Tags: instagram

761

sparkline

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

Sirloin steak with thyme. 🥩

Sirloin steak with thyme. 🥩

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Sous-vide pork tenderloin stuffed with capers and herbs.

Sous-vide pork tenderloin stuffed with capers and herbs.

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

Pier beer.

Pier beer.

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Tapas in El Xampanyet.

Tapas in El Xampanyet.

Seafood stew.

Seafood stew.

A night at the observatory.

A night at the observatory.

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Boquerones!

Boquerones!

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

The tiled background images of Lisbon.

The tiled background images of Lisbon.

Octopus salad. 🐙

Octopus salad. 🐙

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Hello, Lisbon.

Hello, Lisbon.

Friday, October 13th, 2017

The tiled background images of Braga.

The tiled background images of Braga.

Monday, October 9th, 2017

Cosy.

Cosy.

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

Notifications

I’ve written before about how I use apps on my phone:

If I install an app on my phone, the first thing I do is switch off all notifications. That saves battery life and sanity.

The only time my phone is allowed to ask for my attention is for phone calls, SMS, or FaceTime (all rare occurrences). I initiate every other interaction—Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, the web. My phone is a tool that I control, not the other way around.

To me, this seems like a perfectly sensible thing to do. I was surprised by how others thought it was radical and extreme.

I’m always shocked when I’m out and about with someone who has their phone set up to notify them of any activity—a mention on Twitter, a comment on Instagram, or worst of all, an email. The thought of receiving a notification upon receipt of an email gives me the shivers. Allowing those kinds of notifications would feel like putting shackles on my time and attention. Instead, I think I’m applying an old-school RSS mindset to app usage: pull rather than push.

Don’t get me wrong: I use apps on my phone all the time: Twitter, Instagram, Swarm (though not email, except in direst emergency). Even without enabling notifications, I still have to fight the urge to fiddle with my phone—to check to see if anything interesting is happening. I’d like to think I’m in control of my phone usage, but I’m not sure that’s entirely true. But I do know that my behaviour would be a lot, lot worse if notifications were enabled.

I was a bit horrified when Apple decided to port this notification model to the desktop. There doesn’t seem to be any way of removing the “notification tray” altogether, but I can at least go into System Preferences and make sure that absolutely nothing is allowed to pop up an alert while I’m trying to accomplish some other task.

It’s the same on iOS—you can control notifications from Settings—but there’s an added layer within the apps themselves. If you have notifications disabled, the apps encourage you to enable them. That’s fine …at first. Being told that I could and should enable notifications is a perfectly reasonable part of the onboarding process. But with some apps I’m told that I should enable notifications Every. Single. Time.

Instagram Swarm

Of the apps I use, Instagram and Swarm are the worst offenders (I don’t have Facebook or Snapchat installed so I don’t know whether they’re as pushy). This behaviour seems to have worsened recently. The needling has been dialed up in recent updates to the apps. It doesn’t matter how often I dismiss the dialogue, it reappears the next time I open the app.

Initially I thought this might be a bug. I’ve submitted bug reports to Instagram and Swarm, but I’m starting to think that they see my bug as their feature.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal, but I would appreciate some respect for my deliberate choice. It gets pretty wearying over the long haul. To use a completely inappropriate analogy, it’s like a recovering alcoholic constantly having to rebuff “friends” asking if they’re absolutely sure they don’t want a drink.

I don’t think there’s malice at work here. I think it’s just that I’m an edge-case scenario. They’ve thought about the situation where someone doesn’t have notifications enabled, and they’ve come up with a reasonable solution: encourage that person to enable notifications. After all, who wouldn’t want notifications? That question, if it’s asked at all, is only asked rhetorically.

I’m trying to do the healthy thing here (or at least the healthier thing) in being mindful of my app usage. They sure aren’t making it easy.

The model that web browsers use for notifications seems quite sensible in comparison. If you arrive on a site that asks for permission to send you notifications (without even taking you out to dinner first) then you have three options: allow, block, or dismiss. If you choose “block”, that site will never be able to ask that browser for permission to enable notifications. Ever. (Oh, how I wish I could apply that browser functionality to all those sites asking me to sign up for their newsletter!)

That must seem like the stuff of nightmares for growth-hacking disruptive startups looking to make their graphs go up and to the right, but it’s a wonderful example of truly user-centred design. In that situation, the browser truly feels like a user agent.

Virginia Heffernan on Learning to Read the Internet, Not Live in It | WIRED

A beautiful piece of writing from Virginia Heffernan on how to cope with navigating the overwhelming tsunami of the network.

The trick is to read technology instead of being captured by it—to maintain the whip hand.

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

Roasting pork, apples, and onions. 🐷🍏

Roasting pork, apples, and onions. 🐷🍏

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Singapore snacks.

Singapore snacks.

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Singapore snacks.

Singapore snacks.

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Singapore snacks.

Singapore snacks.

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Singapore snacks.

Singapore snacks.

Carrot cake. Not carrot. Not cake. But yummy!

Carrot cake. Not carrot. Not cake. But yummy!