This week, Riccardo Mori published a piece about the recent perceived decline in Mac software titled “A brief reflection on Mac software stagnation”.
I was going to reply with a quick tweet-sized comment. But those 280 characters turned into a few tweets, then a full-on Twitter thread, and then – ah, shit – I really should write about this properly.
So here we are this evening. I want to present my short thesis answering Riccardo’s question of why so many Mac Catalyst apps are, at best, Half-assed Mac Apps.
As much as it is a job and source of income, for me, building software is also a way to relax, a form of self-expression, play, and in the best moments – joy.
Today, I want to show off a project so far along the joy side of that spectrum that it blows past being silly and borders on pure ridiculousness.
Let’s reskin Notification Center on macOS.
And make it look like Winamp.
Back in June, I posted a completely un-serious post that described a ridiculous Rube Goldberg approach to grabbing two-factor authentication codes from your text messages on macOS using Keyboard Maestro (for those of use who don’t use Safari).
How dumb was it? Let’s just say that it relied on taking a screenshot of Notifcation Center and parsing the code out of the image.
A joke, yes, but also a fun distraction one evening.
To my surprise, very nice reader azorpheunt provided a real solution in the comment section earlier today.
When I tell people, “I started my app business in 2007”, that’s not true. I never meant to start a business – it just happened. Because if I had sat down one afternoon and thought, “I’m going to begin selling software online today,” I sure as hell wouldn’t have intentionally named my company Click On Tyler.
For fourteen years, I’ve hated that name.
I wish I could remember who on Twitter pointed out this Accessibility feature, but I wanted to highlight it here and how I use this gesture because it’s such a fun shortcut for automation nerds.
I’ve been big into journaling for close to a decade now – at least in my personal life. But I’ve never been able to build up the same habit in my work / professional life – even though I know I would reap benefits there, too.
I’ve tried all sorts of workflows to make journaling my workday a regular and frictionless routine — everything from a Day One hotkey to some convoluted Keyboard Meastro macros and Drafts.app actions.
None of them stuck.
But what finally did work for me (at least for the last six months or so) is a tiny little Mac app called Capture Thing.
Situations like these are never easy on the person’s family – no matter the medical condition. But Alzheimer’s is particularly vile because at some point, the person living with this disease…disappears. And other than the occasional fleeting glimpse of their old selves, the person that family loved and now has to take care of, is gone. It’s fucking cruel to witness the story play out over the remaining years. In my grandmother’s case, it took eleven.
My grandmother passed away in August of 2019 at ninety-five years young. Why am I writing this post now? Two years later? Before I get to that, let me tell you about her.
The story I’m reminded of today is the one about the only actual Apple leak I ever personally heard.
It was one of those awkward moments in an otherwise mostly-quiet train car where one person will just. not. stop. talking. And this guy was going on and on about the electronics company he worked for and all the patents they had.
There aren’t enough adjectives in the world to describe her giant-sized personality. So I’ll just say happy number six to the strongest girl I know.
I do know that fourteen years into iOS, people still ducking hate autocorrect. Especially when you find your ducking text messages littered with ducks. There’s just no ducking way around it. Short of adding a fake contact to your address book named Dr. Duck Ducking McDucker, autocorrect seems ducking incapable of learning everyone’s favorite bit of profanity.
That got me thinking earlier today. What’s going to happen when Apple finally leads us into that next frontier of human / computer interaction? What happens when our day-to-day reality becomes augmented with live information and our physical and digital worlds merge even closer together?
What happens if Apple takes autocorrect’s prudish vocabulary into AR? If they dared to try and censor the real world, how would that look?