Category Archives: Apple

A Siri Anecdote

A couple days ago I posted an update to what appears to be a long running, though not necessarily intentional, thread on Siri.

Yesterday, while driving to the store, I got a text reminder from my dentist about an appointment next week. When I parked I read the text and called them to reschedule. I ended the call and asked Siri via AirPods to “cancel next week’s dentist appointment”. She confirmed the date and appointment to cancel and then deleted. I probably could have asked to reschedule rather than delete. Afterwards I asked Siri to create a new appoint for the dentist in January. I gave her the date and time and of course the appointment was created.

It really does feel like living in the future.

Siri, I Trust You. Mostly.

Just as I keep track of the status of Pages on the iPad (as compared to the Mac) I also like to check in on the experience of using Siri. I recently browsed through a short thread on the Mac Power Users Forum and was reminded that I’d not written about the Siri experience in awhile. That thread was quite negative about Siri and in fact, most of what I seem to come across on the internet in regards to Siri is usually negative. Siri is like Lucy holding that football for Charlie Brown. In the early years many people learned that trusting Siri was just a set-up for failure and frustration.

Well, it’s been a few years now. Can we trust Siri?

I’ve been using Siri fairly consistently over the past three years and continue to use Siri many times a day from a variety of devices and generally find the experience to be helpful, usually successful and increasingly pleasant as the voice of Siri is improved to be less robotic. But it’s been a process getting here.

How I use Siri

I make Siri requests from the full ecosystem of devices ranging from an iPhone X to 3 iPads to the Apple Watch and HomePods. Also, occasionally to the AppleTV via remote.

At home most of the requests are handled by the HomePod as it generally takes precedence over other devices in the room. When I’m out it’s the iPhone via AirPods. On occasion I’ll also use a button push on an iPad I’m using to ensure that my interaction is with that iPad though that’s not all that common. I think I’d likely use Siri directly on the iPad if there were a dedicated Siri key or keyboard shortcut.

The Apple Watch and Apple TV are probably the least used Siri devices I have. One feature that may not be immediately obvious to some is that when using HomePods as the audio for AppleTV, it’s possible to control playback via voice, no remote needed. Just issue commands such as pause, play, rewind 20 seconds and the HomePod will control the video. Very nice!

As for the Watch, I’ve tried a few times and it does not work nearly as well as the HomePod or AirPods. More often than not I just get a long delay followed by “I’ll tap you when I’m ready”. Mostly, I’ve stopped trying but it’s no real loss because I’m always within earshot of the HomePod and if I’m not I’ve probably got the AirPods in my ears.

My common uses range the full range of what is possible with Siri. Early on I got in the habit of occasionally reading through the possible actions and check every so often to see what’s been added. As a result of being aware I’ve been able to take better advantage. From timers to adding calendar events to tasks to audio video playback to smart home devices such as heaters and lights. Before I list out more I’ll contrast this with a recent poll I conducted via a persistent group iMessage with my extended family. Here’s what I asked them:

  1. Do you currently use Siri regularly? If yes, how many times per day.
  2. If you do not, have you ever tried it in the past? If yes, why did you stop using it?
  3. If you do use Siri regularly what device(s) do you use to do so?
  4. What are your most common uses/requests?
  5. If you are a regular user, are you generally happy with the experience?
  6. If you are not a user do you think you might at some point try it again? Why or why not?

The results varied. An elderly uncle reported that he uses Siri two times a day from his phone and is happy with it. My aunt reports using it 4 times a day on her phone and she likes it. My dad uses it 10 to 15 times a day on his phone. He uses it to open apps, play music, make phone calls, ask sports questions and set reminders. He thinks it’s great.

My mid-20’s nephew doesn’t use Siri much, only once a day or so. He stopped because she often “can’t immediately answer some of my questions and sends me to Safari.” When he does use it it’s to activate maps and directions or to call people on the phone. My brother uses it in his car to play music. He also reports being turned off by the fact that he’s often sent to Safari after a query.

The last response I got was from my niece, also in her 20s who reports using Siri 10 or so times a day via her phone. She uses it to play music and control playback. She uses it to make calls, ask about sports information, send texts, set timers and check the weather and the time. She uses it while driving for hands free. She concludes by saying that for the most part Siri works well for her and notes improvement in that it picks up her voice better, possibly do to a newer phone.

So, a mix of negative and positive. The negative seems to center on being kicked out to Safari results after a Siri request. What isn’t clear from the responses is what questions are asked that lead to that result. I took note that the two most positive responses, my dad and niece, both specifically indicated a broader range of Siri requests and I think that touches on something important in regards to voice-based computer usage, in this case Siri. Both of these users have made it a point to use voice requests over a broader range of activity. Put another way, it seems that they are being more deliberate and, as a result, are getting better results. My guess is that an interest in using Siri results in more persistence and more practice and, not surprisingly, better results over time.

Of course, it’s just a tiny pool responses from one family but it seems an accurate reflection of much that I’ve read on the internet.

In my own experience I’ve found that over the past 3 to 5 years my usage has certainly increased both as Siri improved and as I learned more about getting better results with the service. This seems obvious if we view Siri as a tool, as a form of interaction that can be improved upon by users over time, but I think because of it’s personal nature of the technology and the sense of possible embarrassment or frustration with failure, we don’t quite view it the same as we view the development of other skills.

By design, Siri and other voice assistants are presented as just that, assistants. They take on a kind of personal role, a sense of relationship. Apple and others have made it a point to make voice assistance sound increasingly human and natural in their interactions and I think one result is possible frustration and embarrassment when we encounter failure. It reminds me of Charlie Brown trusting Lucy to hold that football. Of course, she pulls it away at the last second and he flies through the air. When we trust Siri and she fails us there’s an element of frustration that we went out on a limb to trust that she could help. I think there’s also an almost “out of body” observation we make of ourselves. Oh, how silly, there’s me talking to my phone again and there she is making me look even sillier with her failed response. I may be getting too far out in the weeds here but there may be something to it.

I’ll wrap up with a list of my most useful Siri interactions. And to reiterate, I think this list is getting longer all the time and that the success rate is, in my use, almost always improving.

  • Reminders: I constantly add items to various lists. Both via HomePod and AirPods. This is 100%.
  • Calendar events: This is also 100%. Almost everything I add to my calendar is via Siri.
  • Timers: All the time and it works perfectly.
  • Weather: All the time and again, it works perfectly.
  • Phone calls: I don’t use my phone as a phone much but when I do make a call it’s via AirPods to phone and it’s 100%
  • Sending and replying to texts. This one has gotten much better and I use it all the time when walking, again via AirPods to phone.
  • Audio playback via AirPods when walking is excellent. Pause, play, skip, fast forward, initiating playback of an artist, playlist or album. The hardest part here is my ability to remember the names of things. Great with podcasts too.
  • Control of Homekit devices. All day everyday. About 95% success here. One of my favorite things relates to the fact that I live in a rural area and have an outside well-house that has to stay heated in the winter. In the past I’d go out and visually check on things to confirm proper heating in the cold weeks of late December thru February. Now I can simply ask Siri: “What’s the temperature in the well-house?” It’s the perfect compliment to the Home App.

My Siri Wish List

Right now, at the time of this writing, I’ve got just two big things that I’d love to see and they both are iPad related:

  1. On the new iPads Pro with FaceID, there is no Home Button which is a pretty convenient way to access Siri on older iPads. Even better, when using an external keyboard with older iPads a long press of the keyboard home button activates Siri. Very conducive to using Siri on those devices. For some reason this does not work on the new iPads Pro and so I find I don’t use Siri as much on device as I used to.
  2. When activating Siri on iPads, is there a reason that Siri should take control of the whole screen. Might it be better to do something similar to the Mac and have a smaller Siri window pop-up? Maybe the size of a slide-over window? Or, at most, a half-screen split-view.

I’m sure there’s more to be done to improve Siri but those are the two I’m hoping to see.

iPad Journal: Shortcuts Update

Many in the iOS user community really, really love Shortcuts. This is especially true of the iPad power users. There are some that have made Shortcuts a key component to most of their workflows.

Apparently I am not one of these users. Way back when it was Workflow I built out a few and downloaded a few. I usually ended up just using 2-3 of 20 that I had. And that’s fine. Sometimes you don’t know what’s going to prove useful and it doesn’t hurt to try. The app is now Shortcuts and is more deeply integrated and more powerful. I’m using it more than before but nothing like what some do.

A few thoughts. When I see what power users like Federico Viticci, Mathew Cassinelli and David Sparks do with Shortcuts I’m often not sure whether I should be impressed or if I should laugh. I’ll explain.

There’s no doubt Shortcuts is a powerful way to assemble workflows. But often what I see happening is the creation of Shortcuts that don’t seem to do much more than what an app can do on it’s own. Or, it may just be that the examples provided are un-relatable to my needs as they are often very specific to the workflow of the user. And for that user it seems they are very useful.

Something else I’ve noticed, and I’m sort of restating the above, but many shortcuts seem to just be solutions in search of a problem. Again, solving something that already is solved in the app. I can illustrate with an example that popped up on Twitter as I’ve been writing this post. Federico has tweeted that in this week’s Club Mac Stories he is introducing a new series on using Shortcuts with the Apple Music API. His tweet states that:

The first shortcut I’ll share lets you search the entire Apple Music catalog in 2 taps.

That’s pretty cool. But here’s the thing, I can do that right in Apple Music. If I long press the Apple Music app icon I can jump right into a search in Music. Or, I can Command-Space to open Music then tap the search icon at the bottom. His shortcut allows for first typing a search term then presents a list of choices: song, album, artist, and playlist then presents the result. I’m just not sure that’s any faster.

Much of what I see being presented by Shortcuts enthusiasts falls within this category of tasks that apps already do without a shortcut. That said, I think Shortcuts can be very useful. In my case I get the most benefit when I use it to do specific utility type functions that iOS itself does not do. Or, it provides a noticeably faster way to do something.

Here are examples of my current favorites and they are fairly simple and usually saved as widgets for quick access:

  • Unit price calculations. I use this one on the phone when I’m shopping to do quick comparisons of items. The shortcut asks for unit quantity and the cost then gives me the cost per unit. Very fast.
  • File converters. These only get used on the iPad, usually when I’m doing work on a website. I often need to convert a png or pdf to jpg and while I can use an app like Affinity Photo this shortcut is much quicker.
  • Switching audio playback. Apple Music, Podcasts, Overcast and any other app has an Airplay icon to send audio to a HomePod or AirPods. It’s easy to use. But it often takes a few seconds and if I’m on LTE I may also have to first tap once or twice to turn on and connect to my WiFi if, for example, I’m coming back from walk and want to switch from AirPods to HomePods. With a shortcut on my home screen or a widget I can tap once and my iPhone connects to my WiFi network and then changes audio playback to the HomePod. It’s not a huge difference but it is noticeably faster and it’s something I do often.
  • Reliability and consistency have been issues for me. Shortcuts sometimes just seem to fail. Or they work for a period of time and then stop working. Sometimes it would seem something should be possible and I’ll spend time trying to build an automation only to find out that it’s not possible. A recent and very frustrating example. I often want to use a screenshot on a website but the native png screenshot files are huge. I can save to Files then share the png to a Shortcut to convert to a jpg, set quality and size. But I cannot do this directly from the screen shot interface to Shortcuts. I have to take the extra step of saving the file then opening it up. Why?

Another example. With iOS 13.2 a new feature is handoff from iPhone to HomePod or HomePod to iPhone. Sounds nice but in practice that’s been very slow or unreliable for me. Instead, I’ve got a Shortcut which has the added benefit of also working with iPads. If I’m playing a podcast or music on iPhone or iPad I can tap a widget or icon on my home screen to very quickly send the audio to the HomePod. It’s quicker and easier than using the Airplay picker which sometimes seems to have a long delay. BUT, I have to tap. I should be able to use Siri. It would be very cool to step inside after a walk and just say “Hey Siri, HomePod” to have my audio hop over to the HomePod. But there’s an error and it fails. While I mostly want to do this from the Phone I’ve also tested with iPad and it fails there too. Again, why?

Oh, and a note about using shortcuts that have been saved to the home screen, this experience feels weird because it actually opens the app when it runs the shortcut. Why not just do it with a progress indicator in the icon similar to what we see when an app is updating? Having the whole app open up seems janky.

I love the idea of Shortcuts but in practice it’s still bumpy and still very much for the tech crowd. I’ve asked my extended family and of 16 or so using iPads and iPhones, ranging from young students to older, retired folks, not a one is using Shortcuts. Most of them don’t even know that the app exists let alone what it does. And really, I think that’s for the best. I consider myself a fairly advance iOS user and if I’m struggling with Shortcuts they would very likely have an even more frustrating experience.

All that said, with iOS 13 Shortcuts have taken a big step in the right direction. I hope Apple keeps pushing it forward. I’m not sure it will ever be an app for most people but there’s great potential there for power users if reliability and consistency can be improved.

iPad Journal: Workflow and Workspace Updates

A few updates…

iPadOS
I’ve been using iPadOS now since installing one of the early public betas in July. Word on the internet has generally been constant complaint that iOS and iPadOS 13 have been way too buggy. In my use I would not agree. It’s been buggier than iOS 12 which was notable as one of the more stable iOS releases in years. But my experience is that 13 has been a fairly stable release.

The most noticeable bug in my use has been slowness in working with the new Files app. In general use Files is actually quite fast but when I’m using other apps and have need to pick a file for uploading to a website or attaching to an email, I often have a fairly long delay while I have a blank Files picker window. Eventually, usually in 30 seconds or so, the app will show the files and I can carry on. As of mid-November recent incremental updates to 13.2 seem to have fixed the problem.

The most notable changes that have a positive impact on my workflows:

  • Multi-window apps, while not game changing, have been been fairly helpful in reducing a bit of friction. Especially true of the Files app.
  • Widgets on the home screen have been more useful than I expected!
  • Better, free-form local storage of files on iPad have been helpful.
  • Safari download manager has been one of the more notable benefits of the new Safari.
  • Multiple slide-over apps is a fantastic new addition to multi-tasking.
  • Column view in Files and the new long-tap contextual menu are both great additions.
  • The new organization of the sharing menu is proving helpful. Initial organization of shortcuts in that menu takes some time but I think the result has been worth it.
  • The Apple Reminders app has gotten some very nice updates with 4 built in smart lists and sub tasks. John Mitchell at Everything is Ablaze has a fantastic post about updated Reminders.
  • Last is the new accessibility mouse support. I’m not using it all the time but I am using it for certain tasks.

Accessory and configuration changes

In August I had my Smart Keyboard Portfolio replaced under warranty. I’m using the new one less. Partly due to concerns about longevity I’ve been limiting use to mobile use out of the house. In the house/office I’m spending more time with Bluetooth keyboards and different stand/shelf arrangements. One thing to note here is that during the colder months my tiny house interior is my primary workspace and I often make use of perspective changes to keep things interesting. I can work at a window, a beanbag/futon, my desk or standing desk. It’s a small space so I’ve done a lot to maximize the ways I can use it. You’ll note in the image of my desk that the wall contains a variety of shelves. One or two of those often has an iPad on it. It’s easy to adjust as needed for different heights and positions.

An interesting and fun result of the change from the SKP is that I’ve been using the iPad with no case. It’s either in a stand or on a shelf when I use a Bluetooth keyboard with it. Or it’s in my hands being used as a tablet. Either way, I like this non-laptop arrangement as it feels more true to the iPad. It’s quite nice to have the iPad up at eye level while I’m using an external keyboard with it. In those cases I’m using touch less and am relying more on keyboard shortcuts to navigate between and within apps. Or using a Bluetooth mouse.

When in use the keyboard is usually in my lap. The shelf/desk swivels and is useful in a variety of positions.

When I want to use the iPad as a tablet it is super easy to pick it up and use. With the Smart Keyboard Portfolio I often kept it in the case and just folded the keyboard back behind the iPad. That was fine as it was easy and the case was pretty light, so, very little friction. But there’s even less friction with this new arrangement and no case at all weighs even less!

A side benefit is that because I’m relying more on the multi-device Logitech K811 keyboard I can very easily switch between iPads. I tend to switch to the older iPad Air 2 in the evening. I just put the iPad Pro on the desk for charging and grab the smaller Air for the evening. The same shelf/stand combination by my beanbag works for either iPad and the keyboard is always there. Yet another side benefit, as much as I like the feel of typing on the Smart Keyboard, the K811 remains my favorite keyboard to type on and of course, it has backlighting and media/function keys. It’s a pleasure to use.

All that said let me now completely contradict myself! I’m about to try out a change which would be putting the iPad Pro in a Zugu Case. Why mess with my system that seems to be working so well? There two downsides to the current arrangement (there always seem to be downsides to any set-up!).

First, the stand is is very sturdy but is somewhat limited in the angle I can use. Adjusting the angle requires taking the iPad off because the hinge for adjusting the angle is very tight by design. As a result I tend to keep the iPads at one angle in that stand and it mostly works. But sometimes I do want to change it and it’s not as easy as it should be. The Zugu case has 8 different angles and is super easy to change between them.

The second downside of the current set-up is that sometimes I want to use the iPad while laying down or in a position where I might want to type but not be near my shelf/stand combo. The shelf/stand is perfect when I’m sitting in a very particular spot, namely on the beanbag futon. But sometimes my animals are there and I end up reclining on the futon. Or I may be on the beanbag but may be reclining or at an odd angle.

The Zugu case is reported to be VERY sturdy and stable, easy to use in a variety of places and angles. It adds back the same weight and thickness of the Smart Keyboard Folio and I can still fold it back like the Folio when I want to hand hold the iPad like a book. I’m expecting the combination of the Zugu and K811 keyboard to be a replacement of sorts for the Folio that I’m relying on less. I’ll write about it after I’ve had a few days using it.

New Keyboard: Logitech K780

In late fall I was doing a lot of work at the table on my porch and wanted an easier way to use two iPads together without dragging out stands. I ordered the Logitech K780 which is one of two that Logitech makes that has a built in tablet holder. I have the other one and use it as well. I’ve written previously about using two iPads, specifically when I’m using text content sent by a client in one document on the iPad Air 2 which I’ll copy/paste using the handoff feature. My previous arrangement has one iPad low, the other on a stand above. This new keyboard allows for them to be used side by side. The K780, like the K811, is very nice to type on. It does lack backlighting but I can deal with it. The convenience of being able to slot two iPads in is really nice. I didn’t care for the angle that the iPads are held at so I added some felt spacers to hold them at a steeper angle.

It’s all a bit fussy I suppose but I think of it as an ongoing experiment and enjoy the process. If it makes working more comfortable I’m okay with changing things up a bit. Regardless of the changes I make, I continue to be very happy with the iPad form factor and consider the experimentation a feature that comes with the flexibility of a tablet.

Claris!

As a longtime user of FileMaker Pro and an Apple user since 1993, I’ve got fond memories of Claris. I loved those apps and used them often. The news that FileMaker is transitioning back to its original name Claris is bringing back some warm fuzzy nostalgia.

Finally deleted Ulysses

Finally got around to copying over all my Ulysses documents to iA Writer. It’s been two or so years since Ulysses was transitioned to a subscription model and I immediately made the switch to iA Writer. I’m still very glad I did. Moving all my remaining documents over today reminded me of one of the other good reasons: Ulysses kept it’s documents in an iCloud database as opposed to actual files. Rather than selecting them all and moving them at once I had to go into each one and export it or copy paste. Yuck.

By contrast, all my iA Writer documents are actually .txt files. So much better!

iPadOs

Wowza. It’s been well over a month since WWDC and all of the fun summer Apple news! I obviously feel no pressure to offer my opinion on these things. There are more than enough hot takes out there. I’m not sure if it’s my getting older or what exactly but I’m happy to just sit back and take it in. I mostly regard my opinion as I regard all the others out there: not that important. I’m happy with the iPad and iOS 12 and as expected, I’ll be happier with the iPad running iPadOS 13.

It’s not that I don’t care or that I’m lacking enthusiasm. On the contrary, I’m super excited for what’s coming and have been happily playing with the iPadOS public beta since it’s release. I initially installed on my iPad Air 2 and after a month I also took the plunge and with the release of the third public beta installed on my iPad Pro. I normally would not do that on my work iPad but I have everything backed up and verified that my essential work apps are working fairly well on the beta.

Even in it’s rough around the edges beta form it’s great and an improvement over iOS 12. But I’m not all that interested in rehashing what everyone already now knows (assuming they have an interest in the topic) and what’s available to read on Apple’s iPadOS website.

What I will say is simply that iPadOS makes a lot of sense as the next step for this device. I think Apple’s done a great job of adding features for power users while maintaining a surface level simplicity for the users that are fine with the basic iPad feature set. Users like my parents can happily go on using the iPad as they have in the past and will probably not notice much of a difference. To them it will be the same iPad they are comfortable with. Before the iPad my elderly aunt and uncle did not use a computer and had never used email or the web. Now they, like my mom and grandmother, are daily computer users. They’re happy and comfortable sending email, messages, photos, and so on. All thanks to the iPad.

For those of us looking for “power user” features, well, now we have more of those. My three favorites: Widgets on the home screen, improved Safari, and the more fully featured Files app. I’ve tried the mouse support and suspect that will come in very handy too for those of us that would like to put our iPads up to eye level or hook up to mirror our iPads to a second display.

The iPad was released in 2010, intended to be a friendly, easy to approach and use device. In 2019, we can look back and see a slow but very steady evolution of the hardware, iOS, and the available apps. I think in retrospect, this has been about as much as anyone could ask for. In 2010 I was a happy Mac user and the iPad entered my home as a fun, pleasant to use browsing device. Today, nine years later, the iPad has become my favorite Apple device and is now my daily computer.

The fact that this same device can serve a user such as myself and at the same time be used so easily by non-technical users says a lot about what Apple has accomplished.

iPad Journal: Pages Summer 2019 Status Update

It seems I’ve gotten in the habit of writing about my use of Pages once or twice a year and it would seem now is time to update. Past posts:

I’ve been using Pages since it was first released way back in 2005. In that time it’s been one of my favorite apps and one of my most used both on Mac and now on iPad. I know the app pretty well and as time goes on I only grow fonder of it. I’ve used it to create countless flyers, brochures, reports, newsletters and even used it to help a friend publish her first book. It seems inevitable that logging that many hours with an application is likely to lead to strong feelings and I’m happy that in this case they are positive feelings. I wouldn’t want to be in a position to have to spend a lot of time with an application (or operating system) that I didn’t enjoy using.

As I write this Apple’s current website for the Pages App has as it’s second section headline: “A canvas for creativity.” I think that’s an apt description for the app. I’ll go further and say that one aspect of what Apple has accomplished with Pages is gradually build an app that not only works the same (mostly) across all devices, but one which will empower a broad group of users in creative endeavors. Of course, like any deeply featured app, the more you learn the more you can do, but Apple has done a great job of making this app one which is easy to approach for novice users. I’d say the interface is very well designed to appear simple at a glance. But with a few taps or clicks the powerful features are easily revealed.

I might go so far as to say that, to some degree, the design philosophy of Pages parallels that of the iPad. And by that I simply mean that on a surface level it is simple and friendly. It is approachable. Apple has done the same with the iPad. With iPadOS 13 we have something that will continue to be easy for novice users or users that just want easy, basic computing. Most of my family will never use the advanced features of the iPad (or, for that matter, Pages). But those features are there for those of us that take the deep dive, those of us that want the advanced features, have them there waiting for us.

My last update was October 29, 2018 and there have been updates! The march towards feature parity with the Mac continues though we’re not there yet!

What’s still missing?

  • Line spacing is still limited to pre-set increments. I can have 1 or .75 or .5 but not .9 or .8 and sometimes I need .9 or .8. This seems like something they should be able to fix.
  • Spacing between characters.
  • More keyboard shortcuts.
  • Shapes are now partially editable but not fully. It’s possible to combine shapes using different modes but it’s still not possible to make the various individual shape “nodes” editable as is possible on a Mac.
  • Multipart lines are still not possible. With the Mac I can create a line with the pen tool that has many different points which can then be curves or straight and the positions moved around. With the iOS version I can create a line with just one adjustable point.
  • Advanced gradient fills are not possible. Included in this would be a gradient with transparency.
  • It’s not possible to edit the color, angle, distance or spread of drop shadows.
  • When exporting to pdf it would be nice to have the ability to choose the quality of the images.

What’s fixed or new?

  • Yay!! We can now change a document type to “Page Layout”.
  • Formatting table borders is fixed! We can adjust style, color and width!
  • A new and welcome feature: new styling features for text! Namely, it’s now possible to have text with a gradient fill and with new stroke options. Also possible is using a texture or image for text fill. This will come in handy!

Something I wrote last time which still stands:

“One last bit. Apple has positioned the iPad Pro as a pro device. Not only should they finally fill in the above mentioned gaps between the Mac and iOS versions, but it might be nice to see a few advanced features added that would bring it more on par with apps like InDesign. For example, drop caps! Sure, I can create those with text boxes but I shouldn’t have to work around this. One feature that might be considered more advanced would be the option to have an art board around documents. A place off the document that allows for storing bits of text, shapes, images, etc. I don’t expect it but it sure would be helpful. More advanced PDF export would also be nice.”

And, just to be clear, in the past 10 months other features HAVE been added that I’ve not covered here as I don’t use them. Most recently new Pencil features such as animating a drawing which might be very useful for some. New and powerful ebook creation features which again, are probably great for those that have a use for them. I have not, as of yet, had need.

Big day today for Apple Nerds.

WWDC 2019. Looking forward to it. As happy as I am using the iPad everyday I’m sure I’ll find it more enjoyable with iOS 13 installed in the fall. We’re one hour before keynote so lots of surprises to come.

Appreciating the Mac

It’s been on my mind to get my MacMini which was running Sierra backed up to a bootable SSD so that I could finally update to Mojave. I’m running an older version of InDesign and didn’t want to take the chance of screwing it up. Previous attempts using SuperDuper had produced back-ups that would not boot. Not due to any problem with SuperDuper but a hardware incompatibility in the chipset of my back-up drive. I found an external Samsung SSD which would reportedly boot and after backing up found that yes, it does indeed serve well as a bootable drive. So, with back-up made I made the jump to Mojave.

I don’t recall now what the changes were from Sierra to High Sierra but the jump from Sierra to Mojave has been nice. Nothing too crazy but nice enhancements and, as a bonus, my older version InDesign still works. I really don’t use the Mac for much more than iTunes, general file serving and the occasional InDesign project but having spent more than the usual amount of time with it the past few days I still really appreciate it this OS. If it were not for iOS I’d still happily use my Mac everyday.