Mac


ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

I’ve been a user of many different task managers over the years, but one I’ve tried before, and what I’ve finally settled on is Todoist.

My main philosophies regarding task managers are that they should be stable, and by that I mean it should be something you can rely on, you should be able to view your upcoming tasks everywhere possible, and the syncing should be very fast. With all of these requirements, Todoist is the choice that makes the most sense, because at a fundamental level it is a web service, not just a collection of apps, which makes it a super stable platform.

Projects

The main way to organise tasks in Todoist is by assigning them to projects, which you can also further organise with sub-projects. I have split my tasks into context relevant projects, so for example I have a University project, and inside this I split up any coursework or big chunks of work into a sub-project. This structure makes it much easier to visualise your tasks, especially when you input a load of small tasks like I do.

As you can see in the screenshot above, I also use emoji in my project names. This is just so I can find the right section at a quick glance. There’s also the added benefit of using an emoji first in the project name, which is that it always puts these at the top of the list. This is because an emoji character will always come before the usual alphabetical characters. Luckily I only have a few top-level projects, so this doesn’t affect my list.

Labels and Filters

Another away to organise and view your tasks is by using labels and filters. Labels offer a separate way to collect tasks together, which can of course be used in conjunction with projects. A common use of this is to have labels such as “admin” or “writing”, or even time-based names such as “quick” so that when you only have a specific amount of time available to get some work done, you can find suitable tasks can be completed.

Filters are ways to view your tasks, by applying some criteria to fine-tune your results. If working in a team, viewing tasks assigned to different users would be quite helpful, but I don’t personally make use of them.

Adding Tasks

The three main ways you can add a task is by using the “Quick Add Task” method, which is accessed pressing the “+” button, or by hitting the “q” key while in Todoist, by pressing the “+” button or by pressing the “A” or “a” key to add a task to the top or bottom of the current list, and also by using the “Quick Add Task” method outside of the app.

With apps such as Fantastical, inputting data has become much easier with the support of real language entry. So if I want to to add a task for university I can simply open up the Add Task view by pressing CMD + SHIFT + A, and then by typing “Finish Lecture Notes #University”, this will add a task with the entered name, and subsequently organise it into the University project. You can take this even further by adding dates and labels, so when I decide I want to write about an app, I can add a task like “Write about App X today #TheAppLife @Writing”. It’s a feature that once you learn how to make use of all the little tricks, you will really love to use.

Overdue Tasks

Something I haven’t seen before in other task managers is a ways to quickly reorganise overdue tasks. It is a feature that Todoist has, and one I have found to be very useful, especially when I plan way too much work for one day and end up leaving a few incomplete.

Todoist’s “Smart Schedule” is an AI powered feature that uses your habits, the urgency of tasks, your upcoming tasks, and even uses learned patterns from the other Todoist users, to help find the the best suited day to fit them in. So far the suggestions have been pretty spot on for me.

Your Productivity

This is a feature that it’s use continues to elude me, by competing tasks, and keeping up streaks, Todoist grants you “Karma”. These are all calculated by configurable goals, and I guess gives you a glance on how well you’ve been performing.

Fortunately for me, it doesn’t affect the usability of the app, because I don’t see myself making use of this in the future.


What I’ve found Todoist to be, is a fully featured, easy to use, and stable task manager to can really adapt to my own needs. I would recommend this to all users that are wanting to start using a task manager, and see if it fits them.

You can download Todoist from the Mac App Store, and find out about the other platforms on the Todoist website.

ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

There's a bit of talk over the new MacBook Pro's keyboard, and the noise it makes. So I decided to make this little video, to show the noise of the new keyboard, against my old MacBook Pro, and also an Apple Wireless Keyboard.

P.S. I love the new keyboard noise.

Devices:

  • MacBook Pro - Late 2011
  • Wireless Keyboard - 2007
  • MacBook Pro - Late 2016
ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

Who would of thought it, Stephen Hackett writing a book about old Macs.

The Bondi iMac — and the family of colorful computers that came after it — brought some much-needed clarity and excitement to the Mac line.

More importantly, it bought Apple time to integrate NeXT's technology and build Mac OS X from the ashes of the aging Mac OS.

This book looks at these parallel projects with a consideration of Apple's best product: the company itself. - Aqua and Bondi

I've just purchased the book myself, and I'm looking forward to reading about the early stage of Apple, that really changed the company.

You can buy Aqua and Bondi on the iBooks Store, or alternatively as a PDF from the website.

ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

Stephen Hackett begins his monthly column on MacStories, with a really interesting article about where the been MacBook Pro fits in.

The current MacBook Pro line is a little bit of a mess. Even after brushing aside the last-generation machines that are still for sale, the current offerings are confusing. Both 15-inch models come with the Touch Bar, but only two of the three 13-inch models offered do.

That $1,499 non-Touch-Bar-but-still-in-the-new-skinny-case 13-inch MacBook Pro is what I'm typing on right now. It's a great little laptop. The screen is gorgeous, battery life is great and it's more than fast enough for what I need when I'm not in front of my 5K iMac.

You can clearly see Stephen has left his mark already, by quoting a piece from 2006.

Read the full post.

ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

Dan Counsell, founder of Realmac Software has written about his wishes for the Mac App Store. He talks about the issues developers currently face, and also some tips on what can be done to fix them.

The Mac App Store may seem like the best option for indie developers, but it’s not. I remember when Apple first announced the Mac App Store (MAS). It sounded like a pretty good idea to give Mac developers the same kind of centralized marketplace to sell their software that made the iOS App Store so popular. Apple said then and still proclaims that MAS is dedicated to helping devs “make great apps” but most developers (myself included) will tell you that it’s never lived up to it’s potential and is now going off the rails.

I released my app Qwiki on the Mac App Store, mainly because I don't want to manage the admin, sales, and other boring tasks that come with managing it yourself.

But although I don't have experience selling pro apps, there are a ton of restrictions that stop them from selling directly on the MAS. Some restrictions are good for your security, but they can get out of hand, and it's led to big name apps being removed from the store.

I'm also hoping for some improvements, especially as Phil Schiller is now in charge of it.

ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

Over at MacWorld, Jason Snell has written about how his MacBook has become secondary to his iPad:

For the past year I’ve been traveling with a 12.9-inch iPad Pro and leaving my MacBook Air home whenever possible. Traveling with only an iPad can feel freeing and it can also feel confining, depending on what you need to accomplish. This week I took a trip and brought my laptop along like the old days, and was reminded about what the iPad does well and where the Mac still has the upper hand. - MacWorld

This is the closest opinion piece about iPad/Mac that matches mine. I also love my iPad (I have an Air 2), but there are some things that it just can't do. Like hacking around in the Terminal, manage files better, and also programming - It's possible on iOS, but it's massively better on the Mac.

My Mac will always come first, but in the scenario of travelling, my iPad usually comes out on top. Because it's mostly work that makes me use my Mac.

ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

Guilherme Rambo has done it again with yet another great Mac app, this time it's AppleEvents and as you may of guessed, it lets you watch all of the past events, and also stream live events.

He previously developed apps such as PodcastMenu, putting Overcast in your menu Bar, or even the unofficial WWDC app for Mac, which let's you watch, download, favourite, any of the WWDC talks!

Anyway, AppleEvents is the newest addition, and it's such a simple app but it fits it's purpose superbly. You can catch up with the old events, but my favourite part of it is that you can stream live events. Such as the announcement tomorrow!

If you've got to do some work at the same time, or maybe you like to have Twitter and the live stream open, then luckily for you it has Picture-in-Picture! Which even works on El Capitan. Just press the green icon in the top-left corner (usually the fullscreen button).

I'll definitely be using this, and for the foreseeable future as well!


Seeing as Guilherme is constantly releasing these open-source and free Mac apps for everyone, it's only fair that he get's compensated in some way!

So why don't you check out his apps on the Mac App Store?

ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

The problem with the iPad is both hardware and software related. Anything work related you can do on an iPad can, in most cases be done faster on a Mac. No question. - Dan Counsell

This is probably the most common idea behind a the majority of iPad articles, whether it can truly be a device that replaces your Mac.

Well Dan Counsell (Founder of RealMac Software), has written his thoughts on it, and I thought it was worth sharing.

ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

Finally there's a better way to insert Emoji on a Mac.

Ryan McLeod has created Macmoji, which is essentially a list of terms and their corresponding Emojis. It lets you type Slack style tags like :cat: to insert 🐱.

The installation isn't hard at all, just check out the project on GitHub, download the .plist file, and then drag it onto the Text section of the Keyboard settings in System Preferences.