Weeknotes #90

in weeknotes

  • The Japanese Government lifted the state of emergency for all of Japan on Friday (Reuters). The number of detected cases has declined in Tokyo quite dramatically over the past two weeks and so Eri and I decided that we’d send Emma back to pre-school on Monday. I’ve forgotten now exactly when she last went but I think it was back in June.

  • We didn’t send Emma to school on Friday because her school was closed for Tokyo Citizen’s Day. This isn’t a public holiday but schools generally close for classes when it falls on a weekday.

  • We also went out as a family to a nearby park. I’m pretty sure this is the first time that we’ve left the house as a family since Rowan was born. It was quite warm so Eri didn’t stay long but it was nice nevertheless. After Eri had taken Rowan back home, I took the kids on a walk to Musashino Chuo Park. This is one of the better parks near us and Emma and John have been asking for months now to visit it again. We got there walking along a little stream that runs near our place, something I wish we had occasion to do more often.

  • I watched the first episode of The Problem with Jon Stewart, Jon Stewart’s new show on Apple TV+ and his first show since he left The Daily Show. The Problem seems a response (perhaps unconsciously) to the strongest criticism of Stewart’s run on TDS: that for all the outrage Stewart rightly directed at the corrupt and the powerful, what did it accomplish? Rather than hew to the news-summarising format he perfected with TDS, each episode of The Problem focuses instead on a single ‘problem’ (the first episode was about U.S. military personnel who have contracted illnesses from exposure to burn pits). This—together with the fact it’s fortnightly—gives the audience more time to marinade in the injustice Stewart is highlighting and (presumably) do something about it. The problem for me is that as a non-American, what can I do about it? A comedic summary of the news is about relevant for someone outside the U.S. as inside; a show that is laser-focused on America’s (often idiosyncratic) issues, far less so.

  • I also watched the first episode of Foundation, again on Apple TV+. I have less to say about that at this stage. It was very pretty and I’ll be watching more but it didn’t grab me in the same way that Westworld or Watchmen both did.

  • A notable omission from that list might seem to be Game of Thrones. But it’s not there because, apart from the pilot, I’ve never watched the show. That doesn’t mean I’m unaware of what happens but, in what feels very contemporary, that knowledge comes entirely through the video essays of Alt Shift X. All of this has been a somewhat forced segue to his the video he published this week, ‘The real Tyrion Lannister’. It’s a whopping 1 hour and 15 minutes and I loved every second of it.

  • I kept working on Watchful and the version that runs on Linux seems to be working. I’m now in the process of trying to get the macOS version to a similar point.

  • There’s been a lot of criticism of the new tab design in Safari 15 on macOS. I agree with everyone saying it’s terrible and a real black mark on Apple’s design team but, as Jason Snell pointed out on this week’s The Talk Show, it’s also a shame that it’s obscured the genuinely great tab groups feature that Apple introduced with the new Safari. I’m using a group to track tabs relevant for Watchful across my Mac, iPhone and iPad and so far, it’s working really well.

  • One of my favourite tech writers, Dan Luu, published a post about the value of in-house expertise. As Luu explains, valuing in-house expertise seems to fly in the face of one of the central tenets of business administration that call on managers to focus on their core competencies. That raises the obvious question that if, that tenet is wrong, what else is? Is the entire field of business administration fundamentally broken?

  • Kaiser Chiefs’ ‘Everyday I Love You Less and Less’ (Apple Music) is a superb example of the cheekiness of British rock.

Michael Camilleri @pyrmont