My iPad experiment.

The spring semester is starting tomorrow. Which made me think, should I try to see for how long I can cope with just using my iPad, notebook and iPhone outside my flat. I have tried this in various contexts and with varying degree of success is the past.

There are a few reasons for trying this out. For one, I always tell people that they should just get an iPad instead of a laptop. And I hate to get the question “Why don’t you do it?”. The two other, and better reasons for doing it is that my iPad takes up far less space in my bag, which means I can bring more books. And the last and most important reason is focus. There are far less things and distractions going on when I write in either Editorial or Notesy on my iPad, than when I use my mac.

I will not go into one of those silly “One month without my Mac” or similar cheesy games. But I wont bring my Macbook Air with my anywhere, before I need to do something outside of my flat that is far less efficient on iOS.

Lets see how it goes!

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Soulver

Soulver have become one of my all time favourite apps. I use it for almost everything related to numbers, on iOS and OS X. I think I first heard about it from Marco. I think he mentioned it on the episode of MacPowerUsers he was on, and various times on Build and Analyse1.

Soulver is in many ways what spreadsheets should be. It lets you work with numbers and related operations in text. I use it for all kinds of different things. I store close to everything in my PlainText folder. Everything from keeping track of how many hours I have spent on the different jobs I have, to everything else I need to remember. The great thing about Soulver is that I can just paste a file in the current format

01.02.14 4h Worked on the authenticantion system.

The big issue with this system is how to calculate the total. I could do it by hand, but it might be 10 rows, or 100. So I just paste the content into Soulver and it tells me what the total is. It’s great.

Check out their website for more information about Soulver. And all the cool stuff it can do.

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  • A show he used to do with Dan Benjamin on 5by5. 

  • iOS 7.1

    Apple just released iOS 7.1. It feels like a high number of iOS releases(minor and major) come out, when I’m not at home.

    This is the point release to iOS that I have been looking forward to the longest. I didn’t expect iOS 7 to be any better than it was. I’m kind of impressed over how stable it was.

    I know how buggy the first releases after major re-designs or re-factoring can be. I’ve done quite a few of them myself.

    Check out the release notes if you want the details.

    I have not played much with this release – yet. But, my first impressions are that this release fixes a lot of design issues. Apple have fixed many of the UI elements that looked a bit “not quite there”, in this release. It also feels a lot faster, than the version 7.0.x releases.

    I have been thinking about upgrading my iPhone 4S, to an 5S lately. I’ll might put it off for a while, if this release makes my 4S more usable again.

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    Journalism, judges and lawyers.

    I remember the first time I read the following quote; I was 12.

    Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations. – George Orwell

    There is not much that piss me off more, than the fact that various factors that in practice limits the freedom of press. We have a poster here in Norway, that the newspapers and other news outlets “should” to follow.

    Another big issue today is the relationship between advertisers and the press. They “can’t” say stuff that might be insulting to some people. For example how journalists in the US can’t talk about evolution or climate change as a real thing. Come on! both are real – wake up – and see the facts.

    First of all. The press should be free to say the things the public need to hear. You might get pissed off. And you might get insulted. That is how freedom of speech works.

    What I want is websites, newspapers and TV-channels that have the guts to say what we need to hear. Without thinking about if they insult advertisers, or some stupid and ignorant voter demographic.

    A free world with a free press is not free. And the current state of the press, both in the US, Europe and Norway is not free. The advertisers have too much powers. And the feelings of certain readers are too strong.

    I want to read stuff that is strong. That makes me think. That insults my ignorance. And most important – a press that show us what companies, governments and all others parts of the society are doing.

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    WordPress workflows in 2014.

    I have to say it, the apps available in 2014, is different from how it used to be in 2011; at least on iOS. While the available apps for OS X is more or less what it used to be. With one interesting exception(Byword).

    One of the reasons I moved away from Squarespace, was the limited approach to publishing content. I get why they were doing it, it’s not what I need or want. And the WordPress I see today, is different from what I left in 2011. First of all, the admin panel looks better than I have ever seen it before, and the apps available on iOS is way better.

    There are not a lot of good apps for publishing content to WordPress on any of the platforms. There are at least two good ones for each platform, and another okay one for iOS. And you have a lot of apps that are either just useless, or not what I want from an blogging app.

    MarsEdit

    MarsEdit is and have “always” been the premium, and go to blogging app for OS X. It does more or less what you would expect it to do. The markdown support is kind of weird, but it works. I would love to see some kind of more “native feeling” markdown support. And maybe the ability to convert HTML to markdown, when editing pages or old blog-posts.

    I think MarsEdit is the best option for most1 OS X users, and it works with more or less any blogging platform that have an open API.

    Byword

    Byword 2.0 came with an In-App-Purchase that enabled Publishing features. This feature let’s you send something from Byword to: WordPress, Tumblr, Evernote and others.

    This is in many ways the perfect feature for something like Byword. And it was also unexpected when they released it. It’s great to see great apps going in a different direction. There are enough almost identical writing apps out there.

    The power you find in Byword, both on iOS and OS X is more or less the same as MarsEdit; without the WYSIWYG capabilities of course. Byword might be the perfect blogging app for all the markdown geeks out there

    I need to say this. Byword is a great tool for writing new blog posts1. While MarsEdit also let’s you edit, delete and manage your whole blog; including static pages.

    In other words, Byword is in no way a MarsEdit replacement.

    Poster

    I won’t mention the official WordPress app much in this article. The main reason for this, is that I don’t think it is any good3.

    There is a good WordPress client called Poster. It is unfortunately not for sale anymore. Automatic4 acquired it. The reason I mention this is that Poster is the best blogging app for iOS that I have seen to this date. Poster is a power user tool. I think most Poster users would love to see it’s power and simplicity2 find it’s way into the official app, at some point.

    Editorial

    Editorial is one of the most powerful apps available; yes, it is more powerful than most text editors on any platform. To put it in simple terms – Editorial is an editor for iPad, with a great built in browser, and support for something they call workflows.

    Workflows consists of easy to use steps, and you can do more advanced stuff with Python.

    Editorial can be what you want it to be. And publishing content to WordPress is just one of many. Check out this great article over at MacStories for more information about it. Or buy their Editor in Chief’s iBook about it.

    Conclusion

    There are a lot of great tools out there for blogging both on iOS and OS X. I think Byword will be my go to tool for writing blog-posts. At least most of the time. While apps like MarsEdit and Poster will be my go to apps for editing, fixing typos and stuff like that.

    I’m not the biggest Editorial user in the word. It’s a great tool, and I always use it on my iPad when I work on something that requires me to do a lot of browsing. And I think the official app is the best one out there for those who don’t own a copy of Poster. The official app don’t have any markdown support6. You can always copy the HTML from Byword.

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    Moving back to OF

    The key parts of my general approach to workflow, tools and everything else is that I use the thing that is correct for me right now.

    I moved away from OmniFocus in december, after using my then current setup, without it being the right thing. And I continued to use TaskPaper for two whole months.

    Something happened between the beginning of january and last week. I realised that I had token up so many extra projects, that I needed to go back. And there is no shame in that.

    You might wonder how it is to move back to OmniFocus? And it was pretty straight forward. I know the apps in and out. What I did this time was to start with a blank database.

    One of the things I miss from TaskPaper is how easy it is to do a brain dump.

    It takes at least twice the time to do the same work in OmniFocus compared to TaskPaper.

    It’s great to be back in OmniFocus. It is without doubt the best tool out there, if you have a lot on your plate.

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    Goodbye Squarespace

    I’ve been playing around with a few different content managing systems during the last few months.

    Let me start with saying the following. Squarespace during both version 5 and 6 have been great to me. There was a long time where I had nothing to complain about. And I think Squarespace is the perfect platform for someone to get started on. And I don’t think I would have continued to write my site for this long, haven’t it been for Squarespace.

    The reason I left is that there have been a few things I want, that they haven’t solved since the public beta days of version 61. The two major remaning ones have been real MultiMarkdown support and a public API.1

    I moved back to WordPress today. There are many reasons for me picking WordPress, over many of the other CMS’es out there. The three main reasons have been:

    • Scaleable hosting solutions like WPEngine

    • Plugins for close to anything

    • Apps like Poster for iOS or MarsEdit.

    I went for a solution that just worked back in 2011; now I’m going for a solution that works the way I want it to work. That includes third party apps, my preferred markdown flavour and most important – me writing scripts or apps when or if I need them.

    Squarespace have been good to me. And I still think it’s the best place for anyone to start, if they just want to get a website or start writing online.

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  • They have solved a lot of other issues though. ↩ 

  • Taskpaper Posts.

    I wish to some day create a cooler way to do this. But until then I’ll continue creating posts containing lists of everything I have written about a subject. Here is a list of everything I have written about Taskpaper.

    Enjoy!

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    TaskPaper

    TaskPaper themes is one of the many interesting parts of it. The themes in TaskPaper is both what you expect it to be, modifying how your TaskPaper looks: colors, fonts and text-sizes. The regular stuff. And this is what you expect from any kind of theme support in apps. There is nothing revolutionary about that. I wouldn’t write about this, if that was the case.

    One of the things I love about the theme’s in TaskPaper is the ability to apply special formatting to tags. Yes – tags. What I love about this is that it makes it easy to highlight and make each of your main tags to stick out.

    Let’s take an example. I want my @today tags to stick out, because it makes it easy to see them when I’m just scrolling through my main TaskPaper file. I also want everything that I tag with either @next or @tomorrow to stick out, both of them in a different way; and less so than @today.

    I’m baffled by how cool some of the features in TaskPaper is; the tags, the themes, the search and the general flexibility.

    Go and download TaskPaper.

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    Hemingway

    Hemningway is the coolest web-app I have seen in a long time. And I want it as a desktop app on OS X, on my iPhone and iPad. This is one of these apps that I believe in. I believe it makes my writing better. And it could also make your writing better!

    Here is the basic idea, you either write or paste some text into it. It highlights a few key aspects. Difficult sentences, adverbs.

    It also highlights words and phrases that you should simplify and parts that you written in a passive voice. It also looks at how easy it is to read your text, on a grade level.

    It’s a great app, every english language blogger that want to have a clear and bold voice should use this.

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