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.

🔗 Link Post: Think Globally: The iPad’s new universal keyboard shortcuts

Jason Snell writing for sixcolors.com:

I’ve seen the future of the iPad, and it’s hidden under a key.

The future of an entire platform is a lot to pile on a single plastic square, but here we are. Down in the bottom left corner of Apple’s keyboards is a new key labeled with the picture of a globe. Initially intended for supporting multiple languages, in iPadOS 15 the Globe key has become something much bigger: it’s a symbol for global keyboard shortcuts.

In iPadOS 14, if you hold down the Command key, you can see a list of app-specific features and their key equivalents. It’s like a quick-reference card for keyboard shortcuts. In iPadOS 15, Apple has expanded this feature to make it more like the iPad equivalent of the Mac menu bar—not only does it list keyboard shortcuts, but it can list every command in the app, and you can click any of them to execute them. iPad apps that build out the Mac menu bar for their Catalyst version can pick this feature up for free. It’s another way that the Mac and iPad are increasingly complementing one another.

Then there’s the Globe key. Hold it down in any app in iPadOS 15, and you’ll see a different set of commands, all of which can be applied globally. (Get it?) These menus are full of shortcuts to switch to the home screen (Globe-H), open a Quick Note (Globe-Q), activate Control Center (Globe-C), and pretty much any other system-level area.

The Globe menu also contains loads of keyboard shortcuts to control multitasking. You can put apps into Split View and Slide Over, pop them back into full screen, and cycle between apps, all via Globe key shortcuts.

[…]

Clearly, there’s a lot more work to be done, but I’m excited that Apple is staking out space for keyboard shortcuts that can work across different apps. This Globe-key kid has potential. We should keep them around and see what happens next.

I agree with Jason. I’m excited for iPadOS 15 to get here so that I can start using these keyboard shortcuts.

Journaling app Day One is now part of Automattic

Day One joins WordPress.com, Tumblr, Simplenote, and Longreads as part of Automattic.

Paul Mayne, writing for Day One Blog:

Today, I’m thrilled to announce that Day One is being acquired by Automattic Inc. This is incredibly exciting news. For the past 10 years since I started Day One, I’ve worked to not only create the best digital journaling experience in the world, but one that will last. By joining Automattic, I’m now more confident than ever that the preservation and longevity of Day One is sure. This acquisition will provide Day One access to the same technological, financial, and security benefits that WordPress.com, Tumblr, and other Automattic entities enjoy.

[…] 

When a small software company is acquired by a larger company, the original team is often swallowed up by the larger company. That’s not the case here. I’ll be remaining at the helm of Day One, leading the same passionate team that has been responsible for the development and design behind the app today. This means that the Day One you rely on to save your thoughts, photos, videos, audio recordings, and more isn’t going away. Instead, it’ll only get better, with future integrations with Tumblr and WordPress.com. Rest assured there are no current plans to change the privacy of Day One; safely protecting memories and creating a 100% personal space is the foundation upon which this company was built.

When an app that I use gets acquired I usually become concerned about its future. In this case I’m not. I have experience with both companies. I’ve been using Day One since 2016 and WordPress.com hosts this blog. I have a feeling we’ll look back on this acquisition as positive step forward for the Day One app.

If you have concerns about the acquisition please read the very thoughtful piece that MereCivilian has written on his blog.

🔗 Link Post: An Apt Analogy

Tim Nahumck, writing for nahumck.me:

When people start to complain about computing devices, they often turn to their favorite car analogy. But most of them get the wrong vehicle type when it comes to the iPad Pro. It’s not a V8 sports car. It’s not a motorcycle. It’s not a bike. It’s a modular computer which can do a lot of things well, makes trade-offs in certain areas to maintain flexibility and portability anywhere you want to go. So if you are going to target the iPad in this way, use an apt vehicle analogy:

The iPad is a Wrangler.

It does a lot of things well. It has different configurations to give you different experiences. It’s not the smoothest on-road vehicle, but it’s unmatched in the places you can take it anywhere in the world. The iPad Pro is not a powerful laptop, but it’s a powerful, capable modular computer. It can be more than a laptop, but there are also trade-offs that Apple is currently making to keep it modular. A great example on a Wrangler is that they don’t have power seats. There’s an assessment of trade-offs as to why this isn’t done, but I’m sure it’s something assessed for future incorporation. It’s not as easy as people would think: the Wrangler has other requirements to keep, and every change made requires an assessment of what it takes to implement the change. The engineers are forced to think differently when approaching these problems.

What a great analogy of the iPad. Since March, I’ve been using an iPad I exclusively. In May, I purchased a new 2021 11” iPad Air 4th generation with 256 GB SSD, Magic Keyboard, Apple Pencil, and Magic Mouse 2, and I’m loving it. The new multitasking features coming in iPadOS 15 are going to make the iPad even better.

Reeder 5 iCloud feeds sync revisited

I’m a long-time Reeder user for RSS. Not long after Reeder 5 was introduced I tried out the new iCloud feed sync feature. At the time I wrote that I wasn’t impressed.

I wanted to try iCloud feed sync thinking I could cancel my free Feedly account. I’ll share a couple of issues that I experienced and ultimately sent me back to using the free version of Feedly. First off I found iCloud feed sync to be much slower than Feedly. In addition to being much slower, often times feeds timed out and didn’t sync.

A few weeks ago I was having some sync issues with Feedly and while I was waiting for Feedly to fix them I decided to give iCloud feeds another go. And you know what? It’s now rock solid! It is so good that I’m leaving Feedly behind. I have had no issues with time-outs and in my opinion sync is just as fast as Feedly.

As a side note, David Sparks recently wrote about switching to Reeder 5 and using iCloud feeds for managing his RSS.

Looking at my toolset for managing RSS, it’s getting expensive. I currently use a Feed Wrangler account ($19 per year) to manage my feeds, Unread ($20 per year) to view my threads, and Instapaper ($30 per year) for read-it-later. In addition to being expensive, there is a certain amount of mental overhead that comes with managing data between three services that I would prefer to avoid.

[…]

This newest version of Reeder does a good job of managing your feeds, displaying your articles, and giving you the ability to set them aside to read later. It does all of this in one application, and in addition to the iPhone and iPad apps, there is also a Mac app. A nice bonus is that Reeder is a one-time purchase. There is no subscription involved. Instead, the developer releases a new version every few years that you buy over, but it is still far less expensive than what I paid for subscriptions. Reeder for iPhone and iPad is $5. On the Mac, it is $10.

I didn’t get my one wish for iPadOS 15

I had only one wish for iPadOS 15, and it was that I wanted the Files app to become a true Finder equivalent and that didn’t happen. What we did get were some big improvements to multitasking that I’m looking forward to. Jason Snell and Myke Hurley in Episode 356 of the Upgrade podcast give a good review of how the new multitasking features will work.

Here’s something else that I’m excited about. Apple announced some major new privacy features that will make using iPhone, iPad, and Mac more private.

Sara Morrison writing for Vox

Apple announced on Monday at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that its upcoming iOS 15 update will give iPhone users even more insight and control over their own data. Among other updates, you’ll soon be able to see who your apps are sharing your data with; you’ll be able to stop trackers from detecting if and when you open emails; and you’ll be able to keep your internet activity more private.

Trying new apps

Greg Morris writing about trying out new shiny apps when he is already happy with what he is using.

It’s not that I have anything to gain, and it’s not marketing hype, I think I just like playing with new things and trying out other ways.

I guess it’s a bit of a waste of time but it give me quite a bit of enjoyment so what’s it matter. I enjoy the journey of transferring my information, setting things up to work for me. Those little “a ha” moments when you find a little feature that works are as enjoyable as finding a robust system and sticking with it.

I get it. I do this as well. I recently experimented with Notion and Obsidian and considered trying Craft. I didn’t switch to any of them. But I did enjoy the process and I now have a basic understanding of how each app works.

As a side note, I went in to a retail store without a face mask for the first time in 12 months this week. Even though I’m fully vaccinated, and the CDC says I don’t need to be concerned, I felt really uncomfortable without my mask. It’s going to take sometime before I stop feeling anxious when I’m not wearing a mask.