Checked in at Shake Shack. Went for a single this time. But it’s nice and warm outside. Perfect burger weather.

Love the shutter on this udon restaurant near Shonandai. Fuji, green tea, and a bowl of udon: a winning combination.

When I listen to Hikawa Kiyoshi I always remember my first trip to Japan in 2006 and my host mom in Toyota who was obbsesed with him. Not a surface in the house without his photo (including the bathroom!).

A Father and son are waiting for a haircut. Dad steps out for a smoke. Son goes for the complimentary coffee and has put 4 packets of sugar and a few creamers in it. He’s going to bouncing off the walls.

Checked in at Komeda’s Coffee (コメダ珈琲店). Maru Cheesecake type thing and coffee after some exploring in Totsuka. ☕️

Giving Apple Maps a Try Again

I quit Google search and Chrome a number of years ago and switched to DuckDuckGo and Firefox for privacy concerns. Google maps on the other hand has managed to keep its place in my life. It’s pretty good about knowing where things are and makes it easy to find a nearby cup of coffee when I’m in an unfamilair place.

After a poor experience with Apple Maps when it first launched, I’ve mostly ignored it. But I’ve decided to switch to Apple maps and see how it has improved. As far as the app itself, it’s a joy to use. It’s more fluid and feels like an iOS app should.

My main concern is navigation. The last time I used it in the US the routing wasn’t great. But I’m in Japan now. I’ve heard that Apple’s routing is better in Japan than Google. Google’s routing has a tendecy to route you down super small, maybe not legal to drive on roads.

Google’s default navigation in Japan can pronounce Japanese better, while Siri seems to be pronouncing Japanese like English by default, which makes place names nearly uncomprehenciable.

The jury’s still out if the promotion to my dock willI stick, but so far I’m enjoying the Apple experience a lot more.

Waiting for trains 🚞

Ever since Leo started being obsessed with trains, we always walk along the tracks on the way home from the station. Today not a single train passed and as we got close to the guard rails he started mimicking the noise they make. So we waited with a couple of other kids for the next train to go by. It’s the simple things that make life fun.

When I take the train to Tokyo in the morning there’s this guy who is around my age, but dresses like an old man. Keeping with the theme, he uses a Walkman to listen to music on the train. He’s my hero for today. 🙌🏻

Designed for the Mac

As the Mac has become more popular the cohesiveness of the platform has declined. This is partly because the apps were simpler i.e. we didn’t expect a single developer to support their app across of variety of devices and that the developers who chose to develop on the Mac had a similar goal: make software for the rest of us.

Over that same period our workflows have changed tremendously. Everything is connected to the internet and users expect to be able to access their data instantly, no matter the device they’re using. No longer is a native Mac app enough. At a minimum you also need a mobile, as well as the services to authenticate and sync data between the apps.

In practice what this means is that rather than developing native apps and web-services to power them, the majority of applications have moved to being web apps entirely or to electron-style, web-app masquerading as a native apps.

The result is a computing experience that feels patched together, rather than designed. Each app has its own design language and way of doing things that is different from each other.

As a user of the Mac, there isn’t much I can do to reverse the trend. But what I can do is to find and support smaller, simpler applications. Find and support applications that are designed for the Mac, not just on the Mac.

Stepping back in to the Open Web

When I was younger I used to write more on the open web. Mostly blogging with the occasional article once every blue moon. These days, however, it seems like I mostly tweet or or post photos to Instagram.

Somewhere along the line I started worrying about driving traffic to my website (without any real reason). The experts said that the way to build consistent traffic is to produce “evergreen” content, that is content that doesn’t grow stale and is always valuable.

Listening to the experts I wanted to start only producing “evergreen” content. But it’s not possible to just produce evergreen content. Evergreen content takes time and a tremendous amount of focus. Just like real ever green forests, they need the rest of the ecosystem around it to thrive.

I tried a few months ago to revive the my old habits by writing with a Jekyll based website, but the friction of creating new flat files with specific config headers and managing photos with a build system was enough friction to make it no fun and not stick.

When I used to write consistently on my own site in the past I used MarsEdit to post to a Wordpress blog. Managing a server and maintaining Wordpress feels like full-time job, so that’s out. But using native software and clients to write, that’s still possible.

This is me dipping my toes back into the open web again. Who knows if it will stick, but it’s a step towards a future want to exist. A future where I own the words I write.

森の子になった。I didn’t know Leo was a child of the forest. Having too much fun in Shinjuku-Gyoen.