hjertnes.blog

Day One sync

12.12.2013 01:00

Day One is a great journaling app for both iOS and OS X. You can store both images and text there; it even supports markdown. I store pictures, contents of my notebooks and random stuff I write.

iCloud sync used to work very well; and then it started to first not sync at all, and then it synced fine on my Macs, but it wouldn’t sync everything, just 13 of the data to the iOS devices. And today was the day where I pulled the plug and moved everything over to Dropbx.

I think I have reached a point, where I just store simple data like Contacts, Calendars, and apps that just store documents. PDFPen, Pages and Number work fine with iCloud. But it would not take me long to move it all off there if that don’t work anymore.

The problem with iCloud is that I can’t, and the developers can’t debug or do anything at all with anything. It is just a black-box in the middle. It is great when it works, and a fucking nightmare when it don’t.

One of the things I like about using Dropbox for apps like DayOne is that I can make a zip file of the whole DayOne folder on Dropbox, and just extract that into that folder and replace the file if something should go wrong. You can’t do that with iCloud, in any supported way.

The process of changing the sync-engine on something like Day One is not trivial. Or that is not that acurate, the process of doing the change could not have been made any easier on DayOne’s side. But it can take a long time to do the actualy syncing. The one to blame here is my internet provider.

It also seems like the Dropbox sync is faster, and it will sync in the background on iOS 7.

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The broken folders on iOS 7.

12.12.2013 01:00

I have tried, and I have tried; but I don’t like them – at all. The thing I liked about the original folder design on iOS was that it was just an extension of the screen, no pages; just another 12 icons.

I know some people like that you know have the possibility to add many many many more items to any folder. And it might be useful for some people. But I don’t think so.

Here is the thing. The new folder design that Apple introduced with iOS7 have pages, with 9 icons on each page. And the whole thing just looks and behaves like a mini version of springboard. And the matter of fact is that it is both faster and easier to scroll through a few screens on my iPhone than it is to go into a folder.

I used to run a single homescreen setup in the iOS 6 days. I had 9 apps

  • the dock, and all folders on the bottom row. This setup worked like

charm. The reason I used this system was to have the easiest way to locate and start apps.

Yes, I could combine all of those folders into one folder now. But it is just faster to browse through a few pages on springboard, than it is to browse through the 9 icon pages inside a folder.

It’s sad to see a simple, useful and great feature got his way. I don’t expect to see it go back. I haven’t used folders on any of my iOS devices in a few months. They are not useful anymore.

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The fucked up american date formatting.

05.12.2013 01:00

There are many standards in the world, and most of them are redundant. We have the metric system, that most countries use, except for the US. There is the never ending Letter vs A4 war in the world of paper.

But there is above all one thing that I can’t for the life of me understand that should be an issue. The order of the numeric values in a date. To be 100% clear I do care what kind of character you use to divide them. I care about the order. Here in Norway we start with the day, then the month and at last we place the year. This is a logical system; smallest unit first and the biggest last, and the one in the middle – in the fucking middle!

And some countries do it the opposite way, no problem, it follows the same logic. It is logical.

But then we have the big annoying exception that is called The United States of America. They chose the one option that don’t contain any logic – at all. They start with the month, then the day and they place the year at the end.

Why?! What kind of crack head decided that this was a brilliant idea? Sounds like something out of the Bush Administration(the stupid bush, the second one).

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iOS devices, and the average user.

05.12.2013 01:00

There are a number of people in my family that now own iPad’s and iPhone’s. Some of them, like my mother got the iPad as her first computer, and then she got an iPhone soon after. She never cared for, or about computers prior to surfing on my iPad.

And there are also people like my grandfather, he used a computer at work for the last 15 years of his career. He have owned a few regular computers as well. But he didn’t really use them that much. They were used to write a few e-mails a month, paying the bills and sometimes surfing the web or writing letters; you know the kind people send in the mail. He got an iPad last year, and both him and my grandmother(that didn’t have any experience at all (read: never used any kind of computer)) could start using it without any help; after I configured the WiFi and e-mail.

This is just amazing. One things is how easy it is to use the iOS devices. That is great, the fact that everything from toddlers to grandparents can pick up an iOS device and use them without much, if any help.

This is not the key point for me. I have set up a lot, and I mean a lot of computers for relatives during the last 10 years. But there is nothing that have been that available to people like the iPad or the iPhone have been. The important thing Apple did with the iPad was to make something everyone want to use.

They are not excited about the device, they are excited to use the device.

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You should not tell me how to use my computer.

30.11.2013 01:00

I write on anything. Seriously I do. My main writing tool is my Macbook Air, and Scrivener. But that don’t mean that it is the right, or available tool in any situation. I write in all kinds of different notebooks, like Moleskines and FiieldNotes; but I also write on napkins and paper towels, when I don’t have anything else available.

I write on the best available tool in any situation.

Sometimes I hear arguments for Apples decision, or need to don’t provide any real ways to provide communications between apps, and they piss me off to no end. One thing is to keep stuff like flash – and other obvious terrible technologies from iOS. This does not mean that they should not provide a really good and solid way to make it possible for themselves and third party developers to go the two inces that is remaining between iOS 7 and what we want to make iPad’s a real options for people that don’t need a laptop.

iOS devices is the future. And the iPad could be a laptop replacement for a large portion of what I do very soon.

I’m a writer, student, developer and photographer. I need a Mac for the last two items. I don’t need a laptop to the first two, and I don’t really want to carry my Macbook Air everywhere for that either. But, there is a few reasons for doing just that.

Scrivener. The first – and main reason is that there is still not a version of Scrivener for iOS. It is in the works, and this is not a major issue for me. I would love to have it, but is isn’t a major issue. I do a manual sync between various Mac + iOS writing apps to have a safe and usable way to sync various writing projects between my mac.

Sharing. The bult in sharing menu in iOS is great, but we need to be able to provide third party apps to add stuff to it. I don’t mean the android way where you have 100 items in there. Third party apps should have the possibility to show up there. And we also need a settings area to manage this. To provide us – the users a way to say: Instapaper, Pinbook, Safari and Tweetbot is that apps I need to show up there when I hit the sharing meny somewhere and the content is a URL. This current method was cute in iOS 6, but it is neither cute or funny anymore.

Communicating between apps. Another major issue is to have a realy way to do inter-app communcation. If I open reeder and select “E-mail article”. Then I have the posibility to e-mail the article – without leaving the app. I want this. I want all app developers to provide this. We need these modal dialogs to be available to everyone.

I never use it to e-mail stuff. But, I would love to have it to send stuff to OmniFocus, or to send something to one of the 50 text editors I use. This is a general useful feature that started to show up in iOS 6. And now we need it to be made available.

Seriously. There might not be a very bright future for iOS, if we don’t see a real revolution in terms of sharing data between apps, doing interaction between apps and a real sharing menu in iOS 8.

And remember, one thing is to be able to share data between apps, something I think is very important. Another issue is to let you have some kind of dialog that belongs to another app, inside your app. I would love to be able to have the real “New OmniFocus action” dialog in any context. Imagine how great stuff like this would have been, if we didn’t have to leave App A to do something in App B and C.

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Notes on Smile and TextExpanders touch latest AppStore issues.

26.11.2013 01:00

Every time some popular iOS app get some trouble, you see all of these stupid stories regarding “Apple is trying to screw X”. Something, I think and have always thought is bullshit.

There have been a long time since it was Apple’s policy to block any App that either do a more power user version of some feature they have, or provide an alternative to some app they have.

One thing many people don’t understand when it comes to when Apple is changing their policy, or react to some usage of technology or API is not to get rid of that App, or because they want to “get that company”. The story behind TextExpander was they used something called a named Clipboard, it is just like the default one, only that it had a name, and was not the same one that you accessed while copying and pasting.

Smile Software did in fact use this feature as intended, that is at least my impression of the whole thing. Apple changed how they worked in iOS 7, all of them were placed inside a Namespace. This means that only one company can access the clipboards they use.

The reason for this change is probably, and almost certainly because some compares used this feature for stuff it wasn’t intended; like tracking. In other words, Apple broke TextExpander Touch in order to improve security and privacy. This is a good thing, I’m not happy about the result in TextExpander Tocuh’s case. But, I agree on the general policy.

After this they implemented a hack where they used Reminders, and a task that would never be displayed to the user. A hack, and not a solution that would have survived in the long run.

And now they have to do something different, both short term and long term. I think a web-service to sync the stuff and a SDK that do everything with the synced data is the only way to go.

But, back to my point. Apple never do these changes because of companies like Apple, they do them because of the 99% of apps that don’t do the right thing. And they have to do things in a general way, that makes the life hard for companies that don’t play nice and follow the rules. The sad consequence of this is that sometimes it results in makes the life harder for companies like Smile.

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Instapaper trick for Kindle owners.

25.11.2013 01:00

I spend most of my times these days: writing, reading and listening to podcasts. But still, I wish I had more time to spend on them all. On them all.

Anyway, I love the iPhone and iPad app for Instapaper, but that is not the way I read the majority of all the stuff I add to Instapaper.

The device I prefer to read on is my Kindle. The reason for this is that it is always in my coat pocket, and that it’s battery life is so good that I only need to charge it about once a month.

This is the trick. Once a month, I go into Instapaper, and start to download the ten latest articles into the Kindle mobi format, then I archive the 10 articles that was downloaded, and repeat this process until my Instapaper list is empty. Then I plug in my Kindle into my Macbook Air and transfer the files.

I sometimes read on my phone or iPad, but it is not often more than 1-2 articles. You know, I might start browsing through twitter or draft a blog post, like I am doing now. But, when I read and only read when I open my Kindle. If I spend two hours reading on my Kindle, I get through about ten times what I could get through during a week on any of my other devices.

This is one of the not that know features of Instapaper that every Kindle user, with a Instpaper reading list that they new get through should check out!

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Alfred, Marked2 and Scrivener.

22.11.2013 01:00

I use Scrivener a lot; I write long articles, all of my papers at the university and a few book projects in Scrivener. There is a 90% chance that Scrivener is open when you see me write on my Macbook Air. And when I was looking at the Marked2 settings screen last night, I saw something cool. The setting makes it possible for marked to also open Scrivener with the active project when you open it in marked.

Marked is an app by Brett Terpstra that can preview more or less anything that have a pre-processor. And you can do a lot of different stuff with it. It is the worlds coolest previewing app. Check it out here.

There is two different ways I use Scrivener, I either just write, in that scenario I just want scrivener to be open. But, sometimes I do write, review, write, review all of them in 5-10 mintue intervalls. Then I want both Marked and Scrivener open. I didn’t want to change Marked to be the default app for Scrivener files, something I think would have worked. So, I created a workflow in Alfred to solve this.

I have made three Screencasts to set this up; one for Alfred, one for Scrivener and one to just show how it works.

Setting up Marked

This screencast shows how to set everything up in Marked

Setting up alfred.

In this screencast I will first show you how to enable a action sorting setting on file action in Alfred, this makes it so that the action you used last always will be on top.

Then we well go on to create an action for scrivener files, that file open them in Marked.

Usage

This screencast shows you how to use the damn thing. Just type ‘name of scrivener project, hit the right key on your keyboard and select the Scrivener action.

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Going back to Chrome, for a few days.

21.11.2013 01:00

A little bit of my browser history. I started using a browser called Netscape in the late 90’s, after getting pissed off by Internet Explorer. Then I moved on to Opera, Mozilla and then Firefox when it finally was launched. Then I used Firefox until Chrome came to the mac in 2010. There are also a few periods with Safari in there.

I have been a Safari user for the majority of my browsing since the cloud tab feature came to iOS, OS X and iCloud. Safari isn’t perfect, but I still think it is the best browser for users of both OS X and iOS. There is two areas where I use Chrome, that is web-development and anything related to flash.

I decided to go back and try to use Chrome as my main browser for a while, sometime for about two weeks ago. And so, I did. And a switched back five minutes ago.

Here is my reflections on why. And a few words on why I switched.e

The main reason I did the switch was to test out a few extensions that isn’t available to Safari. And I thought the best way to do this was to use Chrome as my main browser. Here is the funny thing, I did not end up using any of them, at all.

Chrome and Safari is more or less the same. Both of them are fast, stable and works like you expect them to do. And then there are a few subtle differences, like which side all the extension icons is, and a few settings that only one of the two is. The single thing that made me make the switch back was cloud tab, aka be able to access any of the tabs I have open on any of my device from any of the other devices and the ability to have a blank page as the default when you start the browser or open a new tab.

Back on Safari, and happy about it.

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Notifications.

20.11.2013 01:00

First of all: notifications are great, for what they are designed to do. And the notifications themselves is not the problem.

When I think about notifications I always think about all the pop-ups, badge numbers and all kinds of other noise that we get thrown in our faces while using iOS and OS X. This is the result, not the problem.

My general problem with them is that most apps have them on as the default setting and that there are no good tools for managing what you want to see from all of your apps.

So, how do I manage this?

I go through Notification Center on all of my devices about once a month, or when I get really pissed off about some app notification that drive me nuts. I turn off everything that don’t cause a huge problem for me if it is not enabled. I don’t have anything enabled on my Mac. On my iPhone I have notifications enabled for phone calls, texts and a few IM clients. That’s it.

I use badge icons on both platform for all of the rest.

The reason for this strategy is that it makes the whole act of reviewing stuff I should do something about, more of an active thing, than something being thrown in my face.

I have Mail.app open on my Mac right now, something I don’t have that often. My dock is hidden and I have to move my pointer to the right of my screen to see if there are anything new. There are no other way for me to see that. And iOS is more or less the same way. I have to hit my homebutton and browse through all of the screens to see if there are anything new in various apps.

What if someone really need a reply on that e-mail? Then they call me. There have never been a single situation during the last four years where I have gotten an urgent e-mail or similar that have not been followed up by a phone call right after. E-mail is not the tool for urgent stuff. We have texts and phone calls for that.

You need to devide if you Mac, iPhone and iPad is a notifiation hub or the places where you do and create stuff. Take your devices back. Create something awesome.

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