Recently In The Churn


Or the new normal, the jackpot, super density.

The GOP candidate for President of the USA says he won’t recognize the result of the election.

Terrorists used a drone to film their attack on an Afghan army base.

Hackers used millions of appliances to take down a huge chunk of the internet.

Google becomes even more of a surveillance tool.

Post Brexit UK will live on tea, jam and biscuits.

You might also enjoy this over the top Pentagon video on the “unavoidable” dystopian future of megacities.

On the other hand.

There are eight humans in space on three space stations. (ISS, Tiangong 1 and Tiangong 2)

A new antibiotic was mined from human gut which reverses drug resistance in superbugs.

Scientists have accidentally found a way to turn carbon dioxide into ethanol.

The Pirate Party might win the next election in Iceland.




Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The problem with trying to write every day is that you need something to write about. Yes, technically people doing such a method usually say to just “sit and write” but I’m not trying to get in the habit of journaling [1], I’m trying to get better at writing [2] and restart a blogging habit.

After a few days of actual writing and blogging, I’ve now skipped a few days, sometimes because I wrote something I’m not happy enough with to publish (even with the very low bar I’ve set for this series), some other times because I’ve flat out not written anything. So I thought I’d write about… that stalling.

One way I’m going to try and un-stall is by writing about what I read (duh!). I read articles pretty much every day and there should be writing topics in there (re-duh!). Not all of them though and that’s where I’m finding part of the problem. Some days I focus on shorter pieces which end up being “good to know” but not necessarily worth adding to. Also, I read a lot but I don’t always think on what I read, too often I just highlight stuff (in Instapaper) and go to the next article. Before highlighting I would at least turn them into quotes on Tumblr but I’m not even doing that anymore. Which means that the not-blogging and the stalling of this current writing push seem to go like this;

  • Less time.
  • Reading more articles on more topics but not thinking on them enough.
  • Not directly responsible for not writing (I think) but I feel I have to mention that I also read much fewer books than I used to. Not good.
  • Twitter. I love Twitter but often time little thoughts or insights simply go to Twitter and out of mind. Not written anywhere of consequence.

So the new tweak I’ll be putting on this writing thing is to make sure I read something with a bit of “meat” on it every day and pick up the notes and highlights to write something from that. Plus of course random ideas that come up.


[1] Although that is exactly how this post started! [2] “Better” here simply meaning more easy to do, more natural. Quality itself might improve but I would need to write longer form and work on those texts, as opposed to the current “write, re-read, post” format.

Header image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

Apple Car

Honda FCEV Concept.

It seems to be pretty much a done deal that Apple is working on a car and signs are pointing to something coming out in 2019. I haven’t paid that much attention to it but around the types of topics I’m interested in it’s pretty hard to not at least catch a glimpse of the multiple opinions and predictions coming out about that car.

Although many people cite the iPhone as an example of Apple bursting into a new field with success, most opinions I see can be summed up as Apple making another Tesla with self-driving capabilities. Which is extraordinary, kind of boring and kind of disappointing, all at the same time.

I don’t know how much of it was planned but when Apple came out with the iPhone, it was stage one of a transformation to a phone company. They weren’t just making a new phone, they were re-inventing what a mobile phone company looks like, how it interacts with telcos, what a phone looks like, what it can do, the idea of the App Store (I know, not at launch), the ownership of the whole stack, of the production chain, the new kind of scale and size of revenue attainable, etc.

When Apple launches a car, I hope they also not only reinvent a Tesla but reinvent what a car company is. I.e. not “just” a self-driving electric car but a company that pushes in a new direction. Let me say here that this is not a prediction or analysis of the situation, more of a “reckon” and wishful thinking.

A new car company should not be (only) selling cars direct to consumers, it should /could be selling to cities, governments and organizations (maybe even a variation on “platform coops”?) wishing to implement an access model instead of an ownership model. What if Apple does produce a car but focuses on something like Car2Go on steroids? What if they come up with a “plug and play” platform for cities? What if, as they reinvented smartphones, they reinvent how a small four wheel vehicle is sold and used?

Sell 3000 Apple “Pods” (pun intended) with the charging stations and dispatching software to one buyer instead of 3000 units to 3000 people. I could see public transport organizations adding electric self-driving car-sharing to their transportation cocktail, displacing taxis (at least in part), filling gaps in demand and hopefully, in the medium term, replacing a chunk of car ownership and parking infrastructure. Or Apple launching in a few cities with X thousands of cars and selling memberships direct to consumers. (Cue reminder of the hundreds of millions of credit cards they have + Apple Pay + TouchID.)

As I said, more wishful thinking than analysis but I’m just greatly disappointed (almost disgusted) to think that a company like Apple would invent a passenger car and start selling it to individuals. That’s not “courage,” that’s not thinking different, that’s not being a maverick, that’s not the future of transportation, that’s not what we need (even electrified) for our climate problems, that’s not what we need for the health of our cities and it would be a great shame to see an innovative company like Apple simply making another car, even a Tesla-like-electric-self-driving-white-beautiful one.


This post is part of a series of half-baked posts written in 15 minutes (plus some quick review and polishing in some cases).

Weird Standards

Photo by wu yi on Unsplash.

For the last few years, when drinking coffee I’ve gone from mostly drinking lattes to mostly drinking “allongés” (long espressos). In that post latte phase, I didn’t pay attention much to foam / steamed milk density, quantity, and type. Things that 3rd wave coffee shops (where most of my coffee drinking occurs) are a bit hung up on.

In 2013 we sent a month in Europe, including a week in Italy where, for some reason, I drank a lot of cappuccinos and enjoyed the foam quite a bit. I didn’t pay that much attention coming back but was disappointed 90% of the times where I did order one over here. Since late September, for various health considerations I stopped drinking coffee for 6 months and a big chunk of that was also tealess. Since the end of that 6 months I’ve slowly gone to about one a week to now probably two or three a week.

If you’ve ever stopped drinking alcohol or coffee, you might have noticed that when you get back to it, the “kick” is much stronger. Which is why I also noticed that most 3rd waves have standardized on double shots instead of singles. BAM in terms of impact when getting back to coffee. Usually too strong for my new preference, post coffee break.

Back to the milk, it’s in discussing the double/single thing and trying out cappuccinos (and cortados) to soften the blow that I learned than many 3rd waves shops pretty much do the exact same foam on all coffees. The only difference between a latte, a cappuccino, a cortado or even a flat white is the proportions!?!?! Which I don’t get. If you’re going to be a coffee snob, be anal about the freshness of the grains, how they are grinded, weight, type of water, etc., etc. Why the hell do you then completely forgo milk foam variations??? AND go double all the time?

All of this to say that a) I’m disappointed in this new “custom” among those shops and b) I actually enjoy coffee more outside of 3rd waves, like old school places like Olimpico or “normal” cafes out of Montréal where a default coffee is a single and a cappuccino has some actual foam.

(Yes this was a useless post, not it’s not thoroughly researched by any means, just observations and questions asked in a few places.)


This post is part of a series of half-baked posts written in 15 minutes. Header image wu yi on Unsplash.

They Pull Me Back In Again

iPhone 7

I’m writing this later than usual because I’ve been setting up my new iPhone 7. For the last two and a half years I was using a Nexus 5 with Android and liked it quite a bit, I had no real issues with it, other than the kind of shit camera, which is especially annoying when you have a kid. Slow as hell focus, imprecise, so-so image quality.

The OS, the apps, etc. I was quite happy with. All my mainstay apps exist on iOS and Android but a lot of the newer apps start, and sometimes stay, only on iOS which gets to be a pain at a certain point. You have a new job to be done, you look for apps, iOS has some gorgeous ones and Android… not so much. Unless the exact same one exists on both. Which is disappointing because Google’s material visual language can be used beautifully but that rarely happens with “Android born” apps.

The reason I’m back with Apple though has to do with privacy and integration. When I left for Android, I was trying to be less locked in to a stack / silo and I felt (still do) that Android is by default siloed in Google services but lets you turn stuff off and use other services. Apple doesn’t allow as much of that. The other reason was a mix and match of open source, open web and security. Something more webby in a way.

Almost three years later though, Apple is making a big push towards privacy, Android has had multiple security failures, etc. I feel like if I’m going to be tracked by someone, it might as well be Apple, who aims to sell me their hardware, instead of being tracked by Google, who aims to sell me out to advertisers.

Integration. With the most recent versions of their OSes, Apple are finally integrating pocket and laptop computers, with handoff, clipboard, notes, etc. going from one to the other easily. Stuff that for years has felt missing on all platforms, is finally starting to happen and it’s a good nudge for me to switch back.

And finally hardware. There’s just no way to get the Apple hardware quality and polish with a clean Android out of the box. I miss Apple quality hardware.


This post is part of a series of half-baked posts written in 15 minutes.