Posts From November 2010

Edito enables the editing and rendering of Markdown files in style. Its extended keyboard and TextExpander support facilitate the access to Markdown shortcuts; the integrated browser makes the insertion of links painless. Fully tested for iOS 4.2, the latest release features customizable interfaces (Classic, Minimal, Black) improving the app’s usability.

Edito is the easiest way to produce html-formatted content on the iPad, and we are committed to make this experience the simplest one. Dropbox support, folders, and importing of Scrivener files are all in the works.

Here’s a great article by Frank Chimero on the difference between hype and enthusiasm related to design, product development, and content. In short, if you’ve got crummy content promoted by a crackerjack design then at its best it’s just hype. Design won’t ever rise above its content.

I’ve had an essay about marketing drafted for months which would make a good companion piece to Frank’s article. To summarize: marketing should value impact over impressions, and the most effective “tools” for marketing are content and products.

Today only, get 60% off with discount code “DDF2H”. The latest books I’ve gotten from O’Reilly are Being Geek by Michael Lopp, and The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun.

Many thanks to Dayta for sponsoring the RSS Feed this week. Dayta is a great way to track any sort of statistic or data point in your everyday life. Such as how many cups of coffee you drink each day, how many emails you get, or how many friends and family members ask you to do free tech support for the new iPad they’ll be getting over the holiday.

If you haven’t checked out Dayta you should. It’s fun, easy to use, has a rich UI, and is just two bucks in the iTunes App Store.

I love how Ben emailed Verizon, told them the all reviews about the Tab were crap and that they should send him a unit to review. And so they did.

Dayta is a beautiful iPhone app for the stats obsessed. Track any data point about your life — like your weight or the number of words you wrote today — and use it to define the metrics that define you.

The funnest and most clever thing I’ve read all morning. (Hat tip to Ben.)

Now with background sync completion. The iPad version got it too, last week.

Many thanks to Notesy for sponsoring the RSS Feed this week. Notesy is an iPhone note-taking app with pizzazz. It has a simple and minimal feel yet still comes with some attractive options, especially related to typography. Moreover, Notesy works with Dropbox so it’ll sync your notes with Notational Velocity and any other note-taking app you have that syncs to Dropbox.

Notesy is just $2 in the App Store, and if you pick it up now you’ll get the iPad update for free once it ships.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Station

Christmas radio in Kansas City is horrible. But I love to listen to Christmas music. (I’ve had it on since mid-October!)

So I saved a new Pandora radio station built on the classic 1965 album, A Charlie Brown Christmas, where Vince Guaraldi and his trio do some great Christmas songs. From there Pandora does the rest, and I get hours and hours of instrumental and jazzy Christmas tunes.

Amazing what you can get done with the bare necessities and a clean quiet room.

A couple pictures of Steve Jobs at his home office from Diana Walker’s 2004 photo shoot. I can’t believe Steve didn’t clear off his desk to be all neat and tidy before taking these photos. (Thanks to reader Michael Soderstrom.)

The Iconfactory’s newest iPhone game, Astronut, just came out last night and it is a blast. And clearly, no detail was overlooked when crafting those fine graphics.

Ian Hines has an uncanny ability to conduct an email interview. This is the rare breed of site you subscribe to in Instapaper.

A nice overview of the most notable features to the iPad update which is coming any day now. For a super-detailed look, see Rene Ritchie’s walkthrough.

And, so long as we’re on the subject of Mac apps borrowing UI elements from iOS, Sparrow — the minimalistic Mac mail app — seems to pull it off splendidly. (Via Greg Brown.)

Another app that started on the iPhone, added an iPad version, and is now coming to OS X. (Via Federico.)

Notesy: Sync notes between your iPhone and Dropbox as text files, with two-way syncing, full offline support, and no ads.

Find tips for getting the most out of Notesy with Notational Velocity, Automator, AppleScript, Keyboard Maestro and more over on the weblog.

I’m sure there are others, but Reeder is the only app I know of that started on the iPhone, added an iPad version, and is now coming to OS X. It is also the only app I know of that’s using elements from iOS in its desktop UI.

Jarel Remick put together a whopper of a post on just about everything you could ever want to know about Dropbox ever. What sold me on Dropbox earlier this year was figuring out what a great tool it made for keeping real-time backups of your Documents folder. I have a Current Projects folder that sits on Dropbox, and that’s where I store all of my day-to-day files.

Also, by using Symlinks, I have the Application Support Folders for my most-used apps (MarsEdit, Yojimbo, 1Password, OmniFocus) sitting in Dropbox as well. Which means if didn’t backup my laptop a week or two, chances are good I would hardly lose anything important. And if I drop my laptop on the way home from work or while walking to the living room, I for sure won’t lose anything.

Many thanks to Paste for sponsorsoring this week’s RSS Feed to promote their sweet suite of productivity and project management web apps. Paste wins the prize for most clever and targeted sponsorship yet. The copy they wrote for their sponsorship post on Monday was incredibly enticing (huge props for referencing the SR-71 Blackbird). And the landing page for their sponsorship has been written just for you guys — the readers.

Paste describes themselves as a small app studio making cool, smart tools to help us work better, simpler, and faster. I describe them as a team of guys who have thought things through and who sweat the details. If you build websites, work with a team, or are on the hunt for a better project management software, then check out their suite of apps.

Jumpchart in particular is a great tool for people who build websites. It’s a web app to help you build, organize, swap, edit, and agree upon the content, design, and information architecture of a new site. Then it’ll export your outline and pages of content to HTML (or even to WordPress).

Jorge Quinteros’ Sweet Mac Setup

Who are you, what do you do, etc…?

I’ve always found the act of introducing yourself to be very intimidating because it’s something you often wished you had practiced more before being put on the spot but either way, my name is Jorge Quinteros. I’m an avid photographer based in Brooklyn who holds a BFA in Graphic Design and is employed as a manager for a major retail company. Try crunching that title into into a business card.

I’ve always been into the Arts and enjoyed documenting life through pictures and it’s that same natural interest that’s driven me to always want to travel and explore new places. While some prefer to enjoy experiences through their own eyes, I prefer to see it through my viewfinder firmly pressed against my face.

Once you’ve established what your passion is, you’ll find it difficult not using that as a source of inspiration for everything else you accomplish, hence my humble personal photoblog. This is where I share and sell some of my favorite photographs backdropped with a narrative of what when into capturing them. Equally exciting to curate is iPad Decór which is home to photographic wallpaper for your iPad based on personal travels and random outings of mine.

If a person’s stature as a photographer is dependent upon what they can do with any camera, in making the mundane appear interesting and using their imagination, then I confidently introduce myself as a photographer despite not having an official position in the industry. It’s the drive that will get me there.

What is your current setup?

Jorge Quinteros' Setup

Jorge Quinteros' Setup

Jorge Quinteros' Setup

Jorge Quinteros' Setup

Why this rig?

The last time I owned an Apple desktop was back when they were introduced in a variety of flavors. Mine was purple by the way and since then, I’ve happily been working with different laptop versions which began with a 12″ PowerBook to what I currently own now.

Everyone loves to be part of an environment where you have options and laptops offer that choice to pack-up and relocated to a nearest coffee shop for a change of scenery. With the configuration of my setup, I often forget that my computer is a laptop but the popularity of taking your work with you is a feature I’m not willing to give up by feeling tied down to a conventional desktop.

As a a retail manager, only 15% of my role includes working with a computer which has no internet connect and that’s shared by more than 4 people. My only connection to the web in those occasions is strictly through my iPhone 4. This is more of an incentive in takin g pride and effort in sprucing up my own computer space at home.

I’m seeing more photographs of people, specifically Mac users owning more laptops than ever before and utilizing them as if they were desktops by having a keyboard and mouse. I’ve yet to see this trait in PC laptop owners but for me, it’s an arrangement that carries a feeling of sophistication and although I might have added elements to work with, it’s an arrangement that feels as if I had taken something that felt uncomfortable in the first place. It’s probably the uneasiness of using a laptop keyboard and trackpad. I’m not a fan at all although during travels, these are the working conditions I put up with.

What software do you use and for what do you use it?

Lightroom 3: The software was developed from the ground up as a tool for more serious photographers and it’s one that’s served as perfect transition when I felt that iPhoto wasn’t offering much. I think as comfortable as you’re likely to become with a camera you’ve had for a long time, the same goes with sticking with a logical workflow for managing your photographs and to not get excited when something new comes along.

Photographers have special needs when it comes to handling their images and Lightroom has been an invaluable software that’s kept me sane on those days that would have driven anyone crazy in dealing with hundreds of RAW files. As far as processing goes, it’s through experimentation that I’ve managed to generate a decent collection of custom presets that I use if it’s required.

Photoshop: Being a photographer and not owning Photoshop is comparable to a carpenter not having an assistant in that you don’t always need it but it’s at hand when you do. It’s literally used for minor touch ups on images but mostly when I’m resizing photographs to upload at iPad Decór. I almost feel like I’m cheating the software because of how rarely it’s launched. Lightroom is king for me.

NetNewsWire: Upon first learning about RSS feeds, I was entranced with the concept of having news, personal blogs, and other odds and ends instantly materialize in a standalone program and the deal was sweeten knowing that I can retrieve it all straight from my iPhone as well. Hands down a brilliant piece of software although I can’t speak highly of it’s coequal iPhone version because I prefer Reeder as a choice.

1Password: If I were held at gun point and asked to write down the passwords to all my online service accounts, I would simply fold. Who has time to memorize all of them? That’s what 1Password is for. Their slogan should be “Don’t think about it. Just buy it”.

Notational Velocity: Everything I write is written in this software. It’s widespread acceptance among Mac users could never go understated because it’s simply that good. You can’t say enough great things about it without sounding repetitive.

BBedit: I’ll admit there’s far better aesthetically pleasing coding software out there than BareBones’s BBedit. Coda, Expresso to name a few but very much like Lightroom, I’ve stayed with what I know and I haven’t found a need to retrain myself in what I’ve already grasp. I’m far from a coder but from what I recall from Introduction to Web Design in college and from pure allure, I’ve learnt the basics of what’s needed to manipulate HTML and CSS to prettify my site.

How does this setup help you do your best creative work?

I wouldn’t say the setup itself induces a sporadic flow of creativeness because that type of feeling takes place when I’m out shooting, but it certainly helps translating the same comfort I have in using my camera to using my computer.

I don’t consider it something extravagant although friends would disagree but I’m finding that people who have similar configuration have one trait in common. They all have an affinity towards the arts, specifically graphic design, web design, music creation and of course photography. My response to the common question of why I use my laptop as a desktop is “It’s a creative thing.” Needless to say that among my social circle, there’s many that choose to work with what’s in front of them rather than configurate it and make it their own.

How would your ideal setup look and function?

At this point, I’ve learnt there’s no sense in believing you could have the latest of anything with regards to technology because every couple of months something smaller, sleeker and faster is released. With that in mind, I have my eye in upgrading to the newly-enhanced 13″ MacBook Air.

I’ve had my current 15″ MacBook Pro for 5 years and in the past I’ll admit that the ownership of several models of Apple’s top of the line laptop has always been driven in wanting to have the best of what they offer without necessarily having the justification to pay for all that power.

There sheer number of positive benchmark reviews from the new MacBook Air alone is what would make it an ideal setup to migrate to because it has sufficient powerful for supporting the type of work I do without having to pay extra the way I have been in the past for a MBP. I would imagine editing photographs on a 13″ screen could only be tolerated for so long so I would want to add an older generation 23″ Apple Cinema Display which I’m sure I could find for a bargain on Craigslist.

When I’m not managing my photographs in Lightroom, I’m going through NetNewsWire deciding which articles to quickly read or send to Instapaper and/or continuing to build upon the loose thoughts I began typing up on Simplenote for the iPhone to further finish in Notational Velocity while listening to some tunes.

And so, with the exception of dealing with a couple hundred RAW files, my computer usage is not that demanding that it would need a super computer. Which is why the new 13″ MacBook Air along with an external monitor would be an impeccable upgrade to what I have now.

More Sweet Setups

Jorge’s setup is just one in a series of sweet Mac Setups.

A huge honkin’ update to one of the most beloved apps on my iPhone and iPad. And now with 100% more OmniFocus integration. If you chose to Share an article from Instapaper, you’re given an option to send it to OmniFocus. Tap it and your device will switch to OmniFocus with the quick-entry panel open, the title of your article as the title of the item and the URL in the item’s note.

I very much agree with Dave Caolo’s Mac OS X 10.7 predictions.

I’m on an OmniKick lately. I’ve been learning and tinkering with OmniPlan as a possible solution for step-one in my group project management workflow. I’m hoping it will help me map out overall time and scheduling of large-scale projects, as well as help me give clarity to others about where the time is spent.

This review of OmniPlan from “Relative Sanity” is nice. I very much like articles and reviews like this. It’s not a feature list, it’s a “how I actually use it” piece.

If you want a feature list and how-to overview, the video tutorials on Omni’s product site are great.

In the ’50s Lockheed formed a group nicknamed The Skunk Works. To foster creativity they limited team size, discouraged paperwork, took few projects, and continually worked towards a higher purpose. They were pushed to do something great, something big.

Skunk Works created projects like the Blackbird. It was hard to fly, leaked gas on the runway, and could nearly shake pilots unconscious at low speeds. But once you got one humming, it could zing your butt to mach 3 up near the cold black edge of space.

Our name is Paste, and we like this story a whole lot.

Many thanks to Alarms for sponsoring the world’s best RSS Feed this week. Alarms is a timer and to-do app that sits in your Menu Bar. Click and drag on it to set an instant timer for, say, 30 minutes of intentional writing, or to reminder yourself in 4 minutes that the French Press is ready. Moreover, you can drag files, emails, URLs, and other items onto the menu bar icon and save those items as to-dos. A calendar slides down and lets you schedule a concrete time to hash out a that action item. You can try out Alarms for free for two weeks.