In the table below, I’m comparing the features of the three alert types on iOS: Timers, Alarms, and Reminders. Included in the comparison is how certain features work (or don’t work) on the iPhone, iPad, Watch, Mac, and HomePod.
While the numbers are crazy high and obviously good for Apple, I wonder where all the money people are spending on apps is coming from? And what isn’t getting the money anymore now that it’s being spent on apps?
During this year iOS users will be spending about $100 million per day for Apps.
Maybe this is part of the answer?
I’ve made comparisons before with the app business being bigger than the film industry (and much bigger than the music industry.) This was considering Android revenues and iOS combined as “app revenues”. As of this year the App Store alone will overtake Global Box Office revenues.
Scrolling through the top selling apps on the iOS App Store today, it seems like a healthy mix of lifestyle, productivity, and utility apps. The games section is a similar mix of big publishers and indie games all in the $1 – $10 range – Minecraft continues to be the top selling iOS game, which is interesting now that Microsoft owns Minecraft. 15 years ago if I’d told you that Microsoft would have the top selling game on any sort of Apple software store, you’d think I was nuts on many levels.
The top grossing charts are full of free apps that offer in-app purchase or subscription options that Apple gets a cut of: Netflix, Tinder, and Pandora are the top 3. Candy Crush Saga is #4, and YouTube rounds out the top 5. To give an idea of scale, Minecraft, the top paid app at $9.99CDN, is down at #33 on the top grossing list.
It makes me sad that a great Mac developer like Panic couldn’t make Transmit for iOS work at the scale of the App Store in 2017. There’s obviously a ton of money pouring into the App Store economy – I just hope developers don’t have to race to the bottom of the quality scale in order to make it in 2018.
Privacy continues to suck on the web. Luckily browser makers have finally started to take the user’s interests to heart. From The Guardian via MacStories: No tracking, no revenue: Apple’s privacy feature costs ad companies millions:
Internet advertising firms are losing hundreds of millions of dollars following the introduction of a new privacy feature from Apple that prevents users from being tracked around the web. Advertising technology firm Criteo, one of the largest in the industry, says that the Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) feature for Safari, which holds 15% of the global browser market, is likely to cut its 2018 revenue by more than a fifth compared to projections made before ITP was announced.
I don’t have any sympathy for an industry that’s gotten tremendously rich off trying to track people on the web, whether they want it or not. It’s not like they learned their lesson when Apple first released ITP – they just tried to figure out a way around it:
Initially, many advertisers believed they had found a technological way around some of the restrictions put in place by ITP. Criteo, which took advantage of that loophole, had initially expected revenue to drop by only 9-13%, the company said. But in December, Apple closed that work-around on its mobile devices as part of the iOS 11.2 update, causing the ad-tech firm to update its projected impact to its current estimate of 22% “relative to our pre-ITP base case projections”.
A Modest Proposal
If you follow this link to my business site, I should be allowed to:
- Know how many people visited my site via that link.
- See what pages are popular over time on my site and using my own data on Lemon Productions extrapolate that people who come from ChrisEnns.com tend to visit these kinds of pages on Lemon Productions.
- See how long people tend to stay on a given page on my site.
What I should not be allowed to do is then track that person when they leave my site. And then show that person ads on other sites based on the pages they visited on my site.
It’d be like going into Canadian Tire, talking to a sales person about a car battery, and then as you’re leaving the sales person slips a chip in your pocket so they can track you as you head over to Best Buy and while you’re looking at a new TV there, Canadian Tire is able to show an ad for a car battery on the TV you’re in front of. Which is going to start happening soon enough anyway.
Can’t we just go back to trying to write/create great stuff that attracts readers/watchers/listeners because it’s great and not because they were coerced, manipulated, and badgered to visit?
Social media isn’t going to go away anytime soon – despite how many tweets there are proclaiming the death of social media.
What works for me may not work for you. That’s fine. Take what makes sense and try it. Ignore the stuff that makes you angry. Leave a comment down below after you read it if you have constructive criticism or a helpful thought. This whole article is as much for me as for anyone else.
Here goes Chris’ Tips for Avoiding Social Media Stress or Angst.
Delete Your Account
The obvious answer is to simply delete your account. Here’s how on the big three social media sites:
- How to deactivate your Twitter account
- How to delete or deactivate your Facebook account
- How to delete or disable your Instagram account
But that’s not always possible for a lot of people for a variety of reasons – work, connections with support groups, etc. Or maybe you really don’t want to just give up on the whole thing all at once. In that case…
Mute or Unfollow Stressful Accounts
If someone (or something if it’s a business account) is causing you stress because of what they post, you don’t need to keep following them. Even if not everything they post makes you want to put your fist through the wall or cry a bucket of tears, if the majority of the time they’re posting things that make your brain go in a direction you don’t like – good or bad – you can unfollow them.
There’s no rule that you have to follow someone. If you’re worried that they’re going to be sad/hurt/angry/mad about you not following them anymore, that’s on them and not you. If it’s a really close friend or family member and they ask you why, hopefully they respect you enough to understand when you explain that reading the 500 anti-Trump articles they post every day doesn’t help your mental health. Or whatever your reason – it’s your feed, not theirs.
I’ll confess that I sometimes fear offending someone by unfollowing. And then I realize how silly that is. I’m not in high school anymore. My following (or not) of someone else isn’t a value statement on them. Their worth shouldn’t be defined by a follower checkbox.
Muting accounts, where possible, is a great way to keep the technical connection without having to deal with any sort of notification that you no longer follow what they’re posting. Facebook and Twitter make this easy to do. Tweetbot, a Twitter client for iOS or Mac, makes it even easier to do a trial of muting an account for 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, or forever.
Muting on Twitter
Muting means you still follow them but never see their tweets. Blocking means you’ve unfollowed them and they can’t see anything you do – unless your account is public. Then technically they can just load up your profile in a browser.
In this example, I’d be muting Justin Jackson and would never see his tweets again until I went back and unmuted him. He wouldn’t be notified that I’d muted him. I suppose if he was really worried that I wasn’t following him he could tweet something like “Hey Chris Enns is a filthy stinky booger eater” and when I didn’t respond, he’d know? But who’s got the time for that kind of shenanigans?
Muting on Facebook
Ironically, Facebook just added the ability to snooze an account for 30 days as I was writing this. So snoozing an account for 30 days means it’ll pop back up in 30 days and start appearing in your feed again.
Unfollowing Justin means I’d still be Facebook friends with him, but I wouldn’t ever see anything he’s posted. He wouldn’t be notified that I’ve unfollowed him. But the “filthy stinky booger eater” test still applies here. Shenanigans I tell you.
Muting on Instagram
Currently there’s no way to mute an account’s feed on Instagram. You can mute their Stories though. Once again, the muted account owner is never notified that they’ve been muted, “filthy stinky booger eater” not withstanding.
Make a List and Check it Once or Twice
On Twitter you can make lists, here’s the support doc on how, and you can use lists in a couple of different ways:
- Throw every account you think you need to keep up on in there, and then unfollow everyone from your main account. Slowly follow people back as you feel like you want them in your timeline.
- Build a private “quiet” Twitter list of the accounts that don’t tweet much. Switch to using that timeline for a week and see how you feel.
I’ve tried a variation on this and it worked for awhile to help me scale back my follower list. But inevitably new people/accounts come along that seem interesting and you find yourself with a torrent of tweets hitting you every day.
Update 2018-01-05: Thanks to @Smokey for this suggestion that Facebook Lists are a thing as well:
I’ve used Facebook’s Lists similarly for the better part of a decade, at first just to keep up with infrequently-posting friends between my infrequent visits, then later to avoid the timeline entirely. Sadly, over the past few years Facebook has been slowly degrading the feature (and trying to hide it), so it only works well if you visit Facebook at least once a week.
Read Websites Not Social Media Accounts
Old timers on the web, like me, will occasionally pine for the old days when people wrote on blogs, like this one, and we used RSS Readers to subscribe to blogs. And before that we just visited the websites we liked directly and refreshed like mad in the hopes that something new would come along to entertain us.
Try getting rid of the social media apps on your phone and computer devices for a week and just reading blogs and websites directly. Find 10-15 that you think you’ll like from a variety of sources and then just load those up as your browser favs and see how it feels. Use an app like Freedom to block your access to sites that cause you stress or suck your will to live away.
Whether you use the new year to try something new or just want to take a break for a couple of weeks – I’d recommend changing up your routine. There is always going to be more information fed into the social media machine. Whatever you miss out on this week will be quickly replaced by something else next week. The really important stuff will bubble up to the top of your conversations wherever you’re having them – whether it’s on Twitter or coffee row.
And for crying out loud – make sure you drink more water and get some sleep!
Sorry. Bad joke. Nuclear buttons as a dick size argument make me cranky. ↩
With U2’s Songs of Experience out everywhere now, I noticed iTunes has deals on their back catalogue. Obviously I have no need for more digital copies of albums from my favourite band but I thought I’d write up some recommendations if Songs of Experience is your first U2 album.
Note: Album names will have an iTunes affiliate link. Buy U2 music and make me rich!
If you don’t have it, go get it. I’d recommend the deluxe version because the St Peter’s String Version of “Lights of Home” is worth the upgrade price alone.
You’re Stuck in a Moment And Only Want One or Two
Normally I’d frown on getting a Best Of collection from any artist – but I know that’s often the gateway into their deeper cuts. And if you just want to stop here, you can’t go wrong picking up their “Best of 1990-200” collection. The “Best of 1980-1990” is great as well but if you’ve had a radio on at all in your life you’ve probably heard their 80’s hits played and overplayed enough to know if you’d like them or not. The early 90s was U2 hitting their peak in popularity, but radio (at least in Canada where I live) doesn’t seem to know what to do with 90s era U2 music.
Achtung – I Will Follow You Deeper, Light My Way
Ok. Skip the greatest hits and get music the way God (yes, Bono) intended it.
This is where I show my own entry into U2 – 1991’s Achtung Baby was that album that changed them from being a sentimental lovey-dovey rock band (which they still are), into something that felt cool and had an edge1 to it. From “Zoo Station” all the way to “Love is Blindness”, there isn’t a track on this album that I don’t love and know every word and guitar hook to.
If you can find ZooTV Live From Sydney, the concert documentary of the tour that followed this album, you’ll have the full U2 immersion experience I did back in the early 90’s.
If you had (have?) an iTunes account in 2014 you should already have “Songs of Innocence” since it was given away for free to everyone by Apple. If not, pick it up as a companion to “Songs of Experience”. There’s plenty of callbacks to this album from SoI that make it worth owning to catch – but by no means is it required listening to enjoy SoE. “Song for Someone”, “Iris (Hold Me Close)”, “Cedarwood Road”, “The Troubles”, and “Sleep Like a Baby Tonight”2 are all highlights for me.
It’s not every U2 fan’s favourite, but mysterious and explorative U2 is my favourite U2. Listening to the opening build up of the opening track throws me right back to early 90’s and wondering what kind of musical journey I was about to embark on.
“Stay (Faraway, So Close)” is definitely my favourite U2 ballad and in my top 5 U2 tracks.
If, like me, you’re sick of that “Vertigo” song then you can safely skip it and enjoy the beautiful “Miracle Drug” / “Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own” combo that, in my opinion, should have started this album.
“One Step Closer” and “Yahweh” close out a great album.
This step is a choose your own adventure: chime-y U2 or 80’s rock U2?
1984’s The Unforgettable Fire is a beautiful album that’s often overshadowed by the popularity of “Pride (In the Name of Love)” in much the same way as How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is by “Vertigo”. But “Bad” is U2 at their most U2-ish and “A Sort of Homecoming” is possibly one of their best album openers to date.
Whereas 1983’s War has the intensity of songs you have likely heard, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day”, one of my favourite deep cuts in “Seconds”, and closes with “40” – a beautiful lament that closed out many of U2’s concerts in the 80s.
Both are great albums and if you’ve come this far, you might as well get both of them because you’re not stopping now.
I don’t know how you could possibly have escaped hearing the first 3 tracks. But if you’re of hearing Bono wail about being with or without you, skip to “Bullet the Blue Sky” – a song that U2 has morphed and twisted over the years to serve whatever political climate they find themselves in while on tour. “Running to Stand Still” is also my favourite U2 ballad (I have a few) and “One Tree Hill”, “Exit”, and “Mothers of the Disappeared” is an amazing trio of songs to close out an album.
You should have this album in your collection. I didn’t put it higher on the list because I assumed you’d already have it.
You may have heard of the musical journey U2 went on in making the documentary of the same name, Rattle and Hum is the companion live/studio to The Joshua Tree. It features my other favourite U2 balled, “All I Want is You”, concert favourites like “Desire” and “Angel of Harlem”, and collaborations with B.B. King (“When Love Comes to Town”) and Bob Dylan (“Love Rescue Me”).
“Heartland” is not to be missed and should have been included on The Joshua Tree.
It’s been theorized that U2 albums come in sets of three, and if that’s true then 1997’s Pop is the conclusion of what the band started in Achtung Baby and Zooropa. This was the point where I remember a lot of my friend’s getting off the U2 ride. Whether it was the choice of “Discotheque” for a single, along with Village People inspired music video, or the accompanying Popmart tour – a lot of my fellow U2 fans/friends at the time decided it was all too much.
But there’s plenty of amazing songs on this album – especially if The Joshua Tree sounding U2 is your least favourite U2. “Please” is one of the most beautiful political songs they’ve written. “If God Will Send His Angels” is certainly one of my favourite U2 ballads and takes me back to Christmas in Dublin when I found a copy of the single I’d been looking for. “Gone” is a screamer of a tune, especially live.
I think if they’d committed all the way to the themes they started out with on the first half of the record, this could’ve been an amazing experiment. But it feels like they got cold feet and needed to reign in the beats a bit and have more standard U2 sounding songs.
A Trip Through Your Wires
I chose to journey back through U2 by album as opposed to picking songs you might like. And so with that criteria in mind, the rest of U2’s records all have great songs on them but aren’t as interesting or necessary3 if you’re trying to get your audio hooks into U2.
The rest of their albums are listed in no particular order. Choose your own adventure on your U2 musical journey.
A return to form after Pop – but it left a bit of a “trying to make a popular record” taste in my mouth. That said, it’s a heck of a record. “Beautiful Day” is a great song, start to finish. “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” is the brightest sounding description of depression and suicide. “Kite” is a love letter to Bono’s young kids. “In a Little While” is my favourite U2 song to play on guitar. “Peace on Earth” is a beautiful companion to Pop’s “Please”.
You won’t be disappointed in the album. I was only disappointed, at the time, that they didn’t continue experimenting after Pop.
This is the completion of the 2000’s trilogy that started with All That You Can’t Leave Behind and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. In some alternate universe, I envision U2’s albums released in the 2000s coming out in the reverse order and it all makes more sense to me.
“Breathe”, “Stand Up Comedy”, and “Get On Your Boots” are fun rock songs. “Magnificent” became much better for my ears after hearing it live on tour.
But you’d be forgiven if you skipped No Line on the Horizon in my books. As a hardcore U2 fan, I find it an interesting experiment – not as good as the Zooropa experiment – but still, an interesting exploration of writing and recording.
To this day, I have a hard time getting into this album. “October” is a beautiful piano ballad. “Gloria” is U2 filled with their most religious 80s rock righteousness. I know some U2 fans will flame me for it, but I just have a hard time getting into early 80’s U2. #AchtungBaby4ever
Despite having slammed October one paragraph ago, I have no trouble loving Boy. If you’re going to follow U2 in the 90s, 2000’s, and beyond – you have to at least be willing to see where they came from. “I Will Follow”, “Into the Heart”, “Out of Control”, and “The Electric Co.” are incredible songs for a band’s first album.
I don’t know how universally true this is, but for bands like U2, their songs come alive in concert. Whatever the staging and production they might choose, every time I hear a new U2 song for the first time I start imagining how they might perform it live on tour. Songs that I couldn’t find a place for on the album suddenly change into something I need to hear once I’ve heard or seen it live. On their recent 30th Anniversary Joshua Tree tour, U2 took “Exit”, already a fan favourite for sure, to a whole different level with the live performance of it.
So while live isn’t necessarily the best place to hear a song for the first time, it’s almost a required experience for me if you’re saying you just can’t get into U2.
There’s Been A Lot of Talk About This Next Song
…maybe, maybe too much talk.
If you’ve read this far and have a comment on something you disagree with or maybe I’ve dissed your favourite song – by all means, leave a comment below. But if you’re a fellow hardcore U2 fan – know that:
a) I love you. You’re part of my tribe.
b) I think U2 is great. I love their music, their lyrics, their tours.
c) As great as U2 is, I think it’s fun to critique, debate, and discuss art. Which is why I have a lot of fun hosting the @U2 Podcast where we get to do exactly that – subscribe in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
d) Be polite or I’ll delete your comment.
If I wait a week and rewrite this, the albums would probably tumble out in a different order. The songs I like and am drawn to are influenced by what’s going on in my life. U2 has influenced my faith, my guitar, my relationships, and my mind in a way that no other musical artist has.
I can’t wait to hear their next album4!
Pun fully intended↩
Just kidding. Sleep Like a Baby Tonight is terrible. Just seeing if Matt McGee is reading this.↩
Feel free to argue and disagree in the comments below – just remember that I wrote this on very little sleep and kept getting pulled away to help my son puke into a bucket. We are rock and roll!↩
When is Songs of Ascent going to be out already?↩
Perhaps as a counter point to yesterday’s critique of Apple’s HomePod development – if Apple’s engineers are too busy coming up with ways to save people’s lives with the Apple Watch and have to sacrifice dev time on a talking speaker, I’m generally ok with that:
To calculate heart rate and rhythm, Apple Watch’s sensor uses green LED lights flashing hundreds of times per second and light-sensitive photodiodes to detect the amount of blood flowing through the wrist. The sensor’s unique optical design gathers signals from four distinct points on the wrist, and when combined with powerful software algorithms, Apple Watch isolates heart rhythms from other noise. The Apple Heart Study app uses this technology to identify an irregular heart rhythm.
This kind of stuff, more than checking my calendar or Twitter, is what will convince me to buy and start wearing a watch.