July 14, 2024

Tidbits for 2024 Week 28

It’s Prime Day week, hopefully we’ll get some savings in whatever rabbit hole we’re into. If not, here’s some links:

  • JuxtaText: free macOS compare & merge text tool.

  • Wipr: my new ad-blocker for Safari on all platforms.

  • Neo Network Utility: ye-old Network Utility is no more. This freeware allows to use Netstat, Ping, Lookup, Traceroute, Whois, Finger, Port Scan, and Network Speed in GUI style.

  • Facecam Neo: new $99 webcam from Elgato. Here’s hoping Opal releases a similar price-point soon.

  • Defer: task inbox app for iOS & macOS. Looks very easy to integrate into Shortcuts and Webhooks workflows.

  • Clamshell: macOS app for actions when the clamshell closes, specially Turn Off Displays & Prevent Idle Sleep.

July 8, 2024

A Mouse Tale

During the WFH pandemic months, I bought to the Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse and it’s been my default mouse ever since. I absolutely love the size and shape. I even bought its simpler version, the Microsoft Bluetooth Ergonomic Mouse for the office.

The Surface Precision does have a rubberized thumb-rest that tends to flake over time. That, and the medieval micro-usb charger had me wishing/hoping for an updated version over the last year. Sadly, has there been no update, but the mouse itself has been discontinued with the cancelation of Microsoft accessories.

Keychron M6, Magic Mouse and MS Surface PrecisionKeychron M6, Magic Mouse and MS Surface Precision

I went on a shopping walkabout and settled on the Keychron M6 mouse. I use their keyboards at home and in the office, and high hopes. But the quality isn’t there. The M6 has a nice shape — very similar to the Logitech MX3, but it’s extremely plasticky. The actual deal-breaker has been that it doesn’t work reliably on my home-office glass-top desk.

No problem, I’ll purchase another Microsoft Bluetooth Ergonomic Mouse , which has the same form factor I love. While it uses replaceable batteries and only has smooth scrolling (not detent/smooth selection), it’s good enough to hold me for a while. No dice.

The Incase Designed by Microsoft relaunch of some of the keyboard and mouse lineup is still nowhere to be seen. Even worse, the remaining stock of the Bluetooth Ergonomic Mouse is selling for around $69. At the original $25 it was a steal, but it’s not worth anything above $40.

What to do? I tried using my magic mouse and magic trackpad. But sadly, both leave my wrist in pain at the end of the day. Even tried an adaptor for the magic mouse to raise its profile — something I really wanted to like. But it still was too flat, and let me hurting.

After playing with the Signature M650 Large at a store, I want ahead and purchased the Lenovo Professional Bluetooth Rechargeable Mouse. It has the right price ($29), and a good enough shape it seems. Hopefully I’ll get it this week and will test it a few days.

July 1, 2024

EDC Backpack — A Shameful Post

For about 10 years, my EDC backpacks were clearly defined: a small WaterField Designs Bolt Briefcase for heading to the office, and a GORUCK GR1 for trips. Both black. Easy-peasy. The fact that I considered both very expensive made it easy to comply to my rule of not looking at other bags until these fell apart1. I’m also particular with my tastes: no branding, no outside fun colors2, no fancy looking textures, and no cheap brands that surely mean quality is low. A Wild and Crazy Guy I am.

My current backpacksMy current backpacks

Then I fell off my high horse. While browsing through Nordstorm Racks (I know), an Original Penguin Business Backpack caught my attention (I know). While the white penguin logo on the zipper puller was an instant turn-off, the overall bag material looked attractive . But above all, the 3 compartment distribution immediately clicked with me. Specially the back device compartment, which is much more comfortable than the very slim sleeve style in the GR1.

But what caught my attention the most was that bag stayed up by itself, something that drives me nuts of both the Bolt and the GR1. As you can probably guess, I bought it, and it’s been by EDC for a few months. Here are some of my notes:

  • Likes
    • The compartment distribution is amazing. Really this was that clearest change in my preferences.
      • Made me realize how much the cavernous GR1 space was something didn’t particularly enjoy.
      • The device compartment in the back allows both my MacBook Air 13in and reMarkable2 to fit comfortably and mostly padded.
      • Main comportment has a lot of space, and another laptop holder, but when empty, it mostly disappears.
    • It’s fairly light
    • Thick padded top handle.
      • I carry it as a briefcase more often than I expected, so the comfortable top handle is a appreciated.
  • Dislikes
    • Quality.
      • 3 months in, one of the should straps stitches are already coming apart.
    • Zipper puller design. I’m sorry, but the white penguin on the puller drives me nuts.
    • Side (zipped) water bottles pouches are a waste of space.
      • I don’t think they’d carry anything securely, and the combination of zipped with mesh seems extremely breakable.

With Amazon Prime Day in the horizon, I’m window shopping for the following bags as a replacement for the Original Penguin Business Backpack:


  1. tomtoc Compact Laptop Backpack 18L
    • Seems the clearest replacement. Price is right $80 and compartment design seems perfect.
    • Design is ok, not sure how I feel about the leatherish looking top strips.
    • Not crazy about the unpadded carry handles. But nice that it has some on the side.
    • Quality seems anecdotally good, with some stitching fails but apparently great customer support.
  2. Day Owl Unisex Recycled Backpack Pro Slim 14”
    • I really like the design.
    • Not sure about the compartments, it looks like a smart implementation of a big main space with enough pockets. I could love it or hate it.
    • Price is a bit high at $135, but quality seems great.
  3. Peak Design Everyday Backpack Zip 15L
    • Beautiful but makes no sense for me with its huge compartment.
    • It’s less a replacement of the Penguin Backpack and more for GR1.
    • Price of $189.95 is really beyond what I want to spend.

  1. Never mind that both brands have excellent service and warranties, which make the falling apart option unlikely.↩︎

  2. Do love bright insides though.↩︎

June 30, 2024

Tidbits for 2024 Week 26

Summer is here. Hurricanes say so. Your favorite developers are head down working on new OS versions. But we must do with what we have. Here’s some links to keep us dry in the meantime:

  • Squoosh: web image optimizer to compress and compare images with different codecs from the browser.

  • 🎶 Rocola: lightweight macOS app that plays ambient sounds from the Menubar.

  • Cursorcerer: macOS app to hide your cursor. Happily I’m not in a place that the mouse showing bothers me, but good to have around.

  • FUTO Keyboard: interesting (and very alpha) Android keyboard. Would try it for sure of available on iOS.

  • Fluid for Mac: local model (Llama and whisper) AI assistant. Good option if you’re on the paranoid side. Will keep an eye on it.

June 25, 2024

Scott Gilbertson on Markdown

Scott Gilbertson, on WIRED:

The people saw that in this form the Word was more flexible. It was good. The internet rejoiced and put Markdown in all the things.

This is where the real problems began.

Great article. Reads like a short version of the (even shorter) book by Neal Stephenson, In The Beginning Was The Command Line.

Before Markdown I used Textile. I’m not sure if something else wouldn’t have taken over, but I think it’s fair to say everything I’ve written since after college has been in MD. I’ve made bookmarklets for it, looked for support in all my apps, and overall just use it — even if not supported. I absolutely endorse his closing sentence:

And this, in the end, is the Way.

June 23, 2024

Tidbits for 2024 Week 25

Another week, another set of links. Summer is here and things usually slow down with developers work on big new releases. But AI is not resting and Apple public betas will be here soon. So they’ll be stuff to keep us entertained. In the meantime, here’s some links.

  • Reminders MenuBar: Simple and free macOS menu bar application to view and interact with reminders.

  • ClipBook: free macOS clipboard history app. I use Raycast for this, but simpler alternative to recommend.

  • ‎Escape: ‎free iOS trip journal & travel diary. Still early, but the design intrigues me.

  • ‎Wayther: ‎iOS App that shows real-time road conditions and weather forecasts along your route. Great for summer road trips.

  • ‎Clipbud: pretty iOS snippet manager.

  • Muki: iOS app for creating and managing music playlists for kids. Apple Music only and the moment, but Spotify coming. Will keep an eye out.

June 21, 2024

AI Apps for June 2024

I’m enjoying the AI app ecosystem. Feels like the early days that it is, with lots of apps coming out each month. Most of these allow you to connect directly to APIs — and I’ll argue these are the only ones to consider1. Using your own API keys is a significant cost saving. It also makes it very easy to play and compare the different models.

The apps I’m using this month are:

BoltAI for Mac

BoltAI supports OpenAI, Anthropic, Azure AI Service, OpenRouter, Mistral, Groq and local LLMs.

It has Al Inline functionality, but I mostly use the Chat Ul and Al Command (select text and send to app with some prompt).

Pal Chat on iOS Pal Chat also supports basically all cloud models — or local ones hosted on the cloud.

It only has a chat interface — no conversational OpenAI ChatGPT. But right now, it’s good enough for what I use AI for on my phone.

Right now I’m spending less than $5 a month across mobile and desktop. Even when you factor-in the cost of the apps themselves ($30 and free), it’s much less than the $40 a month of just using OpenAI and Anthropic.

  1. Otherwise they’re basically sharing an API key with many users, and that makes me uncomfortable.↩︎

June 16, 2024

5 Word Review of WWDC 2024

  • macOS Sequoia: a lot of useful stuff.
  • iOS 18: go crazy with homes screen.
  • iPadOS 18: digital notebook from the future.
  • watchOS 11: Don’t use most of it.
  • visionOS 2: Better Mac Virtual Display
  • Apple Intelligence: wow, but no iPhone 15.
June 11, 2024

Michael Tsai on Window Tiling and Snapping in Sequoia

Michael J. Tsai, on mjtsai.com:

I’ve tested this a bit, and it seems great. I’ve never understood why Apple spent 20+ years working on Mission Control, Spaces, full screen, and Stage Manager—all while mostly neglecting regular window management. (They did add the hidden Move Window to Left/Right Side of Screen commands in the Window menu, which only appear if you hold down Option and which have no built-in keyboard shortcuts.)

I’m excited to try it. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted 1– but at least it’s one less app to install. And the implementation looks good.

It’s great to have these features built-in, but I will probably still use Moom because of its more advanced tiling features and ability to reposition windows when I connect and disconnect displays.

Same here. Well, at least until Sequoia is out.

  1. I’m still holding hope the Sequoia Beta’s will include improvements in Stage Manager↩︎

June 9, 2024

Tidbits for 2024 Week 23

Match point Sunday everyone, it was Great Roland Garros tennis match today for anyone who got to see it. Of course BOOX introduces another e-ink device I want, but I’ll still wait until reMarkable updates its lineup. Luckily tomorrow we won’t get any hardware at WWDC, although maybe they’ll say the minimal specs for something cool is something I don’t have… that’ll be expensive. Have a geeky week!

  • AirBattery for Mac: battery usage of all your devices at once. I actually use AirBuddy, but this free app shows promise.

  • Looks Like Rain: weather app for iOS and Mac with nice design.

  • SimplyWM: I’ve failed setting up many tiling window managers, this early beta at least got me to a place I could have an opinion using it.

  • Roman Roads Subway Map: by Sasha Trubetskoy. I want this for some wall somewhere.

  • AI File Renaming and Organization: for macOS. Still no price, but looks like a useful tool for file overload.

  • MediaMate: macOS notch HUD for Volume, Display, Keyboard Brightness and Now Playing features. Not for me, but looks nice and better prices than other apps.

June 9, 2024

Wishlist for WWDC 2024

Always enjoy the previous days to WWDC, listening to takes and predictions. I think it’s going to be a particularly good event this year. While I don’t think they’ll be anything revolutionary, getting to hear what’s Apple play in this new AI buzzword era will be significant.

Hence my wishlist is more about paper cuts, rather than huge features:

  • Multi-language transcription. Whisper does it a amazingly well, it’s time for Apple’s local framework to catch-up.

  • Stage Manager iteration. Rollover from last year. Give me keyboard shortcuts, and more abilities to setup my groups. Or, open it up for developers to take a stab at it. Of course, all this for Mac, who knows if BambiPadOS will grow up this year?

  • iCloud Drive API: I’d like blot to be able to use my iCloud files, or have someone write an Obsidian plugin. Jobs said Dropbox was a feature 15 years ago, please match its features then.

That’s about it. Still hoping for iOS clipboard history and improved macOS notifications — maybe both are something Apple Intelligence can provide a particular spin.

June 8, 2024

What happened to 1Password?

melanie kat, on melkat.blog:

For nearly 20 years, 1Password has been a favorite among people on their Apple devices. It’s probably one of the most important applications one can have. It’s what a password manager should be: secure, platform agnostic, and reliable. Well, it was at one time reliable.

I completely agree. While 1Password is still a great app, my love for it has decreased. 1Password is just a useful tool now, but if Apple’s Password app works reliably with Arc, I will strongly consider switching my personal password management to it.

Melkat post is more balanced and has better insight as a front-end developer. But our perception is the same: 1Password is not the App it once was.

June 3, 2024

Basic Apple Guy iPad Pro First(ish) Impressions

BasicAppleGuy, on his blog:

The iPad Pro is the nicest incarnation of an iPad I’ve used to date, but in saying that, it’s still an iPad. Any glows and groans you had about the iPad or iPadOS, this iPad has; it just has it in a much, much nicer package than before. So consider that if you are considering on purchasing this device.

Enjoyed this review. I’m sure I’ll droll when I see the new iPad Pro live later this summer, but I’m more likely to get an used M1/M2 iPad pro — or even an Air. I just can’t justify the price to myself.

June 2, 2024

Tidbits for 2024 Week 22

Evening fellow humans. Very long work week, so didn’t have a lot of browsing around time. Was pissed Spotify was bricking the CarThing, now it seems we’ll get a a refund. Just one week till WWDC, my Super Bowl. Here’s some links:

  • Folder Colorizer: yet another Mac folder colorizer. It helps my procrastination to setup project folders. That’s my thing. Don’t be like me.

  • PlayCover: run iOS apps and games natively with keymapping on Apple Silicon Macs. Haven’t tried it, but I think it’ll come in useful someday.

  • Nomad Tracking Card: once my Chipolo or Aircard battery runs, I’ll look at this rechargeable option.

  • ‎Dumbify: ‎yet another iOS minimalist Home Screen launcher.

  • ‎BMBX: ‎iOS beautifully designed streaming radio app.

May 29, 2024

On Clean Installing macOS in 2024

I upgraded my work laptop from an M2 MacBook Air 13-inch with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD to a model with 24GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. I used a solo weekend to perform a clean setup without using the migration assistant. It’s been a long time since I did a fresh install, but it took me about a month to get everything configured the way I wanted, minus a lot of unnecessary clutter.

Here’s a list my must-have apps:


  • Core:
    • 1Password 8: used to love it, now I just appreciate it.
    • Arc: I’ve drank the Kool-Aid. A browser with great design and cool ideas.
    • Drafts: my scratch-pad, since forever.
    • Ivory: I need my tweetbot. Doesn’t matter the social network.
    • Obsidian: where most of my work starts and ends.
    • Peek: quick look anything.
    • Raycast : App launcher, clipboard viewer, screenshot search, snippet expander, etc.
    • Soulver 3: the only way to calculate anything.
    • Sublime Text 4: Photoshop for Text.
    • Tembo: find a needle in your haystack.
    • Things: old faithful task manager.
  • Work
  • AI
    • BoltAI: OpenAI, Claude, Gemeni API wrapper. Super cost-effective way to access Chatbots.
    • superwhisper: amazing dictation/transcription solution.
  • Utilities
    • Applite: Install many apps outside the AppStore cleanly.
    • Bartender: Given recent controversy, now using Ice to bring order to the Menu Bar.
    • BetterDisplay : suffer less without a Studio Display at the office.
    • Calibre: ePubs happen.
    • Itsycal & Calendr : going back and forward. I miss Fantastical, but disappointed with its business features.
    • Karabiner-Elements: hyperkey superpower.
    • KeepingYouAwake: sometimes you need to keep Mac awake.
    • Maestral : Dropbox like its 2009, when we were happy and didn’t know it.
    • Mac Mouse Fix: can’t use a 3rd party mouse without this. Love this app.
    • Moom & Rectangle & Wins : back and forward between all.
    • OpenIn 4: default apps for filetypes. Use it for .md and .csv mostly.
    • Shottr: screenshot app I like. Just works for me.
    • Velja: default browser with rules and easy switching.
    • Yoink: too many windows open, where are you going to place that file punk?

Application Settings

System Settings

System Setting Value
Show window title icons Toggle On
Reduce transparency Toggle On
Spelling and prediction / Correct spelling automatically Toggle Off
Spelling and prediction / Capitalize words automatically Toggle Off
Spelling and prediction / Show inline predictive text Toggle Off
Spelling and prediction / Add period with double-space Toggle Off
Hot Corner Shortcuts remove Quick Note
Force click /Force Click and haptic feedback Toggle Off
Sound volume /Play feedback when volume is changed Toggle On


May 26, 2024

Tidbits for 2024 Week 21

Evening tech racers. Hope some of you are enjoying a long weekend, and the rest are ready for Monday. We got great new Windows laptops this week, I’m not switching, but a worried Apple is always good news. My rabbit hole this week has been cases the convert an Apple Watch to an iPod like device, or a R1 like one - I shall have one.

Here’s a couple of apps to try this week. Stay safe and keep your battery charged.

  • QuickRecorder: free screen recorder for macOS that uses ScreenCapture Kit API, so you know there’s no funny business.

  • QuickTune 7 for macOS: Control Apple Music playback with an amazing reproduction of QuickTime 7. Beautiful.

  • How We Feel: great free iOS app to keep track of your emotions and over time spot patterns.

  • ‎Fover: ‎interesting new macOS app to move file and folders quickly. Just needs keyboard integration, but will be using it next few weeks.

May 26, 2024

Window Managers Resources

Rui Carmo, on Tao of Mac:

Window managers on macOS (and Windows) are auxiliary programs that try to complement the system’s own handling of windows, and are not as powerful as X11 window managers. However, there are a few exceptions, and as I started using bigger and bigger (and more) displays I’ve been using them more and more.

Good list to keep around. I’m currently alternating between Moom and Wins, but have always been curious for a simple tiling window manager.

May 24, 2024

iA Writer (Finally) Has Dropbox Integration

Jürgen Zimmermann, on iA:

When iA Writer was released, Dropbox was the only file sync service on the market. We had a lightweight integration that worked in a pinch but failed in more complex situations.
After six long years, we finally have Dropbox integration on iOS and iPadOS. So if you’re using iA Writer and have Dropbox installed, click the Add Location button in the Organizer, then select the Dropbox folder or subfolders. Done.

The lack of Dropbox support really changed my usage of iA Writer. However, now that it’s there, I’m struggling to move back to it. My workflows are too dependent on Drafts and Obsidian. Still, a great option to have.

May 23, 2024

Keychron B1 Pro Keyboard

From Keychron:

The B1 Pro is an ultra-portable, lightweight wireless keyboard that supports 2.4GHz, Bluetooth, and wired modes. With ZMK customization, you can connect your phone, tablet, PC, and Mac simultaneously using three Bluetooth connections and one dedicated 2.4GHz dongle.

Nice looking keyboard. As an owner of multiple Keychron’s, I have no problem recommending them. However, the fact that they copied the square arrow keys is a deal-breaker for me. I’d still suggest it for someone looking for a Magic Keyboard replacement since it looks very similar and is less than half the price.

May 23, 2024

B-21 Raider Flight Test Photos

412th Test Wing Public Affairs, on Air Force:

The B-21 is a long-range, highly survivable, penetrating strike stealth bomber that will incrementally replace the B-1and B-2bombers and will play a major role supporting national security objectives and assuring U.S. allies and partners across the globe. 

Beautiful shots of the B-21. New angles I haven’t seen before. Such a cool-looking plane.

May 21, 2024

Dustin Curtis Thoughts on Vision Pro

Dustin Curtis on Svbtle:

Microsoft had made a $10,000 table for no one, and Apple made a $499 tablet for everyone. […] Apple Vision Pro, however, is different. Yes, it is an undeniably beautiful product, and the software is very impressive. When I first used it, I was overcome with a sense of awe that I haven’t felt since seeing kinetic scrolling on the first iPhone. But Vision Pro costs nearly $4,000 and has enough faults that it still feels a bit like a technology demo. It is not affordable at all, and it brings nothing to the masses.

We could argue that — similarly to the iPhone — the Apple Vision Pro is not replacing a $2000 device but $4000 worth of devices. But that doesn’t ring true. My most exciting use-case, still requires a Mac.

I don’t think Vision Pro was designed against reasonable constraints. If the goal was to make the equivalent of the iPod in a sea of mediocre MP3 players, Vision Pro hasn’t succeeded. It isn’t a disruptive VR headset because it isn’t even in the same market as its competitors, the majority of which are ten times cheaper.

This is such a brilliant take. No one is saying that Vision Pro isn’t an amazing piece of technology. It’s just that… an amazing tech demo for now.

May 19, 2024

Tidbits for 2024 Week 20

Hello humans of the web. A fun week for Ai, after which I’m more confused of who is the underdog. Amazing news if you use iA Writer and Dropbox. I’m also excited with yet-another eink(ish) tablet coming out this week. Closing the weekend by playing a retro games on the Apple TV with the kids. And with that, here’s some links:

  • ‎Deadlines: ‎iOS widgets that countdown with advanced filters based on Calendar Events and Reminders. Simple and very powerful. New addition to my homescreen.

  • Passage of Time: another iOS widget that shows… the passage of time. Face your mortality, days until a vacation and more.

  • ‎Lex.Games: Daily Word Games: ‎multiple daily word games to play with, rather than doom scrolling. I’m really bad at these, but the developer is a nice person.

  • Bebop: Quick Notes: Very pretty notes capture app, compatible with infinite workflows.

May 17, 2024

Om Malik On OpenAI and Google’s Events

Om Malik, on On my Om:

This is precisely what happens when you let another company take control of the narrative. This is precisely what happens when you don’t have a clear vision, or ability to lead the industry. Ironically, there was a time when Google used to do what OpenAI is now doing — and make everyone a fast follower.

Om makes the case that OpenAI and Google had two different events, a product announcement and a developer conference, but they were perceived differently. I think he nails it. I also thought that Google’s event was a bunch of stuff things still not together in a coherent vision. Even worse, for a company as important as Google, a lot of it seemed like vaporware.

As I play with a disjointed group of apps, all which use APIs and require a lot of fiddling of prompts to work mostly correctly, this paragraph tied 3 decades of geeking out together:

Make no mistake — the reason OpenAI is achieving all this success (and hype) is because they have a product that for now is stellar. Nonetheless, OpenAI has created excitement that reminds me of the emergence of Palm, and later social networks. They stoked the imagination, and possibilities. Of course!

May 13, 2024

OpenAI GPT-4o Introduced and macOS App Announced

From openai.com:

GPT-4o (“o” for omni”) is a step towards much more natural human-computer interaction—it accepts as input any combination of text, audio, and image and generates any combination of text, audio, and image outputs. It can respond to audio inputs in as little as 232 milliseconds, with an average of 320 milliseconds, which is similar to human response time(opens in a new window) in a conversation. It matches GPT-4 Turbo performance on text in English and code, with significant improvement on text in non-English languages, while also being much faster and 50% cheaper in the API.

OpenAI is really on fire. This new update seems like a significant improvement and the fact that they’re instantly making it available on their app for paying members and the API is surprising. I tested it a bit today and was impressed

Developers can also now access GPT-4o in the API as a text and vision model. GPT-4o is 2x faster, half the price, and has 5x higher rate limits compared to GPT-4 Turbo. We plan to launch support for GPT-4o’s new audio and video capabilities to a small group of trusted partners in the API in the coming weeks.

Faster and cheaper. AI brings memories of computing in the 90’s.

Also on openai.com:

For both free and paid users, we’re also launching a new ChatGPT desktop app for macOS that is designed to integrate seamlessly into anything you’re doing on your computer. With a simple keyboard shortcut (Option + Space), you can instantly ask ChatGPT a question. You can also take and discuss screenshots directly in the app.

I’m also surprised about the macOS app. Clearly, it’s in preparation for whatever Apple is planning to unveil in WWDC this year.

We’re rolling out the macOS app to Plus users starting today, and we will make it more broadly available in the coming weeks. We also plan to launch a Windows version later this year.

I imagine a lot of applications like Raycast are dreading a good ChatGPT app from OpenAI being launched. For sure, ChatGPT applications are going to be a new playground in apps.

May 13, 2024

Castro Podcast App is Alive and Well

Dustin Bluck on, on castro.fm:

Just wanted to give a quick recap of what we’ve been up to with Castro since acquiring the company.

  • I was on an episode of The Changelog. If you have any questions about the acquisition, this will probably answer it.
  • I did a Reddit AMA for /r/podcasts.

I had a whole draft post about Castro’s owner and his clarity of vision for the app and what makes Castro special. But Dustin went ahead today and posted a great summary of what he talked about in Changelog and on Reddit.

Consider me convinced. I went ahead and renewed my subscription, which I had canceled when all seemed lost last year. I’m very excited about what Castro will offer in the future, likely iterative upgrades with a clear understanding that it just needs to work.

Some smaller features people have been asking about that I can promise we are working on and will come out in the next couple of updates:

  • Chapters in Carplay
  • Large Interactive / Queue Widget
  • Skip outro options
  • Clickable timestamps in show notes
  • Better episode artwork support

You had me at Chapters in Carplay Dustin.

May 12, 2024

Tidbits for 2024 Week 19

Hello world! what a fun week with new iPads and accessories. They all look amazing, but I’ll be keeping an eye on used iPad Pro’s prices. This week I finished re-reading all three 3 Body Problems books — still enjoyed them a lot. Started The Gentleman on Netflix with Ana, and we both seemed to have clicked on it. I’m also closer to buying yet-another-ereader, thanks to this article.

  • October: get highlights off Kobo send them to Readwise. FLOSS for Windows, macOS and Linux.

  • ‎Now Playing Plus: ‎WatchOS Complication for to audio controls, without needed to hunt around in the App List or Dock.

  • uFocus: minimal and free text editor for macOS/iOS. Been around for a few years and has some good reviews. Not sure how I missed it.

  • Reminder Sync for Obsidian: if Siri is getting smarter this year, I think I’d be using it this year.

  • Calendr: FLOSS Menu bar calendar for macOS. I’m taking a break from Fantastical, and this is the best alternative I’ve found.

  • Phanpy: Minimalistic opinionated Mastodon web client. I love Ivory, but sometimes you just want a quick glance at what’s happening online, and this is a great way.

May 10, 2024

Some NYT Rumors on Siri Update

Tripp Mickle, Brian X. Chen, Cade Metz, on The New York Times:

Apple’s top software executives decided early last year that Siri, the company’s virtual assistant, needed a brain transplant.

The decision came after the executives Craig Federighi and John Giannandrea spent weeks testing OpenAI’s new chatbot, ChatGPT. The product’s use of generative artificial intelligence, which can write poetry, create computer code and answer complex questions, made Siri look antiquated, said two people familiar with the company’s work, who didn’t have permission to speak publicly.

Unlike John Gruber, I do think this article is worth noting. It paints a picture of huge acceleration in Siri’s features and scope since early last year.

While Apple is pushing the line that they have been adding many AI features in the background for many years — which is true. There’s is no denying that the main AI interface in all of Apple’s Operating Systems, Siri, showed really its age after ChatGPT even went public.

May 8, 2024

Coffee Prices Increase as Vietnam Farmers Switch to Durian

Koji Nozawa and Yuji Nitta, on Nikkei Asia:

Vietnam ranks as the world’s second-largest producer of coffee beans and the largest robusta producer. But many farmers in the country are shifting instead to durian, a fruit known for its thorny appearance, sweet taste and pungent odor.

Recall that Durians are prohibited on the Singapore metro — that’s how bad they smell. I would feel much more comfortable if they were replacing coffee with mangoes. Such a culture clash.

May 8, 2024

Barry Hess on Focus

Just guess what his name is, on I am BARRY HESS:

Focus is a learned skill that must be practiced. You cannot wish yourself to a focused work week or a focused life. Goals are a first step. Limits help you carve out pockets of time. Practice leads to forming one of the most powerful habits you can learn.

Great post full of simple nuggets of info. I should read it once a month.

Plan your time to work. Plan your time not to work. Do not break your rules for any reason outside of a true emergency. You cannot be a true practitioner of a focused life if you throw your limits out on a whim.

Make it once a week.

May 7, 2024

5 Word Review of Apple Let Loose Event

Fun video. Specifically enjoyed rewatching in the evening with 8yo and having him go through all my stages of we need this. I’ll try to post some notes after I digest and read reviews.

With that, my (in)famous 5 word review of today’s highlights:

  • iPad Air: great, but no FaceID sucks.
  • iPad Air 13: this will be surprise hit.
  • iPad Pro: buy it used next year.
  • Magic Keyboard: one thing I really wanted.
  • Apple Pencil Pro: my handwriting will still suck.
May 5, 2024

Tidbits for 2024 Week 18

They’re back! The weekly tidbits I mean. After about a year I’m planning to start publishing again regularly. The good news is that I never stopped collecting links, so I have a good backlog to help me get back in the habit.

I went back to basics with Apps this week, see you next Sunday for more.

  • ‎Supercopy for Safari:  ‎macOS, iOS/iPadOS, and visionOS extension that adds ⌘+⇧+C keyboard shortcut for copying the current tab’s URL to the clipboard. If you use Arc as one of your browsers, you need this for sanity.

  • Tusks:  Write, update & organise threads on mastodon.

  • DropScout:  Amazon price alerts from your device. Loving this app as we get into summer sales season. Use it as a wishlist and figure out if a sale price is real.

  • Folderizer:  macOS folder icon replacement app. I have a bunch of similar apps, but this one makes it extra easy. Sadly OneDrive’s folder changes don’t survive to other platforms, but great on the desktop.

  • Quotify:  iOS quotes organizer with widgets and easy import. A good alternative if you miss the venerable Quotebook. I now use Readwise, but Quotify design is so much nicer.

  • ‎Twodo:  ‎iOS app with 2 lists: Sooner” and Later”. Simple and private.

May 4, 2024

Thoughts, Hopes and Dreams on the Upcoming iPad Event

The event is here, the rumors are out, the bets are here. Here’s what’s expected:

  • Thiner iPad Pro’s with smaller bezels and OLED Screens. Either M3 or M4.
  • New 12.9 iPad Air
  • Both iPad Pro and Air will have front camera on the side.
  • New Apple Pencil
  • New Aluminum Magic Keyboard

The iPad is a magical device. Ever since I saw the introduction livestream in an Oslo Bar with by Opera buddies, I’ve been a defender of it. A few months later when I held mine for the first time, it absolutely clicked with me.

While its linage as a Newton MessagePad 2100 descendant is likely more wishful thinking on my part, the fascination comes from the same belief that it was the future of computing.

Almost a decade and half later, the future is certainly not, and there’s been up & downs on the claim the iPad is even a future of computing. I’m still a believer, though. As I watch Robie — my 8-year-old transition his iPad use from a video streaming / gaming screen to a Shortcuts and Swift Playgrounds device, I see the potential.

But the same source of optimism has brought doubts recently. As Robie delves deeper into computing”, he keeps borrowing our home server 2015 13in MacBook Pro. He’s a beautiful prototypical oldest son: responsible and formal, and he might be copying my MacBook is for work, iPad for everything else” practice. But I think there might be something more.

On the other hand, my wife Ana has used an iPad Pro as her main computer since the pandemic. So much so that we didn’t realize her MacBook 12in drive had died until a couple of weeks ago. She’s a real user: Google Sheets, Canva, Zoho business, email, research, etc. All from the comfort of an 2018 iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard she swears by.

For me, an iPad mini 2021 has been my everything-not-on-a-desk device. If there’s an Apple product I can squint and see the Newton DNA is this little marvel. I even use the Newton Keyboard when write on it1… once a year, maybe.

And that’s my iPad problem. Every time I try to really use it as a computing device, the experiment fails. I put some serious effort during the MacBook Butterfly dark era. It was fun, until it really wasn’t.

What do I want from Tuesday event? In no particular order:

A clear iPad lineup. The tables have turned, a few years back I wished for the Mac the clarity of the iPad lineup. For me, Apple is best when you can describe the lineup with pricing as reference but not as a quality. I find it difficult to explain the current iPads without falling into: the expensive one, the less expensive but less good one, the not-so-cheap but good one, and the cheap-don’t-buy one.

True iPad Pro/Air versions. Give me tradeoffs as with the MacBook line. Not simply fewer features as you go from Pro to Air.

iPad Pro as in Provocative. Awe me, pull us to a future. An iPad and keyboard so thin that it looks like a MacBook. Make it run macOS when paired with a Pro keyboard. Obsolete the amazing iPad Pro 2018 so buying any used version since feels like buying an iPhone with a home button.

I’m excited for Tuesday’s promo video. An introduction a month away from WWDC means both things don’t fit together. This speaks of a full bag at WWDC, but also of significant enough iPads that a press-release won’t do.

I’ll be idiot, clapping at his desk and hoping that all iPads under our roof depreciate massively this week.

  1. Narrator: footage not found.↩︎

May 4, 2024

The Kobo Libra Colour Positive Review

Andy Nicolaides, on thedent.net:

If there’s one thing that’ll take me out of my slump of not posting, it’s a fun new gadget and the Kobo Libra Colour certainly fits the bill there. If you’re after a TL;DR for this post, here it is: I love this device. If that’s a little too succinct for you, please read on dear reader.

There’s a few reviews going around complaining about the color screen, saying that it does considerably reduce the brightness of it, so I enjoyed this review from former Kindle user who loves it.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the technical specs that we forget that real people have a different tolerance for the trade-offs of new technologies.

Getting books onto the device really couldn’t be easier. You can, of course, download your Kobo library directly from the main interface. If you have external books, however, these are also a breeze to get on there. If you connect your Dropbox or Google Drive account it will automatically create a new folder for you to drop your books into and they are available almost instantly. You can also upload books from Calibre, on a PC or Mac, equally as quickly.

This ability to upload EPUBs is a great feature which Kindle has no equivalent. Sadly, books that are uploaded this way do not sync to their iOS app. I rarely read on my phone something that I started on my eReader, but the few times I want to, the feature is invaluable.

May 3, 2024

Updated Coffee Setup: AeroPress Flow Control Filter Cap v2

I mentioned on the Coffee Daily Driver post that the Original AeroPress Flow Control Cap was Crap. But because I’m an optimist and a gadget freak, I ended getting thenewest version (model part 81C01), and it addresses all issues I had with the original:

  • There is a new rubber gasket inside that prevents leaks/explosions.
  • The sizing also seems to fit better on my transparent AeroPress.

Original and new Aeropress Cap vs Fellow PrismoOriginal and new Aeropress Cap vs Fellow Prismo

This is great as AeroPress is still my goto recommendation when someone asks about starting with coffee, I’m disappointed the company has no mention whatsoever that this is a newer model.1 While I still think the Fellow Prismo is a better product, new AeroPress Cap is easier to clean and $5 cheaper.

Quick tip on cleaning: I got this from reddit forever ago on regarding the Prismo, but works great on the new AP Cap: for an easier clean, twist/open the cap and pull the plunger slightly back. Suction will bull on the paper filter and make pushing both into the garbage easier in one motion.

  1. AeroPress does appear to send you the newer model if you contact support about the original though.↩︎

May 1, 2024

Online Sharing in iA Presenter for Mac

iA, on iA:

Online sharing is now available in iA Presenter beta for Mac. This update unpacks our vision for a contemporary, frictionless presentation sharing experience.

iA Presenter is such a beautiful app. Very opinionated, but maybe in a good way. Thinking of forcing myself to use it for a month to level-up any meetings that lead the conversation.

May 1, 2024

Chris Burnell Interests Page

Chris Burnell, on Chris Burnell:

You may or may not be aware of the /about/ideas/now, and /uses page initiatives, where website authors are encouraged to create pages on their websites at discoverable URLs for expressing who they are, concepts they’re thinking about, what they’re doing presently, and what hardware/software/things they are using (respectively).

Recently, I’ve been ruminating on an additional way to aid in the discoverability of like-minded folks across the web: the /interests page.

I’ve failed at being consistent at my /now and /about pages, so yet another page doesn’t seem like it would succeed. But I still really enjoy reading them on other blogs.

May 1, 2024

Anthropic Releases Claude iOS app

Emilia David, on The Verge:

Anthropic, which makes the Claude 3 family of AI models, is launching an iOS app and adding a second paid tier for groups to share access to the models. 

Took me a while to find the App link — App Store search is terrible . Nice looking app, still think ChatGPT is way ahead appwise. At $30 a month, I’ll stay accessing these services using API-based apps until Apple plays its hand.

April 25, 2024

Instapaper 8.6 Update

From blog.instapaper.com:

Today we’re launching Instapaper 8.6 for iOS and macOS, which includes Summaries to quickly get a snapshot of an article, Custom Article Actions to customize the toolbar in the article view, and many more new features that you’ve been asking for. We’re also launching our official Obsidian Plugin, which syncs all of your highlights and notes to Obsidian.

It looks like a great update, with a lot of catch-up features that nonetheless are impressive and useful. Sadly I switched over from Instapaper to Readwise a while back, but I still think it has one of the best typography of all the reader apps1.

  1. Matter does have he best UX and design of all the reader apps.↩︎

April 22, 2024

Nitin Khanna Obsidian Setup

Nitin Khanna, on nitinkhanna.com:

I use Obsidian on a daily basis for my office work and frequently for personal notes. Recently, my brother discovered Obsidian and we started talking about setup and usage. So here’s my Obsidian setup, for his reference and mine –

Love these setup posts. We share some plugins, but overall a very different workflow. Some good ideas to try out.

April 19, 2024

Süti PhoneBack: My New Favorite iPhone Case

My new favorite iPhone case is the Süti PhoneBack case. After updating to the iPhone 15 from the iPhone 12 mini, I was looking for the thinnest case possible. I considered skins and minimal cases, but when the Nomad Magnetic Leather Back was announced, I knew it was the style I was going to get. Sadly, it’s still only available for the Pro versions.

Searching for options, I found failed kickstarter projects, but nothing else. Eventually, a YouTube search led me to the PhoneBack.

I received it last week and have been using it since. While it’s a bit expensive at $40, it’s exactly what I was looking for. The case keeps the iPhone slim and gives it grip ability. Additionally, I feel less conscious when I place it on the iPhone face up on a table.

I’m really happy with this case, and so far, I haven’t dropped my iPhone yet.

April 16, 2024

Dune Part 2 was Amazing

Watched Dune Part 2 last Friday on a long flight stop-over. I absolutely loved the movie.

While it got a bit slow 2/3rds in, I was enjoying it so much that my real concern was it would end in too much of a cliffhanger.

As I left the theater I kept thinking that if I’d was 10 years old, I’m sure that I’d be more of a Dune fan than a Star Wars one. The Dune universe and the cinematography are superior to most Star Wars films in the last decade1. We’ll watch it again soon.

Also got me excited about reading the books again — or at least the 3 ones I read originally.

  1. Still think Rogue One is the best of Disney Star Wars movie.↩︎

April 15, 2024

Threads API is coming soon

Jesse Chen, on Meta for Developers:

Over the past few months, we have been building the Threads API to enable creators, developers and brands to build their own unique integrations, manage their Threads presence at scale, and easily share fresh, new content with their communities.

While it seems like a natural step for any social network, Instagram API is not a great example of what would make me happy to use. This will likely be targeted at tools used by big brands and such.

We are now testing with a small number of partners - Grabyo, Hootsuite, Social News Desk, Sprinklr, Sprout Social and Techmeme. While access to the Beta is limited at this time, we plan to make the API broadly available by the end of June.

Excited about Techmeme — its in context view is one of the most useful tools around.

Still, none of this points towards a future were I can use Ivory to read Threads.