Recent tidbits

  • InventoryWatch: macOS app what monitors Apple Store inventory and notifies when model comes in-stock. This is going to be useful.
  • Knotend: fast keyboard-first flowchart editor with collaboration.
  • Like like: wandering through Twitter via likes. Fun.
  • WorldWideWeb: lightweight, simple and free web server for Mac’s.
  • Octave: learn and practice sheet music.
June 9, 2022

Speculations on the Rest of the M2 Cycle

Howard Oakley, on eclecticlight.co:

Later this year, we should expect M2 Mac minis and iMacs, most probably around October-November. It looks unlikely that the Pro and Max versions of the M2 will be available in production quantities this year, but might be released in 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros as early as late Spring 2023. That leaves the high-end Studio with its M2 Ultra for July or September 2023 at the earliest, and possibly as late as November, ready for the M3 to be announced at WWDC in June 2024.

Best informed speculations you’ll likely find. I’m using it to manage my expectations.

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June 6, 2022

5 Wishlist Items for WWDC 2022

With about an hour to go till the keynote, here’s my wishlist.

  • macOS:
    • a Sherlocked version of all Windows Management app with a proper Apple spin.
    • usable notifications. Or revert to pre 10.11 version.
  • iOS/iPadOS:
    • multiple clipboard support and/or API.
    • API for personal automations Shortcuts running in the background.
    • Spotlight plugins to enable Alfred/Raycast style functionality.
June 1, 2022

Setting Up Camp on the Viewing Spot

Once you reach the hilltop, the waterfall, the panoramic cliff — You don’t set up camp exactly there. You retreat to the closest protected spot. Even on the most pristine beach, you’d likely take a few steps away from the shore — just in case.

The rush of the best view possible is amazing, but for our down-time we seek shelter. A few steps from marvel x” is a perfectly acceptable compromise in any hotel description. Few complain that their room is not on the ancient ruins.

Even if the special location doesn’t hold any danger, a separation is a feature. The mundane parts of our routine can spoil the amazingness of the spot. We can’t snap to a mindfulness state in a second, but a few minutes of arrival time help us transition.

I think the same things applies to our daily lives, the connecting stuff between the high-points are required. Not only to reach the hilltops, but also to be able to appreciate it once I’m there.

May 31, 2022

Tools, Toys and Distractions

Sometimes you do something just to try a tool. Nothing wrong with this. It’s your craft, practicing it for the sake of practice is valid.

But once you get started down this path, there seems to be multiple destinations:

  • Pushing the tool to explore all of its possibilities feels like art.
  • Using the tool because it’s fun, seems like procrastination.
  • Testing the tool to see how it improves your workflow

The truth probably lies in a combination of the above, but my conscience will always lean the productivity angle.

Which is never going to be one you remember when you look back. Those great stories on your deathbed are unlikely to celebrate an optimized process, versus a colossal chaos that ensued after you overdid something.

Still, better to be somewhere in the above matrix, that not even play.

May 30, 2022

Arc Browser Teased

Austin Carr, on bloomberg.com:

A grid of buttons pointing toward favorite destinations remains glued to the top of the panel. Each of these services operates more like a desktop app than a web page. Clicking the Gmail icon will take the user back to a single, original Gmail inbox, rather than reloading gmail.com in tab after tab. Hovering the mouse over a Google Calendar button will surface a tiny panel of upcoming appointments. Spotify comes with an embedded player to shuffle through songs. Any tabs opened throughout the day appear at the bottom of the panel and—this can take some getting used to—are automatically set to close and archive in 12 hours.

Article has the first clear screenshot of the Arc browser. I really like how it looks. Went back to using Vivaldi with side tabs as I eagerly wait for my invite.

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May 30, 2022

Tidbits for 2022 Week 22

  • Tweet Sweeper: delete old tweets with multiple options. I use TweetDelete, but this has a nicer interface and set of options.
  • FinderFix: open every new window in the exact same position and size you want it to.
  • Music MiniPlayer: replica of the classic iTunes MiniPlayer for Apple Music on macOS.
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May 26, 2022

USV - Unicode Separated Values

Joel Parker Henderson, on github.com:

You want your data content to be able to contain commas, or tabs, or newlines. You want your data content to be able to use data groups, or database tables, or spreadsheet grids. You want your data format to be able to use data files, or database schemas, or spreadsheet folios. You want a consistent compatible standardard format, which CSV doesn’t typically provide.

Very interesting. .CSV is the most common standard file format which is-not-a-standard I deal with every day. Usually you find ways around the different quirks — but for large files, it would be nice to have a more consistent flat file.

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May 26, 2022

Kindle’s will (kind of) support ePub

Andrew Cunningham on arstechnica.com:

Amazon’s Kindle Personal Documents Service will now accept ePub files sent to your device’s Send to Kindle email address, the same way it currently handles PDF files, Word documents, and other image and text files.

I use the Send EPUB to Kindle service. While this news is not as great as native ePub support, it’s something.

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May 26, 2022

Paste Keyboard for iOS

From medium.com:

Paste Keyboard supercharges the default iOS keyboard to give you instant access to everything you’ve copied on any of your devices.

Still wish Pastebot came back to iOS — but this looks very useful

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May 23, 2022

Tidbits for 2022 Week 21

  • Screenie: macOS screenshot manager with OCR. Just saved me a bunch of time.
  • PikaPods: interesting and cheap open source apps hosting — no mastodon though.
  • Runestone: Plain text editor for iPhone and iPad.
  • Motorist: vehicle maintenance app for iOS. A bit expensive.
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May 10, 2022

Discussions With Your Boss

Three important types of discussions you can have:

  1. Idea Improvement: they have an idea, but need some sparring to improve it before setting it loose.
  2. Implementation: they already decided and now need you to sweat the details to get it going.
  3. Venting: something is blocking above options, they just need someone to share the frustration.

The difficulty is that these 3 conversations can sound very similar, or start with one and jump to the other. You have to listen closely to identify which is the prevailing one — and you can’t ask directly, because it’s likely they don’t even know themselves.

April 29, 2022

Bike App Outliner Preview from Hog Bay Software

Jesse Grosjean on hogbaysoftware.com:

Bike is the new app I’ve been working on.

Bike is a tool for thought. It’s a fast and fluid outliner. Use Bike to record and organize your ideas.

HogBaySoftware created famous apps like TaskPaper and WriteRoom — both extremely influential to me. Sadly, since it’s a one-man-shop, he never created iOS version of either. But my current love affair with Obsidian is extremely influence by my use of both apps.

Bike looks very interesting, but again a Mac only app makes it a bit difficult to adopt on my current workflow.

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April 29, 2022

Dropbox Backup Updated

From blog.dropbox.com:

Building on our popular backup functionality, Backup has been upgraded with new features our users have been asking for, including a new restoration flow, settings to manage your backups on your computer, and more. […] An easy-to-use alternative to other backup tools available in the market, Backup gives you the option of choosing a robust, standalone cloud backup solution from Dropbox, even if you don’t have a Dropbox account.

Interesting feature/product. The product page could use more details — backup limitations and such — having to go to the help pages for this info seems amateurish.

While I don’t have a paid Dropbox account anymore, my wife does. I’ll likely migrate Ana’s MacBook backup flow from Backblaze to this.

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April 29, 2022

Unread Feed Reader Will Include Standalone Accounts

John Brayton, on goldenhillsoftware.com:

Feed Wrangler recently announced that it is shutting down on March 1, 2023. Standalone accounts will be available before Feed Wrangler shuts down. If you are using Feed Wrangler and are using it only as a backend for Unread, Unread’s standalone accounts will provide a suitable replacement. If you also sync to other RSS readers or if you also need a web interface, Unread supports Feedbin, Feedly, Inoreader, and NewsBlur.

Don’t see myself moving away from Reeder, but Unread is a great app with beautiful reading modes. Good alternative.

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April 20, 2022

Feed Wrangler is Shutting Down

David Smith, on twitter.com:

After 9 years, I’ve decided it’s time to shut down Feed Wrangler. I’m stretched too thin with my other apps, it’s time to let it go.

I’ll turn off the servers next year on March 1, 2023.

My thanks for everyone who was a member. It was quite a ride and I learned a ton from it.

Remember signing up as soon as it came out, so I’ve been a daily user for 9 years. Sad that a reliable tool has to go away. I’d pay more $10 a year more for the same service managed by a cool dev like David. But maybe it isn’t sustainable.

Feedbin has some cool features, but luckily I have a year. I’ll probably switch to Reeder iCloud Feeds to try it out before looking at other options.

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April 18, 2022

Tidbits for 2022 Week 16

  • Folder Peek: put folders in the menu bar. With hotkeys and drag-drop support. My new favorite app.
  • Zas Editor: A new, capable, and fast code editor for macOS, focused on both reading and writing code.
  • one sec: forces an intermediate strep before launching Social Media app in iOS. Works great.

  • Github Pew pew: delete Github repos from CLI.

  • Fitstatics: better iOS insights on health workouts.
  • Friction: connect iPad to Mac to draw on and annotate the screen.
  • ‎Cosmic Pic: iOS App with daily astronomy image or video and explanations.
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April 15, 2022

Mastonaut Mastodon Mac Client is Now Open-Source / Free

Bruno Philipe, on mastodon.technology:

Mastonaut news: I’ve recently decided to make Mastonaut open-source. I no longer have the time and energy needed to maintain the app, and it has started to lag in features and functionality when compared to the Mastodon web client and other apps.

The app is now free at the App Store.

Sad it’s not being developed anymore, but for now we have a great free Mastodon client on Mac. Hopefully someone will continue work on it.

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April 15, 2022

Twitter, Sorry for Your Troubles

I’m not personally invested into Twitter as I used to. I still need to restrict my impulse to open Tweetbot when procrastinating, and enjoy reading my chronological feed at the end of the day. But Twitter as-a-company has lost my love. It’s an utility company, as long as it’s up and running — I’m good. I don’t expect anything innovative from them, or even get excited about rumors of an announcement.

They could have ruled messaging, photo sharing, microblogs, micropayments — but hey, they’re still here after 15 years and that’s good.

While I’ve played with Mastodon for a while, over the past year the official app has really made it an enjoyable experience. Which leads to the realization that if most of the community I follow on Twitter migrates to Mastodon, I’ll be perfectly happy.

So I watch the recent Twitter novela as I do my Twitter feed: with amusement and a little anxiety — but aware that it’s entertainment.

April 14, 2022

DuckDuckGo Browser for Mac in Private Beta

Beah Burger-Lenehan, on spreadprivacy.com:

DuckDuckGo for Mac isn’t simply a replacement for Incognito mode” (which isn’t actually private!) — instead DuckDuckGo for Mac is designed to be used as an everyday browser that truly protects your privacy. We have the features you expect from a browser like password management, tab management, bookmarks, and more, plus privacy features you’ll love.

It’s good to have a simple option to use and recommend when an alternative to Safari is preferred. Personally, I’m using Brave with additional plugins, but what I really want is to Vivaldi to become faster, or Orion to be ready.

Is it me or browsers have becomes extremely boring over the past few years? I don’t have an invite from cloud-based Mighty yet, but I hope the category goes through some disruption soon.

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April 14, 2022

1Password 8 for iOS in TestFlight

Michael Fey, on blog.1password.com:

We are lifting the Early Access curtain on our brand new iOS app — and it is gorgeous.

I’ve written a whole post about why you’ll love this update and why you should check it out, but maybe you don’t need that. Maybe all you need is the TestFlight link.

I don’t know who’s crazy enough to run a beta password manager (hola Christian), but I’m excited about 1Password 8 for Mac and iOS. Even with the controversy, I enjoy when desktop and mobile app versions are updated together, and it seems this early access means both are closer to release.

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March 29, 2022

Compose with Markdown in Google Docs

From workspaceupdates.googleblog.com:

In Google Docs, you can now select Automatically detect Markdown” from Tools > Preferences to enable auto correcting for Markdown syntax, a lightweight markup language for applying formatting using plain text.

A few more days and I will have thought this was an April fools joke. I absolutely see myself using it, but it also seems to defeat the purpose.

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March 28, 2022

SpaceX Ends Production Crew Dragon Capsules

Joey Roulette, on reuters.com

SpaceX has ended production of new Crew Dragon astronaut capsules, a company executive told Reuters, as Elon Musk’s space transportation company heaps resources on its next-generation spaceship program.

Wow, talk about killing your darlings. This is a very aggressive push towards the Starship program. SpaceX could have ridden the current Falcon 9 + Crew Dragon combo for a few more years without any competition — specially with Soyuz launches looking less likely in the near future.

A great decade to be a space fan.

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March 28, 2022

Tidbits for 2022 Week 13

  • Dock App: basically icons that can show time, task, crypto or stock price on the Dock.
  • Timeow: open-source macOS menu bar app that displays how long you’ve been actively using your computer. I use Aware, but will take a look.
  • eesel Folders: New tab Chrome plugin (previusly) with new folder functionality.
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March 28, 2022

FT Edit iOS App

From the App Store:

The FT Edit is a new app from the Financial Times that brings you a thoughtful selection of eight important stories every weekday.

I enjoy this sort of Apps. Espresso from The Economist being a similar one. Not only does the price appeal to me, but the limited offer of content makes it a more realistic read. Will be trying it out, specially given thelaunch offer:

The FT Edit is free for a trial period of 30 days. Following this, it will cost 99p a month for the first 6 months then £4.99 a month thereafter.

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March 23, 2022

Chronological Instagram Feed is Back

Adam Mosseri, on about.instagram.com:

Following shows you posts from the people you follow. Both Favorites and Following will show you posts in chronological order, so you can quickly catch up on recent posts.

Doesn’t appear to be available on the web version — or at least not yet. Sadly Instagram is my new Facebook, were I go when my procrastination reaches epic proportions, but good news for dozens still using the feed instead the stories.

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March 22, 2022

Tidbits for 2022 Week 12

  • Manila: Finder extension for changing folder colors. Love it.
  • Smort: convert articles to markdown to edit, annotate and share.
  • RunCat: cat animation to the menu bar that changes the speed depending on the CPU usage of Mac. They also have a store with dogs thankfully.
  • LibreWolf: Firefox fork, focused on privacy and security.
  • dotepub: bookmarklet to download page as epub/mobi.
  • Muse for Mac: beta available. Very powerful iPad boards app.
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March 19, 2022

Tickets as Placeholder for a Conversation

John Obelenus, on blog.jobelenus.dev:

What do I care about for tickets? A ticket represents a conversation. I don’t care where the conversation gets recorded, or at all (provided the people are capable of remembering it). My problem is when a ticket exists absent any conversation at all.

More rant than essay, but ticket as a conversation placeholder is a very useful insight to have on team tasks — Github issues in my workplace.

The other interesting concept is shared context:

That conversation is what matters. Jira (or Trello, Pivotal, sticky notes on a wall, pick any other etc) is only a good tool when it facilitates those conversations and makes sure that the team has them. If people use the tool to have the conversation thats what really matters. That is the best way your team is going to build shared context.

Both ideas together are going into my sparks list, to revisit soon when we have to create a sort of project management handbook

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March 19, 2022

An Obsidian Weekly Review Template

Michelle Mccausland, on mishacreatrix.com:

My weekly review process has evolved considerably since I wrote about it last. I recently finished the latest revision of my weekly note template so I thought it would be a great time to share it with others who might find it helpful.

Very interesting, a bit different of how I do it myself. But full of small nuggets that I would likely copy.

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March 14, 2022

Tidbits for 2022 Week 11

  • Omnibookmarks: Chrome extension to quickly open/add bookmarks via keywords like a CLI.
  • Logger: developer console for Shortcuts in iOS, iPadOS & macOS.
  • Things Link: Obsidian plugin to create Things tasks and projects.
  • Pure Paste: paste as plain text by default on macOS.
  • Billboard: add a text to your Mac menu bar. Could be fun for video/screenshots eastern eggs.
  • Windows Switcher: Switch windows of same app with `alt + `` on Windows. Don’t want to even think about when I would need this.
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March 12, 2022

5 Word Apple Peek Performance Event Review

  • Mac Studio: Pro mini without crazy price.
  • Studio Display: sometimes you get your wish.
  • iPhone SE: mother’s in law next phone.
  • iPad Air: great next-year-used purchase.
  • Apple TV+: movies, shows and now sports.
March 10, 2022

MaskerAid Emoji Face Cover App

Casey Liss on caseyliss.com:

MaskerAid allows you to quickly and easily add emoji to images. Plus, thanks to the magic of ✨ machine learning ✨, MaskerAid will automatically place emoji over any faces it detects.

Everyone’s friend, Casey Liss’s new app. Bought it to place with the kids and support him. We’re too far gone the rabbit hole of posting images of kids in online for the main use case of the app.

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March 10, 2022

Chrome 99 Is Now Faster Than Safari

Max Christoff, on blog.chromium.org:

An additional across-the-board speed bump that makes Chrome 7% faster than current builds of Safari. Combined with recent graphics optimizations (namely, pass-through decoder and out-of-process rasterization), our tests have also shown Chrome’s graphics performance to be 15% faster than Safari. Overall, since launching Chrome on M1-based Macs in late 2020, Chrome is now 43% faster than it was just 17 months ago!

Hopefully this will arrive on Brave soon. Also, kinda of an explicit acceptance of how slow(ish) Chrome got two years ago.

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March 9, 2022

elementary OS Linux Distro Is Imploding

Bryan Lunduke, on lunduke.substack.com:

elementary OS, a Linux distribution that is currently ranked as one of the top 10 distros (according to DistroWatch.com), appears to be in the process of completely imploding on itself.

Sad to hear. They do have an unique distro, [[2021/2021-08-10 elementary OS 6 Odin Available |with nice attention to details]].

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March 2, 2022

Cardboard Scrollable Tiling Window Manager

Daniel Aleksandersen, on ctrl.blog:

I’ve been having a lot of fun with Cardboard, the scrollable tiling window manager (WM) (STWM) for Linux. It’s quite an unusual WM, and it’s really only at the prototype stage. After the initial learning curve, I found that it helped me stay focused on one task, and it greatly reduced how much time I spent rearranging my windows.

This reminded me a bit of 10/GUI:, a 10 Finger Multitouch User Interface concept that boasted a linear window manager”.

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March 2, 2022

OneDrive Sync for Apple Silicon

Ankita Kirti, on techcommunity.microsoft.com:

We’re excited to announce that OneDrive sync for macOS will now run natively on Apple silicon. This means that OneDrive will take full advantage of the performance improvements of Apple silicon.

We know this has been a long-awaited and highly requested feature, and we’re delighted to make it generally available starting with build 22.022.

Version 22.022.0130 from the App Store still appears Intel only, but this is good news.

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March 2, 2022

Derek Sivers on Plain Text Files

Derek Sivers, on sive.rs:

My written words are my most precious asset. They are also a history of my life. That’s why I only use plain text files. They are the most reliable, flexible, and long-lasting option. Here’s why.

Right now I’m on the good side of this — with Obsidian being my work hub. Same with this blog, it’s basically a bunch of .md on Dropbox.

However, there are times when a managed libraries work — 1Password, Apple Notes and Photos come to mind. Still, I agree with the premise, only text files future-proofs access to your data.

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March 1, 2022

Microsoft Flight Simulator Available on Xbox Game Pass

Megan Spurr on news.xbox.com:

Experience the joy of flying with Microsoft Flight Simulator, available today with Xbox Cloud Gaming on the devices you already own, including Xbox One, phone, tablet, and PC.

Now that it’s available I’m going to chicken out for now of buying an Xbox — but will give Game Pass a try for sure.

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March 1, 2022

Russia Pulls Out of European Spaceport

Eric Berger arstechnica.com:

Russia has decided to suspend cooperation with European launch officials, and says it will withdraw its personnel from Europe’s main spaceport.

In context with the human suffering happening in Ukraine, this is almost comical. But for science satellites it’s a reminder of the few tickets that exist out of planet earth.

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February 25, 2022

Get Chrome OS Flex for PC or Mac

From chromeenterprise.google:

Install Chrome OS Flex on your PCs and Macs so they are secure, boot fast, don’t slow down over time, update automatically in the background, and can be managed from the cloud.

Seriously considered Neverware CloudReady a few years ago for our computer clients in the operations area. It worked really well, but you had to be sure your whole stack was web-based.

Although our applications were, we had some scanner hardware that didn’t seem to work perfectly.

Still think it’s a great option for old PCs.

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February 19, 2022

Google Workspace for Businesses Without Google

From workspace.google.com:

Create a Google Workspace account with your current work email address and start using the tools you know and love today. Stay connected with secure video meetings and chat, and collaborate on Docs, Sheets, and Slides using 15 GB of Drive storage for hundreds of file formats including Microsoft Office files.

Not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I really miss Google Docs and Sheets. On the other, not sure the file organization mess of having stuff in Office 365 and Google Drive is worth the trouble.

And if you are going to tell me that Excel isn’t that bad — get off my feed.

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February 19, 2022

Akamai to Acquire Linode

Kyle Alspach on venturebeat.com:

Akamai Technologies announced today it has reached an agreement to acquire infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform provider Linode for approximately $900 million, in a move to help enable Akamai to become the world’s most distributed compute platform.”

Always concerning when a big corporation takes over a cool relatable company. Usually it doesn’t get worse, it just stops getting better. But sometimes, planets plus culture aligns and the addition resources makes something really cool.

I just hope my mini shared-host price stays at $5 a month.

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