20th December 2017

In a recent article by Mark Gurman over at Bloomberg, he wrote over 600 words on the supposed plan that Apple have, which would converge apps from iOS and macOS. Meaning that developers would be able to design just one app, and have it work on both platforms.

I personally dont think this is going to happen.

And if you read the whole piece, you’ll find that only 48 words out of the total 672 are relevant:

Apple currently plans to begin rolling out the change as part of next fall’s major iOS and macOS updates, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss an internal matter. The secret project, codenamed “Marzipan,” is one of the tentpole additions for next year’s Apple software road map.

I’ve been hearing Mark’s name for a few years, and people always seem to make him sound like a very top Apple reporter, which I guess is why he now writes for Bloomberg. But his latest rumours, have been a bit lower in quality in my opinion.

Read the “full” article on Bloomberg.

24th November 2017
Permalink

Here’s something interesting – The guys over at iA (devleopers of the iA Writer app), have made their own font. Prevously the apps used a font called Nitti, which kind of became part of the iA brand, but they took it upon themselves to develop a more writing focussed option.

Hell just froze over. After seven years of offering no font options to write, iA Writer now comes with a choice. Next to the monospace Nitti you will now find a brand new duospace font. Duospace?

[…]

For an app that was designed as the digital equivalent of a typewriter, a monospace font is not a far fetch. But, if font choice were just a matter of style, there are better and less expensive ways to impress than leasing a high end monospaced typeface that many take for a silly Courier.

There was clearly a lot of investigastion that went into it, and I’m a fan of the results!

Read the full article on the iA Blog, and download iA Writer for iOS and macOS.

 

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01st November 2017

I finally got around to checking out the code for one of my apps, Qwiki.

Qwiki is a menu bar application, that lets you search and read Wikipedia articles. It can also open them in the browser, share differently formatted links, etc. But this isn’t an advertisement.

After updating it to 1.3 last year, I had other projects, university, and finding a job to do. So it got pushed right to the side. But I decided recently I wanted to modernise it, and maybe even look at adding new features.

That time hasn’t come yet, but I have spent the past few days going over the code, cleaning a few things up, migrating it to Swift 4, etc.

So in the mean time I fixed a couple of bugs, like when keyboard and mouse input get mixed up, escape key not always working, some design tweaks, and also added a preference to keep Qwiki open unless manually dismissed.

Now it’s been sent to Apple, I’ll have a few days off, and probably work updating another one of my apps. But in the very near future I plan on going back to Qwiki, and seeing what real features I can add!

If you have any ideas at all about Qwiki, then i’d be really happy to heat them. Even if it’s pure criticism, it all helps.

Check out the Qwiki website, or find it on the Mac App Store.

28th October 2017
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Jannis Hermanns took on a rather interesting challenge recently, and it was all about working from an iPad Pro.

But unlike most people that make the switch, he’s not a writer, manager, or a designer. Jannis is a backend engineer, that uses some terminal in some hardcore ways!

In the summer of 2017, I wanted to know what it would be like to use an iPad Pro as my main computer. I found out that it can actually work, thanks to an iOS app called Blink, an SSH replacement called Mosh, iOS 11 and running stuff on a server.

His perspective/experience I find, is different than most other macOS to iOS switching articles, as there was a lot more technical issues that had to be solved.

But nonetheless, he managed it in the end.

Sadly for myself though, this switch isn’t something that I could do myself any time soon, as I develop 99% of the time using Xcode. Sure, I could probably run that on a Mac, and use a iPad to operate it. But what’s the point in that.

Read the full post.

11th September 2017

I’ve been wanting (not exactly looking for) a better way to quickly deal with screenshots on macOS for a while, and while looking over Product Hunt today, there was an app called ShotBox climbing the ranks.

It was free, and it looked interesting, so I gave it a shot. I was very pleased with what I found, and it’s such a simple utility, but it’s exactly what I need.

It’s similar to the new screenshot feature in iOS, in that when it detects a new screenshot, it opens up a small window in the bottom-left corner, so you can quickly edit and share.

There are actually only two things you can do in that window, and they are preview and edit. And of course when you close the window, you get the option to quickly delete the screenshot, or to save it.

I initially didn’t think it would work properly on my Mac, as I have Hazel move my screenshots into a separate folder, which I then have rules on archiving. So therefore they don’t just sit on my desktop. However, ShotBox lets you select a folder to watch, so this wasn’t an issue!

You can find out more information on ShotBox, and also download it for free using these links:

12th July 2017
Permalink

Michael Rockwell, over at Initial Charge write a piece about a really interesting way to give web apps a more native feel on iOS.

Firstly, he mentions Fluid, which is an application for macOS which lets you “convert” web apps into containers that run as normal apps:

On macOS, there’s an application available called Fluid, which lets you create site-specific web browsers. Many of us use web apps everyday and Fluid allows you to run them side-by-side with your native applications without being sequestered inside of a web browser. Fluid is a handy little tool that every Mac user should have in their arsenal.

I hadn’t heard of Fluid before, so I’m going to try this myself, but it’s not as good as his next suggestion for iOS:

To build these site-specific browsers, it just takes two simple actions — a URL action with the web app’s address and the Show Web Page action. When run, Workflow will open up the URL in a Safari View Controller, which gives you access to your action extensions alongside forward, back, and refresh buttons. From there you can give the workflow a name, set an icon color, and a glyph to fit the website or web application’s functionality.

So, he uses Workflow! It’s something I haven’t thought at all about before, but it makes sense. You can use the standard Safari View Controller inside Workflow, or you make partner it with apps like Sidefari, or maybe even add another layer to it with Opener.

I’ve actually just set one up myself to handle my the interface for this blog, which runs on Ghost.

Whether you use macOS or iOS, there’s a solution for you in this post!

24th February 2017

David Sparks on the need to use tags to manage files:

Lately I’ve been thinking about making another run at file tagging. It’s kind of funny how these tech issues percolate up. It all started with some receipts that I wanted to save to both client folders and tax folders. I found myself creating duplicates to have them in two places at once, which rubs me, someone who used to save computer data onto a cassette tape, as fundamentally wrong.

And:

So I’m looking at a hybrid tagging system that will still work with folders at some level but also rely on tags to help sort, store, and find files. There still are a lot of downsides to tagging. It takes extra time and it has very shaky support on iOS. I’m making a list of problems as I go.

I have moments like this where I think using file tagging would make my life so much easier, especially when I first found the feature to be quite interesting when first announced. However, when I decided to try out the feature, it never seems to stick with me. It was always a bigger task to set up, then to just deal with the problems one by one.

Nevertheless, I am very interested to see what results David has, and it may spark myself again to try them out.

29th January 2017

A few days ago Setapp was released to the public, but I was fortunate enough to be in the beta, so I’ve had a lot of experience with it. If you don’t know about Setapp already, it’s a subscription-based service that gives users access to a huge bunch of great macOS apps.

If I calculate correctly, this is my second month using Setapp, and it’s been great. I’ve had access to so many great applications, that before I wouldn’t of even thought about, or even heard of.

But after all of this time, there’s only a few applications that I have actually launched:

  • CleanMyMac
  • CodeRunner
  • iStat Menus
  • MoneyWiz
  • Ulysses

CleanMyMac is something I’ve ran a few times, just so I could get an idea on the state of my new MacBook.

CodeRunner is actually quite a nifty application, it’s basically a text editor for programmers, that can actually compile and execute code itself. I played around with this a few times when doing Java at university, but it wasn’t something I stuck with.

iStat Menus is probably the only consistent app I use from Setapp, and that’s really just providing me with a few useful stats, that I could realistically live without. Because my Mac isn’t at any stage where I need to worry about resources.

I think I’ve opened MoneyWiz about three times, once to set it up, and then twice to check out my transactions. It’s a nice idea, but not something I need.

Ulysses, maybe my favourite application out of the lot. But I’ve been doing a bit less writing recently, so I haven’t used it as much. I do have iA Writer, and then there’s Bear, so it’s not a necessity, although Ulysses is a well made app.

From a usability point of view, Setapp has worked perfectly. And it does provide a great deal of applications for a little amount of money a month.

However, my problem is that I simply don’t need these applications. And although a few of them are nice to have, it doesn’t warrant any kind of subscription fee.

Check out Setapp for yourself and see if it’s right for you.

14th January 2017

I’ve seen a few people have issues regarding opening applications that they have downloaded from the internet, that they get the error below, about it being from an unidentified developer.

This is due to the latest security settings in macOS, and these are accessible in the Security & Privacy pane in System Preferences.

There are two options to choose from:

  • App Store
  • App Store and identified developers

Of course the top option means you can only open applications distributed from the Mac App Store. But the other one means it allows all apps from the Mac App Store, and also any developers that have signed their application with Apple’s “Developer ID” certificate. This allows developers to distribute their apps outside of the store, but also maintain the same security features, and trust level as the former option.

You can read more about Developer ID on the Apple Developer website.

There is also a temporary solution, which lets you override the security settings on a case by case basis. Just press “Open Anyway” at the bottom of the preferences pane, and it will then open like normal!

Edit (14th January 2017):

My friend Cesare let me know that you can also unlock a third option, this let’s you choose “Anywhere” in the preferences, and will let you download and open any application without restriction.

To unlock it, just open Terminal (Applications/Utilities/Terminal) and enter the following line exactly:

sudo spctl --master-disable

If you want to return it back to normal, just enter the following:

sudo spctl --master-enable