Over the years, we've had a lot of requests for an episode of Mac Power Users talking about the science (and art) of creating screencasts. This week JF Brissette joins us to talk about the state of screencasting on Mac and iOS along with tools, tips, and tricks for making screencasts.
This week MacSparky is sponsored by SaneBox, the powerful email tool that can help you conquer your inbox. I’ve written before about SaneBox filtering, which is awesome. However, SaneBox smart filtering is just the beginning. SaneBox can also sort your inbox, keep track of reminders and snoozed emails, rescue email from your spam folder, upload attachments your cloud, and more.
It’s that attachment part that I’d like to focus on today. SaneAttachments allow you to say goodbye to bulky attachments and hello to automatic uploads to the cloud. With SaneAttachments enabled, SaneBox will monitor your inbox. When someone sends you a large attachment, SaneBox will save it automatically to your destination of choice. (I use Dropbox.) This allows you to keep the size of your email database down and gives you a reliable place to go find large attachment. If you like to automate, this gives you another avenue into Hazel. For instance, I have Hazel monitor the Dropbox folder where SaneBox puts attachments. If it sees something land there that matches a Hazel rule, Hazel will automatically rename and file it. This is all very powerful and just one more feature you get with the SaneBox account.
SaneBox is a great service that I use every day to manage my email. You should too. To learn more and over to SaneBox.com and check it out. MacSparky readers even get a discount.
When Sal Soghoian left Apple I explained to friends that I was sad to see such a great advocate leave Apple but also happy to know we'd get more of Sal's feedback and help in the community. We can already see the effects of his collaboration with the Omni Group.
If that's not enough, Sal's also organizing a conference on Mac and iOS automation, CMD-D, to be held on August 9, 2017 in Santa Clara.
Today's news is that I'll be one of the speakers. Specifically, I'll be covering iOS Automation, focussing primarily on Workflow for iOS. I think this conference will be a lot of fun. If you're planning on attending, please look me up.
I did some traveling this week and that gave me an opportunity to observe a lot of people making their way through airports. Travel is just one more thing that has been revolutionized by the iPhone. When Apple released a touch screen computer that fits in your pocket, they changed the world.
I think a bit of this story that people miss is that it really took Apple to make this work. Apple’s engineering talent and user interface designers built a transformative bit of electronic gadgetry that I don’t think anyone else could have made and changed ... well ... everything.
I went back and read my comically bad review of the original iPhone from 2007. Most interesting for me was that I’d forgotten about several of my problems with the original iPhone. The device was limited and missing a lot of the features in phones of the day. I think the reason I didn’t remember so many of those original problems is because the iPhone was so good at the limited features it had. I vividly remember sliding to unlock, sending emails and viewing attachments on that screen, looking at maps on my phone, and … best of all … using Safari. If you’d ever attempted to access the Internet with any mobile phone made before the iPhone, you’d understand exactly how special the original iPhone was.
I don’t know if Apple will ever have another world-changing product like the iPhone. Indeed, I don’t know if any consumer electronic company will make something that changes the wold as much as the iPhone did. 10 years can feel like a lot of time. It also can feel like the blink of an eye. The iPhone has come so far in the past 10 years. Can you imagine what it will be like 10 years from now?
I enjoyed reading Jeff Richardson's iPad review.
I've been using the new 10.5 inch iPad exclusively since I received it but I have occasionally missed the big one, which is particularly good for contract reviews and sheet music. I'm going to continue using the small one exclusively for a few weeks to see exactly how much I miss the big one. Right now I'm leaning toward keeping (but not upgrading) my 12.9 inch iPad for those special times where it makes sense and working primarily from my 10.5.
The latest episode of Free Agents is up. What happens if you're a lone-wolf independent operator, and then you get sick? Jason was recently out of commission for several days, and I had serious health issues immediately upon going independent. What strategies can help mitigate against illness? How can you avoid getting sick? And what's the deal with disability insurance?
Every summer, several of the premier Mac App Developers pull together with sales of their products, called SummerFest. This year’s SummerFest lineup is impressive including, among others, Tinderbox, Nisus Writer, Scrivener, PDFpen, DEVONthink, and HoudahSpot. There’s even more and they all are 25% off. The whole thing ends in a few days so if you’re interested, now’s the time.
MPU Episode 383 is up. This week Harvard lecturer Teddy Svoronos comes back and there is lots of nerdy goodness in this one. Harvard Lecturer Teddy Svronos returns to talk about how he's using his Mac and iOS devices for giving presentations, some very clever iOS automation techniques, and academic writing. Finally, we fall into the music rabit hole at the end and share some of our favorite apps for making music.
For those of you who don’t know about Daylite, it has been around for over 15 years. Daylite is a Mac customer relationship manager (CRM) that helps you get new business and deliver on your promises. Whether you are contacting new leads or reviewing your list of past clients to see who is in need of your services, Daylite helps you track everything. From a single lead or client, you can see every email, every booked or upcoming appointment, who referred them, pending business deals, active projects, and even future follow-ups.
From a single project, you can see all of the important emails, files, completed tasks, as well as upcoming tasks and who is responsible. Daylite also has custom pipelines so you can visually track the stage of each project.
The Daylite team is always coming up with new ways to help Daylite make business more productive. They’ve recently added an easier way to schedule meetings and book resources.
I’ve been using the new 10.5 inch iPad Pro a lot over the past week and thought I’d share a few thoughts:
The screen refresh at 120 timer per second is immediately noticeable. Everything is snappier. Maps zoom faster. Apps and folders leap off the glass. It plays with your mind. As I write these words, it even seems the cursor is jumping across the screen faster than usual. The screen is also noticeably brighter than my existing iPad Pro. My best summary for this new screen is that it is hyper-real.
Maybe at some point I’ll get used to this but then again it may just delight me for years. (Retina screens still make me giggle.) Speaking of retina screens, I think the jump from non-retina to retina was a bigger deal than this, but not by much. This tech is pretty remarkable. One clever bit to all of this is that the screen isn’t always driving forward at 120 frames per second. Instead the iPad is smart and only amps things up when needed. If there is no movement going on with the screen, the frame rate slows down to conserve battery.
While the feel of the 10.5 inch iPad is about the same as the prior 9.7 inch iPad Pro, Apple managed to add some additional pixels. They did not, however, make the 10.5 inch iPad match the pixel count of the 12.9 inch iPad Pro. Doing so would have allowed us to see two full sized iPad apps on the 10.5 inch iPad but also make everything on the screen smaller. I used to make fun of people that didn’t use the smallest possible typeface on their screens. These days I actually prefer text a little larger. Apple’s decision to keep the same pixel size (so text doesn’t shrink) but just add about 20% more screen real estate with the 10.5 inch iPad works for me. However, 20-year-old me would have preferred smaller pixels and two full-sized iPad apps.
As for my existing 12.9 inch iPad, I have yet to determine its fate. The big iPad currently taking a sabbatical while I attempt to do all of my work on this 10.5 inch iPad to see how it goes. I'll revisit and report back in a month or so.
There's another piece to this larger screen: the keyboard. When I first started using the new 10.5 inch iPad, I didn't feel the keyboard was any different than that for the 9.7 inch iPad. Now that I've spent more time typing on the Smart Keyboard and the glass, I can report this slightly wider keyboard is more comfortable than I expected it to be. Just that little extra width makes a significant difference.
In addition to a faster screen render, the new iPad also provides a faster scan for the pencil at 240 times per second. You won't notice any difference when drawing quickly. The first time I tried it, I made broad fast strokes on prior generation iPad right next to this 10.5 inch iPad and couldn't notice a difference. Then I got thinking about the times I try to use the pencil with precision and I started doing some tests. I use the pencil to make very small and detailed annotations on PDFs. I also use the pencil to write music in NotateMe. It was with that second test that I really got religion. NotateMe allows me to write music on my iPad with my pencil. It transcribes the music as I write it and even gives me a little preview. I like using the application to sketch of ideas for songs and solos. This task gets a lot easier with a higher scan rate on pencil. The application gets a better reading and, as a result, gives me better response. No longer do my eighth notes turn into quarter rests. One remarkable part about all this is the fact that I did not have to buy a new Apple Pencil. The iPad improvements were all that were needed in order to give my existing Apple Pencil these new powers.
Other Nerdy Bits
- If you spend any time in Safari, you'll notice the additional memory (4 GB).
- The weight feels exactly the same as the 9.7 iPad Pro.
- The speakers sound about the same to the 9.7 inch iPad Pro
- There is no discernible difference in battery life. About 10 hours.
What about the Software?
For months I've been writing that the problem with the iPad isn't hardware, but instead software. Apple fixes a lot of my complaints (and a few I didn't even think of) with iOS 11. I'm currently running the iOS 11 beta on my 10.5 inch iPad and will have a lot more to say about that when it gets closer to shipping. The point, however, is that Apple has improved hardware and software. When iOS 11 ships, a lot of people will be able to get work done on iPad. September can't come soon enough.
This week MacSparky is sponsored by MailButler. Multitasking is bad. Nonetheless, in today’s world we’re forced to to juggle business meetings, calls and emails, deadlines, and family birthdays and more. It’s easy to drop the ball.
That’s one of the reasons I write here at MacSparky. Technology can help. If you feel overwhelmed with constant multitasking, it’s time for you to check out MailButler. It’s a multifunctional email extension, time-saver, and productivity game changer.
With MailButler you can compose emails beforehand and schedule them to be sent on a certain day in the future. It’s a good solution for planning birthday greetings for the entire year in advance and getting them off your mind. Also, you might want to reduce the risks of forgetting about some of the open conversations you need to follow up on in case you don’t get any response. Once you’ve written your email, just tell MailButler when you want to be reminded to follow up, and the notification will appear at your preferred date and time. With MailButler you can schedule a reminder about any kind of task for each of your emails - just attach a short note to it and turn on the notification.
MailButler doesn’t stop there. It also helps you with attachments. With the “Attachment Reminder”, you will get reminders about possibly omitted email attachments. MailButler super-charges Apple Mail and helps you process your emails faster and more effectively, saving hours a day to complete other tasks. Check it out today.
For people who are active or have special needs, Road ID is a great product and service. Road ID is a wearable doodad that lets emergency responders know who you are and who they should call. There is even an option that allows you to keep an online profile with lists of your medications, allergies, and more.
Best of all, they now support the Apple Watch. They’ve got several products that will work with Apple Watch bands. If you're active without identification or have a medical condition that you want to make sure first responders are aware of, check these out.
Fletcher Penney, who has put years of work into MultiMarkdown, has a new app: MultiMarkdown Converter Pro. If you write in Markdown or MultiMarkdown, this one is worth checking out. With MultiMarkdown Converter Pro, you can drag and drop text files from anywhere and convert them into the format you desire. It includes support for HTML5, EPUB 3 (including images), LaTeX, and Flat OpenDocument.
I backed the new Glif iPhone tripod mount and mine showed up a few weeks ago. Studio Neat has come a long way with this product. The newest Glif is spring loaded and pulls back easily around your phone (any size, in a case or not). You then just press down the quick release lever and you’ve attached three tripod mounting points to your phone. The whole thing easily fits in your jeans’ pocket. Quick. Secure. Portable.
If you want to go crazy, Studio Neat also sells a wooden grip with a tripod screw on top and wrist strap. You can combine this with the Glif to have a nice comfortable handle for your phone. I used it in this configuration recently at Disneyland while walking in a crowd. Combined with the iPhone camera stabilization, it took some great video for something I just pulled out of my pocket. As an aside, you’ll see some cranes in the background at the end of the video. You’ll never guess what those are for.
This third iteration of the product is so good that I'm not sure where they can go next. If you have any desire to put your iPhone on a tripod, look no further.
The latest episode of Free Agents is available for download. In this episode, we talk about what business forms make sense for your new venture. Topics include sole proprietorships, corporations, LLCs, and what seems like an episode-long disclosure that you really need a local attorney to help you out with these things.
I’m a little late on this story but Hazel got a very nice update over the last few months. The new version 4.1 adds several useful features including:
- Better date matching
- The ability to make a match based on file attributes of another file in the same folder
- There's also a new token for "any non-blank character"
These and other additions make this a nice improvement to an already useful Mac utility. I'm working on some new video content based on the updates. It will get added to the Hazel Video Field Guide when it's finished. I’m not making any promises on a release date just yet.
Several months ago we did an episode on Mac Power Users about managing subscriptions. During the show I explained that I have an Apple Numbers spreadsheet where I keep track of all of that information. I've finally gotten around to posting it. Below is a screenshot and at the bottom of this post is a download link.
The spreadsheet allows you to enter the name of the service and then whatever fee you’re paying. When you click the checkbox as to whether or not it's an annual subscription, the spreadsheet does some conditional computations to figure out the monthly cost and annual cost in the following two columns. Those are the key locations that you're going to be getting information about how much you’re spending. At the bottom of those columns you'll see how much you're spending per month and per year.
After that it’s just further information concerning the specific service like website, account number, contact information, and email. The point is you want to keep whatever you need in this database so you can cancel a subscription whenever you feel like it. The one thing I don't keep in this database is passwords. For that I go to 1Password.
Feel free to download, use, and modify. Let me know how it works for you.
Several of the early reviews are out and they are generally positive. My favorites are:
I particularly like the sample of the improved pencil scanning at iMore. The new iPad pros combined with iOS 11 improvements is going to let people get a lot of work done on tablets.
Seeing how much time the Omni Group is spending putting this advanced automation in place just affirms my decision to buy their software. The Omni Group truly wants to make the best possible software for Mac and iOS. If you're looking to be more productive, I recommend checking them all out.
OmniFocus — to get more productive
OmniGraffle — to make beautiful diagrams and images
OmniOutliner — a powerful outlining tool
OmniPlan — for project planning
Check out the Omni Group today and let them know you heard about it at MacSparky.