Upstate

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Upstate is essentially a novel of deep nostalgia and implicit longing for a different, past, life. In that sense, it held a deep connection for me. The novel is written by James Wood, a New Yorker book critic. 

The story is about Alan, an aging Britisher who visits his grown up daughters in Saratoga Springs in Upstate New York. It is an exploration of their relationship and a rather feeble attempt by a father to try and understand why his two children are so different - from him and from each other.

While Alan seems to genuinely want to understand and perhaps help his daughters, he isn’t really prepared or even has the tools necessary to grasp their first-world predicaments. His own angst, driven partly by a failed marriage, partly by failed parenting and partly by a failed perception of his own business success, Alan is a classical old man exhibiting classical old man “issues”.  

If you are in your middle age then it is not hard to relate to Alan. You can see  at least some of your possible futures converge into that existential angst. 

Face Id: better than you expect worse than you want

Six months of using Face ID and not a day goes by that I don’t miss Touch ID. 

I was skeptical before iPhone X came out and I was pleasantly surprised how well it worked in recognising my face. However, turns put I was worried about the wrong thing. I was worried about the technology whereas the problems that have surfaced are almost all about usability. 

Here are some of the things that make Face ID a suboptimal solution to Touch ID...

  • It is just slow enough to be annoying - this won't be a big deal if I didn't have to encounter it every single time I try to use the phone. 
  • Doesn’t work when not straight in front of the face - this doesn't happen enough but every time it does - it sucks a little bit
  • Much slower authenticating other apps from banks and such
  • Failure mode is way slower - since it is slow and since my finger isn't on the phone - when Face ID fails - it takes much longer to get to entering the code
  • Doesn’t work while skiing or wearing heavy face gear - this not too different from Touch ID - but it was much easier to get your glove off and get Touch ID working than to take your glove off - wait for Face ID to fail - and then enter your code. 
  • Apple pay is way worse. Awkward, slow and in your face - me looking at the phone - the cashier looking at me. 

Since Face ID is here to stay, I saw wish Apple would also add Touch ID somewhere on the phones - maybe at the back? Oh well, we can dream.