COVID-19, Day 108

We’ve needed some work done on our car since before the pandemic really got rolling. Nothing major. Oil change, brakes, and a general checkup.

I called the local car dealership to see if they do pick up and delivery. I read that some places were offering this. The woman laughed when I asked, said she’d be happy to give me a shuttle ride home, but–as patronizingly as possible–we don’t do that.

So uh…fuck them. I get it if you don’t offer a service. That’s fine. But being condescending about someone being concerned about their health is a dick move.

I called another place, an independent shop, and they said they stopped doing that when the stay-at-home order was lifted. BUT. When I was about to hang up, the guy asked why I wanted pick up and delivery.

"Is someone in your house immunocompromised?" Part of me wanted to lie and say yes. I told him I’m just extremely cautious. He took down a list of what we needed done to the car and said that he’d figure out if there was a way they could do the pick up and drop off for us.

I was kinda stunned. Still am. The guy sounded genuinely concerned, and he absolutely did not have to be. Still some good people out there, I guess.

COVID-19, Days 106 and 107

One of our local McDonald’s locations was shut down over the weekend because two employees caught COVID. Feeling pretty done with getting take-out now, especially with cases skyrocketing everywhere. Our last takeout was some utterly fantastic BBQ, though, so at least we went out with a bang.

Monday 29th of June 2020

I tried Fantastical again when they added that join-meeting feature. It failed utterly. I got stuck in a crash loop on all three of my devices when I tried to log in.

Just tried again today, though, and it works! This is perfect.

Monday 29th of June 2020

I want a utility that sits in the menu bar of my Mac and shows me my upcoming Zoom/Google Hangout meetings with one-click access to launch the meeting. Bonus points if it pops a clickable notification a minute or two before the meeting.

COVID-19, Day 105

We've been watching a TV show in the evenings about restaurants. So, so weird. I miss eating in restaurants, but the scenes of people standing close together in lines, jamming into the dining rooms–ugh. Gives me hives. I'm pretty sure going out to eat will never sit right with me again.

HEY

Been thinking a lot lately about the new email service from the folks at Basecamp, née 37Signals. There’s the influential fight with Apple that occurred leading up to WWDC. That’s worth a discussion. But mostly I’m interested in the actual service.

It’s good! The iOS apps are solid. The Mac app–which appears to be yet another Electron frankenstein–is not. I wish they had taken the Jira route and released a Catalyst app at the very least. The web interface is pretty, functional, and built on some of my favorite technologies.

HEY respects your privacy. That’s a huge win. They strip tracking from all of your emails. The UI separates out receipts, newsletter-type emails, and personal emails into separate bins. It screens senders to make sure you only get emails you want from people you know. You can mark emails that need a follow-up, and they appear in a nice stack. You can pin emails for later reference. All good stuff!

This is email if you reimagined email.

If you’ve never had an email account, this is a fantastic starting point.

Some of us have 20+ years of email in old accounts, though. What good does this service do us? Can we convert? What about Inbox Zero advocates?

Old Email

Yeah, you can bring your old emails over into this new system. I don’t think I’d recommend it, though. Especially if you’ve got a ton of old email. Your best bet is to treat HEY as an entirely new account. At most, I would forward emails from other accounts, which you can do easily with the instructions HEY provides. I definitely would not bother trying to import your archives into HEY. Start fresh. You’ll be happier.

Inbox Zero

If you’re an ardent proponent of Inbox Zero, HEY might not be for you. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing that represents an archive. You can mark emails for follow-up, mark them for reference, or delete them. Otherwise, they sit in the “seen” section of your Imbox. Yes, Imbox.

Searchable? Sure. But it defaults to a state of clutter. This is especially bad if you’re used to seeing a completely empty inbox. You also can’t get a link to a message, which makes it hard to mark a message for follow up in an external app like OmniFocus or Things. Everything has to exist in HEY.

Regular Email Users

This is not an SMPT account. It’s not a POP3 account. You’re not going to be able to connect HEY to your favorite email client like Mail.app or Spark on iOS. You use the provided client, or you don’t use HEY. Simple as that.

So, with those restrictions: is it really email? Email has protocols. Email allows flexibility even if that flexibility shoots you in your own foot.

Well?

I’m of two minds about HEY. On one hand, it’s a terrible service for all of the email you already have. It’s probably not great for business.

On the other hand, as an extremely personal, private account, HEY is fantastic. If you used this service and only shared the address with close personal friends, it could be like a penpal network. There’s something intriguing about that.

But why do that when we have SMS and iMessage, both of which are far more direct and immediate?

I’m not sure if it’s worth $99/year to have a penpal network that could also be accessed using existing technologies.

But if I were, say, 16 years old and getting my first Grown Up Email Account, I’d have to consider this. Compared to the free alternatives, the price for security and privacy is absolutely worth it. I wish this service had been around when I got my first Gmail account.