🔗 Link Post: From TextExpander to Keyboard Maestro again

Another great Keyboard Maestro macro from Dr. Drang. I haven’t been using my MacBook Pro lately, but I definitely wanted to be sure that I have this macro in my toolbox in if I switch back from my iPad. It was straightforward to put together following Dr. Drang’s instructions included in the article.

Dr. Drang writing for And now all this:

After a good bit of thinking, I canceled my TextExpander subscription today. This is not the first time I’ve left TextExpander—I dropped it when Smile first adopted a subscription payment model about five years ago, and stayed away even when Smile listened to the complaints and lowered the subscription price.

[…]

So I’m back to using Keyboard Maestro as my snippet expansion tool. It works well, and I didn’t have to do too much work to switch over. In a rare display of forethought, I didn’t delete my snippet macros. I had merely disabled them when I started using TextExpander again—now I just had to re-enable them.

[…]

And I decided to tackle the one big advantage TextExpander had over Keyboard Maestro: the ability to make a new snippet quickly. By combining AppleScript with Keyboard Maestro itself, I now have a way to make a KM snippet out of what’s on the clipboard.

For example, let’s say I’m writing a report about products made by Mxyzptlk Industries. To make a snippet for that name, I copy it to the clipboard and invoke my new Make Temporary Snippet from Clipboard macro. That brings up this window, where I can define the trigger (I chose “;mi”) and adjust the expansion if necessary. After clicking OK, I have a new snippet in my Snippet – Temporary group.

🔗 Link Post: Moderna starts human trials for an mRNA-based flu shot

Nicole Wetsman writing for The Verge:

Moderna says it hopes to eventually create combination vaccines that could protect people against flu, COVID-19, and other respiratory infections with one shot. “Our vision is to develop an mRNA combination vaccine so that people can get one shot each fall for high efficacy protection against the most problematic respiratory viruses,” Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna, said in a press release.

Moderna Press Release: Moderna Announces First Participant Dosed in Phase 1/2 Study of Its Quadrivalent Seasonal Flu mRNA Vaccine | Moderna, Inc.

I like the idea of getting one shot that includes the flu vaccine and a COVID booster.

NetNewsWire 6 vs Reeder 5 iCloud sync

I’ve been using the free version of Feedly for RSS syncing with Reeder ever since I started using RSS. Reeder 5 introduced a built-in RSS/Feeds service using iCloud to keep everything in sync between devices. For privacy reason, I decided to start using iCloud instead of Feedly.

Here’s a friction point that I have with Reeder. It has three options for syncing background refresh, manually, and on start. My preference is background refresh, but with that option, I get a lot of feed timeouts. So, I’ve been using sync on start, which works fine but is really slow.

Now that NetNewWire 6 has iCloud syncing I’ve been checking it out. What I found is that NetNewsWire’s iCloud background refresh works flawlessly and manual syncing is lightening fast compared to Reeder.

This isn’t final, but I think I’m going to stick with NetNewsWire.

🔗 Link Post: Getting over the post-pandemic fear of crowds

How to Get Over a Post-Pandemic Fear of Crowds

Imagine this: You’re out with your friends at a park or a beer garden when one of them suggests going into a bar. Two summers ago, that’d be no big deal, but after such a long time away from crowds during the pandemic, you might be a little nervous.

To be sure, the world is well on its way to opening all the way back up, and while plenty of people are advertising their joyous returns to crowded museums, restaurants, sporting events, and more, there are still a few people who are uneasy about getting back into the mix. Here are some tips for easing back into crowds post-lockdown.

I’ve been fully vaccinated since March 27th. That said, I’m still uneasy about going into crowded places like big box stores, restaurants etc. I imagine it’s going to take some time to get over this unease.

Apple isn’t backing down from its hybrid work model, according to internal note

Zoe Schiffer writing for The Verge:

Apple isn’t backing down from its hybrid work model that will require most employees to return to the office three days a week starting in early September. Fully remote positions will be extremely limited.

We believe that in-person collaboration is essential to our culture and our future,” said Deirdre O’Brien, senior vice president of retail and people, in a video recording viewed by The Verge. “If we take a moment to reflect on our unbelievable product launches this past year, the products and the launch execution were built upon the base of years of work that we did when we were all together in-person.”

[…]

In the wake of that announcement, Apple employees wrote a letter saying some employees had been forced to quit because of the policy, and asking Cook to change his stance. They asked that all teams be given the option to work remotely, noting “without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our well-being, and being empowered to do our best work, or being a part of Apple.”

Now, Apple is essentially denying that request, saying any remote work decisions will be made “on a case-by-case basis with any new remote positions requiring executive approval.”

The position that Apple is taking on this is turning out to be controversial. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, here are a couple of interesting takes on the subject. A post written by John Gruber on Daring Fireball and a post written by Charlie Warzel on Galaxy Brain. Gruber sides with Apple and Warzel takes exception to that.

What will happen to PDFpen after the Nitro purchase?

PDFpen has been a part of my paperless workflow since I started it in 2017. Yesterday after reading about Nitro acquiring PDFpen on 9to5Mac I decided that it’s time to move on to a different app.

June 28, 2021 – Nitro to acquire PDFpen, expanding productivity to Mac, iPhone, and iPad users

Nitro Software Limited (ASX: NTO) (‘Nitro’ or the ‘Company’), a global document productivity software company driving digital transformation in organisations around the world, is pleased to announce the acquisition of PDFpen, a market-leading suite of PDF productivity applications for Mac, iPhone® and iPad®.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Nitro will acquire the PDFpen technology from US- based Smile, Inc. for $6 million in cash. The acquisition will be funded from the Company’s existing cash reserves.

According to the announcement, Nitro purchased the PDFpen technology (see the paragraph above). That brings up the question of what does that mean for the app? Does this mean Nitro will use the PDFpen technology to develop Nitro apps for Mac, iPhone, and iPad and PDFpen will eventually disappear from the app landscape?

In light of this announcement and not being happy with PDFpen’s incredible confusing interface on the iPhone and iPad, I’m now using PDFViewer, which has a free version which is perfect for limited needs.

iPad

Jack Baty writing at Coping Mechanism:

Trying to live on the iPad for a while

I’m drawn to the idea of being forced to do only thing at a time. iOS does that. I’d probably do more than one thing at once if I could, but “multi-tasking” on iOS remains an unusable mystery, so I’m better off leaving it alone. Anyway, you get the idea.

Basically, I’d like a break from tinkering with my system(s) on macOS (hi Emacs!), so I’m going to spend some time living on this 12.9″ (aka “Thirteen-inch”?) iPad with Magic Keyboard.

Challenges:

I’ll be forced to use the baby version of Lightroom. How will I handle exports, sharing, resizing, etc? And I hate that I don’t have control over where files go and what they’re named, but here we are.

Where does one take notes if there’s no Emacs and Org mode? Notes app? Drafts? Craft? Ulysses? Do I really want to venture into that rabbit hole again?

How do I get things from one place to another without easy access to multiple clipboards and my Mac’s desktop? How do I save things for later without Zotero? How do I do nearly anything without Alfred?

And so on.

But, iOS is calmer than macOS, and right now I need a little calm.

Greg Morris at GR36 writing in response to Jack Baty’s post.

Greg Morris – Force Some iPad Into My Life

To use the word that tech commentators hate to hear — when I am ‘working’ on an iPad (e.g. writing a blog post or editing a photo), it feels different. As Jack puts it, using iPad OS is calmer, it never feels like work. Granted sometimes it’s a full time job trying to work out how you do somethings that are simple on a Mac but the simplicity is so refreshing. The iPad feels computerish without feeling like the rest of my waking life.

So, here’s the ‘forcing’ part. I am going all in again. Apart from my work day, which I can do nothing about, I am using an iPad for everything else. I haven’t spent anything, it’s a 2018 12.9” iPad Pro with a Magic Keyboard I have had for a long time so I have nothing much to lose. I am actually quite excited.

I enjoyed reading these two posts because they reminded me of my recent transition from a Mac to an iPad. My iPad is a 2021 11″ iPad Air 4th Generation with 256 GB SSD, Magic Keyboard, Apple Pencil 2, and Magic Mouse 2. It has been my computing device for the last several months.

For the record, rebuilding my workflows has been a time-consuming pain in the ass. That said, the time spent doing that resulted in my learning about the many great features of the iPad. For my use case, the iPad is all In need. I do miss not having apps like Alfred, Keyboard Maestro, and Hazel on the iPad but I’m getting over it.

RSS reader NetNewsWire 6 is out for iPhone and iPad with iCloud sync

NetNewsWire 6 for iOS is now available on the App Store! This release brings new features — iCloud sync; sync with BazQux, Inoreader, NewsBlur, The Old Reader, and FreshRSS; home screen widgets; special support for Twitter and Reddit feeds; and more.”

If you’re not using RSS now is a perfect time to give it a try. NetNewsWire is free and with version 6, you can now use iCloud for syncing, saving the cost of a paid syncing service.

The one thing Apple Notes is missing

Quick note and tags are coming to Apple Notes in iPadOS 15. Even though these are nice additions, I doubt that Notes will become my everyday note-taking app, and here’s why.

Many of the notes that I take throughout the day are notes that I will want to do something with later. A note may become a task in Things, a reminder, or event in Fantastical, a new draft for this blog in Ulysses, or a journal entry in Day One. Missing from Notes is the lack of export options or actions to get notes out of Notes. This is a dealbreaker for making Notes my everyday note’s app. That’s why I use Drafts. Ya know, the old saying “text starts here”. Any text starts in Drafts, including stuff that may eventually end up in Notes.

That said, I do use Notes as cold storage for notes that I seldom reference. I have several hundred of these notes and Notes is the perfect place for them.