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  • feedwordpress 14:11:02 on 2018/08/03 Permalink
    Tags: apple, iphone,   

    A Much Faster Way to Charge your iPhone 

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    A Much Faster Way to Charge your iPhone

    Forgive me, for I am about to commit gadget blogging. I've been using an iPhone X since they came out, and almost from the start my battery has charged between two and three time the default speed of most people's phones. All you need is one new cable to do it.

    The short version: The iPhone X (and iPhone 8) supports a fast-charging mode. If you spend a little bit of money on a higher-wattage charger, you can fill up your battery much faster, especially when it's really low.

    Here's what the results look like with the fast-charging setup that I've got now, starting from a phone that was down to only 2% battery charge:

    Time (minutes) 0 4 20 75 90 120
    Charge 2% 10% 37% 83% 91% 97%


    It's a strange way of pinching pennies on a phone that costs a thousand dollars, but Apple still includes their chintzy little square phone charger with every iPhone sold. It's barely changed over the last decade, and puts out a paltry 5 watts. On the plus side, it is small and doesn't block adjacent outlets, which I suppose is nice for people who are short on space.

    But here's the terrible part: If the regular 5W charger is the only charger you use with an iPhone X, and your battery is running really low, plugging in for half an hour will only add about 20% to your battery. You'll still be in Low Power Mode after half an hour! That is no good.

    As always with Apple, the solution is to spend money. It's more money than you want to spend, but enough that we'll all just suck it up and pay. Yay, Apple!


    I've ended up with a solution that is, admittedly, overkill. Through an absurd series of events, I ended up with an extra of Apple's most expensive charger: The 87 Watt USB-C Power Adapter. This is the most powerful laptop charger Apple sells, using its latest USB-C connector. Only the top-of-the-line 15" MacBook Pro even comes with this kind of power supply; the rest of the MacBooks make do with 61 Watts or less — the regular MacBook only comes with a 29 Watt charger! But each of these chargers uses USB-C, the new universal cable that's both enticingly simple and infuriatingly prone to unpredictable incompatibilties around power and data capabilities. The bottom line is, you don't need the ridiculously high-powered Macbook charger because any of the Apple USB-C chargers can do the job. If you don't have any of these USB-C chargers, I've heard good things about Anker's 30W power plug.

    Once you've got one of these power bricks, or an extra USB-C port on your MacBook or iMac, it's time for the key step: grab Apple's USB-C to Lightning cable, which is frustratingly overpriced at twenty bucks, but worth it. (Amazingly, this represents a 25% price drop for this particular cable over last year's prices.)

    That's it. Plug in your pricey new USB-C to Lightning cable, and you'll be topping up your iPhone battery much faster. Of course, it matters most if your charge level gets really low — if you're already at 95%, none of these products will make much of a difference for getting to 100%.

    I've also used a number of the popular wireless charging (Qi) devices that the iPhone X and iPhone 8 support, and while they certainly work, they're really slow. I much prefer the speed of having my battery fill faster to the convenience of not having to plug in a cable, unless I'm at a public/shared charge point like at a coffee shop or airport.

    The rumors are that Apple is going to include the USB-C to Lightning cable along with the next generation of iPhones, and they certainly should. The default experience for people buying a top-of-the-line phone ought to be the fastest charging experience possible.

    A Much Faster Way to Charge your iPhone

  • feedwordpress 15:16:44 on 2017/07/28 Permalink
    Tags: apple, , offices, openplan, , workspace   

    Apple is about to do something their programmers definitely don’t want. 

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    Apple spent $5 billion on a beautiful new office, Apple Park. So it’s amazing they’re about to make an extremely costly, avoidable mistake: putting their coders in an open-plan layout.

    Apple Park

    I work at Fog Creek Software, where our cofounder and former CEO Joel Spolsky has been blogging for at least 17 years about how open-plan offices are terribly bad for programmer productivity. His insights on the topic are based on Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister’s classic book Peopleware, which has been around for literally thirty years. So this isn’t a particularly new insight. And of course, in the decades since, there have been countless academic studies confirming the same result: Workers in open plan offices are frustrated, distracted and generally unhappy.

    That’s not to say there’s no place for open plan in an office — there can be great opportunities to collaborate and connect. For teams like marketing or communications or sales, sharing a space might make a lot of sense. But for tasks that require being in a state of flow? The science is settled. The answer is clear. The door is closed on the subject.

    Or, well, it would be. If workers had a door to close.

    Staying In The Flow

    Now, when it comes to jobs or roles that need to be in a state of flow, programming may be the single best example of a task that benefits from not being interrupted. And Apple has some of the best coders in the world, so it’s just common sense that they should be given a great environment.

    That’s why it was particularly jarring to see this side note in the WSJ’s glowing article about Apple’s new headquarters:

    WSJ on Apple's new HQ

    Usually, companies justify putting programmers into an open office plan for budget reasons. It does cost more to make enough room for every coder to have an office with a door that closes. But given that Apple’s already invested $5 billion into this new campus, complete with iPhone-influenced custom-built toilets for the space, it’s hard to believe this decision was about penny-pinching.

    The other possible argument for skipping private offices would be if a company didn’t know that’s what its workers would prefer. But we can test this theory— let’s see what it looks like when we ask people what they want in an office, without any prompts or suggestions to guide their responses.

    What you’ll find in the hundreds of responses to that tweet is dozens and dozens of people talking about how much they loved having a private office with a door that closed, or how much they wish they had one.

    There’s no doubt that Apple would get the same responses if they talked to their own team. So the only possibility that’s left is that there just aren’t enough people in the industry who really, truly believe the benefits of having private offices for coders. So we’ll keep banging the drum on this subject.

    A look inside

    Almost a decade ago, I remember reading about the construction of the new Fog Creek office on Joel’s blog, and when it was finally complete, I remember seeing the New York Times breathlessly cover its innovations. At the time, I would never have imagined that I’d get to work from that office someday. And I’ve been thinking a lot about how it felt to look at that article and wonder a bit skeptically whether it was really worth all that effort.

    And I have to admit, I had a moment of temptation as we started thinking about a new office for Fog Creek, wondering whether we might save a few bucks by having an office that was merely great, with the same open plan as almost every other company. It’d be so easy to make the case.

    A lot has changed at Fog Creek — about 2/3 of our company works remotely, though almost all of them work from home offices that have, you guessed it, doors that close. And we’ve got teams like sales and support that benefit from being in a shared, open-plan space. We could make the argument for giving up and just falling in line with what everybody else does.

    But even the teams that have shared spaces are excited about our new office having dedicated phone booths for them to make calls in a private space. And the members of our technical staff remain as hyper-productive as ever without working absurd hours, which we can attribute to them having the right environment to do their work.

    Best of all, focusing on making a great workspace even has us thinking of new ideas that help people get the best of both worlds, like dedicating a large conference room as a “Quiet Car”. It’ll be a place where people can sit together but still enjoy peace and quiet, inspired by everybody’s favorite Amtrak amenity.

    We would never presume to advise a company as successful as Apple about how to do products. Though we’re incredibly proud of Glitch and FogBugz, we of course have huge respect for everything Apple’s done for decades. But we didn’t want to let this one avoidable mistake go by without pointing it out, as it’s a shortcoming that Apple (and every company that has coders on its staff!) could easily fix.

    We’re glad so many companies know it’s worthwhile to invest in their employees — in everything from great healthcare to having the latest-and-greatest computer hardware. But when it comes to forcing every worker to be in an open plan shared space, even when they’re trying to concentrate, it may be time for even the biggest and most successful companies to think… uh, differently?

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