• First commute hot take it n AirPods Pro

    This morning I’m on one of the older, very noisy Max trains. The noise cancelling doesn’t completely remove the sound of the train, but my volume is two or three clicks down from what it would normally be as I listen to podcasts. Since I spend at least an hour a day on the train, subjecting my ears to lower volume levels is totally worth it.

    Transparency mode is surprisingly good. Better than it seems like it should be. With noise cancelling on I can barely hear the announcements on the train. With transparency mode on, they are easy to hear, but the noise of the train is still reduced.

    The next big test is to see how well the mic works. I wear AirPods for conference calls. A lot. I did a quick test last night and transparency mode will be good for this as being able to hear my own voice is important on calls.

  • Whoa. Micro.blog Sign In with Apple was great!

  • I just discovered the Apple TV quick audio output shortcut by accident! Super handy if you use Homepods with your Apple TV.

  • Tags are finally making OmniFocus click for me.

    I used to create lots of projects, but now I let my projects just be tags. I typically assign two to three tags to an item. I set up my perspectives to filter on one specific tag (Home or Work) and then group by tag.

    For the first time in a long time I feel like I’ve got a good “out of head” task organization. I know other apps have tags as well, but OmniFocus’s flexible perspectives is what really lets tags work for me.

  • Got a new XS Max case that I really like, but it won’t work with my wireless charger. Oh well. Funny how quickly requirements change.

  • New iPad Pro thoughts. At first I was a little underwhelmed. Today though, I’m using it for work (UX design) and it is blowing me away. Face ID is magic. It’s like there’s no password. Just swipe up and go.The new pencil feels better. The iPad with keyboard folio lays flat for sketching. The faster processing power means noticeably reduced lag in everything. This really is a remarkable device!

  • Apple wish list item: run a shortcut based on location and connecting to Bluetooth. When I arrive at the train station for my commute, I put in my AirPods. One of the first things I do is pull out my phone and run a shortcut to see when the train will arrive. I’d love to put in my AirPods and just hear when the next train will be.

  • I signed up for the Apple IPhone Upgrade Program with an AT&T phone. I switched to the new service Visible by Verizon. Visible is not covered by the upgrade program (only the big four in the US) so if I want a new phone this year I have to pay off this one, sell it, and buy a new SIM-free phone. Not a huge deal, but definitely a different kind of cash outlay than I am used to from the upgrade program. Not sure why the program needs to be locked to just the big four carriers.

  • I tried to add a new step to a shortcut to save a file to S3 and realized that I can’t add NEW Transmit app actions because the app has been deprecated. Grr. My existing Transmit actions still work, luckily. The big thing Transmit does for me is it uploads a folder to S3. I have found other apps that will upload a file at a time, but nothing that I can throw a folder at.

  • Actually it works with any stacked key.

  • I just discovered that the symbols above the number keys on the iPad Pro 12.9 keyboard can be inserted by swiping down on the key, just like with the smaller iPads. Always try things!

  • I realized I didn’t need Dropbox for my newsletter building Workflows. Now that Shortcuts (currently?) can’t save to Dropbox without using the file picker, and Shortcuts is sandboxed to its own file area, my daily newsletter scripts are completely broken. I add to a file during the day and then send out a newsletter the following morning. I used Dropbox for that temp area. I switched to using Drafts and saved files to the Shortcuts file area in iCloud and it all works! I think the scripts actually run faster, too. Could be some improvements in Shortcuts over Workflow and/or using iCloud. Pretty great!

  • App Store Turns 10

    There will be a ton of thought pieces about the App Store today. Here’s mine.

    I liken the App Store to the characters in The Matrix getting downloads of new abilities. Having a slab of metal and glass that can become a new thing at the touch of a button is amazing.

    We’ve had software for general purpose computing devices for years, so why does it feel different with an iPhone and the App Store? I think it’s the on demand nature. For example, I was on vacation once and we wondered what the mountains were on the horizon. I Search the App Store for a mountain identifying app, found Peak Finder, downloaded it, and now I could hold up my phone and see the names of the mountains overlaid on them. In a moving car I was able to reconfigure my phone and answer a question.

    This has played out in similar ways many times for me. I realize I have a need, I think of an app that could help me, and often I find what I need in the App Store. Even better, I can pay for it. I know there needs to be more sustainability for developers (I hope to be one one day, so I get it), but I also appreciate that not every application needs to cost $99, or even $9.99. Being able to pay a few dollars for something I may only use a few times is totally reasonable to me. The App Store made that possible.

    The iPhone and iPad are truly transformative devices. I’m riding the train on my morning commute, typing up this story on my phone. Amazing. But, I’m using using Drafts which I downloaded from the App Store. I could have used Apple Notes, but I prefer Drafts. The App Store allows me to choose what I want my phone to be. I honestly can’t imagine what my life would be like without it.

    Thank you, Apple.

  • Initial quick look at Shortcuts

    My newsletter Workflows are broken because they read and write to Dropbox. Currently Dropbox is only supported through the Files browser. You can’t have a Get File step that uses a specified path in Dropbox. You can in iCloud, but it looks like the path may be locked to the Shortcut’s folder.

    I also thought Siri might be able to pass the current object, like the open Safari page, to a shortcut, but it doesn’t. It would be nice to tell Siri to “save this” and have a shortcut fire that added it to a note or saved it in reading list. I would imagine that will come.

  • Outer Washington Square

    Killing time waiting for a tire at Les Schwab. Some of the seldom seen parts of the mall.

  • Transitioning from a podcast to music the other day I blasted my ears with a song that was recorded really high. To fix such transitions I created a Workflow that first sets the volume to 60% and then shuffles a playlist. Works well.

  • Rented a Sony A7R III to take video for a weekend event (PDX dragon boat races). Plan was to take some video, download it to my big iPad Pro, and show it to the team after their races. Turns out the Sony video format is not compatible with the iPad Pro. Couldn’t even transfer the file. Had to use a Mac. Surprised that video format can be this big of a problems nowadays.

  • A good WWDC keynote. More than a few bits feel like they are going to be fleshed out during the State of the Union.

  • Now that HomePods can be paired in stereo they need to have a balance setting. They sound great, but slightly lopsided due to required placement in my room.

  • Testing cell service Visible and it’s a reminder how difficult this space is. The minimum bar is high. Three days in a row I see times of No Service on my phone. If you’re going to offer a phone service it cannot go down. Granted they are in beta, but even beta should be more reliable than this. Hopefully they get it straightened out because I applaud them for trying to deliver a low cost alternative. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen No Service on AT&T, though.

  • iTunes Smart Playlists are great, but now that I have a HomePod, I’m not listening using iTunes. The downside here is I don’t think the playlists update unless I open iTunes. I have a playlist with the criteria “4+ stars, not played in the past 90 days.” Playing that from my HomePod I get the same songs several days in a row.

  • My typical morning view. I sit all day so I figure standing during the commuting year is good for me. At the bends of the trains are good standing spots because you don’t have to move around nd as the train fills up.

  • Long morning commute. Skipped morning checklist, forgot headphones which I need for work today. Now, Max train too full. Another 7 min wait.

  • Lunchtime cheesesteak is hitting my nap button really hard.

  • At first I was underwhelmed by my Casper mattress, but last night my hips were sore going to bed but not sore when I woke up. They probably would have been more sore with my old mattress.

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