Lorenzo of 24 Empty Bits has adapted my means of writing DayOne entries from directly within Drafts to his own needs, in a way which I thought my readers might find interesting. Rather than requiring an always-on Mac1, as my original solution does, Lorenzo’s version uses an AppleScript to send new entries into DayOne when a Mac wakes or is booted–thus preserving the proper timestamps for entries written while the Mac wasn’t running.
I’m sure this is a welcome hack for those who only have laptops. Thanks, Lorenzo.
Well, not really, but it is true that the timestamps on entries written while your Mac is asleep will be wrong with my version. ↩
A new version of Textastic was released today for both iPhone and iPad, and among the new features are iCloud syncing and some fairly deep support for the x-callback-url specification. Creating, opening, and appending to files are all supported actions, and a healthy list of parameters allow for all sorts of potential manipulations.
One especially cool usage is detailed at the bottom of the API documentation; it makes it easy to grab a Web page’s source HTML from within Safari–and I suppose it could also be used to receive a server’s error responses for debugging purposes. I can definitely see myself getting a lot of use out of that one feature alone.
I write about the useful aspects of both Drafts and Pythonista quite often. The fact is, these two applications (with a little help from TextExpander, naturally) make writing on iOS almost as easy as writing on a Mac. I have found a few key ways to use them to automate tasks which used to be tedious on mobile devices; my life is a lot simpler as a result.
One example–and it’s something I often use multiple times per day–is a combination of a Safari bookmarklet, a Pythonista script, and Drafts. It was developed by iOS automation-nerd Federico Viticci, and originally shared in his oft-refenced Macstories post “Automating iOS: How Pythonista Changed My Workflow“. Its inputs are: 1) text selected by the user on a Web page, and 2) that page’s URL. It passes those inputs through Pythonista, and then it shoots them over to Drafts. The output of Federico’s workflow–i.e. the new object in Drafts–consists of the user’s selected text, followed by the URL preceded by “From: “. I love it as a means of quickly getting started with a “link-blog” style post, in which a source is cited, and then a block quote is given. However, I had one small problem with the Python script: the link was injected after the block quote, and none of the output was formatted as Markdown. It just didn’t fit the way I want to write. So I tweaked it.
Eric Pramono at Geeks With Juniors has written up a very helpful tutorial on the use of the x-cancel parameter within x-callback-urlactions. I haven’t made much use of x-cancel yet in my own URL actions for Drafts, but Eric makes a good case for their usefulness. Worth a read.
Based on the resolution rumor along with the newly revealed pillars of iOS 7, I think the next frontier that Apple might be venturing into with iOS hardware is fully realized 3D Retina Displays.
Umm, no. I wouldn’t buy this idea with someone else’s dollar. 3D is stupid–it’s stupid in a movie, and it’s stupid on a phone. But let’s set aside my opinion for a minute, just for the sake of argument: there’s no evidence anywhere which would support Jeff Rock’s theory, other than a bunch of rumors which seem to misapprehend what “doubling resolution” means.
What I saw today at Apple’s annual WWDC event in the new iOS 7 was a radical departure from the previous design of the company’s operating system — what CEO Tim Cook called “a stunning new user interface.” But whether this new design is actually good design, well, that’s a different story entirely.
Don’t get me wrong, iOS is a beautiful and well-structured mobile operating system — but it’s begun to show its age. It feels less useful to me today than it did a couple of years ago, especially in the face of increasingly sophisticated competition.
The above opinions seem to fall into that Reverse Reality Distortion Field in which everything Apple does sucks, period. iOS 6 was “stale,” and then the second its design language changes, it’s “childish” and “confusing.” I’m not going to claim that Topolsky can’t be legitimately disappointed here, but something smells fishy when nothing Apple does will please the guy who said of the Galaxy Nexus that “There’s no lag, no stutter. Animations are fluid, and everything feels cohesive and solid.” No sane person who’s ever touched an Android device could possibly actually believe that to be true. Give me a break.
Onion Browser, a 99¢ TOR-based browser for iOS, provides what is likely the most secure browsing environment you’re likely to find on your iPhone or iPad. The good news is that despite a few potential security holes, it’s pretty much just as secure as connecting via the TOR network on your desktop machine. I’m guessing that there are a lot of Apple customers looking for something like this, given the news this week.
Brett Terpstra’s nvremind is an incredibly useful Ruby script which scans a given folder of plain text files looking for @remind(YYYY-mm-dd HH:MM) tags. When the script runs (it’s designed to be run on a regular basis–every half-hour, by default–via launchd), it sends the user a notification via a variety of methods, and edits the found tag to @reminded(YYYY-mm-dd HH:MM). It’s a really versatile and handy way to turn your existing plain-text notes into a giant, always-nagging monstrosity, and I love it.
The script is designed to scan an entire folder, and I have been using those @remind(YYYY-mm-dd HH:MM) tags throughout all of my notes. However, I’ve also found it useful to dump all of my new reminders into a single “To-Do” file, which I process later on as necessary. This practice gives one the option of setting up quick, automated ways of entering new reminders on both iOS and OS X; for these purposes I’m using Drafts and Alfred 2.