Apple Face ID on iPhone Less than Efficient During a Pandemic

Often while going to some of my favorite retail establishments, I am in the habit of not taking my wallet inside because I could use Apple Pay. However, during the current state of in-store shopping, face-masks are a must to keep everyone as safe as possible. This creates a slight problem when trying to use an iPhone with Face ID when you have a face-mask on.

Additionally, despite Apple’s recent efforts via iOS update to make Face ID work even when you have a mask on, Face ID still is mostly broken. This is even more important when you are trying to use a shopping list, text your spouse to remember that thing you forgot, and most importantly check out using Apple Pay. All these things require Face ID to unlock and if you have it setup, you know that getting to the PIN Input screen can take a few moments. Add all these “moments” up and you can get a pretty frustrating experience.

Unfortunately, I broke the camera lens recently in my Face ID capable iPhone which sent me down this rabbit-hole and I stumbled upon a solution. I am using my backup phone: an iPhone 8+ which has only Touch ID!

Instantly I thought to myself how much easier my retail life will be during this pandemic not having to move my mask out of the way to unlock my phone everytime I need to look at that recipe or shopping list.

Call it a minor annoyance, yes. Call it a first world problem, yes. But for anyone with a Touch ID based device, now is the time to dust them off and use them as your main device for a while.

Keeping the R0 Low will be on the Individual

I started composing this post on May 28th. Here we are a month later on June 25th and the data is supporting the claim I made via the title of this post one month ago.

Despite what our leaders would have you believe via their mixed messages around this pandemic, keeping our communities and business safe is on you. Wearing a mask and limiting your exposure, especially by not being indoors with strangers, is the best way to keep the spread of COVID19 at a minimum.

Masks are not a political thing. CoV-SARS2 doesn’t care about your political alignments.

Streamline Salesforce Activity Logging via BCC Email to Salesforce

OUTLINE

  • The Logic and Workflow Overview
  • Setting Up “Email to Salesforce” in Salesforce
  • Setting Up the Salesforce Contact in Outlook
  • Executing the Workflow

LOGIC

Are you needing to constantly log Salesforce activities? Are you tired of Outlook plugins breaking or not being allowed by your IT department? There could be a better way; if this works for you then awesome.

This workflow allows you to initiate ANY activity as an email but does not limit your ability to change the activity later nor does it limit your ability to use any other workflow. However, the account/opportunity attachment logic in this workflow is still manual. This is because Salesforce’s logic for attaching activities to the proper account or opportunity is imperfect at best. While all of your emails will land in Salesforce as an email activity, you can always go back and change specific tasks to other activity types later.

This method works well if you need to log activities frequently but only need to change a handful to a different activity type. If you are needing to log calls as a “call” activity then this flow might not be the best for you. If your leadership is only interested in the fact that you logged an activity and care less about the type, this might be great for you.

SETTING UP SALESFORCE

  • Login to Salesforce.
  • Go to your Email to Salesforce Settings.
  • Find the Email to Salesforce settings on the left side of the screen and select it to dive into those settings. We are going to change some things.
  • We are now on the Email to Salesforce Settings page! Here you want to 1. Add your Source Email address to the Acceptable Email Addresses field. Because only you should be sending things to your Unresolved Items. 2. Click the Radio Button under Email Associations to “ALWAYS SEND TO MY UNRESOLVED ITEMS.” 3. Make sure to check the box that says ALWAYS SAVE EMAIL ATTACHMENTS. This is so your fancy PPTX and screenshot files get saved on the activity (though some organizations do not save files automatically, even if you enable this.) 4. Copy YOUR EMAIL TO SALESFORCE ADDRESS. You will need this for the next step.
  • Bookmark or save the “MY UNRESOLVED ITEMS” URL linked on this page. Launch it in a new tab; you need this page to tag your activities later.
  • Now that you have your Email to Salesforce email address. Head over to your email client. Create a new Contact in your email client and save your “EMAIL TO SALESFORCE” email address (which is a really long and odd looking string of text) as a name that is easy to type in the BCC field. I call mine “Notes” because it is easy to type and it autocompletes quickly.
  • Give it a test! In your email client, compose a new message and BCC your Salesforce Notes contact. Wait 30 seconds or so and then head to My Unresolved Items —> https://equinix.lightning.force.com/6AC?src=7
    Do you see your email? You are ready to execute the workflow.

EXECUTING THE WORKFLOW

If you haven’t setup the flow yet, skip this section and come back when you’re ready to try the workflow.

  1. Compose an email message related to an activity. This could originate as notes from a meeting you had or an email you are sending to a key contact or peer. Point is you need to compose a meaningful email of some sort.
  2. Put your unique Salesforce email address in the BCC field (or TO field if you are only sending notes to Salesforce.) DO NOT EXPOSE YOUR SALESFORCE EMAIL TO OUTSIDE AUDIENCES. When in doubt, use BCC always.
  3. If you are sending only notes to Salesforce, change your Subject line to something meaningful so you and others can clearly see what the notes are related to. Example: CALL NOTES – Zoom Meeting – CUSTOMER NAME – THE TOPIC OF THE MEETING
  4. Repeat your activity logging for about a week or so…don’t worry we are going to collect activities through the week until you are ready to assign them to accounts/opportunities.
  5. When you are ready to assign your tasks to specific accounts/opportunities, go here: My Unresolved Items (bookmark this page; you will visit this page frequently.)
  6. In the Unresolved Items page, you should see all the emails you sent to Salesforce. Awesome! Now you can go through this page and assign them to the account or opportunity to which they should be assigned.
    Type in the name of the opportunity or account and click the “Magnifying Glass” icon to the right of the text field. This will look for your account or opportunity name via a pop-up window. Your input should result in something meaningful; click the opp or account that should be attached. This manual step takes a moment to do but in general will save you time by batch processing it here on the Unresolved Items page.
    (Why is this a manual step? Because Salesforce is not always smart enough to assign them automatically. We collect our activities into this bucket so you can assign them all in one place. This takes a bit of time but it is easier than trying to hunt down your activities when they are in the wrong place.)
  7. Hit the Save Button. When you do this it will apply your selections to the activities and the activities will magically disappear and be assigned. Should there be an issue, Salesforce will let you know you need to pick the appropriate account.
    A pro-tip if you know the exact account name, copy and paste it into every activity related to that account; when you click SAVE, Salesforce will ask you to confirm your input by making an educated guess and offer you a drop-down of options.
  8. Go back and manually edit the handful of activities you want to change to another activity type. Maybe your leaders want to see “Strategy Briefing” as the activity type but don’t care that everything else is an “Email” activity even if it was really a phone call or in-person meeting.
    If your leadership is asking you to explicitly mark the exact activity type, consider asking your leaders how much time they want you doing Salesforce hygiene. Seems like a waste of time to me. Quantity is better than type in this example.

Time for Change

It is time for change; it has been time for a change for a long time.

We are at a tipping point in the US and the mindsets that got us into this mess are antiquated and no longer support the longevity of this country. No longer should inequality be tolerated. No longer should people fear for their existence in this country, whether due to immigration status or race or religion or political belief.

What really stands out to me in the current political climate is how oppressive the Trump following wants to be towards “more freedoms, for more people.” This tenant is something that should have been the backbone of conservatism in the modern age. It would have been inline with a “less government in my life” mentality.

But that is not where we are. We are instead in a society where those in control want to limit voices of opposition, put people in jail for making personal decisions that impact their own lives, and prevent those building this country from becoming citizens of the US.

I am over it.

Playing politics at this point means voting for candidates that will move an agenda of inclusion and sustainability forward for the long term. This means abandoning all previous “identities” that anyone wants to put on you. Vote your conscience not for a party. Your political party is dead.

Outlook Online…You had me at hello.

Anyone who has worked with me for longer than a day knows how much I deplore email as a way to conduct business. It is a platform abused by many as a way to shirk responsibility for things they should just take care of themselves or to excuse themselves from helping at all. “If I just +Erik on this email it will serve in-place of a nice, pleasant phone call where I explain the context of the 40 pages of replies and forwards that linger just below my convenient addition of Erik to the ‘thread.'” Then when that +Erik email gets lost in the 100s of properly formatted, contextual emails that I actually read, the responsibility shirker is upset that I didn’t reply. Not because I didn’t want to but mainly because it looked unimportant based on the effort you put into it.

Geez, what were we even here to talk about? I know, sorry; I didn’t mean to get us so worked up.

We are here to talk about Outlook Online.

If your company or yourself are a subscriber to Office 365 services on Microsoft, I feel the email best interface you can get right now, application or web based, is hands-down, outlook.office.com (the new Outlook online interface.)

Why is this? For me, one reason, the search engine.

Because I do not organize email into folders but rather just send everything to “Archive,” having a great search function on that archive folder is vital to finding things I worked on last year and need to produce for some obscure request in a +Erik email. The genius behind the search function is that when you search, you are not nailing your laptop/desktop’s CPU to the cross to find that awesome-marketing-final.pptx from Karen. When you search through the Outlook Online interface, the results are damn near instant and the recommendation engine normally finds what I want and just puts it at the top.

A slight runner up in the “Reasons Outlook Online is awesome” category are the keyboard shortcuts. Microsoft has demonstrated great user sensing by adding the keyboard shortcuts from your other favorite online email experiences, including Gmail. So if you are like me and spam the ever-living hell out of “E” in gMail (or GMail? or Gmail?), you will be pleased to find out this works in Outlook Online as well.

Is Outlook Onilne as feature rich as a Windows Outlook App? Maybe not but I have not found a need to launch a Windows version of Outlook since using the online interface.

YMMV.

Zwift Together: Join a Zwift Meetup and Workout at the Same Time (Zoom for Extra Credit.)

I am writing this article in support of my Triathlon team Big Pistachio and our awesome coach, Erin Truslow. If you are training for any sort of endurance sport, Erin can get you across the finish line.

Welcome to the great indoors! So you have Zwift setup and you want to take your workout to the next level by joining some friends? Great! Let’s go over the steps to ensure you do it in the right order.

First lets cover the of how you can make both a Zwift Meetup and Workout happen at the same time. Skip ahead if you have done some of these steps.

  • Allocate 20 minutes of setup and troubleshooting time before the ride starts. Seriously, do this well ahead of your event until you get the hang of it.
  • Download the Zwift Companion App. The Companion App is the easiest way to navigate through some of the elements of the Zwift environment. We are going to use the Companion App to join the Meetup: Android App iPhone App
  • Login to the Companion App and open the events screen. This is where you will see any meetups your friends (maybe Erin Truslow) have invited you to. You should accept your friends invites ahead of time if there is a chance you might make it. Do this by tapping the event request or via the events page. When you have the meetup screen in front of you tap –> “GOING“. Doing this will ensure Zwift prompts you to join the meetup about 5 minutes before it starts.
Screenshot Credit: Zwiftinsider.com
Screenshot Credit: Zwiftinsider.com
  • Great you have accepted the meetup! If it is almost time for your meetup, get on your bike and get logged into Zwift.
  • If you haven’t paid attention until now, please pay full attention. If you cannot afford to pay attention, please ask your friends to help you. 😀
  • You will join the Meetup BEFORE you select your workout for the day. That’s right; the order of operations here is: wait for Zwift to prompt you to join the Meetup, then we will choose your workout. If you are Zwifting before the meetup starts, don’t worry just choose a map and a route and get to Zwifting. Zwift will prompt you to join the meetup. DO NOT SELECT YOUR WORKOUT YET.
  • Once you are in the Meetup your avatar will look like it’s on a smart trainer like this image below.
Ride With Friends! All About Meetups in Zwift Companion | Zwift Insider
Image Credit: Zwiftinsider.com
  • Now you will pick your workout! Or if you just want to free ride you don’t need to do anything. You will just ride with the group.
  • Navigate to the Workout Menu in game by pressing E if you are on a computer or by navigating to Menu –> Workouts; then pick your workout!
Zwift Releases The Biggest Expansion to Watopia Yet: Alpe du Zwift | SMART Bike Trainers
Image Credit: smartbiketrainers.com
  • Once you select your workout, go back to the main riding screen where your avatar is sitting on the trainer in place, waiting for the meetup to start.
  • Now you’re all set! Get ready to ride with your buds and do your workout at the same time.

Extra Credit: Go download the Zoom app and pop in some headphones to your phone or computer. It is recommended to use your phone with Zoom if you can manage it; it keeps the audio separated so you can hear your friends when you ride. Otherwise you will hear the Zwift environment sound.

You can lower the environment sound in the in-game menu by going to Settings if you are using your computer for both Zwift and Zoom.

Source: https://zwiftinsider.com/zwift-meetup-group-workouts/

Day 23 of SARS-CoV-2 Isolation

Slept in. Made Progress Driveway blend Coffee. Goofed off till noon. Checked on my wife who was writing a paper for O-Chem. Went on a run. Contemplated what friendships mean because I haven’t seen any in a while. Talked to my Coach; she listens and coaches outside of sports also. Mowed the yard since it had been a couple of weeks. Lots of clippings; overflowed the compost container. Dinner made by Cassandra: Crispy salmon, roasted potatoes with a honey mustard vinegar sauce, and kale chips. Late evening walk.

Tomorrow, work resumes. Many video conferences. Cassandra goes back to the ICU. Uncertain if SARS-CoV-2 patients will be there.

Occupy All Streets

SARS-CoV-2 and isolation has created an interesting dynamic in my neighborhood: there are at least three-fold more people on the streets, riding bikes or taking walks. Makes sense when there aren’t many places to go in our cars. Our neighborhoods are becoming our hike and bike trails and I would argue it is long over due.

The roads in our neighborhoods have low speed limits for a reason. We should all be out there occupying space and exerting our right to walk, run, and bike, even in the road. Why? Most areas in Austin do not have a consistent policy when it comes to sidewalks. Many times the only place you can be is literally in the road.

Were the conditions in society different, some might argue this is a danger. I argue the roads in our neighborhoods have always been intended for this purpose and cars should be yielding to pedestrians at all times when not on major arterial roads. This would be defined as any road with a speed limit of 30 miles per hour or less.

If you haven’t already, get out there and walk on your roads. Use caution of course and be courteous to your neighbors who are also walking and driving. This is not an excuse to be rude. However, the point is, low-speed neighborhood roads are intended for you to use. Take up that space and ask your friends on the road to slow down as they roll by.

When life goes back to normal, keep doing it. Be safe and have fun even if you can’t drive to the park right now.

Putting Ideas on Paper

I read somewhere the best way to start writing is to just write. So that’s what’s up. Just ideas on a virtual canvas. I have no idea where this will go and fully expect to look back in about 5 years and think this was a dumb idea.

But I do not have a journal anywhere else; maybe one day someone will want to read about what happened in my life. Or maybe I will come back to this one day and wonder what happened to my life? Where did the time go?

Also, if you are my wife reading this don’t come complain to me that this sounds overly braggy or silly. 🙂 That’s the idea. But then again, you’re allowed to call me out on bullsh; just go easy on me.

Where are we at today? Currently it is day 23 of social distancing due to SARS-CoV-2. At the moment New York is paying the highest price. Austin, Texas has not been as affected…yet. I feel our social distancing efforts are working and the city’s decision to cancel SXSW this year was retrospectively a genius decision. (Who deserves credit for that? Mayor Adler?)

I will try to document more about our experience so far as I go along. Additionally, look for retrospectives on big life events. The main driver for this was my intention to document my Ironman from last November. That should be a long post hopefully.

Mostly, this journal will be for me. If you don’t find any use for it then sorry not sorry. ❤

Be well.