14th February 2018
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You may have heard of the open-source framework, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). It’s a framework for developers to create faster-loading mobile content on the web. Beyond simply loading pages faster, AMP now supports building a wide range of rich pages for the web. Today, we’re announcing AMP for Email so that emails can be formatted and sent as AMP documents. As a part of this, we’re also kicking off the Gmail Developer Preview of AMP for Email—so once you’ve built your emails, you’ll be able to test them in Gmail.

It just keeps getting worse.

05th February 2018
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Matthew Cassinelli, previously a developer of the now Apple-owned Workflow app, has started blogging recently. And I thought I’d share one of his recent workflows, about quickly saving webpages to the Bear notes app.

I’ve been doing more research on iOS lately as my iPhone is the device I use the most, so capturing full web pages quickly saves me a lot of time. While I really like Apple Notes’ latest iterations, it’s not easy to clip websites there – so I adopted Bear for notes, which has support for Markdown, images, and a handy Get URL function.

Bear’s ability to download websites as a note is killer, but it’s usually easily available for most people via their Action Extension. Rather than limiting my access to the share sheet, I’ve been taking advantage of the Workflow action Get Bear Note From URL1 to save web pages from anywhere on iOS.

I never knew Bear had that feature, and that may push me into using it again in the future. But this workflow has a bit more complexity that most, in that it can be run from the today widget using the clipboard contents, from the share sheet, and from other apps like Launch Center Pro.

Seeing as he used to actually work on the Workflow app, his blog is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Read the full post.

Apps

Workflow

Bear (iOS / macOS)

05th February 2018
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John Sundell has written a great piece about using custom operators in Swift. Some really interesting examples as well. I never really thought about custom operators like he has, but clearly they can be very powerful tools:

Few Swift features cause as much heated debate as the use of custom operators. While some people find them really useful in order to reduce code verbosity, or to implement lightweight syntax extensions, others think that they should be avoided completely.

Love ’em or hate ’em – either way there are some really interesting things that we can do with custom operators – whether we are overloading existing ones or defining our own. This week, let’s take a look at a few situations that custom operators could be used in, and some of the pros & cons of using them.

Read the full post.

01st February 2018
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From the Pokémon Company:

Don’t miss the epic new Pokémon GO trailer created in the style of a nature documentary, featuring Pokémon that have recently begun appearing near you in Pokémon GO.

[…]

The video is narrated by iconic actor and comedian Stephen Fry, with his dulcet tones complemented by an original symphonic score by legendary composer George Fenton.

This could quite possibly be one of the best game trailers ever.

Watch on YouTube.

Read the full announcement.

30th January 2018
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Ryan Christoffel wrote a great piece over at MacStories, about what he wants to see the iPad gain from the Mac:

I made the iPad Pro my primary computer when it first launched in late 2015. The transition pains from Mac to iPad were minimal, and the device has grown even more capable since that time thanks to improvements in iOS. My need for a Mac is now extremely rare.

My desire for a Mac, however, still exists in a few specific use cases. There are things the Mac has to offer that I wish my iPad could replicate.

Now that the modern iPad has many basics of computing covered, here are the things I think it needs to take iPad-as-PC to the next level.

My favourite proposition:

Wouldn’t it be great if an app like Workflow could become more Hazel-like, triggering workflows automatically in the background based on pre-set rules?

They’re great ideas, and I hope Apple adopt at least a few of them.

Read the full article.

 

29th January 2018
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In 2010, Jobs and Apple were preparing to release the iPad. A key feature would be the tablet’s ability to function as an e-reader, similar to Amazon’s Kindle (which had already been out for a few years). Of course, the more publishers willing to contribute books to Apple’s iTunes store, the more appeal the iPad would hold.

Four major publishers had already signed on, but another, HarperCollins, was holding out.

Negotiations eventually centered around a key conversation between Jobs and James Murdoch, an executive at News Corp. (HarperCollins’ parent company). Murdoch wasn’t convinced his company (and its partners) could agree to the terms Apple was offering, especially regarding the “ceding of pricing to Apple.”

Jobs proceeded to write an email to try to convince HC to join.

This is a very intriguing piece, and while I’ve seen some articles before about “the best” ways to write an email, this one email seemed very well formed, in a whole manner of aspects.

28th January 2018

This book basically boils down to learning how to remove yourself from the typical 9-5 workday, equip yourself with the skills and mindset needed to relocate anywhere in the world, and also to optimise everything in your life.

Tim talks a lot about the tools needed, and the procedures that you can try, in order to move to working more remotely. This sets in motion the rest of the book, in that it is designed for enhancing your work-life balance, and being stuck in an office for a set about of time, is a big part of that.

Once you’ve grasped the idea on how beneficial it is to be able to work anywhere, and anytime, you’re introduced to a whole load of wisdom. There’s a huge section on automation, which spans from having a business working in the background, to having real-life, virtual assistants working for you around the clock.

What I Took From the Book

What I appreciated most in this book was the general ideas around moving to a more remote job, basic knowledge on starting a business, and having it work for you, and also the section on liberation.

If I could read just one section, it would be Liberation. It is where Tim explains methods on how to transition out of an office job, embracing the traveller lifestyle, and how to enjoy “mini-retirements”.

There’s so much knowledge that I have found in this book, and too much for me even to put in to words, because I’m sure a lot of it will go unnoticed, until I’m in a certain situation in the future.

But in general, I learned that your job does now need to be static, your life doesn’t encompass just your career, and there are more important things in life than making just that extra bit of profit.

Travelling is a major key in life, and with it, you can learn a whole lot of skills, experience new ways of thinking, and at the very end, your life will be more rich than if you simply worked in an office all of your life. There is no point in living, just to work.

This is book that I think can be skimmed over in some parts, but there is something in this book for everyone.

Notable Quotes

Being able to quit things that don’t work is integral to being a winner.

“I’m not the president of the U.S. No one should need me at 8 P.M. at night. OK, you didn’t get a hold of me. But what bad happened?” The answer? Nothing.

Get the Book

Amazon

Apple iBooks


This article is part of my book review series. I aim to read at least one book per month in 2018, and where possible (basically if it’s non-fiction), I’ll write something here about it.

23rd January 2018

As you may or may not know, I’ve been building my own iOS app for Manton Reece’s Micro.blog.

A short description of Micro.blog, if you aren’t already familiar:

A new social network and publishing platform for independent microblogs, created by Manton Reece.

Development is going well, and I’m nearly ready to announce the first beta version, but I thought I’d write about the current progress, and what you can expect to see in the first beta version. This development log will hopefully become a regular thing as I add more features to the app.

b0.1 – Read Only

The codename for this version is “Read Only”, and that stems from the fact that it will not have any ability to write posts. That is something I want to spend a lot of time getting right, and shouldn’t hold back a beta version from being released.

Right now, there are 5 main sections in the app:

  • Timeline
  • Mentions
  • Favourites
  • Discover
  • Profile

The first four are pretty much the same, except they present different lists of posts. But they are what you’d imagine.

On each post in these lists, at the minute you see the name and username of the author, the posts content (of course), and the date. Each post also has a favourite/unfavourite button in the top-right corner. Swiping right to left on these cells, will show you the full conversation relevant to this post.

I currently also do some basic link detection in posts, and if there’s a @ mention with a link to their Micro.blog profile, it will navigate to their profile page. Anything else at the minute will launch inside a Safari View inside the app.

In the profile page, for yourself, or other users, you currently only see the name, username, photo, and also the number of people you are following. You cannot see how many followers you have in any case. Tapping the following will show a list of all of these users.

The app currently supports both methods of authentication, app token, and also by requesting an email that contains a link to open the app.

I started on a side menu as well, which at the minute simply shows the version number. But this will be expanded heavily in the future.

What Else

Of course one thing I need to add, is the ability to log out! It will be placed in the side menu.

I also want to expand the profile pages, by adding the bio, and also a link to their website. And also, features surrounding the user that I want to add, is the ability to tap on a users image to open their profile, and also the ability to follow and unfollow a user.

Finally, I need to make some icons for the overall app (most likely a quick draft for beta purposes), the different tabs, and also one for the menu.

Screenshots