Monthly Archives: August 2018

Affinity Publisher Beta!

Publisher-BetaThe talented folks over at Serif released the Affinity Publisher beta today! They’ve been teasing it for a year or more so there are a lot of very excited design nerds today and I’m one of them. The current release is for Mac and Window but they’ve already begun work on an iPad version!

I currently use Pages on iPad for most of my layout work. If someone specifies InDesign then I’ll use that on the Mac. I’ve already installed Publisher and have a test file going. Currently it’s unable to open or export InDesign files but that may be coming in the future.

There will come a time when I stop offering InDesign files as an option. I’m not sure when that will be but the sooner the better. As much as I like using Pages I expect I’ll enjoy Publisher on the iPad even more and will likely shift much of my layout work over to it when available.

 

Donating time to the Ozark Regional Library

We have an excellent rural library system but like many public services in rural areas funding is always hard to come by these days. A year ago I started volunteering shelving books and doing a bit of tech support for a few patrons that occasionally showed up when I was there. After a few months when shelving help was less needed I began helping out with graphic design and then a few months back when a new website design was needed I offered that as well. I thought I’d share a few of those projects here.

A few notes. As usual, all work was done using the iPad. For the design documents Affinity Photo or Affinity Designer was used. For the website, Textastic for coding.

Library-web

Regarding the new website, as is almost always the case I started with one of my templates based on the Skeleton framework. I forget now the CMS that was used on their original site but the page code was a nightmare to look at. Each page was 3 to 4 mb due to scripts and graphics. It was not a responsive design. Not surprisingly the pages took forever to load which is made worse by slow internet speeds in this rural area. The new site loads nearly instantly even on slower connections. Pages are more like 500kb. Web fonts are probably the main bottleneck now.

Flyers are typically printed at 8.5 x 11, occasionally larger and also posted on social media. Here are a few recent designs.

First up is the most recent advertising an upcoming presentation about growing up in Okinawa. I really enjoyed making this one.

Growing up in Okinawa

The reason for the next is pretty obvious! As is usually the case, I really enjoyed this one too.

FallSale

This was a quick job! A more simple design largely due to time constraints.

Yoga

I had a lot of fun making these little sushi characters.

Sushi.jpg

 

Apple’s Stock Apps

Something I’ve seen come up a bit on the internets is the suggestion that Apple’s stock apps are usually enough for most people and I have to say that I agree. My tendency over the past year is to refrain from purchase of apps that duplicate a built in Apple app. And in the same line of thought, in terms I’ve already purchased that duplicate stock app function, I’m finding I use them less.
The basis of my thinking here is financial and also just simplicity. I don’t want to buy every new app that comes along nor do I want to spend the time trying every app or cluttering up my iPad with them. I’ll explore a few examples.

A few days ago a poster over at the fantastic newish Mac Power Users forum started this thread about Yoink. My reply:

I’ve tried Yoink as well as Gladys and Copied and others. As is often the case what I’m finding in actual use is that Apple’s native apps are likely the best option for me. I can drag and drop into Files app for storing temporary images or other documents or, just as easily for text, images, pdfs, I can drag into and out of Notes. And of course both of those apps have action extensions. They both sync up very quickly to iCloud should I need to hop to another device.

And that pretty much covers that particular example. Yes, at first these shelf apps are a neat idea. But in my usage they very nearly copy Apple’s Notes app and the Files app. As a result, I just don’t find that I use any of them. It’s easier to just use Notes or Files.

Another example is email. I’ve tried Airmail and Spark both of which are great email clients. But I always come back to Apple Mail and the other two sit unused. Apple Mail isn’t perfect but it’s pretty great and it works very well for me in how I use and process email.

Podcast apps are another area where I’ve found Apple’s stock app is all I need. I’ve tried several others but generally find them duplicates that don’t offer enough in additional features to bother with. This is in part because Apple’s app has the added benefit that it syncs with all devices from HomePod to AppleTV and all the others, remembers playback position on any of those devices, and is fully integrated with Siri. Third party apps can’t do all this.

When it comes to web browsing I use Safari for everything. It’s a great browser and again, all my data is synced between devices. I only ever use iCab for a few odd needs here and there. I have zero interest in trying another browser.

For most of my pdf viewing I now use the Files app or the built in preview within apps. I still have PDF Expert and occasionally use it for more advanced editing of pdfs but the Files app is great for viewing and basic markup.

And while they’re not quite “stock apps” the iWorks apps are my go-to. For word processing, spreadsheets and presentations I always choose Pages, Numbers or Keynote. I have the Microsoft and Google apps but almost never use them and only do so when I must. I’ve been using the iWork apps since they were first made available and I really love them.

Exceptions to this trend would include the Calendar app which I rarely use. Mostly I use Fantastical or TimePage for viewing. I use Siri or data detectors for creating new events. For those that may not know, a data detector is what underlines a date or time in a Message or email. Tap and you get a suggestion to create a new event.

I still use a dedicated RSS reader, specifically Reeder though I’m using Apple News more and more. I doubt it will replace Reeder anytime soon because I like to be able to group feeds into folders which Apple News does not yet do. Also, with Reeder I can share an article which sends out a standard url whereas sharing from Apple News sends an Apple News link which does not work for non-Apple users.

When it comes to books I’ve used Kindle a bit more than iBooks but going forward I’ll prioritize Apple Books. I like the app better so, assuming a book is available from Apple at the same price as Amazon I’ll purchase from Apple first.

I’ve never been one to spend lots of time on the App Store. Perhaps my app minimalism reflects my real-world life in that I tend not to keep a lot of stuff around. Why clutter up my environment if what I have works for me?

 

Interview on the iPad Pro Podcast

Hey, neat! It was a lot of fun talking with Tim of the iPad Pros Podcast about using the iPad as a primary computer. We covered lots of the workflow details for using an iPad for layout and graphic design as well as web design and website management. If you enjoy nerding out about iPads and iOS give it a listen!