Seventeen iOS apps worth a look

This is not in any way an exhaustive review of apps for iOS. It is instead a list of apps I have personally found useful. I may not have tried alternates so while I welcome alternate suggestions in the comments, please accept my apologies in advance if I’ve made a choice in ignorance of an app superior to the one I’m recommending. As I don’t have unlimited funds, I’ve made some of my choices based on user or editorial reviews without trying every possibility.

Why would I want to put my cloud in the cloud?

Ever since Sparrow Mail went the way of the dodo,1 the search for a good email client has been on. Sparrow continues to work, but it never fully matured as an email client and will never again be supported. Sparrow therefore is not a good long-term option. I still use Sparrow on my laptop and on my iPhone, but I’ve moved back to Apple’s on my desktop system.


(When used as a verb) to transform a possession into a present by giving it to someone.

This holiday season Sears’s slogan is «how to gift.»

I know more than a couple people who share a pet peeve: the use of the word gift as a verb. They complain with good justification that it is common to turn a noun into a verb in place of choosing words with enough care that no made-up word would be necessary. Normally I’d be in agreement, but in the case of gift I’ve defended the usage.

The Electoral College has outlived its purpose

I wanted to get this out there before the election results start coming in, in case we have a situation where the electoral winner of the election is not the same as the candidate with the most popular votes. If that happens, anyone complaining will be seen as a sore loser and I want to be clear no matter how this election goes, this campaign season has convinced me that the electoral college causes more problems than it fixes and it needs to be eliminated.

Sparrow Mail flips users the bird

This morning’s email includes an email by the makers of my favorite email client for the Mac and for iPhone: Sparrow Mail. At the top of this email is a simulacrum of Sparrow’s logo, but drawn with Google’s trademark colors. The email starts off with this cheerful news:

We’re excited to let you know that Sparrow has been acquired by Google! You can view our public announcement here, but I wanted to reach out directly to make sure you were aware of the news.

How about a usually-balanced budget amendment?

Just thinking out loud here for a moment. I’m sure that any flaws in my logic will be pointed out in the comments.

My only problem with a balanced budget amendment is that times of economic downturn could be the worst time to cut back spending. I’m not going to go full keynesian and say that if the economy shrinks that it’s time to increase spending, but I will concede that cutting back at those times is likely to be counterproductive.

Breaking a perfectly good fuel pump

My Moto Guzzi has been running pretty rough lately. It wouldn’t start on my trip into San Francisco for a doctor’s appointment the day before Independence Day and I had to get it trailered back to Alameda. A couple of months ago I had a similar-seeming issue which was an electrical problem, but this did not seem electrical. The starter motor turned the engine over with vigor but the darn thing would not catch.

Next on my list of usual suspects is the fuel-air mix. The first thing I tried was cleaning the pod filters, which were filthy. The instructions in the K&N Recharger Kit say that the filters ought to be cleaned once every 50,000 miles. Clearly that is a suggestion for automobiles with K&N filters safely tucked under the hood in an engine compartment. For a motorcycle where the pods may as well be flapping in the breeze (and constant barrage of road grit) I’m guessing 10,000 miles might be a more reasonable interval.

Rehabilitating Keynes

The American right is fond of spitting the word keynesian as an epithet, just as those on the left hold Keynes up to be some sort of savior, rescuing the masses from the tyranny of the wealthy. Today’s economic policies that the left promotes and the right attempts to thwart rely heavily on the keynesian idea that when a nation’s economy is stalling, the government should increase spending even if that means going into debt.


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