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.

Back To School

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As you can tell from the title, the kids are back in school, and the youngest is physically back in school. I know, big deal. As the beginning of the school year approached, and as talks of sending kids back to school progressed, we were wary of sending our kids back to school. We are fortunate enough to live in a school district where they take science seriously and have taken every precaution possible to accept students back into school, which made us feel better. And as other families and parents have experienced, we were all ready for that separation of school and home. In the understatement of the century, this pandemic has taken a toll on all of us and after a month of distance learning for this school year, we were ready for our youngest to go back. I’m sure he missed the structure of school as well.

After three weeks of in-person school, everything seems to be going great. He gets to take the bus to school, which he loves. He comes home exhausted but has tons of stories to tell us from his day. And as parents, we get our peace and quiet back, during the day at least.

Our older one is not yet back at school as there are greater logistic issues with the middle school. But she seems to be doing fine for now with the remote set up. I’ve been impressed with her school’s curriculum especially for her French class. Every Friday they cook a French dish. It’s basically a cooking class. And we benefit from eating an impressive French meal she prepared herself. Of course, I’m eager to help her and watch over her shoulder and help when she needs it.

Nine months into this pandemic and it still wears on you, but we’ve adjusted to the move and now being back in school so I can’t complain in the grand scheme of things.

Now, on to some links…

Someday Our Kids Will Not Believe Us About Any of This

I think about this especially as I see my youngest one being more and more aware of what is going on around him. He freaks out when he touches something outside. He asks what would happen if he “fights the police”. And our oldest sees all the political ads and asks tons of questions. Good ones at that. And now that we are closing in on a year of living like this, I’d like to make an effort to remember and take note of everything going on around us.

How to Build a Better Dinner

Since we’ve all been working from home and staying in as much as possible, we are all cooking a lot more, ordering take out more, or a combination of both. This article by Kenji Lopez-Alt reminded me how kitchens are run and inspired me to have more cooking “building blocks” on hand to help you make meals by combining different blocks. One of the secrets to how a restaurant pushes out all those dishes for all those guests is the amount of prep that goes in beforehand.

iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Reviews

New iPhones came out last week (standard 12 and 12 Pro, we will have to wait for the Mini and Pro Max) and I upgraded my two year old XR. I got a iPhone 12 Pro in Gold, 128 GB on T-Mobile. The gold looks great in person. 5G is mostly a feature that’s been shoved down our throats. The speeds in my area are comparable to LTE. I’m enjoying the OLED screen and camera improvements the most.

I linked to Gruber’s review up top, but The Verge (iPhone 12 Pro) and MKBHD (iPhone 12) have great video reviews if you’d rather watch than read.

Tweet of the Week

I’ve probably mentioned it on Twitter, but Ted Lasso is probably the best show I’ve watched this year. Whatever hype you’ve heard, it is all true and you should probably watch it right now. Here’s a thread that tries to explain why it’s so great.