Hi, first and foremost an apology for me being absent on RocketINK… but not only the blog took a downtime. In the meantime I sorted out some of life’s issues that arise from time to time, started a new side-project (Der Ubercast - a German tech podcast with an aeronautic theme), gathered material for a link list that would fill pages and also made some more Keyboard Maestro macros.
A word of warning, I will start out slowly since I’m now determined to finish my BA thesis as swift as possible. Yep. I got priorities now. And as a side note, this blog ranks pretty high in my book. The sad truth is, I had to figure out the hard way that me procrastinating on one major thing ultimately will slow down everything else. I knew it all along, but it took some time to sink in.1
Yosemite Sidebar Separators
Now to the meat of this post. It’s light-weight, like I mentioned above. We will start gently. What we are dealing with is a follow-up to an old post of mine which was a follow-up to an ever older post from 2011 when I briefly gave Google+ a go as blogging platform: sidebar separators for OS 10.10. And let me tell you, they are a thing of beauty and shine like the only have shimmered before Lion.
In former builds (≤ Snow Leopard) our lovely operating system of choice needed no extra tweaking to add this little hack to the Finder. Later we needed to decided which default icon we wanted to display with a blank icon, the applications folder or smart folders. As of today, we still need to replace the Applications folder file, but this time our applications folder icon stays intact whilst or separators just work and have no icon in front of them. Nice.
In the attached download you’ll find a zip file with the following content:
the replacement file with a blank icon
a backup folder with the original Yosemite icon
Applications folder with 8 dummy applications (which will do absolutely nothing when clicked)
an alias to the system folder where we need to replace the file
Drag SidebarApplicationsFolder.icns onto the Drop here - Resources alias folder.
Add the dummy applications to your sidebar at the position where you want to add a separator. You’ll need to drag the files whilst holding down the command key (⌘). If you need more separators duplicate them and add another space to the name.
To make the changes appear in your Finder hit the terminal and enter killAll Finder, if that doesn’t do the trick you can try killAll SystemUIServer or just log out and back in again.
I’m really not good at managing priorities. But I’m learning. ↩
Ever wondered what if you could trigger IFTTT actions via a button? Well, for 69 Euros (roughly $94) you can stop pondering and start pushing “The bttn”.
On the official website there are several use cases outlined like your child could send a message with the push of a button when arriving from school or the bttn could remind you to take your medicine since it also has a wait-mode where it pulses slow (and later more rapidly if you decide to ignore it). Another popular use case is this scenario which is very common in shared flats:
Despite that, the bttn mainly targets business owners. I’m sure there’s a wide variety of options where a button like the bttn makes sense, from the small local pizza place up to a big logistics and delivery company. In all honesty, who can resist pressing a red button?
Since the bttn’s LED lights can emulate four states, I’m already trying to think of actions where the bttn could help me bring some visual feedback into my GTD system. I’m not sure if it’s versatile enough for me, but it should be possible to send a timer via Launch Center Pro to IFTTT and get the bttn to blink. It’s no replacement for Due, but for important timers I can see it working.
My best guess is that blue is used for the pulsing.
The bttn is build for indoor use and is powered by a battery or micro USB-cable. It works by sending a (free) message via the built-in GSM modem or over your home Wi-Fi to the companies server where it gets forwarded to your pre-configured IFTTT action. In the comments of this TechCrunch article it’s also mentioned by an employee that they are working on a Zapier integration.
Said article also highlights that there’s a business model with monthly fees:
The business model for a b2b-focused bttn will be monthly fees — something that corporate partners are more likely to be happy to pay for than private users. But early bttn adopters can snag the device without the monthly fee. Those who pre-order the device now can expect it to ship in October.
I’m not sure if this will only be mandatory for business who order a certain amount of units or if home users would have to pay that fee, too, after the pre-order sale ends on the 31st August.
When the Microsoft Surface was announced along with the keyboard cover my friends where very excited. That simple elastic keyboard which doubles as a cover was something that Microsoft definitely did right.
Although it can’t hold up to a real keyboard where haptic and usability are superior, it is a nice addition.
Just like there is a standard suite of apps installed on your iPad to take notes, write emails, make calls, etc., there should be an input devices which is there for you when you’re in need of writing over a longer period of time and which is out of the way if you don’t need it.
In short, it is something many people, including myself, wished that Apple would offer, too.
Well, Apple so far Apple hasn’t put much effort on this front, but some engineers have tried to fill that gap. One of them which demoed a keyboard in January 2012 which looked like a solid product. Good things take a while but the MyType keyboard was successfully founded in August 2013 and you can order one for $59.95 in their online shop.
It doesn’t double as a cover, but it’s flexible, portable and my guess is that typing on it isn’t to bad for a gadget that aims at taking less space up in your bag than a full-size non-foldable keyboard.
Update:I already own the Logitech Tablet Keyboard, the same that Federico reviewed. Personally, I’d regard this keyboard more as an addition or backup keyboard. One that can stay in the bag all the time and is there when you need it. Although being relatively small, I think twice before putting the Logitech in my bag.
• Desktop Key Spacing When Open
• Pocket Sized When Closed
• Use for Business, School, or Travel
• Completely Wireless With Bluetooth Technology
• Available in Five Colors: Black, White, Blue, Green, and Pink
• Dimensions When Open: 12.5” x 3.6” x .3”
• Dimensions When Closed: 6.8” x 3.6” x .3”
• Tested at 75 Words per Minute
• Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery
• Battery Life: ~8 Hours of Typing
• Micro USB Charging
• BlueTooth 2.1
• Max Wireless Range: 33 Feet
• Splash Resistant
• Works with iPhone, iPad 2/3, iPAD Mini, iPod Touch, and Android (with HID support), Window 8 Tablets
Having just written my short entry for Three things to read, watch, and use I can’t stop thinking sharing more of my favorites with the world. This is precisely what I intend to do more. Today it’s another reading recommendation – I’ll do my best to keep it spoiler-free.
What you see above is a part of the Thursday Next Series by British author Jasper Fforde. He’s a movie guy who - praise the lord - found his way into the world of books. He wrote a couple of short stories until his first novel was published in 2001: “The Eyre Affair”. The novel is part of the Thursday Next Series which currently spans over 7 books (with the next part already in the making).
The series is set in an rather odd alternative world. For instance there is a Special Operations Network [SpecOps] which deals with all kind of crimes. The heroine of this series, Thursday Next, works in the SpecOps-27 department, which makes her a Literary Detective. Here’s a citation from the official SpecOps website so you can get of feel of what Thursday is dealing with:
Feel your new original copy of Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ is a bit weak in alliteration? It could be a bootleg copy. Contact us for all literary problems. Beware of forged Jonsonia and take heed when purchasing ‘original’ manuscripts. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Shakespeareana is now looked after by its own division, SO-29.
Sounds pretty cool, hey? Well, it is. And it gets even better since Japser is a man with a limitless fantasy. One alternative reality isn’t enough. There’s another one: Bookworld.
I just promised a few stanzas above that I won’t put any teasers in here, but this is sort of the one that is supposed to get you hooked on the series. Thursday will travel through the world of books. You might don’t know it yet, but the characters inside those white pages with all the letters on are alive. If you’re the right kind of person you can talk and interact with them, you just have to know how to book your ticket to Bookworld… and Thursday knows… which leads to a whole lot of fun.
I read the first three books in 8 days while I was on vacation in Kenia. I was sick and couldn’t do anything despite of lying on my canvas chair. What can I say, Thursday made the whole affair (not only the Eyre, also mine) a lot easier for me. I was feeling shitty. My back ached because I somehow sat wrong for the whole flight and only got better after 7 days, I got diarrhea on the second day and after fourth day a major depression accompanied me for the rest of the vacation since I’m not good at dealing with poverty when witnessing it first hand. All the tourists acting all touristy-like and the Kenyans who shadowed them, trying to sell them stuff every minute was too much for me. It would have been a completely other story if it wasn’t the classic holiday package with one week in an all-inclusive hotel and the other week with a Safari. I wouldn’t have booked it that way, but I jumped in for a friend of my mom who canceled last minute and she didn’t want fly to Africa alone. But enough whining… Africa was more than picturesque and the few insights into the real culture aloof of tourist paths where very nice and interesting… as was Thursday Next….
The one thing I regret was borrowing part four to my diving instructor because I didn’t think that I was able to plow through those pages as I did. Then the detoxification kicked in. I finished the third book and wanted to know what’s next on the menu. Luckily the hotel had a small bookshelf and I found two books that I hadn’t read before (The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith and a another novel which I can’t remember the name of right now). Luckily my diving instructor was a quick reader, too, and she returned the fourth book before I left for the Safari.
All-in-all, I can recommend putting a few Jasper Fforde books in your luggage when traveling to another continent. You might not experience any of the afflictions I had, but you will have a splendid time if there’s a moment where you have nothing to do. You can tune out and discover a whole new world. That’s the magic of books. I was able to witness a beautiful world when looking at the pages in front of me and a dreadfully beautiful world when looking up.
This series is for book nerds and people who just like to read, not just for the fantasy nuts. It has a good dose of sci-fi and a lovely nostalgic charm at the same time. If you have a solid basis and have read Shakespeare, the Brontë Sisters, Dickens and alike you will enjoy it even more since you can take a look behind the scenes and rediscover your favorite heroes and heroines in a new light. Lastly, for the conspiracy theorists there’s an huge global corporation which is called Goliath… I can’t go into the details but I can promise you will see Goliath everywhere.