Back into the swing of things

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here on my blog, so it’s time to get back into the swing of things with this post.

Here’s what’s been going on. We sold our house in Southern California and moved across the country to our house in New Jersey. The entire process has been all consuming and stressful. If you’ve ever sold your house and moved across the country you’ll know what I’m talking about. I’ll spare you all the grisly details.

We are sort of settled into our New Jersey house. It has been mostly empty for the past 15 years so we have a few fixer-upper projects both inside and out. We’re tackling them one by one. We are still waiting for the moving company to deliver our belongings. It should only be a few more days.

We now have internet. It was installed yesterday so now I’ll be able to get back to my writing and blogging.

Ugh! – Drafts app for iOS goes subscription

Another one of my favorite apps has gone subscription. This is very disappointing. I refuse to support any more subscription apps. I’m already on subscription overload. One has to draw the line somewhere.

It does appear that Drafts version 4, which is now called Legacy, will continue to be supported but with no further development. I wonder how long that will last?

David Sparks announces the MacSparky – iPhone Field Guide

David Sparks also, known as MacSparky, has released the iPhone Field Guide.

I’m a big fan of MacSparky. I’ve gotten a lot of useful tips and learned many tricks reading his blog and listening to the Mac Power Users podcast that he hosts with Katie Floyd. I’ve also watched a number of screencasts that he has done for apps that I use. They are wonderful. A screencast series that comes to mind is the one he did for the iOS app Drafts.

Here are David’s own words:

With the iPhone Field Guide, you’ll learn to get the most from your iPhone with this media-rich book that is sometimes user guide, sometimes opinionated app recommendations, and sometimes iPhone sensei. This book was built entirely in iBooks Author and includes all of the multimedia goodness including screenshots, photo galleries, and video screencasts all engineered to make you an iPhone power user. There are over 50 screencasts adding up to over two hours of video instruction, 450 pages, 44 chapters, and over 65,000 words to help you learn how to squeeze every bit of awesomeness from your iPhone.

The material is accessible to beginners and power users alike with a thoughtful, fun, and systematic approach to iPhone mastery. Moreover, this book is beautifully designed and a joy to read. This is the seventh book in the MacSparky Field Guide series.

MWeb markdown editor for Mac and iOS

I came across MWeb from a Medium reader comment suggesting it as a Ulysses replacement. Not being familiar with the app I checked in with the king of markdown text editors macosxguru. I figured he would know about it and sure enough, he did.

He has been kind enough to do a nice review of the Mac app.

macosxguru, writing for Bicycle for Your Mind

Product: MWeb
Price: $14.99

Loren of ldstephens asked for a review of MWeb. So here goes.

MWeb is a surprise. It is a deep product which improves on both Ulysses and Bear in some areas and brings some unique skills to the Markdown editor genre.

It is the usual three-pane Markdown based text editor. Similar to LightPaper, TextNut – A CommonMark editor for Mac, Bear – Notes for iPhone, iPad and Mac or Ulysses to name a few. This category is a competitive category in the macOS marketplace.

Continue reading the review here.

Web Finds for March 28, 2018 – Apple’s education event

Apple introduced a new entry-level iPad that is pencil compatible and 200 GB of free iCloud storage for students at their educational event in Chicago this week.

Here are a couple of event related articles that I found worth reading.

How to choose between Apple’s iPad and iPad Pro
If you look at an iPad and an iPad Pro side by side, you won’t notice much of a difference. The Pro is a little bigger, it has slightly thinner bezels, there are some metal dots on one edge — and that’s about it.

With Apple’s update to the entry-level iPad on Tuesday, the two full-sized tablets are surprisingly close together in both appearance and spec sheet. There are some notable differences between them, but if you’re planning to buy one for casual use — or for a student, like Apple hopes — there’s not a ton you’re missing out on by getting the $329 iPad instead of the $649 iPad Pro.
Via The Verge

Where’s the iCloud storage bump for the rest of us?
Look, it’s lovely that Apple has decided to give 200GB of free iCloud storage to any Apple ID associated with a teacher or student. It’s a nice gesture, and one that probably makes things a lot easier for those in school environments.

But, come on, Apple—you’re really going to leave the rest of us at 5GB?

The standard 5GB of free iCloud storage has been in place for years now, and, frankly, it’s starting to wear thin. When most iOS devices come in 32GB configurations at the smallest, and many start at 64GB, 5GB feels pretty paltry. Especially when the next step in the upgrade tier is to pay $0.99 for 50GB of storage space. I realize Services has become a moneymaker for Apple, but it just feels cheap.
Via Six Colors

Previous Web Finds are here.

Ulysses crashes when opening a .docx file

Yesterday I tried to open a .docx document in Ulysses on my iMac. I figured it must be okay since Ulysses was listed in the right click Open With Menu. Doing so crashed the app big time. After that every time I tried to open Ulysses it would immediately crash. I uninstalled reinstalled the app and it still crashed.

Next, I tried using Ulysses on my MacBook and the same thing happened. So I’m thinking Oh Shit now what do I do. All my documents are in Ulysses and it is crashing every time I open it.

As a last resort I opened Ulysses on my iPad and coincidentally it opened in the Inbox which contained the .docx document that I originally tried to open.  On a flyer, I deleted the document and emptied the trash.

That fixed it. Now everything is working normally again. For some reason, that document was crashing the app.

I found this about opening .docx files in Ulysses.

When you tap and hold the file, you’ll get prompted with a list of apps available for opening it on your iPhone. Choose Ulysses, and the file will be imported as a Ulysses sheet into your library’s inbox.

According to this blog post opening a .docx file in Ulysses is doable but I won’t be doing it anymore.

#deletefacebook

Since the Cambridge Analytica news broke “deletefacebook” is trending. It appears users are leaving the social network in big numbers. They have figured out that Facebook is nothing more than a mass surveillance machine. Their service is not to make life better, as they would have you believe, but instead to gather as much information about you as they can and then sell it for targeted ads and services. That’s their core business model of collect, store, analyze, and exploit.

I found John Biggs TechCrunch article #deletefacebook worth sharing. It’s about his realization that Facebook’s having so much of his personal information is a liability.

Facebook is using us. It is actively giving away our information. It is creating an echo chamber in the name of connection. It surfaces the divisive and destroys the real reason we began using social media in the first place – human connection.

It is a cancer.

I’ve begun the slow process of weaning myself off of the platform by methodically running a script that will delete my old content.

I encourage you my reader to #deletefacebook. I would but I’ve never had an account so I have nothing to delete.

The Archive – a new notes app for Mac

There’s a new notes app out called the The Archive. If you have used Brett Terpstra’s nvALT this app will look very familiar to you.

Gabe Weatherhead at MacDrifter

The Archive is designed around what Notational Velocity and later nvALT brought to the Mac: Fast, reliable search with ease of creation. As both of these applications lost their luster as macOS advanced, I left them behind in a favor of less buggy and more versatile tools. The Archive is the first application to come along that is really making me reconsider moving my note collection out of Dropbox.

macosxguru at Bicycle For Your Mind.

The Archive owes a huge debt to nvALT. The developers acknowledge that debt explicitly. The Archive is nvALT improved.

I downloaded and played with The Archive for a few days. I found it to be a very nice and an improvement over nvALT. If I hadn’t moved my notes from nvALT to Bear last year I would definitely consider using The Archive as my notes app. For now, I’m too invested in Bear to change.

Macosxguru wrote a nice review of The Archive. I suggest giving it a read.