All the Money I Had Is Gone

This

made me think of this.

Using Tweetbot and Lists to Make Twitter Useful

twitterbirds

As many of you know, I have been occasionally hot and usually cold on the Twitter experience.  Yes, I share hand-curated links *** to my Twitter followers, but much of that takes only a couple of clicks from within Feedly, my feed reader of choice.  But I have never embraced Twitter as either a consumption or a conversation platform.

*** If you’re interested in tech news and topics, you should consider following me, not because I am so interesting, but because almost all of my tweets are links to tech topics and apps I find interesting.  It’s the best stuff from my very large reading list.

For probably the fifth time, I recently embarked on a project to better understand Twitter, both the bad and the good parts.  Some of this is ongoing, but from a content consumption perspective, I knew I had to filter and divide my Twitter feed, to slow the roll a little so I can find the content I care about.  I decided to do this via a third-party Twitter app and some topical lists.  Eventually, I’ll have more lists and the lists will be fully populated, but here’s where I am so far.

tweetboticonI chose Tweetbot as my third-party app.  There may be better choices out there (if so, please let me know), but I keep reading about Tweetbot, so I decided to give it a try.  Installation is easy, and you can get up and running quickly.  It takes some trial and error to figure out how to manage the columns and how to administer lists from within the app, but it’s not a difficult learning curve.

Next, I decided to start with three lists, on three topics I’m interested in: breaking news, Mac & Apple talk, and Wake Forest sports.

I added some of the obvious candidates to each list, and I tweak the lists as I discover new sources or realize some sources simply regurgitate too much quantity and too little quality (I’m looking at you, Houston Chronicle).  It’s early, but clearly this is a system with potential to work.

Click for larger view

Click for larger view

Using lists, I can separate my feed into topics and can manage the content within those topics.  This allows me to better consume content via Twitter, and to be more interactive.  I’ve probably retweeted more in the last week that in the years before, simply because I can see things easier.

I also like the way Tweetbot lets you arrange your columns, and switch to Mentions (so I can reply or retweet if appropriate), Messages (though I really don’t like Twitter Messages as an email substitute), and a search function.

I’ll have more later, but for the moment I’m hopeful that the fifth time will be the charm.

If you’ve already made some good Twitter lists, let me know.  I’ll take a look.

Don’t Get Too Excited About this Outlook on Your Wrist Business

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 11.51.03 AM

When the web goes nuts over some new app, device or feature that works, but only for a small portion of the potential universe of users, I wonder if the people going nuts are unaware of the limitation or just ignoring it for headlines.

Such is the case with the new Outlook app that might be able to give you Outlook functionality on your Apple Watch.  First a question:

What percentage of Apple Watch wearing, iPhone enthusiasts choose to use Outlook, and what percentage of such people have to use it because it’s on their locked-down, corporate Windows computer?  I’d say very few of the former and a ton of the latter.  In fact, find me a Mac user who voluntarily chooses to use Outlook, and I’ll devote an entire podcast to learning why.  The large, large majority of iPhone users who use Outlook are doing so because they have to.

And they have to because their companies require it.  And those companies lock-down both their desktop computers and the mobile devices used by their employees.  Which means that a whole lot of the folks who eagerly install the Outlook app on their iPhones and excitedly log-in in anticipation of replying to Outlook emails from their Apple Watch are going to get this:

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 11.40.24 AM

So, if you’re on a locked-down corporate system, don’t get too excited about Outlook on your wrist, because it’s probably not going to happen.

GoodSongs: Will Quinlan & The Deviners

It never mattered what we thought we knew
We were wrong
Oh so wrong

I’ve only heard a few Will Quinlan songs, but I like all of them.

Purchase Links:
Amazon
iTunes
Google

Book Review: Cold Black Earth

A few weeks ago, my never-ending search for new authors led me to Sam Reaves’ new book, Cold Black Earth.  Here’s my quick review.

Author: Sam Reaves
Title: Cold Black Earth
Genre: Mystery/Thriller (rural setting)

Interesting Fact:
I bought this book because the cover looks like rural fiction (recall my beloved South of the Big Four), but it’s actually a mystery/thriller set in rural Illinois.

Review:
It’s a mystery/thriller about a series of murders in and around an Illinois farming town. Most of the characters are farmers or the children of farmers, so the surroundings and much of the lifestyle elements are right in my wheelhouse. Add in a very realistic and scary depiction of some seemingly connected murders and a potential loss-of-farmland motive, and you’ve got a page turner.  I really liked it.

Purchase Links:

Amazon
iBook

Ad Blocking as Social Activism

adblocker

“As a user, I’m ecstatic about Content Blockers. Some might say it’s not morally acceptable to block ads, but when publishers reach the point where a single 80 KB article weighs 6 MB, maybe it is time for a wake up call.”

via MacStories.

I’ve used Adblock plus and other ad-blocking solutions for as long as I can remember.  I don’t see a moral issue in any context, but when content providers load up pages with so much excess bloat, there’s no moral issue with blocking them.  To the contrary, I believe there’s a moral imperative to block them in their tracks.

I spend a fair amount of money to avoid ads.  I never watch TV in real-time, so I can skip ads.  I rarely listen to traditional radio.  I skip over ads in my podcasts (though, in fairness and loyalty, I already use many of the products who place ads in the podcasts I listen to).  If there comes a time when some content I like goes away because folks block their ads, oh well.  Figure out a better way to do it.

It’s not that all ads are horrible.  Just most of them.  But there are exceptions.  I will stop fast-forwarding and rewind a Subaru ad on TV.  They are that good.  I’m not getting tracked.  The ads don’t bloat my TV and stall my experience.  They’re just well-made, minimally intrusive and interesting.

Unlike almost all of the repetitive and bloated ads people want to heave upon us on the web.

I Give Up: Apple Music Has Beaten Me

I tried to be diplomatic.

After a few more hours wrestling with Apple Music’s needlessly confusing layout and incomprehensible import and organization processes, and wasting even more of my time trying to create some semblance of order to my music, I gave up and am now officially done.  The indisputable fact is that the one and only reason to suffer Apple Music’s torturous interface is because it was made by Apple. Imagine just for a second if Microsoft or any other company had foisted this chaos on us.  Mac users would be having a field day crapping all over it.

In fact, many are, but the Apple-love deep within our DNA causes a lot of us to step back, put our heads down and keep trying.  After all, Apple made this.  It’s on all our Macs.  We get 3 months free.  It will get better.

And maybe it will.  I’m going to resist the temptation to wonder if tossing this confusing, disjointed mess upon us is a sign of larger problems at Apple.  I’m going to focus on how much I love my MacBook Pro and my iMac.  I’m going to assume all the display and touch issues with my iPhone 6+ are anomalies shared by the two people beside me with similar issues when I last visited the Genius Bar.  I’m going to keep on loving Apple, because that’s what I do.

But I am done with Apple Music, at least for the foreseeable future.  There were endless straws, any of which could have broken the camel’s back. But here’s the very last one.  A perfectly confusing, and unhelpful pop-up message, after I tried for the fifth time to import a playlist.

click for a larger view

click for a larger view

Perfectly confusing. Completely unhelpful. If I, a huge Apple fan who has been writing on tech since the 90’s, have no idea what this means, or how to fix it, or what the difference is between iCloud Music Library, iTunes Match and/or a buffalo fart, then I’m reasonably sure the typical user doesn’t either.  I want someone to do a feature-length documentary on how this message was written and who thought it was sufficient.   If it takes longer than a few seconds to figure out how to successfully import songs into your music app, your music app is not ready for public consumption.

I’m done.  I give up.  I’ve been beaten.