Why iA Writer is «The Editor.»

Why iA Writer is «The Editor.»

I’ve already for two months and ten days, switched entirely from Byword to iA Writer. And am as happy as a writer can be. There is a lot to be explained, but one single thing sets iA Writer apart from all others:

iA Writer has the best iCloud synchronization I ever have experienced

For me it’s magic. It’s like Steve Jobs is still alive and has been involved. If I write a new note on my iPHone and goes to my Mac, the note is there. And the synchronization is stable. For me, it hasn’t failed once.

The iCloud synchronization was Bywords Achilles heal. Every time I switched device and opened Byword it started synchronizing, and it could take many minutes. After finished synching, often my new file still wasn’t present. Then I had to throw Byword out of memory and let it synchronize again and again. It could take hours.

Byword failed to be my daily editor because it didn’t manage to synchronize my notes.

Just of the sake of completeness. iA Writer is a Markdown editor. It let you add small hints to your text and magically convert it to HTML. All when letting you work in pure text. And also saving it in pure text.

After these two months writing on iA, I’ve come to love the tool for other features too. It has so many nice details that help me as a writer. Even better, it is so beautiful and clean, that the badly hurt minimalist in me rejoice – many times each day.

iA Writer full screen Focus mode

Writing these words, for instance, I’m in full screen and Focus mode. That means that only the sentence I’m writing has regular appearance – the rest is slightly dimmed. I also regularly pull on the Do not disturb mode on my Mac or iOS device when writing.

Don't disturb in Norwegian

The cleanness and the silence leaves me, the editor and my writing, peacefully alone.

Deep down, on the right bottom of the screen, I normally have some statistics visible. Since I’ve evolved to a blogger by heart, I need to to know how much I’ve written, and how long the reading time is.

 

I can let the toolbar hide temporally and always. But I tend to have it on. The possibility to switch to it’s other modes is super effective for me. The toolbar gives me:

  • Statistics mode – quantifies what I’ve done
    iA Stats
  • Syntax mode – let me highlight grammatic elements
    iA Syntax
  • Format mode – shows me shortcuts for Markdown markup
    iA Format

It’s just what I need to get my job done. My favorite is Table in Format. Its sets up a Markdown template for a table. I never have to go to my Markdown cheat page any longer.

When I’ve more or less written the text and begin to edit and revise, I pull up the preview pane. On my 15″ MacBook I get an optimal edit mode, where I can read my text in a beautifully rendered typefaces to the right, and make changes to the left.

iA with preview

And still we haven’t talked about iA Writers ability to highlight adjectives, nouns, adverbs and conjunctions. A feature so immensely important for me who isn’t a foreigner to the language. With it, I can see when I repeat the same word too much. And I promise I do that all the time!

So, dear Information Architects, the friendly people making iA Writer, you have made a jewel of an editor. I’ve just a small detail I wish you could fix.

Please let the key Esc terminate full-screen mode. My trembling old fingers don’t like to hunt down the little small, green icon on the right top of the screen.

If you write, buy iA Writer. For me who has repeatedly shelled out thousand of dollars for MS Office, iA Writer is a bargain. iA is a minimalist’ dream tool!

Apple, A Smarter Watch, please!

Calendula Officinalis Apple Watch

I don’t want another Apple Watch. I just want a smarter one!

My Apple Watch is a bit stupid: I’ve to tell what I’m going to do. That I’m going to start a workout, to stop it, to sleep, to stop sleeping, to drink and so on.

That’s not what I expect from a smart watch. I expect it to learn from the context what I’m doing and recording that.

By using, programming and studying the Apple Watch I try to:

Imagine what the Apple Watch is and can be

The question which are driving me is:

How to make the Apple Watch smarter?

We should all know it now the way the Apple product process works. It’s the same process as always. The processes we saw with the Mac, the iPhone and the iPad.

Apple, doing the largest chunk of work, making APIs that app developers can use as building blocks. And then developers, users, commentators and researchers telling what’s work or not. Then Apple and developers repeat the process until near perfection is obtained.

Trying to my my den, here is the resources I personally use in my layman research on tech:

  1. Producthunt to discover new products
  2. Medium to read articles
  3. My own observation and writing.
  4. Wristly as a research source
  5. Tightly following analysts as @asymco, @benbejarin, @JohnKirk and a part of the Apple blogosphere

Producthunt

Yesterday, I found a new app on Producthunt, which made my head bells toll. It’s slogan was:

Auto identifies exercises and counts your reps using your Apple Watch.

What a beautiful sentence!
I think Auto-identifying is the magic word here. If fulfilled, I imagine this is what could propel the watch from dumb to smart.

The slogan comes from the app Tracker’s promotion on iOS App Store. After a short test of the app, I would not characterize Tracker as really auto-identifying app per se, but more an experiment in using it. However, as it is, it is a valuable peek into a better future.

The Auto Identifying and confirmation future

The Apple Watch is choking full of sensors, computation power and data storage. It has all the means to anticipate our intentions when we repeat tasks. And if there are inconsistencies, the watch have the means to ask politely. It can tap my wrist and give me some relevant options to choose between. And most importantly – it can remember the context, ie., the answer and sensor patterns and not ask again.

For instance; when Apple Watch sense that I’m walking fast, steady and that my pulse is increasing, it should know I’m doing a walking workout. It should then start workout mode automatically, suggest workout type and let me confirm it.

Here comes the clue: in my next walking workout, my Apple Watch should, based on my sensors data, recognize the movements and remember the former context that shows I’m on a walking workout, and just act on that. And not ask! Just record the my walking workout!

If I stop to take rest, the watch should pause the workout session, and automatically continue when finishing. And if I not finish, end and save the workout.

«Auto indentify» as an API?

Apple could facilitate the «Auto indentify» as an API. The health apps would be way more targeted, and we would have better personal health statistics to share – with our trainers and medical staff!

So please Apple – Let your cute beautiful watch grow up and be as smart one!

Learning from other Apple Watch users experiences

After seven months I still don’t use all the features of my Apple Watch. One of my best sources to learn more is Wristly.

Wristly

I’m intensely following Bernard Desarnauts’ research in Wristly, where he successfully unveil the Apple Watch strength and weaknesses. I’ve been taking part in his surveys from day one, and you should too.

The way Tim Cook use Wristly’s research in public appearances, indicate that their listening to it.

If you are somehow like me, consider his Wristly Pro service, and be part of the selected few who already are experiencing the future of computing – and shaping it!

Predicates in Core Data

Database programming is all about filtering and sorting tables linked to each other. According to the book Core Data, «Core Data is Apple’s object graph management and persistency framework for iOS, OS X, watchOS, and tvOS.»

In a sense, predicates are an object version of the WHERE clause in SQL. Just like NSFetchRequest represent the FROM clause in SQL.

I never have had problems with WHERE and FROM in SQL, but the predicate format strings in Core Data has been quite a struggle for me.

I don’t think the struggle is only my fault. Predicates should clearly be thought, at least to me, as a method of writing WHERE clauses.

Here is some notes from tutplus’ Core Data and Swift: Relationships and More Fetching:

let predicate = NSPredicate(format: "%K == %@", "last", "Doe")

The predicate format string uses %K (K stands for Key) for the property name and %@ for the value.

let predicate = NSPredicate(format: "%K >= %i", "age", 30)

Here the predicate format string uses %i for the integer value.

The Core Data book’s chapter on Predicates, recommends to use a variable for both the key and the value part of the format string. Then the compiler or debugger will be able to stop us and tell if the format string isn’t valid.

And for the sake of completeness, some notes from Wikipedia.

Core Data filters tables using predicates.

In mathematics, a predicate is commonly understood to be a Boolean-valued function P: X→ {true, false}, called the predicate on X.

In Core Data predicates are attributes to FetchRequest object.

 

Jeg har intet å skjule – argumentet ugyldiggjort av Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden har nettopp gjort «Jeg har intet å skjule» argumentet ugyldig. Og i en setning.

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

Først min oversettelse til norsk:

«Å hevde at du ikke bryr deg om personvern fordi du ikke har noe å skjule er ikke forskjellig fra å si at du ikke bryr deg om ytringsfrihet fordi du ikke har noe å si.»

Så orginalen på engelsk:

«Arguing that you don’t care about privacy because you havet nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because have nothing to say.»

Sitatet er hentet fra en diskusjon på Reddit.

Og jeg fant det på Twitter.

Den gode sjåfør – en iOS app for taxibestilling

IMG_0956

Appen lar deg fylle ut følgende felter:

  • Flightnr
  • Ankomst- eller avgangstid
  • Adresse i Villajoyosa
  • Navnet ditt
  • Antall timer før avgang som du skal hentes

Appen oversetter denne informasjonen til en spansk SMS og med mobilnummeret til Juan Fernandez Gamez som mottaker.

Når du trykker på Kan du hente meg? eller Kan du kjøre meg? kommer tekst på spansk og telefonnummer (eller hans navn hvis nummeret er i din kontaktliste). Du kan da sende SMS eller avbryte.

Juan Fernandez Gomez vil selv svare deg med OK ved bekreftelse eller NO hvis hverken hans eller hans kompanjonger kan.

Endelig et politisk intervju-format som er verdt å se på! – @kjetilba @NRK

Dagens Næringsliv har nå gitt oss et intervjuformat som går Dagsrevyens politiske intervjuer i Dagsrevyen en høy gang.

Istedet for en sportsreporter bruker de sin beste kommentator Kjetil B. Alstadheim.

Istedet for å andre sine studiooppsett, bruker DN Lagtingsalen i Stortinget!

IMG_0539

DN gir meg håp om en nyhetsdekning en blir klokere av og som kan erstatte den lede og frustrasjon som som desverre ofte Dagsrevyen bringer med seg.

Her er tweeten som satte meg på sporet.

Dagsrevyen var raske til å rappe intervjuformater fra andre. De røde stolene her på Allt Things D konferandsen med Mossberg og Jobs:

Walt Mossberg intervjuer Steve Jobs

Og deres mislykkede forsøk på en aggresiv utspørring har de tydeligvis hentet fra BBC sin Hard Talk.

Bishop Angaelos interviewed on BBC TV HARDtalk