Find Me

Latest articles from Technology Notes

Editorial 1.1 is Out

The new version of Ole Zorn’s Editorial is out. It is a Universal build so if you bought the excellent iPad version, you get the new iPhone version for free.

It is magical. Zorn is a wizard. There is no other possibility.

Viticci has written another comprehensive and quintessential review of the apps and their features and it is well worth checking out if you are on the fence. Pour a big cup of coffee before starting it. It is epic-length and has videos.

Go buy Editorial now. It has finally unseated Nebulous Notes as my go-to text editor on all devices running iOS and it is worth far more than the paltry $6.99USD price tag. Finding the app may be a challenge however since searching for “Editorial” on the App Store yields tons of useless garbage not related to editorials or text editing. I found the app by searching for “Pythonista”, Zorn’s other tour-de-force, and then looking under the heading “Other apps by this developer”. Nice job, App Store. Real nice.

Internet With A Human Face: Ceglowski's Beyond Tellerand Conference Talk

Here’s another great talk by Maciej Ceglowski. This time he talks about some topics near and dear to my heart:

  • Computer memory never forgets
  • We are willingly giving faceless and untrustworthy corporations our data
  • When confronting these facts, we throw up our hands and say “Well, what can you do?!”

He writes with humor and candor and I really love his take on some of the topics which he’s in a great position to give an opinion on. I hate throwing up my hands at the powerlessness of it all, so here are some steps that I’ve taken and maybe you should think about taking too.

  • Stop using Gmail. (use Fastmail instead) I cut the cord almost a year ago and it has been working far better than I had expected it would have. I used Gmail for so long, my mind would spin with “what-if” scenarios whenever I considered leaving the service. Now that it is in my rear view mirror, it feels like a yoke has been lifted.
  • Remove yourself from all social networks1. I still hold on to my accounts on Facebook, Google+ etc, that’s mainly to prevent someone nefarious from impersonating me on them.
  • Store all of your important stuff locally, then encrypt it and back it up (and store a copy offsite).
  • If you decide to use a social network or service, make sure they’re upfront about what they plan on doing with your data. As Maciej mentions, paranoia shouldn’t keep us from benefiting from all of this magical technology – we just need to consider the implications of exposing that data a bit more than we all have in the past. Not all data sharing is bad and not all analysis is pernicious. You just need to pick your spots and go in with your eyes wide open.

From Maciej’s talk:

I’ll use Facebook as my example. To make the argument stronger, let’s assume that everyone currently at Facebook is committed to user privacy and doing their utmost to protect the data they’ve collected.

What happens if Facebook goes out of business, like so many of the social networks that came before it? Or if Facebook gets acquired by a credit agency? How about if it gets acquired by Rupert Murdoch, or taken private by a hedge fund?

What happens to all that data?

Comforting thought, no? I wish I had given that idea more weight before I uploaded all of my pictures to Everpix. I’m sure they deleted all of the photos I uploaded to their site…right?

  1. Admittedly, I cheat on this one. I still read Twitter although I read it much less than I used to. I also have a secret and anonymous (ha!) Instagram account where I follow things I like. (disturbing fun fact: it is all tattoos, tattoo artists and knives. Take that, Facebook NSA.) 

DuckDuckGo Next Searching with Alfred

Over at The Candler Blog, Jonathan Poritsky writes about an Alfred workflow he wrote that searches DuckDuckGo’s new beta DuckDuckGo Next. DDGN is a great version of my favorite search site with a cleaner results page that combines the best search alternative to Google in existence with a gorgeous design sense. The workflow is great.

Poritsky’s workflow uses Google Suggest to suggest possibilities as you type and then the result is sent quickly to DuckDuckGo. The results are displayed in your default browser.

If you’re a DuckDuckGo fan and an Alfred user, go snag the workflow on the Candler Blog.

The iPad Mini Experiment Ends

I just bought an iPad Air. I didn’t want to and I was able to hold off for months but the iPad Mini drove me to it. I don’t think a day went by when i wasn’t frustrated or unhappy with the iPad Mini in some way.

The display was too small, the Logitech keyboard I bought for it always seemed too cramped to be comfortable. The form factor seemed like it would be well-suited for reading and media consumption but it always seemed a little too small to be good. Comic books and reading PDFs required a lot of panning and scanning and games were pinched and, frankly, ran like shit. Coming to the iPad Mini, I was used to a retina display on the iPad 3 and while I could convince myself the tiny form factor was handy (it did fit in my back pocket after all) it never looked good enough.

I probably wouldn’t have been looking at the iPad Air if the performance of the iPad Mini was up to snuff but with the processing power of an iPad 2, it was anemic at best. Opening apps was sluggish and Hearthstone (my current “most fun thing to do”) demonstrated how anemic the Mini was. All it took was a few minutes playing with an iPad Air at the Apple store to convince me that it was a worthwhile upgrade, especially since I have a big secret project coming up that will require one anyway.

The thoughts then turned to what would become of the iPad Mini. Gazelle gave me a paltry trade-in quote; hardly enough to be worthwhile. While I wasn’t happy with the Mini, I still wasn’t willing to let it go so cheaply when it could still be pressed into other service. But what other service? The text was too small and blurry to be of use to my parents (who still seem quite happy with their iPad 1). It seemed too extravagant to be a gift to my two sons. I do most of my nighttime reading on my Kindle Paperwhite so book reading seemed like a bad fit too.

For now, it sits on my desk, wiped of all settings. I think the best use of it will be (at least temporarily) as a dedicated Status Board screen at some point, when I get around to configuring it.

The iPad Air is really nice. I paired it with a Zagg keyboard on Gabe’s recommendation and it is really nice. I can type quickly on it and it feels sturdy. The ability to adjust the viewing angle makes it a better choice for me than the previous Logitech keyboards I bought for my other iPads. In the end, the iPad Air feels a lot more like a real computer than the Mini ever did. Comic books, PDFs, magazines and books (not to mention the web) all look amazing on the retina screen too.

No regrets so far (the credit card bill hasn’t come yet…).