Welcome to Issue 003
Hello again – hope things have been going well.
Here’s Issue 001 and 002 if you want to check back.
Lots more writing today, since I've been doing more reflecting and fixing broken pipes than creating the last week.
Anyway, here's some of my Shortcuts widget.
Supercomputer – get it in audio or video form
This week I wrote a piece about how you can jump from a currently-playing episode of Supercomputer from Overcast into our YouTube video version of the podcast.
Here’s the full article link to read more, but here’s the shortcut if you just want to tune in.
I also shared this shortcut for opening the Supercomputer channel links, so if you ever want to poke around our YouTube you can quickly do so – I’ll use it at least.
We just launched our Patreon for Supercomputer this week, with $2, $5, and $10 tiers. We’ll be reviewing your homescreens and offering shortcuts, and sharing the links before the episodes go live each week, and adding everyone to a List on Twitter if they so choose.
For the $5 tier, we’ll also be doing live streams with some behind-the-scenes of the show, having fun, and you’ll also be giving us more money.
We also added a $10 tier called “Rich person” if you feel so inclined to generously give us ten of your hard-earned dollars each month. We’ll make a quick dorky video thanking you too.
There’s no pressure to subscribe, because the point isn’t to require people to pay for what we’re creating alongside the show. It’s bonus material, plus you can support both Alex and I.
We might add some more to the Patreon, but for now it’s a way to test the waters and see what people want. We’re always seeking feedback on the show, especially as we head into what we’re calling Season 2, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
One thing I’m hoping to get developed – an AR headset with a Supercomputer-style theme.
I'm breaking up with Airtable
At this point, I’ve given up on Airtable. I’m on iOS too often to lose the greater functionality the service provides, and with individual cells crashing the app constantly on the latest beta, I can’t continue to invest in a system that’s holding me back instead of helping me forward.
I’ve moved a lot of my data into Trello boards or Evernote notes, working on completing the datasets into actual useful information instead of trying to build a database and never getting to the final product part. My brain has been trying to optimize for some future scenario where I need the data interlinked, but currently I’m not even able to take advantage of it in the most basic ways, so I’ve moved on.
Plus, I could still repurpose my old Airtable API shortcuts and pump the data straight into Trello, so it was still relatively painless. I’ll also be looking forward to building shortcuts for Trello and Evernote easier than constantly tapping into that same API, which does end up taking a decent amount of time to set up.
I still have some homescreens for people that I haven’t built yet, so those got moved out and into their own board in one fell swoop.
Pinboard on iPad
I’m also working more on keeping the right types of data in the right place. Too long I’ve clogged up Instapaper with links that aren’t articles and can’t be read in the app, so I’ve set up a shortcut to send them off the Pinboard for opening later.
My favorite Pinboard client app right now is Simplepin, because it seems to be the only one that fully adopts iPad, including opening links into Safari when in Split View. That way I can quickly open the linked pages in the full browser, but also keep a record of the URLs for later as needed.
I should optimize that shortcut to add Pinboard tags, but there’s such a huge list that I’ve used and I don’t believe it can append new tags, so for now I’ll tag things up in Pinboard later and just move the links.
Evernote's comeback is resilient
I’ve been building more Evernote shortcuts while also planning out my use of the upcoming Notes actions.
My initial reaction to discovering the extensive Notes actions in the latest Shortcuts developer beta was “Sorry Evernote”, but then I realized I still do value their tagging system greatly.
I have a few Evernote shortcuts: Create Note, Share Note, Add List to Evernote, and Dictate to Evernote.
Create Note works best as an action extension or from the widget, taking the shared input or the clipboard and, if it’s a URL, extracting the info, otherwise just creating a new note. It’s basically my own mini Evernote clipper, although it’s mostly just grabbing an extract – if I want a full page, I’m using Create PDF in the share sheet instead and then saving that using this same shortcut.
Share Note is a single action shortcut that includes Evernote’s new Siri Shortcut for “Share the current note”, which copies the link of the current note to the clipboard. I have a custom phrase set up for it so I can quickly share what I’m working on (I find Evernote’s people icon and language for creating a new link obtuse), and this is in the widget too in case I don’t want to say it out loud.
Add List to Evernote takes any incoming text, splits the first line out into the title, and the rest as the body of the note. I made this because I usually type out a list of things in other apps and want to input them into Evernote, but doing the navigating and copy/pasting is too repetitive – this automates my checklist process. I keep this in the widget and share sheet too.
Dictate to Evernote is also in the widget, since that’s a unique space where Shortcuts can accept text without typing it in. From anywhere on iOS, I can swipe over to the widgets, say something real quick, and it’ll go into my Evernote account, along with a tag for Dictations so I can find it and edit as necessary later.
Where are the YouTube videos?
I’ve been very quiet on the YouTube front the last two weeks, but that’s because I’m nailing down some workflows that’ve held me up in the past week.
My internet upload speeds are brutally slow and that basically means I need to upload videos by the early evening the night before, which in turn led me to create entire workback schedules for each video and article I’m working on to keep my Things projects all in line.
But the Notes actions coming to Shortcuts gave me a much-needed dose of inspiration too, plus there are some rumblings of a potential—ahem—collab coming up in the future.
In the meantime, I’m planning a Disneyland trip and hoo boy am I excited.
I don’t have too many links this week because I didn’t find as many that weren’t just topics of the week, but here’s a few things I saved.
Links of the week
- Apex Legends launched and gained 25 million new players in one week. Created by Respawn, the development studio behind the awesome wall-running Titanfall games, it’s another battle royale-style game with elements that remind me of Overwatch as well. My prediction is that we’ll see this on stage at WWDC this summer, and hot dang if this runs on my iPad Pro, I’ll be a believer in “real” gaming on iOS before their excessively-long demo is done. In the meantime, add me on Xbox Live as BUDDDAAAAHH.
- You might know this, but you might not – you can rearrange the apps in the Share sheet for iOS by dragging them. You might’ve used the list and drag handles, but tap & drag makes it a bit easier. I suggest moving Shortcuts in the bottom row all the way to the left.
- Houseparty is a super fun and casual way to video chat with friends. I’ve been jumping into a room randomly and have hung out with 4 people of normally interact with separately or only online – instead I spent hours talking to them directly, without the awkwardness of somehow scheduling a call. It’s been around for a while and never got super “popular”, but I also don’t care?
- I love the way the latest update to Obscura shows Temperature and Tint with the visual colors that make up the range. Most people don’t know how to adjust these on post-production (it took me a very long time to get it) so hopefully seeing these results along with the color the value is representing might help people grasp the differences shot to shot. I got to hang out with Ben and Adam who make the app during last year’s WWDC a lot, and they’re super nice guys – looking forward to meeting up with them again this summer.
Things I created:
- Supercomputer episode 20 went out. The show comes out every Monday on our website, RSS feed, and YouTube. I suggest using Overcast to subscribe as your podcast client to take advantage of our shortcut.
- I was a guest on an interview show And You Are? and have a good chat with the host Greg Morris. We mostly talked about how I got into the space and what I’m dealing with now that I’m here.
I’m working on a series of articles related to Ulysses automation for The Sweet Setup, which is aligned with the upcoming course they’re producing too.
Ulysses seems to be respecting image file names in the newest beta, so I may be able to use it for my iMore writing again (which requires specific file names).
Do any of you use Ulysses? Why, or why not? If not, what do you use instead?
Have a good week everyone.