“When is the last time you actually thought about PDFs?” asks Rob Walker in his excellent look into the 30-year-old tool we often take for granted. “The PDF is a…

I enjoy using it, when it works

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Image: Apple

When Apple Fitness+ launched in mid-December, I immediately signed up for the free trial. I’d been looking forward to subscribing to the company’s $10 a month service that includes guided workouts and integration with Apple Watch. I knew that if I liked the service, it might finally convince me to sign up for Apple One, the bundle of services that didn’t quite do it for me without Apple Fitness+.

After using Apple Fitness+ four days a week for almost a month, I’ve already developed a love/hate relationship with the service that I will most definitely continue paying for after my free month is up on January 18. …

My ten favorite books of my least favorite year

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In mid-February of 2020, I took a trip alone to the desert. It was the first and only vacation I’d taken by myself in my entire 47 years on this planet. I am the mother of three teenagers and an elderly dog. I’m also married to a man who loves solitude, and he thought that I would love it too, so he encouraged me to go away for a week. I don’t do well by myself, and I’m terrible at relaxing, but I managed. I took the week off work and social media and taught myself how to be alone. …

Internet Happy Places

At the end of a year in which we could not explore much IRL, team OneZero is sharing our favorite places we found online.

It is generally frowned upon for a wife and a mother of three human children to say that, most days, her favorite thing in the world is her dog. And yet, my dog is pretty amazing. But I also love other people’s dogs, and this year I really didn’t get to pet enough of them. Naturally, my favorite place on the internet was anywhere where the dogs are.

In 2019, only one person on my team had a dog, but now most of them do. And since I spent the majority of 2020 staring into my co-worker’s apartments from the screen on my MacBook Air, I also got to see and hear their dogs. Some of them pushed their snouts into laps and slobbered on keyboards, and others squeaked their toys so loudly that they derailed the entire meeting. But it’s not the dog’s fault that her person doesn’t know how to properly mute himself on video calls. …

Story Spotlight

Or why your idiosyncrasies make me feel better about mine

When I moved to Petaluma, California (former egg capital of the world), I thought I would get chickens. Instead, I got three children. And then I got a dog. Our neighbor had chickens. But they didn’t have a chicken coop or a fence. And one morning as my family was sitting down to breakfast we saw our dog, Gilbert, run past the glass doors, a cloud of white feathers in his wake. Our neighbor had one less chicken.

People are weird when they hear that our dog killed the neighbor’s chicken. But they shouldn’t be. “They are predators, after all,” Anna Venishnick Shomsky writes of dogs in her piece, “Sometimes I Like to Pretend I’m a Farmer When Really I’ve Just Collected Too Many Animals.” …

Buying a gadget or an internet service for a loved one or even for yourself can be complicated. Does the gadget violate privacy? How soon will it end up in…

Many of us on the OneZero editorial team have at previous jobs spent months fending off PR agencies pitching gadgets of questionable use and longevity in order to produce an annual Holiday Gadget Gift Guide that may or may not have been littered with affiliate codes.

This is not that.

This year Dave Gershgorn convinced the members of our team to tell him about the service or gadget that helped them endure this year. Yes, you might see AirPods, iPads, and Nintendo Switches on this list, but you’ll also see color-changing lightbulbs, deck-building video games (I had to look that up), and other gadgets and services that bring us joy when we step away from what senior editor Sarah Kessler calls, our “desk/prisons.” …

Every year since 1998, my husband and I have traveled from the Bay Area to Montana to visit his parents for the Winter Holidays. We did this before we were married and after; when we had a baby and also when we had three babies. Some years we experienced blizzards and copious amounts of snow; other years their snowy lawn was covered in patches of grass.

The only constant was me giving my in-laws tech support.

Sometimes I was annoyed by this, but mostly I liked doing it. Last year a scammer had managed to dupe my mother-in-law into giving them access to her computer by convincing her that she’d already been scammed by someone else. …

Writing

Susan Orlean irons to save her sanity as a writer. I fill out Excel spreadsheets.

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Photo by Krsto Jevtic on Unsplash

In “How to Avoid Going Insane as a Writer,” Susan Orlean says, “I’ve realized that it’s important for me to have something to do regularly that is concrete and satisfying, to contrast with the abstractness, the impossibility, of writing perfectly.”

For Orlean, this concrete thing is ironing. Sheets and pillowcases and sleeves can be ironed to a kind of perfection that Orlean says she and no one else is ever able to achieve with the written word. …

We can’t gather safely with all of our loved ones this year, but thanks to Apple, we can now watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving without an Apple TV+ subscription. So, I guess we have something to be sort of grateful for?

Last month Debugger reported that, for the first time ever, the classic Peanuts holiday specials would stream exclusively on Apple TV+ and would be available only to those willing to pay the $4.99 a month subscription or sign up for one of the Apple One bundles. Not exactly in the spirit of these anti-capitalistic children’s stories.

Now, according to Variety, Apple will share the Peanuts gang’s misadventures, including Charlie’s beautiful tiny tree with the rest of us. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving aired on PBS last night, but anyone can watch it for free with the Apple TV+ app (or via the web portal for those without an Apple device) from November 25–27. You can watch A Charlie Brown Christmas the same way from December 11–13. …

About

Megan Morrone

Senior Platform Editor, Debugger and OneZero at Medium. 👩🏻‍💻 Send me your Medium stories about tech and gadgets.

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