Yesterday I bought a Logitech Slim Folio Keyboard case for my 5th Generation iPad. I’m surprised by how much it has improved the usability of my iPad. I can see myself using it a lot more for my writing.
Last September I wrote about making a permanent move from nvALT to Bear for notes and lists. Since then I have gone all in with Bear. The first year of my Pro subscription was up in December and I renewed it for another year without hesitation.
Now I’m experimenting with Bear as my app for writing blog posts and other short-form writing projects. This may or may not last but for now, it’s what I’m doing.
But, there’s one thing that really bugs me.
In markdown compatibility mode using the double asterisk syntax or ⌘B for bold at the beginning of a line inserts a line separator. It’s really irritating. This happens in both the iOS and macOS versions of the app. This is not a new bug. It’s been around for as long as I can remember.
I have reported this twice. It’s still not fixed. I know Shiny Frog knows about it because Shiny Frog has acknowledged my bug reports and I’ve seen complaints about it on Twitter.
Please Shiny Frog, when will this bug get fixed?
Nick Bilton, writing for Vanity Fair
There’s another theory floating around as to why Facebook cares so much about the way it’s impacting the world, and it’s one that I happen to agree with. When Zuckerberg looks into his big-data crystal ball, he can see a troublesome trend occurring. A few years ago, for example, there wasn’t a single person I knew who didn’t have Facebook on their smartphone. These days, it’s the opposite. This is largely anecdotal, but almost everyone I know has deleted at least one social app from their devices. And Facebook is almost always the first to go. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other sneaky privacy-piercing applications are being removed by people who simply feel icky about what these platforms are doing to them, and to society.
And then there’s the main reason I think people are abandoning these platforms: Facebook knows us better than we know ourselves, with its algorithms that can predict if we’re going to cheat on our spouse, start looking for a new job, or buy a new water bottle on Amazon in a few weeks. It knows how to send us the exact right number of pop-ups to get our endorphins going, or not show us how many Likes we really have to set off our insecurities. As a society, we feel like we’re at war with a computer algorithm, and the only winning move is not to play.
Facebook only cares about Facebook not it’s users. I’m happy to see folks are starting to delete their Facebook accounts.
My Ulysses free use period is up in a few days. I’m writing this to convince myself that I don’t need a Ulysses subscription.
I like writing in Ulysses. I also like writing in my other writing apps at times. If I’m paying a subscription I would feel compelled to always use that app. So, I think the best option for me is to use the paid version of Ulysses that I already own. My paid version works with Sierra and High Sierra. Of course, there’s no guarantee it’ll work in future versions of macOS or iOS but I’ll deal with that if or when the time comes. I’ve also determined that I can do almost everything in my other writing apps that I can do in Ulysses should it go away. The methodology is just different.
Here’s a list of writing apps that I own and enjoy using:
We cut the cord on Cable TV about 2 years ago. At that time I installed an HD antenna for local stations and subscribed to Netflix, Hulu, and Sling TV. That has worked out okay but we’ve been missing programming on stations like CNBC, NBCSN, and MSNBC. We could have gotten those stations on Sling for another $20 on top of the $20 we were already paying.
About a week ago I upgraded our Hulu to include Hulu Live TV. Hulu with Live TV is $39.99 per month, which includes the $7.99 per month on-demand service we were already paying for, and that price is on a month-to-month basis with no extra fees.
The service comes with 40+ channels including the four major networks CBS, Fox, ABC, and NBC as well as a handful of sports channels like NBCSN and ESPN. It also included our local stations. So I disconnected the HD antenna canceled our Sling TV subscription and went all in with Hulu Live TV.
Here are some issues that we ran into. None deal breakers though.
The interface takes some getting used to. It’s confusing. There is no grid like you may be used to. To make things more confusing it’s mixed in with the Hulu on-demand lineup. I still get confused but I eventually get to where I want to be.
Hulu Live TV has buffering issues. At first, I thought it had something to do with our connection. We have 100 Mbps internet so that couldn’t have been the problem. After doing a bit of research, I found that buffering is a common problem for lots of folks. Sometimes it’s really irritating but again it’s not a deal breaker.
Spike in data usage
Watching local stations as part of Hulu Live TV instead of via our HD antenna resulted in a big spike in our data usage. I did some calculations and determined this was going to put us over 1 TB data allowance. To solve this problem I hooked the HD antenna up again for watching local stations.
For the most part, we’ve been happy with the Hulu Live TV service.
Back in my PC days, Firefox was my browser of choice. So when I moved to the Mac I installed Firefox because that was what I was used to. After a month or so of using Firefox, I tried Safari and have never looked back until today.
I noticed a couple of articles about Firefox Quantum in my newsfeed yesterday. I thought I would check it out.
Here’s my quick takeaway:
It’s fast. Really fast! The speed increase comes from the completely overhauled core engine with new technology. I like the new look and feel. But I’m most impressed with how fast it is.
I’m going to run it as my default browser for a few days as a test. I doubt that it can replace Safari. It will definitely replace Chrome as my backup browser though.
If you’re already a Firefox user you should receive an automatic update otherwise you can download it here.
MacRumors has a good review of Firefox Quantum for Mac which you can read here.
My favorite podcast is Lance Armstrong’s The Forward. I listened to my first episode in July of 2016. At the time, I wasn’t all that impressed and didn’t listen to any more episodes.
When this year’s Tour de France was approaching I was looking for a way to follow the race. I’m a cord cutter so TV was out. I could follow VeloNews on Twitter but that wasn’t the kind of coverage I was looking for. Then I learned Lance Armstrong had a podcast called Stages.
Lance Armstrong shares his incisive perspective on the 2017 TDF with a new daily podcast, Stages. Co-hosted by longtime Austin radio personality JB Hager, Stages airs about an hour after each stage finish, from July 1-23.
The podcast features special guest appearances, insightful course previews and race analysis from Armstrong’s distinct point of view, which takes listeners deep inside the world’s most iconic cycling race. In addition to a daily recap of all the action, Armstrong, who also hosts The Forward podcast, shares anecdotes from his years racing Le Tour.
Followers can watch this year’s race unfold through the lens of someone who knows the suffering and splendor like no one else.
Stages was what I was looking for. Lance and his co-host JB Hager gave excellent coverage of each stage of the TDF. In fact, it was so good I thought I would check out The Forward podcast again.
I don’t recall which episode of The Forward I listened to first but I came away thinking Lance had become a great interviewer and was interviewing some really interesting people. I’ve since gone back and listened to almost every episode.
The Forward Podcast with Lance Armstrong gives the audience a rare and revealing listen into Armstrong’s conversations with some of the most interesting people he’s met through the years. Guests of the weekly podcast include an eclectic range of personalities—some well-known, others simply with intriguing stories to tell—from the world of politics, entertainment, art, business, sport and more. The podcast, which often touches on current events, is also a community forum where the audience is encouraged to send questions, comments and any feedback directly to Armstrong. Above all, The Forward Podcast is a personal, honest, engaging and always entertaining dialogue that leaves the listener with new insights and information every week.
I know folks have strong opinions about Lance. Love him or hate him The Forward podcast has some amazing interviews with some great life lessons.
If you like podcasts you should definitely check The Forward out. Here are some of my favorite episodes: Michael Morton, Becky Hammon, Rahm Emanuel, Shep Gordon, John Paul DeJoria, Jimmie Johnson, Troy Aikman, and Roy Spence.
I’ll be writing my article about the apps and web services I’ll be using in 2018 soon. Between now and then I’ll be choosing those apps and web services.
I have some prerequisites for next year:
- The apps I’ll be using must be cross-platform. That means there must be a Mac, iPhone and iPad app.
- I don’t want to manage files anymore. I want to use apps that have an app-based organization.
- And lastly, I want to keep subscription-based apps and services to a minimum.
That means there will be some departures from what I’ve done in the past. I’m excited about sharing my must-have apps and web services for 2018 with you.