Web Excursions 2021-11-17

How the Week Organizes and Tyrannizes Our Lives

  • Some Letts diaries are now sold less for the planning of weeks than for the pursuit of wellness.

  • A week is mostly made up. There have been five-day weeks and eight-day weeks and ten-day weeks.

  • each of the four phases of the moon (full, waxing, half, and waning) lasts about seven days, though not exactly seven days.

    • On the other hand, the number seven comes up in Genesis: God rested on the seventh day.

  • Another reason for seven lies in the heavens.

  • Many civilizations seem to have counted and named days of the week

    • for the sun and the moon and the five planets that they knew about,

    • a practice that eventually migrated to Rome.

  • weekliness became relentless only about two hundred years ago,

    • and that this development was most driven and widespread in the United States.

  • In time, elections tended to be held on Mondays and Tuesdays,

    • public feasts and weddings on Thursdays, and public executions on Fridays.

    • Then came factory life and wages and paydays: Saturdays.

    • Saturday night was a night out.

    • Put that together with Sunday as a day of rest and you’ve got a weekend.

  • writers of treatises on housekeeping were advising women to plan all their household chores around a particular day of the week.

    • Mend on Mondays,

    • iron every Wednesday,

    • sweep the floors on Friday,

    • inspect the pantry every Saturday.

  • The development that really established the seven-day week as insurmountable came in the middle of the twentieth century: the television schedule.

    • because they reached so many more people and faced so little competition

  • If asked, as a ten-year-old, I’d have guessed that the seven-day week came from the menstrual cycle,

    • which my mother always called “your monthlies”

    • but which, inspecting boxes of contraceptives in medicine cabinets at houses where I babysat, I understood to be a weekly affair

    • In archives, menstruation is the notation that I find most often while paging through dead women’s calendars and week-at-a-glance appointment books: ticks or hash marks and, very often, the letter “P,” in red ink, or pink, every four weeks

  • No one has ever really been able to topple the seven-day week. French revolutionaries tried to institute a ten-day week. Bolsheviks aimed for a five-day week. No one tried harder than Miss Elisabeth Achelis

  • In the eighteen-nineties, Moses B. Cotsworth,

    • an Englishman who worked as a statistician for a British railway company,

    • began pondering the possibility of a more efficient calendar,

      • one that would make it easier to compare revenues from month to month and week to week.

    • He devised the International Fixed Calendar,

      • which consisted of thirteen months of twenty-eight days each,

      • with one extra day following the last day of December and one more, at the end of June, in leap years.

      • The new month, between June and July, would be called Sol.

  • Achelis endorsed a calendar of twelve months made up of four equal quarters of thirteen weeks, or ninety-one days.

    • “Each year begins on Sunday, January 1,” she explained;

    • every quarter begins on a Sunday, and ends on a Saturday.

    • “Every year is comparable to every other year; and what is of utmost importance, days and dates always agree.”


All I Want From My Smartwatch Is to Give Me a Break

  • any athlete or doctor will also tell you that rest and recovery are incredibly important to your overall health, preventing injuries, and avoiding motivational burnout.

  • Unfortunately, most wearables fail at giving you a break, even when it’s justified.

    • It’s simply not built into their programming.

  • While it can feel amazing when you’re in the zone, it can ironically be demotivating when you break a streak for reasons outside your control.

    • And the longer the streak, the more demotivating it becomes when you inevitably break it.

  • Peruse any smartwatch or fitness forum and you’ll find people fretting about streaks or obsessing over losing “credit” for an arbitrary goal.

  • This isn’t to say wearables companies and fitness apps aren’t moving in the right direction.

    • With the Fitbit Charge 4, the company moved away from its arbitrary 10,000-step goal toward a new metric called Active Zone Minutes (AZM).

      • What made this shift notable is AZM focuses on your weekly activity level, as opposed to daily streaks.

    • This year, the company also added something it calls a Daily Readiness Score,

      • which helps users decide how active they should be based on their body’s signals and prior activity.

    • In watchOS 6, Apple added a Trends tab that contextualized your progress over the past 90 days compared to your yearly average.

      • This year’s watchOS 8 update also added a host of mindfulness tools, but they’re more focused on meditation than recovery.

  • Oura Ring defines a “good” activity score as hitting a calorie goal three to four times a week, and last year, it added a new Rest Mode.

    • In Rest Mode, the ring snoozes your activity goals and readjusts your scores to prioritize recovery.

  • These are all steps in the right direction, but most mainstream wearables still don’t have a way to stay motivated

    • without penalizing you for needing a physical or mental break every now and then.


Daring Fireball Craig Federighi’s Sideloading Keynote at Web Summit

  • Earlier this month, Craig Federighi delivered a keynote address at Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.

    • It’s just 20 minutes long, including the introduction, and worth watching. His sole topic is sideloading

  • Apple released a white paper making the case against sideloading back in June

  • I found Federighi’s talk to be more compelling than Apple’s June white paper, despite the fact that in general Federighi is a charismatic speaker.

    • With Phil Schiller seemingly retired from speaking on stage, Federighi is now by far the company’s most compelling advocate for a talk like this.

  • Apple is clearly taking the threat of legally-mandated sideloading seriously.

    • Apple SVPs don’t deliver keynotes in Portugal on a lark.

  • Rhetorically, Federighi does a clever job of appealing to E.U. regulators as an ally rather than an adversary, right in his opening lines:
    > My topic is privacy and security, and it’s great to speak about this here in Europe, where so many have embraced these values not just as high ideals — but as fundamental human rights. I have to say, there are times in the U.S. when fighting for privacy has felt a little lonely. But knowing that our values are shared with so many in Europe, and that European policymakers have been willing to take action, well that has felt like a bit of a lifeline.

  • there’s a key topic that Federighi does not broach: money.

    • I remain convinced Apple wouldn’t be facing these regulatory pressures today

      • if they’d walked away from a strategy of maximizing App Store profits years ago

    • If Apple stopped making it look like they’re running the App Store primarily to maximize their own revenue from it,

      • regulators and lawmakers might stop thinking that Apple is running the App Store primarily to maximize their own revenue from it.