We’re excited for 2015

31.12.2014 01:00

2014 was a big year for apps.

WWDC was basically a list of things many thought Apple would never do. As a result, we now have iOS apps that have extensions, widgets and more.

This has let developers write an entire new generation of apps more powerful and smarter than ever before. Old favorites are better to use, and some new tools have become instant favorites.

Of course, as with most new features, the App Store has taken a little while to catch up. There have been some high-profile rejections of apps like Drafts and PCalc for pushing the boundaries, but hopefully that’s behind us.

On the Mac, OS X Yosemite brought a new look and feel, coupled with deeper integration with iOS. Handoff makes it quick and easy to move from one device to another seamlessly. Apple’s ecosystem is tighter knit than ever, and in a world where we’re on the go more and more, it’s a welcome evolution.

Working from an iPhone or iPad has never been easier, and transferring that work to the Mac has never been better.

As for 2015, color me excited. There’s still a lot of unexplored territory in iOS 8’s feature set, and developers will hopefully become more comfortable with adopting new technology in their apps.

The Apple Watch is an unknown quantity, but I’m guessing it’s going to be a big deal. The Watch should bring an entirely new class of apps to the Store, and while they won’t be as powerful as the apps we’ve gotten used to on your phones and tablets, they promise to bring a new level of personalization and ease-of-use to our devices.

Going into next year, everything’s on the table. The upheaval we saw in the App Store after iOS 7 and 8 will continue, and there are going to be more and more apps to review and enjoy.

Here’s to 2015.

— Stephen Hackett, Editor-in-Chief

2015 will be a cool year. I can’t wait to see what iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 brings.


What’s So Special About the AeroPress

31.12.2014 01:00

In more ways than one, I grew up in a fussy coffee home. My parents didn’t want me drinking coffee until I was 16 because they were concerned the caffeine would stunt my growth. Who knows.

My home was also fussy about coffee because my dad only ever brewed with a french press. I grew up thinking that brewing and drinking coffee was a special thing. I still think that.

I’m now 33, and have more than made up for the cups of coffee I missed out on the first half of my life. In my kitchen we have a cupboard dedicated entirely to coffee contraptions: a Mokapot; a stovetop espresso maker; an Espro brand french press, a classic Bodum french press, and a single-serving french press; a vacuum siphon coffee maker; two different styles of V60; the Clever Dripper; a Kalita Wave; an Able Kone system; and, of course, the AeroPress.


But the AeroPress is by far and away my favorite. And I know I’m not alone here.

I love my AeroPress, I have two of them. They are cheap, easy to use and make very good coffee. They are also very easy to clean. The funny thing about this simple plastic device is that it often make better coffee than expensive espresso machines I have tried. My advice to people that want to get into coffee is always to get a AeroPress, a good grinder and Chemex. Some people want to make espresso, while others want something closer to pour over. Both of them make excellent coffee.


Jekyll 3 — The Road Ahead

29.12.2014 01:00

With Jekyll 3.0, I want to take Jekyll back to its roots: simplicity, extensibility, and speed.

I love Jekyll. And I think some of the new stuff that comes in Jekyll 3 is cool. For example, generating new posts with a simple command.

But the thing I love the most about Jekyll, is how simple it is to work with it. It is one of the few systems where I can do real work without internet. That makes it ideal for when you work with a spotty, or without a connection.

A file based system like Jekyll is great for generating web sites. Like I said, you can work with it, without a internet connection. You don’t even need a complicated setup for development or production. It also means you don’t need a big VPS to host it; any web server can serve static web pages.

The speed of the site is one thing. But the thing I like even better is that I don’t need to fiddle with a web-interface or app. I can just write in Sublime Text, and use git to update my site.

Let’s get back to 3.0; they are fixing a lot of issues in the upcoming 3.0 release. They are making it easier to create new blog posts, and that is good. Jekyll is not for everyone, but I think it will be something for even more people in the new release.


Something old, something new, from the archives.

29.12.2014 01:00

I recently made some changes to my jekyll setup to have real DF-style linking. And I have digged through all my favorites in Feedwrangler and Instapaper. These have been links I planned to post. Some are new, some are older, and some are old. All of them are posts that I enjoyed then, and all of them are posts that I still enjoy.

One of my goals for 2015 is to publish more links to interesting things I read on the net.


36 years in this skin

28.12.2014 01:00

This is my all time favorite article from Brett Terpstra, and one of the best things I have read in a long time.


6 Tips to Learn Effective Writing from George Orwell

28.12.2014 01:00

Many people ask what it takes to become a good writer, when I think what they’re really wanting to ask is: what does it take to be an effective writer? The former can only be answered based on individual opinion, whereas the latter can’t be argued. Effective writing is concise and effortless. It says what needs to be said and nothing more, though for most writers this is a lot easier said than done. As they say, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

George Orwell, most famous for his novels Animal Farm and 1984, was also famous for his journalism and essays – particularly, the timelessness of his six rules for writers. Honestly, who better to learn from? His writing is friendly and welcoming. He always focused on simplicity and didn’t drown his readers with unnecessary words or jargon.

His tips have always been the key ingredient of my writing career: whenever I find myself over thinking my creative process, his tips are what I turn to in order to regain my focus.


How to write with a fountain pen

28.12.2014 01:00

While ballpoint pens write equally well from most angles and positions, fountain pens require a certain touch. The ink flows more easily if you hit the pen’s “sweet spot”, the pen feels more balanced in your hand with the cap posted, and everything seems to flow better from a lower angle. Once you find that flow, writing should become natural, fluid, and almost effortless.

In this article, we’ll show you the optimal way to hold and write with a fountain pen, but ultimately it comes down to what works for you. If you’re comfortable holding the pen in a grip that’s slightly different from what’s recommended, and the pen is still writing smoothly, don’t worry about it too much. However, if you’re having difficulty writing smoothly or comfortably, try making some of the adjustments suggested below.

Got it from The Cramped. A great guide on, how to use a fountain pen.


Invisible iOS Home Screen Icons.

28.12.2014 01:00

Since you can’t arbitrarily place icons on your home screen this means the situation is actually worse. I now have to fill in the top row of icons with ‘stuff’ just so that I can easily reach my main icons without stretching.

A great tip for everyone with either a 6 or 6 plus. It isn’t perfect, but it is the only good, non-jailbreak solution to playing your apps, where you want them.


Old Fashioned 101

28.12.2014 01:00

Circa 1800, the Cocktail was a “hair of the dog” morning drink that tamed spirits with water, sugar and bitters (patent medicine). The late 19th Century expanded the use of the word “cocktail” to encompass just about any mixed drink. Since then, the Old Fashioned—literally, the old-fashioned way of making a cocktail—has been our contemporary expression of the original drink. During the 20th Century, various bad ideas encrusted the Old Fashioned. Here we will strip off those barnacles to expose the amazingly simple and sublime drink beneath.

A cool site about making the drink; got it from Daring Fireball.


Seven Tips From Ernest Hemingway on How to Write Fiction

28.12.2014 01:00

Before he was a big game hunter, before he was a deep-sea fisherman, Ernest Hemingway was a craftsman who would rise very early in the morning and write. His best stories are masterpieces of the modern era, and his prose style is one of the most influential of the 20th century.

Hemingway never wrote a treatise on the art of writing fiction. He did, however, leave behind a great many passages in letters, articles and books with opinions and advice on writing. Some of the best of those were assembled in 1984 by Larry W. Phillips into a book, Ernest Hemingway on Writing. We’ve selected seven of our favorite quotations from the book and placed them, along with our own commentary, on this page. We hope you will all–writers and readers alike–find them fascinating.