5 results found for “notifications”

Meat-Ax Your Notifications

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

I’ve long advocated for drastically reducing the number of notifications your digital devices are allowed to produce. The artificial urgency device notifications create is unnecessary, and probably unhealthy. Very few notifications are actually time-sensitive, but far too many of us let our phones take us out of the moment needlessly.

It turns out Apple CEO Tim Cook agrees, as revealed in a recent podcast interview with Outside magazine:

Tim Cook: [S]o the action I took was I started asking myself, why do I need all these notifications?

Roberts: Right.

Cook: Why do I really need this? Do I really need to understand things in the moment that they’re happening? And you know — and I started taking a meat ax out to some of these things that would grab my attention but didn’t need to in the moment —

Roberts: Mm-hmm.

Cook: — to free me up to do other things. So — yeah. I learned — like I think like probably most people underestimate how much they’re using it.

Until now, I never had a catchy name for my advice. Now, thanks to Cook, I do. Henceforth, my suggestion that most people should turn off most notifications will be referred to as “meat-axing”. Take back your life! Meat-ax your notifications!

That’s Pretty Forward, Netflix

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020

Recently, friend-of-the-site Kim B. received a rather shocking notification on her phone. There’s really no two ways about it – she was being advised to Netflix and chill:

A Netflix notification reading “Wondering what to watch? We suggest sleeping with other people”.

That is quite the suggestion, particularly to someone in a committed relationship.

It’s also just a very bad notification. Who the hell is sitting around, wondering what to watch, and unable to find anything on their own? Are there actually people who need their phones to direct them, unprompted, with notifications about how they should spend their leisure time?1

Even if such a prompt really is useful enough, to enough people, Netflix should at least put some quotes around the title. After they’ve done that, maybe they can spend a little time writing a blocklist for content that shouldn’t be suggested. Yikes.

When I asked Kim if I could share this, she immediately approved. However, she was sad with how I’d cropped things. As seen above, the phone’s background featuring her delightful dog Eva is not properly visible. Looking again, I realized a larger view would serve us well as a closing. Eva’s seemingly disdainful expression strikes me as a rather perfect response to this ridiculousness:

A Netflix notification reading “Wondering what to watch? We suggest sleeping with other people”.

You said it, dog.


  1. Years back, I turned off nearly all notifications and badges on my phone, and I highly recommend it. I let texts through, along with emails from VIPs and a tiny number of other things. For everything else, I’ll get to it when I get to it. I strongly encourage everyone to give it a try. It’s a vastly better way to live your life. ↩︎

Jimmy John’s Is Not Great at Order Notifications

Friday, September 27th, 2019

Last week, I wrote about the USPS not being good at email. More recently, I ran into a similarly poor notification from sandwich-maker Jimmy John’s:

We’ll set aside the rude instruction to “Come & Get it!”, because that’s in line with Jimmy John’s slightly odd brand. Note the times for these two messages, however. I placed the order at 6:08 PM, and I was told it was ready for pickup at 9:18 PM. That is not exactly “freaky fast”, nor any kind of fast at all.

Fortunately, this order did not in fact take 3 hours and 10 minutes to make. I picked it up around 6:20 PM, and I was enjoying it at home a few minutes later. In fact, when I received this notification, I thought “I just ate my sandwich, and it’s in my stomach right now”.

I don’t know if this was another slow computer server, or if someone simply forgot to tap the “Order Ready” button on the screen. Alternately, it’s also possible an entire second order was prepared, and that an identical copy of my sandwich sat there, lonely and unloved. That might be the saddest possibility of all.

Be Honest, Facebook

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Here’s what the bottom of Facebook’s notifications page says:

Even if you turn off all notifications, we may sometimes need to email you important notices about your account.

Here’s what the bottom of Facebook’s notifications page should say:

Even if you turn off all notifications, we may sometimes need to email you important notices about your account. Also, we're constantly adding new notifications, and we turn them on by default. You'll be back here to turn them off shortly. See you soon, sucker adbait friend!

Randall Munroe Reports Android Bugs 

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Randall Munroe writes and draws one of the best web comics out there, XKCD. If you’re not reading XKCD, you’re missing out.

Randall also has the occasional blog post. In the linked post, he provides a partial list of bugs in Android (or associated software) which have impacted his actual life in some way. You should check out the whole list, but here are a couple of my favorites.

Sometimes, when arranging home screen icons, you feel sad and you’re not sure why.

Google Voice doesn’t do push notifications, so you often get voicemails quite some time after the caller leaves them, sometimes after you’ve already called them back. This can make you call your doctor back again and have a really confusing conversation where you accidentally get a second prescription. Which you can then get filled and sell on the street. Come to think of it, this bug might be a feature.