Apple Watch

17.03.2017 01:00

```text Okay. So I have used the Apple Watch Series 1 for a while now. Since the day it went on sale, and I still like it more or less as much as I did when I first got it. But I don’t think it will become “mainstream” in its current form. ```

```text It is a fantastic device for keeping track of how much you move, some Notification triage and some minor app interaction. ```

```text I don’t care enough to get any of the serious “health monitoring devices”, but the Apple Watch does just enough, and just precise enough that I can make informed decisions about if I should move more, sleep more or relax more. ```

```text Getting some notifications on my wrist is great: like Slack, important messages and so on. But getting everything there is horrible. If you want to either do something about it on the watch or you need to now immediately don’t have them on your watch. ```

```text Apps on the Apple Watch is a difficult subject. Some are okay, others are great, but most suck. I love the timers, I love to control audio playback with it and the stop watch and timer stuff are okay. But I think it is very difficult to make something fast and simple enough that also is useful. ```

```text There is one thing that I think is beyond crap, and that is the honey comb app picker thingy. Its difficult to navigate, its hard to find and pick the right app. And I really hope that Apple fixes it with the next major version of watchOS. ```

```text I think this have to become more of a “stand alone device”, with much better battery life in order to become mainstream. The current state is just as dorky as the PDA’s some of us used before the days of the smart phone. We had to sync stuff over bluetooth or a cable. It worked. But it was kind of clunky, and no one wants to move back to that after using a proper smart phone. ```

```text ]]> ```


03.03.2017 01:00

```text When I look at the current camera landscape, I don’t see anyone except for Leica and Fuji doing what I want from the controls. Most Leica digital cameras are a little bit outside my comfort and ability in terms of cost. But Fuji is more or less in the middle. ```

```text Here is what I want from my cameras: similar controls to what you find on Leica’s and mechanical analog cameras: you have dedicated controls for Shutter Speed, ISO(if they have a meter) and aperture. ```

```text I know that more expensive advanced cameras with or without mirrors have multiple buttons and wheels that can do this job. But that is not what I am looking for, because a dedicated button system means that you can control the parameters without looking at the screen. Having the actual numbers of the dial is very help ful when you are chasing two or more variables together to get the best possible settings for what you are trying to do. ```

```text One of my big problems with how current DSLR and mirrorless cameras are being designed is that everything is being invested the the semi automatic modes, without spending a little bit on the fully manual mode. Which in turn makes it very hard to use it. ```

```text The Fuji X-Pro 2 has exactly what I want in this aspect. But It falls on its nose in some other aspects: battery life and full frame. ```

```text I would love to see Fuji moving into the full frame space, I don’t need it, but I want it. One of the major problems with all mirrorless systems these days are battery life. People have been complaining about this for years, and I am baffled that Fuji and others don’t do anything about it. ```

```text For example: If I go home to my parents for a long weekend: Thursday to Sunday, and I use my Canon dSLR, one battery charge would get my though the whole trip; and I shoot a lot. My Fuji x100t would probably need 3-4 fully charged batteries per day, if not more. ```

```text I know. The reason is that a lot more “stuff” are using the battery in a mirrorless system compared to a dSLR, but the batteries are also larger in a dSLR. Use larger batteries, or make it possible to use more than one battery with some kind of grip, and easy to charge them without having multiple chargers. ```

```text This is what I expect from a camera battery: two batteries should get me through 12-14 hours of heavy use. ```

```text I love what Fuji are doing at the moment, but they and the rest of the mirrorless camera makers need to get serious about battery life. ```

```text ]]> ```


03.03.2017 01:00

```text I just got back my MacBook Pro from repair(or the whole thing was replaced), I’ll get back to why in a later post. But one thing I realised while using my old MacBook Air while waiting is how much more convenient USB-C / Thunderbolt-3 is compared to the previous mess. ```

```text Do I need an adapter to plug in more or less anything? Yes. Does it have a SD card slot? No. Is both annoying? Yes. ```

```text Here is the thing. I usually end up plugging in three external drives to my machine, one for cloning my system drive, one for archive / time machine and one clone of that archive drive, plus a SD card reader. Then I have a power plug and sometimes a screen or two. ```

```text Previously this meant one adapter per screen, at least one USB-A hub, and a power adapter. Now I can do the same by plugging in either one or two USB-C plug (depends on how I connect things up). ```

```text USB-C is more messy for the simplest situations, for example when I just need to charge my iPhone, and the new MacBook Pro’s are more messy when I just need to copy some images from my SD card. But when it comes down to when you connect a lot of stuff to your MacBook the situation is a lot simpler, because you can daisy chain all your crap together with a few USB-C hubs and just connect one cable to your system. Kind of like a dock, except that it isn’t tied to one laptop model. ```

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Backing up

13.01.2017 01:00

```text Having multiple backups of your data is very important in order to make sure that you don’t loose that much data if your computer breaks down, an update goes wrong or if your house burns down(or someone steals your bag). ```

```text But having as many copies as possible is not the most important. It is also important that you have control over how recent each copy is. Having 15 copies of the same dataset without knowing what is the most recent is a real pain in the ass to sort out. ```

```text My current backup strategy is to use Backblaze to copy everything on my local SSD to the cloud, to use SuperDuper to make a bootable clone of my local SSD, and to use Time Machine to make incremental backups to my archive drive. I also use SuperDuper to clone that archive drive to an identical drive. ```

```text My archive drive contains backups and my Lightroom library of everything up until the end of 2016. I also make sure that my the backups( that are on that drive for historical purposes) and my Lightroom library are uploaded to Dropbox in order to have an additional copy in the cloud. ```

```text My goal is to always have a local copy, to make it fast and easy to restore something, because I don’t have the time to wait for a week while hundreds of gigs of data downloads, and to have a copy in the cloud just in case all other options fail. But I also prefer having two local copies of my local drive for convenience. My cloned copy are there because it is the fastest option when I need to get my system up after a crash, and the Time Machine clone are there for when I need to restore files instead of the whole system. ```

```text Backups are cheap, but the most important thing is that they are automatic. Cloud backups should run consistently in the background, and everything else should start when you plug in the drive you are backing up to. ```

```text ]]> ```

Matt Gemmell

12.01.2017 01:00

```text I’m a huge fan of markdown, everything I write that is not code starts out as markdown, even on paper. What I love about markdown is that more or less everything about it just makes sense. It’s intuitive. ```

```text The biggest problem regarding markdown until now is that there haven’t been any books I would recommend someone to get started. There are many good books and resources, but most of them are better for people that are already into it. But this book is the first book I have seen that maintains the elegancy and simplicity of markdown and shows people what they need to get started. ```

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Use your app

11.01.2017 01:00

```text There are still a lot of bad apps out there, most of them lack good design, and many of them also lack the details that makes it usable. The former requires more resources, but the latter should not be that difficult. ```

```text I listen to a lot of audio, either in form of music, audiobooks or podcasts on my iPhone. This is an area where I think you really need to be into “it” in order to make a good app. ```

```text Let me use an example. I bought some audiobooks from a Norwegian site called e-bok a few days ago. I usually get them from Audible, because their app is superior to anything else I have tried. It is easy to download content, they never mess up where to continue when I pause and so on. But I had to get this somewhere else because it was a Norwegian book series. ```

```text I first tried their app, and it was so bad that I had to give up, download the books on my Mac, transfer them via iTunes to play them in iBooks. ```

```text My guess is that the people in charge of delivering this app (developers and project managers and so on) don’t listen to audiobooks. There are three big problems with the app. The first is that they don’t have any settings for playback speed, some people prefer 1x, but many prefer either faster or slower speed. I don’t think I have seen any audiobook or podcast app – ever – that does not have this setting. The second problem is that it very often restarted at the beginning of the chapter after I had paused it. This ended up being very annoying, because sometimes you listen for hour after hour without stop, and other times you have to pause it very often. And the last big problem with it was the playback controls. Most music apps have the standard playback controls: Back, Play / Pause, Forward; where back and forward skips in that direction. This works great for music because you usually restarts or moves to the next song. But this does not work when you deal with spoken audio content like audiobooks and podcasts. Then you very rarely skip, instead you might move forward og backward in x second increments. For example after you paused it, and you need to go back a minute or so to understand where you are in the story. ```

```text I guess that most of these issues are something that they could have fixed without too much work. But the key problem from my perspective is that you need to have people on your project that have the domain knowledge. And that is in this case someone who enjoys to listen to audiobooks. You can probably detect most of the critical problems with listening a little bit here and there, but the only way to find the more subtle problems that would drive a avid user insane would be to get someone to listen to entire audiobooks using the app. ```

```text When the whole premise behind your business is to sell e-books and audiobooks, shouldn’t you strive to make the best app possible for that purpose in order to make sure that your get returning customers? ```

```text ]]> ```

iTerm2 a review.

09.01.2017 01:00

```text Mac OS X comes with a built in Terminal. It is very good, one of the better ones I have used in fact. But I have used another app called iTerm2 for years. I also used to use an app called iTerm back in the day. ```

```text The reason I started using iTerm1 back in the day, and then iTerm2, and the reason I use them today is a little bit different. Or to be a little bit less confusing, the main reason is different, but most of the points remain the same. ```

```text The reason I switched back, in 2008 or something. I don’t remember, it was probably right after I got my first Mac. It was the first version of the white Intel MacBook, was because I preferred the out of the box look and feel of iTerm over Terminal.app. And that remains the same with iTerm2 today. I try to always pick the alternative that makes me happy with no or as close to no configuration as possible. ```

```text In other words: iTerm2 looks better out of the box than Terminal.app. ```

```text But the main reason I use iTerm2 today is the superior window management: splitting and tabs. Terminal.app supports both, but I think both works better in iTerm2. Let me clarify something before we start, I use a lot of terminals. This means a lot of tabs, a lot of terminals grouped together in a tab and so on. ```

```text The main problem with Terminal.app’s tab management is the position of the tab-bar. Having them horizontal at the top of the window do look the best, but when you have al to of tabs, I think having them vertical on either left or right side is the most practical, both to fit more tabs and to see which is which. ```

```text Having multiple windows are great, and because of how difficult window management on OS X and other operating systems are, I prefer to have one terminal window, with multiple tabs, where I can split that tab vertically and horizontally. For example, a development web server running on one screen, database console one half of the other side, and a general purpose terminal on the rest of the the second half. It makes it easy to find the terminals I am looking for and so on. This is not possible with the built in Terminal.app. You can only split horizontally. One way to solve this is to use tmux or screen; they are both great, but very overkill when I only need to do two things, and much harder to use than the built in functionality on iTerm2. ```

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Todo.txt versus Taskpaper

02.01.2017 01:00

```text I’m not a huge fan of productivity mastrubation, but I can’t help it. There are more “getting crap done” apps and services available out there than any sane person should every try out; even though I personally have tested out way too many of them (and made too many myself). You have everything from team based to personal based; to very simple to very complicated. I am of the conviction that you have a lot to earn by figuring out if and what could fit into a either paper or plain text task management system. What I learn’t the first time I did it was to move parts of my tasks into more aporopriate containers. For example: all “reminders” and recouring tasks are in due, everything related to habit forming are in Productive and everything with a hard due dates are in my calendar. ```

```text Everything looks like a nail when you have a hammer. My biggest problem with the more sofisticated task management system is that it is too easy to set reminders and due dates and all of the fancy crap. Something should be easy, if you want people to do it all the time, but the oposite if you don’t want them to do it all the time. Setting reminders on too many tasks are a problem because you start ignoring them if you get them all the time. And then they are as worthless as not having them at all. ```

```text My first introduction to plain text task management as a formal system was with an Mac an iOS app called TaskPaper, and later I also discovered Todo.txt. There are probly others as well. But these are the only ones I have used enough to feel confident talking about them in detail. ```

```text Both systems are great, and you don’t really need any tools to deal with either one. You will get the hang of either one very fast if you know how to write either html or markdown. But there is one philosophical difference between the two: todo.txt is more like a database record where all the data assosiated with one entry is on one line, while taskpaper is more like an outline or tree structure of projects, tasks and notes(and tags). ```

```text My personal favourite is Taskpaper, both because there are a lot more tools available and because I think it is easier to work with, but it is a little bit harder to write code that parses it. Todo.txt is on the other side not as blessed on the tool side, but it has a format that is very easy to get a grasp on, something that should be very interesting to beginning hackers and programmers. I also think that Todo.txt could be a interesting basis for a database standard for “GTD” apps. Todo.txt is also a little bit more like a proper system; you have the file with your tasks and you have the file with your archived tasks. This isn’t really a thing with taskpaper, you just have documents, and it is up to you to figure out how to use them. ```

```text Which one you pick is up to you, I would give both a shot, just to figure out which syntax and system that fits your way of thinking the best. I personally have gone back to taskpaper because the Mac app is fantastic and I think it is much easier to parse a outlined structure than a bunch of almost identical lines. Still I think Todo.txt could be used in some very interesting ways, especially if someone made a really good Mac app that used it as its database. ```

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Less is more

21.12.2016 01:00

```text There are three features that the current line of Apple laptops are lacking, their previous counterparts had. The Magsafe, the battery indicator lights and the charging indicator. I miss all of them. ```

```text I’m not going to talk much more about the Magsafe, but I’m going to say that it was like having insurance, nice to have, just in case your dog stumbles in your charger. ```

```text The next thing on my list have been gone for a while. I think they first started to go away with the wedge shaped MacBook Air in 2011, and disappeared from all modern Apple laptop with the introduction of the Retina MacBook Pro. The indicators were on the bottom of the battery, and they showed you your battery status. A fantastic feature for when you just want to know if you need to charge your laptop or not. ```

```text The last thing on my list went away with the USB-C Chargers. It might should like a stupid feature for many people, but I strongly disagree. It is great when your laptop is on your desk, and you just want to know if it is fully charged. I would also love to have the same kind of indicator on my iPhone and Apple Watch charger. I just want to know with a simple glance if it is charged or is charging. ```

```text Remove these three very useful features is not a huge problem, but it makes everything a little bit less “nice” and convenient. I can see the status by logging on, and I can also see if it is charging or not by doing the same thing but it is much easier to click at a button on the bottom of the battery or looking at a indicator. ```

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Three cameras, and the one I don’t use.

17.12.2016 01:00

```text This might sound strange to some people, but I own three cameras, plus my iPhone. The iPhone camera is fantastic, but I realised at some point that it is not for me. Some people love to take pictures with their phone, including my girl friend. But I can never get into it. I also have the same feeling every time I use a mirrorless camera without some kind of view finder. ```

```text I own three cameras. They are quite different, and I own them for three different reasons. ```

```text My main, and oldest camera is my Canon EOS 650D, I think they are called Rebel or something in the US. I own a 40mm 2.8 prime and a 24mm – 70 mm 2.8 zoom lense, plus a good flash. This is the big camera. I use it every time “taking pictures” is a large portion of what I am going to do. I know how to wrangle it to get good results almost no matter where, and the battery lasts forever. ```

```text My newest digital camera is a Fujifilm X100t. It is the perfect “bringing it everywhere” camera for me. It is a combination between a mirrorless APC camera and a phone camera. You have the flexibility and ease of use of a mirrorless system camera (coming from the photographer side) combined with the crappy battery life and small size of a phone. I decided to get this camera when I finally realised that I would never get into phone photography and this is the thing I use I I decide to take some pictures out and about or the camera I bring if I might take pictures. ```

```text I also own a film SLR(A Nikon FM). My mother gave it to me the last time I was home. It belonged to my grand father, and I don’t think either of them used it much. There Is something to using a camera without anything else to help you than the meeter. It takes forever to take pictures, but I enjoy it a lot. I love taking a lot of pictures when I bring my Canon or Fuji, and to get a few very good shots from the hundreds I shoot, mostly shooting in either Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority. But I also enjoy to spend maybe a minute or two to set up a single shot, when I decide to take one and then wait for weeks to get the pictures back. ```

```text The digital Leica Cameras is only interesting to those of us who enjoy the process of shooting with analog SLR’s. Vinyl records and shooting analoge is two similar things. They are technical inferior to their digital counterparts. This does not mean that you can’t enjoy the one more than the other. Vinyl sound cool, but it is not better. The same goes for digital photography over analogue. :0 ```

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