Gary Bacon

mister_bacon_stickers

How to Use Stickers in the iOS 10 Messages App

With the launch of the iPhone 7 also came the debut of Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 10. This latest version of the OS brought with it a ton of new changes, improvements, and added features.

One of those new features is the ability to add stickers to text messages in the Messages app ( or iMessage ).

I’ve had a few people ask me where to find them so I decided to make a short video to walk you through it.

Mister Bacon – delicious bacon stickers for Messages. ( app store )

apple_watch_unlock2x

Apple Watch Not Unlocking a Mac

Setting up the feature that allows you to unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch ( must have OS X Sierra & iOS 10 ) has been a bit more tedious than I had anticipated. I believe this is due to a bug.

Two-factor authentication is new. This needs to be set up prior to attempting to use Apple Watch to unlock.

If you have Two-step authentication disable it first.

Pro-tip

Do not try and check the box in System Preferences > Security & Privacy before setting up Two-factor authentication correctly.

There are plenty of guides online for setting this up, however, none have pointed out the bug. I found a few other folks that had the same issues in forums.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-9-08-33-am

The issue is that once you check the box and authenticate, and if Two-step is still on, then OS X hides the checkbox. There is no way, that I’ve found, to re-try this.

Update: To get the checkbox back, simply reboot, reauthenticate, and it should work again.

iphone7_headphones@2x

Headphones You Can Buy Right Now for iPhone 7

The iPhone 7 or iPhone 6SE is fast approaching release. With that, one of the largest rumors around the device is that Apple is discontinuing the 3.5mm jack in favor of using the lightning cable for headphones.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the 3.5mm jack on headphones. After a pair of my Bose did this:

However, Bose being an amazing brand in both quality and customer service, hooked me up with a free replacement pair. Plus, two days later, they upgraded me to Bluetooth so it would never happen again. #winning

While the switch to lightning may seem groundbreaking, or even startling, Apple has actually supported lightning headphones since 2014.

redesign_blog_2016

Redesigning This Blog Based on Components

Around the end of June, I decided it was time to redesign my blog. On a flight back from Disney in Orlando, Florida, I opened up Sketch and began crafting a new design.

This is what I came up with:

I’ve always built my WordPress theme from scratch. I like having as little code as possible, speed, and hand-crafting custom CSS. I’m not against frameworks, I just choose not to use one for my own site. More on that in a future post.

Then I let the design sit for a week. Great.

I was also stuck on what I wanted the mobile layout’s navigation to look like. I still have work to do on that. That’s fine. Ship it. Iterate. Repeat.

Evolving the Approach

In the past, I would have taken my own mockup, put it in Zeplin, and then start coding out the CSS from the top down. However, this time, I decided to try something different: I would look at the code as components. With this task, I was not only creating the HTML/CSS but also cleaning up the PHP & HTML that makes up the current theme.

The site would consist of: the main template structure, a blog template, the main navigation, a blog topic navigation, the search bar, a social media cluster, and the blog post content area.

To build momentum, I started out with the smaller components. Doing that ends up being a quick win, which gives you a boost of creative energy. Then repeat and knock out another; repeat it again.

instagram_vs_snapchat@2x

Snapchat vs. Instagram Stories and It’s Confused User Experience

Earlier this month, Instagram released a new feature for it’s app: Instagram Stories. This isn’t a groundbreaking new feature. It’s a feed of stories from your followers that expire in 24 hours.

Just. Like. Snapchat.
( Admittedly so. )

There is definitely a conflict of attention here. You can’t recreate a spontaneous moment to capture it for another platform. I’ve seen many Snapchat users upload videos to Instagram to share with their audience later. That is, until Snapchat introduced the Memories feature and made it much more difficult to save stories to your phone.

We’ll see if Instagram Stories takes off or not. Just due to the sheer volume of users already on Instagram, most likely it will. That being said, having two feeds competing for attention within the same app does seem to be a bit of an odd user experience.

On the other hand, for any app, increased engagement is definitely the goal and a plus.

sketch_resize

Sketch 39 Top Features Including Symbol Resize

Resize Layers in Groups & Symbols

“You can now define how layers within groups and Symbols should move/resize when the user resizes a group or symbol.”

This is what excited me the most about the update. I have been wanting this for a long time.

Not only can you change the label of a symbol dynamically. You can now smartly resize symbols and groups. This will save so much time in day to day design activities.

Sketch Cloud (beta)

“Introducing the first version of Sketch Cloud (Beta) — a free service that lets you upload Sketch documents and share them with the world.”

cloud-browser@2x

complex_problems

Solving Complex Problems & Dispelling Anxieties

How’s that for a headline? Rolls right off the tongue. Let’s dive into creating solutions, getting rid of clouded thinking, and making forward progress.

Artfully Frustrated, Again

There are times where I find myself being Artfully Frustrated, again. I have to remind myself that others experience this, it’s a sign that I’m still growing, and to push on forward.

That frustration comes from a drive to constantly be improving. As with all things in life, there is a balance. When that drive escalates to perfectionism, then it can be a problem. Dysfunctional perfectionism is at the heart of depression, anxiety, workaholism, procrastination, and suicide.

How do we change for the better? By focusing on what we do have, being thankful, expressing gratitude, and being authentic.

Authenticity & Gratitude

Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we really are.

When we are focused so hard on expectations, even those that are imposed by our own self, it leads to anxiety.

Instead, we should trade those expectations for appreciations.

The best way to get rid of that worry is to express gratitude. The two can not coexist.

In the book Flourish, author Martin E. P. Seligman suggests keeping a gratitude journal or the Three Blessings Journal. At the end of every day write down three things that went well and why they went well.

When I worked at the Apple Store for a summer in 2010, we were trained to ask customers open-ended probing questions. It gets at the heart of why a customer is shopping and how best to meet their needs. This Forbes article paints a clear picture:

Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs. This simply means to ask a series of closed and open-ended question so you can match the customer with the right product, not the most expensive product. In the Apple Store, a closed-ended question elicits a simple yes or no such as, “Will this be your first Mac?” An open-ended question is more general and gives the sales associate (specialist) more information to guide the conversation. For example, “What will you be using the iPad for?”

Asking why probes further and gives clarity. That’s why we do it in the gratitude journal. I’m thankful for my brother. Why? He is always there to talk with me when life seems overwhelming. Even further…Why? It’s great to have someone to talk to when you feel alone in your experience.

Finding What Challenges You

Finding What Challenges You

In an interview, Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about science boosting the economy. He goes on to say, most companies and politicians don’t have the tolerance for the long term view.

You don’t motivate a group of kids, saying “Who wants to be a mechanical engineer and help improve flight efficiency by 15% compared to the airplane your father flew?”

But instead, ask “Who wants to be an engineer and help develop airfoils to help fly in the atmosphere of Mars?” With the latter, you get the best students in the class.

Flow is the intersection of what you are good at and what challenges you— where difficulty and competency meet.

When your competency exceeds the difficulty of a task, you are bored. And when the difficulty exceeds your competency, you are anxious. That was my problem: I was bored.

— Jeff Goins, The Art of Work

There are times where the day job requires me to do the mundane. That’s fine. We can’t always have constant excitement. It’s called work for a reason.

For inspiration, this is one of the reasons that I have side projects. To keep pushing my limits. It allows me to play. To find out how to make user interfaces for VR, tinker with implementing the Acelerated Mobile Pages Project on content, create a landing page for Snapchat, write books, and so much more.

These all funnel back into the collective of who I am. When you hire me, you get a wide variety of experiences. All of which have added something to my career over the years.

custom_snapchat

How to Customize Your Snapchat Snapcode

Snapchat made a pretty standard landing page for adding people. Here’s mine. It shows your username, snapcode, and a link to download the app.

As an experiment, I made a Snapchat page to promote what I’m snapping about. Turned out pretty sweet.

Snapchat Page

As you can see, I’ve customized my Snapcode. You can do this with your brand, image of yourself, favorite pet, or the theme of what you’re snapping about.

quitting_too_early

Quitting Too Early

A common theme that I see reoccurring in success stories is:

“I stuck it out. I didn’t quit early.”

Weird Lucky Thing

In a 1988 interview, the then 38-year-old Bill Murray said there were lots of actors that were better at “The Second City” who quit it before it even got to a paying status.

That extra mile, that commitment, that desire, the action of pushing on when everyone else says you are crazy.

That’s what it takes to succeed.

Finding just one hour a day to work on what you love adds up. It ends up being 7 hours a week or roughly 28 hours a month. Have weekends off? Great, more pockets of time.

Budgeting Time

It’s budgeting your time. Like Amy Hoy said in her Year of Hustle course, “Time isn’t money. Time is an opportunity cost.”