Ben Brooks

31.12.2014 01:00

I’ve written lists about X things that I learned in X years before, but those seem rather boring these days. I’ve not marked every birthday I’ve had on this site, but I felt like this was a good one to mark. Mostly because I’m finally at a numerical age which I like. ‘Thirty two’ rolls nicely off the tongue and that pleases me greatly.

This year was a big one for me and it is marked by three major things I tried to achieve:

  1. Being patient
  1. Being kind
  1. Finding a better job

A good, simple and straight to the point retrospective.



31.12.2014 01:00

FastMail started with IMAP in 1999 when it was still quite new. We have been involved in the standards process, and have watched while non-open protocols led the way on features, usability and reliability. We pride ourselves on the standards compliance of our server, but we have been frustrated by the lack of progress in the third-party client experience available to our users.

The fragmentation of server support for newer IMAP features means that clients either have multiple implementations of everything, with the complexity and bugs that involves, or fall back to lowest-common-denominator behaviour. Extending IMAP further just makes this situation worse.

FastMail is my e-mail provider of choice. I have used them for a year now. And I think they are one of the companies that know better than most what pain in the ass e-mail and IMAP / SMTP is. They are doing something great here.

FastMail have their own protocol, JMAP. And they have made it public to have more interoperability, beyond IMAP and SMTP.

IMAP and SMTP are protocols from the past, before mobile, before push notifications. JMAP is made to address all of that. One of mine favorites is the support for batch operations. It means that they can bundle multiple operations in one API call.

A great protocol, I hope more providers on both ends start supporting it.



My Must-Have iPhone Apps, 2014 Edition

31.12.2014 01:00

For the past four years, I’ve been running a series called My Must-Have Apps that, once a year, collects all the apps I find indispensable to get work done on my iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Considering changes to my daily life and workflow, this year only features my must-have iPad and iPhone apps.


Old Notes, New Notes.

31.12.2014 01:00

Comparing old and new FieldNotes is always cool.


Photive 50 Watt 6 Port USB Desktop Rapid Charger

31.12.2014 01:00

Lets face it, we’ve all got a lot of devices that charge with USB. In my house we have: 2 iPhones, 3 iPads, 2 Kindles, a pair of bluetooth headphones, and a portable bluetooth speaker. When you visit our “charging station”, you see a surge protector with a mixture of iPad chargers and AmazonBasics USB chargers . The Photive 50 Watt 6 Port USB Desktop Rapid Charger is aiming to simplify that setup.

With 6 USB ports, it’s got plenty of space to make all those separate chargers disappear. It’s more than just a dumb charger, though. The USB ports will recognize what is plugged up and provide the fastest possible charging speed. This is really handy when you need a quick charge to your iPad. You can charge your devices at full speed with 50 watts and 10A total output. This would also be a great device for your travel bag.

I’m going to get one of these as soon as I can afford it. Finally a good solution to a common problem.


Reading back through 30 years of daily journaling

31.12.2014 01:00

Got it via [The Cramped][0]

Sometimes I randomly grab a journal and read a few pages. I often have no recollection of the events I wrote about. I just pulled out 1995 and was surprised to see that a neighbor brought three studs and a mare over on Dec. 18. I noted it was a big struggle to geld those horses as they had never been touched. I kept two of them here and started breaking them to ride on Dec. 20. I must have been hard up for money as there are no indoor arenas on this place and it is seldom fun to break colts wearing overshoes.

```text Reading back through 30 years of daily journaling ```


Resolutions don’t happen in a vacuum…

31.12.2014 01:00

This is especially true if you are in a relationship. At the very least most require support from those around us. And, at most, they require their active participation. To wit, the resolutions of others become your resolutions as well (and vice versa) if they require you to participate in order to be successful.

A great post about new years resolutions.


Uses for Notebooks

31.12.2014 01:00

Got it via The Cramped

I love notebooks, but I often have to justify getting so many while filling up so few. So, I’m keeping this ever-updating list of uses for notebooks to return to whenever I feel the need to put these works of office art to good use:

A cool list. You should check it out.


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.