Notability setup

apps, Tech

My problems with iOS 13 iCloud sync is well known now if you’re reading my blog but I haven’t really shared what I’m doing about it. I’ve used a few different third party Notes apps in my time with an iPhone but the one I’ve landed on is Notability.

I’m using it for everything.

This is a work in progress but at the moment I’m using dividers and subjects to spit out my content. You can see my dividers above.

You can then see above how I split the divider up into subjects based on context. So for example I have a watches subject that contains all of my notes about watches like a wish list and interesting articles I’ve saved.

For now I’m using the app to store everything I would in Notes such as important documents I need to reference, handwritten notes using Pencil and just those day to day ones I like to make.

I’ve got it using iCloud sync and it’s working flawlessly.

What third party notes app do you use?

Why I stopped using Dark Sky

apps, Tech

I used to love this app but over the last year I’ve stopped using it.

Here’s my main reason why. I don’t live in New York… when I load the app it gets my location but since iOS 12 the widget has been broken for me. This is my main use of the app and I can no longer trust it.

I’ve no idea why the widget is broken, I’ve seen this across multiple devices so isn’t my iOS being broken.

Anyone else?

Why Apple News+ didn’t make it past the free trial

apps, Tech

Apple News+ launched here in the UK this month and I didn’t keep it past the free trial, here’s why.

Supporting magazines is something I did 10 years ago by having annual subscriptions to several UK based ones. Since moving to reading on smaller blogs and finding new voices that I trusted I stopped reading them. It wasn’t so much the money saved but the fact I get up to date information and more details about the various niches I’m into.

Using Apple News+ was a nice change going back to the magazine format but two things were a problem. The first was reading a magazine wasn’t the best experience. I’m not sure if this is Apple or the publisher but I found navigating to be cumbersome. I also missed interactive experiences. For a guitar magazine they often have tablature you can follow along with but none of this has been enabled in this electronic format so they are useless.

Secondly I felt like I was being marketed at constantly, I have no interest in lifestyle or gossip magazines but I found it annoying to see these being peddled to me every time I went in to read my guitar magazines. This also cluttered up my Apple News app showing me articles from the magazines in my news feed!

So between seeing content I have no interest in and a format that publishers don’t appear to be embracing I’ll keep my £9.99 a month.

Why I’ve switched to TickTick

apps, Productivity, Tech

I’m using a new to do app (again!) and this time it’s TickTick, an app I’ve seen in numerous screenshots but never really given a go.

It’s a free app that offers a subscription that gives additional features such as notifications and calendar functionality.

I’m not writing a full review but I wanted to highlight some of the things I really like about using it.

Habit tracking

It’s not normal for a to do app to offer habit tracking but having it integrated into my to do and calendar makes a lot of sense. I don’t track a lot, just a few things like getting out for a walk.

The way to add them is intuitive and you simply tick them off as you get through them. If you don’t achieve it that day you simply leave the habit undone that day.

Customisable tab bar

I like that you can customise some of the way your app looks. I have quick access to the to do, calendar, habits and search.

Widget

The app offers two widgets, I use them both. You get a calendar view that you can tap on to see the whole week, something that I used to use a separate app for. The second is a traditional list of what you have due today.

Projects and sub tasks

The app is clean and various smart views such as tomorrow are easy to get to. Projects are easy to create and can be organised into folders. Tasks can be further broken down into sub tasks. This is something that I’ve started to use a lot more for when a task is a few steps and it’s overkill to create a project for it.

Options for repeating tasks

Having lots of options for repeating tasks is a big win for me, I like how I can separate weekday tasks vs ones I want to do every day.

The watch app

It’s one of the more reliable when it comes to sync and it’s complication and UI are simple to use.

Privacy

TickTick are using AWS as their backend and restrict access to a small number of staff so I’m comfortable with using it to store my tasks.

Initial thoughts

I’m only a few days in so I’m paying my subscription monthly if I move to Reminders in iOS 13, something that I’ve tried to use but iCloud is so unreliable at the moment I gave up. Based on my usage of both the new Reminders and TickTick though I may not be tempted as this app is fitting well with how I’m working these days. Let’s see how the coming weeks go 😀