This is where I write about my interests, share my opinions, and link to other things I find interesting. I've also got a section dedicated to photography if you want to have a look.

Alongside my blog writing, I also write a monthly newsletter where I share a deep dive into a topic or concept that I'm interested in. No tracking, no extra links, just one essay a month delivered straight to your inbox. The latest issue: So-Called Imperfections.

When I'm not writing, I'm developing apps. The app that most of my time goes into right now is Text Case, a text transformation app for macOS and iOS, and is packed full of customisation and automation.


How to Add Support for Safari’s New Customisable Tab Bar in Your Website

9th June 2021

In the new (beta) versions of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, a redesigned version of Safari includes a new combined address bar and tab bar. Which although, isn’t winning over everyone, it allows for a slight bit of customisation. Your website can provide a colour that will act as a background/tint colour for the new tab bar.

This colour is defined in the theme-color meta tag, and the media attribute can be used to provide different colours for Light and Dark appearances.

Here is an example of what I currently have set up for this website to provide the pink accent colour that’s used for links as the theme colour:

<meta name="theme-color" 
      content="rgb(233, 0, 94)" 
      media="(prefers-color-scheme: light)">
<meta name="theme-color" 
      content="rgb(255, 0, 103)" 
      media="(prefers-color-scheme: dark)">

And here is what it looks like:

I’m not totally in favour of the new Safari design myself, but I’m definitely a fan of added customisation.

You can read more about the other changes in the Safari 15 release notes.

10 Colourful Wallpapers

4th June 2021

As you may have seen on Twitter, over the past few days I’ve been creating various wallpapers. I had a goal of coming up with 10, and I’ve finally hit that goal, so it’s about time I made them available.

I’m making these available as a paid offering (my first on the blog I think) which you can purchase via Gumroad. The price is £3, which equates to roughly just over $4.

Here’s a preview of what each wallpaper looks like:

CMYK

Coloured Glass

Ice Cream

Pink Hills

Sunset

Letters

Mint Stripes

Worms

Triangles

Pastels

All of these images are squares, and the intention behind that is to allow you to choose your own crop and positioning when setting them as your wallpaper. Each image comes in two sizes - 6,000 x 6,000 pixels, and also 12,000 x 12,000 pixels, because why not.

My intention with these was to create a collection of wallpapers with various styles and colour schemes. So I hope there’s at least a few in there for everybody.

Buy 10 Colourful Wallpapers on Gumroad.

Twitter Blue - Twitter’s New Paid Subscription

3rd June 2021

Twitter have officially announced Twitter Blue, their first subscription, which will give users access to a few extra features and perks. It has been rumoured for a while, so it’s not exactly surprising. But it’s still good to see it officially. It’s only available in Australia and Canada now, but at least we can get a preview of what will be included.

As for features, there are three that will initially be part of the new paid subscription - bookmark folders, an undo tweet option, and a specialised reader mode for threads.

Bookmark Folders are pretty easy to get your head around, it’s just a way to organise bookmarked tweets. Although I think this should be available for all users.

The Undo Tweet feature is a bit interesting. Because it may seem like it’s just another way to delete a tweet, but instead, it’s probably better to think of the feature as a customisable tweet delay. Matt Birchler had this idea not long ago, and his reasoning was that a delay could give you time to rethink whether you really wanted to tweet something. This won’t allow for a huge amount of consideration, as the maximum delay will be 30 seconds. But you’ll definitely be able to quickly stop a tweet from being posted that may contain a wrong link, image, or spelling mistake. I think this could be quite useful.

As for the Reader Mode, this is a way to condense threads into a single view so you can read them much more seamlessly. Rather then manually scrolling through tweets, and getting replies from other people in the way.

There are a few extra perks for subscribers, and they are custom app icons, colour theme options, and dedicated customer support. I haven’t seen any of the app icons or themes, but I’m definitely up for some customisation.

Twitter only announced the pricing for Australia and Canada, with them being $4.49 AUD and $3.49 CAD. But with the way In-App purchases work, you can see what the app offers from the App Store page. And from that, I can tell that Twitter Blue will be £2.49 a month in the UK. Which I don’t think is that bad, and I’m 99% sure I’ll be signing up whenever it’s available.

"SEEN HIM" with Andy Anderson

20th May 2021

I've never really been that interested in freestyle skateboarding, but Andy Anderson is becoming one of my favourite skaters. I think I'll always prefer street skateboarding, but Andy certainly makes it enjoyable to watch. Especially when you add in his creativity, style, and attitude towards skateboarding and life in general.

This film, "SEEN HIM", presented by Powell-Peralta, is 25 minutes long. And while that may seem a bit long, considering it's a skateboard movie with one skater, it's a lot more than just a skate part.

Parcel App

19th May 2021

I've been trying out a new delivery tracking app recently called Parcel, and it's been absolutely fantastic to use. And while it's a lot simpler than the popular Deliveries app, it does a few things that for me, make it a much better choice.

One main annoyance I had with Deliveries, was that Royal Mail (the main postal service in the UK) deliveries weren't supported properly. You could add them, but it would just redirect you to the web if you wanted to actually view the details. Fortunately, Parcel supports Royal Mail deliveries like any other, which makes it instantly better.

That's not it though as Parcel can also automatically track Amazon orders, which is incredibly useful. And while it's not automatic, there's also support for Apple Store orders, just use the order number and Parcel can fetch all the details.

So while it may not be the most feature packed app, or have the most custom design, I think it's fantastic.

If you want to try it out, then Parcel is free on the App Store, and if you want to track more than three deliveries at once and also have push notifications, then the premium subscription is just £2.99 a year.

Becoming a Master by Being a Fool

25th April 2021

Tim Ferris shared an epilogue from the book, Mastery, by George Leonard, on his blog. It's a five-minute read, and after reading, I immediately ordered the book.

I have many thoughts on how thinking like a child can lead to easier learning, less stress, and overall a simpler life. However, this short extract made me think that I've been using the wrong word. Maybe the quality I've been thinking of is foolishness, or more precisely, to be willing to have yourself portrayed as a fool, albeit temporarily.

It's a bit extreme, but here is a snippet from the epilogue that presents an example of being a fool:

Or you might take the case of an eighteen-month-old infant learning to talk. Imagine the father leaning over the crib in which his baby son is engaging in what the behaviorist B. F. Skinner calls the free operant; that is, he's simply babbling various nonsense sounds. Out of this babble comes the syllable da. What happens? Father smiles broadly, jumps up and down with joy, and shouts, "Did you hear that? My son said 'daddy.'" Of course, he didn't say "daddy." Still, nothing is much more rewarding to an eighteen-month-old infant than to see an adult smiling broadly and jumping up and down. So, the behaviorists confirm our common sense by telling us that the probability of the infant uttering the syllable da has now increased slightly.

The father continues to be delighted by da, but after a while his enthusiasm begins to wane. Finally, the infant happens to say, not da, but dada. Once again, father goes slightly crazy with joy, thus increasing the probability that his son will repeat the sound dada. Through such reinforcements and approximations, the toddler finally learns to say daddy quite well. To do so, remember, he not only has been allowed but has been encouraged to babble, to make "mistakes," to engage in approximations—in short, to be a fool.

The idea is that this "foolish" behaviour and the freedom to make mistakes were the reason behind the learning.

I may be stretching the snippet that I've quoted here, but I think the concept of being able to make mistakes goes further than just learning new skills. It's a fundamental part of any form of evolution.

I would recommend reading the full epilogue that Tim Ferris shared on his blog, and if it interests you, checking out the book.

No Reasons

Zach Phillips, on doing things without reason:

Ask a child why they’re building a tower or moving on from the current crayon to choose another color. They’ll just look at you funny or mumble something incoherent.

The real answer is something like “…..because fuck you, that’s why, stop asking dumb questions.”

Studies have shown over and over again that if you take a kid who naturally doodles and draws pictures and then institute a “reward” (reason) for their drawing, they will draw less.

Yet we try to motivate ourselves with reasons.

I think a lot can be learned from the behaviour of children. Especially when trying to navigate the various assumptions and judgement that exists in society as adults. Mostly because children haven't had to deal with the various pressures from society, and aren't burdened by the usual problems that we invent for ourselves.

Some quotes that I think are appropriate to this post:

"Stay hungry. Stay foolish." - Steve Jobs

"Too many people grow up. That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don't remember what it's like to be 12 years old. They patronize, they treat children as inferiors. Well I won't do that." - Walt Disney

“Even though you want to try to, never grow up” - Peter Pan

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