Steve Jobs in 1983

The Steve Jobs Archive published an interesting speech Steve gave at the 1983 International Design Conference in Aspen. It’s excellent, and I recommend watching the whole thing. A few things that stood out to me:

  • He stated that by 1986, people could spend more time in front of computers than in their cars. The audience gasped. That sure came true for me.
  • He talked about creating a virtual Aristotle with future computers. That’s what I did (with Seneca) a few months ago using ChatGPT. Jobs’ speech was in 1983.
  • At one point, he outlines his LISA strategy. He wants Apple to reduce the cost of a future LISA to under $1,000. I can’t help but wonder how things would have played out if Steve had stayed at Apple and pulled that off.
  • Steve was so good at managing an audience and taking questions, even at 28.
  • Taken as a whole, this was a recruitment speech. He was seducing those designers to come and make beautiful products for Apple.

The Neo Network Utility

In addition to continually updating DEVONthink, team Devon also has a nice catalog of free software and utilities for Mac users. Earlier this month, they re-released their Neo Network Utility.

In essence, this application takes a lot of information available on the command line via Terminal and wraps it in a nice user interface. It offers various networking tools for retrieving information and diagnosing network problems. Best of all, it’s free. Note that version 1.0.2. requires macOS Ventura or later.

the main window from neo network utility, a software program from devon technologies, makes of the popular DEVONthink application.

The Productivity Summer Camp

Earlier this year, I released the Productivity Field Guide. It was successful and helped many people find some center in a world full of distractions. This summer, I’m pleased to announce the Productivity Summer Camp. I’ll be providing the Productivity Field Guide and a four-week webinar series in August for a select number of young applicants. This course is for students in high school and college.

Why is This Worth Your Time?

When I was in school, there were a lot fewer distractions than there are today. The Internet was in its infancy, and a “smartphone” had buttons instead of a rotary dial. And yet, it was hard to stay focused back then. Today, with the connected world and so many people working so hard to monetize your attention, it’s nearly impossible. Moreover, competition is fierce these days, and the stakes are higher than ever.

Focus will be the superpower of the next generation because so few people have it. But Focus is more than staying on target when you sit down to read the book. It’s about a foundational understanding of what is important to you and what you intend to do with your life.

I devised a system that answered those questions. I’ve shared this with many people who’ve found it helpful. This course could give you the superpowers you’ll need.

In this course, you’ll figure out your “why,” which opens up the world for you. With this scholarship, you’ll get 50 Video Tutorials, a PDF book, helpful worksheets, and a month-long webinar series.

So, are you willing to give up some of your summer to answer the big questions with your own big answers? Now’s the time.

How Much Does it Cost?

The course will not cost money, but it’s not free either; I want you to work at this. Specifically, if you want in, you need to commit to going through the material, doing the exercises, and attending the webinars. No slackers!

Why Am I Doing This?

I considered the big questions when I was your age, but I never really got to the bottom of them until decades later. For many years, I was adrift on my “why.” Once I figured things out, my life got much better (and easier!). One of my biggest regrets is not figuring these things out earlier. So, I’d like to help you learn from my mistake.

How Do You Apply?

Send me an email telling me who you are, your goals, and why you are interested in this program. I’m invested in this, but I only want to work with people willing to do the work. Are you willing to watch the videos, read the materials, attend the webinars, and make a serious effort? If so, send the email to scholarship@macsparky.com by July 29. Recipients will be awarded at the end of July, and the webinar series will run through August.

Your pal, David

P.S. If you are reading this and know a high school or college-aged human that may benefit from the program, please pass this email along. Thanks!

Mac Power Users 754: Passwords, Passkeys, & Beyond, with Damien Schreurs

Damien Schreurs joins Stephen and me on this episode of Mac Power Users to talk about what makes a good password, what the deal is with passkeys, and Apple’s upcoming Passwords application

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • SaneBox: Stop drowning in email!
  • NetSuite: The leading integrated cloud business software suite.
  • Zocdoc: Find the right doctor, right now with Zocdoc. Sign up for free.

ScreenFloat 2: Power Up Your Screenshots (Sponsor)

This week, MacSparky is sponsored by ScreenFloat 2, a major upgrade to the Mac’s built-in screenshot tool. With ScreenFloat 2, screenshots become so much more.

To begin, your screenshots will float, just like the name implies. You no longer have to dig through windows to find your screenshots. It’s right on top, waiting for you.

Then, there is a suite of screenshot tools: markup, annotate, colors, rotate, and trim. ScreenFloat 2 lets you record your screen and trigger screenshots on a timer. If you need to re-capture, there is a tool for that, so you don’t have to reframe the shot from scratch. You can even extract text and barcodes. If you need to redact, there are tools for that as well. You can remove text, faces, or barcodes. 

I often want to get exact color matches out of screenshots which is actually pretty difficult. But not so with ScreenFloat 2. The app has a built-in color sampling tool. If you want to use your screenshots, you can drag and drop them out of the browser or directly from floating shots. ScreenFloat 2 also includes a browser to organize your images with folders and tags, and it all syncs over iCloud. If you want to use your screenshots, you can drag and drop them out of the browser.

Check out ScreenFloat 2 today and learn just how much more useful screenshots can be.

When the Antivirus Software Is the Virus

Last week’s CrowdStrike outage is pretty concerning. It’s shocking how a mistake by one software company can shut down so many global industries.

While I understand that antivirus software is necessary, its existence always represents a vulnerability. It has to embed itself deep in the system to do its work. Any mistake in that software, whether the result of negligence or malice, can cause the exact damage the software is engineered to avoid. Fortunately, Apple uses an Endpoint Security framework and therefore avoided the CrowdStrike fiasco.

Bern Shanfield on His iPhone Home Screen Simplification Journey and Favorite Mac Apps

Bern Shanfield is a MacSparky Labs member who, over the years, has become a friend. What I love about Bern is how intentional he is about his Mac and how he thinks of it. When he showed me an interesting take he had on his iPhone Home Screen, I couldn’t help asking to share it. So Bern, show us your Home Screen…

What are some of your favorite apps?

[Ed. Bern tells us about his favorite Mac apps.]

My favorite, suggests something used for a longish time. For me, favorite is more of the moment or week or maybe month.

Keyboard Maestro IS a favorite and has been for years. With palettes, it’s my UI builder (I’m more visually/tactually/cursor/get it on the screen in front of me than keyboard-oriented) to get apps to look and work the way I want them to.

BetterTouchTool (BTT) isn’t used much, but what it does do is important to me to round out the touch aspect of my hand-crafted-to-my-taste  UI. Same for PopClip.

Look and feel, make the deal! Gotta have both. Half-assed doesn’t work no matter which cheek you have left.

Grammarly hides my 3rd-grade spelling and grammar skills, for which I’m grateful.

I’ve been playing with Beam as a UI for ChatGPT. Still getting in the saddle with that and ChatGPT.

Default Folder X, now that it’s working again, is a pleasure.

TextSniper helps me nurture my dislike of typing. I’ll take a lot of steps to avoid typing. You’d think I’d like Voice Control, but using voice rather than looking and touching hasn’t really caught on for me. I keep trying it and go back to the display and cursor movements.

Hookmark is good, and the implementation needs to be more direct.

HoudahSpot beats Spotlight, though losing email search was a major hit. More about that later.

I’m anxious to see if I can get all my Voice Memos memos transcribed, which would be simpler than the MacWhisper route. Having that data searchable will be useful.

I got really excited for a minute when I found Ilama FS, flew like a hypnotized moth into the flame , and fought my way through the terminal install, only to find out later when it didn’t work and that it was a buggy hackathon project. The upside was a dive into the deep end of the pool learning about Terminal, which prior to this was only a lightly dip my toes in place.

After some coughing and sputtering, I looked around for some actually working projects and found Sorted, which will put a mix of unfiled apps into folders based on the file name and extension only, which is a start and seemingly state-of-the-art and I added Riffo to Keep it Shot for some auto file renaming.

I’ve been waiting years for auto file filing, and with the very beginnings of it coming to light with AI, am jumping at the hints of it showing up. Given the complexity, it’s likely going to be a third party rather than an Apple app or service that gets this going in a significant way.

You know that something is seriously wrong with you or your life, or you’re just truly a geek at heart when filing stuff gets your motor running 😉.

Dem da highlights of my current app journey.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

Logic Pro and iZotope RX 9 Audio Editor were unjustifiable purchases that I’ve gotten only a little use from but really wanted to see what I could do with them to clean up audio files. So they were guilty purchases. Allowing myself to indulge my app promiscuity is where my feelings of guilt lay.

What app makes you most productive?

Keyboard Maestro and, ironically, it makes me unproductive in the time I sometimes spend setting macros up. Maybe add that to my guilty pleasure chest.

What app do you know you’re underutilizing?

Again Keyboard Maestro, even though I’ve gotten through most of your Field Guide, which has been useful. I use it more for UI scripting, and every so often, when I do learn a bit of using it more programmatically, it’s really, really great. I guess I’m more driven by immediate need than the abstract language learning that coding requires.

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

iPhone 100 /  iPad 0

I like you died down the end of the make the iPad a macOS replacement path. Filing is so *** bad without the Finder, I just don’t go there.

What Today View widgets are you using and why?

Weather, sunrise/set, Motivation, though I very rarely swipe to see them. My preference is to have only one screen and have everything I want and need there. It’s also interesting to note that if you have only one Home Screen, then with a single action, you have access to all the features like the App Library, Today’s widgets, App Switcher, Control Center, and Notifications.

As you can probably tell by now, I have a pretty deep drive to have everything in one place at my fingertips. Sometimes (perhaps too often), that takes precedence over productivity. (+1 on the guilty pile.)

Interesting for an ex-lawyer to be asking about guilty whatevers.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?

Portability.

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

Oh boy… Building me a soapbox and giving me a hand getting on it?!!? I feel like I was hit by a phaser set on stun!

Well…

As long as we’re in fantasy land, let’s go all the way, I mean, why not?

Remember the original Star Trek episode “A Piece of the Action”? Near the end, Kirk gathers the mob bosses and assigns one of them to be the head boss for the entire planet to help them move forward out from the feudal warfare they become stuck in.

If I were the equivalent of Kirk in that position here today on earth, I’d put Tim Cook’s Apple in charge of all technology on earth. Have one operating system and ecosphere for all devices. Get everyone on the same page moving forward together rather than the unimaginable waste of resources and lives we second by second engage in.

Ok, with that a bit off my chest, I can address YOUR question.

Tim said Apps are the future, which I understand given the strategic importance of the global developers pool. I disagree as I don’t have a business to run, THANK GOD!!!

The first thing I’d do is get a Skunkworks project going to rewrite the OS (from the ground up if need be) to eliminate apps altogether.

I’d also build a new internet from the ground up that ran parallel to the existing internet that the world could switch over to and let the current old internet collapse into the mass of bandaids, patches, and duct tape that are barely holding it together. Not because it was interesting but rather because it’s needed.

So this new macOS (infiniteOS? ∞OS?) can keep the developer pool contributing by installing an extensions framework that lets developers contribute to the development of the OS by adding features (extensions). They get paid by users using the features, which is tracked and credited to the developer of the feature extension. Or something like that 😉. Come on, it’s fantasy; let’s have fun!

Anyway, out with apps and in with extensions! Developers become Jr. Apple engineers!

That’s fantasy 1.

Now, ever so slightly back to earth. To get to the app-less place, the first step is to assign the Finder and Email as the backbone of the system. This means opening the Finder’s filing system to Mail and merging those siloed databases into one.

Then, this combined database gradually absorbs the rest of the databases (Photos, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, Messages, etc.) until we arrive at one and only one database for all data.

This then opens a world of design opportunities for developers to create extensions to access. A new golden age of UI!

Glad you asked, huh?

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

Not really interesting. Alarms, temperature checks, and voice memos, mostly.

What’s your wallpaper and why?

Solid grey to be unobtrusive. I already have too much going on, as you can see above.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Only if you’re still awake and interested. 😇

The Big Question About Apple Intelligence

Since Apple unveiled its vision for artificial intelligence at WWDC, there have been numerous announcements and rumors about releasing different components of Apple Intelligence. The most recent update suggests that the all-new Siri won’t be available in beta until January of next year, with a general public release in Spring. While in recent years Apple has not hesitated to announce features that won’t ship with the initial release of a new operating system, Apple Intelligence takes it to a new level.

I don’t find fault with the delay, though. Even though it seems that Apple would have preferred to wait another year on these features, I believe that if the delay is necessary to get it right, it’s worth waiting for.

The big question about all the Apple Intelligence elements is not “When do we get them?” but “Do they work”? Significant market pressures forced Apple to explain its AI position, and now it has. I generally agree with the thinking behind Apple Intelligence, and if it works as promised, it will be very impressive.

In a few years, people will not remember exactly when the various Apple Intelligence components were released. However, they will remember whether or not they worked.

Mac Power Users 753: Apple Gear & Accessories

Join Stephen and I on this episode of Mac Power Users as we share some of our favorite accessories that help extend our Apple devices and maximize their usefulness

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • 1Password: Never forget a password again.
  • Squarespace: Save 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain using code MPU.
  • ExpressVPN: High-Speed, Secure & Anonymous VPN Service. Get an extra three months free.