Delight is in the Details, Version 2

Shawn Blanc has been obsessing on creativity and released a multi-media book worth checking out. It is called Delight is in the Details and includes audio interviews, videos, and more. The books is 25% off until tomorrow. As Shawn explains it:

Average, “good enough” work is no longer good enough. Our success, our products, and our reputations all rest on the details, the delight, the intention, and the vision we bring to our work.

Delight is in the Details is packed with practical advice, tips, encouragement, inspiration, and insight. Resist the prevailing tide of “good enough” work that leads to forgettable products and a dissatisfaction in your work life. This book and interview series will teach you how to reach for excellence and find joy and delight in the journey.

Sparky's Pens, July 2014

Click to enlarge.

I’ve received several emails lately asking what kinds of pens I'm using these days. Not much has changed. I still have my fancy Pilot Namiki Vanishing Point with the  fine nib that I first wrote about a while back. I’ve had it a couple years now and still not managed to lose it. There is definitely an art to using a fountain pen and when I loan it to someone that’s not used one before, they tend to hate it. I’ve got it down and it still makes me smile to use it with my chicken-scratch writing. I know picking an ink for a fountain pen can lead to an entirely new fetish. I haven’t gone that far down the rabbit hole (yet). For now I’ve been using these Pilot black cartridges.

I have also bought several Zebra Sarasa pens. Jet Pens has them in multiple colors (my favorites are blue-black and red) and multiple tip sizes (.4mm for me). I keep these in my various desks and bags. I primarily use the Pilot fountain pen but when I need color, the Sarasa pens do the job. 

Streaming Voice Dictation in iOS 8

Apple announced streaming voice dictation in Siri, which shows you your words as you speak them, at WWDC. This feature has existed on Android for awhile and it is something I'd very much like to see on iOS. However, Apple was mum on adding the feature beyond Siri to normal voice dictation. If they've got the ability to do it in Siri, why not everywhere else too? As confirmed by 9to5 Mac, you can now stream dictation anywhere on iOS. This is a big deal for dictators, such as myself. iOS 8 just keeps getting better and better. 


 

Sponsor: Hoban Cards

Hoban Press is sponsoring MacSparky.com this week. I’ve heard from many readers that love their new Hoban Cards pressed out of Hoban’s 1902 letterpress machine. I sure love mine. 

HOBAN CARDS

Hoban Cards specializes in in minimal calling cards. This is a less expensive way to get into letterpress printing. Evan has been adding new designs and he is now up to 18 beautiful, typographic calling card templates. These are perfect for individuals or businesses looking for a unique and classy alternative to conventional, mass produced, soulless business cards. For a limited time, he has a nice discount on some of the new templates.

HOBAN PRESS

Hoban Press specializes in custom letterpress printed items like business cards, stationery, and wedding invitations. This is the best choice if you need to use your own logo or artwork. They also provide design and layout services.

MPU 204: Presentations

Episode 204 of the Mac Power Users is now available. In it Katie and I talk about some of our favorite tips for giving good presentations and I talk a little bit about behind-the-scenes with the new book at the end.

Marked2 is Now in the Mac App Store

Brett Terpstra is kind of legendary in nerd circles. He makes wonderful tools that makes our lives easier. I bought Marked 2 when he first released it outside of the App Store and use it all the time. Now Brett has the app for sale in the Mac App Store. It's more customizable than ever before with themes and advanced writing and proofreading tools. 

For a limited time, Marked 2 will be available for $9.99. The regular price will be $13.99. This will serve as both "introductory" pricing for new users and "upgrade" pricing for existing users of Marked 1.4.

The Presentations Field Guide is Now Shipping

I'm pleased to announce the Presentations Field Guide on is now shipping. The initial response has been fantastic and the book is currently at the top of the charts in the iBooks Store.

I spent a lot of time on the design and this book looks fantastic. Readers already are reporting they love the new design and layout. The content also came out great walking you through planning and giving a presentation in addition to all the parts you'll be doing on your Mac and iPad.

The book is available in the iBooks and PDF formats. If you've been waiting, now is the time to go get it. I've got screenshots, the promo video, and a full description right here. 

TextExpander for Quick Defer+Due Dates in OmniFocus

Max Masnick is using Text Expander to quickly enter defer and due dates in OmniFocus. Max primarily uses this for events that have the same defer and due dates. For example if you want a task to disappear but show up as due on Monday at 9am. I don't have much cause for that style task because I so rarely use due dates but there is no reason you couldn't also use this to defer with later relative due dates, for example two weeks from Friday, which in OmniFocus speak would be 2w Fri. Moreover, Max figured out how to combine defer dates and TextExpander so of course he gets a link.

 

Apple Opens Up iTunes Pass in the US

I've always felt that Apple's Passbook was a good idea that never really took off. I use it for boarding passes but have found very few other uses. (I know the poster child for Passbook retail use is Starbucks but I don't drink coffee and don't like their tea.) Either way, I've felt that Passbook has been in limbo lately. I'm sure the whole "pay with your phone" idea is important to Apple but it seemed like Passbook may be one of those things that just lingers until Apple unveils the next initiative to replace it.

That may still be the case but it appears Apple isn't entirely ignoring Passbook. Today they added a new feature that lets you charge up your iTunes credit with Passbook in an Apple retail store. This makes a lot of sense with the upcoming Family Sharing feature. I would like to see Passbook (or something like it) take off. I'm tired of carrying bits of plastic around when I've got a really smart phone.

Josh Centers at TidBITS walks you through how to use Passbook in the Apple Store.

IBM and Apple Sitting in a Tree …

Today Apple and IBM announced a partnership to use IBM’s enterprise expertise and Apple’s products to tackle enterprise sales. It seems like a good fit. There are a lot of moving pieces and, as usual, Macworld covers it well.

For years now, Apple has been building this retail/consumer battleship and largely ignoring enterprise sales. While Apple has lavished significant attention on enterprise support in iOS, they’ve never appeared to care much about selling to and supporting the enterprise. As a result, we’ve all wondered if they had some sort of plan or just didn’t care. With today’s move, it appears the plan is to offload enterprise sales and support to IBM. It makes sense. I hope it goes well for both companies.

Spreadsheet Tricks

I am a business lawyer but did my undergraduate degree in political science, which makes me a bit of a faker among some of the business types I spend time with. However, the one thing that always gives me credibility is the way I can make a spreadsheet application dance. I've written in the past how, for certain problems, a spreadsheet application can double as a simple application development platform. Here is the Settlement "App" I've built in Numbers.

If you are looking at getting better at spreadsheets, Rob Griffiths wrote up a nice summary at Macworld of nine things you should know how to do with a spreadsheet.

 

Sponsor: Beloved Robot

This week MacSparky.com is sponsored by Beloved Robot, a group of app developers that get it. 

Got At Idea?

Do you have an idea that will take your business to the next level? Want enable your employees to be more productive and efficient? Solving these types of problems is their specialty. They can offer you the design and development that will solve problems, not create more.

Got An App?

Do you already have an app that needs a little love? Not happy with the look and feel? Let Beloved Robots developers take a look. They pride ourselves in creating beautiful apps that will stand out in a ever more crowded App Store.

Don’t Hesitate

The ever growing need for mobile solutions is not going away. Don’t stand aside and let the competition beat you to the punch. Engage your customers with a stunning mobile app and let the pros at Beloved Robot help you do that. They provide strategy, design and development services to clients that is a cut above the rest.

Beloved Robot has got you covered. 

Natural Scrolling in LaunchBar

launchbar-512.png

Apple has me so well trained on natural scrolling that when LaunchBar scrolls the old way through its lists, I panic a little. "Why is it going the wrong direction?" The LaunchBar gang has a post explaining their design decision. They also have a terminal commands for people like me that want a naturally scrolling LaunchBar. If you want natural scrolling in your LaunchBar, go into your terminal and type the below command. Then quit and relaunch LaunchBar and you'll be all fixed up.

defaults write at.obdev.LaunchBar NaturalScrolling YES


Jazz Friday: John Coltrane, A Love Supreme

John Coltrane is one of the most well-regarded saxophonists ever to pick up the instrument. He was a vital band member with Miles Davis and a force of his own as a solo artist. I used his Ballads album to serenade my children when they were babies and I still find myself playing it when I need a bit of serenity.

John was also quite spiritual. He recorded several albums that were spiritually inspired. In one of his seminal works, A Love Supreme, he wrote a Psalm and then, in the studio, put the words on his music stand and played them I first heard about this when I was 15 and playing the sax several hours a day. I couldn’t fathom someone playing words instead of music. However, I did read John’s Psalm and listen to the music and I did hear it.

Just a few weeks ago, Dan Colman made a video at OpenCulture, that shows you John’s original words overlaid with the music. I found it mesmerizing to watch as I could put myself in the head of this musical genius and look at the words float by as the notes come out.

My thanks to David in Cincinnati for pointing me at the OpenCulture post.



About that Sapphire Crystal Video

I'm going to declare the release of the below video demonstrating an alleged Sappphire crystal display from the next iPhone the official opening of iPhone rumor silly season. Every year about this time, the parts leaks start up giving us increased information about the next iPhone, which Apple will probably announce in September or October. While the video is impressive, I'm not sure how relevant the tests were. I've been using iPhones without cases since the first iPhone. Granted I'm pretty careful about it (the left pocket is for iPhone only) but I have never had a scratch on the glass of any of my iPhones.

Shattered glass is another story. The real test I would like to see with this Sapphire crystal (if this is Sapphire crystal), is shatter resistance. If Apple is incorporating this new material and it can dramatically decrease the amount of shattered screens, then we are talking.

Either way, I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more links and stories in the coming months leading up to Apple's announcement. Moreover, if the new material is used and is more shatter resistant, I'm certain that Tim and gang will be shouting that from the rooftops at the eventual announcement.