Copied clipboard manager app is back

After more than 2 years without updates, what was my favorite clipboard manager app Copied is back. I used it on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad. The great thing about it was that it synced across all my devices using iCloud. Not many clipboard managers do that.

With this update, it will become my main clipboard manager again. The new version 4.0 now has link previews, dark mode, Siri shortcuts, and improved compatibility across devices.

As a side note:

After I updated the app on my iPad and iPhone the Mac app version 2.0.7 stopped syncing. Frustrated, I uninstalled the Mac app and reinstalled it. To my surprise, the reinstalled app is version 4.0.0 which is compatible with the iOS and iPadOS apps. Remember to enable iCloud sync.

iOS and iPadOS 13.6 silently opted me into Automatic OS Updates

Michael Tasi in a blog post today pointed out a change in the toggle for iOS and iPadOS Automatic Updates that I was unaware of. Before 13.6, there was a single toggle to turn Automatic Updates on or off. I always have it turned off.

In 13.6 there are new toggles for Customizing Automatic Updates

Julie Clover

You can now decide whether or not your iPhone or iPad can automatically download iOS updates when connected to WiFi, and when those updates are installed. There’s a Download iOS Updates toggle for turning on automatic downloads over WiFi and an Install iOS Updates toggle for installing software updates overnight as an ‌iPhone‌ charges.

As I mentioned, above I always have automatic OS updates off on all my devices. I like to wait for a few days to make sure there are no issues with the update before I install it. And yes, we all know issues do happen.

Unfortunately for me, I ran into the same problem as Jeff Johnson:

PSA: If you previously had iOS and iPadOS Automatic Updates turned off you’ll want to take a minute and review your Automatic Update setting and adjust it accordingly.

I shattered my iPhone screen

I go for a 2-mile walk with my dog Charlotte every morning. I always record my walks with my Apple Watch and listen to a podcast in Overcast. A few days ago I was walking up the driveway with my phone in my hand queueing up a podcast to listen to and while doing that Charlotte decided to lunge after a rabbit and knocked my phone out of my hand. Our driveway is gravel and the phone landed screen down. Shattered!

I love my iPhone 7 Plus but it’s getting old and I was looking forward to getting a new iPhone 12 when they’re out this fall. I initially thought about a screen repair but decided against it. Instead, I purchased and new Product Red iPhone 11 with 64gb memory. I also got the Apple 11 Clear Case and Belkin InvisiGlass Ultra Screen Protector. I’m happy with my purchase but was really hoping to hold out for the iPhone 12. I’ll get over it.

I like most everything about the iPhone 11. Face ID is wonderful and swipe in place of a Home button is the coolest. The keyboard on the 11 is a bit smaller than I’m used to on the 7 Plus but I wasn’t going to spend another $300 to get the iPhone 11 Pro ($699 vs $999) to have a minimally bigger keyboard.

GoodLinks for read-it-later

I have been trying a new read-it-later and bookmark manager app GoodLinks by Ngoc Luu the developer of 1Writer.

In my opinion, GoodLinks is one of the best read-it-later apps out there. The reading experience is excellent. Articles and reading position sync between devices via iCloud. And best of all it’s a one time purchase for iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Since it’s a relatively new app it’s missing a few features. One big one for me is that there is no way to import saved bookmarks from other apps. I would like to use GoodLinks as my bookmark manager as well as read-it-later but until import is available that will have to wait. I have too many bookmarks in Raindrop.io to move individually. I’m sure this feature will be added soon.

As a side note, GoodLinks for the Mac requires Catalina.

If you would like to learn more about GoodLinks check out this MacStories review by John Voorhees: GoodLinks Review: A Flexible Read-it-Later Link Manager Packed with Automation Options – MacStories

FoodNoms food tracking app

As you will recall I had gained a couple of pounds over the winter and wanted to lose them. Once I had done that I wanted to maintain a specific weight. For me, the easiest way to do this has always been tracking calories. Calories in and calories out.

What I’ve found after doing this for a couple of months is that counting calories makes me make better food choices so that I stay within my Recommended Daily Intake (RDI). Based on my age, weight, height, and activity level my RDI is approximately 2000 calories per day to maintain my current weight. Prior to counting, I was eating between 1000 and 1500 calories more than my recommended daily requirement.

With all that said, I’m trying a new food tracking app FoodNoms that Casey Liss mentioned in Episode 385 of Accidental Tech Podcast. It’s taking a few days to get used to it because it works differently than the app that I’m used to using. But, the more I use it the more I’m liking it and I think I’ll be sticking with it. By the way, the app walks you through the calculation to determine your RDI.

If you’re interested in getting a handle on your weight you should give the app a try. There’s a free version of the app which is what I using. There’s also FoodNoms Plus which is a subscription. I think most people could probably get along with just the free version.

John Voorhees did a nice review of the app over on MacStories. Go check it out FoodNoms: A Privacy-Focused Food Tracker with Innovative New Ways to Log Meals – MacStories.

No charging brick? You’ve got to be kidding!

There’s a rumor going around that Apple won’t be including a charging brick with the new iPhone 12. That means when I buy a new iPhone I’m going to have to buy a charger as an add-on purchase to be able to use it. I don’t know about you but this is just wrong and it feels like Apple nickel-and-diming us to improve their margins. The thought of this just pisses me off. Apple this is stupid!

You have to ask yourself why would Apple do this? M.G. Siegler wrote about this subject over on his blog 500ish.com.

None of those points are false, but let’s be honest here, that’s not why Apple is doing this. Here’s the breakdown in terms of order of importance as I see it:

1) Margins. The next iPhone’s margins are going to be under assault due to the ‘5G’ components, amongst other new technology. And COVID has altered the supply chain immensely. The charger may not seem like a huge margin savings, but it adds up in aggregate. Also, there’s up-sell opportunities galore with the new faster charging bricks — or, even better, Apple’s inevitably still-forthcoming wireless charging solution.

2) Shipping. You know what else adds up in aggregate? Shipping these units from China. If Apple can make these boxes more svelte, they’ll pack more in. This helps the environment, in a way, but it helps the bottom line even more.

3) Transitions. The next iPhone — the one after this one — is already rumored to forgo wired charging entirely. If that’s the case, it may make some sense to move people beyond the notion of including a wired charger in the iPhone box now. Force more customers to get ready for the wireless charging revolution.

4) Environment. This is on the list. But it’s the last item on the list. Not the first item on the list.

I know that all sounds cynical, but come on, that is clearly what is happening here. It’s not all point number one, but it’s a combination of all four points with the first one being the most important in terms of deciding what to do here. They could have made this change at any point over the past few years with the same rationale. Yet they’re doing it this year.

Again, I’m sitting here shitting on a decision that is a rumor. But the source (which is a second source, no less) would seem to be credible enough that this is likely going to happen. And so maybe there’s still a chance to affect the outcome. Not within the boxes themselves — that ship has undoubtedly already sailed, even if the shipping containers haven’t yet — but perhaps there’s an opportunity to offer a power brick as a free add-on for those who want/need one at the time of an iPhone purchase.

Again this is just stupid to sell a product without being able to fully use it out of the box. And that’s exactly what Apple appears to be doing if the rumor is true.

My thoughts on Apple & Google’s COVID-19 contact tracing

From what I’ve read Apple and Google’s COVID-19 contact tracing seems like a good idea and one that I’ll most likely use. It appears to be the best technological solution to date for governmental authorities to partially lift the lockdown orders that are currently in place. That said I do have privacy concerns.

According to the Verge, this is how we’ll use the tracking tool. “Google and Apple are using Bluetooth LE signals for contact tracing. When two people are near each other, their phones can exchange an anonymous identification key, recording that they’ve had close contact. If one person is later diagnosed with COVID-19, they can share that information through an app. The system will notify other users they’ve been close to, so those people can self-quarantine if necessary. Ideally, this means you won’t have to reveal your name, location, or other personal data.”

Apple and Google stress that “user privacy and security is central to the design”. So here’s the best explanation as to how privacy will be protected that I’ve found.

Ars Technica

But while mobile-based contact tracing may be more effective, it also poses a serious threat to individual privacy, since it opens the door to central databases that track the movements and social interactions of potentially millions, and possibly billions, of people. The platform Apple and Google are developing uses an innovative cryptographic scheme that aims to allow the contact tracing to work as scale without posing a risk to the privacy of those who opt into the system.

Privacy advocates—with at least one notable exception—mostly gave the system a qualified approval, saying that while the scheme removed some of the most immediate threats, it may still be open to abuse.

“To their credit, Apple and Google have announced an approach that appears to mitigate the worst privacy and centralization risks, but there is still room for improvement,” Jennifer Granick, surveillance and cybersecurity counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, wrote in a statement. “We will remain vigilant moving forward to make sure any contact tracing app remains voluntary and decentralized, and used only for public health purposes and only for the duration of this pandemic.”

Unlike traditional contact tracing, the phone platform doesn’t collect names, locations, or other identifying information. Instead, when two or more users opting into the system come into physical contact, their phones use BLE to swap anonymous identifier beacons. The identifiers—which in technical jargon are known as rolling proximity identifiers—change roughly every 15 minutes to prevent wireless tracking of a device.

As the users move about and come into proximity with others, their phones continue to exchange these anonymous identifiers. Periodically, the users’ devices will also download broadcast beacon identifiers of anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been in the same local region.

In the event someone reports to the system that she has tested positive, her phone will contact a central server and upload identifiers of all the users she has come into contact with over the last 14 days. The server then pushes a notification to the affected users.

An iPad with a mouse and trackpad?

9to5 Mac is reporting that sophisticated mouse cursor support is coming to iOS 14 and that new iPad Smart Keyboard models will have a trackpad.

According to code seen by 9to5Mac, Apple is set to roll out rich system-wide support for mouse cursors with iOS 14. Apple added rudimentary compatibility with external mice in iOS 13 Accessibility settings, but iOS 14 (iPadOS 14) will make it mainstream.

The iOS 14 build also referenced two new Smart Keyboard models in development.

The changes coming to the software will bring most of the cursor features you recognize from a Mac desktop experience to iOS.

I love it and I’m looking forward to it. This seems like something that could get me closer to making an iPad my main computing device.