OmniFocus has been my task manager of choice for a number of years now and, with the release of OmniFocus 3 for macOS, I thought I'd jot down how I think things have improved.
I've always like Panic's software and I was amazed to fine out that they plan to break into the hardware market too. They're making a handheld games console called Playdate and I quite like what I see.
I've had a strange problem with Safari's 'Inspect Element' for a while now and noticed it would be accompanied by a "This webpage is using significant energy" message at the top of the Safari screen.. I finally got around to fixing it today.
Just a weekend rant here, this time about a Macallan Whiskey advert that suffered a ludicrous ban at the hands of the Advertising Standards Authority.
The University of Cambridge has proposed a new form of currency that could be the future of stellar financial transactions.
I love PHP's built-in web server. It saves me having to install a MAMP stack just to view my test and development websites. Here's how I use it.
A post on Dave Winer's Scripting News site demonstrates why posting a good blog on Facebook is stupid.
Having watched a few underwhelming horror movies recently, I was pleasantly surprised by Bird Box. This sort of thing is more to my taste when it comes to horror. This review contains some minor spoilers but nothing that's likely to ruin your viewing.
An article on ArsTechnica looks at a new way to see whether the fundamental physical constants were different in the past.
I've been thinking about whether I prefer title case or sentence case for titles on my blog. I find the decision difficult.
A pizza triggers a memory of a song I then had to hunt down on YouTube.
Armed with more knowledge about how it works I've recently revised the way I use schema on this blog. In this article I explain how I reflect both the physical and logical structure of my website via schema.
I've recently got a grip of how to use schema IDs and I thought I'd write a quick blog about it in case anyone else is struggling with them.
As most of the TV channels had decided not to bother marking Easter Sunday with any special programmes I watched a film called Serpent, which I'd recorded from Sky about a week ago. This was something I soon regretted.
I've created what I think are a reasonable set of rules to create difficult to crack passwords.
The Freshies released one of my favourite songs of all time and I decided to have a Sunday ramble about them in this article.
It's astonishing that we now have a picture of a black hole. It's a triumph of science and technology but I think what it represents is even more significant.
The UK government has written a white paper that suggests how it plans to go about regulating internet companies to prevent 'online harm'. I summarise the white paper in this article.
I love the Stieg Larsson 'Millennium' books. Following Larsson's death, David Lagercrantz took over the storytelling and 'The Girl in the Spider's Web' is the first Millennium book of his to be made into a film. I review that film in this article.
Gizmodo reports on a study that appears to show cats recognise their own names, although not all scientists are convinced.
After restarting weight-training about eight years ago (after a 20 year layoff) I've used three main bits of kit - the Ironmaster IM2000, the Powertec Workbench LeverGym and the Body-Solid Series 7 Smith Master System. In this article I compare those three bits of weight training kit.
Brexit seems to have been a monumental mess from the start and parliament has been singularly useless in finding a way forward. Anyway, these are my views on the situation.
The iPad is, I think, becoming a different device to the one that was originally released. As a result there are some features I'd like to see in iOS 13 (or, perhaps more realistically, in future releases of iOS).
It seems we now have cloth nappy 'influencers' and I wonder if the world has reached a new level of crazy.
'Eugene's Friend', a thought experiment that suggests measurements are relative, has be proven to be true.
Nothing in Apple's March 2019 announcement excited or inspired me. I'll remain open-minded but, as it stands, I can't see me signing up for any of Apple's new subscription services.
Having enjoyed watching Equalizer 1 a few years ago, I watched the sequel, Equalizer 2, during the weekend just gone. I present my review of that film here for what it's worth.
Wired reports that AI has managed to trick (some of) Google's reCAPTCHA, bot-protection mechanism. I ask why we have to put up with them anyway.
'Mandy' is a 2018 psychedelic horror film that was generally praised by critics and the public. I review that film here after watching it the other day and I have to say I largely disagree with the praise it has received.
I'm having a bit of a rant about a phrase I see organisations use all too often, a phrase I sometimes think is not being used honestly.
Panic's announcement that Coda will be replaced with entirely new software is enticing and interesting, although I also find some bits of the announcement worrying.
To celebrate pi day one of Google's employees calculated its value to 31,415,926,535,897 digits.
I couldn't find anything I wanted to watch on telly yesterday evening so I downloaded 'Hunter Killer' from Apple and watched that. This is my brief review of that film.
Y2K went off without too much trouble despite the predictions of many doom-mongers. Legacy GPS systems face a similar situation on 6 April 2019 when their internal week number will roll over back to zero. So are we all doomed?
Mark Zuckerberg appears to have had a change of heart and now wants a privacy-focussed Facebook, according to an article on the BBC.
Facebook plans a fan subscription model to compete with Patreon. TechCrunch pick holes in it and ask whether Facebook can be trusted with creators' content.
I really hate flat-pack furniture. I'm terrible at putting it together because I'm a clumsy oaf. I would not, however, deprive anyone who likes this sort of junk but I'd certainly like a change to he way flat-pack items are advertised.
Having failed in my first attempt to replace my Omega with a new watch, I went back to the drawing board and started researching watches again. This time I ended up with the Suunto Core All-Black, which I'm quite happy with. It has one or two minor faults, though, which I describe in this review.
An article on Gizmodo tells the story of Ong's Hat, which became one of the internet's early conspiracy theories.
I was reminded of a truly awful song from the 1970s whilst watching Eggheads yesterday evening. I thought I'd look around for another four dreadful songs from that sort of era to go with it and that resulted in this article. With YouTube clips for your delectation.
I lost Radio by TuneIn under Sonos 9.3 but upgrading to Sonos 10 restored it.
Colin Devroe warms of the dangers of using big tech silos for your services, specifically in relation to Verizon in this case.
By technical frippery I mean technology and gadgets that really aren't worth the bother. They don't really save a great deal of time or effort. There's a lot of them around these days and I thought I'd muse on the subject for a few hundred words.
The BBC looks at the biggest threats to humanity but I believe it overlooks one of the most important ones.
I do like my tea. I probably drink too much of it. But with my old kettle playing up I had the perfect opportunity to upgrade to something interesting and I ended up with Smarter's iKettle 3, which I review here.
My trusty Omega Seamaster went bang after 20 years and I wanted something completely different, so I went for a Casio Mudmaster which is about as different as you can get to an Omega. Anyway here's my review of the watch.
I'm so unfailingly lazy that a duvet one doesn't need to extract covers from to wash is always going to appeal. In this case I'm talking about one of Marks' Washable Duvets, which I review here.
Bricks and mortar retailers have been moaning a lot recently. They decry the demise of the High Street, often justifiably if the assumption is that we want to save it. I'm just not so sure we do.
The BBC looks at the world of Fortnite hackers, but I tend to think a better sense of perspective is necessary.
Does your HomePod ever do things you haven't asked it to do? Mine does. In this short article I just talk about my initial experiences with the Apple HomePod.
An excellent ArsTechnica overview (and tutorial) of Helm Personal Email Server, which provides the hardware and services you need to easily host your own email.
I've always suffered from poor wi-fi here, just one room away from the router. That's due to the thick walls in the old building I live in. I've previously used Powerline plugs but I wanted to see if a mesh wi-fi system could handle things. The one I went with was a Tenda Nova MW6, which I review here.
How can people take so long to operate the damn things?
An article at Gizmodo describes the working environment at Netflix, which seems to operate by ensuring employees are scared to death.
I find Apple's Reminders app frustrating. It could so easily turn from something that's a bit 'meh' into an app that's central to everything I do. It feels unfinished at present and I hope it's something Apple will address in the future.
Are Apple products now too expensive? I add my own comments on the back of an article by Bradley Chambers at 9To5Mac.
A Japanese firm has released a credit card-sized phone to act as a 'companion' to one's main phone.
I've used schemas on my website almost since I started it. I haven't found the internet particularly helpful in guiding me with schema for a blog so maybe everyone else just makes it up as they go along like I do. In this article I show how I use schema, which seems to work reasonably well for me.
I had the pleasure of visiting Wilkins Cider Farm a few weeks ago, which is excellent. I recommend a visit if you're ever in Somerset.
Despite no longer coding professionally, I still code for my own purposes. It's mainly web-based coding and I need some sort of code editor to help me out. In this article I review Coda, which is one of the main code editors in my toolbox. Over all, it's a great app but it suffers from a couple of problems.
Since upgrading to PHP7, my session class stopped working. This is how I fixed it.
A look at Solid, which is Tim Berners-Lee's latest project. It is intended to give people more control of their personal data.
A short article on Recode about Apple's 12 September 2018 event. It's mainly watch and phone stuff.
This is the process I use to publish articles via Jekyll from either macOS or iOS. Jekyll won't run on iOS, so I had to install it on my Linux server. It's not a perfect process because I can't sync local files between macOS and iOS, but it serves me okay.
An article on the Huffington Post looks at how some of their staff handle an evening’s TV without a phone. The results concern me.
I didn’t have to look too hard to find my 7 tips for weight-training beginners. Much of it is just common sense but I remember what it was like to be a beginner (in the pre-internet days) and I would have found an article like this useful.
I go on a bit about the importance of independent publishing on this blog; about keeping your content under your own control rather than giving control over to third parties. I pick up that theme again here after Medium deprecates support for custom domains.
I downloaded the Dark Sky Weather app for iOS, which I tested for seven days and review in this article. It has been said that Dark Sky is pretty good at predicting US weather but I wanted to see how it copes with the festering cauldron of weather we get in the UK. It didn't do a bad job, as it happens, although I did notice one or two interface problems.
A look at Donald Trump’s latest blustering rant, this time claiming that Google’s search results are biased against him and the conservative point of view in general.
Gizmodo takes a look at Jeremy Corbyn's plans to promote journalism by levying a windfall tax on big tech. There are some problems with this plan.
In general I love Ironmaster kit. I have an IM2000 and a Super Bench and I rate both highly. I am however a little disappointed with the Ironmaster Super Bench Leg Attachment, which I review here. Don’t get me wrong, it’s comparable to most leg attachments from other companies, it’s just that I expect more from Ironmaster and there are a few deficiencies with the product that I wouldn’t expect from this company.
I positively despise talent shows and reality TV. I simply do not understand how enough people watch this drivel to keep justifying the new series’ the television networks constantly inflict on us. What specific ‘hook’ — the one that draws everyone in — am I missing here?
In their attempt to deal with fake news, Facebook has introduced a 'trustworthiness' score. This score has its critics though.
An interesting article by Alexandra Jones on the BBC about 'Instagram face'. I'm more interested in how this reflects on society in general, if indeed it does at all.
If you've ever wondered why we have Launchpad you're in good company. However, Zac Hall at 9To5Mac describes a way it can be made a bit more useful.
I have a Panasonic Camcorder from 2011 or 2012 and Final Cut Pro X won't import AVCHD files from it, even though earlier versions of Final Cut Pro were fine. This is my workaround for that problem.
MacStories reports the Twitter API changes due today and some of the effects those changes are having on third-party apps.
Fractional - or micro - weight plates (1kg or less) can be useful if you're trying to overcome a sticking point. In this article I review the BodyRip Cast Iron Fractional weight plates I bought for this very purpose. I have the 0.5kg and 0.25kg plates.
Infowars is complete nonsense in my opinion but it raises a bigger question: the rights a privately-owned website has to determine what content they allow. I argue that their right to choose what content they show and who they allow to post on their site is absolute, as long as it's legal.
Five fiction books I've read in 2018 and would recommend, along with very brief reviews. 'The Good Daughter' by Karin Slaughter, 'The Outsider' by Stephen King, 'Norse Mythology' by Neil Gaiman, 'How To Stop Time' by Matt Haig and 'Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine' by Gail Honeyman.
Emoji candidates for inclusion in Emoji Version 12, which will be released in March 2019.
I like to read and I firmly believe that, most of the time, written articles are better than videos or podcasts for imparting information and instruction. This article represents my dubious attempt to justify that position. I'm not against video and audio per se - indeed I love watching films or listening to music - I'm talking about things like help texts, how-to articles and similar.
ArsTechnica reports that ISPs now advertise up to 41% slower speeds after new regulations in the UK make ISPs advertise more accurate broadband speeds.
There are many list taking and mild project management apps for Apple products. I've tried a few of them but OmniFocus remains my favourite. In this article I review OmniFocus 2 for macOS and 3 for iOS, the latter of which finally brings proper support to the iPad platform. I really like this app and it would have a five star rating if it wasn't for a couple of features in the iOS app that particularly bother me.
Nick Heer's excellent article highlights much of what's wrong with the web today. Well worth a read.
The BBC reports that Google is planning a search-like app that complies with Chinese censorship laws despite withdrawing from China in 2010 on 'free speech' grounds.
I've long bleated on about why you should have your own website rather than use the so-called 'corporate web' and I bleat on about some more here. I do feel this is a really important issue and it's the only way to protect your own words, photos and videos, immune to the whims of the likes of Facebook, Google, Tumblr, Blogger and similar. I also point to IndieWeb in this article as they provide an excellent blueprint for doing just this.
An article by the BBC about the prevalence of fake news. Some MPs are calling for greater regulation to combat this, particularly online.
I love Bear Writer and that love is growing the more I use it. One of my previous criticisms of the app was that I wanted categories as well as tags (similar to Ulysses) but now I see why tags alone works in Bear.
A recent experience with John Lewis has made me reassess a company I always used to have a great deal of respect for.
When I set up my home gym, I decided to use Bodypower Rubber-Encased Tri-Grip Olympic Weight Plates and I've mostly stuck with them throughout, adding additional plates as necessary. I have a couple of minor reservations but they're pretty good over all as you'll see by this review.
A BBC article announces that Larry Page's flying car company is now training people how to fly them.
Depression is an isolating disease, and of course that isolation perpetuates it. It took me over 20 years to learn to trust someone when I'm in the throes of depression and even now I don't always get it right. I do however recognise how important it is to do that.
Phones suck, basically.
I quite like Filemaker. It has a few longstanding peculiarities that sometimes make it awkward to use, but it's useful when you need a quick and dirty database app. I'm now on version 17, which is the latest, and this is my very brief summary of it.
The Next Web's summary of Apple's 2018 WWDC. Quite a few things were announced that probably interest many people, although I'm a little nonplussed.
Windows 10 is a lemon of the most lemony order. In my latest battle with it, it has the temerity to reenable the Windows Update service, despite me disabling it, and then it completely fails to install the update it so urgently wanted anyway. The ultimate solution to this failed update is, it says, to reinstall the entire OS. What a crock of shit.
If you're in the EU, GDPR has been everywhere recently. I'm basically in favour of it as a stepping stone to my ultimate desire here, which is for us to have full control over our data as a commodity. I explain a bit more about this here and particularly look at what's right and what's wrong with the way the Washington Post seems to have handled GDPR.
The Drake Equation, which estimates the number of planets currently inhabited by intelligent life in our galaxy, can vary greatly depending on the numbers you plug into it. The thing is, there isn't a lot of agreement about what those numbers should be. It makes the whole thing rather pointless and I have serious reservations about the usefulness of this equation but, just for fun, I plug my own numbers into it.
I have recently had a fair amount of communication with Apple regarding a support issue and this has reminded me how many tech companies shun email support. I think this is a bad idea because it's the most efficient and convenient method of support in a lot of cases. This is a particular issue with me because I'm partially deaf and being forced to use telephone support makes things quite difficult. Technology companies in general need to offer more email support.
A CBS News article about Google's search and search advertising dominance. An anti-trust lawyer is interviewed about this situation.
As someone who worked in IT for 35 years I often get asked to help out with the computer problems my friends and relatives have. One common thing I get asked is if I can get back some data that has been deleted. I then ask if they have a backup and the answer is often a disappointing no. It is essential you take backups because you'll most likely need them at least once. This article just gives the basics of how I think you should backup your computer and what data you should back up. I'm going to point all my friends to it.
ArseTechnica article about how Chrome will flag insecure websites rather than secure ones.
I have long avoided social media where possible but I thought I'd try out Twitter for a while. This is my resulting guide on how to survive social media.
I live in a complicated situation at the moment. I bought my flat from a company in receivership and the receivership process has been running all the while I've been here (over two years now). The freehold recently went bona vacantia, which means it's now owned by the Crown, and in this article I pass on what I know about this situation.
An article from TechCrunch about the Medium blogging platform and how it has changed the rules, screwing some publishers in the process.
A BBC article about a butcher who has been told his light-hearted, humorous signs might be offensive.
I keenly await Bear Writer updates these days. The team have now released Bear Writer 1.5, which includes selectable TagCons, additional default tags for better searching/filtering, export to ePub and more. This is just a brief article looking at some of the best new features.
I initially struggled to find iPad stands that suit me for my 12.9 inch Pro. I always wanted two - one for use on my desk and one for use on my coffee table. In this article I review the Yohann iPad Stand I've chosen for my coffee table although, at the time of writing, it's the only stand I have and it's being used on my desk too.
A BBC article about how Amazon and Trustpilot reviews can be bought by unscrupulous vendors.
A New York Times article shows that Facebook has been largely unaffected by the privacy scandal in terms of its profits and revenues.
A monkey can't sue for copyright, which ought to be common sense. Unfortunately a less intelligent species than monkeys became involved - lawyers.
I'm not a massive fan of talking about politics. I find the partisan-based decisions people make about the subject to be irrational and illogical. But in this article I point out that I don't believe politics at the level we usually talk about it is a valid route to real change anyway.
Social media has many ills. Many, many ills. But one of them is the way it has reduced the significance of one's 'own site' and the subsequent branding and identity that affords.
An article from the BBC about how Facebook is trying to dodge new EU privacy regulations.
An article from Gizmodo about iPod productivity. It claims an iPad is not a laptop replacement.
An iCloud transfer issue, which wasn't at all the fault of Ulysses, forced me back to Bear Writer and in this article I explain a little about how I moved my articles between the two apps and tagged them appropriately.
My review of Ulysses, in which I wax lyrical about it and determine that, as far as I'm concerned, it's the best writing app available for the MacOS and iOS platforms. Alas, after writing this I switched over to Bear Writer and I explain why in the addendum of this article.
A review of MoneyWiz, the personal accounting software for MacOS and iOS (and Windows and Android as it happens) created by Silverwiz Ltd. I started using this to replace the iBank/Banktivity setup I was using before.
An overview of how Facebook has abused users' privacy.
I love my Ironmaster IM2000, as will be apparent from this review. I have a small area I can set aside for workouts and a full-blown power rack (with a cable system too) was just too big to fit. The IM2000 is a perfect alternative and it earns itself a five star review from me.
Punk was awesome. Or at least I thought so. Here are some tunes you might have forgotten about or at least not heard for a while.
In a diversion from my normal sorts of article, this one looks at the rights of owner-occupiers v landlords in a building management company set up under Right To Manage (RTM) legislation. It's something I've been heavily involved in over the last few years as an owner-occupier myself.
How should we use categories and tags on a blog? In this article I present my own particular view of how it should be organised.
My first impressions after unboxing a new 12.9 inch iPad Pro and accessories. I also describe how I've gone about setting things up as part of my project to see if I can effectively use an iPad Pro as my main computer instead of a MacBook. There's more to do here, so this article just describes the beginning of the process.
The software that drives this blog is Jekyll and when a MacBook Pro running MacOS was my main computer, I could install Jekyll locally and do all my builds on MacOS. However, there is no version of Jekyll for iOS and I needed to rethink my blog maintenance procedures. This article describes how I reconfigured my Jekyll processes for iOS.
Apple should really make this simple but there's no easy way to add Exchange aliases to iOS. This article presents a way to achieve it, although it's an ugly and inelegant method.
I have been thinking about switching from using a MacBook Pro to using an iPad Pro as my main computer for some time now. After six months of research and indecision I decided to take the plunge today. In this article I explain why I'm making this switch and how I assessed my requirements. I then ordered the hardware.
David Bowie's 'Rebel Rebel' is an awesome song, but I've come across and even more awesome live version of it. I link to that here after giving you a potted history of my musical tastes.
I was getting Virtual Memory Size Exceeded notifications from CSF relating to PHP FPM on a particular domain. This is how I fixed things so I wasn't continually pestered by these messages.
I hate sprouts and I fear a great conspiracy is at the root of campaigns to force us to eat the damn things.
A review of the Ironmaster Superbench. I really rate Ironmaster's workout equipment. I have an Ironmaster IM2000 and I bought an Ironmaster Superbench as part of the package, which is what I'm reviewing here. I think this is one of the best multi-purpose, flat-incline-decline benches on the market.
I hate being late for anything. It's one of those things that drives my anxiety off the scale and it's something that bothers me significantly, maybe unduly so. So here's my rant about tardiness.
My ideas about why we have digital piracy. I lay much of the blame firmly at the door of the digital media companies.
Since adding a new domain to my CPanel server, I've had AutoSSL renewal errors. These have been emailed to me via the AutoSSL check that runs overnight. Anyway, the problem (at least in my case) sits with the .htaccess file and here's my solution.
A review of the Powertec Workbench LeverGym. This is the first bit of workout kit I bought when I moved from a five-bedroom house with a garage to a two-bedroom flat. I needed something with a fairly small footprint.
Five years ago I switched from the Windows platform to Apple. I bought an Apple MacBook Pro back in 2013 after 20 years as a Windows user, but would I now switch back?
A review of the Body-Solid Series 7 Smith Master System. Back in my youth I did a lot of weight-training but then life got in the way and I took a 20 year layoff. When I was 46 I took it up again and this is the kit I originally used for my weight-training when I restarted.
A review of the 8th film in 'The Fast and The Furious' franchise. No, just no.
My reasoning behind using Jekyll to power this site. I've used Wordpress on many blogs in the past but I didn't need all the features it provides for this blog and a static blog generation app seemed more appropriate. This article looks at how I came to decide to use Jekyll.
A review of Shiny Frog's Bear Writer, which I really like and assessed to see if I could integrate it into my GTD process. I think it's ideal for note-taking, short-form writing (blog posts and such) and journaling, although some people might not like the subscription model it uses. I think it's worth looking at if you want a Markdown-based notes app.
Exclamation marks are overused and abused these days and we need the grammar police to be vigilant in prosecuting offenders. I'd guess at least 99% of exclamation marks used in electronic communication are inappropriate and unnecessary.
The Wilks Score allows powerlifters and weight-trainers to make an equitable comparison of the weights lifted regardless of body weight, gender and -- with a modification to the pure Wilks score -- age. This article explains how to go about calculating your Wilks Score.
This article describes how to add Microsoft Exchange aliases to MacOS mail, which was quite a palaver under previous versions of MacOS but is much easier from Sierra onwards.
Back in the 1980s I found a Holy Grail of GTD which was essentially a very upmarket Filofax. I've been searching for the software equivalent of that ever since the personal computing age dawned. In this article I describe my GTD process, which, alas, is no Holy Grail yet.
If you've upgraded your CPanel system from EasyApache 3 to EasyApache 4 there's a possibility that CSF (ConfigServer Firewall) won't run correctly. This is because the EasyApache upgrade moves the Apache log files. This article explains how to correct this problem.
If you get the p0f appears to be down message after upgrading or rebooting a cPanel system, I have a fix for you. I haven't yet worked out how to stop it altogether but this fix holds things steady until the next upgrade or reboot.
The process I used to install Jekyll on MacOS 10.11+ (actually 10.12.6) after encountering errors such as 'You don't have write permissions', 'public_suffix requires Ruby version >= 2.1', 'Your Xcode (7.2.1) is too outdated' and 'rbenv shell command not found'. It was a bit of a nightmare, but I got there in the end.