The Distraction-Free Phone

Mike Schmitz writing for The Sweet Setup:

A distraction-free phone is not a “dumb phone” (although there’s nothing wrong with that approach if you think it would help). It is simply a phone where you have dictated the terms of engagement and all your apps and notifications play by _your_ rules.

I’ve always found this concept interesting. It really goes into a lot of what I’ve been reading in Digital Minimalism, which speaks on subtracting technology from your life to start then evaluating how you’d use an app, service, or device once you reintroduce it back in top your life.

Sounders Notes vs. New England ⚽️

  • Up front, the Sounders can get a push whenever they decide to. They can really cause havoc in the box when they want to. Unfortunately, a few goalposts and crossbars have gotten in the way.
  • Defensively, this team is getting pushed around. It’s not just the back four, but the midfield as well. The entire unit seems to retreat too deep at times.
  • It doesn’t seem like the Sounders are able to keep possession well. Many times this squad goes for the home run when it isn’t there and gives away possession too easily.

Sounders start a stretch of three matches on the road , starting with Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.

Apple Music launches Apple Digital Masters collection of high-quality songs - AppleInsider

I’m imagining master quality audio on the HomePod.

A Mindful Approach to Technology

Mike Schmitz writing for The Sweet Setup:

But we’ve noticed that the way people use their technology has changed over time.

In short, we’re consuming instead of creating. By default, we’re constantly chasing “more.” We can’t resist the siren call of the new and shiny, so we’re pulled mindlessly toward the mesmerizing glow of our screen without thought to what we’re really doing there.

I caught this article this morning, a day after writing a note to myself describing things I feel I need to lean back towards. None of these things neccesarily deal with erasing technology from my daily routines, but instead seek to repurpose how I use technology. Over the past few days, I could feel myself mindlessly scrolling through my Twitter feed with this overwhelming need to know what was going on within the moment. None of this was stuff I couldn’t go back and check on later. It’s this behavior I want to avoid.

Beyond that, I simply feel reading, writing, listening to music, and excercising are far more benificial to me than being a mindless drone who uncontrolably scrolls. With that in mind, I’ve written a little. Now, it’s time to go roam my city on my day off now that the rain has stopped for the next few hours.

Note to Self: Things to Do to Stay Sane in a Troubled World

I’m reaching my breaking point with the news cycle and am feeling the need to withdrawal from social media as a result. Here’s a few things which help me relax instead.

Music

There’s really no better feeling for me than a room with no TV on and some music playing instead. I’m trying to listen to albums more instead of just the stream of single tracks.

Reading

iOS 13 in introducing timed reading goals in the Books app. It’s a good incentive to get a little reading in everyday.

Writing

This thing I’m doing here, where I spill all my thoughts out to black & white is a good habit to have. It’s not even about wether someone else reads it or not, but more about just not having it internalized.

Walks

Walks are my zen time, when I can clear my head and think about nothing. Some people run. I only run from bears. But, I always feel good when I get my walks in and close my rings on my Watch.

Just a few simple things to get through it all.

iOS 13 Darkens Wallpaper with Dark Mode

There’s two things going on here.

  1. Dark Mode is a new, long-awaited feature of iOS 13. It provided a darker look to the interface with apps going with a fully black background. I like it better for my own eyes, especially in dimmer environments. Also, for people like me with OLED displays, those blacks are true blacks, meaning the pixels are actually off where true black is shown. That can save some battery life in the long run.

  2. The most recent beta of iOS 13 offers Dark Mode as an accessibility shortcut, which is activated by a triple-click of the power button. It’s a bit quicker than digging through control center where the dark mode setting is buried. That allows me to demonstrate just how dark Dark Mode makes a wallpaper when activated.

11 years without the Seattle SuperSonics 🏀

Jeffery Brown writing for Cascadia SN:

I know for myself and the majority of Sonics fans just hope that the NBA decides to expand to Seattle over relocation. It would be less messy, and we wouldn’t have to put another team’s fan base through the relocation nightmare and despair. My hope is that the league will seriously consider expanding to Seattle after 2021 when Seattle’s new arena is fully operational. But if it ends up being relocation, I will welcome that team as my own.

This is basically my thought process. I know the guys with NHL Seattle would like a couple seasons for the new franchise to take hold so they can lock in the fan base for hockey. For Seattle, this would be the first professional winter sports team in the city in 11 years, so it’s a huge void the NHL is filling. With that in mind, I wouldn’t be surprised if a new NBA franchise is announced sometime around 2022 or 2023. That’s totally a guess on my part.

Can a team of 25 Ichiros win the World Series? ⚾️

Kofie Yeboah from SBNation sets out to see if a team of Ichiro clones can win the World Series in MVP baseball 2005. As a Mariners fan, the result makes me happy and sad.

Dear Fantasy Football: It’s Not Me, It’s You 🔗🏈

Derek Hernandez writing for No Coast Bias:

Fantasy football is like that friend that has terrible tastes in TV shows, but swears if you give The Big Bang Theory a shot you’re going to like it.

I think I’ve gotten to this point with fantasy sports as well. I just want to watch the games I want to watch and enjoy them without having to root for a player on a rival team.

Albums I Hope to Listen To This Week 🎶

I’m going to try listening to more full albums and rate tracks as I go along. Here’s what’s on my radar this week:

  • Nas - The Lost Tapes 2
  • Common Market - Triple Crown EP
  • Big K.R.I.T. - K.R.I.T. IS HERE
  • The Black Keys - “Let’s Rock”
  • Royal Teeth - Hard Luck

I think if I start small I can get through it, then go from there.

A Shortcuts Version of Spotify's Daily Drive

I really like the concept behind Spotify’s Daily Drive playlist, which combines morning news podcasts in with some music you should enjoy. That said, I really like iOS’s automation, which Spotify hasn’t set itself up to play nice with. The other thing I don’t like is Spotify picks music for you, which may or may not for the mood you’re in on a given day. I’d like a little more control.

So, I set out to create my own version of this in the Shortcuts app. Unfortunately, I can’t get it to behave how I want it to. While I can select a single playlist, I can’t get it to play just one episode and then continue on. If you have any ideas for a work around on this, please shoot me a response.

White Elm Permanent Saturday 🍺

Name: Permanent Saturday
Style: IPA
Brewer: White Elm - Lincoln, NE
ABV: 5.8%
IBU: -
Rating: 4/5
Notes: Plugged as a key lime pie IPA, it’s more key lime than pie. That said, it’s delicious. I want this around the home.

Permanent Saturday

White Elm Scoop 🍺

Name: Scoop
Style: Nitro Golden Ale
Brewer: White Elm - Lincoln, NE
ABV: 5.7%
IBU: -
Rating: 3.5/5
Notes: Easy drinking, obviously smoothed out from being nitro’d. Almost has a honey flavor on the backend.

Scoop

Left Hand Milkshake 🍺

Name: Milkshake
Style: IPA
Brewer: Left Hand - Longmont, CO
ABV: 7%
IBU: -
Rating: 4/5
Notes: Advertised as having orange and vanilla flavors, I pick up the orange more. Overall smooth.

Milkshake IPA

America’s Drug Code is Ass Backwords

So, I had jury duty this past week and there’s something that’s sticking with me right now. I presided over a drug case, possession of a controlled substance, in this case meth. Meth is a schedule II controlled substance. I really have no argument with that.

What bothers me is cannabis is a schedule I controlled substance. That is to say, to the federal government, cannabis is thought of as worse than meth. Are you fucking kidding me?

The amount of times I have seen or heard about meth wrecking someone’s life. The subject in question this week had five previous cases, four for a controlled substance, with one of those cases having two offenses for the same thing within a month. The withdrawal symptoms of meth and its addictive attributes are something I could never say about cannabis. I hung around potheads my junior year of high school. Once I grew tired of sleeping all the freaking time, I walked away, scot free, no feeling of being pulled back in. I was able to be done when I wanted to be. And yet, you’re telling me the federal government thinks that’s worst than meth? That has to change.

And that’s without mentioning the benefits of CBD. But I digress.

On the Connection Between Megan Rapinoe and Nipsey Hussle ⚽️🎶

Justin Tinsley writing for The Undefeated:

Hussle knew the location of his soul. There’s honor in loyalty. In the company one keeps, and the morals one lives by. The graphic stories Hussle narrated were born and bred in South Central. They were for his people. But they were meant to be heard, embraced, and they were calls to action for neighborhoods far beyond Slauson and Crenshaw. Clearly, that resonated with Rapinoe.

There’s much of Hussle’s message that can and should be carried through life, regardless of your background. In the end, it’s about making the world a better place by making us all better people. Integrity and motivation will have a lot to do with getting us there.

Jerry West is Basically a Wizard 🏀

I never saw this coming. I don’t think anyone else did either. Somehow, someway, the Los Angeles Clippers not only landed Kawhi Leonard, but they also swung a deal to acquire Paul George from the Thunder. You’re talking the Finals MVP joining a regular season MVP candidate, both of whom are from Southern California. Talk about a dream if you’re the Clippers.

It didn’t come without the Clips giving up a lot to get George. To be specific they sent OKC:

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
  • Danilo Gallinari
  • Unprotected first round picks in 2021,2022, 2023, 2024, and 2026
  • A protected first round pick in 2023
  • Pick swaps in 2023 and 2025
Talk about a deal that could make Billy King blush. But, unlike that silly trade the Nets made that crippled their franchise for half a decade, the Clippers are receiving two players in their primes with plenty of time to spare. I see no reason this team shouldn’t be in contention for the next few years at least. Further, they may have finally made the Clippers a place players want to go, especially given the fact they have the richest owner in the league in Steve Ballmer, one of the best general managers in Jerry West, a future hall of fame coach in Doc Rivers, and a potential move to Inglewood, CA, which would give the Clippers an identity they don’t have sharing an arena with the Lakers.

Crazy news to start the morning!

20 Years Ago Today: The Mariners Final Game at the Kingdome ⚾️

From Lookout Landing:

People really hated the Kingdome.

They called it ugly. They said it was dilapidated. They compared it to a tomb.

I’ve always said as a Mariners fan, “it’s a shithole, but it was our shithole.” Nothing could kill the vibe of a beautiful summer day in Seattle like going into the dark concrete insides of the Kingdome.

I saw one Mariners game at the Kingdome. I remember the date well: September 8, 1998. That was the day Mark McGwire broke the single-season record for home runs when he hit his 62nd of the year to pass Roger Maris’ 1961 mark. The Mariners were set to play the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays that evening, who were taking batting practice at the time of McGwire’s feat. Everyone stared and watched the Jumbotron as the event happened followed by an ovation from fans and players alike.

Tampa Bay then continued their pregame batting practice. It was as if McGwire provided inspiration, as Devil Rays hitter Paul Sorento began driving pitches deep into the right field seats one by one.

I don’t remember much about the game. But, I did get to see Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner, and Alex Rodriguez in the flesh. I remember how I lost sight of pretty much every fly ball since my seat was right underneath the overhang of the upper deck. It was then I could see how the stadium was much better suited for the Seahawks. I also remember the Mariners lost 10-0. They won the following day. So it goes.

I at least could say I’ve been there. It was a bucket list item I wouldn’t have a chance to check off a year later when the M’s moved across the street to Safeco Field. It went along with the other memories I had of the place watching games on tv. From The Double & The Comeback to Griffey scaling the centerfield wall and the Dave Valle beer special. The M’s were horrible the majority of the time they played in the Kingdome, with the team actually being competitive in their final years there.

Those memories are part of the glue which bonds me with a team I still root for today. I cried a little when I watched the Kingdome’s demolition in 2000. It wasn’t a pretty place. Yet, I felt like a piece of me remained there. With that, I kinda miss the place, even though Safeco Field (I’m not ready to call it that other name yet) is leaps and bounds better.

I look back at the Kingdome fondly. It was a shithole, but it was my shithole.

iOS 13/iPad OS Public Beta 1 Notes

  • Yeah, it’s buggy, but that’s to be expected in June.
  • The Photos app is a major improvement. The way it sorts out events and worthless photos make the app much more enjoyable.
  • The new text selection actions are going to take a little getting used to.
  • The swipe keyboard is the best I’ve ever used.
  • Dark Mode looks amazing everywhere!
  • Look Around in Maps is much smoother and more lifelike than Google’s Street View.
  • Having widgets pinned to the home screen on the iPad is a welcome addition.

I haven’t played with Shortcuts in iOS 13 yet since things like HomePod integration won’t be complete until the final release in September. That said, I’m looking forward to running my Good Morning or Good Evening scenes and having music play.

Again, it’s buggy. But, I’m betting this feels much more solid in about a month. It’s not unusable by any stretch, at least for me.

A Rebirth for the Pelicans in New Orleans 🏀⚜️

Zion Williamson joined Pelicans owner Gayle Benson, coach Alvin Gentry, and Swin Cash for the opening of a refurbished basketball court in New Orleans on Saturday. So much strikes me about the Pelicans current situation. The following adds to this:

Williamson just arrived Friday afternoon in New Orleans, after the draft, barely having time to settle in to his new NBA home. However, he noted that at one point it began to hit him that the Crescent City is where he’ll get to launch his pro career.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “I was in my hotel room and looked out the window at the balcony and was like, ‘This is my home. I’m ready to stay here.’ ”

In a matter of months, the Pelicans have gone from a team who’s GM didn’t have a bright future (Dell Demps was fired late last season) and who’s star player didn’t want to be in New Orleans anymore to what appears to be a substantial upgrade in the front office and the new star player saying, “I’m ready to stay here”.

So much of this summer for the Pels has felt like a rebirth. It’s rare a team can trade its star player away and actually be in a better spot, yet that’s where the Pelicans seem to be. They’re a team full of young athletic talent combined with a coach who’s game plan could maximize that talent. Nothing with their current setup feels forced, in which everything was forced during the Anthony Davis era.

I’m really looking forward to Summer League this year, which begins July 5 when New Orleans matches up against Zion’s former Duke teammate RJ Barrett and the New York Knicks. It should be a treat.

Let’s dance!

The California Dial Watch Face

9to5Mac posted a good write up on my favorite new watch face coming to Apple Watch with WatchOS 6, the California Dial. For a while, I wished the basic Apple Watch had a watch face that resembled the default face on the Hermès edition. Now, the basic edition will have just that.

It's been a rush of emotion this week

This week I’ve been moving between an old and new apartment. I’m in the same building, just downsizing. My new place gets me off the garden level for the first time in nearly seven years, which gives me much more natural light. I can finally see the sky and it’s wonderful!

I’m also moving away from many of the annoyances of the old apartment. I had noisy upstairs neighbors who were extremely heavy footed with two young children. There’s the guy with the big diesel truck who always left it warming right by my bedroom window at 6:30 every morning. Then there were the headlights from cars in the parking lot just feet away from my windows with little regard if they were a problem.

Yet, I’ve found myself a little down leaving this place as I get ready to close the book on it. I don’t think it’s because I’m going to miss the place, but that I had some pretty heavy moments of my life there. That would include:

  • The declining health and the eventual death of my father.
  • A break up I hoped would never happen, though I can say I still have an awesome friend in this person.
  • The burnout I felt going through the above combined with working and going to college full time.

It has all come and hit me at once from various directions. It hasn’t helped with taking work off for the past week to get settled I’ve had plenty of time to sit and stew about it all.

I’m hoping with getting back to work and to a normal routine I can start to settle in and shake these feeling. But, man it’s been a weird week.

Apple and Security

Still digesting this year’s live Talk Show from WWDC, but the one thing circling my mind from it right now is how so much of what Apple does over the past few years revolves around security. The obvious is the new features rolling out this year are obvious, but also what they don’t do right away.

For as much as people griped about the iPad Pro being limited with iOS 12, it wasn’t about those gripes that got Apple to come through with external storage support with iOS 13. Instead, they weren’t going to release that support until they could do so in a way where they could protect the kernel from viruses and malware, and that meant separating the file structure from the kernel.

I’ve found Apple will often release things, not when everyone calls for them, but when they’re good and ready. When that product or feature does come out, it’s most often polished, refined, and intuitive in a way only Apple does. It’s rarely half-assed. This dates back to the NeXT merger.

Can Zion Williamson turn NFL-loving New Orleans into a basketball town 🏀⚜️

Shannon G. Sims, writing for The Washington Post:

(Gayle) Benson is trying. She recently hired David Griffin, the general manager of the title-winning 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers, to be vice president of basketball operations, with former player and Brooklyn Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon as the new general manager.

“There are signs that Gayle is taking the Pelicans seriously and hiring good people,” Butler said, recommending that ownership also find new ways to draw in fans, including bringing in brass bands such as The Soul Rebels and playing more authentic New Orleans music during games. “Bring the actual swag of the city into the arena,” he added.

I always thought the Pelicans should bring more of New Orleans into the gameday experience. The whole reason for them being the Pelicans instead of the Hornets was to instill civic pride in the team. But, catching what I can on TV, their game days have always seemed vanilla whereas Saints games have always brought Bourbon Street indoors.

I think a marriage of that flavor with Zion Williamson embracing it could potentially save the Pels for the city. I hope that happens, as this is only the first generation of fans watching the Pels, whereas the Saints are multigenerational. Just maybe we’re looking at this franchise 20 years from now as something the city can’t do without and it could all center around Zion.

Trying a Little Social Media Experiment On Myself

Over the weekend, I caught myself aimlessly staring at my phone with some kind of nervous twitch to keep picking it up. I still have active accounts on Twitter and Facebook. Twitter is full of locals, so I tend to want to keep it around to discuss local things. Facebook is the one I want nothing to do with, but I keep it mainly for event invites, since that’s how people tend to do things. I feel like I need to spend my time better, so I’m going to try a few things.

Goodbye Facebook

I’ve deleted all Facebook related apps off my phone as of this morning. It’s makes it where the easiest spot to check things is on my Mac, where I can only do so when I’m at home. This should cut down my usage significantly.

Feed the Birds

Feedbin is my RSS aggregator of choice. One of the nice things about Feedbin is you can subscribe to a specific Twitter feed. So, I’m going to look to do this with a few of my friends on there. It actually makes reading through Twitter quite a bit cleaner.

Writing More

I want to think about what I post online a bit more. This means I want to be a bit more calculated and to have things delivered with a bit more thought. This is where I want to share things initially, in which they’ll get syndicated out to Twitter from there.

Hopefully all of this will help me feel less twitchy and will allow me to focus on some other things I enjoy.