’s like to be a dad.

I’ve always enjoyed listening to interviews of interesting people. I especially enjoy interviews between two people who talk about their experiences about being parents. Being a parent is one of the hardest thing in the world. It is slightly comforting, and also very entertaining, to listen to other people talk about their experiences of being a parent. It makes you feel like you’re not alone in your daily struggles. I’ve always enjoyed talking, and commiserating, about being a parent with my friends. I thought it would be a fun project to interview other people about their trials about being a parent.

I plan to post more about this project as I dive into it. I’d like to talk about my thought process, my previous, long lost, solo podcast Pints and Bottles, and more about the evolution of this project.

My first guest is my Bay Area buddy, old podcast host Nick Pro. Please follow the podcast in your app of choice and leave a review if you enjoy it.

On Indie Software

I use a good number of apps from both large corporations and indie developers. I believe in buying and paying for software that you use and find value. After a couple of experiences with both types of companies, I believe in supporting indie development as the support they give is much better than from large corporations. I have some quick thoughts on software; indie software to be specific. Three quick stories.

I recently upgraded to a new M1 MacBook Air (my thoughts on it will come soon), so that meant reinstalling all my software and apps on the new machine. Rather than use Migration Assistant, I set it up as new and installed apps as I needed. Apps I got from the App Store were simple enough to install; just fire up the Mac App Store and download away. For others not on the App Store, I had to download and install from their respective websites. And since I installed the apps as I needed them, it took a couple weeks before I started running into these experiences. There are two indie apps that, after I installed them, I needed support from the developers to get up and running. The two apps were MarsEdit and Clicker for YouTube TV.

MarsEdit is an app that I use to post to my site. It’s great because I can work on a post that’s not on a web form within a browser. In my previous install of the app, I had old posts from other blogs that I wanted to bring over but did not see an export function. I reached out to Daniel Jalkut and he quickly responded and I was able to transfer over my previous install to my new computer.

dbk labs makes a number of apps that their sole purpose is to create a native viewing app in Mac OS for different streaming services. I bought apps to watch Netflix, Disney+, and YouTube TV on my Mac. When it came to install Clicker for YouTube TV, apparently I ran into the maximum limit of computers on which I could use my license. I emailed Drew Koch and explained how I ran into the limit and he sent me a new license code, no questions asked.

My son recently has become obsessed with Minecraft and I wanted to create a private server and play with him. I purchased Minecraft for our old iMac when my oldest one first became interested in Minecraft. That iMac has since been wiped and sold. I tried to download and reinstall and got a message saying that our license number was already used. I reached out to Microsoft explaining the situation and got an automated reply with a link to their support forum that was completely unhelpful. I’m still trying to figure out how to get a copy of Minecraft for the Mac and can’t find the proper channel for support.

I can’t speak enough about how much better my experience with independent developers has been. I reached out with a simple and probably common question and got the support I needed in no more than 48 hours. And I’m still frustrated with a piece of software from a multi-billion dollar corporation that does not need my money if I had to purchase another copy of Minecraft. I’m extremely grateful for the developers of MarsEdit and the Clicker family of apps, and all indie developers. They make super useful software and actually provide useful and timely support. Please support indie development and pay for software that you actually use.

What’s In My Bag?

Last week, I was featured in the weekly newsletter, What’s in my bag? It’s a cool little peek into what people carry around with them on an everyday basis. You can see what I carry with me below.

IMG 0768

Head over to the full post to read more.

Support Systems

This post originally appeared as an issue on my newsletter. If you’d like to get early access to my posts, please consider subscribing.

My good friend sent me a link to this YouTube channel (also available as a podcast). It’s called the Order of Man and on Fridays, the host, Ryan Michler, just riffs on random topics. On this episode, he tells a story about running into some young boys who are dressed in fantasy warrior costumes and are pretend fighting. He finds out that it’s called LARPing, which stands for Live Action Role Playing. He goes on and says a lot of men are just role playing their way through life and not living up to who they really want to be. It’s a good discussion. He toes the line of being too masculine, but never really crosses it. I thought he had some really good points. One of them being, you need to surround yourself with other men. It sounds weird at first but it makes sense and it really hit home for me.

We are social creatures by nature and we need social interaction with other human beings. We all need a support system. We need friends. I can speak from experience that when I got married and especially after I became a father, those friendships fell to the wayside. My priorities were my wife and my family. And there is nothing wrong with that. We are husbands and fathers and we are wired to protect and provide. There is also a downside to that. We tend to forget that we also have needs and if we don’t have social interaction, bonds with other men who are just like us, we start to break down. I know it sounds dramatic but that’s what happened to me. I wasn’t myself and everything else around me suffered. I wasn’t the best husband, father, or employee that I could be.

I think a lot of us fall into this hole of doing our jobs as husbands and fathers and forgetting who we were before all of that. It’s important to remember we can’t do it all alone and we need that support system. To ground us. To motivate us. To vent to. To joke with. To drink with. To be the guy to listen to things and say “oh yeah that happens to me too” so the other person doesn’t feel like they’re in this alone. Because they’re not. We’re all just here trying to figure shit out. And it helps to know that you’re not the only one.

Before the links, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who has sent kind words and support. It’s cool that anyone reads this at all. And if it helps anyone, that’s awesome. Please share this with anyone who you might think would enjoy this.

YouTube

An Agent’s Mistake Cost an N.B.A. Player $3 Million. He Paid Him Back.

An awesome story of how someone made a mistake, owned it, and made it right.

ProRAW is Here

Austin Mann has the best iPhone camera reviews. With iOS 14.3, Apple has added ProRAW to the iPhones Pro. He dives into it.

The Vampire Test

This is the first I’d heard of this. Great test for figuring out who you choose to let into your life.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Turns 10

I don’t care for Kanye’s life outside of his music. It’s quite sad what he’s devolved to, but this album is almost perfection. Easily my favorite Kanye album and in my top 3 all time.

Tweet of the Week

What parent can’t relate hiding from your parental duties for just a few precious minutes of quiet downtime? We all do this. For me, it’s a grocery store run. I had to chuckle at this one. What’s your favorite excuse to duck away from your kids?

Your Move, iPad

Becky Hansmeyer on the iPad when viewed against the new M1 Macs:

Francisco is right: Power and performance aren’t the bottleneck for iPad, and haven’t been for some time. So if raw power isn’t enough, and new display tech isn’t enough, where does the iPad go from here? Will it be abandoned once more, lagging behind the Mac in terms of innovation, or will Apple continue to debut its latest tech in this form factor? Is it headed toward functional parity with the Mac or will it always be hamstrung by Apple’s strict App Store policies and seemingly inconsistent investment in iPadOS?

I would love an iPad that could run iOS when in tablet mode then macOS when docked.

Thanks, Perspective, and YouTube

This post originally appeared as an issue on my newsletter. If you’d like to get early access to my posts, please consider subscribing.

Perspective

We’re into December now, can you believe that? Thanksgiving was only last week. As difficult as this year has been, my family and I have plenty to be thankful for. Having each other, our health, and moving back to southern California easily top the long list of things we are thankful for. Looking back, we definitely won’t forget this year.

I learned this year to always have a different perspective when unfortunate things happen. I’ve read and learned from other people that this is key in changing your outlook, and ultimately your attitude and quality of life. The other night, I was lamenting that our place was messy. I stopped and thought to myself, I’m so lucky to have a family, two kids, and a dog, that make this place look lived in. If not for my kids, the dining table wouldn’t have crayons and toys strewn all over it. It’s all about perspective.

YouTube

For me, YouTube is my “TV”. It’s what I like to browse on my down time, when I want to zone out. I’ve always liked vlog type channels, when they’re done well. Casey Neistat is the first that comes to my mind. I’ve always wanted to try to do something similar, but for me. I posted this a LONG time ago and I had fun making it and looking back at it (I lived a different life back then lol). I’ve started making little videos for myself and posting to YouTube. They serve two purposes: to capture moments with my family and as a creative outlet for myself. Go to my channel to see what I’ve posted and I’ll embed the latest one below.

Learn How to Appreciate What You Already Have – Another article talking about practicing gratitude but by “mental subtraction”. Basically, how much crappier would your life be if you took away something positive.

How to Be Rich, According to the Happiest Country in the World – Kind of going along with the happiness theme, what “rich” means in the happiest country in the world. tldr; “Do something active. Do something together with other people. Do something meaningful.”

An Oral History of ‘Marge vs The Monorail’ – Something that always makes me happy is when I watch this episode. Too bad Conan didn’t take part in this, but nevertheless, a great read.

Tweet of the Week