Another newsletter spanning two weeks this time around, since it felt premature publishing what I had written up last Sunday. King County announced a health order to be enacted tomorrow requiring masks to be worn in all indoor spaces. As far as I’ve been keeping track, the number of cases in Washington has trailed off, which is great news, though companies and the local government are still being cautious about opening up too quickly.
In iPad Productivity Corner, my Magic Keyboard came earlier last week! Using the iPad with a trackpad is a whole new experience, and Apple did a really good job integrating cursor support into the OS. Interfacing with the iPad using a trackpad may seem strange at first given the fact that it’s a touch-first device, but in “laptop mode” (ie. with an external keyboard), moving your hand to the trackpad and performing gestures similarly to how you would on a laptop is much more natural (and quicker) than extending your arm forward and poking at a glass screen. Turns out Steve Jobs had it right back in 2010 when he rejected the idea of touchscreen Macs:
Touch surfaces don’t want to be vertical. It gives a great demo, but after a short period of time you start to fatigue, and after an extended period of time your arm wants to fall off. It doesn’t work, it’s ergonomically terrible.
Treating the Magic Keyboard as a docking station perhaps paradoxically improves the experience of using the iPad as a standalone tablet, since it’s so easy to magnetically attach and detach it from the keyboard. As a result, I’ve been using my iPad a lot more for casual web browsing; it really is a nice device for consuming content. I’m excited to see what WWDC 2020 brings to iPadOS, since it’s already very solid for most workloads.
I picked up 21 Lessons for the 21st Century to finish up Harari’s books, and made my way through that last week. Out of all his books, I thought it was the weakest, though it was still a good read. One thing that especially stood out to me was him mentioning that he meditates 2 hours a day, which sounded like an absurd amount of time to spend “doing nothing” for such a successful person. However, since I’m stuck working from home anyways and am looking for ways to change up the daily routine, I decided to try it out for myself.
I’ve been using Headspace since work provides a subscription to it, and setting aside 15 minutes or so every night to do the daily meditation. Continuing along with the Shortcuts spree from last issue, I wrote one to automatically turn on Do Not Disturb for a set amount of time and launch the app. I’ve often felt like my brain is always thinking about things and that I’m not giving it enough idle time, so starting meditation has been an interesting experience. I’ve slept well the past few days, though I’m not sure if that’s coincidental or not.
The book that I’m currently reading is Probably Approximately Correct by Leslie Valiant, which discusses the framework of computational learning of the same name that he proposed. It’s been an interesting read thus far; one of the things that I’ve always found fascinating is how people (specifically children) are able to learn things quickly from so few examples, and this book discusses some ideas for why that might be the case.
I have also happily been cycling through playing Legends of Runeterra, Teamfight Tactics, and VALORANT these days. Looking back, it’s ridiculous that for the majority of high school and the entirety of university, I played one game (League) and one game only, and it was able to hold my attention for that long.
When I was beginning to write this issue last week, I had drafted wanting to “push for Diamond in TFT and Platinum in Runeterra this season”, but as of this week, I achieved both of those goals! I am super happy about this, since the last time I was Diamond in League was way back in Season 5 (in my first year of university).
That’s all for this issue; as always, thank you for reading, and stay safe out there!