Opening Links in Evernote Client rather than Web

Despite all it’s foibles Evernote remains one of my most used apps and being able to link to it from elsewhere, such the task app I use, adds enormous benefit.

At one point you used to be able to generate links that when clicked would open up in the desktop app, these started evernote://. At some point these were lost and the link generator in the client only returned http:// links meaning that the request opened in the web site app. Problem with this is that it is slower and I usually have to authenticate again to get access.

I discovered last week that it is still possible to generate the old style links – what Evernote calls a “Classic Note Link” and I call a “Useful Note Link”. To get this link right click on the note in the note list and then hold down the Alt/Option button and you will see the label change from “Copy Note Link” to “Copy Classic Note Link”. Select and bingo you have an old style evernote:// link which opens in the desktop app.

Belaycords Reversible USB Lightning Cable

My Belaycords Reversible USB Lightning Cable arrived this morning and I’m pretty impressed and also left with the question why hasn’t this been done much, much sooner.

USB connectors have had one major problem (until the USB C arrived) in that they had to be inserted the right way round and when you were most likely to be doing that round the back of a PC in a dark corner it was bound to lead to frustration. It seemed that you had a 50/50 chance of getting it right but ended up always 100% wrong!

The Belaycord overcomes that shortcoming by making the connector reversible and it works. Again, why has nobody done this earlier?

2015-04-02 10.32.33

The cable is really well made with metal caps at both ends and a woven cable which seems incredibly long although it is only supposed to be four foot.

There’s not much more I can say about a cable other than great idea, why has it taken so long?!

Resolving “Error 1 – Operation not permitted.”

Trying to unpack a zip file this afternoon I kept coming across the error message “Error 1 – Operation not permitted.”. When I have had this before I have just switched from the default Archive app to Keka or Stuffit Expander and all has been good but for some reason that wasn’t working on this zip file.

Then I cam across the following tip on Stack Exchange. Drop into a terminal session, change to the directory with the zip file and run this command:

jar xvf <zip file name>

It worked a treat. Give it a go next time you get “Error 1 – Operation not permitted.” it might be just what you are looking for.

Windows 10 Preview

I finally got round to downloading and installing the Windows 10 preview this morning to allow me to test our web app with it and the latest version of Internet Explorer. I had also wanted to take a look at Project Spartan but it seems that isn’t available yet.

Like so many others I wasn’t a great fan of Windows 8 but based on the very brief look this morning Windows 10 is a vast improvement on what went before. The start menu has been restored and the titles are not incorporated and it’s not a bad look.

Windows_10_Technical_Preview__English_

There is also a revised looking “power” menu which makes a lot more sense than before.

Windows_10_Technical_Preview__English_

Microsoft are in a good position in that the OS will be pre-installed on many machines but they have some work to do making up for the mess that was Windows 8.

2 Great Apps to Help you Show and Tell

Working in a small business you have to get involved in all sorts of areas that might be outside your core skill set. In my case that includes producing training material to help our clients understand our products better. In order to make that as painless as possible here are a couple of great apps that I use.

Clarify

clarify_camera

Producing documentation with screen grabs can be a real chore and while it is possible to use something like Microsoft Word it is much, much easier to do with Clarify.

The beauty of the app is the way that it lets you collect screen shots and then annotate them adding call-outs, arrows, highlighted and blurred areas and more. You can then add the text that you want associated with that picture and decide where you want it to appear.

You can then add as many screen grabs and accompanying text as you need until you have cover the whole process. It really is very quick. Once done you can either save the file as a PDF, with options to create your own templates to suit any branding you might need, or to the web.

More on Clarify

Camtasia

TechSmith-Camtasia-Studio-8.4

Camtasia does for video what Clarify does for screenshots. It allows you to quickly and easily stitch together video along with other media, such as pictures and audio to create great looking videos. I really like the way that you can zoom into an area of the screen to direct the viewers attention to something important. The tools for call-outs, arrows, highlighting and blurring areas are great too.

As with Clarify, Camtasia is really easy to use and there are a series of tutorials (made with Camtasia of course) here which really helped me.

More on Camtasia

I use both Clarify and Camtasia on a Mac but, unusually, both apps are available for Windows too so there can be no excuses for producing great materials… well apart from your script of course!

Why the next iPhone Might have an Inbuilt Coffee Perculator

No sooner had the iPhone 6 been released did the tech sites start wondering just what might be in the NEXT release. Would it be the iPhone 6S? Would it have inductive charging? Might it be made from a metal only found on Mars? Could there be room for a larger battery? (actually Jony Ive says we wouldn’t like a larger battery and what the fuck do we know as users?)

This speculation is almost always unattributed and lacks any credible sources and is accompanied by a title containing the word “may“, “could” or “might“. And once one “news” outlet has run with the story it proliferates and becomes unstoppable.

I don’t know whether this phenomenon is unique to Apple products and the iPhone in particular and whether it is caused but the drought of information emanating from Cupertino but either way it is tiresome clickbait.

So I want it be known that I have it on completely unreliable (i.e. non-existent sources) that the next iPhone may have a built-in coffee percolator. You heard it here first but, no doubt, this nugget of information will be on BGR and Techrunch within the hour!

Hitting $1M in Pebble Time

I waited a long long time for my Pebble to arrive after backing it on Kickstarter. But since the arrival of iOS8 and several updates to the watch firmware it was worked well and I really like the watch.

My only gripe would be that the font size is a bit small (even on the largest setting) and I wish that they would make it bigger. Apart from that it is just about perfect.

With all the news about the Apple Watch I had wondered what Pebble’s answer to it would be and yesterday we found out with the launch of the Pebble Time. It looks awesome and I have ordered one but it seems that I am not the only person to think so.

The above image shows when Pebble Time reached it’s first $1M in under an hour making it the fastest to that price point on Kickstarter. As I type this the total is just a shade over $9m and there are still 30 days to go! Deliveries begin in May.

FYI the image above has been reduced from 1 minute 20 seconds to nine seconds.

Setting the Nest to Away

I love the Nest learning thermostat now that it has built up a schedule but I feel that it could be doing more to help us save money.

One way to do this is set the Nest to away when I am, well, away. I currently have two ways of doing that:

1. via the standard Nest iPhone app, or
2. via the Nest Pebble app, Leaf.

pTTOZuyD8-hz9UMvGiH_pdy0Rnq1mGIWEWDaixF2N7w

Both these work well but you need to remember to actually do it and I never do. Worse than that if I do remember I then forget to turn it back on again.

Enter Skylark, an iPhone app that connects with your Nest to automatically set it away and back to home. It works by checking the proximity of your phone to your Nest and setting it to away when you get a certain distance away and then back on again when you are within proximity. It can also work by when you connect/disconnect to your home wi-fi.

H9aMfLw63P1XpUlY23MRqODm5s_vBdKdMAMqzqPAHc0

One of the great things about Skylark is that if multiple people have the app installed connected to the same Nest then it will only be set to Away when everyone is out of the house.

The only problems seem to be that: it only works with iOS 8.1 and it doesn’t work on Android. Apart from that it is pretty perfect.

Here’s to lower energy bills.

Twitter Cards Validation Error

Twitter have had a neat feature for a while now that allows for additional information to be included with a tweet that is then displayed when you expand the tweet. This is how it looks:

Card on the Web

Card on the Web

And on a mobile client:

Card on a mobile device

Card on a mobile device

To enable these you need to set-up some meta data on your website (there is a good guide here) and then validate this information with Twitter here. When I did so I was greeted by the following message:

ERROR: FetchError:exceeded 4.seconds to Portal.Pink-constructor-safecore while waiting for a response for the request, including retries (if applicable) (Card error)

This message while not the most clear means that your website is taking too long to return the requested page, more than four seconds in fact. This led me on a journey to try and get the response time down to something respectable because if Twitter was having problems you can bet that potential customers would be experiencing the same thing.

In the end, in our case,  I determined that the server was underpowered and so threw some resources at it and the problem went away. Given that Twitter cards are free and easy to set-up I would thoroughly recommend  doing so, they even work through link shorteners as you can see from the images above.

Adding New Fonts to iOS for use in Word, Drafts and other Apps

I have long loved the font that is used in iA’s Writer app but while I love the app I really wanted to be able to use the font elsewhere and particularly in Drafts.

2015-01-05_20_57_43

After a bit of searching it was clear that the font used in Writer wasn’t available but there was a free alternative as part of Google Fonts called Cousine. The rest of this post will show you how you can get this font onto your iOS device. Firstly download the font package from the Google site.

You will need a copy of a font installation app. There are a number available but the one I am using is InstaFont which costs £1.49. You will also need a way of getting the font onto the device. I used Dropbox but anything that can allow you to download the file and open it in another app will do so you should be able to use Google Drive/OneDrive/Box or a Mail app.

2015-01-05_20_54_27

Once transferred you should see the font appear in your custom font list. Select it and the install button in the top right will show (1). You can then click this to move on to the installation.

2015-01-06_13_02_05

When you press the Install button the app will switch to Safari and them almost immediately to the settings app where you will then see the Install Profile screen:

2015-01-05_20_55_05

You will then see a warning message about the profile being unsigned. You can safely ignore this and press Install:

2015-01-05_20_55_14

For some reason pressing Install twice isn’t enough for Apple so go ahead and press it once again:

2015-01-05_20_55_18

The installation is now complete and so you can press the Done button:

2015-01-05_20_55_22

The font is now installed and ready to use in other apps. For example here it is being selected for use in Drafts:

2015-01-05_20_56_49

And finally here it is in use. You can compare with the original in iA Writer immediately below it. Pretty similar I think.

2015-01-05_21_00_36

2015-01-05_20_57_43