I worry a bit about iOS apps on macOS making “Mac” apps the norm, rather than crafted experiences we’re accustomed. Who am I kidding, besides 1Password, it’s all Electron. Maybe this could result in better Mac apps!? I’m cautiously optimistic about the new ARM Macs.

The rumored switch of Apple from Intel x86 CPUs to their own custom ARM chips is exciting. But as a web developer, I wonder how this will impact me and how long it will be until an ARM Mac is usable for…work. Most of the tools I use aren’t native to macOS (PyCharm/Firefox), or ported and super-slow (Docker).

Will an ARM work be fast enough and compatible enough that I can continue using a Mac for work?

Growing up, I’d stay up until 3 or 4am on IRC, chatting with people from Europe, South America, Australia/NZ. We built websites, setup servers, shared knowledge, hosted radio shows together. No rails with technology. Fun times. That time is entirely why I’m able to support myself now. Sadly lost touch with most of them.  I wonder how they’re all doing now. This post brought to you by some MP3s of “The Streets” that I got from a Swede in those days.

I bought a new (shorter) domain for my new email address. One advantage of migrating away from gmail that I hadn’t anticipated is how much calmer I feel.

You see, Gmail technically supports IMAP, but it’s more of a shim. You’re not really supposed to use IMAP with Gmail. And as such I never felt comfortable using a regular email client, instead opting to check mail via the web-app.

Checking mail via a browser is fine but being in a browser switches your mind to a different context. Browsers are meant for consuming. The entire internet is just a simple cmd-T away. So “checking email” became a mental excuse to open my web browser. And then Twitter. And then Hacker News. And then Reddit. Oh, I wonder if I got any new email? And repeat.

Now with a provider where IMAP is a first class citizen, I can use Mail.app again. Mail is set to be pulled in once an hour. No more temptation from a web browser. And an unexpected sense of calm.

I’m back in control.

Each time I watch “Rams”, a documentary of Dieter Rams, something different gets stuck in my head.

This time was brief interaction at the very start of the film. A designer asks how he can propel his work beyond mediocracy. Rams’ response is simple: Find people whom you can collaborate, and to use this collaboration to move beyond mediocracy.

The shift in ability required to elevate your craft is something that often can’t happen alone. Collaborating is the most effective method to improve your work. Looking back, I can pinpoint exactly when and where my sense of design as a developer went from typical engineer to closer to a designer.

I was moonlighting and doing some work with a designer, who was also the lead on the project. I’d submit a revision and she she noticed immediately when my implementation wasn’t perfect. A section was a bit too tall, or a line off by a pixel. Through this back and forth, I began to catch things I didn’t before. My eyes began to see what she saw.

Before I was blind and, through collaboration, I could see.

I’ve been using my gmail account since a few months after the beta started. I’ve moved a dozen times since then, but my email stayed the same.

However, over the years Google has lost my confidence that they’ll do the right thing and do no evil. It’s for this reason I don’t use their apps, don’t invest in tweaking gmail, or even (especially) sync my contacts.

As a Mac user for almost 20 years, I’d like to use iCloud for my email, but I can’t use custom domains with Apple. While I don’t foresee Apple losing my trust and confidence, I can’t be sure.

Tying my email to a third party domain will lock me in to their ecosystem, for better or worse. Moreover, I could lose it all in an instant by the whim of an algorithm with little to no recourse.

With Gmail, I’m not the customer, the advertisers are. And because our interests are not aligned, I have no idea how my data will actually be used.

What to do?

The obvious answer is to move my email to a domain I own. Then find a provider that supports open protocols and that I pay at a regular interval.

I’m leaning towards Fastmail. They’ve got a nice detailed migration guide, I’ve been a customer on the business side for a number of years, it’s time to renew, and most importantly their systems behave in ways that I expect.

The main blocker isn’t even money, it’s updating each account that uses my gmail as a login to my new address. Lock-in, albeit defacto and of my own doing, is a bitch.