I’ve gotten back into brewing coffee lately. I used to be an avid Aeropress user, and I also use a Chemex or French press occasionally, so I got them back out to use instead of relying on my lower quality (more expensive), lazier Nespresso setup.
I had my own trial-and-error based methodology for brewing with these tools. My best brews happened with the Aeropress. But I went down a research rabbit hole to look at the best techniques for using them.
In searching for a brew timer for my phone,...
App launchers have been around a long time. Way back when it was Quicksilver, then it was Launchbar. A quick keystroke would pull up a search box, and a few letters of typing would open what you wanted.
For many years the go-to has been Alfred, which added a whole category of other automations, customized searches, and an entire workflow engine for building your own. I still use it now for certain things, but lately I’ve been kicking the tires on a new entrant in the category called Raycast.
Last year I switched to Airr as my main podcast app when they launched the beta, and have used it exclusively just about every day since.
Airr’s killer feature is the “AirrQuote”, which lets you clip snippets of podcast audio to share. There’s no other podcast app like it with as many integrations, like highlighting and syncing to your Readwise knowledge management workflow. It also has transcripts for tons of shows, which is a feature I didn’t know I wanted til I tried using Spotify or Overcast again and couldn’t scan through the...
I just installed this iPad app for sketching, which intrigued me for a few of its features. I’ve tried dozens of apps, but they tend to fall too far into the art camp or the note-taking camp, without very many that serve both categories well.
My go-to for the last few years has been Notability. It’s great for most of what I want, which is for writing with interspersed sketches and annotations.
Though I haven’t used it much yet, Concepts seems to do well at both. My favorite feature is its infinite canvas, where I can...
With the boom in popularity of podcasting, it’s surprising their aren’t more podcast players popping up. I’ve been an Overcast user for years, but there are only a few other big players these days: Stitcher, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Downcast, then what seems like a long tail of small, undifferentiated options. Most of them provide similar functionality, but I’ve stuck with Overcast because of its simplicity and independence. Many of the other alternatives have shifted toward “platform” models where they’re looking to monetize content as well as their software. Overcast has been steady and independent, with no sign of...
This 2013 piece from Dexter Filkins gives an excellent background on Qasem Soleimani, an important figure now well known after his killing a couple of weeks ago, but prior to that hardly known by anyone other than experts, even with his massive influence in the region.
I’m always intrigued by complicated simulation games. I remember a few of these “real-time” MMO games being popular in the early days of online gaming. Glad to see the genre still kicking in an era of low-attention-span gaming...
For a long time I’ve used the full 1Password desktop app and its browser plugin that installs alongside for support inside of Chrome. But recently I set up the 1Password X browser extension they first released a couple of years ago, and I’m converted. Since access to accounts is most useful in a web browser context, implementing it as an extension makes sense. I don’t know much about the tech backend or advantages of building a Chrome extension versus a “thick-client” browser plugin, but it seems like it’s certainly a benefit to conform...
My most-used app on my iPhone is easily Wikipanion, the app I’ve used for a decade for reading Wikipedia. It’s one of the first apps I remember downloading and using heavily when the App Store launched. It’s probably one of the first apps I purchased the paid version of. I probably do 10 or more Wikipedia searches per day on average just from my phone. So adding that up we’re talking tens of thousands of articles browsed from this app. It’s always had top billing on my home screen.
But I’ve noticed over the past year or so...
I posted a couple weeks ago about moving much of my computing activity to the iPad full time. Part of what I had to crack to make that possible was a writing workflow that supported using the tools I prefer, and a method for publishing and previewing with Jekyll.
I’ve been using Jekyll and GitHub Pages for this site for 5+ years. Other CMS systems are interesting and getting better, but there’s something about the total control and simplicity of static sites that keeps me here. This workflow is great with a full Mac setup, but on...
If you’re a podcast listener and an iOS user of productivity apps, you should subscribe to the Canvas podcast. Hosted by Federico Vittici (of MacStories) and Fraser Spiers, these guys know all there is about making the iPad into a tool for getting real work done.
They’ve been doing a series on Workflow, the powerful app for iOS task automation. I love this app and use it a ton for a few simple, yet repetitive everyday tasks from my phone.
Hopefully they continue...
I recently wrote a review on the Fulcrum blog for one of my favorite pieces of software, 1Password. It’s a password management app to help you keep better organized with your hundreds of passwords, codes, and secure data that you typically have laying around in emails, documents, and post-it notes on your desk.
I’m a heavy user of 1Password on my iPhone to look up accounts while I’m mobile. Because 1Password vault security is only as secure as your master password, the natural tendency is to have a long, complex, intricate passphrase...
The concept of activity tracking is getting ever closer to ubiquitous nowadays with the prevalence of dozens of mobile apps, wearable wristbands, and other health monitoring tools like Bluetooth-enabled scales and video games based on exercise. Now the world’s largest tech company is even rumored to be working on some form of wearable hardware (and software APIs), at which point the whole concept of “life tracking” will reach 100% penetration. Everyone will be tracking and recording their lives like characters in cyberpunk literature.
I’m a casual runner and cyclist, and started testing a handful of...
I’m an OmniFocus-flavored GTD adherent, or try to be. The iOS apps for OmniFocus were huge contributors to my mental adoption of my own GTD system. When OmniFocus 2 dropped a few weeks back for iPhone, I picked it up right away.
The new design lines up with the iOS 7 look. I really dig the flat UI style in utility apps like OmniFocus, or any app where function truly overrides form in importance—typically anything I open dozens of times of day as part of my routine. The new layout gives...
I use Dropbox as the nerve center for all of my digital goods, keeping data, configurations, histories, log files, and anything else I need access to centralized and available from my Mac or iOS devices.
Here are a few of my daily tools or information trails I want to keep synced up, so anything here can be a few clicks or a search away:
- Instant message chat history
- iTunes library
- Histories + log files
- OmniFocus backups
I use Messages on the desktop for all chat conversations with my Jabber and Google accounts. I...
Through a number of recommendations around the web, I’ve started using Drafts, an iOS app with an interesting workflow model that’s helping me replace a number of input channels for capturing different pieces of information while on-the-go.
It’s positioned primarily as a text editor or note-taking app for iOS, but it introduces a fundamentally different approach to the capture → process flow than most other solutions I’ve tried, even ones that I like. Like most heavy mobile users, I have a suite of apps I use constantly to capture different inputs:...