Technically Intentionally

Technology for a minimal life.

As an international university student, I rely on a 13-inch MacBook Pro to get work done wherever I go, whether that be a library, café or in a different country. As such, the highlight of Apple's World-Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2019 for me was the new macOS Catalina.

These are the new features in macOS Catalina are most pertinent for a mobile student.


The Green New Deal is still a hot topic in politics, which is remarkable considering that conservation biologists, climatologists, and Bill Nye have been shouting into the void for what seems like an eternity.

It is great that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and others demand immediate and drastic action, for moderate market-based policies have failed. It is the cold, hard truth that without drastic action, the biosphere will be irreversibly damaged.

Environmental Elitism

My major concern is how rampant elitism is among environmentalist activists. If you're an omnivore, you're a heinous criminal; if you fly, you're irredeemable; if you use any single-use or plastic product, you're morally deficient, or the narrative often goes.


I will soon be doing a deep dive into several popular “distraction blocker” apps. These are tools that make it very difficult to access distractive apps or websites.

Distraction blockers can be an invaluable tool when we are first learning to sever our dependency from our digital addictions. Image courtesy of Freedom

However, they come with a huge asterisk that their product pages often omit.


Multitasking on the iPad currently just kinda sucks. Heck, trying to use the iPad Pro as a “pro” device is a cumbersome experience in general.

Rumors about the upcoming iOS 13 hint that there will be a heightened focus on making the iPad into a true laptop replacement.

A home screen redesign for the iPad will likely better utilize its larger screen real-estate, multitasking will be smoother, and the Files app may see some improvements. Furthermore, users might be able to use an iPad as an external monitor to a Mac.

The 2018 iPad Pro Photo courtesy of Apple.

Multitasking on the iPad will become easier than ever. Is it a future worth looking forward to?


I recently shared my strategy for finally making reading into a habit. The key takeaway was to redirect my habit of checking social media on my phone into reading a few pages of an ebook.

In order to make this change stick, I deleted every single source of distraction from my phone. That shaped my environment to be conducive to reading.

Erik Barker

In my further research about forming reading habits, I came across an interview of Erik Barker, the bestselling author of “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” and the writer of a homonymous blog. (It has an amusing address:

Erik Barker writes incredibly well-researched articles about living better lives through science of human behavior. What he has to say about reading probably has some merit. He says:

On my phone, I don’t have Facebook, I don’t have Twitter, I don’t have email. My instinct to check social media, I’ve redirected toward the Kindle app. I give myself three checks a day unless there’s an explicit reason where I know there’s an important email coming in. [...] Most of my reading takes place […] on the Kindle app on the iPad.


One of my Wildlife Photographs.

A necessary counterpart to our modern lives is the reintroduction of the natural world. Few activities brought me more joy than the simple act of observing and photographing wildlife in their natural habitat.

My Personal Fallout

Unfortunately, it is far too easy to completely neglect the natural realm of our existence. Although I used to go out to the woods almost every week, these hobbies were gradually taken over by more sedentary pastimes: browsing the internet, video gaming, and not getting enough outside air in general.

I accumulated unhealthy habits to the point where both my physical and mental health was severely crippled. Without being in tune with natural daily rhythm, my routines became erratic. I was eating, sleeping, and working in unsustainable chaos. I was stressed, burnt out, and languished.

Only recently did I face this problem directly. It is a lifestyle that I have barely begun recovering from.

Nature as Mental Health Sanctuary

Nature might be an antidote. It operates in its own clock, largely unperturbed by the hectic cycles of our urban lives. It promotes a sense of existence in the present moment that our technologies do not.

To be separate from the silent noise of social media and to observe, without trying to manipulate, nature has an almost meditative effect.


In our pursuit to eliminate all that is non-essential, it is imperative that we stop to examine our feelings of want.

Despite having an unprecedentedly high quality of life, our desires are seemingly endless. We want more and better things. We think that we will be happier when we upgrade our lifestyle.

This desire for more is natural and even necessary. It is part of a healthy psyche, as it fuels our ambitions to improve our lot in life. We shouldn't berate our primal instincts for doing its job. We should embrace it, acknowledge it, and address it.

Too often, I have repressed my desires for more with statements like “I can't buy this” or “I shouldn't buy this” that only made the cravings worse. I've recently felt an insurmountable desire to buy new tech. A better headset, a better mouse, maybe an iPad, a better computer setup, a better camera...

Whenever these feelings overwhelm me, I follow a few simple steps to come to terms with it.


My setup

Can a gamer also be a minimalist? Of course. Gaming provides value in many of our lives, so many minimalists choose to keep it.

At the same time, maximalism is all-so pervasive in the gaming industry. It is far too easy to fall into the master race to own the latest rig with the rAy-TrAcEd GaMiNg GpU and RGP-POWERED GAMING HARD DRIVE. (Seriously, what does the word “gaming” on a product label mean anymore?)

I used to own a fully-fledged gaming setup. The physical clutter created by the tower, the peripherals, and the yarn-ball of cablesTM not only disarrayed my room but also my mind. My attention was always fragmented, as my gaming rig covered much of my vision.

When I had to move to another continent to study, I finally decided to go for a more minimal gaming setup. One that is small and portable enough that I can pack it into my luggage.

New and exciting emerging technologies allow us to pack performance into an increasingly small footprint. There are many options available, from a standard living room console to eGPUs.


Book on Table

Most people recognize the value of reading books; many of us set a new year's resolution to read more. We're pumped up with energy. Yet, it rarely lasts.

Why is it so hard to make a reading habit stick? Surely, we all know the benefits of reading. Reading books is a great way to self-educate. Reading books improve our writing. Books broaden our perspectives with new ideas. Books provide us entertainment. Books allow us to travel to the greatest minds of our time, or to the most engrossing worlds ever imagined.

Here is my simple solution: hack your phone.


This post is the second installment of a monthly series in which I give short impressions/review about media that I consumed and enjoyed that month. If you're new to the series, you can read February's Post or continue straight to my favorite book for this month, which is......


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