On iPad Features (or Lack Thereof) at WWDC 2016

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple move from a monolithic iOS release cycle to two major iOS releases in the span of six months – one focused on foundational changes, interface refinements, performance, and iPhone; the other primarily aimed at iPad users in the Spring.

This makes sense, though I’m still hoping they’re laying the groundwork for a full split between iOS on iPhone and iPad.

Hopes and Dreams for WWDC

A nice list by Stephen Hackett. This one under OS X caught my eye.

Overhauled Mail.app with modern features like snoozing, filtering and better support for Gmail’s unique features

I’d like to see this on iOS, too, but I’d settle for consistency between account types so that a left swipe is always for delete and a right swipe is always for archive.

Collaborative Notes.app

omg yes pls

Running a self-hosted blog in the age of social networking used to feel like building a fragile Rube Goldberg machine, especially if you wanted to syndicate your words across multiple services. This is increasingly less of a problem. It’s by no means simple—definitely not as simple as creating Tumblr account—but we’re getting there. Glad to see it happening.

Lazy Markdown Links With Workflow

Last week, my internet-buddy Sam asked for a workflow that would scan some text for incomplete Markdown links and present a way to fill in the missing URLs. The links look like this:

Something [to link to]().

The goal is to let you write without having to stop what you’re doing to hunt down a URL. You can be lazy. This is my kind of challenge.

Challenge Accepted

This workflow lets you leave the URL out of your Markdown links until you’re ready to publish. When you run it, you’ll be prompted to fill in each missing URL.

If you choose to find a URL, you’ll be sent to a Google search for the link’s text in Safari to get you started.

Browse to the URL you want to link to, copy it, and return to Workflow. The copied URL will be placed into the appropriate Markdown link, and you’ll be asked to fill in the next link. This search-and-insert process continues until the end of the document is reached.

If you write with Drafts, this action will run the workflow on your current draft. Once you’re done filling in the links, it’ll create a new draft with the URLs in place (while automatically deleting the original draft).

Half the fun of Workflow is seeing how other people rebound your ideas. My other internet buddy Tim created an even better version that lets you choose how to find a URL. Your options are:

  • Search, which works as above, but Tim uses the Safari View Controller so you’ll never have to leave Workflow. Use the Share menu to copy the page’s URL.
  • Enter a URL manually.
  • Blink search for finding iTunes affiliate links.

Note that using Blink requires you to use the latest version of Workflow, as that functionality just shipped today.

I love these workflows because they let me focus on writing. The research can come later.


Apps I Use and if They’d Work as a Subscription

Responding to Apple’s new subscription rules, my internet-buddy and podcast co-host Scott posted the apps on his home screen and whether he thinks they’d work as a subscription.

I thought I’d do something similar, but this is an assessment of whether I personally would pay to subscribe to these apps.

App Subscription? Notes
1Password Yes I wouldn’t use either the existing Family or Teams plans, though, as the current options are either underpowered or offer too many options that I wouldn’t use. But if I had to subscribe, I would. This app is indispensable.
Day One No I’d likely switch to a simple Dropbox-based text file journaling system. Maybe this one?
Drafts Yes Drafts is essential to how I write my blog. If I ever stopped blogging, I wouldn’t need it anymore.
Fantastical No I could get by with the default calendar app.
Google Maps No Google gets enough of my data anyway. They shouldn’t need money on top of that, and Apple Maps is good enough.
Instapaper Yes I already pay $3/month for Premium access.
OmniFocus Yes I can’t do my job without this app. Like 1Password, it would be hard to get by without it.
Overcast Maybe I currently pay $2.99 for 3 months of patronage at a time just to get access to the dark theme.
Slack Yes I already pay Slack a recurring yearly fee.
Tweetbot Yes Twitter is the last social network I still use regularly, but I wouldn’t use it if it weren’t for Tweetbot.
Unread No I could probably find a way to pipe RSS feeds into Apple News if necessary. I do pay an annual fee for an RSS service, though (FeedWrangler).
Wunderground No Although I’ve already paid to have the ads removed from the app, and that fee recurs every year.

Going even further, here are the other third-party apps on my phone:

Continue reading “Apps I Use and if They’d Work as a Subscription”

For some reason, I never remember to use Apple Pay when I’m at the Apple Store, and according to an Apple Store employee I spoke to today, I’m not alone. She said it’s a common problem that they recognized a couple weeks ago, and they’re working to encourage people to use it. Weird.

Using iPad Pro as a Web Developer

The main problem with an iPad based Rails development workflow is that you can’t run code locally. You have to find a way to host and run your web apps on a server somewhere.

You can use an iPad Pro as a web developer, but you can’t use an iPad Pro for web development. The code has to run elsewhere, so you’ll have to use a second computer to do the actual development work.

I love the idea of an iPad being my only computer, but using a second computer behind the scenes when I need to do real work feels like cheating.