Tag Archives: iOS

Super-Fast Journaling With Drafts And DayOne

I have an incredibly geeky need to log information about my life–for my own uses, mind you–and a big part of how I address that need is in journaling with DayOne, an app with variants on both OS X and iOS. It syncs flawlessly across devices and (Apple’s) platforms, and has a well-designed interface which makes it a joy to use. The act of writing stuff in DayOne is great for me, which is why I have to find some problem with it.

Sometimes I just want to dash off a thought really quickly–without launching DayOne, waiting for it to open, entering my passcode, tapping to begin a new entry, and so on and so on. I decided I’d find a quicker way to add entries to my journal[1]. Luckily, the developer of DayOne has implemented a pretty handy (if basic) command-line interface, which means that it’s easy to script and automate the app. What I ended up with is this: I type my markdown-formatted entry in Drafts, fire a Dropbox action, and…that’s it. It doesn’t open another app. It just adds the entry to my journal in the background. It takes a little bit of work to set it up, but it’ll save you a lot of time over the long haul. It’s awesome.

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White And Black Make Grey

Harry McCracken:

How can we talk about who’s “winning” if we can’t agree on what “winning” is? In case you hadn’t noticed, the gadget business isn’t all that much like Formula One racing, Yahtzee or curling. There are no rules; there aren’t any well-defined opposing forces; the battle has no beginning or end. And zero-sum thinking — the assumption that one company doing well hurts another, or that all companies are even playing the same game — is often out of whack with reality.

I didn’t realize until just now that sanity is, in fact compatible with discussion of gadgets. This changes everything.

Kidding aside: the childish black vs. white, oppressively binary way of thinking that so pervades tech journalism is more than a nerdy fanboy phenomenon. Our entire culture operates this way. We hate ambiguity. We loathe nuance. We think people are either Americans or Terrorists. If a movie makes money, it’s good; if a movie makes money, it’s bad. And so on. Nearly every human judgment is artificially constrained within an infantile boolean-only logical system.

Anyway, let’s get back to what we do best. Reality TV: cultural feces, or The Literature Of Our Age? (Hint: feces.)

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Schedule Quick Reminders on iOS in Seconds

I’ve recently started learning Python, and in the process I’ve become a huge fan of a Python coding environment for iOS called Pythonista. It allows one to actually run scripts on an iPhone or an iPad, and given the fact that it has a great URL scheme, some really cool things are possible.

I decided last night that I’d try to create a means with which to easily send myself reminders on my iOS devices, using a Pythonista script and Drafts. The script takes minimal textual input from Drafts in the form of a note on one line and an interval of time (in minutes) on the second line. I fire a Drafts action, and that’s it. At the appointed time, I’ll receive a native iOS notification containing my reminder.

I find it really handy: there’s no need to fumble with Reminders.app, set a date and time, etc. And it’s also far, far quicker than trying to set a timer in Clock.app.

If you have both Drafts and Pythonista on your device(s), give it a shot. The relevant code, the Drafts URL action, and more can be found in my post on the Pythonista user forums.

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How About Some “Chat Heads” In Your Face?

Excellent news:

You can’t get Facebook Home on your iPhone. But very soon you’ll be able to get one of the most buzzed-about features from Facebook’s new mobile software: “Chat Heads” are coming to iOS devices, via a Facebook app update.

Awesome. Now I finally know for sure that I want to delete this app.

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WISD Updates Nocs; Go Get It

Nocs, an incredible text editor for iOS, has submitted an update to the App Store, currently pending approval. No word yet on what new functionality might be included, but that info would seem shortly to be forthcoming.

Nocs is the best (and geekiest) way to write text on an iPad or an iPhone, in my humble opinion. Full support for Markdown (including HTML export, easy previewing, custom CSS, etc.), full Dropbox integration (including a real file browser), and local file storage / organization. I fully recommend it for any sort of writing, whatsoever. I even wrote this post with it. Get it here.

Note: It’s a free app. They do a $65 “sale price” thing on June 4, the proceeds of which are donated to “democratic movement groups” in commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, which ended unpleasantly on this date in that year. The app will be free again on Tuesday.

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