Mac Mastery and Knowing Your Tools

DSC_0220It may surprise you to learn that I’m not a master carpenter.

Truth is, I’m one of the least handy people I know (and I know a fair number of people). Handing me a saw and a hunk of wood, you might as well include the address of the nearest ER. It’s embarrassing.

My good buddy Chris is another story. I could spend several sentences extolling his handy guy virtues, but let’s just say the dude built his own bed. He’s good with his hands and he knows his tools. Whenever I have questions about building or fixing things, he’s the guy I ask.

Chris owns a Mac and an iPhone. See if you can guess who he calls when he has problems or questions with those…

That’s right. Me, baby.

Chris knows all about the doohickies and thingamajigs he needs to do his work. And I know all about mine, too. [Read more…]

Recording dreams: an exercise in iOS automation


Being a navel gazing, white, American male, it only makes sense that I see a shrink once a week. She’s really great. For the purposes of this post, we’ll call her Babs—which isn’t her real name, though I kinda wish it was.

In a recent meeting with Babs, we were discussing the quality and quantity of my sleep (which, to put it gently, suck miserably). During this conversation, we began talking about dreams. [Read more…]

iOS Wizardry: Automating Your Daily Photo Project

6748759375_64ea47b3e2_bAt the start of each new year, lots of folks embark on a personal mission to take at least one photo per day. Maybe it’s a selfie.[1] Perhaps it’s a picture of a garden or a moose or whatever. The subject of the photo doesn’t really matter: just know that some people do this (maybe you do).

By combining a few of my favorite tools, I’ve managed to create an extremely efficient way to capture, organize, and store such photos. The process looks like this: [Read more…]

My Perspectives in OmniFocus 2

You may have noticed the productivity dork community losing its collective mind a couple of weeks ago when OmniFocus 2 was released. Like many, many others, I was more than happy to slap my money on the counter. OmniFocus has made up much of the baling wire that’s held my sanity together for the past several years, after all, so ponying up the cheddar for the next version was a no-brainer.

My pal David recently posted a list of his OmniFocus perspectives and how he uses them.1 Because I’m a thought follower, I figured I’d do the same. Standing on the shoulders of lawyers and all that.

Anyway, here they are, in a somewhat-specific order that I’ll describe in a second. Oh, and I’ve included screenshots of my custom perspectives’ configuration screens so you can recreate them in your own app or use them as a springboard for your own fancy perspectives, you fancy person you. 2 [Read more…]

An Rdio User’s Thoughts on Beats Music

As somebody who has mostly standardized his tech life around Apple products—and, to a much lesser degree, services—I’m generally willing to try an Apple solution before looking for third-party alternatives. The way I see it, Apple’s product, app, or service will probably integrate well with the rest of their offerings. It doesn’t always turn out that way, of course, but Apple usually gets first crack at solving a problem I’m having.

So, when the rumored acquisition of Beats Music ended up being true, I figured I’d give it a try. Being a satisfied Rdio user and somebody who had tried (and dismissed) Beats in the past, I wasn’t expecting to like it enough to switch from my beloved Rdio. But, there’s a good chance that Beats will end up being tied into Apple’s software at some point, so I signed up for a month of Beats so I could kick the tires. Here are my thoughts… [Read more…]

Yet Another Post Wherein a Goofball Blogger Outlines All of the Stuff He Carries With Him

Even before becoming a fancy-pants independent writer, my preferred writing situation has been somewhere that served a good beverage (beer, whiskey, or coffee depending on the time of day and/or my current stress level), allowed smoking (yes, yes, I know) and didn’t care if I parked my butt there for several hours. Other than cutting way back on the smoking, this set of preferences holds true to this day.1

I thought it might be fun—and totally self-indulgent, if I’m honest—to unpack the not-so-secret contents of what friends and strangers alike have dubbed my “man bag.” When I leave the house for more than a couple of hours, this bag is usually with me and well-stocked for a number of situations and opportunities. [Read more…]

The fastest, easiest way to share a page on Buffer for iOS

(Disclaimer: this is going to get nerdy. Not too nerdy, but a bit.)

(Second Disclaimer: This will be useful to almost none of you except in that I think it’s an interesting example of just how powerful some iOS apps have become. Plus, I had a hell of a good time making this and writing about it.)

You can’t swing a dead cat on this Internet without hitting somebody who thinks regularly sharing interesting things online is a great way to [achieve weird business goal]. I don’t disagree, actually, so I made a thing that makes it pretty easy to share interesting links while using your fancy iOS device. [Read more…]

The Coin’s Uphill Battle

Twitter and Facebook were all a-flutter yesterday with links to the product page for Coin. If you’re not familiar with it, Coin is a credit card-sized device that can store all of your payment cards and, when swiped, can act like any of the cards it knows about. Maybe click over to the page linked above and watch the excellent Sandwich video.

Let me start by saying that I think it’s really great that people are taking steps to alleviate the fat wallet problem. Heck, I hadn’t carried a wallet for years and only just recently bought a Supr Slim wallet.[1] Products like Coin and the Supr Slim are designed to solve a problem with which I can absolutely empathize.

That said, I think Coin is in for some challenges.[2]

[Read more…]

5 Apps That Make Evernote Even Better

New to Evernote? Tens of thousands of people have used Evernote Essentials to get up and running with Evernote quickly. Grab it today, have Evernote working for you by tonight.

Many of you have been bitten by the Evernote bug. Heaven knows I have.

As you get beyond the Evernote basics and your love affair with Evernote deepens and you start keeping more and more of your life and work inside it, you’ll almost invariably come to the conclusion that you might be able to do even more with Evernote.

Well, you’re in luck because you totally can thanks to the thriving community of smarty pants developers who have built some really great applications that work with Evernote. [Read more…]