This is a tribute to the Maxell XLII-S 90 blank cassette tape. In particular, the incarnation of it pictured above. Quality recording? Check. Durable? Check. The right 90 minute length suitable for fitting an average length album on each side without excessive blank space at the end? Check.
But what made this particular version – probably sold from about 1987-1990 – stand out over the similar offerings from TDK or Fuji, and even over the versions of the XLII-S 90 which came before or after? Texture. The plastic was not smooth. It had a subtile texture to it that made it a pleasure to hold.
"We tell ourselves, “a computer only does what we tell it to.” But, when it comes down to it, if we aren’t getting the result we want out of the computer, we often give in and do whatever it is the computer wants us to do."
So, true. Sometimes we later find what the software was guiding us to was a better choice in the long run, as well. Often not, but sometimes.
Federico Viticci, on his 445 day journey through cancer treatment:
This is not a post about the lessons I’ve learned. I am still learning. There’s an old saying in Italy that goes like this: “life is a continuous exam”. I believe that’s true. How can I write about life when I’m still learning how to deal with it?
I remember standing in roughly the spot he is in today. In the course of one week in early December 1989, I turned 21, graduated from NYU…and was diagnosed with cancer.
I was lucky enough to be treated by the top cancer doctors in the U.S. at the National Institutes of Health Cancer Center (yes, using your tax $$$). I spent the next year meandering my way through a series of procedures, surgeries and chemotherapy. I learned a lot about unconditional love from the incredible support I got from family and friends. I learned even more about courage from the other patients at N.I.H. – most of whom faced much more questionable outcomes than I.
For me, the “445 days” was more like 380 days. After that year, the scans, the blood tests, etc. continued. First weekly. Then monthly. Then yearly. And now it’s been 22 years. Science did kick my cancer’s ass.
I look forward to reading Federico’s “22 years” post someday – and trust me, he’ll still be “learning how to deal with” life then, too. I sure am.
Disable Notifications with Guided Access
Over at Macworld, Lex Friedman points out a real need in iOS – to have a convenient way to temporarily disable notifications. I agree with his post, but for a lot of the specific use cases he mentions such as watching a video or using navigation where you are primarily in one app there is a solution – Guided Access.
Guided Access is a new iOS 6 feature intended for primarily education and accessibility uses. Per Apple:
Guided Access helps you to stay focused on a task while using your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Guided Access limits your device to a single app and lets you control which app features are available.
I have not seen it specifically documented, but in my testing, when Guided Access is enabled Notification Center is not available and new notifications do not trigger banners or sounds.
It’s not all that inconvenient to use, either. If you go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access, you can enable it. Once on, you simply triple click the home button when in an app, and you can start a Guided Access session. This will lock you into the single app until you triple click home again and key in a passcode to end the session – but until that time, you will happily be notification free. When you leave your Guided Access session, all your notifications are waiting for you in Notification Center as well – they don’t just disappear.