iPhone 6 Plus Screen Backlight Issue

I’ve noticed an issue I’ve been having with my iPhone 6 Plus a couple weeks ago. After the phone has been in my pocket for an indeterminate amount of time, I would randomly be unable to light the screen back up. The phone would come out of sleep, I could swipe to unlock (or use Voice Over) and I could see the backlight come on. The problem was the screen itself was just black – nothing to show. Rebooting sometimes fixed this. It was especially annoying when trying to board a plane and then being unable to bring up the boarding pass.

I noticed this week that I could produce a similar behavior more regularly. I needed something I could reliably reproduce before bringing it into an Apple Store. Here it is:

Hopefully they can repair or replace the device. I made the mistake of going with a regional carrier (US Cellular) and in the past I heard you had to arrange repair through the carrier. I’m hoping its just a screen replacement and they can do it in-store.


Culture vs. Culture

Today I was musing about company culture. Most tech job postings these days mention “our culture” and tend to interview for you to be a culture fit. Sometimes I really wonder if they’re confusing culture vs. culture:

culture |ˈkəlCHər|

  1. The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively: 20th century popular culture.
  2. The cultivation of bacteria, tissue cells, etc., in an artificial medium containing nutrients.

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

Forcing a culture on new employees tends to lend itself to definition #2. Finding new employees that fit into what is perceived as the #1 definition actually means your culture is artificial. Exposing your human intellectual manifestations to your candidates and letting them determine if they want to contribute to that culture seems to be the right move.

Forcing a culture to form in your company feels more of an experiment than how human nature behaves. Find people you want to work with based upon how they work and not how you want them to work. You might just find their distinctiveness is what your company needs to move up to the next level of success.


The Fear of Missing Out

Working for a 100% distributed company presents a number of benefits as well as challenges. One of those challenges is the fear of missing out or FoMO. It is a real thing.

The Fear of Missing Out is the emotional stress we can experience when we feel like things that should be important to us are occurring without our observance or involvement. Social media plays an important role in this as we experience other people’s involvement in activities that portray a perceived positive impact on their well-being. Even though we know that the world isn’t as rosy as is portrayed through these sites, we feel a tinge of jealous a number of times.

Boy that looks fun.


I can’t believe I didn’t go to that concert.


I wish I had x to do y with.

Working remote presents its own version of FoMO. The larger our company gets, the more communication channels exist. In Slack we have over 450 channels and a hoard of private blogs to communicate with. You simply cannot subscribe to every blog and channel without overloading your brain. The cost of not subscribing means you feel you’re missing out on something. How do you combat this?

We have a general rule that anything said in Slack is ephemeral. It’s searchable, yes, but unless you were pinged either directly or in a room, we can’t expect people to “catch up” on backchat when returning. More permanent things have to be documented on an internal blog if they are to be treated as such. People who should be made aware of the items that don’t belong to that team should be pinged in the post. The assumption is you should be following your team’s blog pretty closely.

This gives us the benefit to start unsubscribing to things. At some point one of these checks causes the balance to be made and information flows between barriers. You have to trust this happens. Once in a while you get surprised by a piece of information but you just roll with the punches.

The FoMO also happens when you’re in person with your coworkers. We have an annual get-together we call the Grand Meetup. We’re all at the same place at the same time for over a week. There is SO MUCH going on this week that you will miss things. You should miss things. There are so many people to meet, activities to participate in, and projects to work on that we can forget to sleep.

The fear is real. It will grip you. Remember to breathe, take a step back and trust that its okay if you don’t experience everything in life. Just don’t forget to look out your own window once in a while. :)


Featured image credit – https://www.flickr.com/photos/deathtogutenberg/15065313478/


Missing my DSLR Camera

I love photography. My love for taking photos is an ebb and flow. I’m not sure what exactly affects the arbitrary direction of those currents other than the nature of my brain. I still take a fair number of photos but sadly they’re only with my iPhone 6 Plus as of late.

I have a fair amount of camera gear, centered around my Canon 40D from a few years back. I was seriously proud when I bought that digital SLR. I also have a number of pieces of studio lighting equipment and related paraphernalia. I enjoy the whole concept of being a full time photographer – but for some reason I just peter out and lose interest. I’ve been pondering why lately and this is sort of my mental dump on the subject.

I miss my DSLR because it forces me to take the extra moment to compose the shot and find the right way to convey the emotion and special effect on my being at the time. I’m not sure I miss my film-based SLR as much but this effect is definitely amplified when it’s not easy to see the results immediately on a screen.

Carrying around the iPhone/3G/4/5/5S/6 Plus over the years has made photography more accessible to me. (Well, to the world actually)  I find carrying around the gear is not super easy but it is definitely the mark of a photographer. I’ve tried smaller bags and those help but then I discover soon I left a particular lens filter in the larger bag at home and I get all crabby. Having the iPhone in your pocket means you can take a picture whenever the need arises. The other huge improvement a smartphone gives you is you can put it away to enjoy the moment easier.

How many times have you been to a serenely beautiful place and can’t help yourself but take a large number of photos and videos? What we’re trying to do as photographers is capture that moment so well so we don’t forget it and then we can share it. With large memory capacities, high frame rates, auto-bracketing, effect filters, etc we start to reduce the quality and forethought into a photo and replace it with quantity. Being worried about getting the right shot from every angle and a slow motion video of all the movement can ruin the moment. Don’t forget to just sit … and watch … and compose the photos in your mind as well.



UIKit Dynamics – Turning on Debug Mode

In iOS 9 Apple has introduced a number of new shiny things for UIKit Dynamics. One of them is UIFieldBehavior which describes magnetic, electrical and spring fields of influence. Fields are hard to debug (even in real life!) so Apple decided to provide a debug mode on UIDynamicAnimator. The trick is the debug mode isn’t published in the headers. Why? Who knows. They mentioned it quite plainly at WWDC 2015 and said you have to turn it on in the LLDB debugger.

I found an easier and more straightforward way. Just use key-value coding! UIDynamicAnimator still inherits from NSObject so the KVC helper methods are still there.



Biggest Lie To Your ADHD Self

Most of my journey the past couple of years with coping with attention problems is increasing my self-awareness. I am my own obstacle and I must hack my own consciousness to work the way I need it to.

It’s easy to slip into old habits and totally forget the tools you’ve put in place. All it takes is one of those well-known “ooh shiny” moments and you’re off track for an hour reading about nuclear testing instead of solving the problem for work.

One of the tools I use is keeping a log of things I’ve accomplished in the day/week. The log gives me a complete picture of what I’ve been able to focus on and lets me easily reflect on the past week. I tend to find the holes this way – places I’ve let tasks slip through. This seems to work much like the effect looking at photographs lets you recall and retain memories. The problem I have is I don’t remember to write things in the log all the time. Then I forget about the log.

I’ve discovered one of the biggest lies I keep telling myself even with all of these tools and practices. What is that lie?

I’ll get to it [the task] in a few minutes.

Yeah, it never happens. Ever. I always forget or something more important on the signal to noise ratio scale eclipses it. My goal is to stop letting this little lie derail me. If the task takes a few moments to complete, DO IT NOW.