On Being Fired Up

Seth Godin once again hits a vulnerable spot. I'm sure many of you have felt this way before.

"Fired up isn't something you can count on, but it's certainly possible to create a job, an opportunity and a series of inputs and feedback that makes it more likely that people get that way.

And fired up sometimes drives people to do amazing work with you, especially if you've built a job description and an organization that can take that energy and turn it into work that matters."

When I wrote about still being here, I had initially planned to release some more information about a project I'm working on; I was all fired up one could say. The problem though is keeping this internal fire burning.
Many obstacles have been put in my way again like sand that's continuously being thrown into this said fire. There's one thing though with fire, when the spark is still burning, there's always more to come.
Don't let anything put that fire out that's burning inside you. Learn to handle it. Become master of your element.

Create Memories With Your Minds, Not Your Phones And Cameras

Benedict Cumberbatch is hopefully raising awareness for a terrible bad thing people are doing at "events". As he said in the above video (which fortunately went viral on PetaPixel):

"Speaking to the large crowd of fans gathered outside the theater, Cumberbatch politely says that seeing cameras pointed at him during the play is ‘mortifying’ and that there’s ‘nothing less supportive or enjoyable’ for the actors on stage.

‘This isn’t me blaming you, this is just me asking you to just ripple it out there, in the brilliant beautiful way that you do with your funny electronic things,’ he says."

This is something that's been angering for quite some time. Wherever you go, you can constantly see people capturing moments with their phones/cameras. There's no problem in doing so, but not the whole time!

There's no value in "recording" a whole performance of something you actually paid for. You are actually missing out on it. How often are you going to review this recording at a later time? You can't feel anything if you've only looked through this little display. When looking at a picture or a short video of the experienced moment, you'll be able to return to this moment in your mind.

A long time ago I wrote a piece called "How A Smartphone Can Ruin A Moment". This is exactly what I was talking about. Don't put the moment behind a tiny screen; enjoy it now!

(Via The Loop)

Another Reason To ❤︎ ("Heart") Apple Watch

Ken Robson self-diagnosed his heart arrhythmia with Apple Watch which "vastly improved [his] life much quicker than it would have otherwise" as he told MedCity News:

"When he got to the hospital, Robson told staff that he had been tracking his heart rate on the watch, and had two weeks of back data. “Going in with the data certainly reduced my stay by a couple of days,” he told MedCity News. It also assured that he could have the operation nearly immediately.

Because the hospital could check his Apple Watch data, Robson did not have to wear a heart monitor for a week before the medical team at Scripps Mercy could confirm the diagnosis of sick sinus syndrome."

It's moments like these that make Apple Watch the magical device Apple always talks about. Life changing experiences is what makes you appreciate this technology even more and drives you to create a better future with every step.

A New Computer Class

Ben Brooks on the idea of adding the "MacBook as New Computer Class":

"[…] I think we need a new computer class that includes MacBooks and iPads together.
"[…] [I]f you want to touch your screen you buy an iPad. If you don’t want to touch your screen you buy a MacBook. Yes, a MacBook. And yes that applies to everyone asking that question, because anyone asking the question of which Mac to get, doesn’t care about performance and they only care about good enough. If you care about performance, then you are asking a more specific question: should I get X, or X with B, or Y with Q?"

Really good point when trying to explain why people should use X as their device. I often get asked "Have you heard about the new …? Why do you think they chose to do …?". Simple questions like Ben's could make the conversation/answer easier.

Living Without A Sense Of Smell

A really interesting and well written article by Emma Young on how Nick Johnson lost his sense of smell due to an ice-skating accident. Besides trying to describe how Nick feels without one of his most important senses, the articles also goes into some details about how important smelling is for our other senses as well.

It is fascinating how much odors can tell you about the person you are currently facing and how it can change the way you feel about yourself as well. Young writes:

"Friends who can smell somehow seem to be picking up on signals [those without smell are] missing, signals that are so powerful they can override the emotional information contained in a smile or a frown."

The most fascinating part about smelling something is the memory component though. As Jason Kottke mentions:

"[…] [M]y favorite thing about smell is its connection to memory... […] There are certain scents that when I smell them, they zap me so vividly back to when I was a kid or in college...it's like time travel."

As previously mentioned, I find memories fascinating. One thing you can't encapsulate in any form is an odor. There's no way of reproducing a smell that means something to you, to make someone else understand the emotional component behind it.

The smell of a freshly cooked meal when you visit your relatives. The smell of the nature, trees, water, etc. when you're on vacation. Even the smell of the rain after a storm. I'm sure you know what feeling I'm talking about.

(Via kottke.org)

Father And Son Posed For A Photo In The Exact Same Way For 27 Years

A beautiful photo-story of a father and a son taking a similar picture of themselves every year for 27 years. As written on Mashable:

"The familial love between the father and the son is palpable in their body language."

I'm a huge fan of creating and recalling memories – especially related to family, future and past. There's nothing more beautiful than being able to see familial love and share it throughout the years, and keep this memory for later generations.

The whole set can be seen on Imgur.

Apple and MVNO Share a Past

Update: According to Reuters, Apple has denied working on an MVNO. "We have not discussed nor do we have any plans to launch an MVNO".

As reported by Business Insider:

"Apple is in talks to launch a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service in the US and Europe […]"

First of all I think that this would be a great move for the future of Apple. Especially as Apple is going even more wireless with its latest MacBook and perhaps a future with a standalone Apple Watch.
This goal of launching a MVNO may be years away which means that Apple could already be working on technology that supports it in a better way.

There's also the "elephant in the room" as Dan Moren pointed out in his Stay Foolish column for Macworld in May:

"Finally, to me, there’s the elephant in the room: Apple’s history with services. The company’s record when it comes to services is unreliable at best, with snafus for MobileMe, iCloud, the new Photos Library, and even the usually stable iTunes Store. I don’t dispute that Apple could improve if it invested in talent there the same way it did in other sectors where it didn’t have expertise, but it’s starting from a position of disadvantage."

This doesn't have to say anything about the quality of upcoming services, but still there's always this little feeling of doubt when going all-in with Apple's services.

Apple and MVNO already have some sort of history. As written in the book "Becoming Steve Jobs", Steve told Brent Schlender in 1997 that he never wanted to do business with "the stupid carriers", but due to the rise of the cellphone sales in 2004, Steve and his team started investigating on what to do for their upcoming new device, the iPhone. Fortunately, for the iPhone's future, Steve decided against a MVNO model because of its complexity.

As much as I would like to see Apple offer something that supports their own ecosystem even better, I think that this future is still far away – especially to EU countries which are already behind on many features Apple is offering.

Give Your (Possible) Best

Talking about being available to readers and building something someone else (besides me writing it) could enjoy as well, I've been thinking about the content I'm publishing.

Of course you always want to reach a good amount of readers and have your thoughts being talked about, but there's something more than being at the right place at the right time – or as you'd say in our online-community, being linked to by the "big-ones".

Seth Godin recently published a perfectly relevant article on his blog called "You have no credibility (yet)" where he touches on this subject. The whole piece is quotable but the paragraphs below make my point:

"Attention is not yours to take whenever you need it. And trust is not something you can insist on.
You can earn trust, just as you can earn attention. Not with everyone, but with the people that you need, the people who need you."

However good (or bad) your article is, people will only read it if they've found value in investing their time into your words. Only practice and dedication will give you a chance to reach more people in the future.

"The good news is that you can earn it. You can invest in the community, you can patiently lead and contribute and demonstrate that the attention you are asking be spent on you is worthwhile."

There are many ways of creating a readership, but one crucial step to this goal is working on it every single day. Shawn Blanc talks about this very point often on his site and on The Focus Course. Besides "showing up every day" there's another huge factor that could keep you from creating something great. Fear. This little voice in your head that keeps on telling you that your work is not good enough, that people won't appreciate it, who would even bother to spend with it?

Shawn Blanc on "Creativity is a Gift":

"If you find yourself facing fear, doubt, shame, difficulty, perplexity, and/or overwhelm when you sit down to do the work then rejoice! All that resistance means you’re trying to do something worthwhile. The resistance is proof that you’re on the right track. Don’t quit."

Many time I have wished for more time to spend on the things I would want to do. Often enough I've decided not to release something because of this fear.
You can never know if the work you do is good. You will never know if someone else will appreciate it. There's one thing though you can be sure about, if you show up every day - which doesn't mean you have to publish something every day, but at least think about it or work on something bigger - you can be proud about improving your skills. Give your best and the effort will be worth it.

Apple Music: The Ultimate Guide

Talking about Apple Music, the team at iMore has been on top of everything you wanted to know about Apple Music, iCloud Music Library, iTunes Match, and how to use it. Serenity Caldwell has been doing an amazing job at covering the details about the complicated parts and how to use the service the way you like.

The 120-page guide will be available on August 20th for $4.99 and you can already pre-order it on the iBookstore. As you can see below, it will cover some ground and help you with questions you shouldn't be asking yourself.

"If you want to love Apple Music, but it's got you scratching your head, we've got the guide for you.

In this book, we cover Apple Music's basics, the difference between Apple Music and iTunes Match, what iCloud Music Library is (and what it does), and how to use iOS 8.4's Music app, Apple Music Siri commands, and iTunes 12.2."

I think Eddy Cue and Apple's Executives could take a look at it, and if they find something confusing, they know where to start making changes.

For the Love of Music

As you may have read already, Jim Dalrymple isn't happy with Apple Music and decided to remove it from his devices. His reaction is totally relatable and I wouldn't react otherwise, but I think his - and of many others - is a little overrated. You can't say that a new music service is bad after only using it for roughly a month. Especially if you're in a position where many people wait for your opinion.

It's not that the service isn't good or has a small catalogue of music, it's about the way it handles your media. Of course this depends on the way you listen to music and what music you own, but if you are a music lover - as we all know, Jim is - you may encounter some bigger problems.

As many of us, Jim jumped on the bandwagon right away as he trusts Apple:

"I love Apple. I love them because they take difficult problems and come up with innovative, simple solutions. The things they make just work and we trust them. Unfortunately, my experience with Apple Music has been exactly the opposite. As of today, I’m missing about 4,700 songs from my library with little hope of getting them back."

Pointing out that it isn't the service itself that causes his issues, but more the way it handles its and especially your personal music library.

"While Apple Music Radio and Playlists worked well, adding music to my library is nothing short of a mind-blowing exercise in frustration."

If you appreciate music, you collect many albums over the years. If you really love a band, you buy everything they release. Over time you have duplicates of songs, different versions, demos, live, acoustic, etc. but as complied on the album, you can listen to it without frustration. It is after all the way the artist intended you to listen to it.

I have a big collection of music that isn't available on music streaming services (at least it wasn't on others prior to Apple Music. It's the first one that has - for my needs - a great catalogue of music) and therefor I could never really use one.
I'm an iTunes Match subscriber since the day it launched and I have never looked back. I always had my library with me and it worked "perfectly" (with some hiccups from time to time) when I needed it to.

My biggest struggle though has always been finding new music. That's where Apple Music excels for me. Never has a service been able to give me something I really liked, and especially not have me add it to my own library.

When I listen to music, I still mainly listen to the albums/artists that I'm in the mood of hearing now. For the moments I'm in no particular mood or not sure what to listen to, I like the playlists and recommendations.
One thing is certain though, never touch my library! Don't ever change what I've been collecting, tending, and arranging for years.

This is the frustrating part behind all of it. I really feel the struggle behind trying to get everything back the way you've always been used to having it. I've had some minor issues with albums not playing some songs, but have been able to get it to work again. I have to add that this happened on albums that were available on Apple Music. I don't know how it would have worked with something not in the catalogue.

This is the desperation of a music lover, someone who has spent years creating his own collection of music.

"As if all of that wasn’t enough, Apple Music gave me one more kick in the head. Over the weekend, I turned off Apple Music and it took large chunks of my purchased music with it. Sadly, many of the songs were added from CDs years ago that I no longer have access to. Looking at my old iTunes Match library, before Apple Music, I’m missing about 4,700 songs. At this point, I just don’t care anymore, I just want Apple Music off my devices."

The worst part about it though is that Apple has not only lost the trust of one person, but a whole group of people who are now afraid to have the same happen to them.

"I trusted my data to Apple and they failed. I also failed by not backing up my library before installing Apple Music. I will not make either of those mistakes again."

Apple Music has only been out for about a month and there is still a lot of work to be done. I suppose (and secretly hope) they chose the three months trial period to make the service as stable as possible. They could lose a lot of potential subscribers when the trial is over and these issues are still present.

I hope Apple once again listens to what their nerdiest community is saying and reacts to keep music lovers happy.