Loads of Apple kit and some other single-use devices behind the iPhone

Published stuff

A slightly tongue-in-cheek column for Stuff this week: My phone does everything, which is why I want to resurrect my iPod. And I really wish I could find the comic strip I refer to in the intro. It’s been bugging me for years.

I also gave my best free iPhone apps list a bump by adding Arc Browser, which has a really interesting way of presenting search results.

Over at TapSmart, it was all about kit this week, with new iPad and Apple Watch buyer’s guides.

Other stuff

Some random thoughts rattling around my head this week, mostly about Apple.

First, HomeKit is dreadful. I didn’t realise quite how bad it would be and regret dumping our Alexa kit and moving over, despite this household mostly being based around Apple products.

Yet again, an iOS update nuked my set-up. I recovered it, although our Eve plugs decided to not come along for the ride and once again needed resetting. It took a couple of days to figure out how to get my wife (listed as an admin on the system) back into the shared home too. Apple prides itself on “it just works”. But HomeKit just doesn’t. Looking online, I found I’m far from alone in this.

The same goes for macOS sidebar peeking, which has suddenly gained traction online, primarily because people hate it. If you’ve not noticed this in Sonoma, hover the cursor over a closed sidebar (left window edge) and it opens very slightly to remind you of its existence. This in many cases shifts all of the content within the window, which makes it a quite dangerous vestibular trigger. 

I’ve written to Apple’s accessibility team to suggest the behaviour is disabled when Reduce Motion is on. But mostly it’s yet another example of how hidden UI elements are a bad thing. (Weirdly, most macOS apps I use that have sidebars include a sidebar button in the toolbar though. So I’m not sure what Apple’s playing at here.)

Also, while I’m on a GRRR @ APPLE roll, nuking PWAs in the EU is now official, as reported by The Register. So the original ‘sweet solution’ for third party iPhone apps is hobbled. Apple, natch, blames the EU. Developers blame Apple for not getting its shit together. And honestly, I’ve little sympathy for Apple, given that it yet again looks like a company eradicating solutions for anything that might (but often don’t) threaten the money it makes from the App Store.

Finally, I was chatting with folks online this week about imposter syndrome. It’s a curious thing, in that I’ve been a professional writer in some capacity for well over 20 years, and it’s been my primary source of income for well over 15. I’ve written for a wide range of publications, including The Guardian and Wired. My rational brain (and, frequently, my wife) notes that I must be doing somethingright to have done pretty well in this industry for so long. And yet I can never quite shake that feeling: what if I get found out?

In some ways, it’s good to have a regular internal check against complacency. I never feel entitled to do what I do, and strive to always give my best, whoever I’m writing for. By the same token, I wish my internal needler would give over sometimes. Two decades in should be enough proof in any profession that you’re qualified to be there.