The dynamic range of emotions

"Dynamic range" describes the difference between the softest and loudest bits of a musical recording. If the sound was recorded poorly so that the soft and loud parts are similar, it stops being interesting. Imagine the 1812 Overture where the cannon fire was at the same volume as the brass, or Skrillex without the drop. Without softness to compare it to, you can't have loudness. I was thinking about a loved one who passed away, and about the ebb and flow of happy memories mixed with tragic moments.

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Internet Explorer is finally dead

I was working the night shift at a motel while going to school during the day, when my parents saw a help wanted ad for a local ISP. This was in the late 90s when public use of the Internet was starting to take off, and that sounded like a lot more fun than balancing books every night. It was. Although I technically worked in tech support, at least at first, in a small shop everyone learns how to do everything.

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Do not use Readdle's Spark email app

I've written before about Readdle's Spark email client, which is popular, highly rated, and a beautifully powerful app. It's also too dangerous to use. I recommend dropping it immediately. Readdle is a good, reputable company. I respect and appreciate them. However, Spark's design is fatally flawed: to use its advanced features, your email username and password (or token — same thing) have to be stored on their servers so that they can access your email account on your behalf.

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Microsoft's gotta Microsoft

A long time ago, back in the dark days of the Browser Wars, Microsoft hated Free Software, especially Linux and the GNU General Public License. We knew this was factually true when one of their employees leaked the Halloween documents and confirmed all our worst suspicions. The world has changed since then, with Linux systems powering most Internet services and Unix-powered phones dwarfing the number of traditional Windows computers. Microsoft seemed to learn humility in their new role as underdog, going to surprising lengths to win a reputation as a kinder, gentler giant.

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Dealing with Princeton's flawed privacy research

This has been an odd week. Last Friday I got an email from someone asking about my hobby website's CCPA compliance, ending with I look forward to your reply without undue delay and at most within 45 days of this email, as required by Section 1798.130 of the California Civil Code. The message sounded more legitimate than the usual spam I get, as it was asking about a real law in the jurisdiction where I live, and because it referred to a real website that I operate.

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…And Back to OmniFocus

I recently wrote about switching from OmniFocus to Reminders and gave a lot of reasons why I thought that was a good plan. I was wrong and I've since moved back. Apple has made Reminders into a solid app with a lot of nice features, but I realized I've been taking OmniFocus for granted. First, I sorely missed its "defer dates". That is, I don't need to be reminded to buy Halloween candy when it's nearly Christmas time.

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About the Manifesto for Ubiquitous Linking

I've written before about Hook, a nifty way of linking things you're working on together so you can seamlessly bounce between them. I've thoroughly integrated it into my workflow now and adore how quickly I can jump from one document to another — in a different app, even — without ever looking away from my work. It helps me reach and maintain a state of flow. Hook depends on an app's ability to support deep linking to its contents.

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Better incentives for showing web ads

I use ad blockers on all my devices. Still, I understand that the sites I enjoy depend on ad revenue. When a site I visit a lot asks me to add them to my blocker's "allow list", I will (unless they've plastered a dozen ads across each page). Individual websites are the wrong entities to be asking for that permission, though. Few websites directly sell the ads they display. Instead, they'll contract that process out to giant ad networks like Google AdSense, Amazon Publisher Services, or dozens of other companies specializing in embedding relevant ads in the appropriate sites.

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AirTag lost its way

Apple released their new AirTag product six months ago, and as competent as it is for finding lost gear, Apple's done everything possible to hamstring the little device to make it frustrating to use. The product idea is simple: you buy one and attach it to something you don't want to misplace, like your car keys. Then you can use your iPhone to locate that thing when you inevitably misplace it.

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From OmniFocus to Reminders

My wife's been a Mac user much longer than I have. Years after she'd been happily using an iMac G4, a family friend asked if I'd like a bargain deal on their unused eMac. I was hooked. I'd recently learned about Getting Things Done (aka GTD) and wanted to try that on my new computer. At the time, on that OS, for Serious Users, that meant adopting either Things or OmniFocus.

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