Apple Maps Vans

in Writing

Yesterday, I was chatting with a coworker about an Apple Maps Van he saw driving around town. Interestingly, I also spotted a similar van while riding my bike home from work a few days earlier, and I had attempted to sneakily take a blurry photo of the vehicle. My coworker and I shared stories and guessed at the type of sensor technology that was mounted on the vehicle, while speculating what Apple’s actual purpose might be for driving this vehicle around the Denver metro area.

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Last weekend after a short coffee nap, I had a chance to finish reading an interview in Offscreen Magazine with Tom Loosemore, a “digital reformer” from the UK who helps governments revamp their policies and systems to move into the internet era. Upon first reading the high-level description of Tom’s work, I wasn’t certain I’d enjoy reading the interview or find it very interesting. To my surprise, I gleaned a lot from the article, especially since I work in the same industry, providing software for government. Here are a few of the highlights:

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One common challenge I run into while taking notes during regular Bible reading is writing down the text of a verse or short passage that was meaningful to me. I usually like to jot down the actual text in Day One and write a few notes about what “stood out” during my reading - but because I prefer to read from a physical Bible, the tedious part is typing out the words.

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About 6 months ago, I decided to “dumb down” my iPhone to remove distractions and get some of my focus back. As a result, I removed most apps that had “feeds”, including the excellent Reeder app, and the Safari browser. I’ve since resorted to using Reeder on my MacBook or our home iMac, but I still wanted some way to read selected articles on my Phone. Not the full-on feed of every single article; just the articles that I had sorted through that I wanted to read.

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For more than a year now, I’ve been riding my bike to work as an alternate means of transportation, with the express purpose of doing my workout and my commute at the same time. Early on in my bicycle commuting journey, I picked up a bike mount for my iPhone, since I like to track my rides on Strava. Usually, there’s not much on my phone to look at, but the bike mount helps me to quickly see a text message that comes up, or check my pace in Strava.

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I don’t have an email app on my smartphone right now - and that’s OK. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, my emails stay out in the cloud and wait for me to get to them, even if it takes a few hours or even a day. In my not so distant past, I can think of a time when I would have been horrified not to have my email available on my phone. But right now, there’s no sign of an email app, and I’m pretty happy with that!

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This is a bit of old news, but wanted to get it in the blog anyways: the creators of the excellent iOS app Just Landed have decided to stop selling the app as of February 25, 2016, and the app will stop working on July 31, 2016. This is unfortunate news, especially since the app was beautiful, innovative, and really useful. Continue reading

I recently discovered a cool tool to help with sharing clipboard contents between iOS and OSX. I’ve recently encountered a number of situations when I need to share text between my Mac and my iPhone, either to bring up a URL, a paragraph of text, or even a longer security code that I didn’t want to hand-type. Continue reading

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Matthew Johnson

I’m a Christian, a husband to an amazing wife, a father of five children. Technology and reading are some of my current hobbies, and I love roasting good coffee.


Software Developer


Denver, CO