As you may have noticed from yesterday’s link, myself and the team over at The Sweet Setup have been working on a brand new iBook. It’s called Day One In Depth, and it’s available now on iBooks.
This book is the most detailed and extensive guide to Day One available today. Featuring in-depth reviews that cover every function and feature found within Day One, our handbook goes line by line showing you how to make the most of this award-winning journaling app.
I’ve long been a fan and user of Day One, which is why this app was our first choice for a deep dive guide. Not only do I use this app all the time (and have for years), but it’s the sort of app I know YOU could benefit from using as well. Thus, our new comprehensive guide.
Monday, November 9
This morning, over on The Sweet Setup, is an article from yours truly about how and why I use the awesome Day One journaling app.
As I mention in the article, what’s special about Day One is how well designed and full of thoughtful details it is. The app is so versatile, you could use it for just about anything — certainly more than a humble journal.
Thursday, November 5
In 2011, Evan Calkins had an idea to help minimize the cost of custom letterpress printing by launching a tiny one page website called Hoban Cards. It leveraged pre designed calling card templates to streamline the printing process while still introducing something beautiful and unique. Evan is now proud to announce a more mature website and marketplace – the third iteration of Hoban Cards.
The new Hoban Cards features two new calling card layouts called The Detective and The Requisite Card. Also, they’ve introduced a new line of letterpress printed note cards and stationery sets.
Use promo code tools during checkout to get $5 off your order.
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My thanks to Hoban Cards for sponsoring the site this week. I had my own business calling cards printed through Hoban Cards a while ago and the quality is absolutely top-notch. Highly recommended.
It’s the first week of November, which means our annual Tools & Toys Christmas Catalog is here. Wow!
As fun and playful as Tools & Toys is, I also like to toss in a dash of thoughtfulness whenever possible. And our holiday gift guide is an ideal spot:
A gift is more than just an item to fill a box so it can be wrapped up in red and green paper and placed under a tree. When you buy a gift this year, don’t give out of obligation, but rather give out of thankfulness and gratitude.
There is another side to this idea of intentional giving as well. It’s the idea that intentional giving means getting something awesome. Which, is actually easier than it may seem. With just a little bit of forethought and inspirational assistance, you too can move past the black hole of terrible gift giving that is filled with fruit cakes and generic gift certificates.
Instead, give a gift that will be well received. A gift that shows how savvy and clever you are.
We’ve got 16 stellar items picked out for you (I’d like the Dopp Kit and the Bonavita coffee brewer, please).
While you’re there, please take a chance to check out our recommended non-profits. We always give 11% of our gross earnings to charity throughout the year, and for November and December we’ll be donating that money specifically to St. Jude, Operation Christmas Child, and App Camp for Girls. When you follow our links to buy stuff on Amazon this year, that’s where a portion of our earnings will go.
Tuesday, October 27
Wouldn’t it be great to have a personal task management app that integrates with the tools you already use, allowing you to seamlessly view all of your tasks on one screen? Rindle does this and more, making it easier than ever to keep your day organized.
Your tasks are everywhere: email, to-do apps, project management apps, and collaboration tools… to name a few. Many people are using multiple tools for their personal tasks and projects, which wastes time and complicates their day. Rindle brings all of your tasks together into one place, helping you to simplify your personal workflow.
Leverage the tools you already use to centralize your information into one easy location. If you use apps like Gmail, Slack, Trello, Basecamp, Todoist and Github, you’re going to love how you can aggregate all of your tasks into a single screen, providing some zen to your hectic day.
If you are jumping between tabs in your browser to track down work, or sifting through email to remember something you had to get done, then you are wasting precious time each day. Let Rindle keep everything in one central location for you. Sign up for the private beta today.
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My thanks to Rindle for sponsoring the site this week. Sponsorship by The Syndicate.
Monday, October 26
Last week, my pal Mike Vardy and I launched something pretty great: The Awareness Building Class.
It’s a 5-part audio class with accompanying PDF workbook and transcripts. We designed it to go hand-in-hand with The Focus Course. And, therefore, we’ve been giving it away for the past week to anyone and everyone who signs up for The Focus Course.
But that offer ends tonight.
So, if you sign up for the Focus Course tonight, you’ll get the Awareness Building Class for FREE. But if you wait, the class will cost you an additional $79.
Wednesday, October 21
Meet Settled, the hot new payment feature from Acuity Scheduling that lets customers pay & tip online …without the awkward.
For the business owner, it helps you get paid automatically and awesomely, just like Uber does, without having to swipe another credit card again. For the customer, it helps you breeze in and breeze out of your appointments without having to wait in line, wonder how much tip to give, or suffer through a thousand good-byes.
Why settle for less when you can get Settled online?
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My thanks to Acutiy Scheduling for sponsoring the site this week.
Friday, October 16
Speaking of podcasts, this is an awesome tip / app suggestion from Bradley Chambers this week over on The Sweet Setup.
If you’re like me and you come across one-off audio files that you want to listen to, but wish you could (a) easily get them onto your phone without side-loading them or dealing with Dropbox’s audio player (which doesn’t remember listening state); and (b) take advantage of your favorite podcast player’s Smart Speed features then this is the service for you.
If you’ve been wishing that I were around on more podcasts, well have I got a treat for you. This week I was a guest on Mike Vardy’s Productivityist podcast. We had a great conversation about intentionality, productivity-plus-creativity, and more.
Tuesday, September 29
Paddle is an all-in-one SDK that gives app developers access to all the essential tools for building a great product. Including in-app analytics, user feedback, app store ratings, funnels and more. With only a few lines of code you can start building better apps in less time, allowing you to focus on the best parts of being a developer.
It’s free to start, and you only pay when you’re ready to get serious about your app business.
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My thanks to Paddle for sponsoring the site again this week.
Friday, September 25
True story: I decided to get the iPhone 6S Plus this year.
In part, I went with the bigger iPhone to see how the big-screened other side lives (my Android-toting cousins are never going to let me hear the end of it this Thanksgiving).
I also went with the 6S Plus because it has the best camera in a mobile device (if you can call an airplane wing a mobile device). The in-body image stabilization goes a long way with video.
Knowing that I’m not the only one looking forward to shooting with the new iPhone, over on Tools & Toys, we put together an unordered list of awesome gear to take your iPhone photography and videography to the next level. A super-cool mobile tripod, awesome extra lenses, etc. Check it out.
If you’re getting a new iPhone in the near future, here’s our Sweet Setup article from a few months ago with the steps on how to pair your Apple Watch to your new phone. In short, back up your old iPhone, un-pair your Watch, set up your new iPhone and restore from the iCloud backup, then pair your Watch to the new phone, and chose to restore the Watch from backup.
And, speaking of iPhone upgrades, in case you need some tips with how to backup your current device before setting up your new one, we’ve got you covered.
Wednesday, September 23
Paddle is an all-in-one SDK that gives app developers access to all the essential tools for building a great product. Including in-app analytics, user feedback, app store ratings, funnels and more. With only a few lines of code you can start building better apps in less time, allowing you to focus on the best parts of being a developer. It’s free to start, and you only pay when you’re ready to get serious about your app business.
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My thanks to Paddle for sponsoring the site this week.
Tuesday, September 15
curbi gives parents peace of mind; providing the best solution so the entire family can enjoy the online world as much as the real world.
My thanks to curbi for again sponsoring the site this week. curbi is pretty incredible, especially if you’ve got a family of devices you’d like to help safeguard.
And it’s more than just for kids. You can set it up on your own device as well, and use it as an internet content blocker that actually works — so you don’t accidentally get slimed with stuff you don’t want to see and so you’re not constantly entering in a PIN to visit regular sites that iOS doesn’t need to block.
Monday, September 14
An excellent, as always, overview of last week’s Apple event, as well as John’s initial thoughts on the new iPhones, iPad Pro, Apple TV, and Watch.
I was bummed that I couldn’t watch the Keynote last week — I was in the air during the event, on my way to Dallas to speak at the 2015 Circles Conference (more on that later). Being at Circles, I was offline most of last week and missed a lot of the new Apple product news (aside from this ridiculous newspaper headline).
But I did still wake up at midnight to pre-order a new iPhone. I decided to go crazy and went with the iPhone 6S Plus. I’m perfectly happy with the size of the 6, but I thought it would be fun to try out the bigger sized phone. Just about everyone I know with the 6 Plus loves it. So we’ll see. Also, after getting a massive headache trying to figure out the new pricing structures and what would be the best route to go, I decided to jump off the subsidy bandwagon and bought a contract-free, unsubsidized phone through AT&T. I prefer to keep my iPhones after the contract on them is up, either for resale, or — now that I’ve got two boys — for watching Mighty Machines on long road trips.
Another thought on the new iPhones: 3D Touch looks fantastic. It was pretty obvious that it’d be coming to the iPhone; after just a few weeks with my Watch I was already naturally trying to Force Press app icons and menu buttons on my iPhone. It may be “for power users” but I also think it’ll be quick to acclimate to, and in a few days we’ll all be grumbling about how our iPads don’t have it.
I’m also excited about the new Apple TV. Like a lot of you, I suspect, my house doesn’t have cable TV — we watch all our shows and movies via Netflix and iTunes (with an attic antenna we use during football season).
What John Gruber had to say about the new Apple TV only makes me that much more amped:
Apple TV is hot. I only got a brief period to play with it, but it seems fast, responsive, beautiful, and intuitive. It feels alive. If I worked at Apple I’d want to be on that team. On first impression, it is everything I wanted to see. It sounds like a small talented team got to build the Apple TV they wanted to see and use themselves. There is a clarity and vision to the entirety of its design. I think it exemplifies the best of Apple. […]
I think Apple TV might be the most disruptive product from Apple since the iPhone. Not the most lucrative, necessarily, but the most disruptive — in the sense of defining how all TVs will work in a few years.
I’ve also noticed something over the past several years: the most interesting, accomplished people I know all have a vision for their lives. They seem to know what comes next, like they’ve seen the future.
On the other hand, people I meet or know who are stuck and have that hopeless look in their eyes, like they’re just passing time in life without joy or aspiration, those people don’t have a vision. In fact, many of them don’t even have long-term goals. This was painfully clear at my recent high school reunion.
I couldn’t agree more.
For Kinfolk, Rachel Eva Lim interviewed Yale researcher, Mei Tan, about creativity and it’s great:
How do you scientifically define creativity?
We define it as a set of skills that allow an individual to produce something that’s both novel [original] and task-appropriate [useful]. It can be argued that originality and usefulness may vary depending on situations and cultures, so therefore a universal measuring stick for creativity would be impossible.
I love that definition. Creativity is a combination of originality and usefulness; something unique and something helpful.
Monday, September 7
Customizable and adaptable to fit your choice of camera gear, the DSLR Pro Pack was designed to meet the mobile needs of the modern photographer.
With a sleek and minimal design, this is not your typical camera bag. The Pro Pack is our largest-capacity camera bag and fits your camera, laptop, phone and accessories. Constructed from a durable 840D nylon, the DSLR Pro Pack features adjustable padded shoulder straps, a mesh back panel and a convenient side pocket to quickly access your phone or point and shoot camera.
Durable, customizable and comfortable, the DSLR Pro is a full-featured camera backpack that gives you the freedom of movement and load stability so you never miss a shot.
shawnblanc.net Reader Promotion: For a limited time, when you purchase the DSLR Pro Pack from Incase.com, get a Portable Power 2500 charger in black for FREE. The compact, lightweight portable charger with integrated USB cable and universal USB port will make sure you are never without power. Use the PROMO CODE: FreePowerTT to get your free portable power. (Code Expires October 6th, 2015)
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My thanks to Incase for sponsoring the site this week.
Tuesday, July 14
Speaking of awesome reviews, over at Tools & Toys today, Álvaro Serrano wrote an incredible review of what is, in my humble opinion, the best lens for the Micro Four-Thirds system: The Panasonic Leica 25/1.4.
I’ve been shooting with this lens for about a year and a half and continue to be amazed by the character and personality it gives to my photos. If you want to know about the technical details or if you just want to see the quality of photos this lens is capable of, look no further than Álvaro’s stellar review.
A few days ago we published the latest app review-slash-pick, and it was for our favorite read-it-later service.
Instapaper is more than just the best app for saving things to read later, it’s an awesome app in and of itself. The typography and reading experience is fantastic. And with the semi-recent additions of being able to highlight passages, make notes, and share textshots, Instapaper continues to be one of my personal favorite apps (though that doesn’t mean I don’t still have a list of unread articles from here to New Jersey).
Monday, July 13
Much of what people love about the Uuni still remains the same:
- It heats up to 840°F (450°C) in less than 10 minutes.
- That intense heat cooks a pizza in under 2 minutes.
- It burns wood for an authentic flavour.
We spent the last 6 months refining it, making it even better.
Here’s what’s new: it’s super fast to assemble, less than ten minutes. It’s now easier to adjust the temperature with its clever hopper system. And we now make it out of beautiful brushed stainless steel. Check it out, and make sure to read some of the reviews our customers have left — we’re very proud of them.
Food. Fire. Uuni.
As a launch week offer, please use the code thesweetsetup for $20/£15 off your Uuni 2.
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My thanks to Uuni for again sponsoring the site this week. As I’ve said before, I ordered an Uuni of my own last year and it’s awesome. Making homemade pizza is a lot of fun, and having your own pizza oven that you can fire up in your backyard is fantastic.
Speaking of zigging and zagging, Kyle Steed wrote an excellent article to accompany an equally amazing mural he illustrated.
We can’t have it all. This is true. At one point or another we must all decide what is more important in life. But I believe there does exist a balance in life whereby we can create amazing things and still create an amazing life at home. […]
I have seen firsthand the examples of how success can intersect with family and there’s no looking back.
Tuesday, July 7
Marius Masalar wrote a review for us over on Tools & Toys of the Fuji X100T. Fantastic review, fantastic photos.
While I’m very happy with my E-M10, my heart goes out to anyone in the market to get an awesome camera. There are just so many amazing cameras out there today, not the least of which is the one that’s in your pocket (unless, that is, you’re holding it right now as you read this).
Monday, July 6
And, speaking of podcasts, I was also privileged to be a guest on the latest episode of Home Work. Dave, Aaron, and I talked about the glories and the terrors of life as a work-from-home dad. I also shared a lot of the behind-the-scenes regarding the what and why of The Focus Course, and answered several questions from show listeners regarding writing routines, building an audience, and investing in your work.
I was just recently a guest on Joe Darnell and Joshua Peiffer’s podcast, TechTonic. It was a great show where we talked about writing, design, using technology, and a whole lot more.
Monday, June 29
Just a friendly reminder that today is the last day to sign up for The Focus Course at the special launch price.
The Focus Course is normally $249. But during the launch week (which ends today), the course is just $199.
And keep in mind, you don’t have to start the course right away, nor do you have to complete it in 40 consecutive days. You get lifetime access to the course and the website, thus you are free to go at any pace that works for you.
There is no rush to complete it (or even start it) until you’re ready. And since the website keeps track of which days you have completed, it is easy to keep track of your progress in case you have to take time off from the course.
Ready to bring your life into focus? Sign up here. You’ll get instant access to everything right away.
Saturday, June 27
First off: I can’t even mention the Focus Course without giving a huge thanks to everyone who has helped spread the word about the course and all those who signed up this week. The response and positive feedback has been far beyond what I expected. You guys are awesome!
Secondly, I wanted to share with you this bonus video and article from the course website. As you probably know, in addition to the 40-day course itself, there are several additional bonus videos and articles, just like this one.
The video and article I’m sharing with you here is the response to one of the most asked questions I’ve been getting over the past year: “I have way more ideas than time, what do I do?”
I hope that this bonus video and article will help you. Also, I share it to give you an example of the quality found on The Focus Course. I put a lot of time and energy into the design, content, and overall quality of the site so that not only would it be helpful and impactful, but also an awesome and enjoyable experience.
Friday, June 12
I’m back from San Francisco and am glad to return to the podcast microphone. (Yes, yes. I hear you. I could have taken my podcast rig with me. But I’m lazy. Also, I went to SF to meet with friends and peers in the industry and drink delicious coffee and so I had very little time for “work” stuff because I’m bad at multitasking.)
On today’s episode of my podcast, The Weekly Briefly, I talk about the highlights from the WWDC Keynote (there are many), Apple Music, and my thoughts on Apple’s new publishing platform slash RSS reader slash news aggregator, Apple News.
Brought to you the New Uuni 2: Food. Fire. Uuni.