A Week With iOS Six ›

Of all the announcements Apple made at WWDC last week, iOS 6 is the one which excites me the most. Well, to be more accurate, Siri excites me the most. Chuck Skoda gives an interesting view of one week with iOS 6, further enticing me to upgrade (if I can) when the new iPhone arrives.

Little Thing: Desks on The Brooks Review ›

A timely post by Ben Brooks considering I will be looking for a new desk at some point in the next 8 weeks. Ben highlights three little things to consider when buying a new desk.

Technically, desks are really big things, and most people will take their time in finding one that they like and that fits their office/room. This post isn’t about finding a good desk, it’s about making sure that you look at three little things about desks before you buy your next desk.

Quantum of Solace Typography ›

I caught a portion of the most recent Bond film, Quantum of Solace, the other day. The little intro shots with the name of place written in various fonts really caught my attention, I liked them and just wanted to point you all to somewhere you could see them.

Are We Using Geofencing Wrong? — The Brooks Review ›

When Apple announced their reminders app, and a new API, that allows geofencing in iOS, I was pretty pumped. To be able to schedule a task to alert you the moment you enter or leave a location seemed pretty cool. But, as with many things, the demo proved to be much cooler than the actual real world use case.

Ben’s not alone with this feeling. I was excited when Geofencing was released, I always forget stuff at the supermarket so the notion of being reminded when I arrived to buy something sounded great. In practise not so much.

Since Instapaper with background update locations launched I’ve been putting it to use on my iPhone. It’s brilliant and I already want more developers to implement something similar (hint, hint Instacast). It feels like this is such an obvious thing to do that I’m baffled no one thought of it sooner. It feels like this kind of thing is what Apple created the Geofences for.

If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical: “It’s gonna go wrong.” Or “She’s going to hurt me.” Or, “I’ve had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore …” Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.

Ray Bradbury

(Via Iain Broome.)

If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a…

State of Create Study ›

This fascinating look at the attitudes about creativity confirmed what I thought about the UK and what I thought about the focus of a lot of business people in todays society. We lag behind in creativity, and productivity (or making more money) outweighs being creative (or making things).

(Via Jim Dalrymple.)

Blogsy 3.4 Released ›

The iPad blogging app Blogsy has just released a new version which includes the ability to set/edit custom fields for WordPress blogs. For those of you like me who like to blog from the iPad this could be just up your street. I’ll be checking it out this evening.

(Via Jim Dalrymple.)

Field Notes Memo Archive ›

Field Notes announced the arrival of their Spring 2012 “National Crop Edition” memo books. I love Field Notes, there’s usually one on or near my person.

The passion in this video is why I like these items so much. The excitement in finding the memo book Aaron is talking about is brilliant, I love it, and the attention he pays towards them is mirrored in Field Notes.

If you don’t want to watch a video about old memo books, just load that page to look at all the covers of the on display.

AirFoil’s Menu Bar Access

I seem to have this strange affinity for the menu bar. Well really it’s for little icons in the menu bar. If an app can run in it in someway, chances are it is doing so on my Mac.

Recently the excellent AirFoil from Rogue Amoeba was upgraded to version 4.7. It brought with it the ability to run an icon in the menu bar instead of the dock. Instantly I turned it on, AirFoil is always running and it bugs me to have too many icons in the dock of my MBP1. It’s a brilliant idea and one which, in my opinion, should’ve been available much earlier than it has been. A simple click shows me what song is playing in either iTunes or Spotify, which speaker I’m streaming too and the ability to add more should I wish. It’s almost like the universal AirPlay icon in the multitasking tray on iOS.

That’s all great, except, it feels kinda half finished.

The greatest thing about AirFoil is that I can stream from any source on my Mac. I mainly use it for Spotify or iTunes, but occasionally I play something in Safari like the a live 5by5 podcast. It baffles me that I can’t select what source AirFoil is transmitting from the menu bar. Logic, at least to me, dictated that this would be the chief function.

Imagine the scene. I’m sat working away, I realise via Twitter, that the B&B Podcast is about to start live on 5by5.tv. I click the link in the tweet I just read and I’m switched to Safari. Since I already have music playing from iTunes, using Alfred I can pause it instantly and then I’m free to start the live stream. The only thing is I have to click show AirFoil, then find the window and click the drop down. Then I have to select my source, and then I can close the window. It all seems kinda long winded and like I should be able to switch source on the fly from the menu item. A ‘source’ menu below or above my speakers containing only the apps I have open and available to be used as my source would be fantastic. It’d reduce the clicking and thus the friction in changing a source for my AirFoil broadcast. Hopefully they will add this ability soon, it would complete the app as far as I’m concerned.

  1. I’m a dock on the side guy (left bottom) and so vertical space is limited.

I Miss My Cave

man cave
noun Informal .
a room or other area in a home that is primarily a male sanctuary, designed and furnished to accommodate the man’s recreational activities, hobbies, etc.

Dictionery.com

During my latter years at school while studying my GCSEs and A Levels I began to understand the need for a cave. Of course still being at school and living at home I had a ready made one – my bedroom.

As a teenager in the early days of developing an interest in design, that cave allowed me to create the atmosphere I needed to work. I had a drawing table set up where I would work on creative pieces and study for my exams. It had a light that bent over me shining a focused beam on my work space and plunging the rest of the room into darkness. I had some of my most productive evenings at that table. In fact I have long standing memories of working on my graphics coursework close to a deadline with the masters snooker on my little tv and that light beaming a zone of creativity onto my table.

Moving to uni I again had my own ready made cave. The room in my halls of residence quickly became the place for all my creative work. Angle poise shining on my desk, laptop on, a dark room and momentum building music on late in to the night. Then the bedroom in my shared house in the final two years at uni and the first year in employment had a similar feel, but replacing my laptop with my iMac.

I miss those caves.

Since I’ve been living on my own I’ve not really had a cave. A flat with a living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom doesn’t really lend itself to creating one. The living room is a place for relaxing, eating and hosting visitors. The bedroom is for sleeping and relaxing, I need it to be purely for that else I’ll never shut down properly to sleep.

The quest for a cave

Since I’ve no space for a desk and no closet I could convert into a cave I’ve been exploring ways to create an environment that can be quickly and easily set up, then easily removed when I have visitors.

I’ve always tried to zone my living room so that I have a lounge area and a dining area. The dining area is the only bit of my flat that I can sit down and do work at and so it’s become the centre of my quest for a cave.

The table lamp which used to sit on my dining table has been removed and replaced with my angle poise. My laptop now has a home on the table and my wired Apple keyboard and Logitech mouse have come out of storage. All of them can be quickly packed away when visitors are around and for the first time in a few years I’ve been able to begin creating that cave like atmosphere as I work by the light of my angle poise. I can even do it with my iPad instead of the laptop should I wish.

Whilst it’s not quite the same as a permanent cave, it’s a step in the right direction until I’m able to afford a place with room for a permanent cave. Most importantly it’s already having an impact on the way I’m working in the evenings on my own projects as well as on personal freelance clients.

But the lesson that I’ve learnt, in this little exercise is that actually it’s not necessarily about having a physical space, it’s about atmosphere. In order to foster creativity I need the right atmosphere, a permanent place makes that easy to create but the quest for my cave isn’t really for a physical space at the moment. It’s about a way for me to recreate the atmosphere of my early and original caves. It’s about developing a method that allows me to quickly set up at my dining table and focus. Events over the last few weeks have caused me to realise specifically that by my very nature I’m a night owl and not an early bird. Maybe that has something to do with my atmosphere…

That—in spite of everything, no matter what, whatever it cost him—God won’t ever stop loving his children . . . with a wonderful, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.

Sally Lloyd-Jones on The Gospel Coalition.

Gods Love

Mountain Lion on Daring Fireball ›

“We’re starting to do some things differently,” Phil Schiller said to me.

No kidding, not only are Apple surprising us with this announcement, they’re surprising us with how they’re doing it. A one on one keynote to announce the next major version of OS X for a select number of writers. Apple really do know how to work things to give the best impact.