No more subscription apps

I’m on a mission to eliminate all my subscription apps. I only have two more to go. Those would be Bear and Ulysses.

Why? I just don’t want to pay for an app over and over year after year especially when I already have other free and paid alternatives that work just as well for me.

Bear moving to Apple Notes
I’ve been using Bear as my notes app since leaving nvAlt a couple of years ago. Back then the Apples Notes app was very basic at best. Over the last couple of years, it’s been much improved. Don’t get me wrong, Bear is a great app. But, I’ve come to realize that I can do all that I need to do in Bear in Apples Notes. For now, I’m running both apps parallel until I’m absolutely positive Notes is going to work for me.

Ulysses moved to iA Writer
I’ve written about Ulysses a lot over the last few years. In my effort to eliminate subscription apps I recently moved all my writing to iA Writer and deleted Ulysses from all my devices and I will not be renewing my subscription.

Apple listening

I love the Mac. It’s my preferred computing device. What makes the Mac great are all the apps that increase productivity. I’m thinking about Alfred, Keyboard Maestro, PopClip, Moom, and Hazel to name a few. You won’t find these in iOS or iPadOS

So, my Mac’s are getting old. Up to today, I have been concerned with what I would replace them when the time comes?

If you care about the Mac as I do you’ll want to read Marco Arment’s article Apple is Listening. After WWDC and reading Marco’s article I’m encouraged about the future of the Mac and that I will be able to continue to enjoy the Mac and the apps that I love using.

But there has clearly been a major shift in direction for the better since early 2017, and they couldn’t be more clear now:

Apple is listening again, they’ve still got it, and the Mac is back.

Alfred 4 Is Here

My Mac launcher app has gotten an update.

Although I didn’t see much reason to upgrade from version 3 I did so anyway. I want to support the developer so I also upgraded my Powerpack license.

Alfred is an indispensable part of the daily use of my Macs. I use it at least 20 to 30 times every day. You can find all the articles that I’ve written about Alfred here.

 

The MacSparky Keyboard Maestro Field Guide

Keyboard Maestro is one of my most used Mac apps. In fact, I’ve written several articles about how I use it here on this blog.

Here are a few of those articles:

Keyboard Maestro Macro – Getting URLs from Safari
Keyboard Maestro macro for plain-text pasting anywhere
Launch your favorite Mac apps with keyboard shortcuts | Keyboard Maestro
Quickly quit all open applications at once on your Mac – Keyboard Maestro

If you’ve been thinking about getting Keyboard Maestro now would be a great time. Here’s why. David Sparks has just released his MacSparky Keyboard Maestro Field Guide. This is a great way to get started. There are over 4 hours of streaming or downloadable video, 76 separate videos, 8 separate sections, many downloadable Keyboard Maestro scripts, and lots of knowledge, tricks, and hacks to make your Mac dance.

David is offering an introductory price of $24 for a limited time. Along with the introductory price for the Field Guide the developer is also offering a limited time 20% discount for the Keyboard Maestro application.

If you don’t have the Keyboard Maestro application yet, no problem. Keyboard Maestro’s developer digs the new Field Guide so much that he is giving 20% off the purchase of the Keyboard Maestro app for a limited time to celebrate the release of the new Field Guide. Just use the offer code “KMFG” when purchasing the Keyboard Maestro application.

Opinion – TV advertising of prescription drugs should be banned

This is a topic that I don’t usually write about here but it’s something that’s been bugging me and I wanted to get it off my chest.

I get irritated every time I see a TV ad for a prescription drug. Why? Because the cost of that ad is being added to the already high cost of our prescription drugs.

Why do drugmakers advertise directly to consumers (DTC) anyway? Shouldn’t our doctor be the one prescribing the drugs we need? I’m confident that they can without the help of a TV ad.

According to a FierceFarma article drugmakers spent $3.73 billion dollars on TV ads in 2018. Leading the way was AbbVie’s Humira at $375 million with Pfizer’s Lyrica at $213 million in second place.

In my opinion, drugmakers should be banned from doing DTC advertising. Why? Because we consumers are paying for the cost of that advertising in the cost of our prescription drugs.

In fact, in 2015 the “AMA voted in support of a DTC advertising ban because of concern among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices“. Another interesting point. The United States and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs.

According to a New York Times article “The Trump administration for the first time will require pharmaceutical companies to include the price of prescription drugs in television advertisements if the cost exceeds $35 per month. The move, announced on Wednesday by Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, is the most visible action the administration has taken so far to address the rising cost of prescription drugs. It has been a key issue for American voters and one that both Republicans and Democrats have vowed to address.”

This is a start but more is needed.

Step count in the Health app not matching the step count in the Activity app

I have a goal of 10,000 steps every day. I’ve been doing this ever since I quit bike racing back in 2011. Before my Apple Watch, I tracked my steps with my Garmin Forerunner 35 and the Garmin Connect iOS app. Now I’m tracking my steps on my Apple Watch and the Activity and Health apps.

One thing that I noticed was that my step count in the Activity app was different than the step count in the Health app. Curious, I set out to see why this was happening. By the way, I noticed that a lot of folks were wondering the same thing.

Here’s how I fixed this issue. The answer is in this Apple Support article Manage Health data on your iPhone, iPod touch, or Apple Watch. The answer is in the Prioritize data sources section of the article.

Prioritize data sources

Here’s how to choose the sources that Health uses first:

  1. Open the Health app and tap the Health Data tab.
  2. Tap a category, like Activity.
  3. Tap a data type, like Steps.
  4. Tap Data Sources & Access, then tap Edit.
  5. Touch and hold next to a data source, then drag it up or down in the list.
  6. To turn off a data source so that it doesn’t contribute any more data for that category, tap the checkmark next to the source.
  7. Tap Done.

If multiple sources contribute the same data type, then the data source at the top will take priority over other sources. Any new apps or devices that you add go to the top of the list automatically, above your iPhone or iPod touch.

Once I moved my Apple Watch to the top of the list my steps in the Health app matched my steps in Activity app.

Why I now have an Apple Watch Series 4

I’ve been wearing a sports activity watch for several years. My main use case is to track my runs and to make sure that I meet my personal goal of 10,000 steps per day. I’ve been doing this with a Garmin Forerunner 35 and the Garmin Connect iOS app.

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were in our local Apple Store to have the contents on her old MacBook Pro migrated to her new MacBook Air. While we were there I spent a few minutes checking out the new Series 4 Apple Watch.

I was interested in the Apple Watch because I had just read Joe Cieplinski article about the Apple Watch detecting an irregular heartbeat. If I’m not mistaken he discovered that he had A-Fib using the ECG feature. Then within a few days, Stephen Hackett on Connected Episode 238 talked about a fall he had taken on his bike and how the Apple Watch Fall Detection worked. Now, these are both areas that are of interest to me. I have a history of heart problems and as I’ve gotten older I find that I’m more prone to losing my balance and possibly taking a tumble.

The heart features of the Apple Watch and Fall Detection are why I now own one. Because the Apple Watch also has wonderful activity tracking I now use it to also track my runs and step count. So, what did I do with my Forerunner 35? I gave it to my wife since her Fitbit was about to die.