August 11, 2017

Culling Apps Because of the iPad

The more I use my iPad for work” the more I like it. This is unexpected, and the trend does not seem to be slowing. In other words, maybe it’s not just novelty.

This means that in order to work easily in both desktop and mobile environments, I must rely on apps that work well in both. Taking that further, it means that I want to use the same app everywhere. My love for plain text files remains. It’s great being able to edit my files using any number of Dropbox-compatible apps, but using one app to edit Markdown on the Mac and a different one on iOS is beginning to feel like overhead I don’t need.

The drawback here, and it’s a big one, is that I may need to abandon some of my favorite things. At least the ones I live in, now that I live in different places. A few examples:

Tinderbox. God, I love Tinderbox, but there’s really no easy way to take advantage of it on iOS.

Curio. Curio is a wonder. There’s nothing like laying text, images, files, notes and what-have-you out on Curio’s big, beautiful canvas. But, no iPad version. I could export things as PDF or images so I can access them on the iPad, but that’s not what I’m looking for. I want to continue to work on the iPad, not just look stuff up.

Emacs/Org Mode. Ah, Org Mode. Org Mode does everything one would ever need. Tasks, project management, writing, publishing, outlining, and so on. But, with no good way to use Org Mode on iOS, it’s a non-starter. Plain-text as it is, it’s useless outside of Emacs.

So where does this leave me, app-wise? I have a lot to learn, but for the things I do most, here is what I’m using:

Ulysses for any writing. I can blog with it, take notes, write and publish documentation, you name it. It’s really good at what it does. I still need to get over the but it’s in a proprietary database!” problem and run with it.

Day One. All journaling and life logging” is going in Day One. I’ll miss my Tinderbox Daybook and Org Journal but Day One is great, seamlessly cross-platform, and meant for exactly these things.

Things The new version of Things works great. When not in my text-only mood and using Taskwarrior or Org Mode, I’ve always used OmniFocus, but I’m giving Things a try. So far it feels nice and strikes a good balance between complexity and ease of use.

There are a number of things still up in the air. Photo management is the big one. I’ve repeatedly tried using Photos and it’s never stuck. I’m addicted to a well-organized system of date-based folders for my images and it’s going to be tough getting over that. On the other hand, the seamless sharing and editing of photos using iCloud Photos is pretty compelling. I’m about to try an all-in experiment to see how it goes. The updates in High Sierra look good, too.

I’m just now digging into Workflow, which opens up a bunch of possibilities. I’m coming around to the possibility of not only making the iPad a part of my process, but making it my primary device, which is a complete reversal from my feelings about it less than a year ago.

Lots of new tricks for this old dog to learn.


apps workflow



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