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.

Day One app support

I purchased the iOS version of Day One journaling app about a year and a half ago thinking I would use it for journaling in place of the journal I was keeping in a Ulysses. My journaling is pretty hit and miss so I never got into using Day One until now.

A few months ago I decided I wanted start documenting some of the activities in my life so I started doing that in Day One. I call it a Lifelog. I do this with words and photos which is a really nice way to document things. Now I’ve decided I’m going use Day One for all my journaling. With a couple of hours work, I moved all the journal entries that I had in Ulysses into Day One.

There’s only one missing. When I purchased Day One I only purchased the iOS app which I have on my iPhone and iPad. Now I think I would like to have the Mac app. Since my account is a grandfathered Plus account and not a subscription I wasn’t sure how to go about getting the Mac app.

Plus – grandfathered

For users that purchased Day One 2.0 between February 4, 2016 and June 27, 2017:  You will see this user status in the app settings. The status is per platform. If you owned Day One only on iOS, you will have Plus on iOS only.

So I contacted support to see if there was any way to get a trial of the Mac app with Plus status.

I have to say, this was the best support experience I’ve ever had. My support person was Adam. He understood what I wanted to do and offered to set me up for a one week trial. I said that would be wonderful. He said at the end of the trial I could purchase the Mac app with Plus status, or go for the Premium subscription with a discount for being a previous user, or just continue using the iOS app as I have been.

Adam was so nice and accommodating that I feel compelled to upgrade to the Premium subscription for at least one year. He said if I don’t renew the next year my plan reverts back to the iOS Plus plan which in the end would probably be fine.

Don’t use Facebook’s data tracking Onavo VPN: It’s spying on you!

Facebook is always looking for new ways to violate user privacy. They’ve instituted a new one.

In the Facebook iOS mobile app, they recently added a new button under the Settings menu called “Protect”. When you click on “Protect” it takes you to an app in the App Store called “Onavo Protect – VPN Security”. Don’t install it.

This may seem like a good option for a free security app, but it’s not.

This is indeed a VPN. But, it routes all your web browsing and app usage data to a Facebook server. Think I’m kidding? I’m not. They even tell you they are.

From the Onavo description in the App Store

To provide this layer of protection, Onavo uses a VPN to establish a secure connection to direct all of your network communications through Onavo’s servers. As part of this process, Onavo collects your mobile data traffic. This helps us improve and operate the Onavo service by analyzing your use of websites, apps and data. Because we’re part of Facebook, we also use this info to improve Facebook products and services, gain insights into the products and services people value, and build better experiences.

This is nothing more than Facebook spyware. If you’re looking for a VPN I can recommend TunnelBear. It’s what I use. It’s not free though. But remember if it’s free you’re the product.

Things 3 – Updated to version 3.4 with URL linking

Things 3 is my favorite task manager.

With today’s update to version 3.4 Things now has URL linking, app handover, and automation capabilities. I don’t have a need for these new features but more advanced users are going to be very excited.

For a more detailed explanation of the new features go to Culture Code’s blog post.

For new users, Things 3.4 can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $49.99 and the iOS App Store. The iPad version is priced at $19.99 while the iPhone version (which includes Apple watch support) is priced at $9.99.

Outlining vs Mind-Mapping

The other day, I read two reviews about OmniOutliner 3. As I read them I got to thinking. Maybe outlining could help me better organize my thoughts for what I want to write.

My current method of organizing my thoughts is a bit messy. I have a basic idea of what I want to write and I start writing. This doesn’t always work out so well. It’s frustrating at times. I know what I want to say but I don’t know how to say it in an organized way.

I’ve tried mind-mapping with MindNode but mind-mapping doesn’t click for me. So, I’m going to try using outlines. I’m giving two apps a try. OmniOutliner 5 Essentials and OutlineEdit. OmniOutliner 5 Essentials has a free 14 day trial with an in app purchase of $9.99. OutlineEdit is free on the App Store.

Worth Reading Today

How Apple Plans to Root Out Bugs, Revamp iPhone SoftwareBloomberg Technology News

“This change is Apple beginning to realize that schedules are not being hit, stuff is being released with bugs – which previously would not have happened,” when Apple was a smaller company with fewer engineers, customers and devices to manage, says one person familiar with the company. Apple declined to comment.

The shift is an admission of what many customers have already come to notice: Some Apple software has become prone to bugs and underdeveloped features. In recent months, users have complained about text messages appearing out of order, the iPhone X registering incoming phone calls late and frequent app crashes.

I hope Apple plans to take the same approach with macOS.