MPU Listener David Hall found a clever use for Reeder's defeault address to send link setting. He put in his OmniFocus Mail Drop address and now can send an article straight into OmniFocus without leaving Reeder. I'm in.
When I first started thinking about putting myself out there with podcasting and blogging, one of the first people I contacted was Tim Verpoorten. Tim ran the Surfbits MacReviewCast and was always welcoming with advice, assistance, and that friendly midwestern accent. Tim's been sick for some time but that still didn't stop him from blogging and keeping in touch with his old Mac friends. Tim represents to me everything that is great about our geek community and today we lost him. So long Surfbits. I'll miss you. Photo by Victor Cajiao
Here I am being clever with Danielle Moser.
For years I carried a little paper notebook (usually Field Notes) in my pocket along with my iPhone. I don't do that much anymore. At the day job I still carry a pen and notecards in my breast pocket—which are useful for sharing—but after hours I'm no longer with paper. This shift wasn't intentional but instead a gradual thing as I became more smitten with Drafts. It just isn't that much more difficult for me to tap a quick note into Drafts and carrying less always feels better. If you are on the fence about this, the gang at DODO just released an interesting notebook with a sort-of iPhone nest built in called DODONotes. A year ago I would have probably tried one but right now, I'm good.
Over the weekend I bought a copy of Wordify from the Mac App Store. Wordify takes an existing picture and a stack of words about that picture and then outputs a PDF that recreates the picture with your words. I made one of my daughter and her cousin and I thought it came out great.
The New York Times was doing something similar to this at Macworld/iWorld and people were lined up around the booth. My wife and kids are really into this.
I found this article about the Syrian Electronic Army hacking The Onion fascinating. They pulled it off with phishing. In particular, they embedded malicious links in friendly sounding email. Once they got a few people to bite, they used those compromised email accounts to double down and phish more employees using their friends' emails. This really makes me question the use of embedded links in email. They are so convenient but also so easy to abuse.
There are some tools in Apple mail to expose a link before opening it. Regardless, be careful out there. (Link found via John Gruber).
Ben Waldie, who is, in my opinion, probably the most savvy AppleScript author not actually working for Apple recently published a script on TUAW that automatically extracts an icon from an application. I created a similar service using scripts I learned from Sal Saghoian's AppleScript 1-2-3 book a few years ago but Ben's solution is much better. I've added it to my script menu and if you ever have need of app icons, you should too.
Agile just released 1Password 4.2 for iOS and it is a really nice update:
Better Browser Go & Fill Bookmarks are now in 1Browser on iPad. (The iPhone is coming.) Also, if 1Password sees a URL in the clipboard, it’ll prompt you to open it in the 1Password browser.
Better Sharing You can share 1Password vault items (encrypted) with others. This will make things much easier between myself and MrsMacSparky.
Better Search Search in iOS 1Password now searches all fields.
I recently got this awesome Classic Mac lego set from Chris McVeigh. There is a standing joke in my house. The kids get Lego, dad begs to help, dad gets denied. Not this time. The kit even includes a clever Lego logic board. I love having this on my desk
There is no question that MacSparky readers and Mac Power Users listeners are all amazing. I received further proof of this recently when Andrew & Sarah Spear sent me their children's book, My Little Geek (all the way from New Zealand). It's a wonderful little book beautifully illustrated. I've been reading it with my two year old nephew and it is way too much fun. I just wish this book had existed when my girls were small.
I recently received an email from reader Jonas Bergenudd with a really clever workflow. Jonas has things in his life that occasionally require replenishment, like batteries. So Jonas created stickers with QR codes on them using OmniFocus's URL scheme to add a new task to his OmniFocus list.
For example, scanning this QR code takes your phone to the following URL - omnifocus:///add?name=buy%20aa-batteries.
Go ahead, hit it with RedLaser. You know you want to.
OmniFocus captures that URL and creates a new task, "buy aa-batteries".
You could create a series of these stickers and place them on things around your house and then zap them when they start getting low. Is it faster than stopping and typing an entry in OmniFocus directly? I guess it depends on how often you need batteries. Is it geekier and cooler knowing you can zap a QR code with your phone and add a task. Most definitely yes.
If you are looking for an app to generate QR codes, there are several in the Mac App store.
What are some of favorite apps?
My hands down favorite app right now (and has been for a long time) is Instapaper. I'm a Ph.D student so I spend a ton of time reading things for class and research which means I don't have a lot of time to sit down and read other, fun, things. Instapaper is almost single handedly responsible for keeping me a semi-rounded individual. I'm very good about throwing interesting articles I see into the app and I love that I can use weird snippets of time to work through a personal reading list. I've also really been enjoying Circa for kind of the same reason, actually. I like how well summarized and broken down the articles are. You can tell there is some serious thought and care taken to do that well. The app is also just really well-designed and fun to use. (D-Nice find)
Which app is your guilty pleasure?
Probably Facebook at this point. It seems to be one of the main ways my classmates like to communicate so I'm obligated to keep it around to some degree. It's also a good way to stay in touch with my family on the other side of the country. It has become much more bearable ever since I unfollowed almost everybody who I wasn't "real" friends with. Now my News Feed is (mostly) filled with updates from people I actually care about. I suppose my other one is the NHL's video streaming app, NHL GameCenter. I'm a huge hockey fan and it's nice to be able to catch a Red Wing's game if I'm stuck in a lecture...I mean, not near my computer for a completely legitimate reason :)
What is the app you are still missing?
This is where I make a corny joke about an app that will write research papers or do my homework, right? While I love Mendeley for PDF storage/citation management on my Mac, the iPhone app is pretty terrible -- to the point where it's basically missing. I eventually plan on getting an iPad or iPad mini and at that point I'm going to have to figure out an app or system of apps to keep the PDFs I read and annotate/highlight on my computer automatically synced with my iOS devices. I'm sure there is something out there that will work great but I haven't spent the time to figure it out, yet.
What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?
I have an iPhone 5 and I love how thin it is. I upgraded from a 3GS so the difference between the two was striking. My phone is the hub of much of my productive life (Fantastical, Things, and Evernote being the main trifecta) as well as much of my leisure time (Instapaper, Reeder, Twitter, Comixology, Letterpress, etc.). Being able to always have it in my pocket and not feel oppressed by its size or weight is important to the way I use it.
Anything else you'd like to share?
I don't remember where I originally read this or if it was some kind of original thought, but I try to use my home screen as inspiration. I look at my phone many, many times every day and I decided that I want the apps that help me be a better person or create something new in the world to be what I see most often. That's why I keep WriteRoom, Drafts, and Ink where I do. Instead of turning on my phone and being greeted by a bunch of games or mindless social networks I wanted to see apps that require me to engage with them on a little bit more intellectual level. Even if I'm not turning to my phone to draft an article or sketch a picture, keeping those apps front and center help me keep my mind on the fact that this phone can be a powerful tool if I decide to engage with it properly. I'm obviously getting away from this somewhat (see Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, etc.), but it's something I try to be mindful of.
With Mother's Day this weekend, Mrs. MacSparky reports she wants a new Kaboo Bag for her iPad. Kaboo makes some nice purse-looking technology bags. This will be the second one we've purchased for Daisy and the first still looks new.
Pixelmator, my photo and graphics weapon of choice, just got a really nice update. There are a lot of new features in this update.
There are shape tools and pallets, with dozens of built in shapes. (Watch the video)
There is an intriguing new "convert text into shape" feature, to apply apply gradients, shadows, strokes, or even reshape individual letters.
There is a new paint selection tool to speed up selections with a brush stroke. (Watch the video)
They've also added a light leak effect for retro-illuminated images. (Watch the video)
It's a free upgrade if you've already purchased the app. If not, I recommend getting a copy of Pixelmator. It is a really powerful photo tool for just $15.
Here is another group of my TextExpander snippets.
My date snippets fall in a few categories:
Why type August when "xm8" is faster?
I don't remember when TextExpander added this feature but I really like the relative date function. If I want yesterday's date for instance, I type "d--"
Because I date stamp notes from conversations in nvALT notes and they are always a heading two, I have two different versions of the date stamps, one with and one without markdown headings.
AppleScript Date Snippets
These are magic.
xdnm gets next Monday
xdnw gets the date range next week
xdns gets next Saturday
xdnf gets next Friday
I've written most of these and collected others from the Web. All of the AppleScript based date snippets are courtesy of Ben Waldie. Also honorable mention goes to Tim Stringer, who sent in his list. If you think you've got me licked with something better, send it in and I'll include it with the next update.