hjertnes.blog

The Record – A great Podcast!

29.03.2014 01:00

The Record is a interview show, focusing on Apple developers.

Brett Simmons have teamed up with Chris Parrish for the podcast The Record. It is my absolute favourite “new” podcast for the time being.

Most podcasters these days record them over Skype, Google Hangouts or something similar. The Record is one of the few podcasts out there where they record it in the same room.

I think the dynamic and the whole feel of a podcast is different if it’s done in person, compared to doing it over Skype. Both of them can be great.

Anyway. You should check out The Record. Especially if you are a developer that care about Apple history and love great podcasts.

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Design

28.03.2014 01:00

Designing websites is hard. The Squarespace days was simple. I picked a template, modified them until they was more or less what I wanted, and then I moved on.

I never went far enough with the platform to develop anything from scratch.

WordPress, and most other platforms[0] requires more. There are a few options – Pay a designer to do it for you – Start from scratch – Buy a good commercial template – Find one of the hundreds of thousands of terrible free ones – Find one of the few good free templates.

Now you need to decide if you want to change it or not1. I have a template that I designed from scratch, it’s not finished. And I doubt it will ever be. The current design of Hjertnes.me used to be Less. But, I’ve modified it quite a lot.

I also use BigFoot.js to get “Marco-style” footnotes.

In the end the design question – at least for me – is about should I spend a lot of time right now designing something from scratch. Or should I start with something I could accept, and over time shape it into the design I wanted all along?

I always end up going with the latter. First of all, I don’t have the time to move a design from the easy “usable” state to “perfect”. And I kind of like the process of finding the one thing about my design that I hate – and fixing it. And doing that over and over and over again until the design is good.

You just need to get a design, that you are proud of. My personal taste is simple, beautiful designs, that shows off the content. While other people like more “in your face” designs2.

But the thing you have to do in the end, is to find what kind of design – what kind of message you want to send to your readers. My site isn’t perfect, and I don’t think anyone expects that.

Your site should look like it is something someone designed during the last two years. And it need to look professional[3].

Go out there and get a great design. [^0]: Tumblr is one of the few exceptions [^1]: If you picked up a paid or free template on the net. that means these days. Nothing. What I mean by it is to have something you can show your boss, your board, your professor or your mom.

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Your site – your identity.

27.03.2014 01:00

I made a decision a few years ago, about how I’m going to host and deliver what I create. And that place is this site.

There are a lot of places you could publish your content. You have Tumblr, WordPress.com and Squarespace for writing. You have Soundcloud(and others) for podcasting. You have Vimeo and Youtube for video’s. And you have Flickr, 500px, Instagram etc for photos.

I was a long time Squarespace user, and wordpress for a long time before that, Tumblr for a short time and now WordPress again. I’d like to explain why I don’t publish much[^1] on anything except for my personal site and Twitter.

Twitter is the social network I like, it’s also the social network I get. Everything is simple. You get 140 characters. Everyone that follows you get it. And that’s it. While Facebook is complex and weird.

I prefer using platforms that is design to be – just websites and blogs. Tumblr isn’t a blogging platform. It’s more like a combination of Twitter and a blog. Which is great for some people; it’s not what I want.

Why host your own website? There are many reasons. If you use Squarespace and decide you need or want something different – then you can make the switch in a few hours, if you have a design ready. And you have the same options for WordPress.

It’s easier to publish to Tumblr(for writing) or 500px(for pictures) than it is to publish to WordPress. But you control the experience. And I think it’s a better chance for WordPress and Squarespace being here in 10 years, than some startup.

I think having a real website is the best way to create something that stays around. Be the person known for your website. Don’t be they person that created a Instagram profile that was popular for a few months.

Get out there, and create what you want to create.

[0^]: I do write from time to time on other sites, like for example UiBeta

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When you can’t.

25.03.2014 01:00

Yesterday was one of the first times, since I can’t remember where I wrote, but didn’t. The truth is that I think I wrote five drafts, and about 7500 words. But none of them were what I wanted them to be.

The last time I did something like that, was last year; I think.

I believe all writers get themselves into that corner from time to time. There are just one thing to do: leave it, and try again some other time. What you did wasn’t a waste of time. You can always try to do something about the drafts some other time.

The way I work, when I decide to write for this website, is to either pick an idea from OmniFocus, or something from the top of my head. Then I write, and I just leave it in Byword if I don’t like it. And then I repeat it for a while. Most times I end up with something I think is good after 1-3 times.

My philosophy to write is the following: – Keep every draft. They might end up as something great – some day.

  • Keep on writing.

  • Try – give it a real try; and take an early night if it’s one of those nights where you just can’t write anything good.

  • Get back to it the next day

You might not be the next Bukowski, but you will get a better writer, if you keep on writing.

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My iPad experiment.

16.03.2014 01:00

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

12.03.2014 01:00

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. ↩

    Journalism, judges and lawyers.

    10.03.2014 01:00

    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.

    (#blog)

    iOS 7.1

    10.03.2014 01:00

    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.

    (#blog)

    WordPress workflows in 2014.

    09.03.2014 01:00

    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 posts[^2]. 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 simplicity[^5] 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.

    (#blog)

    Goodbye Squarespace

    08.03.2014 01:00

    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.

    (#blog)

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