Moving back to Reeder for my RSS feeds

After moving back to my iOS 12 iPad Mini I needed to make a choice with one of my favourite apps. I’ve been using NetNewsWire for reading my RSS and loving it but it doesn’t work on iOS 12. I needed to switch back to Reeder 4. Once I started using I remembered two areas it beats NetNewsWire for me.

  • Navigation: when reading all of your feeds you can simply swipe up and down to move between stories
  • You can turn off the unread article counts

These two features are keeping me using Reeder on my iPhone now both devices are back in sync on the same app.

Using an iPad Mini 2 as my daily device

I’ve been using my iPad Mini 2 (from 2013) again as my daily iPad and wanted to share some more experiences of using it. In terms of what I’m doing I’m still finding lag but it’s not really bothering me too much now.

For me an iPad replaces a Mac so I’m using it for photos, messages, reading books, watching video, music and browsing. It’s handling all of those ok even on iOS 12 in day to day use. I’m using the on screen keyboard to write posts and any input. I’m using my wired headphone or streaming to the HomePod for music.

I’m missing iOS functionality that you get with iOS 13 like dark mode and mouse support. I also can’t use some of the Apple apps including Reminders so I’m back on a third party to do app again. I also miss the Apple Pencil so moved back to good old pen and paper, oh and TouchID.

My iPhone does a lot for me but my eyes are feeling strained not having a larger iPad so moving up even if only a little is helping me ergonomically. I can switch positions ok and that helps to keep me in check.

So for a 7 year old piece of hardware it’s still pretty amazing to me I can still get away with using it as my main device.

Apple allowing feedback within apps

Along with dark mode in the latest Apple Support app update we get a new addition I hope is a thing to come to all of Apple apps. It’s something that Google does really in their apps, give the chance in app to offer feedback.

Can the MacBook replace my iPad?

I’ve been using the MacBook as a replacement for my iPad now for two weeks and wanted to share my updated view on how it’s gone in that time, adjusting back to a laptop and macOS.

As far as the hardware goes I’ve been impressed with the 12” MacBook, even the keyboard has grown on me (no sticky keys yet). I’ve not babied it and used it inside and out in the garden and I’ve pushed the 8GB Ram and to be fair it’s held up well.  The only area that frustrates me is using Photos, it runs like a snail compared to how it runs on iOS, maybe I should have gone with 16GB Ram but for 80% of what I’m doing (including podcast editing) this base spec machine has been fine and worked well. I’ve appreciated the USB-C and now when I’m at the desk I go into a Dell hub connecting my MacBook to a keyboard, mouse and 34” monitor. All works really well and has been great to use when podcasting in particular where I can have a lot of windows open at the same time, something I can’t do on iOS.

Where I’m starting to struggle a little is with some RSI and shoulder strain from using a laptop for my day job and now in my spare time. I didn’t realise how much the iPad had helped my RSI over time. I can use it in many different ways and am able to change my position to make using it more comfortable and this is why the MacBook falls down for me as an iPad replacement. I don’t have any particular issues with macOS and in some of the ways I work (especially file management) the Mac beats the iPad but I’m just not using it as much and therefore creating, something my Apple devices have always enabled me to do.

I miss the flexibility of the hardware, the pencil and the apps on iOS, using the Mac feels like work to me and I’m just not wanting to sit down and use it to do something creative – it just isn’t as much fun as using my iPad.

I’m going to have to count my pennies and I think I’ve finally decided on my setup. An 11” 2020 iPad Pro (1TB), Apple Pencil 2 and the new magic keyboard. My reasoning for not going 12.9” is I had a 1st gen pro and ultimately sold it on as I use it in tablet mode most of the time and found it to be uncomfortable for me on the sofa etc… I also have this bigger setup that I can dock it with and use a bigger screen as and when I want to. As I said I still have to count my pennies so don’t be surprised if I end up with a 2018 12.9” if I end up being able to get a good deal used but my intention is to go 11.

It’s been a good experiment to go back to macOS but I’m ready to go back home to iOS.

Using automatic light mode on iOS

I’d always wanted dark mode in iOS but since using my Mac more I found it quite oppressive to have on all of the time so I switched it to automatic based on time of day.

On going back to my iPhone I suddenly felt the same and it’s been so long since I used it in light mode I did the same switch.

I’m actually enjoying the two different contrasts. Being in light mode most of the day and dark mode at night now seems to have become my go to setup. It’s strange that for years I wanted it all to go dark but now I’ve made this switch I appreciate being able to make that choice whenever I want.

What do you use?

Home Screens Episode 2

A few weeks to get done but I’m back with Episode 2 that I have just uploaded to Anchor so should be aggregated to your podcast app of choice soon.

This week I have a guest in Daryl Baxter who I got to know via Twitter and our mutual love for the iPad.

Here’s the screenshot that we will be going through.

Thanks again to everyone for the positive feedback and if you have any guest or show suggestions (or you’d like to come on please let me know).

Setting up OmniFocus

I won’t go into my iCloud issues but needless to say I’ve switched back to my trusty OmniFocus. On setting up from scratch I’ve changed the way that I use the app and perspectives this time around.

As you can see above I’m using 5 main views

  • Inbox
  • Home
  • Money
  • Family
  • Wellbeing

Most items in my system sit in the Inbox as you can see from the item count but I use tags. Whereas before I’d have a load of projects this time I’ve used tags to categorise.

I then have a perspective showing me everything that has a particular tag. So the wellbeing tag simply shows me everything with a tag of wellbeing.

For my forecast view I’ve implemented a tag called ‘Today’ that I can add to any items I’d like to get done today but don’t want to add a deadline.

You can do this by tapping on the little eye icon.

This seems to hang together for me and in the last few days I’ve enjoyed coming back to OmniFocus. This seems to work with my brain and I’m not wondering if my iCloud data is going to be there or not as the OmniFocus sync is rock solid and never let me down.

Are you using OmniFocus? What’s your setup?

A change of home screen

Having talked about my setup on Home Screens I’ve changed things up a little.

This is for a few reasons

    I’m wearing my G-Shock again to track my steps and make sure I’m keeping active
    Reminders lost some data and started showing badges when I had nothing due so I’m back on OmniFocus
    PresentMind is a new Mindfulness app that my work place helped point me towards

Any new apps you’re checking out?

Working from an iPhone

Don’t worry I’m not going to do many more “I don’t currently have an iPad” posts but I wanted to share an experiment I’ve been doing. I do have an iPad Mini 2 but I’ve lost my patience with 1 minute app load times and it’s going to be traded in with Apple (£50 isn’t bad for a 7 year old device).

I cleared down the iPad for trade and decided to work completely off my iPhone. In terms of performance and apps it’s perfect, I’m on an 11 Pro and everything runs just great.

I’m using apps for writing, banking, photography, music and even the odd bit of recording.

The only downside of this workflow is screen size. I haven’t gone as far as plugging in a keyboard but could use a Bluetooth if I wanted to.

I love iOS and for me the only stopper is that bigger screen but I’ll be ok for now. I can still update the blog and do my creative projects from the iPhone.

Finally seeing the benefit of USB-C (and thoughts on my setup)

I’ve had the MacBook for a few years but not really seen the benefit of USB-C until now, it’s a strange thing to write but it’s finally clicked for me. My day job is home based and for a while I’ve had a DELL hub that I haven’t really tried for long periods, I simply plugged my work issued DELL laptop into my DELL 34” widescreen monitor. On thinking about my setup now I have the MacBook I decided to give it another go.

I took the DELL hub and plugged in my screen, a mouse, keyboard and power into it. Coming out was a single USB-C cable, ok here we go. I took this single input cable and plugged it into the work laptop, it all worked – stage 1. I then took my single port MacBook and woohoo it worked too all in the best resolution on my large screen. This single cable connects all my inputs, powers and has USB ports to spare for plugging in drives etc… 

I’m really happy that this one hub has enabled me to use one setup on my desk.

What I’m wondering now is if I get myself a Magic Trackpad 2 and the 11” iPad Pro with USB-C how great this setup could be to cover everything. I have no experience of using an external display with the iPad but given I’m in the market and general prefer the smaller form factor (coming from a 10.5” iPad Pro) I’m thinking I might skip the new magic keyboard completely and just put the money into the trackpad 2 and the iPad itself. This way I have portability of using the iPad in tablet mode when I want, if I want a bigger display I can just dock it into this hub and go for it. The enhanced mouse support with my trackpad should make it a great setup. Now I’m using my MacBook then I also have the option of taking it from the desk and using it with trackpad etc… The thing I haven’t enjoyed about using my MacBook is the fact that I can’t use it comfortably on the sofa and of course I miss using the pencil. I can get the trackpad and pencil for the less than the cost of the new Smart Keyboard cover so I’m very tempted to go this way.

Anyone used the iPad with a large external display by any chance?

(Having a spare USB-C power cable is also handy for plugging into the Nintendo Switch I have on the desk!).