Keep Two Thoughts

Personal essays

Fix All - Essay from Newsletter 37

Don’t press the magic button

Less is more

I decided to move to a smaller phone this year and upgraded my iPhone 11 Pro to the 12 Mini.

I love the size in my hand and pocket and I don’t find the screen any harder to read.

A few years ago, to get the larger screen and the nicer camera I opted for the 8 plus. Moving from that to the 11 Pro kept me in the top of the line camera and as much screen real estate as the 8 plus in a smaller device.

This year I had to forego the telephoto camera, Lidar, and some pixels to try the mini and so far I’m pretty happy.

It may be that I’ll miss the camera once I leave my house again - but that’s months away at the very least.

I’ve gone all in on iOS 14’s home screens so I have my docked apps at the bottom, a widget at the top that rotates among pictures, podcasts and other items in its smart stack, and two siri smart widgets that selects the sixteen apps it thinks I’m most likely to use at this time in this location.

So I don’t miss having more things on my home screen because that’s all I’m keeping there.

I use the app library for the remainder of my apps instead of a dozen home screens where apps go to be forgotten.

Because it’s a smaller device, I can quickly swipe and reach apps easily.


Muscle memory

I’m having trouble with the smaller keyboard.

This is silly.

I used a tiny keyboard on smaller phones in the past.

But now I keep missing keys and hitting enter on silly typos.

I wrote to a friend that I had skipped most of the whale chapters in Moby Dick.

Somehow I mistyped it so that my phone autocorrected it to “Mint Dick”.

I don’t even want to speculate.

Fortunately, I saw this before I hit send.

I had a friend who was one of the first people I saw mostly dictate texts. It seemed to mostly work for him.

I’ve done that on my watch and when I had Car Play (I miss having Car Play) and it was surprisingly accurate.

It was accurate enough that I often would send without checking.

I got out of the habit.

And now with my smaller keyboard I need to get back in the habit again.

A friend noted that my most common tweet is “Thank you”.

That said, for months when I typed “Thank” my phone tried to complete the thought with a religious utterance I’ve never typed into my phone.

Nothing wrong with it - just nothing I would ever say- whereas I say “Thank you” a hundred times a day.

(Wow - did I just say “whereas”?)

The tip

Another of my friends is posting tips to make our time with Xcode go better.

Xcode has gotten better over time, and it will often spot errors and suggest fixes. You can accept the suggested fix by tapping “Fixit”.

The tip was that instead of fixing one error at a time, we can tap a magic “Fix All” button and all of the fixes will be applied.

Even if you don’t code, that is an attractive idea.

A button that fixes all of our problems.

Don’t do it.

We’ve all seen that scene in the movie where the kid says to the genie or other magical creature, “I just wish that …”

And the wish is a simple one.

And if the wish were granted in the way the kid is imagining it would be perfect.

But it isn’t.

It’s a classic problem. When King Midas wishes that everything he touches turns to gold, he hasn’t consider all of the implications of that wish being granted.

A button that fixes all of our problems.

What could possibly go wrong?

(People my age - it’s the premise for pretty much every episode of “I Dream of Jeannie”.)


I was rushing yesterday to get the first chapter of my Combine book to my reviewers.

A book doesn’t feel real to me until someone else has read it.

I built the book and four errors popped up in the terminal. I had to fix the names of the files for a few sections.

Type. Type. Type. Fixed.

I rebuilt the book and one hundred errors popped up.

This actually makes sense. I wasn’t giving the build system the correct files so it wasn’t reporting on any of the issues in the files - it was complaining it didn’t know what files I was talking about.

One hundred errors in a single file. Wow, it must be terrible.


I’d made a tiny mistake in the first paragraph and hadn’t included the symbols that indicate I’d come to the end of that paragraph.

The build system was reporting that everything after that point had some sort of problem.


I fixed the first error and all of the others disappeared.

This is often so true outside of coding as well.

There’s some critical thing that if we could just tweak that one thing, the cascading errors would disappear.

You know that thing that if it goes wrong you’re behind all day?

That thing.

Or maybe once you see the thing that went wrong you can recover by making this little adjustment here.

Sometimes you make a fix and a ton more problems appear.

More often, you make the right fix and all the red warnings disappear.

Essay from Dim Sum Thinking Newsletter 37. Read the rest of the Newsletter or subscribe

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