How does your daily engagement with different apps and websites look like? 

I’ve been musing on this one for a few days. A few years ago I wrote an AppleScript that would periodically do the F9 show all your windows and dump a screenshot. On Sunday afternoon I dug it out and ran it from just befoe 4pm until 11pm. I pulled these together in a gif.

I am not sure how much this tells me other than I have a lot of windows open most of the time. Luckly it does not show how many browser tab I am using…

coffee gatha

Write a Gatha Poem | The Daily Stillness

A while back I tried Idle Pleasure of the day: Wait for the tea to brew from The Daily Stillness and was quite horrified at how it turned out.

I’ve a pretty good routine for this: Grind coffee; while it buzzes I put water in the pot; I then add the coffee and put the pot on the stove; while it heats I prepare the cups; and pour when it bubbles.

It takes a while to boil and bubble up. I guess I usually look at my phone or read the paper, standing still that day i note that my attention is racing and I can hardly stand still, I shift from foot to foot to ‘keep busy’!

Since then I occasionally try and check my posture, relax and breath whicle the coffee is brewing, perhaps this gatha will help.


Antique PBX

We found a lovely post that helped us reflect on life beyond the digital. Joel Dueck tells us about this item of furniture,

The secretary, a compartmentalized working-space, may be thought of as the RSS reader of the past.

from: The RSS reader of days gone by | The Daily Stillness

The linked post, is really only a paragraph but the idea in it is wonderful.Â

Today, I wrote a post on my blog, read my RSS reader, tweeteted, answered tweets, found some  lovely stuff. I worked on a website and went back an forward many times on email.

The image of a bureau captures this delightfully. I imagine a webpage version that looks as organised as the image posted.

Image Credit: Antique PBX | Germany 2012 | Thomas Quine | Flickr Creative Commons — Attribution 2.0 Generic — CC BY 2.0

As Natasha Dow Schüll shows in her excellent book Addiction By Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas, while casino operators want us to think that addiction is the result of our moral failings or some biological imbalance, they themselves are to blame for designing gambling machines in a way that feeds addiction. With social mediaâ “much like with gambling machines or fast food” our addiction is manufactured, not natural.

from: Technology’s Mindfulness Racket | New Republic

Today’s stillness prompt connects with the idea around software design I’ve been thinking about recently.

On the one hand, I’d guess, GUI designers are trying to help us do something; communicate, connect etc.

On the other if we don’t pay for their services, they are serving the service. We, or I certainly, forget this when thinking about how a piece of software works.

I also wonder how deep it goes, I notice that phone apps that I’ve turned notifications off for fell quite different that ones I’ve left them on for.

Some things seem to slip by but are still under our control:

gif showing flickr settings

But there are surely a lot more subtile things that we normally don’t notice or understand going on that will require a fair bit of mindful attention if we are to even notice them.

The problem with these programs, (and, yes, I’m aware that I use the word ‘problem’ lightly world news is over there) is that they rarely make you feel fantastic about yourself. For every run that your fitness app gives you a virtual high five for, there will be many other occasions when you haven’t worked out and you’ll see that little widget glinting at you, reminding you of your failure. You might’ve been ill, or depressed, or busy working on a brilliant new project – the app doesn’t care.

from: I need to escape from the planet of the apps | Bella Mackie | Opinion | The Guardian

Do you need to escape from the planet of the apps? | The Daily Stillness

Well not really. I get annoyed a wee bit by some, for example Medium asks if I want to turn on Alerts, now or later?   I would like a never button.

But the affordance of a mobile device are worth the odd Notification. Most I’ve turned off, I’ve learnt not to be bothered by unread lables.

This is a device where I can record, in text, audio, video, image and other formats. I can find out almost anything almost instantly almost everywhere.

This is a device which can perform small miracles and if fits in my pocket.

I can turn my phone to airplane mode if I want, I don’t take it into the same room when I sleep.

I am aware that I have a sometimes unhealthy relationship with the notifications I do have on. My work email could probbably wait, but this problem is dwarfed by the positive things I get from that wee device in my pocket.


1. Go to a public place that you pass daily and take a photo, not too close and not too far
2. Download the photo to a computer and look at it for 3 minutes
3. Return to the location and take detail photos of things you noticed while looking at the original

We are recycling this one for the weekend for our friend @johnjohnston who could not do it on a week day!

from: Seeing the familiar in a new way | The Daily Stillness

No pressure;-)

I went for a walk in the park yesterday morning and took a few shots. None of them looked promsing, but I went over this one carefully:

park trees, picture in picture of a close up


I’ve hi-lighted and zoomed to the bit I though worth revisiting. Turned out I did not get back to the park yesterday. Today We went a little further afield for a walk and picnic.

tree trunk and bark

I spent a fair bit of time looking at trees and bark. Neither of these are particularly interesting photos but the exercise itself was.Â

If I had gone back to the park I may have tried for the kerb stones rather than the trees, but I can save that for another day.