The latest episode of Under the Radar is worth a listen. David Smith talks about how his application ‘Widgetsmith’ blew up in popularity when iOS 14 was released. Widgetsmith takes advantage of the new Widget feature of iOS 14, enabling users to customise their home screens.
Within a few days it became the number one free app on the App Store worldwide, which is crazy when you consider it is developed by one guy. I’d like to hear more about the numbers behind it.
By May, 1990, Michael G. Wilson and Alfonse Ruggiero had completed an outline treatment that contained a detailed story, descriptions of locations, key characters and major concepts — all of those ingredients that are essential to making a Bond movie special. Set to be released in the same year that James Cameron brought Terminator 2:Judgement Day to our screens, a ‘Bond 17’ treatment preface promised ‘robotic devices’ that were ‘complex and exotic machines designed for specific tasks’, devices that would be created ‘especially for the film for maximum dramatic and visual impact’. There was even a detailed opening sequence involving a malfunctioning robotics device at a chemical weapons factory in Scotland, one that resulted in a deadly explosion and a full investigation by the British Prime Minister.
From there, the movie would venture from Hong Kong to Japan to mainland China after a typical briefing from MI6’s HQ. According to the treatment, Bond’s nemesis would be ‘a brilliant and handsome thirty-year-old British-Chinese entrepreneur’, a new-age tech geek with a loose screw and a penchant for nuclear ‘accidents’, in this case a robotics device going doolally at a Chinese atomic plant in Nanking.
Interesing read about that might have been for Timothy Daltons third Bond film. I think Dalton was great in the role and would have been really hitting his stride by the time a third film rolled around.
iOS 14 has been an eventful beta so far, but overall it’s surprisingly stable. Not everything works the way it should, yet, but that’s to be expected. Even though they’re a bit of a pain, I’ve really enjoyed the new widgets. In fact, I like them so much, I’ve completely blown away my carefully arranged Home screen and replaced it all with widgets! I’ll talk about that more next week.
I don’t recommend installing iOS 14 on your main device (and if you do read my guide first). If you do, expect instability and partial functionality from core apps until late in August. Even then, at least one of the keynote features will likely be delayed or disappear altogether. Early betas are notorious for culling weak-performing features.
As with all iOS betas, it’s a good idea to avoid them if you can.
Last year, I visited Rio de Janeiro on the last leg of a trip to South America. One of the main sights to see in Rio is Sugarloaf Mountain which features in the 1979 Bond film “Moonraker”, so naturally I was keeping an eye out for any familiar spots along the way when I paid it a visit.
In the film, Bond takes the cable car up to the top of the mountain in order to get a better view of the airport where Drax is shipping out supplys from the Rio warehouse to the Moonraker launch site. The airport looked immediately familiar, and planes even take off in the same direction as they do in the film.
The airport where Drax Air Freight shipped out
Next, Bond meets Dr Goodhead and they decide to take the cable car back down the mountain. The cable cars have naturally been upgraded since 1979, but I was glad to see that they still have old ones on display from decades gone by. I spotted one from the film straight away!
While Bond and Dr Goodhead are on their way back down in the cable car we cut to Jaws, who has followed them to the mountain and devised another elaborate attempt on Bonds life. He uses his teeth to break the cable and stop the cable car from moving. There are a number of the orange cable wheels similar to the one in the film within the cable car station. Looks like the colour hasn’t changed over the past 40 years.
Jaws stops the cable car
Another less notable Moonraker location that I visited was Avenida Atlântica (Portuguese for Atlantic Avenue) which is the road that runs alongside the famous Copacabana Beach. Bond is driven along this road when he arrives in Rio en route to his hotel.
The view from Sugarloaf Mountain
I also drove past the grand stands that are used for the Rio Carnival which are briefly seen in the film when Bond and Manuela are investigating Drax’s warehouse.
I was chatting with Andy Nicolaides recently about task managers (as you do), and he was telling me how he tried using Things again after my recent article about how I use the app, and he said it didn’t work for him and he’d gone back to using Reminders. He also mentioned how he sometimes feels like his preference for using stock apps for as much as possible might be keeping him from enjoying some great third party apps. As someone who tends to prefer third party apps, Andy and I are approaching things from completely different angles.
That said, there are some definite advantages to using stock apps and I wanted to give those reasons a quick shout out here.
Matt basically covers all of the reasons for using stock apps on your devices over third party apps.
I never stray too far away from stock apps on my devices for a lot of these reasons. Apple have made significant improvements to most of the stock apps on iOS over the past few years (compare Notes on iOS 13 to Notes on anything pre-iOS 9), to a point where there are few third party apps that can match them.
I haven’t worn my Apple Watch in about two weeks. There was no big decision when I stopped wearing it, but I’ve noticed that over the past month or so, I would just be less bothered about wearing it.
No music/podcasts are being controlled on the watch anymore, because I have AirPods that can do that. I don’t track workouts because they were never real workouts anyway. I don’t play Field Day or Pokémon GO anymore. And if I want to check anything like the weather, football scores, text messages, I just take my phone out of my pocket.
I’ve started to actually like not having my wrist being the interface between myself and the internet. And I’ve grown tired about being notified about things that I just don’t care about.
It’s interesting to see how people use the Watch in their day to day. Chris has worn a watch for a number of years and is beginning to find it less useful in recent times.
Since the Watch launched I was always a bit skeptical of some of the features, particularly ones related to notifications. I’m far too addicted to my phone as it is, so having a device physically attached to me that opens up more possibilities of staring into a screen never really appealed to me.
I recently picked up a Fitbit Charge 3 to help me track my fitness and heart rate 1. Having this information has renewed my interest in the Apple Watch, but I have to remind myself that there is a big difference between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. Matt Gemmell wrote a piece a few years back on moving away from the Apple Watch and back to a Fitbit. Similarly, David Smith wrote this article on his hopes for a more fitness focused Apple Watch.
I’m going to see just how useful I find the Fitbit in the coming months and whether or not I like wearing a watch full time. If I find myself wanting a bit more from it I may look into the Apple Watch or more functional Fitbits.
So far I’m really liking it. Great iOS application and excellent battery life. ↩
In keeping with tradition, here are my must have iOS apps that match Federicos.
A daily podcast driver for me and an app that I rarely even notice I’m using with the advent of Siri Shortcuts. It’s been rock solid since I started using it, and I’ve no intention of switching from it any time soon.
I’m not a heavy user of Instagram, but I like the app and it’s one of far too few that has embraced dark mode. Still waiting on iPad support though..
Same as above. I’d imagine I’d have more complaints about it if I wrote more than one tweet a year.
Even if I was lost in Antarctica I’d still be confident that I’d be able to send and receive WhatsApp messages. It’s yet to let me down since I started using it.
I’m getting a strong sense of deja vu while writing these entries. The fact that 1Password is still on this list shows how good it is. If you aren’t using a password manager yet then look no further.
Netflix have gotten this app just right. The interface looks great and is easy to navigate. Progress syncs well between devices, and the ability to download makes it essential. Zero complaints.
Much like the Netflix app, the YouTube app is solid. Picture in picture is something I would love, but I’m guessing Apple isn’t too keen to give too much power to Google on that one..
This needs no introduction. Still the king of navigation.