My wife and I are currently on vacation in India, lounging on the beaches, eating fresh shrimp every evening and having a great time. Before we left though, two things happened—I changed my writing workflow and spent some time with Dan Counsell of RealmacSoftware, talking about Markdown writing tools.
I returned home this evening, away from the cold weather outside, glad to finally let my bones absorb some warmth. Having a few minutes to spare before dinner, I started browsing my Twitter timeline and saw something extremely sad—my heart goes out to James Thomson. He must be truly crestfallen.
I’m extremely proud (and a little frightened) to present our first photography album and travel guide for the iPad written in English. The idea first came to me after using my webpage to show my photography and talk about our family’s travels — it was a sub par experience and I didn’t have full control over the layout. Since I use Adobe Creative Cloud for various other things, I decided to try to leverage their tools and create the whole album in InDesign, to my exact specifications.
I picked up my iPad Air 2 in gold last night – much, much later than Apple delivered my wife’s new engraved silver model. That was a first but I’m glad she managed to get a surprise — at least that’s what I hope her facial expression said. In the meantime, I’ve put on a few hours of mileage on my Air 2 and quite frankly, as an ex–Retina–Mini owner I couldn’t be more pleased. That’s mostly due to the fantastic screen — Apple’s decision to laminate the LCD with the glass is what made me switch. I will dearly miss thumb–typing on the Mini, but hopefully the novelty of returning to a 9.7″ iPad will not wear off too quickly.
Surprisingly, my wife’s iPad Air 2 arrived this morning and since she’s at work, I got the chance to play around with it for a few hours before I get my own. She opted for a 64 GB model, without cellular connectivity, in white.
I had the opportunity to beta test the wonderful PCalc by James Thomson for these past few weeks and I’ve really come to love it, especially on the iPhone. You can read my short review about the iOS version here.
The two other new features that got me hooked are support for Handoff and PCalc’s widget. Handoff — one of iOS 8’s new features — means that I can start my calculations on my iPhone and should I choose to pick up my iPad, a little icon will appear on the lockscreen, allowing me to continue where I left off. I’ve actually had a few situations where this worked out perfectly. The only downside is that Handoff support in iOS 8 is still a little bit finicky — sometimes it just refuses to work.
I’ve also been using the OS X version and unfortunately, Handoff only worked correctly between iPad and iPhone – I just couldn’t coax anything useful out of it on OS X on either of my computers. James rolled out the update in the Mac App Store a few days ago and I just updated it a few minutes ago. At first it didn’t work at all with my iPhone 6 and iPad mini 2… and then I had the idea of turning on Bluetooth on both devices, to test it again (this did not work earlier during the betas). The PCalc icon appeared in the lower left hand corner of my lockscreen immediately. And it worked the other way too!
Tweetbot and I have been having an affair since its inception. From iPhone, to iPad and Mac, I simply cannot fathom using another app for my daily Twitter fix. And I’ve tried. A lot of them. Most of them? Probably not, but near everything available for iOS and OS X. And none of them come close.
I’ve been a Talk Show listener for a long time now. In case you don’t know, The Talk Show is a podcast hosted by John Gruber, where he and his guests talk about outhouses, cat pictures, sports and sometimes about Apple. One of John’s advertisers was Harry’s — a company which is disrupting the shaving market by offering better quality products at lower prices. Oh — and they also look good, especially in contrast to that crap sold by Gillette. Anyway, I don’t think I was particularly interested in Harry’s until I read Lex Friedman’s piece on shaving in The Magazine. That first pushed me to explore what Harry’s had to offer… A few months later I was finally a happy owner of a Muehle razor, badger hair brush and proper shaving soap. I decided to go all out for one simple reason — Harry’s wasn’t sold in Europe anywhere. However, I still needed a more modern razor for travelling and so forth…
PCalc has been available in various forms and on different platforms for more than two decades — James Thomson, the man behind it, has taken care to keep it updated over the years, transitioning quickly to new operating systems when they came out. It was in the App Store on day one and it did very well, according to its maker. I’ve been lucky enough to beta test it for a while now and I can quite frankly say that the new 3.3 build, which supports iOS 8 and it’s new features, is my favourite version.
After driving a thousand kilometres, spending three days in Dresden, Germany and sleeping not more than ten hours total, I’m sitting on a sofa, soaking a Red Bull and so tired that I can’t be even bothered to go to bed. I’m also a bit sick. I hope I don’t bore you with my story and limited perception, but it was one hell of a trip. Or so I’ll think about it after I finally get some proper sleep.
I didn’t believe Apple would show the watch until they actually did. I thought it would be more of a fitness focussed device, like a Nike FuelBand. I did consider the former, but believed Apple would choose a different path. I did not think they would try to go after the high-end watch market though.
I’ve spent the last few years, ever since getting my first iPhone in 2008, enjoying two things that Apple’s pocket computer provided: easy one-handed use and decent battery life. Those two things were always on the top of my list of favourites and became even more prominent since getting the first iPad. I’d use the bigger screen at home, where two-handed use isn’t an issue, and the iPhone on the run.
As you may or may not know, photography is one of my favourite hobbies. As soon as I heard that Marek Moi was working on a new app, I reached out to him to get me on the beta program. Thankfully, he obliged and provided me with some unique insight into the design process. My enthusiasm was based on his earlier project — Dearest Bialowieza Forest [App Store link] — which featured Jaroslaw Chyra’s photography from that beautiful region of Poland. Marek rewrote his entire engine for Bison bonasus and the results do not disappoint — it offers a truly immersive experience into the work of photographer Krzysztof Onikijuk.
My problem with Twitter’s journey forward started with the limits placed on the people who first help create the whole thing — the developers. This wouldn’t be so much of an issue if their own apps were sterling, offered timeline synchronisation and set the trends for everyone else. Realistically, both Twitter for iOS and Android, as well as the Mac version, are appalling. There are many, many better apps out there and my personal favourite is and most probably always will be Tweetbot (for iPhone, iPad and OS X). I am certain that a time will come when Twitter will cut off third-party developers and that will be the day when I most probably leave the service, never to return. I wrote an open letter to Twitter last year, detailing my gripes with them — obviously they don’t care much for my point of view.
A few images found their way to Weibo today (via cnBeta). They supposedly show a working iPhone 6 and while I could go on and on about the hardware and what’s not particularly to my liking, I will refrain from doing so until Apple unveil the final product. There is some good news however and it appears that John Gruber may have been correct regarding the new device’s resolution …
After yesterday’s shitstorm on Twitter, I was curious as to how things would evolve. To my surprise, John Atwood responded to Gruber in a post, apologised for the confusion and renamed the project to Common Markdown.
All seemed well with the world until hilarity ensued – please do take the time to watch this fantastically funny video of Hitler talking about Markdown.
I currently use two fitness trackers — a personal Jawbone UP24 and a Garmin Vivofit review unit. I’ve worn them daily at the same time, on the same right wrist for over two months now, comparing their step counts. Their final tallies tend to differ and it seems that the UP24 has the better algorithm of the two. I do however also carry an iPhone 5S in my pocket throughout the day and the built-in M7 coprocessor allows for another reference point. I started using David Smith’s (yes, Underscore-David-Smith) Pedometer++ [App Store link] a few days after it was released and despite it being extremely simple, I’ve grown to like it — it’s my current go-to app. I’ve also tipped him on occasion, hoping he’ll keep on working on it. I must note that I also have a Withings scale at home — a gift from my father a few years ago …
I use RSS readers on a daily basis. In fact, I cannot imagine functioning without one and I haven’t found anything that could replace them in the near future. Twitter? I would need a seperate account or perhaps a carefully tailored list. Flipboard? Doesn’t suit my preferences. Anyway — I use various devices to follow the feeds I subscribe to and I spent hours customizing my lists to suit my needs, the one labeled ‘must-read’ especially.
I’ve been using FruitJuice [Mac App Store Link] for the past few months on a daily basis on my 2013 MacBook Air. It launches at login and lives in my menu bar, discreetly notifying me how long I should remain disconnected from my charger to retain optimum battery capacity. Although it appears to suggest the same scheme each and every day, it does so depending on your Mac model — the suggestions differ greatly on my friend’s Retina MacBook Pro for example.
I bought my new Macintosh on Friday, 2 May 2014. My first one was a 17″ MacBook Pro from 2008, which I upgraded later to a late 2009 iMac 27″ and which recently got supplemented by a mid 2013 MacBook Air 11″. I’ve been looking for a pristine Macintosh 128K for the past five years or so and the barrier of entry was always either the price or it’s condition. Fed up, I finally pulled the trigger on a Macintosh Classic from 1991.
Every day, whether I’m reading, writing or washing my teeth, I think about things I’m not supposed to. Things that, in theory at least, distract me. I can’t help it though, because whatever I’m doing, I’m on the hunt for new ideas and inspirations. They’re all around us. You can find them in your friend’s remodelled apartment and on the box of a new brand of cereal. They’re hiding in that curve of the car that you just sped by. On a website. In an article. Everywhere. I know what I’m saying sounds stupid, but all it takes is opening your eyes and seeing. Not looking …
I’ve long been a fan of distraction-free writing tools, ever since admitting to myself that I’m a Markdown addict. Writing in plain text, with just the most basic formatting, is something I started believing in ever since I started having issues with my documents between various… versions of Microsoft Word. I don’t know what will be the standard in the next five or ten years but I do know that I want to be able to access my data without any hassle.
I’m sure many of you have flown in an aeroplane before, as have millions of people around the world. My wife and I are in transit as I write this in fact. We’re hopping on and off at airports, trying to get back home, seeing the same two strange phenomena over and over again. The first occurs a few minutes after touching down, while the second needs a half hour more or so. I’m sure you’ve all seen this happen and perhaps you even do this yourselves – perhaps you’ll be able to enlighten me as to why it happens.
I finally managed to procure a Chromebook Pixel, during Google I/O 2013 of all things, while watching the keynote from the companies offices in Warsaw. And to think I wasn’t even going to be there …
I’ve been a user and fan since 2009. An early adopter and one of the pioneers of this medium (pun not intended) in my country. My usage has of course evolved, as have my follow lists. Being an editor at two magazines has put me in a privileged position and allowed me to accumulate a healthy number of followers. Fantastic followers, I might add. I’ve watched Twitter evolve, cheered it on, quickly embraced Tweetie when it first came out and loved every minute of it. A lot has changed since then however. First came the iPhone, followed by the iPad. I also got myself a Nexus recently. That amounts to four different devices on which I follow my timeline, reading every single tweet on a daily basis. And you know what the funny thing is? I barely use the official clients and almost never visit Twitter’s web interface.