AnalogSenses

By ÁLVARO SERRANO

Apple comments on developer site hack →

July 22, 2013 |

Jim Dalrymple:

First of all, this does not affect iTunes customer accounts—this is a different system and all iTunes customer information is completely safe, Apple told me.

If you’re not a developer, rest assured, your information is safe. For the rest of us however, there could be some leaked info, but nothing critical: mostly names and email addresses. Credit card info is secure, and app-related info is also safe.

The most damaging issue for most of the affected developers is having to wait for the portal to be back up. This is a particularly busy period for developers, with the next major versions of both OS X and iOS in an advanced beta stage. Let’s hope Apple can fix this soon.

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The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements →

July 22, 2013 |

The Atlantic:

The logic is obvious: if fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants – and people who eat lots of fruits and vegetables are healthier – then people who take supplemental antioxidants should also be healthier. In fact, they’re less healthy.

Fascinating read. I always thought vitamins were good for us although I never really knew why they were good for us. Personally I’ve never taken any kind of dietary supplements or multivitamin pills. Instead, I always relied upon grandma’s lessons: eat healthy, natural foods, avoid sugary drinks, eat your vegetables and so on. Taking vitamin pills just for the sake of it always seemed kind of wrong to me.

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Apple, Google and the Failure of Open →

July 09, 2013 |

Apple Insider:

Open Source enthusiasts love to tell you Android is winning, and that it is winning because it is open. But they’re wrong on both counts. The history of computing makes that abundantly clear, as do the current leaders in profitability.

This is a great article. For example:

So rather than “open” being a binary condition that makes companies who claim adherence to it successful at the expense of those who are “closed” and proprietary, the reality is that successful companies can adopt open software in areas that make sense, but they will derive most of their profits from proprietary activity. And when you look at the world realistically, Google is making its money through proprietary activity in placing ads in front of audiences, just as Apple and Samsung make their money by layering proprietary hardware and software technologies over an increasingly less significant open source core.

Absolutely spot-on.

Via The Loop.

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30

July 06, 2013

I’m a lucky, lucky man.

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Uncovering Android Master Key That Makes 99% of Devices Vulnerable | Bluebox Security →

July 04, 2013 |

The Bluebox Security research team – Bluebox Labs – recently discovered a vulnerability in Android’s security model that allows a hacker to modify APK code without breaking an application’s cryptographic signature, to turn any legitimate application into a malicious Trojan, completely unnoticed by the app store, the phone, or the end user.

But hey, it’s open!

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First Look at OS X Mavericks | The Loop →

June 26, 2013 |

Jim Dalrymple takes a look at a pre-release version of OS X Mavericks. I like his takeaway:

We use Apple products because they make it easy to access our information no matter where we are—on our MacBook, iMac or on the go with an iPhone or iPad. Everything syncs, everything is the same no matter where you are, and that’s important.

It’s simple, really. It just works.

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The Revolution Won’t Have To Be Televised →

June 26, 2013 |

Patrick Rhone:

The old guard has not learned that yet. They still believe in a world where, if they don’t cover it, no one will find out. That the truth only exists the way they wish to tell it, when they wish to tell it, if they wish to tell the truth at all. We on the ground know that time is long since past. That we don’t need them to televise revolutions and that there is no such thing as a local story. We know that history is best told by those who are living it and we have the tools to hear directly from the source.

Just go read the whole thing. Trust me.

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Permission to fail

June 26, 2013

I have recently been pointed toward this excellent article by Scott Simpson, which was originally published in the fourth issue of the also excellent The Magazine. The article is titled: “You Are Boring”, and it’s about how most people on the Internet seem to keep publishing mostly self-centered, navel-gazing stories without ever really saying anything interesting:

You listen to the same five podcasts and read the same seven blogs as all your pals. You stay up late on Twitter making hashtagged jokes about the event that everyone has decided will be the event about which everyone jokes today. You love to send withering @ messages to people like Rush Limbaugh—of course, those notes are not meant for their ostensible recipients, but for your friends, who will chuckle and retweet your savage wit. You are boring. So, so boring.

It’s true, and I know that sometimes I’m one of them. We all are.

Exhibit A: my recent series of posts about my struggle to redefine whatever it is I’m doing here, and finding a writing habit that works for me. It’s all pretty boring, I know (unless you’re me, I guess). But I believe it’s important to allow ourselves to be boring sometimes. Being boring is how we learn. The reason I write and publish these posts is not to try to appear like I have all the answers (if anything, I think it’s painfully obvious that I’m still trying to figure out the questions).

Exhibit B: this very article you’re reading. I suppose I could have finished it and then just put it in a digital drawer, never to be shared with the world. Perhaps the Internet would be a bit less boring then, but I think it would also be less honest. I decided to publish it not because I believe it’s terribly interesting or particularly original, but because I want to be able to look back on the archives one day and see my evolution, not only who I am, but how I got here. And I want anyone to be able to see that too. I believe there is value in the learning process.

If everything we read on the Internet were perfectly penned stories, interesting dilemmas and inquisitive posts, it’d be pretty intimidating to write. I find it extremely motivating to come across other people who, like me, are struggling to hone their craft. The fact that I can look back on some of those stories makes me relate, and it makes me a bit less scared to try new things. If being boring keeps you writing and helps you evolve, then by all means, be boring. So long as you keep trying, you’ll be OK. There’ll be plenty of time to ask the interesting questions later.

NOTE: This is not to say I don’t appreciate the excellent advice given in Scott’s article about writing and engaging your audience. It’s pretty good stuff, very helpful and I actually agree with most of it. We should always try to write interesting stuff, to tell a story that goes beyond the obvious. There needs to be a purpose to our writing, but we should give ourselves permission to fail every now and then. Even though it hurts, that’s the only way we’re ever going to learn.

Just keep writing, and tweaking. Try new things and challenge yourself. Get out of your comfort zone. You’ll fail, but that’s OK. The trick, as they say, is not minding that it hurts.

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Quote of the Day →

June 25, 2013 |

The great tragedy of Science: the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.

Thomas H. Huxley (1825 - 1895), English biologist

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I'm on a diet

June 25, 2013

My typical work day starts with me browsing through my RSS feed, looking for the most interesting items to read quickly before going on to work on more important stuff. I usually start with Daring Fireball and The Loop, because they make a pretty good job of gathering the most significant news of the day. Then, if something catches my eye, I will bookmark it and I’ll get back to it later in the day. The whole process often takes about 20 minutes.

I started doing this a few years ago, mainly because it’s a nice way to ease into my day, ramping up my mental cycles until I’m in the right mindset to get some work done. However, it’s also a very good way to stay on top of the things that are happening in the tech world, which I enjoy doing, and it serves as a good way to find source material for Analog Senses.

This approach has worked nicely for me for some time, but lately I’ve been reflecting on it and I’ve come to believe it is fundamentally flawed for several reasons.

After a regular 20-minute session of browsing through my feeds I may have come across one or two interesting items that I would like to comment here, but I keep finding that the right format for this type of commentary is usually through links. I will typically post a link to the source article with a paragraph or two of my own, along with a via to the place where I found the item. That’s all standard practice on the Internet. It’s a nice system and it works well, but it has an unfortunate side effect: it discourages original writing, or at the very least it does nothing to encourage it. That’s a problem for me.

Perhaps it is just me, and many writers find their inspiration by reading through other people’s work, but my mental process is different. Instead of placing myself in a consuming state, I need to be in a creative frame of mind in order to be able to actually write something in my own words. I need to clear the air around me and hear the silence before my voice comes out, almost like a whisper at first, doubtful and unsure. Then, after a few minutes, I quickly pick up my confidence and my discourse starts resembling something coherent. And then all of a sudden, what do you know, I’m writing.

It’s a marvelous process, and one that makes me feel calm, collected, and at peace with myself. I just love writing.

And so I have come to the realization that reading and consuming information early in the morning is the wrong way to approach my days. Let this be an experiment: for the time being, I’m on a diet. Not a physical diet, mind you, but a digital one. I’m on a diet of information. I have found out I can’t reasonably keep up with all the news and blog posts every day without dedicating a disproportionate amount of time and attention to it. By the time I’ve covered everything I tend to be exhausted, and my mind is no longer in the appropriate state to write. And what’s more important: keeping up is not my job. I tried to do it out of fear of missing something cool that would have made for a good article, but that’s missing the point.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that this is what I started Analog Senses for in the first place. It was supposed to be a refuge from our every day burden of information. A place to take a step back, reflect and realize that all those sources of info, when not managed sensibly, can quickly become an issue. Well, they have become an issue for me, hence this post, and the change of plans.

From now on I will schedule my reading time toward the later part of my day. Once I’ve dealt with everything at work, I will dedicate a few minutes to find the most interesting items and send them to my Instapaper account, to be dealt with later on in the comfort of my own couch. My only purpose then will be to come up with something that I’d like to write about the next day, capture the gist of it in a sentence or two, a paragraph at the most, and then sleep on it. The day after, first thing in the morning and with a clear slate, I will revisit my own notes and try to turn them into something different.

I can’t be sure that this new system will work any better than the old one, but I’m excited to try it. I’ll let you know how it goes, but that’s a story for another day. And now, it’s time to work.

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