Something old and something even older. These are two items I couldn’t part with when recently cleaning out a box of old cables and gadgets.

That device on the left is called a “telephone”, possibly unrecognizable to some. The one on the right is a TI SR-11 calculator.

One of my fave use cases for ApplePay is invoices from service providers that use QuickBooks. The email includes an ApplePay button and I can pay the bill in about 5 seconds. So freaking smooth, so much faster and easier than using other electronic bill pay methods… 💵

I think this keyboard protector on Amazon is the best thing I bought last year. One of our kids has a penchant for degrading keyboards (Apple Magic keyboards in our case). I finally thought to get a protector and this one is very thin and has been working out well. All for $7 US.

Wooden obelisk

A pattern change

Look, there’s 2020 on the other side of the bridge. Shall we walk into the new year together? 💥 🎉 🎈 🎊

I rejected diet and activity tracking apps and came up with this simpler and better(?) approach to meet my needs

For several years I’ve done those things people say you should to track and manage diet and exercise/fitness. For over a year I logged everything I ate in MyFitnessPal, logged my weight daily, and used my iPhone/Apple Watch to track standing, movement and exercise. Each was helpful, at least in short bursts, but after each of my pushes the outcome was pretty disappointing. Flaws, to me, include the information being disjointed across these apps even though I could pull it all into the Health app on my iPhone. The data was just that - a bunch for data with a limited clue as to compliance and history. It was hard to see trends and to see how these different aspects of my life interacted. And MyFitnessPal (and it’s ilk) are really tedious to do for any length of time. I also tried using automated tools in apps like Things and Day One to have me keep track myself and those didn’t “stick” and didn’t satisfy my complaints either.

Since I wasn’t happy with where I was health-wise and didn’t feel like these tools were working for me I decided to take a different approach. And, once again proving I’m a nerd, I decided a spreadsheet would better allow me to document my activity and dietary goals for each day and then to track compliance. So about a month ago I created a spreadsheet table with a column for each day and 4 rows of activities and 7 rows of dietary objectives. Even though it is a spreadsheet the cells are simply checkboxes. When I am compliance for the row I check off the box. Some items are positives like getting in my aerobic exercise for the day and others are negatives such as not eating a carb snack in the morning. The bottom row of the spreadsheet totals up the check marked cells. Achieving 7 is the bare minimum and earns a yellow status while 8 or more is good compliance and is a green status. I can quickly open and update the day’s status on any device and in doing so also get a reminder of what I am supposed to be doing and how today compares to previous days.

So far I’m really happy with this approach - it suits my style and personality quite well. Below is a an example of a one week snapshot. Wednesday’s is colored green because that was Christmas Day and I made that a complete cheat day. Friday and Saturday’s compliance is poor due to a road trip (noted in a comment on Friday). Monday (today as I draft this post) hasn’t yet met the objective (but there’s still time!). And Tuesday is blank because it isn’t Tuesday yet. Fortunately my compliance was better leading up to Christmas week!

The actual spreadsheet has more personal details about my objectives as well as having one tab for each month and one column for every day of the month.

N.B. I still use and value Apple’s health related apps for tracking the details and for it’s gamification of compliance but overall this spreadsheet is now the key for me. Also I considered making some items in the spreadsheet worth more than others. But I elected to keep it simple and also stay conscious of the fact that the core purpose was to come close to 100% compliance each day.

Broken infinity

Wall art from a local cafe

I’ve been using this set of questions for a couple of years now and find them quite beneficial. Thought it would be worth re-posting them in advance of the NY.

Sharing ten questions you might want to answer in a year-end journal entry. I’ve found these to be very beneficial.

Sunset

My wife and I dumped, I mean left, our kids with my MIL and have taken a short drive for a night away. We’re not even doing anything special but it sure is a nice treat! 🥃

I bought our son 7 Wonders Duel, a card-style game for two, as one of his Christmas board games. We’ve played two times so far and each won once. This game lives up to its strong reputation - it’s a blast to play.

Thanks to my lovely wife, I am now the happy owner of a second HomePod. I’m adding it to my study so I’ll have a pair set up for stereo. 🎶

Merry Christmas to all 🎄! Best wishes for some golden moments and Happy Hanukkah to those celebrating that holiday this week.

Globes

From the local coffee shop

I suppose I am the only person who wishes the MacBook Pro had a pre-heat feature for those really cold mornings of lap usage 🥶

Based on my time at Best Buy today, having them fix their battery replacement on my iPhone X, AirPods are a huge success as gifts. I saw a ton of people picking them up from the pre-purchase desk. Apple Watches were a distant second. Don’t think I saw 2 of anything else.

Updated: Analysis of Best Buy vs Apple for in warranty iPhone repair 📱

Now that the nearest Apple Store is 1.5 hours away, round trip, I decided to try Best Buy’s authorized service to do an in-warranty replacement of my iPhone X battery. The Best Buy is about 5 minutes away so it would save a ton of drive time.

It took the guy that waited on me 45 minutes from the time he started until he finished checking in my phone for the repair. This doesn’t include any time in line. Other staff seemed more competent.

The good news is they completed the repair in the estimated time window of 3 hours. The bad news is that I noticed after getting home the case and screen aren’t fitted together properly. The bottom left corner of the screen is elevated above the case. I imagine this means the water resistance is non-existent now.

I really don’t want to give up my phone for another half day but I don’t think I have any choice but to return and hope they can get it right on the second try. If so I will still probably have saved on drive time but at the cost of heightened annoyance. I don’t think I’d trust them with a phone again.

Update: I returned to the store today and of course the same guy that faced so much trouble checking me in was at the counter. But by luck and much more competent woman became available. She got me checked in immediately, walked the phone to the back, and returned to tell me they would have it fixed in about 15 minutes. True to their word they did and the phone is back to normal. I had been afarid I’d have to leave it again so I was quite relieved to be in and out in under 30 minutes.

The battery in my iPhone X has entered the “degraded” stage and needs to be replaced. Since the nearest Apple stores are fairly distant I’m going to try using Best Buy (arranged by Apple). Hopefully I won’t regret this - but a battery replacement seems easy enough. 📱

This is great news for home automation, and something I did not expect to see. These 3 companies rarely cooperate.

Google, Amazon and Apple (plus others) have created Connected Home Over IP, a new working group managed by the Zigbee Alliance

Engadget

Over the past few days I setup a S3 Glacier bucket as an offsite backup for our Mac and Windows machines. It was quite easy to do with the Arq app. A digital insurance policy.

Lovely sky while out exercising today. ☀️ ⛅️ 📷

Lazy Dog.

Missing Someone

Haven’t posted a photo from this local indie coffee shop in a long time. ☕️ 📷

Duino Coffee.