Greg Thinks Things #18

• 6 min read

Locked down again! The UK descended into version two of national lockdown “circuit breaker” and this time it’s very personal.

Greg Thinks Things #18

Hello Friends,

Locked down again! The UK descended into version two of national lockdown “circuit breaker” and this time it’s very personal. Couple this with a case at my daughter school and working has become the focus once again. Although I have managed to push out a few things, these were mainly waiting for me to put them together then anything new, I am counting days until I can get back to normal again. But the number keeps resetting itself.

The big talking point of this new nation lockdown has been the mental health effects. Although they were not ignored last time, the more vocal outcry for support and thoughts for your fellow human has thankfully been much louder this time around. I want to spend a little time to ask each one of you if you’re OK?

It’s OK, to not be OK has become too cliché to use any longer — but it really is you know. No one is expecting you to be all smiling and annoyingly positive all the time, and you’ll know by now what a big supporter of getting plenty of rest and recharging yourself I am. That goes for looking out for each other too, ask some questions of others around you and check in once in a while to your friends and family, it goes a long way.

Building Habits

I am reminded time and time again that it takes around 90days of performing a practice for it to become a habit. Then why can’t I get these positive things into my brain in a time period that feels like forever!

Things like writing morning pages, meditation and even exercising some times, are a really struggle to get into my daily routine. There must be some kind of trick because some people seem to pick things up straight away and force things into daily life with ease. What I don’t want is another notification going off, or a task to tick off each day — I have enough of those already.

I know these things make sense, and have very positive effects on my life, so you would think building routines would be easier. Alas, no. If anyone could help with hints and tips that I can share with others then let me know.

What is an iPhone Pro

I am currently trying, and failing quite a lot, to write my iPhone 12 review. Not because it isn’t an excellent phone, but it's hard to review something that is basically the same as the old one. Cramming in 5g and changing the design to flat sides (why?) aside there is not a lot fundamentally changed. However, this has me thinking about a wider question of separating the iPhone from the iPhone Pro. What exactly is a Pro iPhone?

You tell your mum to buy an iPhone because it’s easy to use, you push the square you get the app. Yet dig a little deeper and you can delve into power features and now with iOS 14 actually start to customise your phone to whole new levels. The iPhone 12 Pro doesn't change any of these interaction elements, which is both a good and a bad thing. It means that an iPhone feels like an iPhone. You're using the same iPhone that you see in the hands of powerful people, but you're also using the same iPhone as everyone else.

The Pro moniker appears to separate these two types of people now, creating a separate brand for those that like shiny things that are the best you can get in an iPhone package. Give those wanting something above and beyond the standard iPhone range, and also something to play into those that yearn for a status symbol. In the same way you see coffee shops littered with £2,000 macBook Pros for writing emails. A Pro for a Pro’s sake.

Newsletter vs Blogging

After reading Jeff Perry recent change of heart regarding running a newsletter it really got me thinking about publishing. Whilst I agree wholeheartedly that publishing your work should be as easily available as possible there is just something about writing a newsletter that isn’t the same as a blog post.

Could it be the way I write my blog posts? Perhaps it’s the more personal touch of popping my thoughts into something that appears in your inbox — I’m not really to sure — but I could never stop writing this. I am pleased with the mix I have between reviewing phones and posting tech things, and then sharing short, completely ad-hoc thoughts in a more personal way. I never thought I would get as many readers as I do (I only check subscribers before I send the latest edition, there’s no tracking in my emails) and I am still surprised when people sign up!

Although there are many paid for newsletters that make a huge splash in niche industries or offer a unique personality, you have to earn the right to ask for money first in most instances. Sub-stack is not the best place for sharing your thoughts and ideas, it is a weird hybrid of newsletter and blog that putts too many hurdles in the way of reading in my honest opinion — perhaps Jeff would have been better doing it on Ghost? Who knows, but Jeff is awesome guy and is posting on Tablethabbit.comagain.

Using What You Have

With every man and his brother starting a new app or service, it’s easy to jump around from one to the other in the hope of making things easier. I am a sucker for this and not only have I wasted loads of money doing so, I’ve also wasted loads of time and effort.

Well, there is another way. There is a group of well built and powerful apps and services installed on your phone or computer that are usually good enough. I’ve recently gone back to using pretty much stock everything, Apple Notes, Mail, and shock horror Apple Reminders! Although Google stock apps excel in most ways, these apps are proving to be pretty reliable and easy to use.

I am sure I will find trade offs. They are made of the everyday man, so unless you need something more powerful I am sure that you, and in fact I, will get on well enough — and for free. With the added benefit of using Siri to do most things for you! I will let you know next edition how far I got and when I eventually fall back to something else but for the last few days it has truly been a revelation.

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If you feel like your time and energy are slowly slipping away from you, you may be overloading on commitments.
How To Take Smart Notes: 10 Principles to Revolutionize Your Note-Taking and Writing - Forte Labs
I long ago stopped reading books on note-taking. They were always too vague and boring, full of platitudes that had little to do with the world outside academia. I especially avoided “how-to” style books on the subject. They would often list dozens of tips and tricks that had little to do with each …
How the Media Turns Bad Research Into Terrible Clickbait
When you look at the actual research, it turns out that the effect of social media on teen depression is extremely small. Specifically, social media can explain 0.36 percent of teen depression…

Before I Go

I am not going to lie, I struggled to write this weeks newsletter, I have had plenty of time to do it, but I have had my head down in other work and almost forgot. Typing up the last few words (these ones) just minutes before sending the edition to your inbox.

Thankfully I have had plenty to think about this week, and with more goodies arriving tomorrow I will also have plenty to write about and video topics to cover for the next few weeks. Hopefully I wont leave the newsletter so late next time, I’ve set a reminder already, but if I don’t speak to you before take the very best care of yourselves my friends. Rest, relax and stay home.


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