280 on Twitter vs Micro.blog

Earlier today, I posted the following on my microblog and twitter:

It’s funny how much I’ve enjoyed 280 characters on Micro.blog, but how much I hate it on Twitter.

I’ve gotten a lot of people agreeing with me, but not for the same reasons I have. While I don’t want to add to the people complaining about Twitter’s 280 character change, I’ve had enough interactions with people on the subject that I want my thoughts in one place.

Here are my 2 main problems with 280 characters on Twitter vs Micro.blog:

  1. I’ve been on Twitter for 9 years. It has always been 140 characters. It’s jarring to scroll my feed and it suddenly look so different. Micro.blog has always been 280 characters and truncated my posts longer than 140 behind a link when cross-posting to Twitter.
  2. People are still doing tweet threads, but they’re 280 character tweet threads. It’s even more obnoxious. With Micro.blog, when you go over 280, it becomes a real blog post and just has a link. This makes so much more sense.

Yes, there is the ridiculousness of what people say on twitter (including taking 280 characters to tweet about 280 characters), but these 2 are the biggest factors for me.

I wonder how much longer I’ll use Twitter beyond cross-posting from Micro.blog. Returning to more RSS usage instead of Twitter seems more and more appealing every day.

6s Plus to X

Like almost everyone in the Apple nerdosphere, I cannot wait until my iPhone X arrives tomorrow. It’s unfortunate that UPS usually doesn’t come to my house until between 6:30 and 7pm, but I will try to wait patiently.

As I’ve spent some time reading reviews this week and trying to learn more about how the X will work, I’ve realized this is a really big update for me since I skipped the iPhone 7 generation and am upgrading from a 6S Plus.

Haptic feedback and the zoom/portrait mode are things I’ve realized I’ll be getting along with FaceID, the OLED display, and Animoji. Not to mention that zoom/portrait mode have the new, better camera and Portrait Lighting.

This phone isn’t just the new sexy. It’s a major feature update for me. Just over 24 hours now. Bring it on.

Ulysses 12

Today the team over at The Soulmen have released Ulysses 12 for iOS. Ulysses has been my text editor for around 2.5 years including my final master’s research, and I immediately subscribed when they switched their pricing model this year. I didn’t know I could love this app much more, but version 12 takes it to a whole new level.

I’ve been on the beta for a bit, and there are 2 key features that have truly delighted me: drag and drop and inline image preview.

I use Apple’s Pages a lot in my classroom to make rubrics and tests for students. Recently, I started working on an activity for students in Pages that ended up having a lot more writing in it than I originally anticipated. I regretted not starting in Ulysses using markdown then moving to Pages.

I opened Ulysses in split view, selected the text in Pages, dragged it into Ulysses, and watched with delight as Ulysses converted the rich text to markdown automatically. It felt like magic.

Ulysses 12 also features inline image previews. Prior to version 12, to add an image to a sheet, you had to type (img) and you would see a small placeholder indicating an image. In Ulysses 12 you can simply drop an image into the app from anywhere and you will see a thumbnail of the image in the sheet. This makes it much easier to remember what images you have added and why.

Ulysses will always be one of the first apps I install on a new device, and version 12 makes it that much better. It’s available on the App Store, and you can try it for free for 14 days before you subscribe.

Returning to Apple Mail on iOS

A few months ago, I shared I was looking for a new email client:

Here are the features I need in an email client:

  • Sharing a link to the content of an email to another app (such as Todoist or Workflow).
  • URL scheme for accessing emails (see previous item) and creating emails via Workflow or Drafts.
  • The ability to search an entire exchange directory for a contact (super helpful in a very large school district).
  • UI that helps you see your mail and is easy to navigate.
  • Reliable Functionality

It turns out that with iOS 11’s Drag and Drop feature now being used by many 3rd party apps, Apple Mail now meets all of these requirements.

I can drag a message from Mail into Todoist and a link to the message will be placed in the task. Workflow and Drafts both have email actions thanks to Apple’s native APIs. Mail can search an exchange directory. The UI is nicer to look at than Airmail’s, and it actually works and doesn’t have constant bugs like Airmail did.

Plus, Mail has the added benefit of working more naturally with drag and drop when adding email attachments. With Airmail, half the time when I dropped an attachment into an email, it would never show up.

Is Airmail more powerful? Absolutely. I’ll definitely miss snoozing emails. But I think being able to trust my email client to actually send emails is worth the trade off.

For the foreseeable future, I’m going to stick with Mail. It and Notes are on the list of default iOS apps I’m using every day instead of a 3rd party service. Who says Apple can’t make software?

Day 1 With Apple Watch Series 3

I think UPS must hate me. Our house is always at the end of their route, and they don’t tend to deliver new Apple products until after 6pm. My wife and I went to a concert Friday night, so we were not home for the arrival of,k her iPhone 8 and my Apple Watch Series 3. I did set up my watch when we got home, but yesterday was my first day actually wearing it.

Here are my thoughts after 1 day with the Space Gray Aluminum Apple Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular with Dark Olive Sport Loop.

  • After 2.5 years with a Stainless Steel Apple Watch, this aluminum doesn’t even feel like it’s on my arm. The steel wasn’t horribly heavy, but this weight is so nice.
  • I had no issue setting up the cellular connection with AT&T unlike many other people. It was quick and easy.
  • I love the Sport Loop. I wore it during a workout and while mowing my grass, and it breathes more than the Sport Band did, but doesn’t retain moisture the way the Nylon Bands do. The Dark Olive is a really nice color. The fabric on the sides and underneath the velcro is actually olive green, but it’s quite subtle. The loops themselves are way more gray than in the pictures. I really like the look though, and may end up getting another color as well. The only question for me is the durability of the loops. Time will tell on that.
  • That Explorer Face is sexy. It goes really well with the Space Gray body and the red dot.
  • The Series 1 and 2 watches were 50% faster than my Series 0 according to Apple at their launch. The Series 3 is 70% faster than 1 and 2. If you do the math, that’s 255% faster than my Series 0. Let’s just say it’s noticeable. Everything from launching apps to Force Touch and Siri are actually responsive. It makes the watch so much more usable.
  • I did an Iron Tribe workout early in the morning for 45 minutes and tracked it with _David Smith’s fantastic Workouts++ app. When I was finished, the watch battery was at 94%.
  • I also ran a workout and listened to music using my AirPods while mowing for an hour. The battery percentage ended in the 80s.
  • I ran a cellular experiment leaving my phone in my car while I ran in the grocery store. I listened to music on my AirPods, texted my wife and a friend, asked Siri some questions, and checked off items in our shared Todoist grocery list. The one place this fell down was with Todoist as it hasn’t been optimized to work away from the phone. I ran into problems when I got into the store and Todoist hadn’t synced to add things to the list (so I unfortunately ran out to the car to fix it). Then when I got back to my phone after shopping, the phone reset my completed items as incomplete. Developers are going to have to do some work to get their apps ready to work independently from the phone. I hope they have enough motivation.
  • I finished the day at 55%. This was with me using it even heavier than a normal day. Compare that to my 2.5 year old Series 0 battery who struggled to make it to the end of the day by the time it retired. It makes a big difference.

I love this watch. I’m extremely pleased with the cellular capabilities, the speed, and the look. Being untethered from my phone while still being reachable in emergencies is game changing. Apple has made huge strides since the watch debuted. Now if only you could stream or listen to podcasts on it with no phone around.

My Drag and Drop Request

I’ve been running iOS 11 on my iPads since June, and have been sad not having many apps to take advantage of the new features. That has finally changed this week with the public release of iOS 11.

But as more and more apps add new Files and Drag and Drop capabilities, there has been an omission that greatly frustrates me, and even Apple’s own iWork apps have this issue.

I create a lot of material for my job as a teacher in Pages, but none of my grade level team members use an iPad or even a Mac for their work machines. In order to share with them, I have to export as a Word document or PDF and email it to them.

While I can easily drag a Pages file into Airmail, I cannot drag an document exported to another format. Right now to reply to an email (instead of creating a new one) with an attachment from Pages, I have to save the exported PDF to Files using the Share Sheet, then drag from Files (or use the attachment menu in Airmail). Then I need to delete the document from files as I no longer need it.

I would love to see Apple place a draggable thumbnail of the PDF in the export share sheet right next to where the AirDrop controls are.

Drag and Drop from here in the Share Sheet

Drag and Drop from here in the Share Sheet

Being able to drag out of the share sheet of anything system-wide would improve the speed of my workflow, and help me avoid a frustrating set of extra steps.

Viticci’s iOS 11 Review

On the iPad, the floating preview supports drag and drop, so you can hold it and drop it in other apps. This is particularly effective when combined with the ability to return to floating mode after you’ve edited a screenshot. From the markup view, hit the Home button, and the annotated screenshot will shrink into a thumbnail again so you can grab it and drop it as an edited version.

There are 2 reasons I always read Viticci’s reviews of an operating system I’ve been running for close to 3 months. First, tidbits like the one above I never would have discovered on my own. The depth of his knowledge on iOS and its frameworks is unmatched outside of Apple.

Second, the insight, thought, and care put into every word really is extraordinary. No one else could write a review like this. It makes me think about where iOS’s shortcomings are, and gets me excited about the potential for the current version I couldn’t see myself.

Go read this review. It’s worth the time.

Another Apple Event Thoughts Post

I hadn’t actually planned on sharing any thoughts on Tuesday’s Apple event. I’ve read and listened to so much commentary from far smarter people, I felt like I would just be regurgitating. But there have been a few topics I continue to hear people debate, so I’ve decided to add to the noise. This won’t be comprehensive. I’ll only weigh in where I feel I have something to contribute.

Who is the iPhone 8 For?

A lot of people have speculated Apple will have a difficult time selling any iPhone 8 models due to the existence of iPhone X. While it’s true I plan to order a X, it is not the phone for everyone.

Tomorrow, I will be waking up at 1:55am to order my wife an iPhone 8. She is currently still using an iPhone 6 that is on its last leg. To put that into perspective, her phone doesn’t have 3D Touch, Live Photos (which are a big deal to us with small children), raise to wake, or even the 2nd generation Touch ID. An 8 will be a huge update for her.

She also doesn’t care about the latest and greatest, and can often be change averse. The loss of the home button and her standard way of doing things will make the X less appealing, not more. The iPhone 8 is an almost perfect device for her (it would be nice if it came with the dual camera system).

Between my wife and all of the teachers I work with who just want a dependable phone with a good camera, I think Apple will sell plenty of iPhone 8s. The 8 Plus seems harder to justify because the cost difference between it and the X are not nearly as great, but I’d bet on the 8 being a hit.

Face ID vs Touch ID

I’ve heard several people say they wish the iPhone X either came with Face ID and Touch ID on the back or Touch ID would make a return under the screen at some point in the future.

I understand their desires, but I for one don’t want that (assuming Face ID works, which I believe it will). How much more often is there something on my hands (I do have small children after all) which prevents Touch ID from working than there’s something on my face?

I feel like there’s a possibility Face ID will eventually be more reliable than Touch ID. I’m really excited about it.

A11 Bionic

I’ll be honest and say I know very little about computer processors other than they seem to be growing faster over time. But the amount of things the A11 Bionic chip in the new iPhones is able to do in real time is mind blowing to me. When I stop to think about how much data needs to be processed instantaneously for Face ID or the new Portait Lighting camera features, it truly astounds me.

Though these numbers don’t mean a whole lot for actual usage, Geekbench is reporting the A11 Bionic as being on par with the current 13” MacBook Pro. Apple’s silicon team is what is keeping Apple so far ahead of the rest of the industry, and also why I have a fair amount of confidence in Face ID.

I can’t wait to get my hands on these devices. I’ll be updating my Apple Watch from a Series 0 to a 3, and iPhone from 6s Plus to X. It’s going to be a fun few months as an Apple fan.

Apple Acknowledges Siri Leadership Has Officially Moved From Eddy Cue to Craig Federighi - Mac Rumors

Joe Rossignol, writing for MacRumors:

Cue continues to oversee the iTunes Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, Apple Maps, iCloud, and the iWork and iLife suites of apps, and handing off Siri should allow him to focus more on Apple's push into original content.

Interesting to see more and more being taken off of Cue’s plate. First the App Store in 2016, and now Siri.

Some people will likely say it’s due to Apple’s dissatisfaction with Cue’s management, but I can’t imagine that’s the case. Siri has become such a core part of all 4 of Apple’s operating systems, it makes more sense for Federighi to be have responsibility.

Also, Cue has always been known as a deal maker. Managing content deals for iTunes, Apple Music, iBooks, and now original programming has always seemed more in his wheelhouse. Though hopefully the new original content works out better than Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke.

I think this is a positive thing for Siri and Cue.

ARKit and Autism: New Futures

Craig Smith:

We have already seen some spectacular demonstrations of what ARKit is capable of, and as always when new technological opportunities present themself, I consider what this could mean for the world of autism support and the education of children on the autism spectrum.

I was already really excited about the potential for ARKit, but seeing people like Craig dream about what the new framework provided to developers with iOS 11 can add to the classroom makes me a bit giddy.

With the new $300 iPad and technologies like this which aren’t available on Chromebook, I hope the iPad can really make a dent in the education market.

Star Wars Forces of Destiny

I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and as a parent, I’ve been excited to introduce my girls to the Star Wars universe. With my oldest only being 3, I haven’t had a great way to do that.

The movies are too intense, and probably wouldn’t hold her interest anyway. The Clone Wars series is too dark, and Rebels is great, but still has some scary elements. But now we have Forces of Destiny.7

Forces of Destiny is a series of 8 short YouTube videos (the longest is just over 3 minutes long) featuring strong women of the Star Wars universe including Princess Leia, Rey, Jyn Erso, Ahsoka Tano, Padme Amidala, and Sabine Wren. Best of all, with the exception of the late Carrie Fisher, all of the characters are voiced by their original (or Clone Wars) actors.

There are some action scenes, but none of them are too violent or scary. However, I recommend you watch them first and make the right decision for your children.

I love that my girls can watch women being awesome, and that they get excited about a universe and characters I love dearly.

Forces of Destiny

Workflow and Todoist

I recently ran into a strange issue when trying to automate Todoist task creation with Workflow. While very few people probably use Todoist the exact way I do, I thought I would share just in case it can help someone.

As a teacher, I only have a small time before/after school and during my planning period to complete it. If I set a due time for each of those task, it would generally be 4pm every day when I generally leave school. However, I check Todoist every day before I leave school. I don’t need a half dozen notifications going off at the same time. So for most tasks I set a due date with no time and work from Todoist’s today list.

The problem I ran into was with Workflow creating tasks in Todoist. Even when I would use a format date action and remove the time from the due date I selected, when the task went into Todoist, it would always have a time of midnight the task would show as past due. It’s a small thing, but it drove me crazy.

I reached out to Workflow, and they looked into it, and eventually told me they felt like the issue was on Todoist’s end (Todoist actions go through the Todoist API unlike many other iOS task management apps which use a URL scheme). I reached out to Todoist, and it seems the problem is indeed with their API.

Fortunately, they offered me a workaround until they could get the issue sorted. In Workflow, if you set the due time of your task as 23:59:59, Todoist will remove a time and leave just a due date. 🤷🏻‍♂️

FullSizeRender.jpg

For a couple examples of how I use this on a daily basis, here are a couple Workflows.

In Todoist Email Task, if I need to remember to email someone later, this creates a task in Todoist with a URL that I can tap to launch Airmail and automatically fill in the subject of the email. This is handy if I need to remember to tell a student’s parent something that happened during a day, but can’t do it while I’m actively teaching.

In Airmail to Todoist, I use Airmail’s custom actions to make a link in Todoist to a specific email I may need to reference to complete a task or an email I absolutely cannot forget to respond to. I tap the link in Todoist, and immediately see that email again.

This week’s episode of Upgrade re-ignited my love of automation, and with school having just started, I’m starting to look for more things I can automate. I’m glad I found this workaround, so I can have Workflow add even more things to Todoist automatically for me.

No More

For better or worse, I have always lived my life trying to please other people.

Ok, maybe there’s more worse to that than better.

It has led to a tendency to be a diplomat and a bit false sometimes. I can say what I think people want to hear, and I don’t like ruffling feathers.

So I have only on rare occasion posted anything online about politics or religion. But that stops today. This is too important.

I’m a white male who was raised in the south. For far too long I have been blind to my own racial prejudice. Not overt racism, but a subtle lack of understanding. Over the last few years, I have worked hard to find my blind spots and correct them. I’ll never be done, but I’m trying.

I’m also a Christian. I believe the Apostle Paul when he says in the book of Galatians

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. - Galatians 3:28

In the context of the surrounding verses, Paul is not talking about differences between races and genders not existing. They do exist, and should be celebrated. Rather, Paul says we are all sinners. None is better than the other. The grace provided to us on the cross of Christ is not provided on merit, race, or gender. It is freely provided out of love. Who am I to look at someone and think I’m better than them when I’m in need of grace just as much, if not more than them?

And so I want to say publicly that I will not tolerate racism or hatred. I spend my days teaching to make sure that all children, regardless of background, race, gender, or religion have the opportunity to be successful. I will stand up to those who do not share that view.

Last weekend in Charlottesville was not “good people on both sides.” It was evil, and I don’t want my children or my students to grow up in a world where that’s accepted. I want their generation to not have to see events like this past weekend happen again. And while I’m afraid that may not happen until Jesus comes back, I’m going to do my part while I’m here to make that a reality.

Why micro.blog

I’ve been on Twitter since the summer of 2008, and it has easily been my favorite social network in that time. I’ve even recently cut Facebook and Instagram out of my life (we’ll see how long that lasts, but it’s been a month or so, and I don’t miss them), but Twitter has remained. It’s mostly where I talk Apple nerdery with people and follow a few people in my other fields of interest.

But reading Manton Reece’s post about owning your own content made me want to step back from how I use Twitter a bit. It also has freed me up to share my ideas longer than 140 characters, but not long post worthy. I decided I wanted to back Manton’s Micro.blog service on kickstarter, and I’m glad I did.

Micro.blog also has a sustainable business model. It has a lot more potential to last for years to come than Twitter does right now because user pay for the service and gain a lot more control over their content in the process. There are no ads. There are no share holders to please. It's a 2 person operation, and they are laying a strong foundation.

There are some standard features from other social networks missing from Micro.blog, and that is intentional. The most obvious is reposting. Manton addressed its absence recently, and I’m personally glad steps are being taken to prevent false information and hateful rhetoric on Micro.blog

Having started using the service with a site hosted at GitHub Pages and strung together with some crazy Workflows, I have gotten a lot more out of Micro.blog since I switched to their hosted plan. Being able to post directly from the Micro.blog app instead of having to use Drafts, Workflow, and Working Copy has allowed me to post with confidence that everything will work correctly. Sharing photos has seen the biggest improvement.

Micro.blog hasn’t launched to be public yet (just Kickstarter backers for a little longer), but I have a few invite codes if you’re interested. Go to the contact form here on The Class Nerd, and I’ll give them to the first people who respond. It’s a great service, and I’m excited to watch it grow for years to come.

Blogging, I’m a Fickle Friend

Over the summer, my church small group has gone through the book “The Road Back to You” by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile. It’s about the enneagram personality typing system.

It turns out, I’m a 3.

And as a 3, I tried to over-perform with The Class Nerd in the middle of an incredible season. I tried to make the site into a big resource full of information for teachers including in depth reviews and how-tos of apps. I wanted to build a platform and reach followers.

What I really needed was a fun, creative outlet.

I don’t need to be the best blogger or make any money doing this. I want to share ideas and interact with fun people on the internet in (sometimes) more than 140 characters.

So here’s the plan.

First, yes I know I spend way more time changing platforms than actually writing. I get it. But I’ve made some changes to remove some distractions from my life so I have more time to engage with my family, take care of myself, and have a creative outlet. I have lots of post ideas for once in my life.

Next, micro-blog posts will be hosted on craigmcclellan.com using Manton Reece’s micro.blog service, and cross posted to twitter. You can also see my most recent micro posts on the micro-posts section of this site. All long form posts will be posted here at The Class Nerd. This means I could share about teaching, Apple, Star Wars, music, or more. My hope is that if you like things I like, you will enjoy what I have to say.

Also, Medium is gone. I moved The Class Nerd to Medium because it was free, and had a nice API. But let’s be honest. It was terrible and dying. That shows how little faith I had in this site at the time. I knew deep down what it was. I’m back to Squarespace. While it isn’t perfect for someone who works from iOS only, it’s a much more economical choice for me right now. I decided not to do this for money, remember?

A big change is posts will be from me only from now on. While I so appreciate Peter’s contributions to this site, with the renewed focus, it doesn’t make sense to have other contributors. He is a great guy, and has started his own blog. Go give it a follow for more great content on how to use technology in education. I’m so excited to see what he does with it in the future.

Finally, after this post I will stop posting to The Class Nerd’s twitter account. It just makes more sense to share more links to posts here from my personal account since this website is more personal than it was before. The account won’t be shut down, but new posts will no longer appear there.

The new school year starts Monday for me. It’s going to get busy, but I’m excited to have The Class Nerd as a creative outlet, and about its future.

Music for the Holiday Weekend

Over the last few days, I feel like my Apple Music library has grown with lots of treat new music. With it being a holiday weekend, a lot of people might be traveling and need some new music. Here are some feel good pop records or songs to for your 4th of July.

Superfruit - Future Friends - Part One

Scott and Mitch from the acapella group Pentatonix have produced the pop record they were made for. So catchy. So fun. I can’t pick a favorite song.

Colin Mukri - Girlfriend

My friend Colin Mukri has just released his debut single, and it is 🔥. Stick around for that key change at the end.

David Ryan Harris - Songs for Other People

I became aware of David Ryan Harris from his time in John Mayer’s touring band. He’s an incredible singer and songwriter. Check out the song Coldplay for catchy goodness with unique production.

Jimmytrick Sweetwood - Foster Creighton, Pt. 2

My friends James Sweeting and Patrick Lockwood made a record together under the name Jimmytrick Sweetwood. It tells the story of Foster Creighton who build a staircase to the moon. It’s just beautiful.

LANY - LANY

More poppy goodness. Straight up.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July!

WWDC iPad Hardware Guesses

In this week's episode of ATP, Marco Arment was discussing theories on potential iPad hardware releases at WWDC. His suggestion was Apple could refresh the 9.7" iPad Pro, add a 10.5" iPad Pro to the lineup, and possibly discontinue the 12.9" iPad Pro. In doing so, he thought Apple would drop the price of the 9.7" Pro by $100 so there would be a smaller gap between the Pro line and the 5th generation iPad released this spring.

This doesn't sit right with me.

The 9.7" and 10.5" are too close together in size to warrant having both. With Apple dropping the Air line of iPads and adding the 5th Gen, they have simplified their iPad line, targeting the marketing of each iPad to make it easier for consumers to decide which iPad to purchase. Keeping 2 "smaller" iPad Pros and removing the larger does not keep the line simple.

I agree with Marco that Apple needs to do something to make the smaller iPad Pro warrant an almost $300 premium over the iPad 5th Gen. Being thinner with a nicer screen, accessories, and a slightly faster processor is not enough to drive customers to pay a higher price.

But add a larger screen to that (but not one as large as the 12.9" iPad), and now there really is a significant difference between iPad and iPad Pro.

This lines up with Apple's strategy with the Mac as well. The MacBook is 12", and MacBook Pros have a 13" and 15" model.

So my prediction for Apple's iPad lineup post-WWDC is:

  • Discontinuation of the iPad Mini
  • 5th Generation iPad - $329
  • 10.5" iPad Pro - $600
  • 12.9" iPad Pro (Updated w/ new processor and TrueTone Display) - $799

Of course, these will be the starting prices, and models can go up in price from there based on storage and LTE.

If this 10.5" iPad is announced, I plan on purchasing one. If after 2 weeks of use, I determine it can be my primary computing device (i.e., it can replace both of my current iPad Pros), I'll sell my other iPads. If not, I'll return it and keep my current setup.

Whatever happens, I'm excited for Monday.

The Hunt for an Email Client

I think the true sign of someone who uses iOS to get most of their work done is they have tried more email clients than they can count.

I've used Airmail fairly consistently over the last year, but am always frustrated by its UI and frequent bugs. Unfortunately, there are power user features in Airmail that keep me there.

Here are the features I need in an email client:

  • Sharing a link to or the content of an email to another app (such as Todoist or Workflow).
  • URL scheme for accessing emails (see previous item) and creating emails via Workflow or Drafts.
  • The ability to work search an entire exchange directory for a contact (super helpful in a very large school district).
  • UI that helps you see your mail and is easy to navigate.
  • Reliable Functionality

Really what would solve all of my problems is if Apple finally added a share extension to Mail.app in iOS 11 (3 years after extensibility was first announced 🙄). I want to be able to tap a link in Todoist and have it bring me back to the email I need to respond to or create a new message with one tap. One can dream, right?

Back to the Mac

No, I’m not referring to Apple’s 2010 Keynote introducing the MacBook Air and OS X Lion after being focused on the iPad and iPhone for much of 2010. But I thought it was a fitting title since after a year of working from an iPad, I have returned to the Mac.

Begrudgingly.

In an effort to learn more about software development, I once again have a MacBook Pro so I can dive into Xcode. Not only do I once again have a MacBook Pro, but I have my old MacBook Pro back. The relative I sold it to wanted a MacBook Adorable, so I was fortunate to get this back. It’s not a fancy 2016 model, but it does have a retina display and plenty of power for my novice use of Xcode.

After a year of living the iPad only lifestyle, the last 24 hours with the Mac have been more difficult than I would have imagined. That sounds like whining, but I genuinely didn’t anticipate issues beyond occasionally trying to tap on the screen. One of the biggest I have faced is remembering to use the menu bar to find app settings.

Another area where I am struggling is automation. I know the Mac is often capable of more powerful automation than an iPad, but I learned how to automate through tools like Workflow, and I have not had time to figure out how to replicate any of workflows on the Mac with Automator, Apple Script, or other shell scripts. Though I am writing this post in Ulysses on my Mac, I will pull out my iPad Pro to post to this site because it is so much easier and faster.

I hope to share more about my journey through programming here over the next few months/year, but I thought it was worth a minute to share the experience of an iPad power user moving to a Mac since most blogs cover the opposite transition.

Both platforms have their advantages, and I feel fortunate to have both for when I need them. However, there’s no questioning that iOS is where I get my real work done right now.