Juice your battery with iOS Focus modes

12/03/22

I've found a simple way to tune my iPhone to extend its battery life by a lot - it lasts about 2 days of regular usage now. I never get battery anxiety anymore because its lifetime between charges is way more than adequate, even if I'm lazy about charging it.

It wasn't obvious to me that this is possible so I thought I'd document how to do it. It relies on the new "Focus" feature along with Automations to shut things off when I don't need them. This is using iOS 16.1.2 at time of writing.

1. Create a "Home" Focus

Go to Settings > Focus and create a new Focus called "Home"

2. Give the Home Focus a Location Schedule

Open the Home Focus settings and set a schedule with one or more locations that you consider home, which have Wi-Fi. In my case I have my house and an art studio in NYC.

Make sure the "Automation" toggle is on so this happens in the background without you having to do anything.

Also, do not turn on a "smart activation" schedule - it's not smart and makes this not work for some reason.

3. Turn on Wi-Fi Calling

Go to Settings > Phone and enable Wi-Fi Calling.

4. Set up Automations

Open the Shortcuts app and create 4 different Automations:

  1. When going to sleep, turn off Bluetooth
  2. When waking up, turn on Bluetooth and turn on the Home Focus
  3. When turning on Home Focus, turn off Cellular Data
  4. When turning off Home Focus, turn on Cellular Data

Essentially what this does is it turns off bluetooth when you're asleep, and turns off cellular data while you're home. The first two obviously rely on you using the sleep schedule feature of iOS, and only matter if you sometimes keep your phone unplugged at night.

Caveats

This probably works better for me than most because I live in a house where there is extremely poor phone service and no cellular data, so I have to rely on Wi-Fi for everything anyway and my phone was seemingly burning a ton of battery all day and night searching for a cellular signal (and quickly dying... WTF).

However, even if you have cellular signal at home, you don't really need to be using it do you? So I think most people could do this.

With these changes, I can leave it unplugged overnight and it uses virtually zero battery. And durng the day while I'm home, it only relies on Wi-Fi so it can conserve all the power it takes to run the cellular antenna. Now it only uses cellular data when it actually needs it - away from home.

Here you can see that I wasn't charging overnight, and the battery level stayed basically flat:

There's probably more complicated ways to improve off this foundation, but I find it very effective already. I love optimizing stuff like this. Hope it helps someone!

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Comments!

09/19/22

I've been spending a lot of time on airplanes recently so I killed the time by hacking together a little comment section for my blog. I wrote my own CAPTCHA from scratch, we'll see how much of a mistake that was.

The coolest part of it for me is it's completely JavaScript-free, in fact this whole website is (with the exception of some Twitter embeds). I'm rejecting modernity over here.

For now I'm keeping it very simple but maybe one day I will add more features like image uploads and mentioning previous peoples' comment IDs in your comment. The way I'm imagining it is loosely inspired by 4chan.

Try it out by leaving a comment on this post!

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Z31

07/20/22

A few months ago I was looking at old cars on Autotrader when I caught my first ever glimpse of a 1984 Nissan 300ZX, for sale with 31k miles on it. I immediately stopped browsing and became obsessed with it, keeping the tab open for days and glancing back at it constantly.

The low-poly geometry of the car, combined with its 80s "Tron" instrument panel, was too much for me to resist. I impulsively made an offer on it a few days later and ended up selling a Bitcoin to pay for it in cash. It's an investment I can drive!

Soon after committing to buy it, I realized the Autotrader listing was incorrect in saying it had an automatic transmission; it was actually a manual. In hindsight this car would not have been nearly as cool with an automatic, but at the time I had no idea how to drive manual.

It would have been embarrassing to back out of the purchase so I took it as a sign that I was supposed to learn, and quickly booked a lesson at Stick Shift Driving Academy (I highly recommend!)

The first few hours of driving manual were stressful and amusing. There's no feeling like stalling in traffic. I remember when I'd park and get out of my Z, my hands would be shaking. The task saturation of driving manual before it became muscle memory was intense.

I have felt for a long time too stuck in the digital world, devoting too much of my time and energy to it. I've been imbalanced. Learning a new physical skill like this has proven to be a very satisfying endeavor.

I was lucky to have ongoing advice and driving lessons from a friend who is an OG crypto trader. I won't identify him because he doesn't want to location dox. I got up at 4am one morning to meet him at the top of Squaw Pass in time for a sunrise photoshoot:

This Z is particularly special because it's a 50th anniversary edition Turbo, and it's in amazing condition. There are very few blemishes on the paint and the interior is practically mint. It's obviously been garaged and well looked after for its entire life.

I love driving it because it feels like I'm time traveling. I was born in the 90s; this car was made well before I was born. There are not many of them on the roads these days, so I've already gotten numerous people honking and giving me thumbs up in traffic, or coming up to talk to me in the parking lot. It seems to brighten peoples' day to see a machine from such a unique era (the 80s) casually driving around. I think the clean condition it's in creates an interesting disconnect from reality; the car doesn't look like it's almost 40 years old.

The older I get, the more interested I am in history. This car is a work of art, and I am now its conservator.

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