100 Days of Swift

A couple of days ago, I chose to start learning the programming language Swift, and committed to practice it every day for 100 days, following Hacking With Swift‘s 100 Days of Swift course plan. While I do have some previous, minor experience with it, I chose to just start from scratch following a well-structured course, as to hopefully build some solid foundations.

Since many of these medium- to long-term commitments often end up being unresolved, I am posting my daily exercises on this website, on the aptly-named page 100 Days of Swift. This means that they will not clog up the blog’s front page and RSS feed, so that you don’t have to watch a newbie developer struggle every day.

Do feel free to check out my playgrounds, however, and do feel free to @me on twitter if I slack for a day. I will have deserved it.

You Need a Quarterly Review

In this post I will tell you why you need a quarterly review and what one is.

Why?

I believe I can say with confidence that most of us are so deeply concerned with running our life on a day-to-day basis that we often forget about the long term. What is it that you are trying to achieve, exactly? Being productive every day feels great, but what are you ultimately working towards? I feel this kind of question should not be relegated to the back burner, and instead should be something we should aim to answer more often than we currently do. At the same time, however, we still do need to run our day-to-day affairs.

Extreme focus on the short term causes long-term blindness. Extreme focus on the long-term causes short-term blindness. We thus should aim to strike a balance of sorts, where we can still run our daily life while also being concerned about where the road is going. For me, this balance is satisfied by performing a general review of my life every three months. I will now show you what this review looks like, so that you may do it too, if you so chose.

What?

Put simply, every review, I answer a series of questions about my life during the three months that passed and the three months that will follow. This allows me to evaluate my performance in the past and make changes in the future to better align myself with my long-term goals. This is what some sample questions would look like (click or tap to expand):

Of course, the questions vary from person to person, and I would highly recommend you take the time to think about them. This is, I think, very much part of the process of understanding your medium- and long-term self. I like to make categories first, and then to come up with questions related to such categories. This is why I used a mind map (done with the excellent mind-mapping software MindNode,) as it allows me to visually branch out categories and questions.

As you can see, every question about the past three months is paired with a question about the next. This is crucial, as performing a quarterly review without thinking about how one could be better in the future is, I think, not as useful an enterprise.

If after reading this post you too start to do such a review, I would love to hear your feedback.

A Beginner’s Guide to RSS

A screenshot of the app Reeder in action, showing some articles.

In this post I will tell you what RSS is, why you need it, and how to set it up.

What’s RSS?

Imagine being able to see your favorite blog posts, podcasts, YouTube videos, news, and any other kind of Internet media from your outlets of choice in one single, solidified, consistent feed. This is what RSS allows you to do. You can think of RSS as a sort of Twitter feed, but instead of only following other Twitter users, you can follow pretty much anything on the Internet.

Indeed almost every blog, forum, YouTube channel, and news source has an RSS feed. What this means is that whenever something is added to their website or channel, if you have chosen to add it to your list of followed websites, you’ll see it pop up as well in your RSS app of choice.

How do I set it up?

The beauty of RSS is that it’s an open format, not belonging to anyone in particular. This means that there’s plenty of choice and a plethora of different apps allowing you to subscribe to and read RSS feeds. My favorite is an app for iOS and macOS called Reeder. On Android, I particularly like the design and usability of Palabre. On Windows, NewsFlow is likely your best bet. For this post I’ll use Reeder on Mac, but all apps are virtually identical for the purpose of what I’m going to be doing here.

After you have downloaded any one of the aforementioned apps, let’s assume you want to add this blog to your reader, so that posts will show up in your feed. Firstly, locate the link to the website’s RSS feed. In this case, it’s in the top navigation bar, and it’s this link. Copy that to your clipboard. Then, navigate to your RSS app and select “Add Subscription,” or that app’s equivalent function.

In the screen that pops up, simply paste the link you copied, and press enter or “Done.” That’s it! You will now see new posts from this blog on your RSS reader whenever you open it. Repeat this process for any website you might want to see.

Here’s some feeds for you of websites kind of like mine but better: MacStories, Daring Fireball, Ctrl blog, David Smith.

Appendix: Syncing your Feed Between Devices

Everything we’ve done so far is cool and all, but it’s limited to one device. In this day and age, where everything is synced between devices, wouldn’t it be nice if we could sync our feed as well? We can! With Feedly.

Quite simply, sign up for a Feedly account. Then, click on the “Add Content” link on the bottom left corner. From there, add RSS links much in the same way we did before. Then, in your RSS app, log in to your Feedly account. Not all apps support this function, but the ones I have linked to earlier do. You’re now set! Whenever you read something on one device, it will be marked as read on another. It’s pretty great.

I hope you find RSS useful. Let me know if there is anything I have missed.

Check Your Mac’s Battery Health with coconutBattery

Back when Apple started throttling devices with degraded batteries, much ado was made around iPhone battery health. So much ado, in fact, that they not only published a very lenghty explanatory page about it, they also added a profusion of battery-related functionality to iOS. Graphs, buttons, statistics: you name it, it’s in the Battery section of the Settings app.

Continue reading “Check Your Mac’s Battery Health with coconutBattery”

How to Effectively Curb Procrastinating on the Internet

You know it. YouTube rabbit holes, Twitter threads, Netflix binges, we’ve all been there. Some, in an attempt to redeem themselves, completely go off the Internet for a while. But that’s like throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water, not to mention that many of us need the Internet in order to do our work.

Continue reading “How to Effectively Curb Procrastinating on the Internet”

The Archive Custom Theme: iA Writer

The Archive is an outstanding piece of software for personal knowledge management, especially of the kind I spoke about in my last post. Among its strengths1 is its custom theme engine, allowing users who are willing to tweak a few .json files to create new color schemes from scratch. Since I love iA Writer‘s design, I thought: why not make The Archive look like Writer? So that’s what I did, and you can download the results.

To download the themes, right-click on the themes you want below and save the files in a place you’ll remember. Then, open The Archive’s preferences and go to the Theme tab. Click on “Open Theme Manager” then “Open Theme Directory.” Move the files you downloaded there.

Dark ThemeLight Theme

I tried to stick as closely as possible to Writer’s color palette, in both its light and dark mode. I highly recommend using one the same fonts Writer uses, which they graciously release for free to the public.

Changelog

  • 1.0: Initial release
  • Dark 1.1: Fixed the unfocused background selection color. Huge thanks to reader Sebastian for the heads-up!