Remote Access to Your Mac with Screens 4

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As the iPad gets more powerful I’m using it increasingly on the road in lieu of a laptop. Nevertheless, occasionally I need to get to something on my Mac at home. Over the years, I have come to rely upon Edovia’s Screens VNC application. Earlier this year they released version 4 and the application just keeps getting better and better.

If you’re not familiar with VNC, it’s a technology that allows you to remotely log into a separate computer and drive it remotely. If you’re sitting at Starbucks with your iPad and want to do something on your Mac at the office, this is perfect. However, not all VNC applications are created equal. Some of them are actually quite terrible.

Screens combines reliability with a pleasant user interface that make it hard to replace. One of the nice features in the latest version is the ability to hide the screen on your Mac while you are remotely accessing it in what they call “Curtain Mode”.

The application can work from your iPhone, iPad, or even another Mac. I use it, by far, the most from my iPad. If you set up your iPad with a keyboard and log into your Mac via Screens, you can almost fool yourself into thinking that your iPad just magically turned into a Mac.

I don’t use the application for extended sessions. For example, I’m not going to write a Microsoft Word document on my Mac from my iPad using VNC technologies. However, I might just log into Word on Mac to make a style change on a document I’m editing on my iPad since Microsoft Word for iPad doesn’t have that ability. When I need to log into the Mac to update something or get some information, Screens is always there for me. If you travel with an iPad and have a Mac back at the office or home, this is a tool you should probably have.

SaneBox with Reminders (Sponsor)

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This week MacSparky is sponsored by SaneBox, the email service that acts like your personal email assistant. There’s a lot that SaneBox can do for you, but this week I'd like to focus on SaneReminders. They’re awesome.

So what are SaneReminders? Let me answer that question by describing a problem. Often I will send an email to someone that requires a response. That creates an issue for me. How do I track whether or not I ever receive a response? I could create a separate OmniFocus task for every such email, but that’s way more fiddling than I want to do in OmniFocus. Wouldn’t it be great if the computer could keep track for me? That is exactly what SaneReminders does.

When I send an email that requires a response, I blind copy the email to SaneBox. The format is a period of time followed by @sanebox.com. For example, if I’m sending an email that I want to follow up on if I don’t receive a reply in one week, I would blind copy it to “1week@sanebox.com”. That’s all I have to do. SaneBox then keeps track of whether or not I receive a reply to that specific email. If I don’t, in a week, SaneBox sends me a reminder.

I use this all the time.

Because of this feature, I seem to have wizard-like powers to the people I correspond with. I don’t let things fall through the cracks. I love this feature, and it’s just one of the many things you get if you add SaneBox to your email management routine.

To learn more, go to SaneBox.com and make sure you use the link in this post so you’ll get a nice discount. Thank you, SaneBox, for sponsoring MacSparky.

Mac Power Users 393: Developer Roundtable

In this week’s episode of Mac Power Users, prominent app developers Ken Case, Greg Scown, and Dave Teare join us to talk about the future of macOS and iOS, along with a few thoughts on the software business in 2017.

Sponsors include:

  • MindNode Delightful mind mapping for your Mac, iPad, and iPhone.
  • Sanebox Stop drowning in email!
  • Squarespace: Make your next move. Enter offer code MPU at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase.
  • Fracture Bring your photos to life.

The CrashPlan Crash and Online Backup Options

This week we learned that CrashPlan is getting out of the consumer backup business.

For years I’ve been reading emails from Mac Power Users listeners from both team CrashPlan and Team Backblaze. I started out using CrashPlan years ago but left it because there was some bug that kept spinning up a cache file that filled my hard drive. It took me hours to figure out CrashPlan was the culprit and when I tried to report the bug, nobody would respond to me, so I jumped ship to Backblaze.

I’ve now been with Backblaze for a few years and can report it’s been a great experience. The service is always running but stays more-or-less invisible. Backblaze also has a feature that will backup any attached storage (not network attached storage), and I’ve got multiple terabytes plugged into my iMac that are also backed up to the Backblaze servers.

If you’ve been a loyal CrashPlan user, there is nothing wrong with going over to Backblaze. If you want to role your own online backup, I know a lot of folks have done that with Amazon S3 storage and Arq. (Arq also works with Backblaze’s B2 storage, which I’m told is cheaper than S3.)

The one thing that is not an option is giving up on online backup. I’ve heard from so many listeners that had their bacon saved by one of these last-line-of-defense online backup solutions. Your data is worth $50/year for this kind of security. Spend it.

Jazz Friday - Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage

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If you’re building up your library of jazz standards, you definitely need tot add Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage (iTunes)(Apple Music) to the list. Maiden Voyage was the name of Herbie Hancock’s 1965 album and the title track. The song has a great sort-of motion feel to it. Herbie explained once that his idea of this song was to capture “the splendor of a sea-going vessel on its maiden voyage.” I can see that.

To me, Maiden Voyage is a bit of sublime modal, post-bop jazz that some days is exactly I need. I particularly like the way George Coleman goes a bit off the rails at the end of the sax solo but, of course, I would.

If you are interested in jazz and you’ve never fallen down the Herbie Hancock rabbit hole (Wikipedia), you probably should. He’s remarkably talented and, by all accounts, a swell guy (and a bit of a geek). 

 

Home Screens – Shirantha Beddage

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Last month we interviewed Apple Distinguished Educator, musician, and music teacher Shirantha Beddage (website) (Twitter) on Mac Power Users. Shirantha has released three jazz albums and is an excellent candidate for a Jazz Friday post here at MacSparky. Besides that, Shirantha’s enthusiasm for his music, his students, and using technology is infections. So Shirantha, show us your home screen.

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What are some of your favorite apps? 

Oh, so many! On iPhone 7, I’m most frequently using Calendar, Maps (love the Apple Watch integration here!), Podcasts and Scanner Pro. Calendar and Maps are great for their clean interfaces and Watch integration. Scanner Pro has become an invaluable asset for capturing receipts on the go. As a small business owner (ie. musician), organization has always been a big challenge for me. I love the “workflow creator” in Scanner Pro, which helps me to capture my receipts as PDFs and send them into a Dropbox folder. These PDFs are then moved by Hazel into a Taxes folder on my home NAS server, which allows me to have everything in one place during tax season. Tempo Advance is my go-to metronome in a pinch, whether I’m dealing with simple music or complex polyrhythms. And I’m always firing up the Podcasts app, to stay up on my U.S. politics, true crime, and of course Mac Power Users. 

I use my 12.9’’ iPad Pro for teaching and practicing exclusively. I don’t have email or calendars set up on it, as this device was provided by my school. For teaching, GoodNotes has become my PowerPoint replacement for classroom presentations. The handwriting recognition is remarkable, and the TV-out features help to eliminate distractions on-screen.  For practicing, I use ForScore quite often. It’s a great all-in-one tool for reading PDF sheet music. I’ve been using it on live gigs as well, in situations where I’m more comfortable with my own mark-ups on the scores than the blank printed copies provided by the bandleader. 

Which app is your guilty pleasure? 

At the moment, I’m having a lot of fun with Clips. It’s great on my 12.9’’ iPad Pro. This past summer, my Apple Distinguished Educator colleagues showed me how to use Instagram filters, so I’ve been playing around with those a bit, too. In case you’re wondering, I look great as a koala bear.

What app makes you most productive? 

OmniFocus is the big winner here. On iPhone I use it for reference, or for inputting tasks via Siri, but I do the heavy lifting on my Mac. AirMail takes a close second prize. I love the snoozes, delayed replies, and integrations with other apps. AirMail helps me to stay fairly close to the coveted “zero inbox” (sweet bliss!).

What app do you know you're underutilizing? 

The Camera app. Probably Workflow, too.

What is the app you are still missing? 

I’m not sure I have a desire for any new apps at this point; I’m mostly thankful for the tools I have, and I’m trying to use them as best as I can. On the other hand, if there’s an app that could do the dishes…

How many times a day do you use your iPhone/iPad? 

I limit my iPad Pro to teaching and music practice, so my use varies from day to day.  My iPhone is most frequently used as an music / podcast player, and I try to limit my use of e-mail apps to 2-3 times daily. Even then, I try to do most of my e-mailing on my Mac, because of the screen real estate, TextExpander snippets, etc.  My texts and phone calls are usually handled on my Apple Watch. I check in with social media, briefly, once a day, maybe twice on my phone.

By nature, I think I’m an easily distracted person, so I have to constantly take steps to cultivate my focus in order to stay present in many facets of my life. The iPhone is a both a blessing and a curse for productivity, so I try and use it only as often as I need to. I turn off most notifications on my devices, and I take pleasure in powering down my phone or using Do Not Disturb mode when I can. I encourage my students to do the same, unless it’s absolutely necessary. 

What Today View widgets are you using and why? 

Calendar, Weather, OmniFocus, and Workflow, though I don’t use the Today view very much at all. 3D Touch seems to cover me most of the time.  

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad? 

Apple’s stance on privacy. The iPhone and iPad provide a great mix of utility and usability, while protecting the privacy of the customer. I realize that it must be an enormous challenge to tread this fine line, especially since privacy and security issues are evolving at such a rapid pace. 

If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change? 

I have no complaints whatsoever, and I’m excited to see the new surprises that Apple has in store for us in the coming months and years, but I’m the kind of person that enjoys “diving in” and spending the time to learn new technologies as they evolve. I’m also aware that not everyone feels the same way.  

Do you have an Apple Watch? Show us your watch face tell us about it. 

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Yes! I use the Apple Watch more as a productivity / reminder aid than as an activity tracker. For that reason, I really like the Utility face on busy days; I can see the date, my next event, weather, Drafts, and Omnifocus. When I’m not so busy, I flip over to Timelapse face to avoid information overload. 

What's your wallpaper and why? 

Stock images mostly. I like simple wallpapers with minimal busyness.  Sand, calm waters, mountains, that sort of thing. Less distracting.  

Anything else you'd like to share? 

This was fun. Thank you!

Thank you Shirantha. Keep the jazz coming.

Star Wars Augmented Reality Promotion

Reuters is reporting that September 1-3 we are going to get augmented reality Star Wars characters on our iPhones at certain retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and … yes … Apple. 

The hunt for “Star Wars” characters is scheduled to last three days and will coincide with “Force Friday II,” the day retailers start selling toys and other products tied to “The Last Jedi” with midnight openings around the world.
— Reuters

Of course, this is something right in my wheelhouse. It may even compel me to go to a store, which I usually try to avoid.

One curiosity for me is that this AR stunt happens before iOS 11 ships so it will not be taking advantage of the remarkable AR support we’ll see in the next version of iOS. It will be interesting to see how well they pull it off without that advantage.

One More Go at iOS Text Manipulation

Now that my weapon of choice for text manipulation is getting shut down, I'm thinking about a replacement. Jon Voorhees over at MacStories pointed me to Clean Text (website)(App Store), a $2.99 app that has many of the same text cleaning features as TextTool 2 but without the automation. You can, however, create your own Regular Expressions, which isn’t automation but still pretty handy.

One interesting feature is the way Clean Text uses the iCloud back end to work in conjunction with the Clean Text Menu app for Mac. 

I’ve downloaded and just started testing Clean Text and, so far, it is working as promised. The app was last updated May 8, 2017. The app already supports multitasking and split view. Hopefully it also goes all in with full support for iOS 11. Drag and drop could make a lot of sense with an app like this.

The Demise of TextTool 2

Yesterday I wrote about a really clever little IOS utility, TextTool 2. Shortly after I posted, the app developer announced he is ceasing development. He explained in his blog post that despite putting significant work into the application, Its total income was a little over $3,100.

I wish he had charged more for the application because it would've been worth it. There really isn’t anything else like this on iOS. Regardless, I need to pull back my recommendation of TextTool 2 since it is no longer in development.

iOS Text Transformations with TextTool 2

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Longtime Mac users may be familiar with one of my favorite Mac utilities, Text Soap. The application lets you fix text just about every way possible. That’s great so long as you’re sitting at a Mac, but what about iOS?

There’s a solution for that as well. TextTool 2 (website)(App Store) is an iOS app for iPad and iPhone that has 27 built-in text transformations. There’s a lot this application can do to text on your iPhone or iPad.

• Add/Remove List Markers

• Affix Text

• Change Case

• Comment/Uncomment Code

• Dedupe Lines

• Educate/Simplify Text

• Escape/Unescape Metacharacters

• HTML Entities to Text/Text to HTML Entities

• Indent/Outdent Lines

• Join Lines/Split Text

• Remove First/Last Line

• Search/Replace

• Sort Lines

• Spaces to Tabs/Tabs to Spaces

• Trim Whitespace

• URL Encode/Decode

• Wrap Text Cleanly

If that’s not enough, it also has its own scripting engine (using JavaScript) allowing you to write your own text transformations. I am always working with text that has one sort of problem or another. If you work with text on iOS, get this app.

TextTool 2 (Click to Enlarge)

MPU 392 – So Many iOS Utilities

In this week’s episode of Mac Power Users , Katie and I look at our favorite iOS utilities. So many apps in so little time.

Sponsors Include:

  • TextExpander from Smile Type more with less effort! Expand short abbreviations into longer bits of text, even fill-ins, with TextExpander from Smile.
  • The Omni Group We're passionate about productivity for Mac, iPhone and iPad. 
  • Gazelle Sell your iPhone for cash at Gazelle! 
  • 1Password Have you ever forgotten a password? Now you don't have to worry about that anymore. Save up to 20% using this link.

Project Management with Workflow.link (Sponsor)

I'm happy to welcome a new sponsor this week with workflow.link. Created by the same developer as inShort, workflow.link is a project management web service. With workflow.link, you can keep an eye on your big projects from the 20,000-foot view while still having the ability to drill down into the details. 

This ability to combine the micro and the macro has always been one of inShort’s best features and it comes over to workflow.link nicely. As your diagram grows bigger, it can be split up, creating new diagrams until all the steps to achieve the goal are clear and feasible. 

From the resulting map of tasks, you can compose a detailed plan and start cranking widgets, marking the progress in the service. For convenient control of plans, tasks can also be displayed as ordinary Gantt charts. 

Like inShort, workflow.link’s design embraces the Theory of Constraints to automatically determines the critical path, configures time buffers and sets late starts. If you’ve used inShort in the past, you’ll get it immediately. You can even upload inShort diagrams to workflow.link or the reverse when moving from web service to app.

If you’re curious, give workflow.link a try. You can register for a free 30 day trial and really kick the tires starting today.

Family Encryption

The Cloak VPN service, now getting renamed to Encrypt.Me, is offering a new family encryption service where you can have VPN services for everyone in your family of five for $12.99/month. I'm already a Cloak subscriber. The app is dead-simple to use and I'm often around public WiFi. It really isn't that much more to upgrade to the family plan and put everyone on it. The question is, are we at a point where I need to get religion into my family about VPN security?

My initial reaction is that I'm being paranoid and my wife and kids would probably not bother with VPN even if I set them up with something as simple as Cloak. However, when I read the full extent of government and non-government snooping going on out there, I'm sorely tempted to put everyone on VPN. This sounds like fodder for a dinner table conversation.

Jazz Friday – The Kashmere Stage Band

Recently I was riding in my daughter's car and she was playing the soundtrack from Baby Driver  (iTunes) (Apple Music) and this song came on that blew my mind a little bit. After a little investigation, I discovered it was a jazz band from the late 60's and early 70's from Houston Texas known as the Kashmere Stage Band. Further investigation revealed this was not a band formed of seasoned professionals but instead high school kids. Bandleader and teacher Conrad O. Johnson wrote arrangements for his band that were a unique mix of jazz and funk and he got such a sound out of his band. It just makes you want to dance. It's a crazy story that eventually became the subject of a documentary film, Thunder Soul, (YouTube) produced by Jamie Foxx. You don't have to go that deep if you don't want to, however. Just stream or buy their album, Thunder Soul, and prepare yourself for some big band jazz, unlike anything you've heard before. 

Home Screens – Gabe Weatherhead

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Gabe Weatherhead, author of the MacDrifter Blog, is one of my favorite writers on the Internet. He’s thoughtful and wicked-smart. Visiting Gabe’s website, you’re not only likely to find some bit of technology magic, you also may learn just a little more about Kurt Vonnegut. In addition to all of that, as a kid Gabe was an absolute badass. I remember that shirt. I wore mine out. Anyway … Gabe, show us your home screen.

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What are some of your favorite apps?

Well, I guess every app on my home screen earned that place so by that logic they are all my favorites. But if you want to know what apps I enjoy using the most, I’d say MyScript Nebo is the one that makes me feel like technology is catching up to my childhood dreams. The handwriting recognition is a small miracle. In that same vein, I really like sketching with Linea Sketch. It’s so close to writing on paper but with the feel of a whiteboard. I think visually and sometimes it helps to just doodle and draw some lines. Linea works well for that. It’s not as advanced as an app like like Procreate. or Tayasui Sketches but sometimes all of those extra tools are just cruft in the way of thinking.

Writing in Nebo. (Click to expand)

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

I guess Slack since it’s mostly just for chit-chatting and memes. I don’t really feel guilty about it because my primary Slack group is a bunch of super smart people that are also pretty helpful.

I’m not really an iOS gamer. I enjoy Monument Valley but usually, iOS games leave me feeling uninterested after about 20 minutes. Strangely, I enjoy Wikipanion Plus for iPad with the Adventure Time, Wookiepedia, and Simpsons Wikias. I can spend an hour reading random pages.

Second to that would be my strange fascination with learning new knots using the Animated Knots by Grog HD or Knots 3D apps.

What app makes you most productive?

By design it’s OmniFocus, because that’s where I manage my project and task list. But, I really spend a ton of time in DEVONthink To Go. That’s where I keep pretty much every piece of information I might need for a task. The search performance is fantastic and it has one of the best share sheets for capturing from other apps. I know iOS 11 is bringing a new file manager, but I’m not sure if they can beat what I get with DEVONthink meta data and search.

What app do you know you’re underutilizing?

Without a doubt, I could get more out of iThoughts if I really forced myself to use it the right way. Every time I noodle around in iThoughts I find something new or something I forgot it could do. It’s a pretty snazzy research tool but I always forget to start in iThoughts, which is the best way to capture with the app. There are so many excellent apps for iOS that it’s hard to keep to just one workflow and really learn it in depth and build routines. But there are dividends when I focus on one application and disregard existing habits.

What is the app you are still missing?

Call Recorder for podcasting. That’s not very relevant for most people but the sandboxing and lack of true multi-tasking prevents the iOS platform from doing some things I love on the Mac. Apps like Little Snitch, Keyboard Maestro, and Hazel are among my favorite applications on the Mac and they aren’t just missing on iOS, they are impossible. I also can’t say that I want Apple to open up iOS like the Mac, either. It’s the sandbox on iOS that makes it so safe. But, there are a lot of smart people at Apple. I like to think that this is a problem with a technical solution that doesn’t depend on share sheets and switching apps.

How many times a day do you use your iPhone/iPad?

There are about 1,000 waking minutes in my average day. So let’s say about 1,000 times.

What Today View widgets are you using and why?

I like the Crisp Weather Widget and more recently CARROT Weather to keep up with the nutty weather in New England. Then there’s OmniFocus 2 and Fantastical 2 for iPhone for quick access to my agenda and task list.

I use the Copied widget a lot since that’s the closest thing to a mult-clipboard on iOS. I just pull down and activate the widget to keep gathering items into the Copied stack. Later, I can get to everything from any of my Apple devices.

I also really appreciate the Drafts! widget for its dictation option. I use that far more on my iPhone than on my iPad though. I probably use that feature once a day, just to take down a quick thought. I even dump some half-considered tasks in Drafts to avoid cluttering OmniFocus with things I haven’t thought through.

The Workflow widget is nice but I’ll be honest, I don’t want to depend on Workflow too much. I don’t think it will be around that long and there are so many routines that I had that were unrealistic without Workflow. It felt like dangerous territory to depend on one app that’s now owned (and barely updated) by Apple. I still use Workflow, but I’m trying not to build new dependencies on the App until I see Apple move it forward and make it an equal iOS citizen with Mail, Safari, and Calendar. If it remains as important as Clips then I don’t have confidence in its future.

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What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?

My single favorite feature is portability. I know I should say that the limitations make me more focused, but that’s not as true anymore. If I had true multi-tasking like on the Mac, I’d be more productive on iOS. But what wins the day is how easy it is to pick up my iPhone and just get something done. Easy in and easy out.

If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?

iOS 11 is on the right track, but they need to rethink how sandboxing works. I think it’s time to rebalance the safety controls with the modern needs of a computing device. As I mentioned above, most of what the iPad can not do is related to the guard-rails Apple has against inter-app communication and system level access. I don’t claim to be as smart as a team of Apple engineers. Those are some smart cookies. But they are working with user requirements that are nearly a decade old now. I bet that if they really focused on the problem that they could come up with a way to allow a user to exercise their own control and accept the risks of those decisions, without endangering the device or the network.

Do you have an Apple Watch?

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I wear an Apple Watch almost every day. I bet I’m not like a lot of daily users though. I wear it like I do a pocket knife. I have it with me because it’s nice in a few circumstances but most of the time I don’t need it. If I lost it, I probably wouldn’t replace it until the next revision.

I have two primary faces:

  1. The daily face that’s pretty ugly but really functional
  2. The distraction-free face that’s good for movies, bedtime, and when I don’t want to think about the outside world

What’s your wallpaper and why?

On my iPhone, I use the app WLPPR which has some terrific looking satellite images to use as wallpaper. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been updated since 2016 and doesn’t support the iPad.

I highly recommend two David Lanham collections available for sale. There’s a collection of over 100 cartoons that I love so much I have a few framed. His photography bundle is also fantastic.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’ve considered myself a “Mac guy” for a very long time. Since the latest iPad Pro was released, I’ve tried to go iPad-only. It’s mostly been a success but when there are edge cases on iOS, they are pretty hard edges. No automation on iOS comes close to what can be done on the Mac. A lot of what I need to do is completely possible on iOS. Some of it is even easier with a dedicated app. This notion that there’s a competition between an iPad and MacBook is unreasonable. The iPad is not a Mac replacement for someone like me and it often requires ten times more work to get something done. My Mac is nowhere near as convenient and ever-ready as my iPad or iPhone. I wrote all of these words in Drafts on my iPad because it’s pretty handy. That doesn’t mean I don’t also love my Mac. They are two different things in my world but I use my iPad a heck of a lot more than my Mac.

Thanks Gabe!

 

Masters of Automation on Upgrade Podcast

Last week I attended the first ever CMD-D: Masters of Automation conference in San Jose. At the end of the day, Jason Snell did a live on-stage podcast with all the speakers, including yours truly. 

The show went live this week in the Upgrade feed. I though it came out great and there is a lot of good information about where we stand with automation technologies with both Mac and iOS. The CMD-D portion starts about 30 minutes into the podcast but I recommend listening to the whole thing.

Workflow Update and Status

This week Workflow got a middling update. The update includes lots of bug fixes and improvements for iOS 11. This is further evidence that Apple is committed to keeping the lights on for Workflow at least for the next year.

Last week when I was at the CMD-D conference I got to spend time with some of the Workflow developers and they were actively soliciting ideas and thoughts about the application from me. They weren’t acting like someone who thought their app already had one foot in the grave.

I have no idea what’s going on at Apple. If I was a betting man, I would say that some version of the Workflow feature set is going to somehow get incorporated into a future version of iOS, but until that time it seems that Apple is happy to keep paying people to keep the current version working.

I still get emails from people suggesting I’m nuts to keep using Workflow after it’s been acquired by Apple. My reply is that I think I would be nuts not to use it. One of a few things is going to happen:

  1. Apple will continue to support workflow for the foreseeable future until shutting it down without some sort of replacement.
  2. Apple will continue to support workflow for the foreseeable future until replacing it with some new technology (hopefully) incorporating a lot of the ideas and motivation behind Workflow.

In either of those scenarios, Workflow will continue to work for the foreseeable future. This week’s update supports iOS 11 and supports this point even further. Workflow is, in my opinion, the most powerful utility available on the iPhone and iPad. It quite literally allows nonprogrammers to develop their own custom apps that can speak with multiple applications and make their lives easier.

An added benefit of many Workflow users is that it sends a message to Apple that iOS users want automation and power tools, just like Mac users. More of that … please!

Best of all, the application is now free. Even if you’ve never picked up Workflow, now is a great time to kick the tires.

Get Started Outlining with OmniOutliner Essentials (Sponsor)

This week MacSparky is sponsored by OmniOutliner, my favorite outlining application for the Mac, iPad, and iPhone. Recently the Omni Group has released OmniOutliner version 5. One of the best things about this new version is the addition of OmniOutliner Essentials. It includes several of OmniOutliner’s key features, like keyword filtering, document stats, distraction-free mode, resource search, touch bar support, dark mode, opml mode, and pro file compatibility. 

I use OmniOutliner often. It’s a fantastic tool for collecting ideas and organizing them. Whether you’re taking notes, making lists, brainstorming, or starting your book, OmniOutliner can help you out.

With OmniOutliner Essentials, you get all these features for just $10. OmniOutliner Essentials is a great deal and if you have any interest in adding a world-class outliner to your tool belt, go get OmniOutliner Essentials today.

Future Chips and Hardware

Intel recently announced its 2018/2019 CPU, called Icy Lake. AnandTech explains the new chip in detail. To summarize, Intel is putting the hammer down on making their chips smaller and faster. I'm sure Apple and other competing chip designers/manufacturers are taking note.

As I was growing up with computers, CPU improvements were all about speed. Computers didn't change the way they looked so much as they got a lot faster … often. I can't help but feel that as 10nm chips become "the thing", the speed improvements will end up taking a back seat to the ways these new chips liberate hardware manufacturers to rethink the kinds of hardware we can put these small, fast chips in. Future chips are not about getting faster (although they will get faster) so much as they are about further evolving the idea of what a computer is. I can hardly wait.