Viva la vida - Issue #10

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Viva la vida

November 13 · Issue #10 · View online
A theme-free newsletter where I shape all my thoughts every Sunday. You can expect it to be techie, but I might surprise you with non-techie topics such as life or how to recover from a workout drinking beer.

⌚️ calls you
Do you know what’s the difference between a framework and a library? I’m always confused to know which one is who but after some Stackoverflowing I found it: Your code calls a library, and a framework calls your code. I recently got rid of my Apple ⌚️ because the framework that called me as if it was a framework calling the code (me) using it. It’s a device built for creating a habit in all of us. It’s a device that wants us to be dependent 24 hours a day because dependency brings the company higher incomes, not only because you’ll get the new version of the device as it comes out, but because you’ll want to also be dependent on other company’s product.
Do you remember slot machines? It’s a common thing in many Spanish cafeterias. In my family’s cafeteria, some clients like to throw some coins in it and play a bit every day. These machines were also designed to create a dependency on the people that use them. Back then they didn’t have push notifications or integration with your phone, so they appealed to more classic resources like lights, music, or a smart prize-giving algorithm to keep you engaged. If the dependency on these machines is not generally well seen, why the dependency on the Apple watch is?
Both devices have rewards for you, in slot machines, the reward is money and in the Apple watch the reward is in the shape of mental stimulus that your brain has got used to, like push notifications that keep you engaged with your social networks and your circle of friends. Apple created that dependency before the Apple watch came out, and they made it hard to break it by just tieing us to other devices such as the Apple watch.
There’s one good thing though, compared to the slot machines. We don’t need to throw coins to get the machine working. Instead, we need a charger that we need to carry with us because we don’t want the Apple to watch to die and feel the freedom of not depending on it. You get home, and you need to charge your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, computer… You go on a trip and you need to think which devices you need to take with you because the dependency is so high that we don’t want to miss a thing. We need the iPhone because we might need to call someone, and maybe post some photos on Facebook. But we need also the Apple watch because it’s more convenient to read the notifications on it. The iPad needs to be also in my backpack because what if I want to watch a Netflix episode and I want to do it on a proper screen.
Apple did a great job making us dependent. New devices and services are thought to be well integrated across its devices, and they make us believe that we need most of them. 
I gave up, I sold my Apple watch. Carrying an extra device, and having an unnecessary mental clutter associated with it was not for me. I don’t want my brain to get used to the addiction all these devices create on us. 
  • I can go to sleep and I don’t have to think about having to charge an extra device, the watch.
  • I don’t need to think about having to charge the device when it’s running out of battery.
  • When I go on a trip, it’s one less thing to think about.
  • I can be on the metro, or in a cafeteria with someone and my brain is more focused on the conversation.
It was all benefits when I thought about it. I sold it in a Facebook group in Berlin (something very common here). It was right after the new Apple watch came out, so I had to lower the practice. Once I did it I felt I got rid of an unnecessary burden.
When it comes to Apple devices I try to convince myself that I need them because as I developer I might need to test something on them. The reality is that that never happens. There are great simulators when you can try your experiments, and if you need a real device, you can always get a second-hand one for your tests.
Since I like running and tracking my workouts, seeing my times and distances, I bought a Garmin Forerunner 735XT. I was afraid of ending up with a similar dependency that it turned out not to be so.  The first thing that I did as soon as I realized that it was a feature was disabling the notifications. By default, the mobile phone forwards all the notifications to the watch. I just use the watch to check the time and to track my workouts. It’s very well synchronized with Strava, the app that I use to track my workouts. When the workout is completed, it gets automatically sent to Strava. Moreover, if you use live segments, a Strava feature, it notifies you about those segments while you are running. This is great to challenge yourself running in segments that you did in the past.
I feel I’m not addicted to the watch. It doesn’t provide any stimulus to my brain, I don’t feel I need to check it because of push notifications coming or because I have some free time and some apps in the watch might help me get distracted. I don’t need to think about chargers anymore, the battery lasts for more than 5 days. Crazy! Isn’t it? The watch is a library, so you need to call it (in comparison to the Apple watch that calls you). The watch is tracking things in the background like your heart rate (24 hours a day), your sleep quality, steps, exercise, but it never bothers you with disruptive alerts that attempt to create a habit on you. I feel like wearing a new-generation casio watch that meets my needs.
After a few weeks using it I think it was a great choice. I think I will never buy an Apple watch because honestly, I don’t need it. Some might argue that I could have disabled the notifications, or use it differently, but just feeling that I’m wearing something that I’m not using at all and that I need to charge every day is an unnecessary burden that I don’t want to carry on.
And you, do you have an Apple watch? Do you feel it adds up a lot of value to your life? How do you use it?
I hope you have a wonderful week and see you in the next issue.
If there’s any topic that you are interested in and that that you would like me to cover in this newsletter drop me a line at pepibumur@gmail.com or message me on Twitter, @pepibumur. I’ll be happy to talk about it.

Song of the week
Som Foc, a song by Txarango, The Cat Empire on Spotify
Week recommendation
I recommend you this newsletter from Tobias van Schenider. He was a lead designer at Spotify and nowadays he has his own studio, Semplice in New York. He’s a very inspiring person and I learn a lot from his newsletter, where he talks about different life-topics. He sends a new issue every Monday.
van Schneider Weekly Email list - Tobias van Schneider - Design & Creative Direction
Articles that I read this week
Building a Dynamic Mobile CI System
React is Slow, React is Fast: Optimizing React Apps in Practice
10 Days Without a Smartphone – Alexander Little King – Medium
How I Spent The Last 3 Years Becoming Minimalist And Why You Should Too
You Thought You Knew About Social Networks – Social Network Theory – Medium
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