Medium’s new API →

October 11, 2015 · 12:15

Ev Williams published a piece detailing Medium’s new API a few days ago …

Not all content needs to be written in Medium to benefit from our network and interaction. To make it easier to publish to Medium — and, therefore, broaden the scope of content available to readers — we’re opening up a publishing API.

The API lets you write in a desktop or mobile editor and publish straight to Medium.

Katie Zhu wrote about the Publishing API in greater detail—she mentions three Mac apps which I use or have used at various points in my life: iA Writer, Byword and Ulysses. I currently write in the latter and the new Medium announcements have made me reconsider running my own WordPress installation. Not worrying about anything vs. having complete control? A tough decision. Then again, Medium has created a WordPress plugin which allows for cross-posting between the two platforms.

I have three choices:

  1. Leave my WordPress installation intact and ignore Medium.
  2. Leave my WordPress installation as is and cross-post to Medium.
  3. Transfer my posts to Medium, point my domain there, and post directly from Ulysses to my Infinite Diaries publication over there.

Not sure what to do… but I know I would really like to experiment with Medium more.


Thoughts on “How Not to Travel the World” by Lauren Juliff

October 10, 2015 · 22:18

I don’t recall how I first heard of Lauren Juliff and her Never Ending Footsteps, but I started following her on Twitter and reading her blog about a year or so ago. I was curious about the travels of a young girl from the UK, who seems to have “disaster” painted on her forehead. I am not kidding—the stuff she gets into is truly fascinating. What’s more profound and inspiring however, is how she managed to overcome her anxiety, panic attacks and various fears1, left her safe home in England, and started travelling the world.

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  1. Too many to list here.

Tweetbot 4 for Twitter Goes Universal; People Complain About The Pricing

October 2, 2015 · 12:40

Christmas came early this year—yesterday was Tweetbot 4 for Twitter Launch Day. Despite all the hate surrounding the fact that it’s a paid upgrade, it was a pleasure just watching all the excitement of the new users—some loved it, others had a few technical issues, but overall all was well with the world from where I was sitting. More importantly however, Tapbots invited me to their beta program, which gave me the chance to use Tweetbot for the past month or so. This in turn allowed me to prepare my review ahead of time. My single most beloved app and the chance to publish my review on launch? A dream come true.

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“iPhone 6 Fans, Your Phone Brought Up the Rear in Almost Every Test” →

August 25, 2015 · 12:06

Alex Cranz published a “turbo charging” test on Tom’s Guide yesterday, with various Android handsets competing for the title of “fastest charging phone.” Oh, and there was an iPhone 6 in there too. And it came last.

He specifically noted that some phones need chargers that have to be bought separately to get maximum performance out of them:

Qualcomm’s technology promises to get your battery to a full charge in less than 2 hours, but some Quick Charge-capable phones, like the LG G4, don’t actually ship with the necessary brick. Other companies rebrand the technology. Motorola calls its solution Turbo Charge in the Droid Turbo and the Google Nexus 6. The Zenfone 2 uses Asus’s branded “Boostmaster technology” and requires a special power brick (only available with the $299 edition) that’s supposedly 17 percent more potent than the typical Quick Charge 2.0 brick.

He then proceeded to comment on the iPhone’s lacklustre performance:

As for iPhone 6 fans, your phone brought up the rear in almost every test.

Apple users will be delighted to know that the iPhone was no longer the slowest of the lot. It was charged to 36 percent (…)

Alex however forgot to mention one important detail—he used the 5W/1A charger with the iPhone 6, instead of one capable of delivering at least 2.1A, such as the iPad 10W/2.1A brick. This would cut the charge time from over two and a have hours by almost a full hour.

I’m sure it was an honest oversight.

P.S. To clarify—the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are the first iPhones capable of charging faster by using a more powerful charger, such as the iPad 10 or 12W/2.1A power brick. I personally use a Belkin 2.1A model and it gets the job done.


Ambient Light Compensation in OS X El Capitan Beta 7

August 22, 2015 · 10:31

When OS X 10.11 El Capitan’s was first released, I was curious as to what Ambient light compensation was, so I started searching what others had written. David Pogue mentioned that it allows for “the screen brightness to adjust with the room brightness,” which is probably incorrect, as that is controlled by the Automatically adjust brightness check box. A few minutes later I found Paul Robinson’s reply on Quora.

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Upload Photos to Instagram From a Browser with Insta-UP!

August 18, 2015 · 18:20

Many people consider Instagram to be a social network that should be reserved for images created on an iPhone or another compatible smartphone. I always saw it as just another place for posting my photos, similar to Flickr or 500px. This was quite easy since I have been syncing my iPhoto library with my iPhone since 2008, and has recently been made even easier with iCloud Photo Library and the new Photos for iOS and OS X.

But using a browser is even easier …

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We Went to Rome, and I Found Something I Wasn’t Expecting

August 12, 2015 · 00:00

At one point in time, not so long ago, I had planned to start writing daily, but I couldn’t bring myself to focus on Infinite Diaries as much as I wanted to. Part of the reason behind this was that I was depressed after both my parents succumbed to cancer in March and April of this year, just 20 days apart. Actually that’s probably the main reason, with laziness being the other. Or lack of motivation perhaps. Nevertheless, I wasn’t doing what I had been planning to do for the past year. And then I went to Rome …

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Casey Neistat’s Beme—Cutting Through the Bullshit

July 19, 2015 · 17:06

Casey Neistat, a very charismatic individual known for his crazy off-road driving, killing hover boards, sneaking into various places, directing films, running, ad campaigns (for Nike and Mercedes amongst others), and his daily YouTube vlogs, has finally unveiled what he and his team have been working on for the past year. I was personally curious what his newest project was going to be for quite a long time now and both my suspicions were correct: it’s about video and it’s an app. Despite that, it’s not exactly what I suspected it would be…

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Maciej’s Spotify to Apple Music Playlist Importer

July 14, 2015 · 20:44

Maciek created a Spotify to Apple Music playlist importer:

Well, it’s rather simple from your point of view. You find a Spotify playlist that you like, copy the tracks, paste them into my app, and the playlist automagically appears in your Apple Music library. No need to sniff iTunes’ packets (sic!).

I don’t personally use Spotify so I can’t vouch for how good it is, but I’ve seem people give some positive feedback—it seems to be much less of a hit-and-miss than the others out there.


In My Thoughts Every Second of Every Day

July 10, 2015 · 23:02

Both my parents lost their fight with cancer. My mom—I wrote about here already—died 118 days ago, my dad followed her 20 days later. I still think about them every single day, wishing they were still alive. Not a single hour goes by without them being in my thoughts.

I’m not alone in life, yet I often feel that I am. I’m have no clue why that is. I miss them terribly, and I would have given up anything and everything for them not to have suffered. I’m still depressed. Trying to sort out my feelings. My life. Get my thoughts in order. Nothing’s helping. That’s why I’ve been writing so little. I wonder when life will be easier.

It probably won’t.

Spend time with your loved ones. You’ll regret it later if you don’t. Trust me on this one.


Fifty-Five Days with Apple Watch—How It Profoundly Changed My Habits

June 30, 2015 · 14:12

It’s been close to sixty days living with my Apple Watch. Almost two months where I haven’t thought of returning to my beloved mechanical Omega. All of this for three simple reasons.

When Apple first showed the Watch I felt as if they didn’t make a compelling enough argument for it. Timekeeping? Fitness? Communication? I’m close to forty years old and I just didn’t get it at the time. I was even close to not ordering one on day one. A few things have changed since I first wrote about the Apple Watch however, one of them being quite significant—my wife finally decided to take the plunge and she’s now sporting a stealthy 38 millimetre Apple Watch Sport in Space Grey with the black Sport Band. It looks great in my opinion and there are times when I wish I went for the Space Black model. I’d like to clarify a few things before I tackle this subject.

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Harry’s Razor Stand—Another Problem Solved

June 29, 2015 · 15:35

I’ve been using my Harry’s Shaving Set since October last year and I love it. It allowed me to get rid of all of my Gillette paraphernalia and besides saving a lot of money, I simply love the look of the handle—yes, I went with the orange one. Life is too short to be boring. I still use my Muehle safety razor when I have the time for a precise shave, but Harry’s is hard to beat when time is precious and also when traveling. Quite frankly, I ask my wife to try to guess which set I used after shaving—she can’t tell the difference, which was quite surprising at first. She noticed immediately after I stopped using my Gillette.

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Tweetbot 2.0.1 Submitted to the App Store—Waiting for Approval

June 17, 2015 · 10:52

Paul Haddad of Tapbots posted a tweet informing that Tweetbot 2.0.1 for Mac has been submitted to the Mac App Store. The new version includes the following features:

  • support for the new tweet quote feature
  • support for “unlimited” DMs which Twitter announced will go live in July
  • fixed a problem that resulted in a crash when typing @mentions in the compose window
  • fixed a problem that caused a crash when uploading a new profile image
  • improved the speed of the app when switching accounts

I posted my short review of Tweetbot 2.0 for Mac a few days ago—it’s the best Twitter client in the world. In my humble opinion naturally.


Tweetbot 2.0 – Mac – €19.99 > €12.99 →
Tweetbot 3.0 – iPhone – €4.99
Tweetbot 1.0 – iPad – €2.99


Instacast Discontinued; Parent Vemedio Out of Money

June 15, 2015 · 10:18

Benjamin Mayo of 9to5Mac reports that Instacast has been discontinued due to the simple fact that its parent company Vemedio ran out of money. Since the specifics are unknown at this time, I can only assume the main problem was lack of profitability. I could probably write many words on the subject of business models and so forth, but that horse has been beaten to death in various places on the internet many times in these past few years. What I would prefer to focus on are two subjects that I have already mentioned here.

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I Have a Dream and it Probably Won’t Come True

June 14, 2015 · 22:07

I love traveling. I love visiting new places. I was fortunate enough in my youth to spend a lot of time with my parents, visiting many wonderful places around the world. This isn’t as easy today. I now have a family, a job … My father once gave me a poster for my bedroom wall. It had a great photo of a bulldog on it with the following words:

I want all of the power and none of the responsibility.

I was probably about ten years old then, and I did not fully understand the message that it conveyed. Close to thirty years later, I do. Unfortunately.

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PointOut Updated to Version 1.1 with New Functions

June 13, 2015 · 20:21

Marek Moi, the developer behind the great PointOut, updated his app to 1.1 a few hours ago. The new version includes some great new functions and he also managed to squash some bugs at the same time. I spoke with him regarding the future roadmap of his latest baby and while he asked me not to speak of it, I can mention that it will be impressive. I’m also trying to convince him to start working on an OS X version.

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An E-book Reader, a Portable TV, a Multipurpose Personal Computer—These Are Not Three Separate Devices

June 12, 2015 · 11:53

I fell in love with the iPad immediately after getting one in 2010, soon after its debut but not soon enough for my liking. It was a bit limited for use in Poland until iOS 4 if I recall correctly—it didn’t support Polish at the time—but apart from that it was amazing. It's possibilities were only limited by the human mind and I couldn’t wait to see what the wonderful world of Apple’s developers could do once it got creative. It was so much smaller than a laptop, so much more usable when on the move. Yes, we had iPhones and other smartphones at the time, but this was something else. A 9.7” window into the internet, with you wherever you went. My mind was blown back then.

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Tweetbot 2.0 for Mac is Out—the Best Twitter Client in the World

June 6, 2015 · 20:26

I’ve been traveling these past few weeks, having a wonderful time in Morocco, and I didn’t have my MacBook with me—I went iPhone only and I didn’t regret it until two days ago, when the wonderful folks at Tapbots announced Tweetbot 2.0 for Mac [App Store]. This has been my goto Twitter client ever since the iPhone version gained notifications back in … a long time ago. This is also my favourite piece of software. Ever.

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Nine Days with Apple Watch

May 17, 2015 · 20:29

My Apple Watch arrived late. It was in fact early compared to the estimated shipping date, but having to wait an extra week was extremely off-putting. Patience is not one of my virtues. My friends got their Sports on launch day while I had to bide my time and watch them flaunt their new toys publicly, more or less pleased with their choices. I chose the steel Apple Watch, thinking that it would actually ship sooner than the popular Sport. I was wrong.

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The Best iPhone is a Small iPhone →

April 6, 2015 · 21:55

John Moltz:

I like my iPhone 6 well enough, but having used it for six months am I ready to fully submit to our large screen overlords? Not in the least. The large screen is the one thing I don’t like about it. It frustrates me daily. Reachability does not work consistently enough to be reliable and I can’t reach the upper right corner without that thumb-extension surgery which my health plan doesn’t cover.

Right after the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus keynote I promised myself that I would use one of them for 6 months and then switch to the other. My time with the iPhone 6 was up a few weeks ago and I have since been using a 6 Plus. I still loathe its lack of usability with one hand but what’s most striking is picking up a “regular” 6 now—it’s tiny in comparison!


Car UI by Dr. Drang →

April 6, 2015 · 09:58

Dr. Drang:

It’s common for Apple users to say they wish Apple could take over their car’s user interface because the auto manufacturers do such a bad job of it. This is typically a comment on the electronic user interface, as many cars now have a little computer screen in the center of the dashboard with poorly laid out buttons and displays. I agree and take it further: I wish Apple (or anyone who thinks carefully about design for use) would have a go at the physical controls, too.

User interfaces in cars used to be all buttons and have recently been upgraded with screens and even touch screens. Tesla has gone a step further than anyone else. The problem with touchscreens is that they do not provide physical feedback nor can they be operated without looking at the screen. This is both good and bad and unfortunately the bad can cause you to die in a fiery crash. I still recall Auto Motor Und Sports car infotainment driver attention test from a few years back, just when BMW’s iDrive, Mercedes’ COMMAND and Audi’s MMI were becoming popular—drivers unfamiliar with these systems were timed at performing various basic tasks while driving. The data was compared against an old Mercedes 190 which had a button-only interface. The results were staggering–the new systems required over two minutes of attention for tasks that took a few seconds in the old Merc.

Perhaps voice is the future, but it will need to get better quickly. Neither Siri nor Google Now is even close.

Dr. Drang also mentions his windshield wiper stalk:

My pet peeve on my Toyota Camry is its windshield wiper stalk. It grows out of the right side of the steering column and has a variety of controls. The stalk as a whole can move up and down into one of five positions shown in the little graphic near the left side of the photos below. From the off position, you can move it down into the intermittent position, the low speed position, and the high speed position—the heavier the rain, the further down you move the stalk.

 

Audi windshield wiper stalk

VW, BMW and Audi have done this the other way around. One swipe down (stalk returns to OFF position) just wipes the windshield. One position up from OFF is intermittent mode, then low speed and high speed. The interval control in the middle of the stalk controls and length of the pauses between wipes—down is long and going up decreases their length. I’ve had this system in all the german cars that I’ve driven in (perhaps apart from Mercedes and Opel, they might have a different system if I recall correctly) and it’s always been intuitive. Intermittent mode is also aided by the rain sensor if the car has one and this works perfectly on my Audi at least (and a 2000 BMW 3-series too).


My Mom Passed Away #fuckCancer

March 21, 2015 · 22:34

My mom passed away 70 hours ago. I still cannot comprehend that I will never see her again.

The first cancer attacked her body fourteen years ago and she fought it off after a few weeks of intensive radiotherapy. I’m not actually sure how long it took now, but it seemed an eternity to me back then. She also had the lymph nodes in her right arm removed as well as part of her breast. She spent the next few years taking various pills and had regular scans—all was well in the world. After ten years her doctor told her that the chances for her cancer returning were practically zero.

He was wrong.

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David Smith’s Tip Jar and Why Everyone Should Have One

March 14, 2015 · 23:17

I use a lot of various apps on both my iPhone and iPad. I paid for most of them, while some were free. Years ago! Yet I use them each and every day. David Smith’s Pedometer++ app [App Store] is but one example. Tweetbot [iPhone, iPad, Mac] is another—for iPhone, iPad and OS X. I don’t even recall when I bought the last two, but it was obviously some time ago (updates are in the works!). What alerted me recently was Panic’s 2014 report on the state of their apps.

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The Night Before Apple Watch →

March 8, 2015 · 12:34

John Gruber wrote an especially insightful post about his thoughts on the Apple Watch and what we can expect tomorrow and in the future:

But there is one good reason for last-minute speculation: this is fun. Apple tends to be such a predictable company that we often know the basic gist of what to expect before one of their media events. Not this time. The many unknowns surrounding the watch are what makes it so fun to ponder prior to next week’s event. So let’s have some fun.

John made a point of explaining exactly how hard it is to create the Link Bracelet band:

If it truly takes nine hours to cut the links for each band, and each one is polished by hand, and they’re mechanically complex (and they definitely are), this is not a $200 bracelet. I’m thinking it’s about $1000, judging by the description, and based on the prices for replacement stainless steel link bracelets from Rolex, Tudor, and Omega.

But then, in his price guesses, he places the Milanese Loop lower than the leather straps and Link Bracelet, pricing it at $949/999 for the 38 mm and 42 mm Apple Watches respectively, with the latter being closer to $2000. Apple comments how the Milanese Loop is made:

A modern interpretation of a design developed in Milan at the end of the 19th century. Woven on specialized Italian machines, the smooth stainless steel mesh wraps fluidly around your wrist. And because it’s fully magnetic, the Milanese Loop is infinitely adjustable, ensuring a perfect fit.

Despite the less impressive wording, I believe it will be the more expensive of the two—Link Bracelets are common in the watch industry, Milanese Loops are not. Also, Marc Newson created one a few years ago and gives a little insight into its creation process.

There is one point in which I completely disagree with Gruber:

Lastly, many readers have suggested a trade-in program, where you could bring in your old Apple Watch Edition and get a significant trade-in on a new one. No way. First, as stated earlier, the value of the raw gold in a gold watch is just small fraction of the price. Second, trading in used goods is not part of a luxury shopping experience.

This discussion continued on Twitter and is basically incorrect. I personally experienced what the exchange and/or upgrade process looks like in Bvlgari and Cartier (in their Berlin boutiques in case you’re wondering). After confirming that your purchase was made in one of their official boutiques, they will appraise the product and offer up to 50% of the price according to the current price list (if you bought it cheaper a few years earlier you will get more than 50% back). The value returned obviously depends on the product itself as well as materials used and physical state of the product. Neither Bvlgari nor Cartier will give the customer cash–they can provide in-store credit only which can be put towards a new purchase. The appraisal takes up to a week in most cases and the whole history of each product and customer is stored in their database, allowing them to trace it back to the day of creation.

Having said that, I don’t believe Apple will offer a program for the Apple Watch. But they should, especially for the Edition.

Update

Obviously I was wrong regarding the Milanese Loop and Link Bracelent pricing—the former is between $300 and $400 cheaper than the latter. Which is still suprising to me—I would love to see the creation process behind the Milanese Loop; it must be much less fascinating than I imagined.


I Do Want a Thicker Phone →

February 24, 2015 · 09:19

Rene Ritchie on iMore:

Take an iPhone 6 as thick as the iPhone 4 and imagine how heavy it would be. Apple was deliberate when they pointed out the iPhone 6 was actually lighter than the iPhone 4. They did that because, while thinness is nice and certainly improves the feel of the phone, it’s lightness that matters. Lightness is what improves usability.

While I often agree with Rene, I have to disagree regarding lightness—it does matter, but it’s not what improves usability the most.

The idea of a thick phone with longer battery life sounds great precisely until you actually try to hold it up for prolonged periods of time. Then it causes fatigue and eventually prevents you from using it for as long as you’d really like to.

We’re talking about 129 grams in the form of the iPhone 6 here. I actually have a 143 gram HTC One M7 on hand, with an 4.7″ screen and the weight difference is negligible. What really makes the 6 usable is it’s thinness, allowing me to use the phone with one hand. My hands aren’t that big, hence this whole argument varies from person to person, but the 2.4 millimetre difference in thickness plays a much bigger role in ergonomics than it seems it should. I assume—and I admit that this is just a guess, but backed by experience with other thicker and heavier phones—that I could easily sacrifice one extra millimetre for a bigger battery, as well as some additional weight, just to make it last a bit longer.


I Watched Gremlins at the Age of Five

February 18, 2015 · 21:20

I listened to the episode 110 of the Talk Show today, in which Merlin Mann talks movies with John Gruber. Towards the end they focussed on the subject of kids’ reactions to various scenes and how surprising some of the things that resonate with them are. I am a bit younger than both of the aforementioned gentlemen, hence I watched the same movies they did, just at an earlier age. I vividly remember only two of them until I was eight or so—the first was Star Wars, the other Gremlins.

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