How Apple Saved My Life ›

If you do only one thing on the internet today, please watch this video by James Rath. In a world where so often technology can make us feel disconnected and absent from those around us, it’s important to see things from the other end something. In the case of James Rath it’s incredible to see how much technology has influenced his life in such a positive way.

Airfoil 5.5: Now Playing on Chromecast! ›

One of my favourite Mac utilities has just been updated to add some excellent functionality. Airfoil now supports Chromecast and it works very well.

I’ve never understood why AirPlay from an iOS device only allows you to send audio to one speaker at a time, Airfoil is the perfect way to fix that. My MacBook Pro is normally on and so I AirPlay to Airfoils sister app Airfoil Satellite and then using the iOS Satellite app send the audio to what ever speakers I want. Since I have a Chromecast in my little studio I can now easily send Apple Music to my speakers without faffing around with cables. I put it to good use this morning streaming to both my studio speakers and kitchen speakers while I moved between the two rooms.

App Store 2.0 ›

News broke last night of some changes to the App Store. Chief among them was the availability of subscription pricing to all types of apps. Many people seem to see it as a positive for developers, and I agree to some extent, but it all depends how those subscriptions will be used.

This quote from The Verge’s coverage of the news is exactly what I’m concerned about.

Tsiddon says his company makes around $10 million a year from its premium apps, which are sold for a one-time purchase fee of $3.99 or $4.99. Lightricks has sold 8 million app downloads to date. Tsiddon hasn’t fully committed to a subscription model yet, only saying that he’s “excited to experiment with the business model,” but based on back-of-the-envelope math he believes if his company saw 4 million downloads while charging a $4 monthly subscription fee, he could make 10 times his current annual revenue. 

If developers start to shift to pricing like this, I and many others, will stop using their apps. I simply can not afford, and even if I could I would not be able to justify, paying $4 a month to use an app. Especially when it’s multiplied by the 12 independent apps on my iPhone homescreen. That’s not sustainable.

Ulysses 2.5 for iPad and, Now, iPhone Review ›

A glowing review which I couldn’t agree with more. Ever since I downloaded it for my iPad I’ve been using the app, now it’s on my iPhone as well everything I write for this site goes through the app. Paired with the Mac app, it’s great for writing sermons in as well.

I’m Done with MacBooks ›

When I read this post from Khoi Vinh I found myself nodding along in agreement. This part in particular struck a chord,

When I think about where I’m most productive with OS X, it’s always at my desk, where I have a huge monitor (on my iMac, at home) or even two Cinema Displays (at work) 

I upgraded my Mac nearly a year ago and had a long debate about whether to get an iMac or a MacBook Pro. The iMac was appealing for so many reasons, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to give up the flexibility my MacBook offers. However there’s no denying that I’m most productive at my desk with a larger screen, and since upgrading my iPad 2 to an iPad Air 2 I’m using that for more work leaving me more focused when I’m on my Mac as well.

In the future I can certainly see myself moving to an iMac over the MacBook Pro and maybe, if budget affords it, and iPad Pro. Especially as it’s capabilities grow and allow for more and more work to be accomplished on it.

Introducing Day One 2 ›

I’ve been a Day One user over the last few years, having spells of using it more than others.the release of Day One 2 brings a slew of new features and a visual overhaul, I’ve already picked up the iOS version, but I’m debating the need to pick up the Mac one.

Oopsie… Things?

A few months ago I started to use an ingenious AppleScript created by Shawn Blanc which he nicely titled OopsieFocus. It’s purpose? To make sure that when I hit the keyboard shortcut I use for the OmniFocus quick entry window, I was never left hanging without it opening.

Whilst most of the time when I’m at my Mac I had OmniFocus open, occasionally I didn’t and It was those occasions this little script helped me out. By setting Alfred to run this AppleScript on the same keyboard trigger I set in OmniFocus, it checked whether the app was running and if it wasn’t it launched OmniFocus followed by the quick entry window. Genius!

So at the start of September when I felt OmniFocus was more than I needed to manage my tasks, I made the move back to Things and adapted Shawn’s script to work with my new app of choice.

Being a generous chap, I thought just in case any of you folk out there could make use of my altered script, I’d post it here (with Shawn’s permission) for you to download.

Once you’ve downloaded the script I suggest you set it up to run with an app like Alfred (with Powerpack), FastScripts, or Keyboard Maestro to be triggered when you use the same Quick Entry keyboard shortcut you have set in Things.

Download as:

Things Cloud and Local Push ›

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.

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.

OS X Lion by Shawn Blanc ›

For me, it is not the headline features of Lion that make it such a compelling and noteworthy release. Rather, it is the thousand little refinements that all add up to what is, in my opinion, the most attractive and usable operating system on the planet.

An interesting read from Shawn about Apple’s new version of OS X. with my limited use of Lion, I agree with Shawn’s statement. Lion is polished. Very polished.

Maniacal Rage ›

Eventually, I realized something was funky with my older core OS X install. Whatever it is, it happened — I would assume slowly — over the past six years. Various configurations, application installs, terminal messes… nearly a decade of computing had created a completely bloated and unnecessarily slow machine. 

Interesting comments from Garrett about the affect of effectively using the same Mac OS X system for 10 years without starting again. I’ve been thinking of starting a fresh on Lion, looks like I might just do that after reading this. I may not be on a SSD Mac but the thought of a fresh streamlined Mac is very appealing.

Now where’d I put that external HDD…

OopsieFocus Script by Shawn Blanc ›

This happens to me on a semi-regular basis: I hit the hotkey to bring up the OmniFocus Quick Entry Pane but nothing happens.

I do this and it drives me nuts. Thankfully Shawn has a fix in the form of OopsieFocus. I just installed this handy little applescript triggered by the ever useful Alfred.

Reeder for Mac ›

Reeder for Mac is now out of beta. I’ve been using this app since it went into public beta and really love the trackpad gestures it’s got built in. I use it on my iPad as well, and I can really see how iOS has influenced the thinking of the developer. Go check it out on the App Store.

Hands-On Details about the iPad 2 and iOS 4.3 by Jeff Carlson ›

Jeff Carlson on Tibits indicates I may have been wrong in my assumptions of how home sharing on iOS works in his Hands-On Details about the iPad 2 and iOS 4.3.

A part of the iOS 4.3 update, iTunes Home Sharing lets you stream media from a copy of iTunes on your network to your iPad, rather than having to first transfer it during a sync operation. In addition, Home Sharing helps keep your library up to date. When you purchase a song on an iOS device and then connect to your iTunes library wirelessly, the song is automatically transferred to your library. It’s like turning your iOS device into an Apple TV.

(Via Shawn Blanc.)