Outlier S120 No Pocket Pivot

Lightning review of a merino button down.

In writing the Traveling Light guide, I wrote about the Wool & Prince merino wool dress shirts — and how much I like them. I still wear that shirt almost all the time, however I recently picked up Outlier’s S120 no pocket Pivot shirt, another all merino button down.

This shirt is quite a bit more money than the Wool & Prince shirts, but also quite different. The shirt itself has a slimmer, more tailored, cut which depending on your body shape might be a deal breaker. For me it fits my body near perfectly in XL.

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Brooks Review: Video

Hey, look at me.

One of the things I wanted to start doing when I relaunched the membership system was to mix in some video. It just so happened I didn’t know how I would do that.

I’ve finally decided on a format, which is post-review looks at products, first looks at products before I review them, and reader Q&A. In this post is one of my first videos, a post-review look at the Filson Original Briefcase. All videos going forward will be exclusive for members.

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iPad Productivity Report — 02/20/17

This week I cover the new iPad commercials, video conference solutions, and give a sneak peek at some video content I am working on.

A lot to cover this week…

iPad Commercials

Apple released four 16 second long commercials promoting the iPad (easiest viewed here on iMore, fair warning that I didn’t read anything written on the iMore site, so no clue what they say). These commercials are the best step Apple has taken since the iPad Pro was introduced, to position the device for consumers. The fact they hit back directly about the absurdities people toss towards the device is only icing on the cake.

Well done, Apple, and about fucking time. But I think the “general” take is wrong on this. Here’s how John Gruber expresses this take in one of his bullets:

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The Filson Original Briefcase

When you find that perfect bag, but it doesn’t check any boxes. This post will annoy you, if I had to guess.

A couple of months ago I picked up a Filson Original Briefcase in otter green — this is a classic briefcase which has been around seemingly forever (along with Filson). My goal was to find a bag which would carry my iPad and a few other things around town — something not a backpack and something not overly techy/tactical/modern.

I have tons of bags, but they are all of the same breed and almost entirely backpacks at this point. And while I like the Tom Bihn Daylight Briefcase a lot, it didn’t feel right to me. Fantastic bag, but an ill fit for me and my personality on a daily basis.

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iPad Productivity Report — 2/13/17

It’s sad to see Instapaper die, but my goodness is a Workflow up to some magic.

I spent some time over the weekend paying out the nose for DEVONThink 2 Go, and getting that setup. This is one of those apps where it seems absolutely pointless until it just clicks. It has not, as of yet, clicked for me. I honestly have no clue where the benefit of this app lies, so if you use it please chime in for me. (I a, testing several ideas in it, but odd app.)

In the mean time, let’s talk about my Read Later service struggles and highlight some other apps I do know how to use.

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Building a Bug Out Bag

This is something only paranoid people have, this is something everyone should have.

I posted a link to an article which pokes a little fun at the bug out bag mentality, in doing so I knew I was going to get some questions — specifically whether or not I have a bug out bag. So, yes, of course I have a bug out bag — I’ve had one since 2012. Allow me to explain why I have one, why you should have one, and how to build one without having to read posts by people trying to survive a nuclear zombie apocalypse where everything is also flooded and people are generally trying to kill each other.

A tall order.

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iBooks Author — What Could Have Been

Artificially slowing the iPad’s pace.

Daniel Steinberg on passion behind teams at Apple:

iBooks Author could have been a trojan horse into the personal publishing business. It would have been classic Apple. Instead of small authors going to Amazon’s platform, they would have started with iBooks Author. Apple should have made it easy for them to push to Amazon as well. Why? Because these people wanted to publish on Amazon but they weren’t considering publishing with Apple. Thousands of authors would have come to Apple to create content and stayed with Apple after publishing content there.

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Yes, I switched to Todoist and I think it is really good but not earth shattering.

The first time I tried Todoist, I was enamored by one feature: the daily emails. I love those, as they are a great way to make sure I see my list for the day, at the top of the day when I can really do something about it. I quickly brushed Todoist aside for 2Do, as I didn’t trust the sync system and the unencrypted nature of Todoist.

Truthfully, in many ways 2Do is the better app. But when I found out Todoist was now encrypting sync data properly, I felt it warranted a full look. I switched everything over and found an app with less power, but which is actually more powerful for me.

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iPad Productivity Report — 02/05/17

The iPad needs continued third party developer love, and it has a little perception problem.

When I posted that old iPads don’t work well, I received a slew of feedback with people telling me how many people they know using an iPad 3 era device. I truly feel sorry for these people, even when that device was launched it was underpowered. My oldest daughter still uses that, and it’s a pile shit — you stand no chance of convincing me otherwise.

Reliance on Third Parties

One of the most overlooked advantages of the macOS platform is the lessened reliance on third party software. That’s not to say you don’t need third party software on macOS, but that you can do a lot of stuff in something as basic as Terminal. A Mac, straight out of the box has a lot more ability than any iOS device straight out of the box. Where the playing field starts to level is when you add in third party apps on iOS (and macOS for that matter).

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Ulysses Does it Too

I should have known.

In my quick review of Textastic I noted that I snagged it for the feature where you can grab an external file, edit it, and “save” it back to the external location without editing (I really need a better term for this). Turns out Ulysses can do that too, I mean of course it can, it’s amazing.

If you back all the way out of your library and tap the manage view you will find an option to “Enable External Files” (maybe that’s a better name?). Once you do that there is a Library Source called External Files and within that you can grab files from iCloud Drive, OS X Server machines, and any other app which allows this kind of access (Transmit, Documents, Sync, etc). This all works incredibly well if what you are editing is raw text and not code, for my uses this will likely be better than Textastic.

Thanks to all those who dropped me a note about this.

This Here iPad Sales Thing

Looking into iPad sales numbers and trying not to bore myself.

Look, I don’t know why iPad sales are trending down, you don’t know why they are, and actually no one knows why they are. You know how I know that? Because even Apple doesn’t know why, and they have the biggest motivation of anyone to figure out why.

Let’s play a simple game:

  • What’s the best tablet you can buy? iPad.
  • What’s the computer best suited for the average American? iPad.

Those two questions are so easy to answer that even the most staunch Mac believer will agree: most people probably are best off with a tablet and the iPad is easily the best tablet. That’s not me making an argument for the iPad, or against the Mac — it’s just that most Americans want something to buy things and look at Facebook while at home and, hey, it turns out the iPad is pretty fucking good at that.

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iPad Productivity Report — 1/30/17

Managers, why aren’t you using an iPad Pro already?

I wrote this one a few weeks ago, and this is the first week I didn’t have anything else to write about, enjoy it.

Executive iPad

This is one of those posts I have had on my list to write from the moment I decided to write weekly iPad Pro articles. My idea has always been that if you are an executive, or a manager in general, the only level of computer you need is an iPad (or for some, an iPhone).

I allude to this idea often in my posts, and it rubs a certain subset of people the wrong way. It’s the same group who thinks that “people like me” only write for a blog, or only administer a simple website. There are a couple of things I can say here: I am a writer for a blog, but that’s a hobby more than it is a job. Day to day, I’m the COO of MartianCraft — which is how I know the iPad Pro works fantastically well for managers, because it is all I use.

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Textastic 6

Quick note about a great app.

It has been quite some time since I last tested Textastic, but it popped back up on my radar this past week as I needed a specific feature I had heard the app possessed. Specifically the ability of Textastic to open a document from another app, edit and save back to that location without actually having to import it to the app.

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Improving OmniOutliner on iOS

My love note to the future of OmniOutliner.

Yesterday I read The Omni Group’s look back at 2016 and look forward at 2017 plans. OmniOutliner is well featured in that post, much to my delight. OmniOutliner is one of my favorite apps for the Mac and something I truly love.

OmniOutliner on iOS, though, has always been hit and miss for me. It’s easily — and I have been looking — the best outlining app you can get for iOS right now, but it feels like it is stuck in the past. The entire document picker is tedious at best to use. With thumbnails for each file, and what good does that do when it is an outline, and no way to search it feels old and doesn’t scale well for someone like me who has hundreds of files.

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It Was Not A Great Start to the Week for My iPad

Oh, the frustration is real.

Here’s how my Monday went at “the office”:

The post to Slack was after a trying for an hour to print a sheet of labels from a CSV file I had. No joke, I couldn’t do it. I downloaded a ton of apps, I even tried web services. I went to Screens to try and create a PDF file on the remote Mac mini, but would have had to install way too much software.

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DU/ER 5 Pocket A/C Pants

Supremely comfortable pants.

These pants were launched on Kickstarter as “the best hot weather travel pants” you can wear and they have all sorts of “travel features” to boot. I wanted them for the look, I have a pair of light gray jeans that I love to wear in the summer, so I thought I would pick these up to replace those pants.

The pants are a blend with a cotton and a bunch of other things with a goal of making them durable, comfortable, breathable and all the other things you hear about travel focused pants. I’ve had these pants long enough now that I can speak a little more to how they feel to wear.

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iPad Productivity Report — 01/23/17 🔒

I really want that Westworld tablet/phone thing. Also some follow up on Workflow.

Some F/U

In the last iPad Report, I talked about building a small app within Workflow. One of the issues I cited was the inability to pull from something like a csv for my lists, and instead needing to build the list again inside Workflow. As I feared, I was wrong and this can be done, it’s just that — like with most things Workflow — it’s rather opaque. (Workflow needs someone working there full time explaining how to build things, they would double their sales.)

Ari Weinstein (co-founder of Workflow) reached out to me on Twitter to tell me just how to do it. He provided this sample Workflow. The Workflow pulls from iCloud Drive and then parses the text file as a list (with new items being on their own line). This should be able to work with a csv too, but I’ve modded my csv too much to test, but I did try with a text file and it was magic.

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Full Time VPN

Protecting your privacy with full time VPN, and a massive amount of annoyances.

I watched the Snowden movie a little while back now, and after watching it I had that paranoid itch. Being iOS only there is very little I can do to make my systems more private and it seemed that the one gaping hole was my web connection itself. Which spurred me to think about getting a VPN service to run full time while I used my devices, even when I am on my home network. Both to encrypt my data streams, but also to better anonymize the web traffic.

So for the past few weeks I have been testing through three different setups:

  1. My self-owned VPN through my Mac mini server
  2. Private Internet Access (PIA)
  3. Cloak

PIA was the only one new to me, but it gets very high marks for quality, speed, and privacy — so I figured I better test it. My server encrypts the traffic, but does nothing about anonymizing it — in other words instead of coming from my device, it’s coming from a server I clearly own. Cloak is one of the easiest systems to use, works well, and while not being privacy minded, does what I label a “solid job” with it.

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My Morning News Routine

Staying informed is now becoming a job.

A large part of my morning routine, as it likely is for most of you, is to catch up on the news I might have missed the night before. A few years ago this felt like a much simpler task: some RSS, some Twitter, done. I felt well informed using just a few tools and getting news which was highly tailored to me, or what I thought mattered to me.

Fast forward to 2017, and my routine has changed greatly. I can’t use Twitter for news — hell I can hardly stand to read it. Twitter is a cesspool of bullshit, attention grabbing links, and it’s not where you get quality news — rather Twitter is where you get the same bullshit you would see on cable news.

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iPad Productivity Report — 01/16/17 🔒

Let’s talk about scripting on iOS.

Building an iOS Workflow App

One thing I used to do a lot on my Mac was to build small apps inside Keyboard Maestro which would help me accomplish really tedious shit. That’s something which is considerably harder to do on iOS — requiring you either use Pythonista, and thus learn Python, or use Workflow and deal with a clunky UI and a limited tool set.

I’m not bitter, I’m just disappointed.

Still, I wanted to build one of these little apps this past week — both to see if I could actually build it, and secondly to help me out with a fun little idea I had. The idea was very simple: I have three different lists of things and I want to be given a random items off of the specified list. Nothing earth shattering, and something I could easily do on my Mac.

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