153: What Even Is an Office?


00:00:00   Do you know, it feels like it has been so long since we recorded Lust. Like, really long.

00:00:07   Where I actually can't believe it's only been like a month.

00:00:10   That's not true. Is it only a... wait.

00:00:13   It's a month and ten days, I think.

00:00:15   Okay. I am dealing with two contradictory feelings.

00:00:22   My mental model of time is somehow that the current year has not yet started,

00:00:29   but also we have not spoken for like six months.

00:00:33   I feel like I have lived a whole life in America since the last time we spoke.

00:00:39   Yeah, you were gone for a long time.

00:00:41   Like, last year was year of work and year theme is going great,

00:00:45   but it's often there are seasons in life. Seasons are very important.

00:00:49   And it has definitely been that this first season of the year has very forcefully become the season of family.

00:00:58   And taken over life in a whole bunch of different ways.

00:01:01   That's partly why I ended up just spending a ridiculously long time in America.

00:01:06   And also feel like, "Oh, the year hasn't started yet because I've had all of these other obligations and things."

00:01:13   But yes, it's like I cannot believe that we talked to quote "as recently as" a month ago,

00:01:19   because it feels like so much has happened.

00:01:22   Okay, this might sound crazy to you. I'm just realizing something.

00:01:26   Partly because I was away, partly because I've been dealing with family stuff.

00:01:31   It suddenly just dawned on me that you are the first person I am going to hear talk about using the Apple headset,

00:01:43   who was not a member of my family.

00:01:46   I've been like so busy/isolated that I have not listened to any podcasts.

00:01:53   I've not seen any YouTube videos.

00:01:56   I'm suddenly realizing I've actually had no external input.

00:02:01   What a bizarre start to the year.

00:02:04   Well, I will say that that makes us talking about this infinitely more interesting to me.

00:02:10   Because you're a pure...

00:02:11   That's right, Mike. I am pure.

00:02:13   You're a pure little baby chicken, you know?

00:02:16   No, Mike. Pure like clean.

00:02:18   Pure like holy and untouched. That's what I am.

00:02:22   Yeah, that's what I'm saying. Yeah.

00:02:24   We're all agreeing. We're all agreeing.

00:02:25   Yeah, I just hadn't really put that into precise thought because I've also just had this experience of really feeling like...

00:02:32   Again, another strange duality of I haven't been able to have any kind of normal working life at all because of other things.

00:02:41   So I haven't been able to even really begin to see where the headset will fit into what is like a normal life, a normal working life.

00:02:51   While at the same time, I feel like I have these massive, big re-thinkings of everything that have to happen.

00:03:00   That I just like I haven't been able to properly process or digest.

00:03:05   Which I could only try to compress down into a thought which is something like...

00:03:11   What even is an office?

00:03:15   I think I want to hear like what have you been up to as a person with a much more, I presume, regular day-to-day experience since we last talked?

00:03:25   Like how have things been going for you?

00:03:29   So the main thing that I've settled on is that my Vision Pro stays at the studio. I don't bring it home.

00:03:37   The main reason I don't do that is because it's too much to commute with. I don't want to commute with that every day.

00:03:45   It's big and heavy, especially in the Apple case. Plus, it is a fragile piece of technology.

00:03:53   It feels like it has a lot of ways in which it could break.

00:03:57   So I'm not interested in moving it backwards and forwards.

00:04:00   But also, after about a week of use, I kind of realised that realistically the times in which I would want to use it during the day are when I'm here at the studio.

00:04:12   I'm less likely to want to use it in the evening when I'm spending time with my wife.

00:04:18   There is kind of like that line of it is not a social device. It is not a device in which you can remain social in the conventions that we have today.

00:04:32   I do believe these conventions will change in some way.

00:04:36   The reason I say that is just to think about how phones fit into social norms now, where that would have been considered to be weird prior to the smartphone becoming so prevalent.

00:04:50   The idea that you could be talking to someone while looking at something else inherently feels rude.

00:04:56   I mean, if you look at a watch during a conversation, that's considered rude, right?

00:05:00   I was going to say, I do feel like both of these are still quite rude, but I know what you're getting at.

00:05:04   I know what you mean, but people just accept it and it's how people live their lives a lot of times.

00:05:10   But the face computer does not fit into these norms yet.

00:05:15   But just for me, the things that I want to do in the evening, it doesn't fit that.

00:05:20   So it makes sense more for me to have it at the studio.

00:05:23   And so then, when I'm here at the studio, we're coming back to the age-old question of what computer is right for the job, whatever that job might be.

00:05:33   And so for me, where I'm finding the biggest parallel with the Vision Pro is to the iPad in that regard, right?

00:05:41   Like, where does an iPad fit into whatever tasks I might be doing?

00:05:47   And thinking it through those lenses of like, I'm not just going to force the Vision Pro into my work.

00:05:53   I don't wear it when I record podcasts because there's no point.

00:05:56   Oh, you're not wearing it right now? I didn't want to ask.

00:05:58   No. I've tried it once and didn't like it.

00:06:00   I tried it just for the novelty of it and it didn't feel very good.

00:06:04   The way I've been describing the Vision Pro, for me, it is like the ultimate noodling computer.

00:06:09   That sounds terrible.

00:06:10   Yes, I love it though. It's the noodling computer.

00:06:12   I feel like you've just gotten my clean robes dirty with your noodles.

00:06:16   The pure boy cannot take noodling.

00:06:19   So what I mean by this is I feel like there is an element of computer usage where you're kind of just bouncing around from app to app, from thing to thing.

00:06:32   I consider this as kind of like noodling around.

00:06:35   You're just like, I'm over here. Oh, there's an email. I'll look at that. What's going on in Slack?

00:06:41   Oh, let me go take a look at my YouTube subscriptions.

00:06:44   What's happening here? What's happening there?

00:06:46   You don't actually have a focused purpose for the work that you're doing or what you're doing on your computer at that time.

00:06:52   You're just kind of like noodling around.

00:06:54   And I feel like the Vision Pro is so good for this because most of the apps that I would need are there in some form for this kind of stuff.

00:07:04   And it crushes the iPad at window management.

00:07:08   Because you can have all the windows open that you want.

00:07:14   Now, it takes setting up, but the iPad, I can only really look at a couple of apps at a time and it be comfortable.

00:07:22   I've never really gotten to grips with stage manager on an iPad.

00:07:26   But even that, it's not what I want.

00:07:28   And so what I like with the Vision Pro is I can open this app, I could open that app, and I can spread them all over my physical space.

00:07:34   And I can just be like looking up here, looking over there, doing this, doing that.

00:07:38   And I find this to be something that pretty much every day I get to a point in my work day, which is usually in between two large things.

00:07:47   So it might be like preparing for a show and recording a show.

00:07:50   And I'll have like an hour, an hour and a half.

00:07:52   It's like that is perfect Vision Pro time.

00:07:54   Put the Vision Pro on.

00:07:55   Oh, I've got this Slack message.

00:07:57   Let me look at that.

00:07:58   I've got this. Let me look at that.

00:07:59   Let me just chill out and watch a YouTube video.

00:08:01   I need to do a bit of prep in this way.

00:08:03   Like it has become a very nice machine for just bouncing around from thing to thing.

00:08:08   That is where I'm finding the best use cases for me right now.

00:08:12   I can't even like hear you talk about this.

00:08:16   I can tell you're in physical pain right now.

00:08:18   What is the matter?

00:08:19   I am like cringing over here.

00:08:20   Why?

00:08:21   Because I feel like, look, I don't know a lot about the Vision Pro.

00:08:24   I haven't used the Vision Pro as much as you have.

00:08:27   But I have used it.

00:08:29   I've used it in very particular ways.

00:08:32   And I had the experience of like setting it up and trying out different apps.

00:08:38   And there was something to me that was very quickly like disgusting about certain kinds of things.

00:08:46   And I think it is because like the most concentrated version of my thoughts on the Vision Pro

00:08:56   is that this is a machine to work with the creative core of your soul.

00:09:04   It's like you're stepping into a temple of unbroken focus.

00:09:09   And to check your Slack or reply to email messages in here is desecration.

00:09:18   I feel like I'm listening to blasphemy.

00:09:21   Well, okay.

00:09:22   I'm not really sure why you're turning this into such and such a religious experience.

00:09:26   But like I do agree with you.

00:09:28   So like what I like is I feel like compared to other computers, it has much more of a potential to mode shift in this way.

00:09:37   Because I've also like I had to write content for an email newsletter.

00:09:42   Right.

00:09:43   And I was sitting on my Mac and I was struggling to get it done because I was just getting distracted.

00:09:48   So I went, sat on the couch, put the Vision Pro on, got a magic keyboard, went into Haleakala and wrote it and got it done.

00:09:56   And like that mode shifting helped me a lot.

00:09:58   So I use it for what you do.

00:10:00   But the thing to remember is like my major like creative work, it's just not good for that.

00:10:06   That is fair.

00:10:07   That is fair.

00:10:08   When I am doing things that require like an extended focus, like sitting down and writing something for half an hour,

00:10:14   the Vision Pro is better than any other computer I use for those kinds of things.

00:10:20   Because you can kind of put yourself somewhere else and like, all right, I'm here now.

00:10:24   So I've got to get this done.

00:10:26   But if I'm finding like where it fits into my day to day, the idea of just like throwing up a bunch of windows and just bouncing around and doing some little admin tasks and stuff, it's fantastic for that too.

00:10:38   But I don't read and read and read and write thousands of words like as part of my creative work life.

00:10:46   So while I agree it's great for that, I can't like force that because it doesn't exist most of the time.

00:10:52   Okay, so there's a real question of window management that is underlaying all of this.

00:10:59   Like last time when we spoke, one of the things that I was just so aware of is the lack of command tab on the keyboard where you're moving apps around this way.

00:11:10   And one of the things that's brought into focus for me is a very particular way that I use the computer.

00:11:18   It's actually something that I've been kind of thinking a little bit about doing like, you know, maybe like an unlisted video about or something for just like, how do I manage the windows on my computer?

00:11:29   Because I feel like I have a really good system for this, of moving things around.

00:11:33   And it's one of these ways in which like lots of times, you know, you'll hear people say things like, oh, it's so great to have a second window for your computer.

00:11:42   And it's one of these things that I have tried that multiple times over the years.

00:11:46   Do you mean like a second display?

00:11:48   Yeah, like sorry, like a second display.

00:11:50   Windows is a terrible word to use for that.

00:11:52   A window onto the windows. That's what a display is.

00:11:54   A second window for your windows machine.

00:11:57   I've tried it and I've tried it and it's like, it never sticks.

00:12:02   And the reason that it never sticks, I always kind of felt like it's some kind of personal failing in a way.

00:12:10   I was like, everybody who uses two monitors talks about how great it is and I can just never make this work for me.

00:12:16   It must be something wrong with me.

00:12:18   But the headset has really clarified for me what the actual problem is, which is I don't want to look around for anything.

00:12:29   It's really clarified to me that like when I am really in a flow on my computer and working,

00:12:35   one of the critical things for that is like through the keyboard and without ever having to move my head physically side to side,

00:12:44   like I can always put the windows exactly where I want them to be.

00:12:47   Even if I'm working on multiple things.

00:12:49   Yeah, this is definitely something with me and you differ.

00:12:52   Because I feel like in the Vision Pro, I feel like a different level of productive.

00:12:58   Like it's the Iron Man, Tony Stark kind of thing where like I'm looking over here, I'm looking over there,

00:13:04   I'm dragging this, I'm grabbing that.

00:13:06   Like I feel like I'm more part of the process, like I'm in the machine in a way.

00:13:13   And like it being around me visually and me looking around and like that idea of the spatialness where like in my brain,

00:13:21   it's like I know now where messages goes because like I always put it in a specific spot.

00:13:26   So if I wanted to send a message, I would go and look at the bottom right and like I would actually turn my head to do that.

00:13:31   Like I like that.

00:13:32   I do think that right now, thankfully, the Vision Pro is quite adaptable in that way.

00:13:38   That like I can use it for noodling and you can use it for like purity and like and it's okay, I think.

00:13:45   Like it's doing the job.

00:13:47   So I'm going to say a thing which I'll preface by like I think this will sound insulting, but I don't mean it to.

00:13:52   I just don't know, I don't have a better way to express this idea.

00:13:56   And I saw this particularly with my dad as well is I think the thing is that the headset has a surprising normie computer user bias in a weird way.

00:14:09   Like I think there is a way in which if you are like a very high level power user, the headset can feel like a constraining environment.

00:14:19   Well, because it's based on the iPad.

00:14:21   But that's like it's surprising to me in a way because like, oh, this is the most high tech thing, but the way it wants to be used is in such a normal way.

00:14:32   It's very funny to me.

00:14:33   Like I think my father used my headset more than I used it when I was in America because he was like, hey, can I have that again?

00:14:39   And it's like, what was he doing?

00:14:40   It's like, boy, he learned how to get to the movie theater real fast.

00:14:45   And it was like the first time he was like, hey, can I borrow your headset?

00:14:49   I almost dropped dead of surprise.

00:14:51   I just would never have predicted that in a thousand years.

00:14:54   And the thing about like you with window management is I think like if someone was watching the two of us working on our regular computers, they would describe like, oh, Gray is using it in this weird way where it's like he never wants to have to touch the mouse and he doesn't want to have to move.

00:15:12   And Mike is like, oh, a normal relaxed person just like using a computer like a person should like that's the distinction there.

00:15:20   And so that's what I mean by like, I think there's a surprising normie bias.

00:15:24   Like, do you want to watch a movie?

00:15:25   It's amazing.

00:15:27   Do you want to spread things around you like you would in the physical world?

00:15:33   Great.

00:15:34   This is absolutely perfect for it.

00:15:35   You see, I understand where you're coming from, but I will pull you up on the idea like multiple monitors is a normie thing.

00:15:42   That feels like a power user thing to me.

00:15:44   No, no.

00:15:45   But I'm saying like that always failed to me because I didn't recognize like I don't want to look around.

00:15:49   Yeah.

00:15:50   So there's some kind of like intersection here of like where that's not working for me.

00:15:53   And the reason most normal people don't have multiple monitors is because it's a giant pain in the ass to have multiple monitors.

00:16:00   Like it's just not worth it for most people to bother.

00:16:02   But the headset is like, oh, if you could just like magically have big windows all around your office, like people would do that.

00:16:08   They would like decorate their office, you know, virtually in this way with using things.

00:16:13   I think it is very interesting, but it has created for me this weird situation that I think, like the first time I used it this way,

00:16:22   it was just so clear that the very fact that I find it frustrating to have to look around,

00:16:29   even when I'm using my regular computer, but especially in this virtual environment that like I don't want to look around for anything.

00:16:37   I find it really frustrating.

00:16:39   Actually turns this into just the most perfect concentration machine.

00:16:46   I can put a window in front of me and that is it.

00:16:51   Switching into anything else is really hard.

00:16:55   And also the whole external world no longer exists functionally when you turn the environment up all the way.

00:17:03   And for me, the times I have used it for writing, I can only describe it as like intensely dreamlike.

00:17:12   It's like way more draining when a work session is over than normal,

00:17:19   because I can just feel that that concentration dial has been turned up to just the maximum that it can be.

00:17:27   You know, I've always talked for years about like, oh, the environment around you is really important

00:17:32   and you need to arrange that in like a way to be conducive to work.

00:17:36   So in some sense, this is not surprising, but it has been a real visceral experience of what is the maximum possible version of this.

00:17:45   The maximum possible version of this is like blowing away everything that is really around you

00:17:52   and being locked into only able to look at one thing.

00:17:57   It almost feels like this is the thing that I didn't know I have been trying to achieve for this core of my working environment.

00:18:07   Well, that's very good.

00:18:09   I went on a rollercoaster ride with you there because I couldn't really tell where you were going to end.

00:18:14   But that's also why I think like, I didn't mean to but I was literally cringing over here when you're like,

00:18:19   I opened up Slack and I'm like, ah, I just...

00:18:25   I'm having a good time of it. And I'm just struck by the idea of like, and I'm not losing sight of it.

00:18:31   This is the 1.0, just 1.0. This is so early.

00:18:36   And we're three months away from seeing what VisionOS 2 is, I assume.

00:18:42   That's going to be really interesting. Like I'm very keen to see, do they just fix bugs and problems or do they push it?

00:18:51   I'm very keen to see what that might mean. Of course, WWDC this year is going to be the AI WWDC.

00:18:59   How will that play into the Vision Pro is going to be very intriguing.

00:19:04   I feel like I've had an exciting time so far and now just as soon as I'm going to start getting used to it, then it could change some.

00:19:13   I feel like it is a good point for something like this.

00:19:16   What do you mean it's a good point for something like this?

00:19:18   As a technology entertainer, it is an interesting moment right now.

00:19:24   Okay, yeah.

00:19:25   I mean, look, is it perfect? Absolutely not. Like I have problems quite frequently with eye tracking.

00:19:31   It's just like I can't get it to do what I want it to do. But when I'm using it, I'm like, yeah, okay, that is a 1.0.

00:19:38   Like that is a first version of this thing. In theory, they should be able to make it better.

00:19:42   You know, even on 1.1, my persona's mouth doesn't move.

00:19:46   Oh, you still have no mouth on the screen?

00:19:48   Yeah, they made them look better and the personas do look better, but my mouth and my soul does not move.

00:19:53   I have had it confirmed. I don't know if I did last time we spoke that it's mustaches are the problem.

00:19:58   And so I guess they're going to have to work around that because I'm not going to shave my mustache so my persona's mouth moves.

00:20:05   But I have had more FaceTime calls with the personas and I am finding that to be a very, very good experience.

00:20:12   What do you mean, on the receiving end or on the sending end or both?

00:20:15   Well, me as the person receiving the call, I find it to be very good. I can't speak to the other person.

00:20:20   I think actually people having persona calls with me get a worse experience because they are talking to someone whose mouth is so shut.

00:20:27   But I find it to be pretty similar to the experience of the calls that we were having with the Quest Pro.

00:20:37   And that is just because of the fidelity of what Apple has built.

00:20:41   Like, the persona looks like the person you know and you can very quickly trick yourself into that person.

00:20:49   It doesn't take very long and it's enhanced by the spatial audio.

00:20:56   So like the little persona call, the person's in a box, right?

00:20:59   But wherever you move the box is where the audio comes from.

00:21:04   So if I'm looking at something and I had a call with Jason last night, I put Jason to the right.

00:21:10   He's mostly into my right ear.

00:21:12   And something that blew my mind yesterday, so you've been in Mega Studio.

00:21:17   It is a larger room. It has a bit of echo in it in some spots, right?

00:21:22   I'm talking to Jason. There is echo on his voice.

00:21:27   Like, Apple does work in understanding the room tone of the room that you are in.

00:21:34   Really? Are you sure they're doing this?

00:21:36   Do you know how I know? Because when you put them in an environment, no more echo.

00:21:39   Wow.

00:21:41   Yeah, it blew my mind. It was like, "There is no need for you to do this."

00:21:45   But I love it because it made him feel more like he was in the room with me.

00:21:49   Because when I would speak, I would hear my voice reverberate.

00:21:52   And when he would speak, his voice reverberates.

00:21:55   That is some interesting attention to detail. I would never have thought of that.

00:21:59   But it's stuff like that which elevates that experience.

00:22:03   Little things like this where it's like, "Okay, if they keep making that better and they keep making this better,

00:22:09   you're building these component parts to make this an overall more and more interesting computer for a lot of options."

00:22:15   For example, if I had to have a video call with a friend for work or just to catch up,

00:22:22   if I know they have a Vision Pro, that's how I'd prefer to do it now.

00:22:26   Because I also find the calls easier to do in the way that the Quest calls are.

00:22:32   You're not dealing with the "I have to look good or presentable."

00:22:37   And then also because we're all just like parrots, we just look at ourselves.

00:22:43   There's nothing you can do but look at yourself. You don't get that.

00:22:47   But there is no you in the call. It's just the person you're speaking to.

00:22:52   I find that experience to be really nice. Little bits like that.

00:22:56   There are these shoots throughout the operating system right now where I'm like,

00:23:00   "I see where we could go with this." And overall, my experience is positive like that, I think.

00:23:05   I do have bad news for you that I will never conduct a FaceTime call from my temple of focus.

00:23:11   So we will not get to use personas with each other.

00:23:15   You don't want me noodling in your pure environment.

00:23:18   I don't like using the word "noodle."

00:23:20   I don't like pure. So we're at an impasse.

00:23:25   We did get some good follow-up from listener Frank.

00:23:28   Oh, yeah. I definitely want to thank Frank. This was a real life-changing thing for me.

00:23:33   So Frank wrote in at cortexfeedback.com, which is where you can also submit Ask Cortex questions.

00:23:39   We're going to do some later on in the episode, but that's where you go.

00:23:42   In regards to you being unhappy about the fact that you could not use a Dvorak keyboard with your Vision Pro,

00:23:48   Frank let us know if you go to settings, general keyboards, hardware keyboard, English.

00:23:53   English, yeah.

00:23:54   So it's the language. And then you can scroll down to Dvorak.

00:23:57   So you can have an external keyboard set to different layouts, but it's in the language preferences.

00:24:02   Yeah, I was really happy to know that. I would never have found it there.

00:24:05   It's someplace different everywhere else.

00:24:07   Like we were saying last time, the settings is very strange because it tricks you into thinking you know where things are,

00:24:12   but you don't have any idea. Everything is weird.

00:24:14   The settings app on the Vision Pro is the place where the uncanny valley exists.

00:24:18   Yes, yes. You know what? You're right. That is actually where the uncanny valley is, is the settings app.

00:24:23   This looks like the settings that I know, but nothing's in the places where that usually is,

00:24:29   even though it's labeled the same. It's very strange in there.

00:24:32   Even just dumb things. I find myself having to scroll down further because I'm like,

00:24:36   "Well, surely that would be up near the top." I was like, "No, not here. Here it's at the bottom."

00:24:40   So again, thanks to Frank for pointing that out because that made a wild difference along with,

00:24:45   basically it was that plus Mike's suggestion that I should switch over my Obsidian to Obsidian Sync

00:24:56   and use the iPad version and not do the screen sharing thing.

00:25:01   And so it's like, "Great. I've got the Obsidian with Obsidian Sync in the iPad mode,

00:25:06   and I'm also able to use an external keyboard with the headset."

00:25:10   Honestly, those two things just fundamentally changed everything about the headset for me.

00:25:14   That's how I found what this is for.

00:25:16   Using Vision OS 1.1 and the newest version of Mac OS,

00:25:20   the Mac display to my eyes is significantly clearer, more readable.

00:25:26   That's interesting to know. That is the only way I can imagine doing some sort of work

00:25:33   that is not purely focused in this way.

00:25:37   I think they've made some big improvements there.

00:25:40   Text is very readable now, where it was mostly readable before.

00:25:44   It looks much more like I'm just looking at my computer display rather than looking at a screen share.

00:25:50   I'll check that out because I want to see what it looks like.

00:25:52   But I do feel like this is such a valuable thing for me. I do want to preserve the purity of this environment.

00:25:58   Of course.

00:26:00   But it is just so interesting, like you said before about the headset being a kind of iPad.

00:26:06   That really is the way to think about it.

00:26:09   The computer is the best general purpose machine, but the iPad is better at some specific things.

00:26:13   And that is just the way to mentally frame the Vision Pro in the same way.

00:26:17   I will just say, if there's anybody listening who works on the keyboard stuff on the headset,

00:26:23   man, that little text predictor keyboard thing and the actual keyboard in the headset,

00:26:29   I feel like they are driving me crazy.

00:26:31   I never want to see them go away.

00:26:34   I'm so aware of I have to do this like such a dumb thing.

00:26:38   But when I click on Obsidian and I start typing, the little text predictor thing is like,

00:26:42   "Hi! Hey, I'm here to help you!"

00:26:44   And I'm trying to move it behind me. It's such a strange thing. I can't get rid of it.

00:26:49   So you just don't want to see the Quick Type bar?

00:26:52   Yeah, that's what it's called. The Quick Type bar.

00:26:54   It's like, "I never want to see you. I don't want your predictions. I am completely uninterested.

00:27:00   You don't help me at all. The only thing you are is a distracting second place where what I'm typing is showing up."

00:27:08   And then you're trying to pick the most predictable next word,

00:27:12   which when I'm writing is literally antithetical to what I am trying to do.

00:27:17   So yeah, I never want to see it and I find it a strange and bizarre experience.

00:27:21   I'm like, "Take that thing and throw it over my head or fling it behind me."

00:27:26   It has to go somewhere, otherwise it will keep reappearing.

00:27:30   This is the strange thing about virtual environments.

00:27:32   It does have a real physicality kind of feeling to it.

00:27:37   Like, "Go away annoying bug!"

00:27:39   And it's like, "No, I'm right back here."

00:27:41   It's like, "All right, buzz behind me, please. Just don't ever show back up. I never want that thing to appear."

00:27:47   I mean, look, maybe I couldn't find it.

00:27:49   Maybe if I go into optical ID, there's a setting to turn off the text prediction. I have no idea.

00:27:55   But I was unable to find anywhere to make this thing go away forever. I never want to see it again.

00:28:01   This episode of Cortex is brought to you by Fitbaud.

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00:30:42   Last Cortex question from Harris. Can you pace in a Vision Pro?

00:30:48   Mike, have you tried that?

00:30:49   I've walked around with it on fine. I mean, I'm not a pacer. But yeah, I've moved around in my office while wearing it.

00:30:56   The pass-through is so good. There's been lots of videos I've seen since people doing wild stuff like MKBHD played table tennis wearing it.

00:31:06   Oh really?

00:31:07   Because the latency is that good. Yeah, I mean, I find myself quite a lot. Like I wear it and it's like, oh, I want to go refill my water bottle.

00:31:14   Like I could just go do that. I just stand up and go do that.

00:31:16   I have yet to get over the fact of like turning around and seeing your apps like where you left them.

00:31:22   That is like such a strange thing still. Or walking through an app is not an experience that makes me feel very good.

00:31:30   Like I feel like a ghost. It's very strange. But I feel like if I was a pacer, I would have no problem pacing. But you tell me.

00:31:39   This was like one of my top thoughts because I'm really thinking about this even more so now in terms of like for great occasions where I pace for miles and miles every day.

00:31:50   Like is this the kind of thing that I can use the Vision headset for? And I was really excited to try it one morning.

00:31:58   So I was up super duper early and setting things up. And the key thing for me here is if I'm pacing, right, I'm standing up.

00:32:09   And normally when I do this, you have to like arrange the laptop screen to be at the right height and the keyboard at the right height.

00:32:17   But now it's like, oh, great. I can just like make a pile of boxes and put the keyboard on top and that's fine.

00:32:21   I can pace back and forth. And so set up Obsidian. And it works. It's not perfect with text because what you don't notice when you're normally walking around and windows are around you is that there is...

00:32:40   I don't know if it's the headset physically moving on your face when you take a step, but there is like a tiny bounce that I think is the kind of thing you only really notice when you're looking only at text very precisely.

00:32:54   So there is like a tiny little judder for steps when you're looking at text. But it is totally within the acceptable bounds.

00:33:03   And I did multiple little writing sessions where I was pacing back and forth and left Obsidian. I did it two ways.

00:33:13   First left Obsidian just on the blank wall in my dad's office as I was pacing back and forth in the real space.

00:33:19   I actually decided like I don't like that at all. I turned on the full environment. I was like, well, this doesn't work at all if you're pacing because you are popping on and off the moon or wherever you have set up.

00:33:31   So the thing that actually worked surprisingly well is turning the environment like 50%.

00:33:39   And then the headset does like they understand this concept of like you're walking out of Mount Hood and back into Mount Hood and the script is in Mount Hood.

00:33:52   It is like similarly so strange to like look over on the other side of the room and it's like a portal.

00:33:58   Yeah.

00:33:59   It's really weird.

00:34:00   I think the only way to describe it is it is a bit like a portal.

00:34:03   The other thing that is like I still I find like the headset pulls this trick on me all the time that I forget, which is so I'm always in environment dark mode.

00:34:13   So it's always evening time in all my environments.

00:34:16   So when I'm pacing back and forth and there is a portal to Mount Hood on one side of the room.

00:34:22   When I pace back out, it darkens up the lights in the room that I'm in and it's such a convincing effect that I am always completely startled when I take off the headset to realize, oh, this room is actually bright.

00:34:38   Like 100% brightness.

00:34:40   I feel like it is evening time in this room.

00:34:44   That is the thing that really makes this 50% environment that I can move out of and back into in a pacing situation.

00:34:53   That's the thing that makes it convincing.

00:34:56   They don't make it look like it's night outside the window, but they just dim all of the light in your physical environment.

00:35:02   And it is always surprising that this hasn't really happened.

00:35:07   That this isn't the real lighting situation that's around you.

00:35:11   Because it's like, you know, if you think about it, what you're seeing is a camera feed, right?

00:35:17   Like that's what you're seeing.

00:35:18   It looks like it's ostensibly you can trick yourself, convince yourself that you are looking through the thing, but you're not.

00:35:27   You're looking at a camera feed.

00:35:29   And so Apple has complete control over how it displays the camera feed.

00:35:33   And, you know, like some of the environments are just lighting effects.

00:35:37   Like, do you want the light to look warm?

00:35:39   Do you want the light to look cool?

00:35:40   Like they can just change the color or the brightness of the light that they're displaying to you.

00:35:46   Because it's just an image generated by a computer at the end of the day.

00:35:50   When playing around with guest mode, so I've had three different people try this, my parents and my aunt.

00:35:56   And when you put on guest mode, it has to do this eye calibration thing.

00:36:00   You know, so it's like the dots, right?

00:36:02   You've got to look at the dots and you've got to click the dots.

00:36:03   But they also want you to do the dots in different lighting environments.

00:36:07   And 100% of the time, the first time someone tries guest mode, they go, "Did you just turn down the lights? Did you just turn up the lights?"

00:36:15   It's like, no, it's such a convincing effect that it just feels like you put on this headset and then they slowly dim the lights.

00:36:22   But it is completely convincing to you that in the physical environment, people have dimmed the lights on you or brightened the lights on you.

00:36:29   It's really very impressive.

00:36:31   So I guess what I'm saying here is this is another one of these details that I just really wouldn't have thought of.

00:36:36   But the pacing works because of the thought that they put into what should it be like to have a continuity of experience when you're walking halfway in an environment like the lake in Mount Hood and halfway in the real world.

00:36:55   And they've done an excellent job of kind of building one bubble around those two physical spaces that make them more continuous than they would be if it was just a pure portal and you were able to look at the rest of the room.

00:37:10   It's very good pacing works with looking at a script and I am very excited to try that on a graycation at some point.

00:37:19   Speaking of which, maybe if it can trick you for lighting, it might be able to trick you for something else. Liz writes in to ask, will the Vision Pro solve Gray's hotel thermostat hacking issue?

00:37:31   So if you were in the Yosemite snowy environment, would that maybe trick your brain into thinking you were in a cooler environment?

00:37:38   I feel like Liz is trying to provoke me here with this kind of question.

00:37:43   Obviously, a virtual Antarctica helps with none of the actual problem that I am dealing with when I am in these hotels.

00:37:51   But okay, so listen. I said before that I've been having this thought of like, what even is an office?

00:38:01   And Liz is kind of hit upon, incidentally, with trying to provoke me something that actually does kind of get to the heart of this question.

00:38:10   So when I knew I was going to be in America for a long time, I was trying to figure out a little bit of like, okay, how can I have like somewhat of a normal schedule here?

00:38:24   Because it's like, it's different when I visit my parents and it's like, oh, I'm just gonna be here for a week and whatever.

00:38:29   But when it's more like, I'm gonna be here for like a month, at least, I wanted to try to have some regular routine.

00:38:36   And so I kind of shifted my schedule and I was getting up super duper early and going to the gym.

00:38:41   And what I was thinking of is like, I need a place to work after the gym where I can just try to get like a little bit of stuff done.

00:38:49   And I don't particularly like to work in my dad's office because I'm loud and noisy when I'm like typing.

00:38:56   It's like a super duper early in the morning. The house is not amazingly soundproof.

00:39:00   So like, I just don't want to bother my parents. I'm like, where can I go?

00:39:03   I was trying to think about all these different things and like, once the headset arrives, it was this feeling like, oh,

00:39:12   I don't like need to find an environment that's like a coffee shop that happens to be open at four in the morning.

00:39:22   I don't need to find something like a co-working space that's open really early in the morning.

00:39:27   I just need some quiet, private place to work because the thing that just like slowly kept creeping into my mind is this headset creates a real separation between the mental you who's doing work,

00:39:48   like your brain, your brain's internal experience, which is the only thing that you really are, and then like your physical body, which also has to be there.

00:39:57   And it just it really divides those two things quite sharply.

00:40:01   And I was just aware of thinking like, oh, most of the time when I'm trying to think about workspaces, you're trying to find some compromise between like,

00:40:09   what can the cerebral you work in and what can the physical you also work in?

00:40:15   So a bunch of mornings, I'd just be like, driving around in North Carolina and kind of thinking like, where's a place that I could go?

00:40:21   It doesn't need to be a coffee shop. It doesn't need to be an office. I just need like some place I can go in the morning.

00:40:27   And ideally, I'd like it to be temperature controlled.

00:40:30   And it's like just thinking of something like driving around. I'm like, I just need a small environment.

00:40:35   It's like temperature controlled that I can work in and I'm driving around and where can I be?

00:40:40   And suddenly I realized, oh my f***ing God, I can work in this car. This car is the perfect office.

00:40:48   This is the most amazing place to actually work because it is a small, temperature controlled, extremely comfortable environment to work in.

00:40:59   The garage office has warped your brain.

00:41:01   I wasn't in the garage office. I just parked.

00:41:06   I know, but it's warped your brain. You're like, oh, garage, perfect place to work.

00:41:11   You know, you're working every day, hearing cars, cars, cars, seeing cars and you're like, cars, perfect place to work.

00:41:17   You know, your brain's being warped.

00:41:19   But it actually is. So like I was driving my dad's Tesla and I've always thought like, boy, these Tesla seats are just, they're the most comfortable seats I've ever been in.

00:41:28   And it's like, ooh, turn on the heated seat, right? And then turn the air conditioning way down.

00:41:33   And it's like, ah, perfect. This is the environment that I want to be in.

00:41:36   Wait, what? You turn on the heated seat?

00:41:40   Yeah. It's nice and cozy, but then you don't want to get too warm.

00:41:44   So you turn the air conditioning to maximum low and then this is perfect.

00:41:49   You're in like homeostasis with the environment.

00:41:51   I don't understand.

00:41:53   What do you mean you don't understand? Have you never done this? It's the most comfortable way to be.

00:41:57   But what benefit does the heated seat provide?

00:41:59   It's comfortable.

00:42:00   But you're cold.

00:42:01   Like what do you mean what benefit does the heated seat provide?

00:42:03   But if you want it to be cold, then why do you want the heat to be on the seat? I don't get it.

00:42:08   Have you never done this? Have you never had the air conditioning on in the car and also the heated seat?

00:42:13   No, I've never done this.

00:42:14   Mike, you haven't lived. This is great.

00:42:17   Heated seats are for when it's cold and air conditioning is for when it's hot.

00:42:21   Listen to what you just said. You just said the same thing yourself, Mike. Heated seats are for when it's cold.

00:42:26   And so the air conditioning makes it cold.

00:42:28   Yeah, but you don't need to create the cold.

00:42:30   But you can. That's the point of air conditioning.

00:42:33   Yeah, I can't get my head around this one. Sorry. I don't understand what this gives you.

00:42:37   It gives me the optimal environment to work in is what it gives me.

00:42:41   Okay.

00:42:42   It's the absolute perfect thing.

00:42:45   Whatever you say.

00:42:46   This was mind blowing. And so now the only thing I needed since I was out in the world was also a way to like cover up the windows perhaps of the car.

00:42:57   Because I'm like, well, right, I don't want to be like a weirdo.

00:43:01   You didn't want to go viral on social media, basically is what you're saying?

00:43:04   Yes, no, I actually, no joke, I was aware of that.

00:43:08   I was like, you know what I don't want to end up? I don't want to end up a viral sensation where someone sees that glowing faceplate at 5am while I'm working in like the gym parking lot at this 24 hour gym.

00:43:24   I cannot tell you how funny it would be for you to go viral in that way. Because no one would know it was you.

00:43:35   Yeah, well, no, so I wasn't going to have that happen.

00:43:37   I know.

00:43:38   Right? So it's like right onto Amazon and like Tesla privacy screen. Here we go. Amazing. Do you know what an office is, Mike? It's a car. That's what an office is. This is perfect.

00:43:48   It was so revelatory. And one of these ways it was like, what even is an office? And the problem I'm trying to solve is I just need my physical body to be comfortable while I'm working.

00:44:06   And this is now a totally unrelated problem from the working environment for my brain, which is inside the headset. These two things are no longer connected. They are divorced and it is glorious.

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00:46:34   Alright, Rob asks, "I think you've touched on it before but would be interested in why you've chosen not to go a Kickstarter route with new product launches to help you when you put a lot of capital into sidekick notepad reorders.

00:46:49   I confess I sometimes grow tired of established companies going to Kickstarter but it has never stopped me from supporting them and buying the product.

00:46:56   Kind of like a pre-order. Why don't you do this?"

00:46:59   I am not opposed to Kickstarter. Similarly, I back lots of Kickstarters. I've done some Kickstarters in the past for the pen addict.

00:47:07   We did some live shows in the past and we did Kickstarter campaigns for them.

00:47:11   For the products that we have done and the products that we are working on, I don't believe that we have needed to rely on something like a crowdfunding route to do it.

00:47:23   Because they are bets that I have been confident enough in that I believe that we could put the capital into them.

00:47:33   Maybe it might be like, "Oh this is going to sell slowly but it's going to sell and it's just going to sell out over time."

00:47:39   I think that there is an element of if we are able to offer a product and people can just give us their money and get the product in a few days, that is the preferable thing to do in my opinion.

00:47:52   I could imagine a scenario where one day we have an idea that is really complex and really expensive to make.

00:48:01   And in that scenario, maybe a Kickstarter is the only way to get it started.

00:48:06   If we were making something that cost us $100 a unit to produce, that's just too much money to buy 10,000 of them or whatever.

00:48:19   Or if it was a scenario like that where it's like, "Oh you can make this product for X but your minimum order is really high."

00:48:28   And so then we just can't afford it. Then I could imagine maybe doing it.

00:48:32   But for me, I do feel that if we are able to do it, which we have been, I would prefer to do it this way.

00:48:38   Because I like the idea of a consumer can give you their money and receive the item.

00:48:43   Oh yeah, I completely agree with you on that.

00:48:44   And then also, scenarios like the Sidekick Notepad and the amount of time it took to produce has reinforced that for me.

00:48:52   It took us a year and a half from when we received the first sample before we had them shipping.

00:48:57   I couldn't live with myself in that scenario. I would be going out of my mind of guilt that we had taken people's money.

00:49:05   And then told them, "Oh, it will be ready in three months."

00:49:09   And then a year later, that is something that I would struggle to feel comfortable with.

00:49:14   So as we are still especially learning production of items, I'm also not comfortable doing a Kickstarter campaign.

00:49:23   I feel like this is something that over time we may get into the scenario that we're willing to take the kind of bet that a Kickstarter would need.

00:49:31   But I don't foresee that anytime in our immediate future.

00:49:35   I'm working on a few ideas for products now, but we're still going to be able to fund them in the traditional way, I think.

00:49:42   But I just think for us, we've not needed to do it.

00:49:45   Yeah, this question kind of reminds me that I think when we really started doing this sort of thing,

00:49:52   I was more in the position that Rob was kind of asking about where I feel like I just didn't have a clear understanding of the distinction of what we're doing,

00:50:01   which is placing the order and then trying to sell the product and something like Kickstarter.

00:50:05   And I think I was kind of like...

00:50:08   My memory of how these conversations went was basically that I was originally on the side of like,

00:50:13   "Well, of course you do a Kickstarter, right? Because if it doesn't work, then there's no problem."

00:50:17   But I think I didn't really perceive the problem of, "Yes, but what if the Kickstarter does work?"

00:50:25   And I hadn't really been thinking it through.

00:50:28   Because the Kickstarter is a very particular kind of tool that in some ways is used to try to de-risk a situation.

00:50:39   Like you said, if you have a product that has a really high cost to produce,

00:50:42   you need to know that you actually have orders for that thing.

00:50:45   In that case, you're using Kickstarter to try to de-risk the thing.

00:50:49   But on the smaller side of things, it feels to me now, like having spoken to you, talked through a bunch,

00:50:59   that Kickstarter is kind of riskier for smaller to medium projects in a way.

00:51:05   Like you said, you can be on the hook.

00:51:07   And if something comes up, you just feel real guilty because it's taken a whole year to do this thing.

00:51:13   So I feel the same way, obviously.

00:51:15   It's not that I would never do a Kickstarter for anything,

00:51:18   but I think I did not previously appreciate how specific of a tool it is,

00:51:24   that you really want to be intentional about when does it make sense to do this.

00:51:28   And I think that having uncertainty about something tells you the answer.

00:51:33   And if you are uncertain if you want to do a Kickstarter or do something more traditional,

00:51:40   your uncertainty is the answer that you should probably do it in a more traditional way.

00:51:45   Which is why we've done that for everything that we've done up to this point in time.

00:51:48   And again, the Sidekick notepad is just for me another great example of my gut feeling

00:51:53   for why I didn't want to do a Kickstarter for it, which was how the product began and ended.

00:51:58   It was in a very different place.

00:52:00   And we would have been locked into the original ideas of the product

00:52:04   if we would have done a Kickstarter for it.

00:52:06   Because if you presented something to someone in a certain way for a certain price,

00:52:10   you kind of have to stick to that.

00:52:12   But we ended up with a better product, it just became more expensive to produce,

00:52:16   therefore the price was higher.

00:52:18   Yeah, you have sold people on a specific thing, and so you are making that thing.

00:52:23   And you have to be real certain that there is a 0% chance you're going to change your idea

00:52:30   about what's the better version of this later.

00:52:33   That's the thing that you can't do with Kickstarter.

00:52:35   There are people every day launching Kickstarter campaigns

00:52:38   and they know what they're doing in that regard.

00:52:40   But I think too early, or at least I feel like I am not experienced enough,

00:52:45   where I feel confident in being like, "My initial idea? That's the idea!"

00:52:50   I don't feel confident in that, where I feel like I could say,

00:52:54   "Hey, back this project, it's going to be just like this."

00:52:58   Because so far, that has not been the case, and will continue to be, I think, for a bit.

00:53:05   Yeah, I was just flipping through the roster of stuff that we have done

00:53:08   and stuff that's in development, and I think every single one of those products,

00:53:12   the point at which we could theoretically have done in Kickstarter

00:53:16   would have been the wrong time, because it changed significantly from that point.

00:53:21   And it's been real great to be able to go real slow with some things

00:53:27   and get them just the way we want them to be, which is, again, not an option with Kickstarter.

00:53:31   Which is, you know, this is the weird way in which, in a sense,

00:53:36   Cortex brand right now is a side business for both of us, right?

00:53:40   And so we're able to do things in a slightly different way to other companies

00:53:47   that do what we do, but it's their living, where we're able to keep cash in the business

00:53:53   to invest into new products and into new inventory, rather than needing it for our salary.

00:53:58   Because that's just where we are as a business, it's what we're doing.

00:54:01   But I like that, because it's like we're funding our own growth.

00:54:04   And I think for what I want and what we want this business to be,

00:54:08   it makes a lot of sense to do it that way for right now.

00:54:11   And then we're able to pass the benefit of it not being a Kickstarter onto the customer.

00:54:15   Yeah, Kickstarters cost you more. That's the other thing.

00:54:18   Yeah, it's a very, very complicated process, and people can do it really right.

00:54:22   And it can be a great marketing tool, and that's why a lot of established companies still use it.

00:54:27   But also similarly, we have great marketing tools already.

00:54:31   If we were going to do a Kickstarter for a product, you'd be hearing about it on the show.

00:54:37   So why not just make the thing and tell you about it on the show?

00:54:41   That is a really funny way to frame it, but it's 100% correct.

00:54:45   Nick asks, "How soon after waking up do both of you begin actively engaging with your phone or another screen?"

00:54:54   A phone or another screen?

00:54:56   Yeah, I guess that's a Mac, right? Or an iPad.

00:54:58   Any screen, okay. You go first, Mike.

00:55:00   Ah, darn it. Okay. It's immediate. It's immediate.

00:55:04   So my alarm goes off, I snooze it a couple of times, and then eventually I grab my phone to turn off the alarm,

00:55:14   and the next thing that I do is look at my notifications.

00:55:18   You look at your notifications the very first thing when you wake up.

00:55:20   Are you out of bed yet?

00:55:21   No.

00:55:22   Really?

00:55:23   Yeah.

00:55:24   That's hardcore.

00:55:25   No. That's what people do. This is the unhealthy relationship we have with our devices.

00:55:29   That feels like the real hair of the dog that bit you.

00:55:31   Yeah.

00:55:32   Like, I woke up and I look right at my notifications.

00:55:34   The solution for this problem is to not use my phone as my alarm.

00:55:38   If I didn't do that, the situation would be different.

00:55:42   But I have my phone in my hand, right, to turn off my alarm,

00:55:46   and so therefore I've gotten myself into the habit of immediately, like, "All right, what's going on?

00:55:52   What emails did I get? What text messages did I get?"

00:55:55   And then I'll spend a few minutes to more than a few minutes sometimes

00:56:00   dealing with whatever's on my phone before I get out of bed in the morning.

00:56:03   I mean, in fairness to you, our time zone in the UK does make this more tempting.

00:56:09   I think that's just natural.

00:56:11   Like, when you go to bed, America's still doing stuff for a while.

00:56:14   Yes, but still. I could still wait 20 minutes.

00:56:18   It waited for four hours.

00:56:20   I guess that's true, yeah.

00:56:22   Because America's not going to be up for a while, is the other thing.

00:56:25   Exactly. But this is just part of the relationship with our devices.

00:56:32   It's unhealthy in some ways. It's fine in others.

00:56:36   I think, by and large, I consider this to be okay.

00:56:40   Because I do feel like I do a good job of managing the types of notifications that I get.

00:56:48   And so, what I am getting notifications for is kind of stuff that I want.

00:56:54   Like, I'm not getting breaking news alerts, right? Or whatever.

00:56:58   It is typically people or things that I care about and would like to know about.

00:57:06   So I'm happy about it in that regard.

00:57:08   But still, it could wait 20 minutes. But no, it doesn't.

00:57:11   It's the first thing I do in the morning.

00:57:13   If it was waiting 20 minutes, what in theory in your life would it be waiting 20 minutes for?

00:57:17   What do you mean?

00:57:18   I feel like, implicitly, you're saying something like you'd be brushing your teeth and getting ready for the day.

00:57:24   Just waking up, talking to my wife. Any of these things would be better.

00:57:30   Like, waiting until I've at least made coffee.

00:57:33   Just because it's like, let's just remove the phone and the outside world for just a little bit longer.

00:57:40   Just a little bit longer.

00:57:41   I don't know. I feel like I'm actually kind of disagreeing with you on that.

00:57:43   I feel like if you're going to check your messages in 20 minutes, you might as well check them when you wake up.

00:57:47   This is what I'm trying to get at. You're not trying to save yourself or anything here.

00:57:51   So I think you should feel less guilty about this.

00:57:53   If I was able to not look at my phone for that period of time, then I would at least be proving to myself that I don't need to.

00:57:59   Okay, alright. That's very different.

00:58:01   So now we're having a literal addiction conversation.

00:58:04   We're not having a "what are you doing with your morning" conversation.

00:58:07   That's the situation, right? Where it's like, if I could just leave it a little bit longer, then maybe I would be able to tell myself that I don't need to look at it.

00:58:16   But that is the strongest indication of the habitual addiction, whatever you'd want to call it, nature of me using my phone.

00:58:25   Would be that I could start my day doing anything else than checking my phone first.

00:58:31   But that is what I will always start my day.

00:58:33   Well, okay. It's not like immediate, immediate.

00:58:37   I do actually spend time with my wife in the morning before looking at my phone, but it's not a lot of time.

00:58:46   You know what I mean? The phone is very fast into the morning part.

00:58:51   Or I might check it, put my phone down, we'll talk for a bit or whatever, and then wake up.

00:58:56   But it's very early in my wake up process, is checking my smartphone.

00:59:01   I'm going to ask a dumb more morning person question.

00:59:05   My impression of your workday is that it's very late shifted.

00:59:09   So what are you even saying these alarms for in the morning?

00:59:12   Like, why don't you just get up later?

00:59:14   I have to get up.

00:59:15   Although, because, Greg, I won't.

00:59:18   You won't, you just like die in bed if you don't set an alarm.

00:59:22   Look, left to my own devices, I sleep to 1pm.

00:59:26   Oh, okay.

00:59:27   All right, so that's what you're trying to avoid.

00:59:29   Even though, yes, my day is late shifted, I like to be out of bed by 9.

00:59:34   Have you ever tried just sleeping to 1pm and shifting your whole day?

00:59:37   I absolutely don't want to live my life that way.

00:59:40   Okay.

00:59:41   I really don't want to do that.

00:59:42   You could call it mic master time though, right? That would be great.

00:59:45   No, I really don't want to.

00:59:47   Because I actually, over time, the things that I would do before lunch,

00:59:52   I like to do that work before lunch.

00:59:54   So I've kind of got into this mode.

00:59:57   So I go to bed about 1.30 and I wake up between 8.30 and 9.30.

01:00:02   That's like a typical day for me.

01:00:05   But I want to be awake, you know?

01:00:07   I think you should try mic master time.

01:00:09   No, I really don't want to.

01:00:10   I really, really don't want to live my life that way.

01:00:13   But it might be amazing.

01:00:14   No, what I would prefer to do is not work so late.

01:00:18   Like that would be my preference.

01:00:20   But that's a thing to deal with another time.

01:00:22   I don't know.

01:00:23   I just think you should feel less bad about this situation.

01:00:26   I feel like you're actually fine here.

01:00:28   About checking my phone?

01:00:29   Yeah, about checking the phone. I feel like this is fine.

01:00:31   So what do you do then?

01:00:32   There's like a continual fight here that I am never satisfied with.

01:00:36   So again, in some sense, the answer to the actual question of like,

01:00:41   how soon do you begin actively engaging with your phone or another screen?

01:00:45   My answer is the same as you, which is like, oh, it's functionally instant.

01:00:48   Oh, okay. I would not have expected that.

01:00:50   But the phone is waking me up.

01:00:53   And then when things go well, I am trying to use the phone as a kind of guidance for the morning.

01:01:01   Like I have a little morning routine checklist that I want to check things off.

01:01:05   Very often I'll wake up with, particularly if like I'm really knee deep in some complicated projects,

01:01:12   like I'll wake up with thoughts about that project.

01:01:15   So I'll want to take notes straight away.

01:01:17   This is like instantly is the answer the same way.

01:01:20   That's when things go well.

01:01:22   In my morning, like an iPad or the phone, they're like immediate companions in some way.

01:01:29   Well, okay. Let me ask a slightly modified version of the question,

01:01:33   but I actually think is what the question is asking.

01:01:35   It's like, how long until you're interacting with another person

01:01:39   and like either reading something someone sent you or sending something to someone?

01:01:43   So this was what I was going to try to get to is this is the conflict.

01:01:47   It's funny to do this question now because I'm in just particular awareness again,

01:01:51   like because of family things I've had to be looking at messages much earlier in the morning

01:01:56   than I normally would be.

01:01:58   So I've just been like checking things when I'm up and there's like this thing that,

01:02:02   okay, so focus modes have made this much better over time with like,

01:02:09   how do you handle notifications?

01:02:12   But fundamentally the conflict for me is still this thing like I don't like that messages,

01:02:19   like text messages are in the notification center.

01:02:24   I've never quite found a satisfactory way to try to like get messages when I do want them,

01:02:31   but also not see them when I don't want them.

01:02:34   It just always feels like no matter how I try to turn the dials of being excluded from the world

01:02:42   or included into the world, it's hard to find this right balance.

01:02:47   And a lot of times I'm sort of frustrated if I like, oh, I need something in notification center.

01:02:53   And then I can see like, oh, there's a bunch of messages that are just waiting there for me.

01:02:56   It's like I don't want to see these for a couple of hours.

01:02:58   The problem that you have here, which I know you know,

01:03:01   is that notification center is built for the receipt of messages from people.

01:03:06   That is the primary focus of the entire part of the operating system.

01:03:11   Oh yeah, yeah.

01:03:12   It is a thing that I am aware that I love the Apple ecosystem,

01:03:17   but there is a thing about it which is contra to me,

01:03:20   which is how much they want you to engage with other people in all of the things that you're doing.

01:03:26   And it is maybe my most consistent design frustration with them.

01:03:32   Even just recently, like this is another one of these,

01:03:34   like I got to go in the settings and figure out where to turn this thing off.

01:03:37   But I'm so aware now of like when I'm texting with someone,

01:03:40   if I look at one of my notes, it pops up like,

01:03:42   "Hey, do you want to live collaborate with this person you're talking with on this note?"

01:03:45   It's like, why is this button even here? Never. Never is when I want to do this.

01:03:51   What are you laughing at there, Mike?

01:03:54   No, it's because I find it weird too.

01:03:56   The Vision Pro is even worse.

01:03:59   Like if you're having a FaceTime call with someone,

01:04:02   any app you're looking at, a little button appears above it where it's like collaborate or like share screen.

01:04:08   It's like, no, like I'm just reading an iMessage from somebody else.

01:04:12   I don't need this to be shared. Like we're good.

01:04:15   I haven't seen that. I was agreeing because I'm so aware of how they made a decision

01:04:20   that their top level thing is like there's three things.

01:04:24   There's apps, there's environments, and then there's people.

01:04:28   It's like they pulled out people as this top level thing.

01:04:33   I think that's a real design decision. I understand why they do it.

01:04:37   But this is where I find Apple most greats on me.

01:04:42   Is they're constantly trying to get me to be outward directed

01:04:48   and I spend a huge amount of time essentially trying to protect myself from the outside.

01:04:54   I want to be as inward directed as is possible.

01:04:58   And one of the things that has happened is like as time has gone on

01:05:02   and technology goes on and continues to improve,

01:05:05   I was trying during year of work to do a thing which was trying to just like shut off my internet

01:05:13   at like the house level or the Euro level or the device level.

01:05:18   So I would know when I woke up like, oh, I don't have any messages on my phone

01:05:22   because my phone wasn't connected to the internet at all.

01:05:26   But the problem here is that if you do this,

01:05:29   like if you set up shortcuts to try to just disconnect your phone from the internet,

01:05:33   the phone basically literally fights you the whole time being like,

01:05:37   oh, hey, you know, there's like a Wi-Fi connection here and you're just not connected.

01:05:40   Do you want to connect to this?

01:05:41   And like, oh, there's a cell connection here.

01:05:43   If you press the cell connection button, you'll be connected to it.

01:05:45   It's like, I f***ing know. I told you to turn off.

01:05:49   It is trying to reach out and connect to things

01:05:52   and it just will not accept that like a person doesn't want to be on the Wi-Fi

01:05:57   because I don't want messages to be able to reach me

01:06:01   and then live in Notification Center where I can either accidentally know they're there

01:06:05   or just simply be tempted by the fact that they're there.

01:06:08   Now, there's many ways in which I completely recognize this is like wildly unreasonable

01:06:12   and it is a thing that I gave up because it also was just so impractical in many ways

01:06:18   because you forget like, oh, all of my home controls require that I'm connected to the internet.

01:06:23   Like there's a hundred things that I can't even think of right now

01:06:26   that like require a connection to my phone

01:06:29   or like there's something that's happening where I can't just like put the phone in airplane mode

01:06:32   or whatever it is.

01:06:34   So this is a thing that for me is just kind of an unsolved problem.

01:06:41   There really isn't a way around it.

01:06:44   Like what I actually want is a magical thing that says,

01:06:47   no one can contact me unless they really need to

01:06:51   but I get to judge if they really need to.

01:06:53   That's really what I want.

01:06:55   Yeah, but like can't a focus mode do this?

01:06:57   Okay, let me try to clarify a thing here.

01:07:00   What I realize is a thing that I would want

01:07:04   is the ability for focus modes to also do something like

01:07:09   change the settings of how messages are actually able to be delivered to the device.

01:07:16   That's not something that you can do with focus modes.

01:07:19   It's not something that you can do with settings.

01:07:22   So the problem is that I have to have the settings for in general

01:07:28   how our message is received set a certain way at the system setting level

01:07:34   and you realize this when you dig in the settings.

01:07:37   The focus modes are not designed from the perspective of you are like using this device in the focus mode.

01:07:46   They're really in a way designed from the perspective of to not interrupt you.

01:07:53   But that means while you are using the device, stuff is piling up in Notification Center

01:08:00   and that's where you just know that it's there waiting for you.

01:08:04   It's easy to accidentally see it when you're just trying to pull up something in Control Center.

01:08:10   That's the problem that is basically unsolvable is a crazy requirement of engineering

01:08:17   that I would just want for me when, to be honest, focus modes have already gone beyond my wildest reasonable expectations

01:08:24   of what an operating system would do.

01:08:27   But I'm just aware this is always going to be a frustration for me

01:08:31   and is also a frustration for everybody who ever interacts with me

01:08:36   because whenever I'm trying to fix this problem it's always the same thing.

01:08:39   I go way too far and my wife's like, "I've tried to call you seven times and none of them got through."

01:08:44   And it's like, "Oh no." I put the dials the wrong way.

01:08:47   Phones off.

01:08:48   You just turn the phone off.

01:08:50   Because the situation you're saying is while it won't annoy you, you'll see receive while you're in focus.

01:08:57   You know there's stuff in there where you don't want the temptation of knowing there's stuff in there.

01:09:03   And there's way too many tricky edge cases of switching between focus modes.

01:09:08   So it's like, "Oh, when you go from sleep and then I have a core working focus mode,

01:09:13   but then I also have the exercise focus mode."

01:09:15   When you're going between those things, that's also a place where stuff can bleed over for a moment.

01:09:20   There's just a lot of these little edge cases that are not obvious when you first start to think about them.

01:09:25   But yes, so I guess the answer to the question is instantly start engaging

01:09:29   and often much sooner than I ideally would want to,

01:09:32   but I spend a lot of time trying to make that not happen as often as possible.

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01:11:45   [Music]

01:11:46   Brant asks, "Mike, now that you are settled into your new home,

01:11:50   is there a chance that you'll shut down Mega Studio and work/podcast from home?

01:11:54   Or does continuing to have Mega Studio contribute to your Year of the Weekend theme

01:11:59   and help keep a firm line between work and life?"

01:12:02   I could not imagine working from home again.

01:12:05   I'm not surprised to hear that.

01:12:07   I really like having a dedicated space to work in.

01:12:13   I think it is very valuable for me, because of the type of work that I do,

01:12:18   to have an element of control with the sound, an element of control of distraction.

01:12:28   It's very good for me to just be in an environment where people aren't going to bother me one way or another,

01:12:35   and/or I don't have to worry that I am inconveniencing people.

01:12:39   Like when I used to record at home in our apartment,

01:12:43   it was very conscious to me that, like, Adina was stuck, you know?

01:12:47   What do you mean?

01:12:48   There's certain things she couldn't do, right?

01:12:51   If she wanted to do something that would cause noise at home, she couldn't do it.

01:12:54   Yeah.

01:12:55   Because I'm recording, and so it wouldn't work, and I didn't like that feeling.

01:13:01   If she just, you know, wants to watch Game of Thrones, it's just like,

01:13:05   "Well, you've got to do it quietly," you know?

01:13:08   And it's just like, this is not good. I don't like that feeling.

01:13:11   But I also just really like having a space of my own that I can do whatever I want with,

01:13:17   and I can set it up just in the way that I need to do all of the things that I want to do.

01:13:21   I also think it's so good for me for work-life balance, being in the two different places.

01:13:28   Like, again, it's like, year of the weekend, the idea was you work on the days you work,

01:13:34   and you're off on the days you're off.

01:13:37   And so you had these things you have to balance. You have to find a balance between them.

01:13:42   And I find that to be the same with having home and office.

01:13:45   Like, inherently there being two things means that they balance against each other,

01:13:51   and then I can work to make sure that balance is correct,

01:13:54   but I like the fact that they are separate entities that I get to spend time in

01:14:00   and do whatever it is I want to do in each.

01:14:02   Like, I think I've gotten very good at not working at home.

01:14:06   That's really good to hear.

01:14:07   Also, just to add, as someone who has visited Mega Studio,

01:14:10   I think the thing that brands might not be realizing is that

01:14:14   Mega Studio has also become the de facto Cortex brand headquarters.

01:14:19   And when I think about Mega Studio, I think about the amount of physical stuff

01:14:25   that you have in there is astounding.

01:14:28   Like, when I go over there and you delightedly want to show me paper samples

01:14:33   or color samples of things or just notebooks that you're looking at

01:14:37   or prototypes or like all of these things,

01:14:40   there's no way you could get rid of Mega Studio.

01:14:43   It's just not possible anymore.

01:14:46   I would need an actually bigger home.

01:14:48   It's not good.

01:14:50   Because like now my work has physicality to it where it didn't before.

01:14:54   So now I have cabinets which have samples in them

01:14:57   and I keep versions of every print of every product that I can refer back to.

01:15:01   I have boxes of a couple of hundred sidekick notepads

01:15:05   that we send out for people to review and stuff like that.

01:15:09   I have all this stuff that needs this space.

01:15:13   And then also, I'm going to make some adaptations to Mega Studio soon

01:15:17   to even make that better.

01:15:19   I don't have space to be able to lay things out on a large desk

01:15:23   to be able to look at them clearly,

01:15:25   like comparing this paper to that paper and da da da da.

01:15:28   So I love having this space.

01:15:30   It's very important to me.

01:15:32   Even if my family situation changed,

01:15:36   all I could imagine is maybe I would come to the studio fewer days a week,

01:15:40   but I need to have a set environment now where my work is done.

01:15:46   And the funny thing about the Cortex brand stuff,

01:15:49   now I imagine this scenario where into the future,

01:15:52   and we've joked about it,

01:15:54   but there is an actual place where the Cortex brand stuff happens.

01:15:58   I can imagine it more and more.

01:16:00   There's a shop, a store.

01:16:03   We have a place, which is the headquarters,

01:16:06   and it has a little storefront in the front.

01:16:08   This is my 10-year dream now.

01:16:10   Yeah, I am aware of that as what feels to be maybe the slight sound

01:16:16   of approaching inevitability.

01:16:18   That does feel like a little bit, yeah.

01:16:20   I do have a dream of having a place more that I can do more to,

01:16:25   like I can have more say over.

01:16:27   I'm renting this unit in a big building,

01:16:30   and I would like to have something that,

01:16:32   whether it was a longer-term rental contract,

01:16:35   or a longer-term lease,

01:16:37   or even the opportunity to try and at some point buy a unit somewhere

01:16:41   to be able to have more say over it.

01:16:44   And as time goes on further and further,

01:16:47   the likelihood that that thing could have a shop front in the front

01:16:52   feels more and more possible, which I also kind of like the idea of.

01:16:56   So yeah, for me, I can only imagine the need for a non-home working place

01:17:05   to increase rather than decrease.

01:17:08   The only way you could get rid of Mega Studio is if you had Giga Home.

01:17:11   That's the only way. It would need to be 100 times bigger.

01:17:14   Even then, though, I like to commute.

01:17:17   Like, I get 45 minutes of exercise in every day with the walking,

01:17:23   and I get to listen to my podcasts,

01:17:26   and I have a separation between the two that, like,

01:17:30   I can at least try and leave some of my work brain at the office,

01:17:35   and I have the time between the two where I can kind of get a bit more into home mic

01:17:40   rather than work mic.

01:17:42   I get it. As weird as this sounds, in North Carolina,

01:17:45   I kind of enjoyed the commute, in a sense.

01:17:49   I enjoyed being up early and driving to the gym

01:17:54   and then just being at a physical distance away.

01:17:58   It's like, yeah, I could totally get that.

01:18:00   Well, when Cortex brand retail headquarters has a place one day,

01:18:03   there might be an office for you in it.

01:18:05   I require a secret entrance, Mike, is what I require.

01:18:08   Just a full privacy screen and a heated chair and air conditioning.

01:18:12   Well, yeah! Of course.

01:18:15   If we're custom building it, of course.

01:18:18   That energy bill. I'm not looking forward to that energy bill.

01:18:21   Energy is cheap, Mike. Brain power is expensive.