Tally 2 for iOS
Tally 2 for iOS

I've been using Tally since version 1.0 and it's a handy little application.1 I can't say I use it every day, but I use it often enough that it's on my phone. Tally is just a counter. Well, it's a bit more than a just a counter. It counts up with a tap or down with a swipe. You can set the increments and store multiple counters.

From the Tally counter screen, tap to increment or slide down to decrement. Slide left to right to access saved tallies or slide right to left to configure a single counter.

I think the Today widget is pretty nice if you regularly need to add to a counter. You can even configure which counters show up in the Today widget.

Sharing from Tally is simple and logical. It exports the count followed by the name of the saved counter. For example, I wanted to keep track of how many times the snow plow cleared my driveway. From Tally I can send the count straight to a text file so I can estimate the bill for the season.2

Here's an experiment you can try at home. Create a counter called Twitter or email or blogs. Add the counter to your Today screen. Now, every time you check one of those things, pull down and increase the count. Boom. A weekly self assessment of your priorities.

Tally 2 is a free upgrade but there's an optional in app purchase to add a dark theme and support the development.

Maybe even before 1.0, with a beta version. ↩

You know what's been hilarious about living in Boston? My snow plow service quit because we had too much snow. So funny I want to cry. ↩
blog  iOS 
4 hours ago
Standard Responses to Online Stupidity | Whatever
It appears an asshole has hacked your account and is posting in your name.
Funny, most people go out of their way not to be a public bigot.
Cosplaying as a tantrum-throwing child is no way to go through life.
I’m sorry that you are so obviously scared of the world.
My attention is a privilege, not a right. This is all you get.
humor 
8 hours ago
Behind the App [Link]
Behind the App [Link]

The Inquisitive Podcast was revamped to be more of a documentary than an interview show. It's two episodes into the new format and it's very entertaining. If you only listened to the first episode of the series (ep. 27) then it may have seemed more like Apple cheerleading as it described the launch of the iPhone. But episode 28 is chock full of developer interviews that frankly discuss what it is like to make a living off of the Apple platform. It was a refreshing right turn that makes for a compelling story. It's nice to hear honest opinions from the developers of software I use everyday.

The third episode in the series is dropping this week and I'm looking forward to it.
blog  Podcast 
15 hours ago
Workflow Field Guide [Link]
Workflow Field Guide [Link]

David Sparks does it again. I honestly had no idea this was coming when I posted a Workflows.app tip yesterday. David's latest product is a video tutorial of the entire Workflow application and action set with a lot of great tips. It's an hour long video walkthrough of everything required to build some awesome utilities. The video is shot on an iPad but applies equally to the iPhone version of Workflow.

As usual, David's video is professional and is perfect for beginners and advanced users. I just finished watching and I learned a bunch of new stuff about an app I've been using since the first day it came out.

Get the whole shebang for $10.

Here's a free sample:
blog  iOS  Link 
15 hours ago
This is why Mark Kern was removed as CEO by Red 5 : Games
Why bother with this post (it's probably more of an incoherent rant, really)? Hopefully by the time I've finished it, I will know that myself....
yesterday
Workflow for iOS Update with Article Parser
Workflow for iOS Update with Article Parser

Workflow for iOS is certainly a handy little application. While not as powerful as Pythonista, it's far more simple to work with, due primarily to the clever action design.

The latest update brings support for parsing "articles", which I assume just means the body of a webpage. Whatever it means, I like it. I recently wrote about converting webpages to Markdown for sites that are visitor-hostile. The "Get Article" action in Workflow does something similar.

Here's an example that is a Workflow share-sheet action that accepts URLs. A URL goes in and a plain text version of the page comes out. Here's an example of the process (this is an example from Safari, but it can be used anywhere that I can get a URL).

It may take a second or two based on how much crap is on the page. But it creates a basic reading experience that suits me. It preserves hyperlinks and makes selecting and using the article text simple.

There's a lot more than that in the latest update. Image converters and Giffy search are just two that seem nice.
blog  iOS 
yesterday
Nerds on Draft: The Joys of Home Ownership [Link]
Nerds on Draft: The Joys of Home Ownership [Link]

I think the last two episodes compliment each other nicely. This week Jeff and I talked about owning a home and the poor thought that usually goes into that decision. There are many days when I miss renting but there are also some real joys in owning a house too.

We drank a beer named JAWN, which is apparently named after a meaningless word that means everything.
blog  NOD  Link 
yesterday
Critic Markup Blogroll for February 27, 2015
Critic Markup Blogroll for February 27, 2015

I use the heck out of Critic Markup, but I don't have a lot of time to make all the tools I want. Some awesome people are taking matters into their own hands.

CriticMarkup.js converts the syntax into HTML.

Critic Markup support is now available in SmartDown, the Windows Markdown editor.

Marko Editor for Mac added Critic Markup support awhile ago and it's pretty cool.

Vim support!

A Go library for Critic Markup

A version of the Go CLI for Critic Markup

FoldingText has supported Critic Markup for ages and it looks great.
blog  CriticMarkup 
3 days ago
FoldingText Sale on MAS
FoldingText Sale on MAS

FoldingText is currently on sale for $15 through the Mac AppStore. That's half off if you don't already have.

By way of @pslobo
blog  Mac 
3 days ago
Oliver's Introduction to Unix [Link]
Oliver's Introduction to Unix [Link]

A terrific primer for getting familiar with Unix commands.
blog  Link  Unix 
5 days ago
A violent, delusional Gamergate psychopath is actually a comedian's terrible hoax
One of the weirdest and most disturbing moments of Gamergate — the point where a "former future marine" named Jace Connors apparently crashed his car in an attempt to locate developer Brianna Wu —...
6 days ago
Neoprimitive Cultists [Link]
Neoprimitive Cultists [Link]

An interesting essay by Andrew Potter:

From the paleo diet to the "ancestral health" craze to the criminals leading the anti-vaccine movement, we live in neoprimitivist times, in precisely the manner sketched by William Gibson. A disturbingly large segment of society has adopted a highly skeptical and antagonistic relationship to the main tributaries of modernity. But as in The Peripheral, these people are not opting out of modernity, going off the grid or deciding to live in caves. Instead, they are volunteering for "another manifestation" of modernity, living in the modern world, without being entirely of it, or even understanding it.

Having finished William Gibson's new book The Peripheral only last week, this essay was timely for me. But the primary premise is something that is not new. There's a certain psychology where otherwise reasonable people reject the things that they don't have the will to understand. I don't mean the will to learn. I've known several people that reject fundamental science because it conflicted with a personal belief system that they refused to modify.

The paleo diet is used by Potter as one example, but diet fads go back centuries and most (if not all) are based on self-delusion muddled with science factoids.

Potter constructs many interesting (and delectably cynical) scenes. The article is worth reading, simply for the small joys passages like this provide:

The problem is you can only be authentic as long as most of the people around you are not, which has its own built-in radicalizing dynamic. You start out getting an organic-vegetable delivery service once a month, then you try growing chickens in your urban backyard. Then the next thing you know, your friends have gone all-in on paleo, eschewing grains, starches, and processed sugar and learning how to bow-hunt wild boar on weekends.

But he sums up the problem in one sentence in the middle of the essay:

This is magical thinking. We have become obsessed with invisible or undetectable features of our micro-environment, the alleged negative effects conjured out of statistical anomalies, anecdotes and ignorance.

Magical thinking is something we are great at. When it's helpful we call it imagination. When it's harmful we call it ignorance. Perhaps our society has developed just enough understanding of the world to no longer discern between science and magic. Or care to.
blog  Link  Science 
8 days ago
Aziz Ansari on Harris Wittels [Link]
Aziz Ansari on Harris Wittels [Link]

A wonderful eulogy by Aziz Ansari for his friend:

I was so excited for what was ahead for Harris. I knew he was going to really explode after this new project. The little bit of Wittels comedy out there was just the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

Say what you will about the Internet. Reading a friends eulogy about someone I never met or knew much about just made me a bit more human. There's an abundance of personal and meaningful stories if we are willing to look beyond cat pictures.

I barely knew who Harris Wittles was. Now, I know we're all a little worse off because of his death. I'm sorry for that.
blog  Link  Humanity 
8 days ago
The Time Everyone “Corrected” the World’s Smartest Woman
In 1990, Marilyn vos Savant correctly answered a probability puzzle in her column for Parade Magazine. And then, the world called her an idiot.
science 
9 days ago
Why Did WNYC Delete Its Podcast on the Male "Expert" on Women in Tech?
An episode of WNYC's On the Media podcast TLDR was unceremoniously removed from the On the Media website today, and people are not at all happy. Rightly so. (UPDATED: This post was updated on 2/13, to include comments from WNYC.)
Humanity 
10 days ago
Lenovo Breaks Security on Purpose [Link]
Lenovo Breaks Security on Purpose [Link]

A nice summary from Marc Rogers:

Superfish replaces legitimate site certificates with its own in order to compromise the connections so it can install its adverts. This means that anyone affected by this adware cannot trust any secure connections they make.

Remember Sony? The reality is that this will not put Lenovo out of business. The repercussions for doing something obviously wrong are vanishingly small when compared to the money made by doing it. These are measured actions that involve many levels of approval and planning. These are not accidents.

Marc on the Lenovo response:

However its hard to see how they could “fix” this software. It’s core functionality undermines the security of SSL rendering the last decade or so of work making the web secure completely irrelevant.

So, the arms race continues.

By way of @SwiftonSecurity
blog  Security  Link 
11 days ago
Taskpaper on Sale for $2 [Link]
Taskpaper on Sale for $2 [Link]

Pretty good deal on Taskpaper for Mac. $2 is cheap and Taskpaper is very good.

By way of @ttscoff
blog  Mac  Link 
12 days ago
The Brisket Manifesto [Link]
The Brisket Manifesto [Link]

Scientific BBQ at its best:

The choice of smoker style is a personal preference. There are lots of different models ranging from barrel drums to Kamodos. Good barbecue can come from a $50 or a $5000 smoker. The key to quality brisket is mostly about temperature stability and moisture control.

Seth would probably be an excellent home brewer too.
blog  Link  Food 
12 days ago
Marijuana Possession and Honey Bees [Link]
Marijuana Possession and Honey Bees [Link]

There's so much value in this site. I can't wait until Business Insider starts referencing the data there. Good times ahead.
blog  Link  Science 
12 days ago
So…then fecal transplants could be a kind of mind control? – Pharyngula
I'm sure that's hot on Tinder ::: So…then fecal transplants could be a kind of mind control?
science  from twitter
13 days ago
Working around Apple
Open Dropbox files from Editorial
iOS  editorial 
13 days ago
The Richest Cities for Young People: 1980 vs. Today [Link]
The Richest Cities for Young People: 1980 vs. Today [Link]

A facinating look at how global economics works.

One theory for why rich cities tend to get richer is "cumulative advantage," which is more commonly known as the rich-get-richer principle. The idea is that cities with thriving industries (consulting in Boston; software in San Jose; commodities in Chicago) attract the smartest workers, whose talents add to the success of those industries, redoubling their ability to attract the smartest workers. Talent attracts talent. Business attracts business. A growing tax base supports better schools, nicer parks, and safer neighborhoods. Economic growth thrives on a feedback loop that, from a certain angle, appears to be infinite and unbreakable. In short: The rich get richer, forever.

And sometimes they do. It is hard to imagine a future for the Bay Area or New York City that looks like Flint, Michigan. The catch, however, is that 35 years ago, the city with the highest median wage for workers under 35 was, in fact, Flint, Michigan.

Nothing lasts forever. The only jobs that aren't portable are digging ditches in your town or selling burgers on your corner. Even those are subject to shifts in the global economy.
blog  Link 
13 days ago
Copyright for Writers and Tutorial Bloggers [Link]
Copyright for Writers and Tutorial Bloggers [Link]

One of the hardest things about putting together demos of software is creating interesting and useful dummy data. When I wrote about how I use plain text for tasks, I was torn between having fun with the dummy data and not wanting to get sued by someone. It's a lot of work to create a fully realized set of data and it's even more work when it's mind numbingly boring.

Here's a nice summary by Mark Fowler (which I reviewed with someone trained in the subject).

So can I have Don Draper make a cameo appearance in my novel? As you can see, the answer is a thoroughly equivocal "it depends."

I see a lot of people taking liberties with things like podcast intro music or re-purposing prose for articles. I like to think it's out of ignorance for the laws surrounding copyright. Unfortunately ignorance is a poor defense in a courtroom. As with most copyright conflicts, it's going to come down to deciding if you have the money and will to fight. At least know what you are up against. I'm not providing legal advice here, because I'm not an attorney. I hope I'm providing common sense.
blog  Link  Writing 
13 days ago
How a major newspaper bungled a vaccine story, then smeared its critics
The Toronto Star, Canada's highest-circulation daily newspaper, has built a reputation for excellent investigative reporting, including justly celebrated exposes of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
science 
14 days ago
Congratulations, You're a Jerk
Congratulations, You're a Jerk

The best part about having a kid is watching her grow into an emotionally complex human.1 Pride is one of those traits that balances on a razor's edge. It beams on her face when I hang one of her drawings on the wall and withers to a husk when she struggles to read a new word. But pride is important. Appropriate pride makes us want to be better, but I end up feeling like a jerk when I congratulate myself in public.

In the age of self-marketing, pride in ourselves is easily drown under murky waters of high fives and re-tweets. Twitter continues to be one of the greatest psychology labs in human history. I watch two very different personality traits play out daily. The first is the self-congratulatory marketing of amateurs. The second is the meek inward turning of embarrassed beginners. The noise of one hand high-fives of the first seems to drown out the slight back-pats of the second.

I'm terrible at self-marketing, both in my day job and in my hobbies.2 It never stops feeling gross, no matter how proud I feel about the results. I'm not sure if that helps or hurts me. I've become immune to the self promotion of others. Lately, "social media" feels more like "social marketing" and it's hard to feel good about contributing to that cacophony. I have to imagine that mine isn't a unique experience.

I've been really proud of a few of the things I've done but I'm also easily embarrassed by compliments. I dislike receiving them. The only time I don't feel gross about a compliment, is when I dissociate myself from the result. It's easy to forget that it feels good to give a compliment and have it warmly received. Compliments are as much about the giver as the receiver.

Here's what I hope to teach my child. It's right to be proud when you've done something you genuinely love, but take care in what you genuinely love. Do more of the things that make you feel proud.

I don't think there's a nice punchy conclusion sentence for this post. I'm not proud of that.

The incidental benefit is that most everything I like, toys, cartoons, building forts, seems much less creepy to other people because I have a kid. ↩

These words you are reading are a hobby. Anything that I do that doesn't progress a career goal is a hobby. Some make a small amount of money and some consume a large amount of money. They will stop being a hobby when I'm afraid of losing them. ↩
blog 
14 days ago
Curbi: Amazing Parental Controls for iOS [Sponsor]
Curbi: Amazing Parental Controls for iOS [Sponsor]

My thanks to curbi for sponsoring this site. curbi is something that I can really get behind. It helps to enable technology for kids by reducing the risk for parents. What a great product. Seriously, if you have kids, it's worth at least checking out the free trial.

It's a common news story today. "Children spending too much time online!" Every day you can find an article about the ever-present internet and what it's doing to the next generation.

curbi was created to restore a balance between childrens' online and real-world lives. There's no doubt that the internet opens up a whole new world for the children of today, but there needs to be some balance.

curbi helps parents get involved with their child's online life and set some reasonable boundaries.

curbi does three simple things:

Curbs screen time - parents can easily set simple rules around things like bedtime and study time.

Blocks the bad stuff - once curbi is on a device, inappropriate content is always blocked. This includes Google Safe Search being permanently on.

Lets the parent watch what is going on - each week the parent will receive a simple report of where on the internet the child went and what apps they have on their device

All your family's devices

curbi covers all the Apple mobile devices in a household. Plenty of parents use curbi on their own iPhones and iPads too. Sometimes we all need a little curbing!

Set rules

Rules are a big part of family life and curbi puts family internet rules into action.

See what's going on

Each week the parent receives a simple report showing internet usage and installed applications for all curbi devices. Parents can also see this information at any time, right inside the curbi app.

Price

curbi is $6.99 per month for the whole household. This means all devices in the household can be covered without worrying about the cost.

Free Trial

curbi is available for a 14 day Free Trial right now. No credit card required, no strings attached.

Try it today!
blog  Sponsor  Link 
14 days ago
Great Roderick Interview on Song Exploder [Link]
Great Roderick Interview on Song Exploder [Link]

What a lovely interview about a terrific song. Today so many great songs lack meaningful liner notes. This type of interview makes The Commander Thinks Aloud more concrete and beautiful.

By way of @hotdogsladies
blog  Link  Music 
14 days ago
George Washington, Slave Catcher
Our first president relentlessly pursued the fugitive Ona Judge.
14 days ago
cmder | Console Emulator
cmder is software package that provides great console experience even on Windows
windows 
16 days ago
The One Ring Startup [Link]
The One Ring Startup [Link]

This is Jason Kottke at his best. It's not just a link to something interesting. He takes something already compelling and reframes it to make it more important and more thought provoking.

Those were dark times...the power of the startup had just been lost after Kozmo's CEO Dave Isildur was slain by economists while delivering a single pint of Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby to far reaches of the Outer Sunset and had not yet been rediscovered by Schachter, Butterfield, and Zuckerberg.
blog  Link 
18 days ago
Meeting Notes, Molotov Lite and Arrogant Bastard [Link]
Meeting Notes, Molotov Lite and Arrogant Bastard [Link]

Taking notes is hard enough. Taking notes during meetings can be a real pain. Jeff and I discuss our techniques and shortcomings during the latest episode of Nerds on Draft. We also drink two fantastic and wildly different IPAs. Ever wonder what a good "Lite" beer would be like? We describe it in excrutiating detail.
blog  NOD  Link  Podcast 
19 days ago
HoudahSpot 4 Available Now
HoudahSpot 4 Available Now

A very nice upgrade to HoudahSpot is out now. Version 4 adds a significant visual improvement and a few nice functional tweaks. The upgrade was only $17 and I think it's worth it for such a powerful searching tool. It's certainly easier to use than previous versions. If you are happy with the features of the built-in Spotlight search, then have fun. I think HoudahSpot makes Spotlight much more useful.
blog  Mac 
20 days ago
Origin Stories [Link]
Origin Stories [Link]

Here's a neat project I was graciously asked to participate in. It's a series of very short interview posts about where Internet personas come from. Check out the archive. I really like the concept and the progress of the collection.
blog  Link 
20 days ago
Workflow Links
The most amazing app on my iPad at the moment is Workflow. With Workflow you can simply automate your workflows step-by-step in iOS 8 . I'm not a code-guy, so for smart workflows I refer to the input of smart people, like Federico Viticci, Erik Pramono1, Phillip Gruneich and others. To help other people like…
23 days ago
What It's Like to Run Your Own Brewery [Link]
What It's Like to Run Your Own Brewery [Link]

I think there are some nice parallels between between opening a brewery and developing an app. There are clearly large differences. Brewers have infrastructure costs in the $100,000 range and working in a coffee shop will get you arrested.

But this, from Andrew Nations, really caught my attention as a parallel between the two:

"Most breweries are struggling with staying relevant. A new brewery is opening every single day in America. Consumers have so many different options."

There's plenty of similarities, like the unexpected market forces, long days, and tons of responsibility but there are also a lot of uniquely different "thrills."

I think app development feels much more like being a professional gambler these days. An expert can make a good living but they are likely just a few bad moves away from disaster.

I'm reminded of this 2013 article about brewing (since deleted from Boston.com and preserved by archive.org):

Mostly a brewer is someone who spends 40-50 hours a week in a loud, ass-hot factory pushing around liquid.
blog  Link  Zymurgy 
26 days ago
X-Callback-URL Specification R3 [Link]
X-Callback-URL Specification R3 [Link]

If you're into URL schemes, there's a minor update to the specification that now lists security concerns as well as new parameter for canceling an action.
blog  Link  iOS 
26 days ago
Be Suspicious of the New Harper Lee Novel
Two and a half months after the death of Harper Lee's sister (and lawyer) and 55 years since the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, HarperCollins has announced the summer release of Go Set a Watchman, the elusive author's second novel.
27 days ago
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