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> My name is Julian
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First iOS vs Android impressions

I switched back to an iPhone a few ago after several years being on Android. Here are a few first impressions and thoughts:

  • Battery life on the iPhone 11 Pro is insane. I get almost two days on a single charge compared to less than a day on my Pixel 3. This has been the most noticeable difference so far.
  • The iPhone camera is great but doesn’t feel like an upgrade from the Pixel. In fact, when it comes to the software part of the camera the iPhone is clearly a step back. Portrait mode looks like a poor Photoshop job in 9 out of 10 cases. I’m surprised this isn’t highlighted more in iPhone vs Pixel reviews.
  • Notifications on iOS are a hot mess. It’s wild that Apple still hasn’t solved this. I don’t get why they don’t simply copy Android’s notification center design?
  • I miss having a Google search bar on my homescreen.
  • I haven’t used Siri even once – but I never used the Google Assistant much either. This still feels like a solution looking for a problem.
  • Similarly, I was looking forward to the Shortcuts feature on iOS but have barely used it so far. Any recommendations for useful shortcuts?
  • The quality of (third party) iOS apps is noticeably higher than that of their Android counterparts: Less bugs, nicer animations, even features I wasn’t aware existed.
  • I keep on accidentally turning on the flashlight (apparently I’m not the only one). Why can’t I remove this from the lock screen or – better even – replace it with something useful (e.g. notes)? The lack of customizability on iOS is frustrating.
  • Another example of this: Why can’t I freely arrange icons on my home screen the way I want to? (some on top of the screen, some on the bottom, for example)

    Thinking about it, it’s pretty crazy that the design of home screens (or desktops) hasn’t really changed since the 90s. This is an area where Windows Phone was really onto something.
  • I was happy to see that pre-installed apps on iOS are finally deletable … until I realized that deleting apps doesn’t actually mean you get rid of them. You are permanently locked into a variety of Apple services that are vastly inferior to 3rd-party apps.

    • Why can’t I replace Apple Maps with Google Maps in 3rd party apps?
    • Why is it not possible to use another assistant but Siri?
    • Why am I not able to make back ups with Drive instead of iCloud?
  • Why do iPhones still have physical mute buttons? Feels unnecessary.
  • The Screen Time statistics feel better designed than Google’s Digital Wellbeing app. I wish Apple would make it harder to keep using apps which have reached their daily time limit though.

    (Also: My name number one feature request for both Screen Time & Digital Wellbeing is an API so I can export data and set up more sophisticated IFTTT-type rules)
  • Face Unlock works better than I expected but isn’t as convenient as a finger pint sensor:

    • Face Unlock requires two actions: Holding the device in front of my face plus swiping up. Unlocking with fingerprint on the other hand is just one action (You simultaneously tell the device that you want to unlock it and authenticate yourself).
    • Face Unlock doesn’t seem to work as reliably as the fingerprint sensor on my Pixel (I’d guess 90% success rate for Face Unlock, compared to 95%+ for fingerprint)
    • As I’ve written before, the fingerprint sensor is underrated as a secondary interface. Android only used it to pull down the notification center, but I think you could do so much more with it.
  • The Apple Wallet app is great, especially at the airport. Surprising that Google has never built something similar.
Dec 05, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE

Total number of Old Fashioneds this year: 42 (+13.51% YoY)

Nov 30, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE

Media Consumption (Oct 2019)

>_ Summary
  • Read 3 books (827 min, +9%) and 35 long-form articles (+1650%)
  • Listened to 528 songs (+18%) and 6 podcast episodes (311 min, -35%)
  • Watched 3 movies (same), 9 soccer games (835 min, +178%) and 13 TV episodes (899 min, +203%)
  • Played 3 video games (210 min, -76%)
>_ Books

Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)
░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 7-100%

Fentanyl, Inc. (Ben Westhoff)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 0-100%

Softwar (Matthew Symonds)
▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-20%

>_ Recommended Articles

Pmarca Guide to Personal Productivity (pmarchive)

The Audio Revolution (Alex Danco)

Secular Cycles (Slate Star Codex)

How Do You Like We Now (Matt Levine)

>_ Recommended Podcasts

Ben Westhoff on Synthetic Drugs, Dive Bars and the Evolution of Rap (Conversations with Tyler)

>_ Music

Top Artists: Travi$ Scott, Tool, The National, Kanye West, Hans Zimmer

Nov 01, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE

Thoughts on Google’s hardware event

  • While I think that the keynote presentations were better than in the last few years, the overall narrative still felt incredibly unexciting. It’s fascinating to see how clearly marketing isn’t baked into the Google’s DNA and how much it struggles with products that don’t sell organically like Search (Cloud is another good example of this).
  • Related: It’s telling that the most exciting announcement of the event wasn’t new hardware but the new recorder app. I can’t wait for this to roll out beyond Pixel phones (Side note: I’m still confused by Pixel-exclusive software features .. I doubt that they have an actual impact on Pixel sales and Google’s strategy has always been fundamentally about reach)
  • I’ll be switching back to an iPhone this year after being an Android user for the last five years. In those years I’ve owned about five Nexus and Pixel phones of which every single one broke after at most six months (stuck in boot loop, display stopped working, camera bugs, etc). I still prefer Android over iOS, but I just can’t justify spending another 700 bucks on a phone I constantly have to worry about dying on me. (Request for product: An iPhone that runs Android)
  • I was a little disappointed to see that Google ditched the fingerprint sensor in favor of face-unlock. The backside fingerprint sensor is not just more convenient but also way underrated as a secondary interface in my opinion (see: swipe for notifications).
  • Speaking of secondary interfaces: I love that Google is experimenting with Motion sense – even though this will face the same dilemma as the recorder app: If you keep this a Pixel exclusive, no app developer will seriously build features based on it. Why didn’t Google build this into its Nest speakers instead?
  • Great to hear that there finally a more serious competitor to Apple’s Airpods. I wonder why it took Google so long to start competing in this space given how much effort they put into smart speaker adoption.
  • Related to the previous point: I’m surprised that there’s still no Pixel watch. Feels like a necessary addition not just to the Pixel Buds but the entire ambient computing narrative.
Oct 21, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE

Media Consumption (Sep 2019)

>_ Summary
  • Read 4 books (760 min, -33%) and 2 long-form articles (-96%)
  • Listened to 447 songs (-17%) and 7 podcast episodes (476 min, -21%)
  • Watched 3 movies (+50%), 3 soccer games (300 min, -61%) and 5 TV episodes (297 min, -59%)
  • Played 3 video games (860 min, +1465%)
>_ Books

The Power Broker (Robert A. Caro)
░░░░░░░░░░░░░░▓ Progress: 93-100%

Super Pumped (Mike Isaac)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 0-100%

Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-7%

The Dream Machine (M. Mitchell Waldrop)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-8%

>_ Recommended Articles

Almost Everything About Goodreads Is Broken (OneZero)

>_ Recommended Podcasts

Alain Bertaud on Cities, Markets, and People (Conversations with Tyler)

What Bryan Caplan Thinks About Basically Everything (Venture Stories)

>_ Video Games

Into the Breach, Super Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

>_ Music

Top Artists: Tool, Bon Iver, Yann Tiersen, Deichkind, Bob Moses

Oct 13, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE

Current interests (Q4 ’19)

This is a list of things and questions I’m currently interested in. I define these at the beginning of each quarter and then spend the next 3 months learning as much as possible about them. If you have any good resources (books, articles, videos, podcasts) on any of these topics, please let me know.

  • Charter cities
  • Payment processing infrastructure
    Related questions:
    • What explains the adoption of different payment methods across different countries?
    • Why is Germany so obsessed with cash?
  • Douglas Engelbart
  • Command line interfaces
  • Personal user manuals
    See Working with Claire Hughes Johnson & A Guide to Urs.
    Are there other good examples?
Oct 07, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE

Sep 21, 2019  ×  San Francisco, US

Media Consumption (Aug 2019)

>_ Summary
  • Read 3 books (1140 min, -16%) and 51 long-form articles (+88%)
  • Listened to 540 songs (+4%), 0 audiobooks (same) and 9 podcast episodes (602 min, +35%)
  • Watched 2 movies (-71%), 10 soccer games (760 min, +181%) and 11 TV episodes (727 min, -36%)
  • Played 1 video game (55 min, +∞)
>_ Books

The Power Broker (Robert A. Caro)
░░░░░░░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░ Progress: 48-93%

House of Leaves (Mark Danielewski)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 2-3%

The Dawn of Eurasia (Bruno Macaes)
░░░░░░░░░░░░░░▓ Progress: 92-100%

>_ Recommended Articles

Inside Tokyo’s Audiophile Venues (Resident Advisor)

Peter Thiel’s Religion (David Perell)

Meditations on Moloch (Slate Star Codex)

The players are the artists; the game is the venue (Alex Danco)

The Arc of Collaboration (Kevin Kwok)

Fast Software, the Best Software (Craig Mod)

>_ Recommended Podcasts

Neal Stephenson on Depictions of Reality (Conversations with Tyler)

An Era of Stagnation & Universal Institutional Failure (The Portal)

>_ Music

Top Artists: Bon Iver, Tool, Hans Zimmer, Max Richter, Oscar Peterson Trio

Sep 07, 2019  ×  San Francisco, US

List of Things I Want to Do in SF

This post is a public, work-in-progress to-do list for my stay in San Francisco (Sep 5-21). Got something I should add to my list? DM me on Twitter.

  • ✅ Start a new job ✨
  • ✅ Meet with ██████, █████████ and ████
  • ✅ Visit an Amazon Go store
  • ❌ Try both Impossible and Beyond Meat burgers
    Only got to try the Impossible burger
  • ❌ Buy some Soylent
  • ✅ Visit SF MOMA
  • ❌ Test how scooters compare to those in Berlin
Last edit: Sep 29, 18:47

Sep 06, 2019  ×  San Francisco, US

Media Consumption (July 2019)

>_ Summary
  • Read 5 books (1355 min, +179%) and 27 long-form articles (-7%)
  • Listened to 521 songs (+62%), 0 audiobooks (same) and 8 podcast episodes (445 min, -10%)
  • Watched 7 movies (+600%), 3 soccer games (-25%) and 21 TV episodes (1141 min, -28%)
  • Played 0 video games (-100%)
>_ Books

The Power Broker (Robert A. Caro)
░░░░░░▓░░░░░░░░ Progress: 40-48%

The Revolt of the Public (Martin Gurri)
░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Progress: 7-100%

Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-8%

House of Leaves (Mark Danielewski)
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ Progress: 0-2%

The Dawn of Eurasia (Bruno Macaes)
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░ Progress: 0-92%

>_ Recommended Articles

How I practice at what I do (Tyler Cowen)

The Economist Who Would Fix the American Dream (The Atlantic)

Liu Cixin’s War of the Worlds (New Yorker)

>_ Recommended Podcasts

Neal Stephenson on Depictions of Reality (Conversations with Tyler)

An Era of Stagnation & Universal Institutional Failure (The Portal)

>_ Music

Top Artists: The National, Thom Yorke, The Black Keys, James Blake, Van Morrison

Aug 20, 2019  ×  Berlin, DE
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