justin․searls․co

Your Microsoft Memories on This Day

It’s true, that was a pretty special moment.

iCloud is still syncing with iCloud

Setting up a new M2 Ultra Mac Studio (review: it is nice) has revealed a whole new crop of WTFs in the onboarding process (Setup Assistant no longer encourages enabling FileVault? What?) and offboarding process (this screen has been sitting here for hours as I wait to wipe my previous Mac).

Super neat experience so far.

UPDATE: two more neat screenshots. Free of charge.

It's better to fix the root cause of software problems, but seeing as Bethesda has chosen to continue using their in-house, 26-year-old Gamebryo engine—which is famous for literally nothing other than its signature "Bethesda jank" flavor of bugginess—I guess Phil Spencer and Microsoft have made the calculated decision to send wave after wave of QA employees until the NPCs reach their internal jank limit:

I’ve trained GitHub Copilot on my salty comments

After fighting to learn Sorbet in order to release a type-safe version of Mocktail, it seems that my energy has rubbed off on my AI copilot a bit.

You can either read (NYT Paywall) or listen (in a brisk, 18-minute podcast rendition), but whichever you choose, this piece feels like a triumphant synthesis of several ideas Ezra Klein has been slow-cooking over hours upon hours of interviews on the various podcasts he's hosted over the last decade. If you have an Internet connection or participate in an economy, I strongly recommend you read and reflect on this column.

Many of the themes Ezra hits on are things that I've felt compelled to write about here, even back in the mid-2010s when I only blogged semi-annually. Like the "mysterious" reason that productivity is flat despite so many breakthroughs in information technology. Or my various exhortations that the best thing Apple could do for humanity is help users save themselves from notification hell. And more recently, the kinds of work that AI will both replace and create for us.

Anyway, Ezra's diagnosis is bang on and I'm in such violent agreement with his take here that I struggle to even imagine a counter argument. It seems to me the reason why such a profound and clear truth can fail to take the world by storm is that these are mostly systemic issues that represent collective action problems. After all, if your boss wants you to reply to e-mails within 5 minutes, or if your coworkers will judge you for not being a green bubble in Slack all day, what can you really do to reclaim your individual ability to focus?

Still, we probably each have more control over how much of our focus we cede to technology than we probably admit to ourselves. Always worth taking a moment to think about.

This may be a humble forum post, but it's a great example of the sort of entertainment that:

  1. Would be greatly enhanced by immersive visuals and audio
  2. Would leverage Apple's dominant position in the music industry
  3. Hasn't really been done before

Apple gave up on trying to host in-person iTunes/Apple Music Festivals, but they never really made sense for any other reason than strengthening ties with the recording industry. Something like this makes more sense. More intimate. Easier to manage. Cross-sells their headset by leveraging their platforms and services in a way "only Apple could do".

Neat idea. Wouldn't be surprised to hear something like this tomorrow.

Apple Announces Reality Pro

One thing I've been thinking about for a while is the ability of LLMs to generate convincing-enough-for-somebody-to-run fake leaks, so I decided to try my hand at creating a fake Apple leak.

I'm too cheap to pay for ChatGPT+ and I'm too lazy to have done this via OpenAI's GPT-4 API, so I used Bing Chat to take a crack at generating the Apple Newsroom article that we'll see go up on June 5th after Apple announces its headset. I figured that there was so many recent rumor round-ups and so much prior art of Apple Newsroom articles that it'd probably do a halfway decent job of this.

Here was my prompt:

Write me a press release in the style of an Apple Newsroom story announcing the new Apple Reality Pro headset that's based on only the most recent set of Rumors from Mark Gurman and MacRumors

I thought its response wasn't half-bad:

Turns out, there's more to it…

How to Pack Light

When I first pitched doing a RubyKaigi "Field Report" summary for Test Double, my wonderful and benevolent boss Cathy Colliver suggested that I make a short video explaining how I pack so light for each trip. It took me a few weeks to get around to it, but here it is!

I've been living with this setup for about 6 years now and have barely changed a thing. If there's a headline to be had here, it's that the less you carry, the less you have to worry about.

If you'd like to try out this lifestyle, here are some links of stuff in the video:

What happens next will shock you…

Travel Advice from Bing Chat

Over the last three weeks, I've been playing with Bing Chat as a sort of international travel and language advisor, and I've learned a few interesting things along the way that may help others get more creative with how they use AI.

There are three main categories where I've found Bing Chat helpful:

  • Generating ideas of where to go and what to do next
  • Translating phrases that straddle nuanced cultural differences dictionaries and translation software can
  • Answering "why" questions that would normally require a human

There's also one "gotcha" that's particularly interesting, but I'll cover that at the end.

Okay, I'm interested…

Tabelogged: ザオイスターバー コウベ

I visited this restaurant on May 21, 2023, and gave it a 3.2 on Tabelog.

Name: ザオイスターバー コウベ
Description: ハーバーランド、神戸、西元町/イタリアン、ダイニングバー、ワインバー

Which Google translates into English as:

Name: The Oyster Bar Kobe
Description: Harborland, Kobe, Nishimotomachi/Italian, Dining Bar, Wine Bar

Tabelogged: ニクスペシャリテ・マクラ

I visited this restaurant on May 20, 2023, and gave it a 3.5 on Tabelog.

Name: ニクスペシャリテ・マクラ
Description: 神戸三宮(阪急)、三宮(神戸市営)、旧居留地・大丸前/肉料理、ステーキ、ワインバー

Which Google translates into English as:

Name: Nix Specialty Macra
Description: Kobe Sannomiya (Hankyu), Sannomiya (Kobe Municipal), Former Settlement/Daimaru-mae/Meat dishes, steak, wine bar

Tabelogged: 七福神

I visited this restaurant on May 20, 2023, and gave it a 3.7 on Tabelog.

Name: 七福神
Description: 三宮(神戸市営)、神戸三宮(阪急)、三ノ宮(JR)/串揚げ、居酒屋

Which Google translates into English as:

Name: Seven Lucky Gods
Description: Sannomiya (Kobe Municipal), Kobe Sannomiya (Hankyu), Sannomiya (JR)/Kushiage, Izakaya

Go To Yakushima

Today I'd like to tell you about a very special place that not very many people will ever get the opportunity to visit.

After concluding my duties as a field reporter of RubyKaigi 2023, I found myself with a luxurious seven or eight days to myself. While at Kaigi, I asked several Japanese friends where I should visit in the southern island of Kyushu. Almost to a person, they said "Kagoshima".

So, I went. And it was great! The weather was warm, the nature was beautiful, and the people were easygoing.

Immediately, I wanted to go deeper. I got it in my head that if I went somewhere even more inaka I could prove I was a Real Vlogger by going on an adventure and then making a YouTube Short set to an epic piano score.

But… where to?

Content warning: more content…