Apple Watch and Bold Text

A few weeks ago I guested on The Talk Show and John Gruber and I talked about everyone's favorite new gadget. John made the comment that he turned on Bold Text in the Brightnss and Text Size setting. This is a strange setting and requires you to reboot the watch to take effect. During the show, I went ahead and switched it on and have kept it that way since. I don't have much to add to what John said during the show except an endorsement. With Bold Text turned on, complications are easier to read and look better and in most other views text is also easier to read but doesn't usually look better. 

TextExpander for Mac Version 5

Today Smile Released TextExpander for Mac, Version 5. The new version has some great new features including the ability to recognize frequently typed phrases and offer to create new snippets for you, remind you when you type a phrase for which you already have a snippet, improvements to fill-in snippets, iCloud sync, and Java Script support. I did a whole series of videos on the new version and they came out great. There are 10 videos in total and they really give you the soup-to-nuts training in TextExpander. If you are already a pro, just watch the "What's New" video below.

App Camp For Girls Funding Campaign and Matching Funds Offer

I am so proud of my friend Jean MacDonald (Twitter). She left her business and took an enormous risk to start App Camp for Girls. Jean is truly making a dent in the universe.

I am also particularly proud of the role Mac Power Users listeners and MacSparky readers have played thus far in App Camp for Girls’ success. Not only have you provided financial support, several of you have also donated your time and expertise. It actually makes my heart swell.

Today App Camp for Girls has started a new public funding campaign. The funding goal is $100,000. These funds will be used to bring the program to more girls and more locations. Just as important, success there will convince corporate sponsors that App Camp is for real and help win even more corporate sponsorships.

Matching Funds!

Katie and I feel strongly about this. So much so that we’ve agreed to personally match funds contributed to App Camp for Girls by Mac Power Users listeners up to the first $1,000. Nothing would make me happier than writing a big check. So why don’t you help me out with that?

To participate:

1. Donate to the App Camp Indiegogo campaign as you normally would, including choosing from one of the available perks.

2. Email a copy of your donation receipt (feel free to redact any personal information but leave the amount) to with the words “AppCamp 3.0” (no quotes) in the subject line.

3. Katie and I will jointly match MPU listener donations up to $1,000.

Jean MacDonald will be our guest on Mac Power Users in early June to give us an update on her progress and talk about how she used technology to get a non-profit up and running. I’m hopeful we’ll also be able to announce we’ve raised enough money to sponsor a Mac Power Users team at App Camp for Girls this summer.

Setting the OmniFocus Default Start Time

One nice benefit of no longer working for the man is that I have a lot more control over my schedule. It has been a surprise to me that I find myself often working late into the night. In my former life, I had always been an early riser but in this new iteration of me, it sometimes makes more sense to do my work later in the day.

One consequence of this is that every day at midnight my OmniFocus database fills up with tasks previously set for the next day. I don’t want to see all those tasks. If I’m looking at OmniFocus at midnight it’s because I’m still working on stuff from the prior day. Fortunately, OmniFocus has a setting for that on the Mac app in the preferences pane.

Interestingly, there is no similar setting on the iPhone and iPad but if you change a setting on the Mac, when you synchronize the database the iPhone and iPad will also start setting start times consistent with the new Mac default.

Sponsor: Hoban Cards

I'm pleased to welcome back Hoban Press as this week's sponsor. I’ve heard from many readers that love their new Hoban Cards pressed out of Hoban’s 1902 letterpress machine. I sure love mine. When I went out on my own and opened my own law practice, I contacted Hoban Cards and asked them to make me something beautiful that doesn't look like most crappy lawyer business cards. They delivered with the best looking attorney business card I've ever seen, fully letterpressed.

Hoban has two lines of products. Hoban Press specializes in custom letterpress printed items like Business Cards and Stationery. This is the best choice if you need to use your own logo or artwork. They also provide design and layout services. Hoban Cards specializes in in minimal calling cards. This is a less expensive way to get into letterpress printing. Pick from among several 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.

Use ‘MacSparky’ during checkout to receive free shipping.

The Hockenberry Flip

Craig Hockenberry is the first person that I saw point out the ability to switch your Apple Watch to put the digital crown on the elbow side and he makes a pretty good case for it. Ergonomically, it's definitely better. Also, with the digital crown on the hand side of the watch, I was occasionally activating Siri when I'd bend my wrist in too far and press on the crown. I've only been trying the Hockenberry flip for a day but I think I may just keep it like this.

Jazz Friday: Alice in Wonderland by Dave Brubeck

Today is Disneyland's 60th birthday so I though I'd pick a Disney-related jazz track. One of my favorites is Alice in Wonderland, by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. This track is on an album full of Disney tunes called Dave Digs Disney from 1957. The Dave Brubeck quartet was one of the pioneers of the West Coast Jazz movement and is one of the most distinctive in jazz with Paul Desmond's lilting melodies on Alto Sax and Dave Brubeck's harmonics on Piano. Alice in Wonderland delivers on all counts.

Home Screens: MacSparky in 2015

This week I thought I'd feature my own home screen. So here you go.

Some Apps of Note

Apple Maps

I know Apple Maps is the whipping boy but it's got a lot better over the last few years. It's no longer "Apple Maps Bad". Also, I like using Siri with Maps. ("Hey Siri, Get directions home.")


My love of Tweetbot on iPhone just barely exceeds my disdain for the iPad version. I've been using it for years and occasionally look for something new and I always come back.


I've just recently started participating in some Slack channels and I'm hooked. The Slack app keeps evolving and that's a good thing.


This app on my home screen is aspirational. I've never been much of an Instagram user but am trying again. (I'm "MacSparky" on Instagram if you're interested.)

The Audio Row

Music, Overcast, Beats, and Sonos for my audio needs. I'm hooked on Overcast for podcasts. Before Apple bought Beats, they had a promotional price through AT&T. I tried it and it stuck. I have a lot of great playlists and like the way it works so easily with the Sonos at home.

The Productivity Row

I've written about MindNode, OmniOutliner, Editorial, and Soulver at length. I'd just add that I find it surprising how often I work on mind maps and outlines on my iPhone.


RSS feeds are my guilty pleasure. I read through feeds every day and for awhile now, I've been doing it in Unread.


I've been using Pocket as my read-it-later service for a few years and am getting ready to embark on an Instapaper experiment but for now Pocket is still on my home screen.


1Password is a great password management tool but it also has the ability to store secure notes behind a separate wall on my phone. I use those all the time.


I guess there's no secret that I really like the new Photos. Now it's on my home screen.


Fantastical really pushes all my buttons as an iOS calendar application. The list view of data connects with my brain and new event entry is also a breeze.


My precious.


I also really like having Workflow on my iPhone. Are you keeping up with the updates to Workflow? You should.


There is no faster way to get words from my brain to my phone than Drafts.

After all these years, I still love my iPhone. It is probably my most important piece of technology. 

Want to See my Apple Watch Face?

Here you go. I'm definitely a "Utility" man. I keep turning the numbers on the face on and off. (Currently off.) I've tried several other faces and none of them have stuck. For complications I'm using fitness, weather, and next event.

The Future and Past of Apple's San Francisco Font

Mark Gurman reports that iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 might very well get the San Francisco Font, currently used on the Apple Watch. If true Helvetica Neue will go down in history as the George Lazenby of Mac fonts. Given that Apple designed the San Francisco font, I would not be least bit surprised if they brought it to all of their platforms. (John Gruber points out that San Francisco is now the font used on the new MacBook keyboard.)

I like San Francisco on the watch. It is clean and clearly designed to be on a screen and not piece of paper. I have no idea how San Francisco will look on the phone and Mac, but I'm curious. I'm probably not the person to make such decisions though since I was a fan of, and actually turned in a college paper using the original Mac San Francisco font. Yes. This one.

The Incomparable on David Letterman

Today is David Letterman's last show. Like a lot of people my age, Dave was one of my original stick-it-to-the-man inspirations. This week Jason Snell produced a very special episode of The Incomparable, Monkey Cam, with interviews from some very smart people and an excellent narrative about David Letterman's career and what it means. If you have any interest in this stuff, I'd urge you to listen to this one hour episode.

Home Kit Reportedly On the Way

Last year Apple announced Home Kit. It has been nearly a year now and Home Kit support in third party devices is expected to ship soon according to the Verge. I'm interested in home automation and have a mixture of WeMo switches and Hue lights throughout my house. One of the challenges is that every little ecosystem has its own app and and own idiosyncrasies. Hopefully Home Kit solves that. We'll find out soon.

Sponsor: Curbi iOS Parental Controls

This week I’m pleased to welcome back, curbi as a sponsor. While the Internet can be scary for most people, it is terrifying for parents. Letting our kids enjoy the good parts of the Internet while protecting them from the scary parts isn’t easy. Not only can kids get into trouble over your local WiFi network, they can also get into trouble through a cellular connection or at a friend’s house. curbi solves this problem, giving you amazing parental controls for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. You can easily block specific types of content or add a specific site list. curbi tracks (and can block) websites through Safari or any other iOS app that has a web browser. Perhaps even more importantly, the curbi blocks will work no matter how they access the Internet, even using their Pal's home WiFi on the other side of town. Put simply, curbi lets you control you children's exposure to the Internet, no matter where they are.

curbi also lets you set boundaries. For example, you could block social networks from 3pm to 6pm and the entire Internet from 9pm to 8am. For just $6.99 a month, you can protect all of the iOS devices in your home. curbi is the only service I’ve ever seen that can protect your kids, no matter where they are. Learn more here. Below is the official Curbi video that explains the service in detail.

MPU 257: Workflows with Merlin Mann, Episode VI

This week Merlin Mann returns for his annual visit to Mac Power Users. This is one of my favorite episodes every year. This year we discuss hardware and software updates and if it's necessary to keep up with the latest and greatest, Merlin's growing use of iOS over Mac OS, and kids and technology use.

Did you also know we just received a new episode of You Look Nice Today? YLNT involves Merlin, Scott Simpson, and Adam Lisagor recording their often bizarre and always funny conversations, adding a little bit of ukulele-ladden post production, and releasing it to the world.

Jazz Friday: Art Pepper's Over the Rainbow

Art Pepper was one of the most influential alto saxophonists in the 50s and 60s and considered one of the founders of the West Coast Jazz movement. As a Californian, I'm a fan of West Coast Jazz in general and Art Pepper in particular. There was a lightness to his sound that is delightful. Unfortunately, Art had a lifelong heroin problem and, frankly,  a rough life including several prison stints. There is a great documentary about Art Pepper, called Art Pepper: Notes from a Jazz SurvivorOver the Rainbow (iTunes) is a great Art Pepper track because he plays the whole thing solo and really stretches out.