A Dream Jekyll App
I’ve never been 100% happy with this site. On the one hand, Jekyll lets me have full control of my content, and I never have to worry about losing any of it or having anything locked inside a database on a server somewhere. On the other hand, things like adding media is more complicated than I’d like. I’ve written scripts to help, of course, but I’d really rather have the best of both worlds.
Software Subscriptions and Bundled Apps
The Omni Group’s recent announcement that they’d have a subscription option for OmniFocus has me thinking about how I’m going to be handling third-party software in the future. I’m not angry at them, they are still (for now) offering OmniFocus for purchase, but I wonder how much longer they’ll want to keep with the old-style model of licensing when and if subscriptions turn out to be far more lucrative.
I loved Yojimbo for many years. I still think it’s the most “Mac-like” app for taking notes and storing data. The best thing about it was that when capturing data with the hotkey, it would look at your clipboard before presenting you with a UI, and customize the UI for the data. It was fast, fit in perfectly with the Mac, and was rock-solid reliable.
Day One, Ulysses, and Bear
I’ve been using, and subscribing to, Ulysses, Bear, and Day One for a while now. It seems a bit silly, especially since they all do basically the same thing. On the surface they are all writing apps, but once I start to think a little deeper about them I can see where the differences lay.
It’s Not About the Apps
David and Katie are great, they really are. I’ve enjoyed MPU, like most of you have, for years. I’ve bought the books, the scanners, implemented the workflows, heck, my paperless workflow is still a derivative of David’s book. Most of all though, I’ve bought the apps. Lots of apps, and there’s a couple things to say about that.
What Worked, and What Didn’t in 2016
Part of what’s been great about using Apple products is the feeling of living just a little bit in the future. The Mac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad paved a way towards a far less complicated future, where technology was seamlessly integrated into our lives, and enhanced our day to day interactions with our work and with each other. Apple, better than anyone, understands that technology is at it’s best when it’s nearly invisible. But, living in the future comes at a price, namely a sacrifice of stability and accepted norms of what works.
From time to time I wonder if I could get by without any 3rd party software installed on my Mac. What would I have to do to adopt to not using the software I’ve become accustomed to? In no particular order, as of this moment I’ve got:
Files and Folders
I started writing this post talking about how I was using DEVONthink, and, as often happens when you write things down, I started thinking critically about how I interacted with the application. I took a folder full of screenshots, walked through some usage scenarios, and checked and double-checked what I was actually doing with the application. Then I exported everything to the Finder.
How to Pick The Right App
Computers are complex tools; designers and developers are always trying to strike a balance between usability and usefulness. I have a theory that over time a computers configuration grows to resemble the mental state of its primary user. Each machine is a unique mix of file and folder organization methods, naming schemes1, and application choices. Those choices can reflect the level of technical knowledge and values of the user, but only if the user has made a conscious choice in what apps to use.
Or the lack thereof. ↩