@AcademicsSay: The Story Behind a Social-Media Experiment
A parody Twitter account born out of frustration brought unexpected rewards — connecting with a previously unknown community and expanding research opportunities.
science 
17 hours ago
Printed TaskPaper [Link]
Printed TaskPaper [Link]

Engineers are organized. One other advantage of having everything on a sheet of paper is that it doesn't require WiFi or cell service.
blog  Productivity  TaskPaper  Link 
yesterday
Conversation Parade [Link]
Conversation Parade [Link]

I love this new Adenture Time podcast so dang hard. So much fun stuff and interviews with the voice cast. I like to think I'm an idiot savant with a deep knoweldge of Adventure Time. These guys blow me away.

By way of my favorite character, @hotdogsladies
blog  Link 
2 days ago
Using Trello for Damn Near Everything [Link]
Using Trello for Damn Near Everything [Link]

Jess Martin writes about task management with Trello (but only tangentially references actually using Trello):

You might think it’s working. You might even be considered effective at your work. Someone might have once called you a rock star or a ninja. You might not find out that it’s not really working until you get that promotion you’ve been craving. Or things get busy at home. And then you’re stuck with a broken system, underperforming in your new role, overwhelmed at home, and you’re wishing you could just go mow a lawn.

I think this is right on. Slow work is easy to track in my head. It's the crunch times that blow everything up.

By way of @Potatowire and his fervent love of Medium.
blog  Link  Productivity 
2 days ago
iThoughtsX Adds Support for Sorting and Safari Extension
iThoughtsX Adds Support for Sorting and Safari Extension

iThoughtsX for Mac just released a new update that adds a couple of nice features. The first is pretty big: user definable sorting.1

You can set sort order based on several criteria and the child nodes all rearrange from top to bottom. There's simple alphabetical sorting, but there's also much more advanced sorting based on meta data like due dates or the order they were modified.

If you are using iThoughts for task management (I'm not) this is pretty interesting. Even if you are just using it for outlines (I am) this is still a great improvement. Because sorting can be applied to an entire branch, I can easily edit a node to have it automatically put every child item into a specific order. If you are more comfortable working in outlines, this is a very familiar way to organize information. Sorting is available in both the App Store and direct purchase versions but not yet available for the iOS version.

The second feature is out for direct purchase customers as of today but I assume it's coming to the App Store very soon. The new Safari extension is a convenient way to capture web links right to a map. You can either links to the currently active map or hardcode a specific map in the extension preference.

The links are created off of the current node using the page title as text. I use the research tools in iThoughts for iOS quite a bit so this is a welcome improvement to the Mac version. It's a small thing but very handy when doing a bunch of topical research.

iThoughtsX | Mac | $48 on the App Store

This is rare with Mac apps, but you can purchase iThoughtsX from the App Store or as a direct download purchase. There's even a demo available. ↩
blog  Mac 
5 days ago
Ida's Dream For Monument Valley
Ida's Dream For Monument Valley

I really like Monument Valley. It's a puzzle game with great design that also somehow relaxes me. By far, my favorite levels were in their ProductRed package released earlier this year. The puzzles were harder and the ideas were fresher.

Now you can get those same levels for free inside the latest Monument Valley update.

This is the Best.
blog  iOS 
6 days ago
Nerds and New Computers [Link]
Nerds and New Computers [Link]

I got a new computer and my Nerds on Draft co-host destroyed an old computer. So we both enjoy a beer and talk about starting from scratch with a new Mac.
blog  NOD  Link 
7 days ago
Todoflow for Editorial and Taskpaper Productivity
Todoflow for Editorial and Taskpaper Productivity

I mentioned Todoflow, a python module for working with Taskpaper files, back when I first started using the system full time. It has a lot of the core query support of Taskpaper right from Python.

Now, the same module is available through an Editorial workflow. The workflow automatically installs the module if needed and supports advanced queries and result folding. It adds some minor enhancements to the Taskpaper query syntax (like a "today" term) but does not support parenthetical (nested) expressions.1

Enter a query like this:

@start <= {today} or @start and not @done

To see all tasks that start before tomorrow that have not been completed. The workflow includes a couple of predefined queries but add your own to the list for quick access.

While the query expression support in Todoflow is not as powerful as Taskmator, it's pretty good. Another downside is that Textexpander is not supported in the text entry box of Editorial so a lot of my old snippets will not function in this workflow. Check out the other Editorial workflows with Todoflow support.

See this site for examples and references for the Taskpaper query syntax. ↩
blog  Taskpaper  Editorial  iOS  Productivity 
7 days ago
Nerds, Beer, Kids and Computers [Link]
Nerds, Beer, Kids and Computers [Link]

The latest Nerds on Draft episode highlights Hopstoopid from Lagunitas and Jeff's recommendations for giving my kid her first computer.

If that sounds interesting to you, then maybe subscribe in iTunes.

Or just check out the Google Map of the beers we've covered on the show.
blog  NOD  Link 
13 days ago
The Keys to Employee Retention [Link]
The Keys to Employee Retention [Link]

This article from Lighthouse fits my experience and sentiments exactly. I've had many, many jobs in a variety of fields. I've been a group manager and a lone wolf. I've also been at my current job for over a decade. Everything in this article rang true for me.

This is also something from the article that I've told my closest friends when they struggle with their jobs:

Companies have no such relationship with their employees, nor should they aspire to it. Working for a company is a mutual agreement that benefits both sides.

By way of Rands on Twitter
blog  Link 
13 days ago
Apple Malware in 2015
Apple Malware in 2015

I think these three consecutive articles describe the current problem pretty well:

The original report from The Register

We completely cracked the keychain service - used to store passwords and other credentials for different Apple apps - and sandbox containers on OS X, and also identified new weaknesses within the inter-app communication mechanisms on OS X and iOS which can be used to steal confidential data from Evernote, Facebook and other high-profile apps.

ArsTechnica has a terrific summary and demonstration videos:

Browsers and other Internet-connected apps often use the WebSocket protocol to interact with extensions or other apps. Malicious apps can capitalize on this usage by preemptively taking control of the Internet port a trusted app uses to send or receive data through the WebSocket channel.

The makers of 1Password for Mac and iOS have a pretty thorough breakdown of what's going on.

Since November 2014, we’ve been engaged in discussion with Li about what, if anything, we can do about such attacks. He and his team have been excellent at providing us with details and information upfront.

I hope Apple has been engaged in those discussions too. What a shit show.
blog  Security  Mac  iOS 
13 days ago
Meekan Scheduling Robot for Slack [Link]
Meekan Scheduling Robot for Slack [Link]

If you use Google or Microsoft 365 calendaring, Meekan looks excellent. It connects calendars and Slack so you can propose a meeting and have it autmatically suggest times where the entire team is available. Slack is so great.

By way of Adam Ludwin on Twitter
blog  Link 
14 days ago
Strike Against Software Patents [Link]
Strike Against Software Patents [Link]

From the EFF:

Today, finally, the Federal Circuit overruled that case law and recognized the statute means what it says: if you claim something functionally, regardless of whether you use magic words, you’re likely limited to what you actually describe.

I know several people that work in patent law (it's even less awesome that it sounds). This is big news.
blog  Link  Law 
14 days ago
Statistical Atlas of the US [Link]
Statistical Atlas of the US [Link]

Flowing Data has an excellent visual analysis of a ton of data. There are no conclusions presented, just data. It's fascinating to see all of this data on one page. I particularly found the Income charts interesting. It's hard for me to spend less than an hour looking at these charts.
blog  Link  Science 
14 days ago
Pelican 3.6 Released [Link]
Pelican 3.6 Released [Link]

You may not know it, but this site runs on little blogging engine named Pelican. I like it. Version 3.6 is out now and has a lot of improvements. I really need to update but that's one of the reasons I like Pelican. It just keeps working without messing with it. I would like the article caching but I never care about how long it takes for the site to build. It all happens on the server every 10 minutes. CPUs are cheap.
blog  Python  Link 
15 days ago
Phil Schiller Live on The Talk Show Video [Link]
Phil Schiller Live on The Talk Show Video [Link]

I purposely didn't listen to this podcast until I had an uninterrupted block of time. I'm glad I did because the video is better. It's well produced with multiple camera angles and great audio.

The entire thing is pretty funny. Schiller is very likable and makes plenty of unexpected jokes and jabs. For his part Gruber does not hold back at all.
blog  Link  Apple 
18 days ago
Synology Cloud Sync Adds Amazon Cloud Drive
Synology Cloud Sync Adds Amazon Cloud Drive

The latest Synology DSM update out this week adds some critical security fixes but there's also a nice update to the Cloud Sync application.1 If you are using Amazon's new Cloud Drive service your Synology can now automatically sync (both directions) with the service.

The Amazon Cloud Drive is free for unlimited storage of photos and videos with a Prime membership. Or, you can sync an unlimited amount of data of any kind for $60 per year. I have a few comments about the Cloud Drive option.

The web application is not that good. When you consider Amazon's technical capabilities it feels like they really phoned this one in.

There's no desktop application for using all of that data efficiently. This isn't a Dropbox replacement for most people.

$60 is incredibly cheap for completely unlimited storage. Upload and download times are only limited by your normal ISP throttles so it's superior to Glacier for archiving.

Once Arq supports Amazon Cloud Drive, this is going to be extremely useful and may be an excellent replacement for other backup services.

For now, this is an excellent addition for Synology owners. You get a 3 week free trial of the Amazon unlimited Cloud Drive if you're not sure. Or just use it for photos (not RAW) and it's included as part of your Amazon Prime subscription.2

I use an 1815+ ↩

Amazon's business is selling stuff. Directed marketing is part of that business. They also run the infrastructure for every startup that has back-end storage. AWS is a significant part of the world's infrastructure and it would be a huge problem if Amazon was inappropriately using that data and also against some of their privacy rules. For now, I'm storing encrypted disk images with them and files that have no real identifiable information. Those decisions are personal and everyone is different. ↩
blog  Synology  Backup  Security 
19 days ago
Summerfest 2015 Software Sale
Summerfest 2015 Software Sale

25% off some of the best Mac software you can find, is not too shabby. If you've been considering DEVONthink Pro Office, this is a pretty significant discount. It's like the writer's dream bundle with Scrivener, Aeon Timeline and even Take Control books at 25% off. Use the code SUMMERFEST2015 to get the discount. This is not a sponsored post. I just really like these things.
blog  Mac  Software 
20 days ago
OWC Announces USB-C Dock [Link]
OWC Announces USB-C Dock [Link]

OWC makes some good stuff, so I imagine this forthcoming USB-C dock is going to be top notch. From one USB-C connection you get Gigabit Ethernet, two audio, two high-power USB-A ports, two standard USB-A ports, one USB-C port, HDMI, and SD card reader. I imagine every new MacBook owner will want one of these.

By way of Twitter
blog  Hardware  Link 
20 days ago
The 75 Best Neo-Noir Movies of All Time
The classic 1940s/1950s era of film noir produced some true cinematic treasures such as Jacques Tourneur’s Out of the Past (1947), John Huston’s The Asp
entertainment  video 
21 days ago
Security and Your Apps notes | Apple Developer Forums
Network security HTTPS, TLS In 2015, TLS is a minimum baseline Many servers default to TLSv1.0, from 1999 Newest version is TLSv1.2 TLSv1.2 is
development  iOS 
21 days ago
June Oven [Link]
June Oven [Link]

It's not for me but the June Oven is quite the marvel of technology.1 I feel like we are living a parallel to the 1950's when every day brings a new amazing technology into our lives. Ovens with overhead cameras, image recognition and Instagram posting? I feel super old today.

I like kitchen equipment that has as few electronic controls as possible. ↩
blog  Link 
22 days ago
WWDC 2015 for Working Stiffs
WWDC 2015 for Working Stiffs

I missed most of the WWDC 2015 Keynote this year. While I kept the ArsTechnica live blog open (because it's one of the best with the least "personality"), I had fish to fry and couldn't really pay attention. I'm not an iOS developer anyway, so I always wait to see what the experts think.

This year, from what I can tell, the announcements were pretty well received. Here's the list of tweets that I found most interesting.

Wow, looks like you no longer need a paid dev program membership to run your own code on iOS devices. :) pic.twitter.com/uxauyHsZ3y

— Ole Zorn (@olemoritz) June 8, 2015

Apple has basically deprecated HTTP in iOS 9 and OS X 10.11. To use unsecured HTTP, you have to ask for an exception in your app manifest.

— Stefan Arentz☕️ (@satefan) June 9, 2015

"In iOS 9, your app can register to open web links (using https or http) directly, bypassing Safari."

— Luis Solano (@luisobo) June 8, 2015

Lots of incredible stuff today. Here's something awesome that went unmentioned: Share in the text editing menu! pic.twitter.com/UQnDdchq03

— Ari Weinstein (@AriX) June 8, 2015

iOS 9 will now let you search inside your settings screen. About time! pic.twitter.com/45lVEO9SRN

— Maksim Petriv (@talkaboutdesign) June 8, 2015

Apple TV spotted in list of devices that developers can register to develop on https://twitter.com/celsiusgs/status/608001717175787520

— Derek van Vliet (@derekvanvliet) June 8, 2015

iPhone passcodes are now 6 digits. pic.twitter.com/OpPDtZsO0e

— Ryan Jones (@rjonesy) June 8, 2015

Pretty wild that Apple now makes a tool to migrate from Android. pic.twitter.com/mtNVShSf7m

— Sebastiaan de With (@sdw) June 8, 2015

Here's that brilliant tweet from the Spotify CEO (since he sadly deleted it, his PR team probably got angry) pic.twitter.com/NPGDc8adhB

— Christophe Tauziet (@ChrisTauziet) June 8, 2015

Hey, was that the Campo Santo / Panic logo? YES! Will our upcoming game, Firewatch, support Metal for Mac? YES!! pic.twitter.com/XTQmUHA0Pm

— Panic Inc (@panic) June 8, 2015

Finally, here's a tweet that sums up why I even follow WWDC:

Anyone who REALLY uses something a lot knows intensely how it can be better. When people announce "Works for me!" I know I use it way more.

— Merlin Mann (@hotdogsladies) June 8, 2015
blog  Apple 
22 days ago
Why "Agile" and especially Scrum are terrible
It's probably not a secret that I dislike the "Agile" fad that has infested programming. One of the worst varieties of it, Scrum, is a nightmare that I've seen actually kill companies. By "kill" I don't mean "the culture wasn't as good afterward"; I mean a drop in the stock's value of more than 85…
PM 
24 days ago
Wingnut Nebraska Governor: Fine, Repeal The Death Penalty, I’ll Just Murder Folks Myself! | Wonkette
Wingnut Nebraska Governor: Fine, Repeal The Death Penalty, I’ll Just Murder Folks Myself!
politics  Humanity  from twitter
25 days ago
Nerds on Keyboards [Link]
Nerds on Keyboards [Link]

I have a problem with keyboards. This week Jeff and I talked about our love of a good keyboard but also talked about our hoard of clacky peripherals. We also talk about a Gubna by Oskar Blues.

Here's an outline of my notes for the show:
blog  NOD  Link 
26 days ago
Python strftime reference
A quick reference for Python's strftime formatting directives.
python  programming 
26 days ago
Easy Affiliate Links with Two Mac Apps
Easy Affiliate Links with Two Mac Apps

Which do you prefer? 80% of your bandwidth and attention consumed by ads or some affiliate links sprinkled through the text? I prefer affiliate links and that's mostly how I pay for this site. I've been running a Keyboard Maestro macro for years that converts links on my clipboard to affiliate tagged URLs. I'm always happy to replace my scripts with a professionally made and supported alternative and here's a good way to do that.

The first thing to get is StretchLink by Brett Terpstra. This isn't required but I like clean links. StretchLink removes all of the "junk" on a link. For Amazon links, it removes all of the query parameters you may have used to find the thing. It just sits in your menu bar and watches everything you copy. If it finds a URL it removes the cruft.

Next, get Affiliate.app from the App Store. It watches the clipboard and converts iTunes links to affiliate links. Luckily these apps work well together. Some how, StretchLink runs first and cleans up a link and Affiliate.app runs second and adds the affiliate tag.

Now you can copy a link from the App Store and get it automatically converted to a simple affiliate version link this: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/affiliate/id789724698?at=11l5Ug

This also works well for Amazon affiliate links which are often very ugly and overloaded with parameters.

The next time you copy an Amazon URL to tell someone about an awesome wheelbarrow, it's automatically converted to an affiliate link that's also pretty simple.1

http://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid-Commercial-FG564000BLA-Low-Wheel-300-pound/dp/B001BQW6YU/ref=sr_1_5?tag=duckwing-20

Amazon provides a convenient link validator if you want to confirm it's working.

StretchLink | $2

Affiliate | $1

If your friends and family have an issue with you making a few pennies off of the exchange, at no cost to them, then I'd recommend you tell them about StretchLink to remove the tags. Then stop helping them find wheelbarrows. ↩
blog  Mac 
27 days ago
All of the Bangs
All of the Bangs

Just a friendly reminder that DuckDuckGo supports a lot of query modifiers they call "bangs." If your default browser search is DDG and you prefix with !g you'll get a Google search. Prefix with with !wa to perform a WolframAlpha search.

That's pretty commonly known. But if you think this sounds interesting, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Check out their full list of modifiers.
blog  Search 
27 days ago
2Do for iOS is Free this Week [Link]
2Do for iOS is Free this Week [Link]

2Do is really interesting and well designed. The iOS version is free for one week only and the Mac version is on sale too.
blog  Mac  iOS  Link 
27 days ago
Nerds on Draft: Science Tourism [Link]
Nerds on Draft: Science Tourism [Link]

Last week's episode of Nerds on Draft was a bit rant-y and I apologize for that. However, I think there are some good ideas that distilled out of the conversation. Check out the show notes for some interesting links too. I really like the De-Textbook mentioned in the show.
blog  NOD 
4 weeks ago
Q&A With Steven Pinker [Link]
Q&A With Steven Pinker [Link]

I've always enjoyed Steven Pinker's books and essays. He's a truly thoughtful scientist. This question and answer piece on parlio is a great example of his clear and logical thinking. Even when the questions veer toward unimaginative or ignorant, his responses are still thought provoking and to the point. There's too many good ideas to quote them all so I'll leave the core principle here as bait.

That the human condition is improving. It's not just violence, but every other measure of human well-being that is on the rise: longevity, literacy, health, affluence, education.
blog  Science  Link 
5 weeks ago
LaunchBar Adds Action Builder
LaunchBar Adds Action Builder

I recommend starting with the documentation. While the Action Builder is a huge step forward, it's still not beginner level stuff. If you have experience with Keyboard Maestro, this is still more complicated.

Access the new Action Editor from the main LaunchBar menu:

The editor greatly simplifies the plist creation (which I assume is the primary function) but most of the "work" in an action is performed by some sort of scripting language. Luckily, LaunchBar supports all of the built-in OS X scripting languages.

The Action Editor has a logical interface and there's a lot to like but it's still going to be a challenge for most novice users. Check out some of the existing actions to get some ideas. You can open them in the Action Editor to see how they work and get sense of the difficulty.

As I said almost a year ago LaunchBar is the best off-the-shelf launcher and action tool but customizing it requires a good deal of effort. Alfred is also very good, if more simplified. But Alfred has a shallow learning curve for creating custom actions.
blog  Mac 
5 weeks ago
Single page of notes wins SF author John Scalzi $3.4m deal
Publisher Tor says ‘we’d be nuts to decline’ 13-book contract, which will include three young adult novels alongside next instalments of Old Man’s War series
5 weeks ago
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