hjertnes.blog

How I use my Mac.

05.11.2013 01:00

Lex Friedman just had a very interesting article in Macworld. Talking to various experts(whatever that means), and how they are using their computers. I really enjoy reading about how other people are using their computers, and to learn how to do, what I do better.

I thought I could run through how I use my mac. And the mac I am talking about is a 13″ Macbook Air, the 2013 model, 1.7 Ghz CPU and 8GB of ram. Battery and “enough” power to do most tasks is the most important factors for me, since I am around campus and various other places all day. And the newest Macbook Air’s have all the battery power I need during the day. In other words: I don’t need to carry a powerbrick.

My Desktop, look like this:

There is usually no files on the desktop. Well, that’s not true. I sometimes place files there, while in the hurry. And end up being there becuase I have not seen my desktop in a few weeks.

The Dock is one of the components on OS X that I want to disable. I know why some people us it, but I don’t. I use Alfred to launch apps, find files, browse the file system and a lot of other stuff. My dock is hidden, at the bottom and as small as possible. And the only Apps visible there, is the apps I currently have open.

MenuBar is either the worlds most useful thing, or that area overfilled with icons that you do not need, use, or know what is. I sometimes use Bartender, if there are a lot of apps in the menubar that I want to get rid off, but I only have it installed when I have to. My general rule is that all the apps in my MenuBar have to be something that I use regulary and that the icon itself serves a purpose.

I will hide any MenuBar icon, if I never use the icon itself for anything. My current menubar icons

The funny thing about listing out all of this, is that I see a few things that I want to hide. So this is how my Menubar looks, after doing some Settings and Bartender magic.

There is three times of MenuBar icons, in my humble opinion, the ones you want to see all the time, the ones you want to use sometimes and the ones you just want to hide. Bartender solves this problem.

Spaces, Mission Control, Full-screen. Apple fixed a lot of the issues regarding Full screen in the recent Sea Lion release of OS X(I know it’s called Mavericks, but I think Sea Lion is funnier). I use Full screen, spaces and Misson Control all the time – when I remember that it is there. I cam to OS X during the Panther, but I first started as a full time OS X user during Tiger.

That was before full screen, spaces and all of that. In other words: I often forget that it is there.

Apps, no not every single App is use, but more how I manage them, and the windows. I try to always just keep the apps I am using right now running. I’m weird. But, the reason is very simple: less window clutter, and less tuff to cmd+tab through.

There is not much of a system when it comes to what I am using in full screen, and how I arrange windows. But, I ususally either but it in full screen mode, or use Moom to make the window streach all over the screen.

Wallpaper. Some people like to have something fancy as their wallpaper, and some people(like me), just picks a color or the default image and leave it. There is a very simple reason for this: I never see it. There is usually some writing app, some productivity software or a web browser covering it anyway. Why would I pick a picture that I will see for a few minutes during a week when I quit all the apps or need to reboot?

There is a few tricks that I use, like a good launcher(Alfred), Moom to to resize windows and Bartender to hide clutter. But, all the rest is just using the built in tools and minimalism regarding what apps I need to have open.

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Doubt.

04.11.2013 01:00

This is hard. I want to quit.

These are all too regular thoughts when I am working with stuff that either takes longer than usual or something that I’m just not that used to work with. Like this insane writing project, I am doing on this site.

I have the choice. I could continue with it, and get everything to a level where everything is a a little easier, or I could do the same as one billion other people are doing. Write simple blog posts a few times a day.

But, I don’t want that. I want to do something different. And I have been working on that for about a month now. Maybe a little longer. I think it will be great, if I give it some time.

It is not easy to do something different these days. Most people do the easy stuff. I don’t think what Shawn Blanc, John Gruber or The Loop is doing is easy. All of them have been doing this for a very long time. They are all doing something different, from each other, and the rest of the internet.

There is at least 1000 terrible and boring link list blogs for every good one. And you have to be a really awesome writer to be able to make it in that space today.

You have to do something different. You have to do something heard.

If you want to be something. Someone that just isn’t a part of all the blogs and sites out there that just is in the pile of all of the other unknown sites and blogs.

I’m pretty sure every single person out there, that is creating something has doubt. I know that both Dan Benjamin and Merlin Mann have been talking about this on Back To Work.

Stick to it, and get it out there.

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Should I buy a new iPad

29.10.2013 01:00

I don’t think any of the new iPad models was much of a surprise for anyone that have been following Apple for a while. I think the only surprise was that they renamed the iPad.

Most intelligent people expected the iPad mini to get a retina screen, and they also expected the big-iPad to get the design of iPad mini.

It is no surprise that I still use iPhone 4S and iPad2. And I don’t think I will buy a new iPhone before I either can’t update to the most recent version of iOS, or that I break it.

But. The iPad is different. I have not decided if I should buy a new iPad or not, this year. My main problem with the full sized iPad is that it is too close to the size, weight and batter capacity. The 12 hour battery life on my 2012 Macbook Air, is more or less everything I need, most days. But, I also carry my iPad most days. The reason for this is to have something to write on, if I need to do something when my Macbook Air is dead.

Since my iPad will continue to work as a pdf-reader, writing device and preferred place to do my OmniFocus weekly review – I don’t think I will buy any new full sized iPad in a while.

This leaves the iPad mini.

The reason I consider the iPad mini, is that it would be nice to have a small, iOS device with recent hardware that I can fit in my jacket. And this device is also something I can fit in a stand and use a full sized keyboard with. Like for example: – Origami WorkstationApple Wireless Keyboard

Don’t get me wrong, the full sized iPad is great for writing. It is a great device to write on, if you place it in some kind of stand. But, I don’t think the full sized iPad is that great to write on, while holding it.

And my experience with the current iPad mini is that it is an iPad, with a weight and size that reminds more of the iPhone; which makes it great to thumb type on, while still having the great power of the iPad-platform.

In other words. I will probably buy an iPad mini, in the coming months.

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Quiet.

23.10.2013 02:00

I know things have been very quiet, here for a while now. This is not because I am taking a break, or have left this site or anything like that. The reason is that I am working on something new. On this site.

When I “started from scratch” with the blog on this site, some time back I had the idea to start working on content in a different way. I did not want to just write blog posts that most people won’t see a few days after it’s been published. I wanted to write good pieces about all the apps I use, and in some cases all the ways I am using them. I want long content that I can link together in interesting way.

I also want to extend this to workflows, productivity topics, podcasts and all kinds of stuff I have learnt, and am learning today; as a geek, developer, writer, photographer and productivity nut.

There is already some content here and there is more to come. This project will require a lot more time before it is something I could call “off the ground”. But, I am working on it, and I am trying to push out new content as soon as the stuff I have in Scrivener is good enough.

The other side off this project, is that I am going to work hard on keep as much as possible as up to date as possible after completing everything. So, that you know that my content about Markdown, Byword or nvAlt always will a good source.

Anyway. I will continue to write on the blog part of this site as well, but I will mainly use it to inform about new content, updates etc. And there will also be a newsletter soon. You can sign up for it here.

I hope you enjoy it!

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1Password 4 for OS X – a few days later.

06.10.2013 02:00

I wrote about 1Password 4, before the weekend, and thought I might want to revisit it after spending some real time with the application. And not just the 20 minutes, right before I wrote the piece.

There is two features in this release I really love: the audit section, and the menubar version of the application.

Audit. What the audit section is doing for you, is to tell you all of the password you should change. I really love this. Like I wrote in my previous post; you could do it with smart folders. But, I think a lot more people is going to use this. Because, its right there. It takes you one click to see all your weak passwords. Or three clicks to get an overview of passwords that have not been changed in everything from six months to over three years.

You also have a dupicate section. This will display every account where you use the same password as somewhere else. This might not look that big. But, trust me – it is. It was a major pain in the ass to do this with version three. You had to configure every different password you used as a “standard” as a smart folder.

Menubar. I did not expect to use this one that much. But, I was wrong. Most of the times when I start 1Password, it is to just copy some password to somewhere outside the browser. And its amazing to be able to do this from the menubar.

Its one of these productivity hacks, where three clicks becomes one.

And still, 1Password 4 is a solid upgrade, and everyone should upgrade as soon as they can afford to.

Sent from my iPad

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1Password 4 for OS X.

04.10.2013 02:00

1Password is one of the most used apps across both my iOS and OS X devices. I never log into anything without going into 1Password on my iPhone and iPad; and rarely without using either browser plugins or the app on OS X.

This is one of the apps that I think should be included on any Mac or iOS device. This statement may be bold and I understand if you are sceptic regarding password management apps. To put it like this, 1Password is the only password management app that I have been able to stick with.

Design

They have refreshed the design of their apps in this release, to match up with the same refresh they did with the iOS update a few months back. And it was about time they did this, both the OS X and iOS versions looked dated prior to their 4.0 releases.

I don’t think there is anything controversial in this release. Everyone who used the old version will recognize it; and like always: all new users will love both the app and the design.

1Password mini / Menubar item.

I have a yes, or no reliationship to menubar items. I think they are better than having apps in the dock that you need to have running all the time. And they are amazing for stuff you need to access quick; like dropbox, twitter clients etc. And this is a great new feature from 1Password.

Audit section

This is the feature I have been craving in 1Password since I started using it in 2010(or 2011, I dont remember exactly when). This is just brilliant. It have a few key, and very important features: – List of all passwords that are not unique in your 1Password database. – Passwords that have not been changed in 3+ years, 1-3 years and 12-6 months. – Weak passwords

This alone would get me to upgrade. I can in just a few clicks right out of the box get a great overview of all the passwords I should change.

iCloud vs Dropbox

I have not tested the iCloud sync, and I’m not sure if I am going to do it. There is one very good reason for this.

There have been a few situations where I’ve had some real issues with iCloud document storage. The result was that none of the applications was able to upload or download anything from iCloud. And every time this happened I had to go through a few levels of Apple support to get it sorted out.

This could in theory happen in Dropbox. But, dropbox is a much more open system. And I have a script that makes a copy from Dropbox to my local machine, every day. This means that I still have the data if Dropbox locks me out.

There is probably a way to do this in iCloud, but I dont want to do anything regarding my passwords and other important information in a unsupported way. 1Password might have a export option. Anyway, this is a part of my “dont store anything extermly important in iCloud”.

I recomend people to use Dropbox, if you need sync; and remember to have routines for making copies of it to a local location if you do sync.

Check out 1Password herehere. You will find a trial versionn for the mac version there. They also have a windows version and an android reader app.

Sent from my iPad

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Editorial is awesome

02.10.2013 02:00

Yesterday was the day where I finally went and started to play around wth Editorial. I find it hard to describe it, but it’s one amazing piece of software. I would not call it MarsEdit for iPad. But, I would rather call it the first programmable text editor for iOS. And maybe the first one that get these things right; and yes, I would love to have it on my Mac.

The thing I really love about editorial compared to both MarsEdit and TextMate is that it does not have build in support for anything, other than dropbox syncing, a browser, and some basic markdown tools, and some other basic stuff. But what you have is a very easy to use framework for build workflows, that can do more or less anything, that you would like a editor like Editorial to do.

One of the things I really love about this thing is how easy it was for me to set it up to email new posts to this Squarespace 6 blog, only in a few clicks No copy and paste; just two clicks!

If you use squarespace, and want to do the same thing, check out this workflow. The only thing you have to do is to find your squarespace blog email address and paste it into the workflow. You can see how to enable and find your squarespace email address here.

I think Editorial is the first product where things is way batter on iOS than anything you can find for OS X.

And check out Viticci’s book about editorial.

Sent from my iPad

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Test

02.10.2013 02:00

First thing I posted directly from Editorial

Sent from my iPad

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Do Apples AppStore restriction lead to better software

01.10.2013 02:00

This is one of the questions I have been asking myself for a very long time. One side of me, the hacker want to be able to do all of the crazy stuff I have on my mac. Like Alfred. Or to just run a simple script to rename all .txt files in my [nvalt] folder to .md. But on the other side, do I really need this?

I have been aware of both [Editorial] and [Pythonista] for quite a while. I knew everyone I respect on the internet(or at least most of them) love it. I knew I should give it a try. But, like most apps, it takes some time before I get around to do something about it. And after spending a half hour reading @viticci’s [book] about it, and maybe ten minutes in the editor itself(including writing this article) I realised how awesome it is. I want this on my mac.

But, back to the main topic. Does the App store restrictions lead to better software? I’ve had this teory for quite some time. For one, unlike on OS X, you cant do what ever you want to on iOS. One part of it is the hardware and software restrictions themselves, while others are restrictions that Apple have put in place to make the experience of the device as a whole better.

The other part of it is the security aspect. We know that there have not been many “malware” apps, in the iOS app store. This is one of the great thing about the sandboxing thing. We know that each app have to be tested by apple, and that it is only allowed to mess around with their own files.

Lets say if Rdio have a bug that deletes everything; well this means you have to re-sync your music and maybee re-create your playlists. Buts thats it. You would never know what kind of implications that would have if you had the same issue with a OS X application.

But, back to my point. I think App Store restrictions not just will, but is leading us to better software. Editorial is a prime example of this. For one they are leading to better solutions for handling issues we did in the simplest way possible before.
 There is just one important thing here. Apple have to get better at giving developers more tools for handling their current issues; like for example inter-app communication. But, dont give what we ask for, give us what we really need.

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iCloud

30.09.2013 02:00

I’ve had quite a few iCloud issues during the last month, something that made me think about the real problems with iCloud. And they are not what you might think, but more a result of it.

Contacting support.

The key most important thing, is to make sure that you can re-produce your issue in an Apple application. This is very important. Because, you will be caught between Apple and the third-party developer, if you can’t do it. The third party, can’t help you; and Apple won’t.

My problems.

So, my problem was that nothing, that use iCloud could upload or download data. This was everything from DayOne and ByWord to Numbers and Pages.

But, backups, calendar and contacts worked as expected.

This is bad!

Why Dropbox is better.

Here is the basic principle. I expect that my account here stuck in some way. And that Apple have very bad tools to debug these kinds of issues.

So, let’s say I was caught in the same kind of situation with Dropbox, and I had everything stored there synced to my Macbook Air(which I have). And I decided that I was tired of arguing with support. Then I could just move my data over to another folder. Delete my account. Create a new account. And move the files back over. Re-configure all of my devices that use Dropbox.

Closed containers.

Apple is the only ones that can do anything about this problem. Their approach is cleaner, but harder. Dropbox is more of a hack, a hack that works, but shouldn’t. It works and everyone from developers to medium computer savvy users understand the basic principles.

iCloud works great for a few uses. But, I will move everything off, iCloud if this happens once more. And I will also make sure that everything is ready to be moved off iCloud by the end of this week.

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