Hjertnes.blog

Going back to Chrome, for a few days.

November 21, 2013

A little bit of my browser history. I started using a browser called Netscape in the late 90’s, after getting pissed off by Internet Explorer. Then I moved on to Opera, Mozilla and then Firefox when it finally was launched. Then I used Firefox until Chrome came to the mac in 2010. There are also a few periods with Safari in there.

I have been a Safari user for the majority of my browsing since the cloud tab feature came to iOS, OS X and iCloud. Safari isn’t perfect, but I still think it is the best browser for users of both OS X and iOS. There is two areas where I use Chrome, that is web-development and anything related to flash.

I decided to go back and try to use Chrome as my main browser for a while, sometime for about two weeks ago. And so, I did. And a switched back five minutes ago.

Here is my reflections on why. And a few words on why I switched.e

The main reason I did the switch was to test out a few extensions that isn’t available to Safari. And I thought the best way to do this was to use Chrome as my main browser. Here is the funny thing, I did not end up using any of them, at all.

Chrome and Safari is more or less the same. Both of them are fast, stable and works like you expect them to do. And then there are a few subtle differences, like which side all the extension icons is, and a few settings that only one of the two is. The single thing that made me make the switch back was cloud tab, aka be able to access any of the tabs I have open on any of my device from any of the other devices and the ability to have a blank page as the default when you start the browser or open a new tab.

Back on Safari, and happy about it.

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Notifications.

November 20, 2013

First of all: notifications are great, for what they are designed to do. And the notifications themselves is not the problem.

When I think about notifications I always think about all the pop-ups, badge numbers and all kinds of other noise that we get thrown in our faces while using iOS and OS X. This is the result, not the problem.

My general problem with them is that most apps have them on as the default setting and that there are no good tools for managing what you want to see from all of your apps.

So, how do I manage this?

I go through Notification Center on all of my devices about once a month, or when I get really pissed off about some app notification that drive me nuts. I turn off everything that don’t cause a huge problem for me if it is not enabled. I don’t have anything enabled on my Mac. On my iPhone I have notifications enabled for phone calls, texts and a few IM clients. That’s it.

I use badge icons on both platform for all of the rest.

The reason for this strategy is that it makes the whole act of reviewing stuff I should do something about, more of an active thing, than something being thrown in my face.

I have Mail.app open on my Mac right now, something I don’t have that often. My dock is hidden and I have to move my pointer to the right of my screen to see if there are anything new. There are no other way for me to see that. And iOS is more or less the same way. I have to hit my homebutton and browse through all of the screens to see if there are anything new in various apps.

What if someone really need a reply on that e-mail? Then they call me. There have never been a single situation during the last four years where I have gotten an urgent e-mail or similar that have not been followed up by a phone call right after. E-mail is not the tool for urgent stuff. We have texts and phone calls for that.

You need to devide if you Mac, iPhone and iPad is a notifiation hub or the places where you do and create stuff. Take your devices back. Create something awesome.

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‘Storage & memory in Apple devices’

November 20, 2013

My brother, and two friends of mine have talked to my about buying three different Apple devices the last few days. And these conversations have reminded my about something that always drive me nuts about Apple.

iPad and iPhone. I have to do this dance every time someone talk to me about buying an iPad or iPhone. I have to explain to them why it is a really really really bad idea to buy the 16GB model. My opinion is that the 16GB model should have been removed either with the 4S or 5. And we still have that option with the 5S. Two years after I thought it should be removed.

No one I know with an iPhone or iPad could get away with the smalles model. Everyone get into apps, or starts to load a lot of content onto their devices. Don’t buy the 16GB model.

Seriously. My mother whom never owned a computer before her first iPad, and that only owned one flipphone before her first iPhone have a lot of apps.

Macs. I have a very similar conversation every time someone have decided to buy a mac. Memory. Most people that are going to buy a mac, think it is expensive. And after that I have to talk them into spending a little more to double it, the memory. No one should get any computer with 4GB of ram in 2013.

Extra memory is an investent. You should get at least 8GB in your computer, or even more if it supports it and you can afford it. Extra memory is the single most important thing you can do to your computer to extend the number of years the computer is useful and enjoyable.

I know why Apple is doing these things with both memory and storage, they do it to make their product cheaper. Please Apple, be more proactive when it comes to upgrading default memory and lowest storage tiers on your products. It makes the buying process for regular people a lot safer. And it is not a good experience for the user to have to either delete a lot of stuff they want to have, or to sell and buy a new phone after a while because the 16GB limit is too small.

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New Squarespace apps.

November 19, 2013

Squarespace finally update all of their iOS apps yesterday. They also removed the old management app and added two new apps to replace the old. This is one of these updates that makes you realize how terrible it was prior to an update.

The old management app looked very dated, and have been the same since I first got to squarespace back in 2011. The old functionality of the management app was managing a blog, statistics and comment management. This have been replaced by a dedicated blog app and a dedicated metrics app. They both look modern, clean and is amazing to use. I don’t know for the new blog app includes support for managing comments.

They also have two other apps that received minor updates. The note app is a app for drafting notes or blog posts, and it supports sending it to squarespace, Evernote etc. My main problem with this app in the passed was that you could not use it in landscape mode. This have been fixed, and it is a great app for when you want to type out a blog post on the go.

One great new feature in the new blog app is that it support most of the features from the desktop web interface. This makes it possible to write link list style blog posts, something I have asked squarespace support about numerous times during the last 12 months. But, there is one thing I don’t like about it: you can’t write in landscape orientation. This is a typical 1.0 issue that I think will be fixed shortly.

The new metrics app is just a simple and flexible app to browse your site stats. It’s pretty cool and includes a lot more information than the old management app --- which is great.

The last app is the portfolio one. It lets you sync one or more gallery locally to your phone or iPad. It is great for showing a gallery to clients if you use it as a portfolio or your vacation pictures to your grandmother that don’t have wifi.

I have two additional complaints. Only two of the apps have iPad versions: blog and portfolio; it would be so great if all of them were available on both devices. And it would also be cool if the notes app could sync all of the posts with draft status in a selected squarespace blog.

We are finally back to a point with squarespace were the app situation don’t make me consider switching to Squarespace.

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On Apple rumours.

November 19, 2013

First of all: I only read rumour sites when I know that it is about time for Apple to release something. I don’t care that much about all of the crazy rumours. They are of zero interest to me. Do I care if Apple is going to announce an iPhone or new Macbook tomorrow? No, I don’t. I don’t need a new phone or laptop right now.

I don’t mind the rumour sites. What they are doing is great. That’s not my problem with them.

My issue with the whole rumour game is sloppy journalism. You need to find at least two different trusted sources before publishing it. If your site is called “Macrumors” — publish everything related to it. But, if your site is called BusinessInsider and you publish something like “Apple is about to launch pyramid shaped iPad” — don’t do it. And please add “Rumour:” in the beginning of the title; or something similar.

People may publish what ever they like; and I don’t have a problem with it. But, you need to be open and transparent in both the article and the title regarding what it really is.

Don’t make the reader think that some crazy hack of a rumour is a PR message from Apple, or a tip from a trusted source.

It is not nice to do the “link bait” kind of posts. And I will not — not ever click on any title that comes from a “link bait” style site, or click on any article with that kind of title. I don’t care who or what you are. I just don’t care.

Care about your craft. Do the right thing. You are nothing without your readers. Do you want to be the next business insider?

I hope not.

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The new iPads revisited.

November 15, 2013

I have been listening to podcasts talking about the new iPad for a long time now. And I finally went to my local Apple Authorised Retailer on the way to the university this morning.

There is three things I want from a new iPad, if I’m going to get one: — It must be easier to thumb type — A faster and up to date iOS experience — Retina screen.

It would also be nice to have an iPad that I could stick in my coat pocket. This kind of excludes the iPad Air.

What I did when I was there was to play with the new iPhone’s, and the new iPad’s. I won’t get a new iPhone now, but I just wanted to see how it was.

The weight and typing experience is two of the key points when it comes to iPads for me. And that was the main thing I did. And I will get to that in a moment.

I never manage to stand there more than a few moments, when I test devices in stores. Because it’s not how I work. It is the wrong height for a standing desk. I wish they would have some kind of sofa or chair where you could sit and test the products.

The keyboards in both orientations on both devices was amazing. Seriously. Amazing. I was kind of set on getting the iPad mini 32GB with WiFi in January, but I am torn.

What I did when I was there was to write 300 words in both orientations on both devices.

I have kind of big hands, and it is possible for me to thumb type on the iPad 2; is it usable or comfortable? No!

The amazing thing is that this is pretty comfortable on the iPad Air, but not perfect. While this is perfect on the iPad mini, both versions of it.

This was not a big surprise, really — it wasn’t.

The thing that really surprised me, was how easy it was to “touch” type on the iPad mini when placed in a stand in landscape mode.

So, where does this leave me? I don’t know really.

There is no clear choice this time. Both of the iPads are very light. Both of the are good to type on. The Air is the best when it comes to type on in in landscape, while the Mini is without doubt the best to thumb type on. But, both of them are very good at both.

I think it will be the mini, but I don’t know. And I have to do some real testing when I can until I can afford to get one.

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Minimalism.

November 08, 2013

The idea of minimalism have been the philospohy that have had the strongest impact on me, and my life.

Many people think about minimalism as a philospophy where you don’t own anything. And that is wrong — WRONG.

At least the way I look at things.

I’m a minimaist. But, I am also very pragmatic.

Let’s take a look on my aproach to minialism. Let’s first take a minimalistic look at everything you have. Your physical belongings, and digital stuff, like all of the apps your have installed on your Mac, iPhone and iPad.

Apps. I often browse through my applications and ask myself: Do I really use this? Do I actually need it?

Minimalism is not about having as few apps as possible. It is about having the apps your really use and need. I don’t need more than one podcasting app on my phone.

But, I need more than one writing app, for various reasons.

Physical items. When it comes to physical items I often do a “review” of all of the stuff I own, and ask myself the exact same questions. There is a major difference though. Any app installed on any of my devices is something I can re-download, if I ever need them again.

But. There is also a lot of stuff I own that I realize I used to use a lot — but don’t need anymore.

And, I usually just place them in a box, and review that box a few months later. I get rid of them if they have been in there from 3-6 months without needing using them.

Some of it will be sold, given away — while others end up in the trash.

Buying new stuff is the important, and a bit harder part of minimalism. It is a important step to avvoid having to do a lot of reviewing of the stuff you already own.

I don’t really buy that much physical stuff, I have never been that into it. But, I do buy a lot of apps and content. At least when I have the money for it.

Being on a very tight student budget solves many of these issues. I can’t really buy anything I want anymore.

My current process is to put everything I want in a Omnifocus project. I does not matter if it is a app, a book, audiobook or some physical item I need.

I let them lay there until I have some disposable income, and look long and hard at the items in there. Get rid of anything that I don’t need or want anymore. And decide which of them that will give me the most pleasure or that will solve the biggest problems for me.

The reason i really love minimalism is that it gives me the freedom to don’t focus on stuff. I can be creative and use as much as possible of my time on what matters to me. Like writing, shooting pictures, reading, meditating and enjoying life.

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How I use my Mac.

November 05, 2013

Lex Friedman just had a very interesting article in Macworld. Talking to various experts(whatever that means), and how they are using their computers. I really enjoy reading about how other people are using their computers, and to learn how to do, what I do better.

I thought I could run through how I use my mac. And the mac I am talking about is a 13″ Macbook Air, the 2013 model, 1.7 Ghz CPU and 8GB of ram. Battery and “enough” power to do most tasks is the most important factors for me, since I am around campus and various other places all day. And the newest Macbook Air’s have all the battery power I need during the day. In other words: I don’t need to carry a powerbrick.

My Desktop, look like this:

There is usually no files on the desktop. Well, that’s not true. I sometimes place files there, while in the hurry. And end up being there becuase I have not seen my desktop in a few weeks.

The Dock is one of the components on OS X that I want to disable. I know why some people us it, but I don’t. I use Alfred to launch apps, find files, browse the file system and a lot of other stuff. My dock is hidden, at the bottom and as small as possible. And the only Apps visible there, is the apps I currently have open.

MenuBar is either the worlds most useful thing, or that area overfilled with icons that you do not need, use, or know what is. I sometimes use Bartender, if there are a lot of apps in the menubar that I want to get rid off, but I only have it installed when I have to. My general rule is that all the apps in my MenuBar have to be something that I use regulary and that the icon itself serves a purpose.

I will hide any MenuBar icon, if I never use the icon itself for anything. My current menubar icons

The funny thing about listing out all of this, is that I see a few things that I want to hide. So this is how my Menubar looks, after doing some Settings and Bartender magic.

There is three times of MenuBar icons, in my humble opinion, the ones you want to see all the time, the ones you want to use sometimes and the ones you just want to hide. Bartender solves this problem.

Spaces, Mission Control, Full-screen. Apple fixed a lot of the issues regarding Full screen in the recent Sea Lion release of OS X(I know it’s called Mavericks, but I think Sea Lion is funnier). I use Full screen, spaces and Misson Control all the time — when I remember that it is there. I cam to OS X during the Panther, but I first started as a full time OS X user during Tiger.

That was before full screen, spaces and all of that. In other words: I often forget that it is there.

Apps, no not every single App is use, but more how I manage them, and the windows. I try to always just keep the apps I am using right now running. I’m weird. But, the reason is very simple: less window clutter, and less tuff to cmd+tab through.

There is not much of a system when it comes to what I am using in full screen, and how I arrange windows. But, I ususally either but it in full screen mode, or use Moom to make the window streach all over the screen.

Wallpaper. Some people like to have something fancy as their wallpaper, and some people(like me), just picks a color or the default image and leave it. There is a very simple reason for this: I never see it. There is usually some writing app, some productivity software or a web browser covering it anyway. Why would I pick a picture that I will see for a few minutes during a week when I quit all the apps or need to reboot?

There is a few tricks that I use, like a good launcher(Alfred), Moom to to resize windows and Bartender to hide clutter. But, all the rest is just using the built in tools and minimalism regarding what apps I need to have open.

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Doubt.

November 04, 2013

This is hard. I want to quit.

These are all too regular thoughts when I am working with stuff that either takes longer than usual or something that I’m just not that used to work with. Like this insane writing project, I am doing on this site.

I have the choice. I could continue with it, and get everything to a level where everything is a a little easier, or I could do the same as one billion other people are doing. Write simple blog posts a few times a day.

But, I don’t want that. I want to do something different. And I have been working on that for about a month now. Maybe a little longer. I think it will be great, if I give it some time.

It is not easy to do something different these days. Most people do the easy stuff. I don’t think what Shawn Blanc, John Gruber or The Loop is doing is easy. All of them have been doing this for a very long time. They are all doing something different, from each other, and the rest of the internet.

There is at least 1000 terrible and boring link list blogs for every good one. And you have to be a really awesome writer to be able to make it in that space today.

You have to do something different. You have to do something heard.

If you want to be something. Someone that just isn’t a part of all the blogs and sites out there that just is in the pile of all of the other unknown sites and blogs.

I’m pretty sure every single person out there, that is creating something has doubt. I know that both Dan Benjamin and Merlin Mann have been talking about this on Back To Work.

Stick to it, and get it out there.

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Should I buy a new iPad

October 29, 2013

I don’t think any of the new iPad models was much of a surprise for anyone that have been following Apple for a while. I think the only surprise was that they renamed the iPad.

Most intelligent people expected the iPad mini to get a retina screen, and they also expected the big-iPad to get the design of iPad mini.

It is no surprise that I still use iPhone 4S and iPad2. And I don’t think I will buy a new iPhone before I either can’t update to the most recent version of iOS, or that I break it.

But. The iPad is different. I have not decided if I should buy a new iPad or not, this year. My main problem with the full sized iPad is that it is too close to the size, weight and batter capacity. The 12 hour battery life on my 2012 Macbook Air, is more or less everything I need, most days. But, I also carry my iPad most days. The reason for this is to have something to write on, if I need to do something when my Macbook Air is dead.

Since my iPad will continue to work as a pdf-reader, writing device and preferred place to do my OmniFocus weekly review — I don’t think I will buy any new full sized iPad in a while.

This leaves the iPad mini.

The reason I consider the iPad mini, is that it would be nice to have a small, iOS device with recent hardware that I can fit in my jacket. And this device is also something I can fit in a stand and use a full sized keyboard with. Like for example: — Origami WorkstationApple Wireless Keyboard

Don’t get me wrong, the full sized iPad is great for writing. It is a great device to write on, if you place it in some kind of stand. But, I don’t think the full sized iPad is that great to write on, while holding it.

And my experience with the current iPad mini is that it is an iPad, with a weight and size that reminds more of the iPhone; which makes it great to thumb type on, while still having the great power of the iPad-platform.

In other words. I will probably buy an iPad mini, in the coming months.

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