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Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

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Four Things From the Watch List

I enjoy tech news, and frequently come across things I might want to try -- except that I am too busy when I find them, or the ideas need a little more development, or I want to wait a little for others to try them first. So I keep a watch list of the standouts, and I review it periodically. Here are a few.
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bird.jpg
Image by Zdeněk Macháček, via Unsplash, license.
1. A neat thing about living in Florida is that there are all kinds of funky birds strutting around. I'm not a bird-watcher, but I like birds enough to keep binoculars and an identification guide on hand at home.

So, when I saw that Cornell published BirdNET, a phone app that allows bird identification by sound, I took note.

I was apparently busy at the time, so I bookmarked the site, which links to Apple and Android versions of the app. Having thus jogged my memory, I might install it this afternoon.

2. Here's one I have been experimenting with lately: Nullboard, a "minimalist locally-stored kanban board." It's beta, but it has been a great way for me to understand why Cal Newport places such stock in them. The link takes you to an interactive example. If you're intrigued, follow links to the GitHub page for the project from the menu at its upper left.

3. More of a just-in-case thing for me is Obsidian, a multiplatform knowledge base. This app employs a local folder and markdown files, and is free for personal use. I have my own system using Emacs and Syncthing, but if I end up having to work outside it for some reason, I would take a close look at this.

4. I recently had to buy a new phone, which I have grown to hate. Samsung, T-Mobile, Google, or some combination of these have truly lost their way. One of the more acute examples is volume control. It's so bad, I had to install an app just to make my phone mostly usable. (I sometimes still randomly can't hear the other party on calls.)

As if that weren't annoying enough, I have no idea how, but I also sometimes accidentally pause my calls. If I ever find out what that "feature" is called, I am turning it off, if I possibly can.

If I didn't so strongly dislike Apple's software and ecosystem, I'd already be using an iPhone: They do make good hardware.

But the issue here is plainly software, so the solution I'd like to try is better software -- if it can run on my phone: One alternative is to explore the open-source LineageOS on my old phone and perhaps install that on the new one once I become comfortable and my newer model phone is supported.

But what if I can't?

Come November the F(x)tec Pro1 is rolling out. The following selling point, along with the choice of using a touchscreen or an integrated keyboard appeals to me a lot:
LineageOS, Ubuntu Touch or Android

Choose the OS that works for you and take back control over your smartphone.
I may not be first in line for this, but I will be keeping an eye on what the early adopters are saying about it, because I've wanted more control over my phone for a long time.

That said, buying a phone was nowhere on my radar when I found this. I liked my old phone and would still be using it if a critical component hadn't suddenly failed. So I'm glad I took note of this, anyway.

-- CAV

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