Another night, another walk in the local fields with the sun shining. Great time for the family to get out the house.

In an effort to break the boredom I’ve opened a few Lego sets that we had initially put by.

Drew’s been desperate to build the Tantive IV set so we’re starting with this one and just doing a couple of bags a day. It’s definitely going to be quite big when it will be done.

Great day for a walk, although the trees are still a little bare for my liking.

New DualSense controllers revealed for PlayStation 5

Sony has revealed their new DualSense controllers for the PlayStation 5. A familiar look for the controller with the button layout, but what stuck out for me was the two-toned design.

Now, let’s talk about the colors. Traditionally our base controllers have a single color. As you can see, we went a different direction this time around, and decided on a two-toned design. Additionally, we changed the position of the light bar that will give it an extra pop. On DualShock 4, it sat on the top of the controller; now it sits at each side of the touch pad, giving it a slightly larger look and feel.

Introducing DualSense, the New Wireless Game Controller for PlayStation 5

I look forward to getting my hands on these when the PlayStation 5 is released.

Me and Jen watched Knives Out last night on Apple TV. We fancied it when we first seen the trailers for the cinema release, but we decided to just wait for it to appear on the small screen. We thoroughly enjoyed it and Daniel Craig’s southern accent wasn’t too shabby either! 🎬

Fresh start Mondays with Nicholas Bate.

Kurt’s great day.

A brand new editor is coming to the Bear app and it is available now if you want early access to it. Tables would be a welcome addition to my notes, but I think I’d rather wait for the official release though. I’d rather not risk screwing up my notes.

The Twitter timeline is just completely unusable. Tweets are injected into your timeline by different signals and it makes it too confusing to follow. Trying to rectify this by using Nighthawk for iOS to keep my timeline simple and using Feedbin to follow lists.

The Last of Us Part II is delayed again. I’ve waited for this long, I can wait a few months more.

The good and bad of Apple acquiring Dark Sky

It was announced yesterday that Apple has acquired the weather app Dark Sky. As part of the acquisition, the iOS app will continue to function as it is. In contrast, the Android app will no longer be available for download. Like many others, I use the Dark Sky app daily. The API service that provides forecast and historical data for other apps and services will continue to function until the end of 2021.

Like so many other people, Dark Sky was one of those apps that have been on my phone for years. In my opinion, there was no contender. Now though, it looks like we’ll hopefully get a revamped iOS weather app with many of the features of Dark Sky in it. I hope. This is still the early days of the acquisition. Like so many software takeovers in the past, I’m sceptical of what lies ahead for both parties.

The bad news.

It’s another excellent service swallowed up by big tech. The Dark Sky team finished their update on this by saying they are looking forward to building great products. When a smaller independent company gets bought over by big tech though, there’s usually no light at the end of the tunnel.

With no app available for download, Android users not only need to find an alternative to Dark Sky, but also a weather app that doesn’t use the Dark Sky API. The Dark Sky API has been seen for a long time as the best and most accessible API for weather information. With the API closing down, developers will need to find an alternative.

I’ve been using the Dark Sky API for a product of my own. I’ll now need to spend some time finding an alternative to the Dark Sky API and make the necessary changes for my product. I have the time to do this, but it’s time that I would have earmarked for other prioritised work. I’ll need to re-jig things in the meantime.

The good news.

There is good news about this. Apple will finally get a better weather app. I’ve not been a fan of the weather app for a few years, and when Apple allowed their core apps to be deleted, it was one of the first ones to go from my home screens.

With Dark Sky closing their doors, there is space in the market now for an alternative to Dark Sky. A developer-friendly forecasting API that also provides alerts for changing weather conditions. I’m not saying that it will be easy to do, but there will be many app developers looking for such an alternative. It could be an opportunity.

Is Apple going to do the same for weather data as they did for maps? Apple’s MapKit JS service is a good alternative to Google’s own map service. It would be nice to see a WeatherKit service for both native and web applications. Like maps, weather information can be included in all manner of apps. Having a reliable source of weather information would likely attract more developers to building apps for the iOS platform.

It’s always good to have an alternative

At the end of the day, Apple’s acquisition of Dark Sky should be a cautious reminder. No matter how excellent the service is, there’s always a chance that it can be pulled. The best way to plan for such disruptions is to have at least one other alternative in place.

With another service already earmarked, you can make the switch from one service to the other easily. This doesn’t just go for the apps you use, it goes for your personal data as well. It’s also should be considered if a service is fundamental to your business.

I can’t begin to say how much of a benefit using RSS is, especially in this time of a global pandemic. How do you read RSS though? Laura Kalbag has the answers.

I have to say, Ethan’s first batch of oatmeal and raisin cookies are pretty spot on. I wonder if I can get him to cook dinner as well? 🤔

Oatmeal and raisin cookies are in the oven. That’s a productive lunch hour used.

The things I miss

We’re now into our full second week of the stay at home advice issued by the UK government. Everyone in the Lang house is doing just fine, but there are a few things we miss. Inspired by Bethany Gladhill’s post on “The Things I Miss”, I thought it would be good to do the same.

I miss the golf. We’ve had some great weather over the last few days and over the weekend the golf club would have been hosting it’s first competition weekend of the season. I would have been playing on the Saturday and Ethan and the rest of the juniors would have been playing on the Sunday. I miss the opportunity to get out and play a few holes.

I miss our favourite restaraunts. Within a ten minute drive of the house, we have a number of local restaraunts that we like to go to. We typically go to these more in the spring and summer. With Easter around the corner, we would have typically visited a number of these since the beginning of March. I miss the good food of these restaraunts and the deli counter of one.

I miss family walks. Sure we can go a walk as a family around our local streets, but I miss the walks we talk at our local country park which coincidentally sits right beside the golf club. Again, the weather would have made this an ideal time to go for these. We could drive to the country park, but I’m of the mind that there’s probably lots of other people doing this and it makes the walk crowded which isn’t great for social distancing.

I’m quite an introverted person anyway, so I’m probably equipped to handle this stay at home and social distancing quite well, but that’s not to say that I don’t miss human interaction. Just chatting with people, visiting family and friends and socialising is what I miss the most. Technology is there to help out, but there’s no replacement for good old fashioned face to face chat.

Looking for something to read? How about some flash fiction from Matt Gemmell?

I’ve been really enjoying using Tailwind CSS over the last few days. I’m finally getting my head around it. The thing about it I like the most though is the ability to go from basic HTML to styled components in a relative short period of time.

Rules for living.

All of these should be within easy reach for everyone given the circumstances.

Life Reminder 25

It’s time to rediscover the joy of reading.

Monday firsts

First day for a number of things. Some are actual firsts and some are just reboots.

  1. Home schooling the kids while the school is closed. School has been giving out timetables for the kids to follow at home. Great to have a plan for Drew to follow.
  2. Using my new Logitech K380 keyboard. Those full-size Windows keyboards aren’t great on a desk with limited space.
  3. Seeing the Star Wars Mandalorian series on Disney Plus. I’ve been waiting a long time to see this.
  4. Committing to a blog post a day for the next week. I want to write more. I need to write more.
  5. Returning to daily logs for bullet journaling. Usually just use bullet journaling for the monthly logs and a few other things, but I’m returning to daily logs while I’m working from home.
  6. Sticking to the schedule. Scheduled a few hours today to do a few tasks. Trying to stick to these so that I’m not tempted to let the task just slide by.
  7. Skipping. Yep, bought skipping ropes as a cheap way of getting some exercise in.

The four stage strategy from “Yes, Minister”.

Sometime it feels like the world’s leaders have been watching this classic television series and taking lessons.

I was skeptical of the value of the $299 price tag on the new Magic Keyboard but reading more about its features then it’s close to being justified for me.

Kurt Harden is onto a winner with his idea for schools not having classes

Managing the firehouse of pandemic information

In light of everything that’s been happening in the world in the last two weeks, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the volume of information that is being broadcast.

I subscribe to some news sites through RSS, and I read my Twitter timeline through RSS as well. It generally works well for me as all the content I see is listed in chronological order, and I read it at a pace that suits me. Since the end of last week, I noticed a significant rise in the number of posts that were coming through that contained information about the virus and pandemic.

I’m not suggesting in any way that all the information I am getting through these sources is all false, there are some truths in the information that I’m reading. Still, there is conflicting information about the situation and what should be done. While the situation is concerning for all of us, it can be hard to truly see the facts of the situation and not be clouded by speculative news posts and retweets of information that have no credible source.

I decided to mark all unread posts that contain information about the virus as read using Feedbin’s actions feature. A mute action if you like.

For the moment I’m getting the information I need from my government’s website and by checking in on a couple of UK news sites. It’s much easier this way as I can still get a bit of positive vibe from going through my RSS feeds without having to worrying about filtering through the volume of information about the pandemic.

I’ve been away from the Internet for a few days. Did I miss much?