HEY World, it's now official! (#hey #heyworld #blogging)

They flipped the switch to ON. HEY World is LIVE! I’m so glad, curious and already excited to use this other channel to share my written content with the world. I’m already thinking about my first post on this new platform. Furthermore, I think this addition brings even more value to an already useful service, on which I depend every single day. Recently, I asked: How many websites can a blogger have? Well, as soon as a newcomer doesn’t add too much friction when publishing content, it’s ok to have many. HEY World seems to be such a service. Count me in.

On Spoonbill (#twitter #mailbrew)

I recently published a long piece about transforming your Twitter experience by using Twitter lists instead of following a bunch of accounts. As noted in the article, one side effect of this approach is that services that look for your Twitter account’s list of people you follow won’t really work. That’s the case for a new service called “Spoonbill”.

Keep updated on your friends’ and family members’ bios, websites, locations, and names.

Spoonbill will send you a summary of changes that occurred on Twitter’s bio of people you follow. I wonder if this service can be tweaked to use Twitter’s lists instead. What about Mailbrew, maybe they could come up with a similar feature, which would be really cool.

In the meantime, I’m not coming back to following two thousands people.

On iCloud Photo Library migration (#keyword)

In a surprising move, Apple starting today allows people to export their iCloud Photo Library to Google Photos. Why not provide a download to a local computer, outside the Photos app. I can see many use cases for doing so: backup purposes or simply to dump photos in a structure of directories for archiving purposes.

Bye Bye Weather Line (#weather #weatherapps #iOS #iosdev)

Breaking news from 9To5Mac, but official announcement here:

In recent months, we were approached by a buyer. They saw the uniqueness of Weather Line and the strong foundation we’ve built. While we aren’t able to provide further details on their future plans for the app, we hope you can understand, and will look forward to it.

I’m kind of in shock right now. I recently posted an article about my “go-to” weather applications. Weather Line wasn’t part of the line up, but I did have it installed on my iPhone, and I’m currently a paying subscriber. Too bad to see the application go. But, why? The same happened to Spend Stack recently.

What’s going on? How many developers invoked paid subscription model as being the only road to sustainability? Does it work or not? Is this the start of a new trend? There is something going on here.

When, as users, invest money and time in using applications or service, the last thing we want is to see our beloved apps go like this. I’m currently heavily investing in Craft (coming from Notion). What if the same happens to Craft?

Dear Google, this time you win (#google #YouTube)

This shouldn’t be this way. Thanks to the numerous ads, my YouTube experience was a calculated nightmare. As my usage grew in the last few weeks because of my daytime job, my time on YouTube felt light a nightmare with no end. I decided to put an end to all this by subscribing to YouTube Premium. I feel in full contradiction to my values.

YouTube Premium so much better. But it shouldn’t be this way. Yet, it is. I feel that I’m sleeping with the enemy. Tell me that it is ok, will you?

The state of non-optimized apps on my M1-Mac mini (#m1chip #applesilicon #universal)

Here is the current state of yet to be updated apps to fully support Apple Silicon Macs. It’s been close to six months now and yet, those apps aren’t yet universal. Surprising to see things like 1Password 7 still not there yet. Notion, an Electron-based app, not surprising. The Mac client for HEY hasn’t been updated for a while. Many of those apps are subscription-based, a model toward development sustainability. Can we say they are failing to meet their obligations, now?

Apple’s impressive traction (#apple #ios14 #ipados14)

Two very telling graphs from Apple’s development portal:

A few takeouts. First, iOS 13 is close to become a bad souvenir. Second, people keeping their iPad longer, it is reflected in the percentage of people still using devices with iPadOS prior to version 13.

Quick Poll on Writing During the Pandemic (#blogger #writer #poll)

Today, I would like to do a quick poll among my blogger / writer friends here on Micro.blog. How did the pandemic influence your writing habits? Do you write more? Less? What could be the reasons behind the change of habit?

To help you out and start the thread, I’ll answer to my own poll. The pandemic brought me closer to be what we call “a writer”. I write a lot more. I do put more efforts into each piece. I use more tools to help me. My research goes deeper. I have many pieces in the works, all the time. I spend around 5-10 hours for writing each week.

Now, why do I write more? Because there is less noise in my life in general, thanks to the restrictions (no travels, curfew, work from home: no commute). This “silence” created a pool of free time. My creativity took over. So, I write. And I love it.

Tell me your story? Let’s discuss.

I Tested HEY World! (#hey #heyworld)

Today, I tested HEY World. This is my non-review. It could have worked great, but it’s not ready yet. One could say “Nice try, buddy”.

I love their response to my test message. One thing stands out from their response, though:

“For now, HEY World is just an experiment. …

“Assuming there’s demand, we’ll begin opening it up for more people soon. And then, hopefully, for all HEY for You customers. Personal blogs will finally be as easy as sending an email.”

It seems to me that they are on the fence. They already have their tag line. They keep the door wide open. Could it be closer than we think or want to say it?

Now, what I’d like to see is how many emails like mine they get each day and what are they saying?

If they actually turn the switch on, count me in. I’ll find a use of it. For sure.

Ghost’s Killer Feature (#ghost #blogging)

After reading “Ghost on the iPad, a Review” from Tablet Habit, I tried to remember my experience when I tried the service myself. It wasn’t a good one for the thing I wanted to do with it: create a photography-oriented blog.

In recent days, it seems that the “Ghost” name is gaining traction in the blogging arena. I have to wonder if Ghost is better at this than what I experienced for photography. I don’t think I’ll try it again, but I think they do have one killer feature that other platforms don’t have: the combination of a blogging platform and a newsletter publishing tool. They really look to be well integrated.

One could argue that the difference between blogging or sending a newsletter is small (Think of HEY, World). I could easily agree. But sometimes, the actual implementation of the integration between those two features can make a real difference.

I’m currently using Substack for my monthly newsletter (Numeric Citizen Introspection Newsletter) and WordPress as well as Micro.blog more my blogging needs. Sometimes, I do wish there would be less friction when I’m publishing my work. A single platform doing all of this in a basic manner would be certainly very enticing.

How many websites can a blogger have? (#blogger #blogging #bloggerlife)

How many websites a blogger can have? Good question. I do have (too?) many, each filling their own niche. On that subject, something caught my attention yesterday in the public announcement of HEY’s experiment: “Hello, World!”. Jason Fried explaining why he never had a blog:

“It was primarily because setting up a personal blog was just too much of a hassle. It felt formal, it required yet another tool, yet another place to write, yet another platform to pay for just one feature. I had to pick a template, I had to think up a name, I had to make the relationship official.”

Sure, setting up a blog can be a hassle. For me, it is some kind of challenge and an exercise in creativity. This brings me to something I want to share with you. I’ve been working on something new in the last few days. I’m very excited about it. I started a “metablog”. Yes, another place to publish content. What is it? Well, it is a blog about blogging.

Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about the word “meta”:

Any subject can be said to have a metatheory, a theoretical consideration of its properties, such as its foundations, methods, form and utility, on a higher level of abstraction. In linguistics, a grammar is considered as being expressed in a metalanguage, language operating on a higher level to describe properties of the plain language (and not itself).

Why do I feel the need to create yet another numeric space? Well, I believe in focused channels in general. I wanted a dedicated space for writing about being a blogger, using tools and services to put things together and out to the world. In other words, it is more about the “how” than anything else. I believe people like to get a look behind the curtain. I certainly do. So, I created this space where I’ll post my updates to my blogger workflow, in more detail.

So, there you have it: Numeric Citizen I/O. You’ll be able to comment on each individual post (I’m using Commento, a privacy-friendly commenting service.). I dearly encourage you to engage in discussion, ask questions or leave your comments. Thanks for visiting!

Happy birthday, Steve. (#apple #stevejobs #remembering)

Steve would have been 66 years old today. Even if I love what Apple has become over the years since he died, I miss him dearly. What a great picture of him. It is nice to see Apple and Tim Cook paying a small tribute each year.

Hey, World (#hey #newsletters)

Each day, it seems there is always something new happening in the world of newsletters. When it’s not someone famous who joins Substack, a company out of nowhere offers a brilliant idea built around supporting newsletters in one way or the other. I’m thinking of Hey in particular.

“Email is the internet’s oldest instant self-publishing platform. Except you have to define a small audience every time you write. But what if you didn’t? What if you could just email the web to reach the world? Introducing the HEY World experiment” - Jason Fried from HEY

Yesterday, the company behind the popular HEY email client tentatively announced a new service for their customers. The idea behind is to allow any HEY users to create newsletters and publish them just by sending them to world@hey.com. The service would then post these newsletters on the web, complete with the author’s name. A simple static page, no tracking, no nothing more. I call this: simply brilliant.

The service is not currently available, only in some form of alpha-stage for internal use only. They announced it to read the room and see if there is some interest in something like this that could become some soft of hyper-distributed publishing platform.

I’m personally interested in this kind of service simply because it removes friction in the publishing process. What could be simpler than just writing the newsletter like we do with emails and then hit “send”!? Simply brilliant. For the reader, they can subscribe by email or by using the available RSS feed.

You can read the announcement here. I like the simplicity of this implementation. Very clean. Very lean. I’m in love. Too bad this isn’t available — yet.

What’s next for the iPad Pro? (#apple #ipadpro)

9to5Mac published a nice comparison between the iPad Air and the 2020 iPad Pro. The latter still hold the crown with its 120Hz ProMotion display and LiDAR. Rumours are pointing to an update for the Pro line in March. The question that comes to my mind is: what’s missing from the iPad Pro, from the hardware point of view? I mean, speed, screen, form factor are just close to “perfect”. The main challenge for the iPad line is on the software side. To me, iPadOS 15 and Apple willingness to cross boundaries can’t come soon enough. Better multitasking and external screen support would really help fix long standing issues with the iPad.

HEY, Hey just got updated (#hey)

My go-to email client got an update today. Hey version 1.2 brings a few tweaks in the compose mode. In recent weeks, updates are more frequent as they finally delivered support for corporate email. Now, the other thing I’d like to see is a collapsible view in the feed view. I don’t see how pinch-to-zoom can be added without implementing the opposite to bring a collapsed view.

Crafting something with Craft (#craft #rumours #apple)

In my quest to better understand the full potential of note taking application « Craft », I’ve come up to something different, a website about Apple’s related rumours. You can hit this link to have a look. You can leave comments, no registration required. Enjoy.

Are we digital nomads? (#blogging #internet)

In the last few months, on Twitter and on Micro.blog, I’ve been witnessing something that takes the shape of a small phenomenon: people are moving from one place to another in the digital space. Many are writing about their experience of moving from one hosting site to another. Some are leaving WordPress to return to Ghost. Others are proudly putting together their hosting solutions. The same happens in the newsletters hosting space: people are leaving Mailchimp to go to Substack or Revue. People are looking to get better return on their investment both in time and money. Others are simply trying to optimize their blogging workflow. There is a myriad of reasons why people decide to leave a place for another one.

I find these numeric movements quite fascinating. Are you one of those guys?

Learning Blot.im the hard way (#blot #selfhosting)

So I started another experiment involving Blot.im. For those who don’t know Blot.im, it is a static web site generator that seems popular among the crowd here. On paper, the process of publishing is very simple: you drag and drop files on a specific folder on your computer and they get instantly published on the web. Sound great, right? That’s what I thought.

My goal with Blot.im is to do some “meta blogging”; a place where I could write about the tools, services and my blogger workflow. So I registered a new domain with GoDaddy: numericcitizen.io. Then, I opened my Blot.im account and stated experimenting. The initial setup is pretty simple. And then challenges pretty quickly started to emerge.

First, I wanted my new domain to point my Blot.im domain. Tried to follow the Blot.im instructions to make it work but all attempts failed. GoDaddy doesn’t support ALIAS DNS records as Blot.im ask me to create. I asked for help from Blot.im support. Still a work in progress.

Second, I chose to use Git as the “client” to push content on the service because I don’t want to use Dropbox, a service I despise. By using Git, I need a Git client on my Mac. I’m tentatively settled on Nova. So far so good. After cloning the Git repo from Blot.im to my local machine, I can then use Ulysses to write my posts and push them with Nova. The workflow is very geeky: create .MD file in Ulysses, “commit” within Nova then hit “push” to publish. Not as seamless as I would like. But here another issue: inserting images with a Markdown file is not as easy as it seems. Again, trying to figure out instructions on Blot.im site doesn’t work. The other thing is that if you drop an image within a folder, it will trigger Blot.im to create its own blog post, something that I don’t want. Not cool. Again, I’m asking support to help me here with this supposedly trivial task.

Third, I would like to use Github as the source of truth. Setting up a new repo is simple and cloning it to my local machine too. But, now, how do I make Blot.im to use the Github repo as the source of content? Again, trying to figure out Blot.im instructions but failing to make it work. Still trying to figure that out.

Fourth, tweaking the visual appearance is not as easy as I would have liked. There is a theme editor and I still need to be pretty knowledgeable in HTML and CSS. I did fork one of the theme to make it mine and started to do some tweak but it is a painful trial-and-error process.

All in all, I’m far from positive about Blot.im right now. I spent way too much time on these issues. I’m not sure where this is all going. If you are using Blot.im, please, do me a favour and chime in!

Testing, testing, 1.2.3. (#webmention #indieweb #openweb)

I’m still new to the Indieweb world. Today, I’m learning about webmentions. I like the idea of linking reactions back to the origin. So, after enabling a plugin on my main blog, I’m trying to link back to one of my recent post and see what happens. One day, I wrote “The Journey is the Reward”. I don’t post personal things very often. Thanks for your feedback.

Love and hate (#microblog)

I’m in love with Micro.blog. It’s simple, not too busy. Based on open web standards. But today, I’m a bit frustrated with the bad sad of being too simple. My most important grievance is the lack of design flexibility. Built-in themes are too basics and unappealing. You have to be a HTML and CSS expert to try to figure out how to make simple tweaks. This frustration is behind my recent desire to look elsewhere for hosting the whole thing. I’m willing to invest quite a bit of my time to gin control of the appearance of my online presence. I’m patient. The guys behind Micro.blog are working on the next features and I hope they will address some of my complaints.

Looking behind the scene. (#blogging #Hugo #html #git #github)

It all started with the idea of tweaking my micro.blog visual theme. I don’t like it, but this is the best that I could find from the included themes. After reading for a while and seeing people writing about their blogger workflow, I found out that Micro.blog is using Hugo, a static website generator. Then I started to learn about Hugo by searching for introduction videos on YouTube. Then, I learned about Hugo themes and how they are constructed, and at the center of how a website is displayed. Since static websites need a place to be stored, GIT and Github came into the picture. So, I started to read about GIT and Github. Git and Hugo both can be installed on my Mac mini to locally create content and generate a microblog from that. It a great experimentation place to learn and dig a bit deeper. Github is also a place to find new Hugo-based visual themes. Then I learned that I can import one of those themes on my machine so can change the visual appearance of my local Hugo microblog. Then, came the idea of publishing this content on the web, on Github, for free. To close the loop, services are available to take Github content and generate a static website, again using Hugo, behind a domain name of my choice. Then came the question: why do I need Microblog then? I could own the whole widget! It’s not that simple.

All this because I’m not satisfied with my current Micro.blog visual appearance. The next step is to dig within Micro.blog custom templates and see how I can update them. I’ll have to refresh my memory about HTML and learn a bit of CSS. The latter seems a bit an arid subject. Oh well.

Dear Micro.blog, where do you plan to go next? (#microblogging #microblog)

Thought of the day for @manton and @jean: there is something that could be improved regarding micro.blog: opening up the evolution and improvement roadmap of the platform. I do appreciate when a service do put out their roadmaps so the community get a better look at where things will be going in the future. Mailbrew, Plausible and Craft are very vocal about their future plans, you just have to find the place where they talk about it.

So, where is Micro.blog heading? In particular, how do you plan to expand on themes support and customizability? Why the web editor doesn’t allow support for Grammarly? Do you plan an opt-in option to see how many followers a user have? Those are just a few questions that I have regarding Micro.blog future plans. Thanks in advance.

Welcome back to the Mac computer club @mattbirchler (#apple #macbookair #applesilicon)

As much as you can like to work on the iPad, there are edge cases where the iPad falls short. Since I got an Apple Silicon powered Mac, and thanks to many nifty Mac utilities, I rediscovered what it really means to be productive and efficient on a computer platform. This blog post by Matt Birchler is an example of an edge case being better served by a traditional yet powerful computer.

On the subject of small and focused Mac productivity utilities, The list of application purchases I made since moving to this Mac mini is pretty long. Here it goes, in no particular order.

  • HazeOver
  • Unclutter
  • Keysmith
  • Bartender 4
  • DefaultFolder
  • Hush
  • StopTheMaddness
  • Alfred
  • Hazel
  • CheatSheet
  • PopClip
  • Downie
  • Permute
  • SafariMarkdownLinker

There is something those utilities have in common: in one way or another, they augment the macOS experience. Such things are not quite possible, yet, on the iPad.

This could be my next... (#iphone #apple #rumors)

As reported by MacRumors, the next major revision of the iPhone looks promising for me:

“Weinbach claims that the always-on display will look like a “toned down Lock screen,” where the clock and battery charge are always visible, and past notifications are shown through “a bar and icons.” When users receive a notification, the notification will “pop up normally except that the screen will not entirely light up.” Instead, “it will display it just like you’re used to right now, except dimmed down and only temporarily,” according to the leaker.”

An always-on display is on top of my wish list. How would Apple take advantage of this, at iOS level, is more interesting. Then comes the return of the Touch-ID. I would love to see go in the power button. A smaller notch? What notch?

As shown above, 9to5Mac ran a poll where more than 7000 people chose what feature are the most interesting to them. The return of Touch ID was #1 request at the time of casting my vote. Does COVID-19 have something to do with it?

Last year I skipped iPhone 12. This year, with iPhone 13, things could be different.

Two simple yet really useful tricks using HomePod mini (#apple #homepodmini #ios144)

Here are two simple but very useful tricks using an iPhone with a U1 chip, iOS 14.4 and an HomePod mini.

Trick #1: set a timer with Siri on your HomePod mini to, let’s say, 10 minutes. Then, bring your iPhone close to the HomePod mini, the iPhone will show how much time is left on the timer (make sure the iPhone screen is on).

Trick #2: let’s say music is playing on your HomePod mini, and that you want to, silently, see what’s playing. Again, bring your iPhone close to the HomePod mini, the iPhone will show the currently playing title.

What a great example of: the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. This is Apple at it’s best.