Weight

Weight is one of my oldest and most popular apps. Unfortunately it’s also one of the most neglected. Fortunately Apple, and some very kind, patient and understanding users have forced my hand; it is neglected no longer. I recently released version 3 of Weight with a new design and integration with modern iOS features such as Healthkit and Biometric identification. I’m looking to add loads of polish over the coming months. It’s still the unapologetically minimalist and the fastest way keep track of your Weight, BMI and body goals. You can download a copy from the App Store.

What are we? What do we want?

It’s been party conference season in the UK. As usual we have the churn and tear of politics and as usual we don’t really have any articulation about how we will deal with anything outside the short and medium term.

The next 20 years will bring a revolution in technology that will create jobs, change the nature of work, put people out of work, raise new moral questions around personal liberty, privacy and the role of the nation state. Yet, we hear nothing about what we want the future to look like beyond the most general of statements about fairness and reduced waiting lists.

What kind of future do want, how do we achieve it? I would contend that we need to take three steps;

We need to start by looking at our values, independent of the technology or our place in the world. Do we we believe the individual has a right to privacy and how far does that right extend? Does the individual have a right to a certain standard of living irrespective of role in society? What are the responsibilities of the state and the individual?

Next we need to understand what is coming in the next 20 years. What will be the possible effects of technology if left unchecked? What is the darkest timeline and what is the most desired timeline?

Finally we need to regulate and legislate based on our values and understanding of what is likely to come. We need to be willing to constantly test and adjust our trajectory based on the realisation of the projected tends, because we will be constantly proved wrong in our assumptions.

In a very short amount of time, the UK will leave the EU. Now seems the perfect time to be defining who and what we want to be as a country. Whether you think we should be leaving the EU or not, now is a time that demands we have vision and hope. Who are we? What do we want?

Budgeting. Attempt 5322

I have been going some budgeting today.

Over the last few years I’ve tried a bunch budgeting methodologies to try and really get a grip on my spending. Once of my favourite methods is the YNAB ( or envelope) method. Unfortunately, being in the UK I can’t use the YNAB service effectively as I can’t connect a bank account. This means that I have to enter each transaction manually. Eventually errors creep in, outgoings are missed and balances drift apart. This makes the whole thing a little pointless and very frustrating. But, before the drift sets in I did see that it could work for me.

Today, I’m trying something new of my own devising. My goals are

  1. Make the whole thing simple and automatic
  2. Design a process that helps to inhibit bad behaviour. 
Here’s how it’s gonna work. I started with a spreadsheet where. I have my fixed outgoings divided into 3 categories;

– Fixed home costs. Things like mortgage, utilities, taxes, etc.
– Debt repayment, Credit card, car payments etc.
– Everything else, like Netflix subscriptions, phone, etc.

The remainder is then split into savings, and a weekly allowance. This allowance is then paid onto my Monzo pre-paid debit card. The idea is to spend only from that card. To this end, it will be the only card I carry with me on a day to day basis. I will remove details of all other cards from amazon and the like to introduce friction when I try to use those cards.

I’m hoping that by giving myself a small weekly budget I will be able to manage my less predictable outgoings without having to worry about what might be coming out of my other accounts later in the month. The Monzo card gives almost instant feedback on purchases and everything is captured and categorised in their app. This visibility will help me see where I am waisting money and will let me tune my spending behaviour. Finally, it lets me run out of money in a way that will not result in overdue payments.

I do run out of money, I won’t have wait long for more. I am going to call this the “External Ego Method” as it’s and external system designed to reign in my financial id.

13th Doctor

2398

I’ve loved Doctor Who for as long as I can remember. It has and continues to have it all; a protagonist you can look up too and who is still a mystery after 54 years, a huge scope capable of supporting any type of story, adventure and optimism. Not to mention a brilliant mechanism for making the show endlessly new. These are the things that make Doctor Who great. None of it has to do with the gender or ethnicity of the Doctor. I am so excited to see where the show goes and how it changes with the new Doctor and the new show runner.

I suppose the reaction by about 10% of the fan base is to be expected. That 10% should perhaps consider the following;

  1. Being a fan of the show doesn’t mean that it belongs to you. It belongs to us all and it is different things to us all
  2. The upset about the Doctors gender says more about them and their fears than anything else
  3. It’s about time they grew up and opened their minds. If they do, they might even enjoy what the find

I have no doubts that Jodie Whittaker is going to be a great Doctor and a fantastic role model to all the girls and boys who watch the program. This is all very exciting.

The everything device

I remember way back in 2001 I wrote in a tech briefing for our MoD customer that predicted the mobile phone would swallow a number of key technologies. Not particular precient, as it was already happening, but I think I quoted the camera and the wallet. Well somehow it’s 16 years later and it looks like the phone has become the only piece of technology that most people need to carry. For me it replaces the following;

  • The phone (obvs)
  • Portable music player
  • Radio
  • Pocket TV
  • PVR
  • Camera / Camcorder
  • Photo album
  • Note book
  • Calendar
  • Maps
  • GPS
  • Alarm clock
  • Torch
  • Voice recorder
  • Calculator
  • Document scanner
  • Diary
  • Gameboy
  • Books
  • Credit and Debit cards (though not the whole wallet)

For many it replaces the functions of a PC. In addition there is a whole host of things it didn’t replace, because they just didn’t exist before. Makes you wonder what it will have swallowed in 10 years time, or what will have swallowed it.

WWDC Preditions: Results

It was a packed presentation. How did I do?

iPhone (2 out of 3)

Not much time was spent on iOS for iPhone. Lets face it, like Mac OS it’s pretty feature complete until the tech changes that.

  • UI Refresh: DING!
  • More music features: DING! But not much was made of this on stage. But still… DING!
  • Dark Mode: UH UH!

iPad (3 out of 5)

iOS 11 == iPad Biggly

  • Drag and Drop: Double DING!!!!
  • Split View App Picker: Kinda DING. The dock counts. Right? I’m counting it
  • A finder type app: OH DING!
  • No 10.5. UH UH! I have one next to me right now. Lovely it is too.

Mac (1 out of 2)

  • Spec bumped Mac Pros. DING! I’m writing this on a 15 inch Kaby Lake Aluminium slab
  • New version with touch bar updates: Ok, there was a new version (D’Uh) but no touch bar changes of any significance. I’ll take this as a UH UH!
Apple Watch (0 out of 2)

Not much meat here.
  • More sports biz waz. Not really
  • A step away from the app model. There is a Siri face, but I don’t think that really counts.
tvOS (1 out of 3)

More on this later in the year according to Timmy Cee, but not much today. It did get a dark mode though. At least there was some dark mode action
  • Amazon Instant: DING!
  • TV app outside US. UH UH!
  • Talk of Apples TV shows: NOPE!
Siri (2 out of 3)

Some changes, but not the focus people expected.
 
  • Siri Speaker: It was announced. Not sure why, but it was so; UH UH!
  • New Siri domains. There were a few, but not the number I expected. Technically I was right though: DING! *sigh*
  • New AI smarts: Not really on Siri, but lots of talk of Machine Learning so kinda: DING!


Total: 9 out of 18

Not great, but very happy to be right about the Mac and delighted to be wrong about the 10.5 inch iPad

Political Change but Little Forward thinking

It’s been a big week in politics. Many things have changed and may more are set to change in the next little while. It occurs to me though, that despite all the hand wringing about the economy, no one is really doing any thinking about what the economy will look like in 10 years time.

How do we regulate the gig economy as opposed to legeslating against it to make it fit into a pre-existing employment model?

How do we deal with AI and the effect it will have on the jobs market and the demands the need for employment will then place on the educational system?

What becomes of the role of work in a society with extensive automation?

It occurs to me that we have an opportunity to get ready for a set of inevitable changes. Like climate change we seem to be firmly anchored to the needs of the moment to the detrement of the future.