The Need to Simplify Tech Workflows

Yesterday, I realized I needed to simplify my workflows. I have to believe that the need is a commonality amongst technologists. Let me set the stage with a look into an iMessage conversation.

This set of messages was followed by my colleague sending me a message that simply read, Hold on. I have to go read your novel.” But this is my thinking out loud face. 😝

The key is that last line: if I used email like a normal person… Replace email in that line with many other possibilities and you have a clue into the common plight of tech journalists who try to replace their laptops with an iPad for a week in name of reviewing the device. Honestly, though, this has everything to do with the complexity of computer workflows the technology world over, instead of some oversight on Apple’s part. (Perhaps it’s a little of both.)

In the case of email, the normal person uses one app to deal with email; the normal person doesn’t really care about the naming conventions of their email Archive; the normal person doesn’t care how many messages are sitting in their email Archive; (maybe the normal person doesn’t even use the Archive); and the normal person would never think of moving messages between email services or applications.

Me, on the other hand: I have emails dating back to my college years; I have emails from multiple email accounts consolidated to one, using a combination of folders and labels to differentiate; I have app preferences based on email platform, OS platform, and screen size; and those apps don’t always match up or sync using the same technology.

Email, like RSS or Calendaring, is a bit of a different situation than some others. You literally can’t have multiple Facebook clients or Twitter clients with feature parity. The point of email technology is its openness and ability to connect to so many different applications with so many different things built in or on top. In other words, the complexity may be a thing that has been weeded with time on other services or service types.

But email is a microcosm of so many other parts of a technologists daily work. IOS is a great platform, my platform of choice even; I work predominantly on an iPhone and an iPad. And as more and more capabilities come to these devices, the list of reasons some people stay on other platforms will dwindle. However, there are histories that come with cruft; there are workflows that need reimagining or from-scratch innovation.

Younger generations who start with fresh slates will find it hard to believe the technologists-of-today dealt with the complexities of older platforms for the sake of window positioning or pixel-level mouse-pointer accuracy.


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The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.