With this week completely focused on finishing phase one of a client project, I completely missed that it was the 1st of the month yesterday. So now that the working week is over and I’m sat back relaxing it’s time to sort out this month’s edition of my homescreens. I’ll tackle both iPhone and iPad at the same time, since the changes to both are identical and for the same reason.
OmniFocus — Since the start of the year I’ve been using Things to manage my tasks, in the last month I’ve ended up switching back to OmniFocus. Partly because one of the porjects I’m working on has needed breaking down further than Things can cope with, and partly because of OmniFocus MailDrop.
Outlook, Gmail, Inbox by Gmail and Mailbox — Recently I’ve been having some issues with the provider of my email, lots of servers down and unreliable delivery. As a self-employed person I need to be able to rely on my email never failing, and so my work email has now switched to Google Apps. I’m still deciding on my personal email setup.
One of the advantages of moving to Google Apps for Work has allowed me to test out a few email apps I couldn’t use previously, and also to combine my email with IFTTT so that it works harder for me. Part of that IFTTT integration has been to combine the Gmail channel with the email channel and my OmniFocus MailDrop address. I’m still refining things and trying to decide which apps to use, but I hope to be able to explain further how I’m making my email work for me rather than having to work to keep on top of it.
This post is a bit of a rarity, it’s the first link post I’ve posted since the reboot of this blog and I think it’s a fitting one.
I’m a big fan of my bible being a paper one, it’s great to be cut off and focused from the world while I’m reading it. I do however, like the utility of having the Bible on my phone and this new app called NeuBible looks absolutely stunning. It doesn’t yet include my preferred translation (ESV for those interested) but I will be certainly giving it a try. If you’ve never read the bible, this seems like a beautiful place to start.
Fascinating look at the way Google are developing the design language for their iOS apps. I have to say I’ve been impressed recently, the new search app and the new maps app are now residents on the home screen of my iPhone 4. Of course it probably helps that they provide me with some features that Apple have held back from the iPhone 4, mainly Siri and turn by turn navigation.
That’s when it clicked. When I realised I had — without really thinking — done all the things I need an iPad to do for a whole week without being forced back to a full-size iPad, I saw that the iPad mini is just that: an iPad.
When it comes to iPad, Fraser is one of those people whom I make sure to take note and listen to what he’s saying. He uses iPad a lot more than most people, so I believe his judgement on the device is one to be taken note of. I’ve played with iPad mini for about 30 mins in total over a couple of visits to the Apple store here in Cheltenham. The weight of the device and how easy it’s been to hold in one hand has me considering selling my iPad 2 to upgrade to a mini, my only reservation being could I continue to use it in my work the way I’m finding I use my iPad 2?
I have not found the mini to be unusably small, even with iOS being scaled down to fit. There have been occasional apps where certain operations have been fiddly, and I found drawing precisely with a stylus was difficult because of the relative size of the stylus tip. This might be something that can be overcome with a bit of practice but I’m not there yet.
This is now my only reservation. I use a stylus and the Paper app to scamp ideas, it beats my Moleskine because I can use subtle colours to guide my thinking. I can see a trip to the Apple Store armed with my stylus coming to maybe confirm or deny that nagging that the reduction in weight is worth me seriously considering upgrading (and curing the pain I get in my wrists after reading for extended periods).
Autumn is my favourite time of year. I live the colours and the chance to layer up. Around this time I always find myself trying to find some nice shots for my various wallpapers. My iPhone and iPad are now rocking a couple of these shots.
The iPad mini doesn’t add anything to the iOS experience feature-wise, but it does make using iPad apps out in the real world far more likely. I never felt comfortable using my iPad outside the office or house, but I think I’ll be taking this smaller, lighter iPad with me more often.
I had a brief play with an iPad mini at the weekend. Unlike with the iPhone or the original iPad, I didn’t get a big wow moment, instead a more relaxed and confirming this feels right. Seems to be the general theme from the reviews I’m reading online.
I’m finding myself more and more drawn to the Evernote world. This coming update looks like it could be really nice to use and finally push me into using the app more regularly. The only thing that’s not show is the home screen icon, hopefully they’ve improved that as well, the current one is ugly.
Shawn Blanc with a good roundup of the options for enabling AirPrint on your Mac so you can print from your iOS devices. I’m currently trying out Printopia because of it’s flexibility to print to PDF on my Mac as well as my printer.
Because the iPad is only for consuming right? You can’t use it for productive tasks, like maybe improving your maths, or teaching your kids in a way they are used to. This app looks great, I’m sure I’d have enjoyed maths more had I been able to learn it in a more relaxed fun way.
Today, right now, we’re using the same mobile operating system with the same apps as the guys in Cupertino who dream this stuff up and make it happen.
And it seems to me that there are several things in iOS 6 which reveal just that. This version of iOS is not full of any one amazing new jaw-dropping feature that will have our minds spinning. Instead it’s filled with dozens of little things that will get used by real people ever day. And it will make our lives a little bit nicer and a little bit easier.
This is exactly how iOS 6 feels to me, a steady refinement, sanding off the rough edges and the bits of friction. It’s smoother, a little bit snappier on my iPhone 4 (except for the app store) and just a nice incremental progression.
The cloud sync that is now finally in Cultured Code’s Things is fantastic. This little addition has made it even more awesome, best of all it works like the video shows it does.
That’s where Local Push comes in. Now, every time you make a change on one device, Things sends an encrypted notification of that change across your local network. All your other devices on the same local network pick this up and request the changes from Things Cloud.
In other words — you can have Things open on all your devices, make a change on one of them, and see that change applied on your other devices almost immediately.
Up until a few weeks ago I’ve often found myself asking the question below:
Why won’t you admit that you can only use the iPad for real work because you’re a writer?
Perhaps one could be justified in asking it. A lot of the people demonstrating the iPad is good for working on tend to be writers, people who just require a text editor and a keyboard to produce something. Of course each time I come across answers similar to this:
I didn’t expect this self-interview to get so combative. But if you’re so sure that the iPad can’t be used for other creative expression, you might want to take it up with people like Cynthia Wick and Glen Mulcahy.
A couple of weeks ago I experienced this first hand. Each summer I do a beach mission in North Wales, every year we end up making things at the last minute to suit the needs which no amount of planning could foresee. This year what was the device I used to do the work? My iPad. My MacBook Pro sat upstairs in it’s case for pretty much the entire time. I wrote talks on my iPad, I made presentations and I planned sessions. My friend, he drew pictures to tell bible stories. Not once did we require a Mac or PC to do it. It was a real eye opener to the power of the iPad as a computer that can be used for work.
So will I leave my MacBook Pro at home next summer? As a freelance designer the only thing that stops me doing this, and perhaps my biggest disappointment with the iPad at the moment, is that there is no software akin to InDesign or Illustrator that would let me. Yet…
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.
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.
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.