LifeHacker interview article

Here’s an interesting LifeHacker interview article by Tessa Miller, in the “Behind the App” series, on the backstory behind the iOS app Drafts and it’s creator, Greg Pierce. If anyone uses Drafts, please post in the comments! I’m rather stuck to iA Writer myself, the interface and keyboard is so clean. But Drafts looks to have nice functionality and may have even better cursor control than iA Writer?

After launching in 2012, Drafts quickly became one of our favorite note taking apps. The brainchild of developer Greg Pierce, Drafts allows you to jot down ideas and either save them for later, or export them to your calendar, email, Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, or Simplenote, among many others. You can also use Drafts to search any website’s archive, and pair it withIFTTT to do a bunch of cool stuff (like automatically email notes to you). We caught up with Greg to find out how Drafts came to be, and to get his advice for aspiring developers.

Click here to read the full article. And click here to check out the Who uses drafts and what do you love/dislike about it?

iOS 7 upgrade tutorial

Many of my clients have asked me if it’s time to upgrade to iOS 7. As it is a “.0 release,” we have to expect that there will be bugs and some applications you might use will not be updated and may run poorly (crashing) or not at all.  That said, most of the applications I use on a daily basis seem to be running fine on iOS 7.

Here is what I advise my clients to consider and do before upgrading:

  1. ONCE YOU JUMP, YOU CAN’T COME BACK. There is no down-grading back to iOS 6.x once you install iOS 7. (There are potential exceptions to this if you have saved your SHSH blobs with Tiny Umbrella, etc, but it’s best to consider the jump permanent.) Thus, one must make sure one’s ready to jump! So….. 
  2. The first thing I suggest my clients do is to check with their system administrators to see if all business-critical applications they run on their iPhones and/or iPads are iOS 7 ready and tested on their business networks. Seek the advise of your admin about upgrading — will you loose critical business functionality? Will your admin be able to support you if business-critical apps don’t function correctly?
  3. Make a list of the most important applications you use on a daily basis — for most users, a top-10 or top-20 list should suffice. These are the apps that you just couldn’t live without.
  4. Then, check these applications out on your computer in iTunes > iTunes Store. Check the Info about these applications and see if they are iOS 7 compatible. You might have to click “…More” in the lower right had corner of a text block under “Description” or under “What’s new in version xxx” to see the full list of changes. You are looking for something that mentions “compatibility with iOS 7.”
  5. If you don’t find info on iOS 7 compatibility for your most-used apps in iTunes, search the web for the developer of the app in question, and see if there is info on the company blog or other company support site. Feel free to contact the developer for more info. It’s important to know that your most used apps are compatible with the system before you update. You don’t want to be kicking yourself later and loosing productivity because you updated at a moment when critical applications you use were not ready.
  6. Software update on your Mac. Go to the apple menu and choose “Software Update.” Install any updates the App Store / Software Update has for your machine. This update will include iTunes 11.1, if you have not already downloaded and installed it. You will need iTunes 11.1 to install iOS 7 on your compatible iOS devices.
  7. Update all apps in iTunes. Go to iTunes on your computer, and choose Apps, and go to the Updates tab on the top menu bar on the right. Choose Update All apps.  
  8. Sync your iPhone/iPad/iPod. Plug your phone into your computer and sync. Do not update the software yet! It may start a sync automatically, or you may have to press Sync on the bottom right. 
  9. Open iPhoto, and import all photos from your device. 
  10. Manually backup your phone to your computer. You may have it set so that your phone automatically backs up to iCloud, and this is fine. But before you update your OS, I suggest you backup your phone to your computer. It’s best to hold a local backup before a major software upgrade.  Choose your iPhone in the list of devices in iTunes, and then go to the Summary tab, and choose “Back Up Now” in the section titled “Manually Back Up and Restore”.
  11. STOP. Quit all applications. Log out, and log back in with the Shift key held down. 
  12. Backup your computer, ideally with SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner, to make a bootable clone of your computer at this moment. This will include backups of your iOS device you just made.
  13. Boot up / restart your computer. 
  14. Now you are ready to start the iOS 7 upgrading process
  15. Plug in your compatible iOS device, and let it sync to iTunes if it does so automatically.
  16. If it prompts you with a dialog box that says “new software is available for you device,” you can now choose “download and install.” 
  17. If it does not prompt you with a dialog box, then choose your iOS device in the list of devices, and go to the Summary tab, and on the top right inside the Summary window, click “Check for Update.” 
  18. Once it finds the available iOS 7 update, click on Download and Update Now. It is advisable to update your device from iTunes rather than on the device itself. You can update from the device, but I would suggest updating from iTunes on a computer.
  19. THE UPDATE WILL TAKE TIME TO DOWNLOAD! Depending on your internet connection speed, this could take between 20 minutes and 2+ hours — each iOS 7 software update package is more than 1 GB. 
  20. If you have clicked Download and Update, then leave your device plugged in to the computer and it will start the updating process automatically.
  21. When the Latest software, iOS 7.0, has been installed on your device, it will ask you if you want to restore it from a backup of your device or set it up as a new device. I usually use major software updates as a time to do spring cleaning, so I set it up as a new device and go through and choose what apps I really want on the device, the ones I actually use regularly. Then I choose the music again. And the photos again. And the videos again. I do all of this instead of just blindly taking what I had had before. I always end up with at least 30% more free space on my device, and this is good! All of this takes time, however. It takes time to choose the apps, to organize them on your home screens / pages / folders, and it takes time to sync them. The same goes for the music and pictures. But it starts you off with a clean slate! If you don’t have the time, you can just restore from your most recent backup of your device, which will be offered to you in the drop-down list.
  22. After you have chosen to set up your device anew, then this last moment of syncing won’t take too long. *Note: If you restore it from a backup, it will do it’s syncing at this point, and this will take a while, especially if you have lots of music, apps, photos, etc. You’ll have to just let it do it’s thing.
  23. Especially if you have set it up as a new device, it is at this moment I would suggest manipulating the syncing Options inside the Summary tab at the bottom of the Summary window, before you start determining music and photos and apps. These are the settings I suggest:  
  24. AUTOMATICALLY SYNC WHEN THIS PHONE IS CONNECTED > up to you. I do not keep this checked, I prefer to sync manually and have control over when my phone syncs (because sometimes I charge from my computer and do not wish to sync at that moment). But this is pure preference.
  25. SYNC THIS iPHONE/iPAD OVER WIFI. Also personal preference. I keep this box unchecked myself. 
  26. SYNC ONLY CHECKED SONGS AND VIDEOS. I keep this box unchecked
  27. PREFER STANDARD DEFINITION VIDEOS. I keep this box checked
  28. CONVERT HIGHER BIT RATE SONGS TO 128 kbps AAC. I keep this box checked
  29. MANUALLY MANAGE MUSIC AND VIDEOS. I keep this box unchecked. Now, this will prompt you with a dialog box which will say all music will be deleted from this device and replaced with music from this iTunes library. If you are setting up your device as a new device, then there is no music on it anyway, so there is nothing to loose. However, after you uncheck this box, you’ll need to go to the Music tab and change the settings — by default, it choose to sync your entire music library, and this will likely be much too large to fit on your device. You do NOT want to fill every last MB of space on your phone with music! Ideally you should have at least 20% free space on the phone for it to run as fast as possible. So, inside Music tab choose “Sync Music” and then below “Selected playlists, artists, albums and genres.”
  30. Go through each tab and make sure you are syncing only what you want: 
  31. Apps: choose the apps you want, and you can arrange them on screen and pages and folders right from iTunes. Folders can now hold more apps than before, you can have multiple pages of apps in a folder! This is nice for the clutter-conscious.
  32. Choose Apply or Sync on the bottom right after you make changes in each tab. It will sync, maybe take a long time depending, and then you can make more changes.
  33. Go through each top-menu bar tab and determine what you want to sync. Apps, Tones, Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, Books, Photos. Apply changes after you make changes in a given screen. 
  34. Photos. It’s a good practice to make albums in iPhoto and drag photos you want to sync to your device into those albums. then, in iTunes / Device / Photos, choose only those albums that contain photos you actually will use on the device. 
  35. Sync again at the end. 
  36. Finally, backup your device again in the Summary Tab > Manually Back Up Now.  This will give you a new backup after all your hard work setting up your newly updated iOS 7 device!

Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns before, during or after the upgrading process! 

Things for Mac: best-in-class Task Management Software on Sale now

Anyone living in the modern world and using a Mac needs to consider Things, a simple yet extremely powerful way to take control of your life, one task at a time. It is best-in-class Task Management Software, now it’s on deep sale. Click here for the link to get to the Mac AppStore Things page. Sale ends Jan 31, 2013.

For a limited time only, Things Mac is on sale for an incredibly great price.

As the new year gets into full swing, the Mac App Store is holding a “Get Stuff Done” sale. You can get Things Mac for a whopping 50% off the normal price.

This sale runs from January 24-31. If you’ve been holding out on getting Things for your Mac, this is a wonderful opportunity.

Things for Mac also updates seamlessly with Things for iPad and Things for iPhone via our free Things Cloud service.

– The Cultured Code Team


DEVONtechnologies 25% off Sale this weekend


If you have ever considered a database application to help you organize your digital world, DEVONthink IS THE ONE. It is hands down the best of class database application for Mac OSX. It offers: Direct Scanning to OCR, iPhone and iPad companion apps to keep your data with you and at your fingertips, Artificial Intelligence to help make sense of vast quantities of data or find that important document super fast. Do you have a bunch of PDFs that were downloaded from the internet? Have you ever wanted to search them all really fast for phrase occurances? Have you ever wanted an automated filing system for your digital office? Are RSS feeds clogging your email application? Woud you like to archive thousands of old emails to make your email application load and run faster? Do you need a bomb-proof system to catch, hold, and organize your data?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you owe it to yourself to check out DEVONthink Pro Office and DEVONtechnologies’ other offerings.

I know I could not function or run a business nearly as effectively without DEVONthink Pro Office.

And, they’re having a sale this weekend! Definitely check it out HERE between March 29, 2012 at 6 p.m. CET and Tuesday, April 3, 2012, at 9 a.m. CET).

From the DEVONtechnologies’ DEVONupdate email:

Ten years ago, on March 31, 2002, DEVONtechnologies opened its shop doors and we sold the very first license of DEVONthink 1.0. And we enjoyed every year since creating great software for great people — like you.

Thank you for that wonderful time! And because we’re so happy we give you 25 percent discount on all our apps all this weekend long! Whether you don’t have a license for DEVONthink, DEVONagent, DEVONsphere, or DEVONnote yet and want to buy one, or you want to give a license to someone who needs it, too — this weekend is your chance to get it for a great price! Click here or our birthday cake above to grab your discount (not available before March 29, 2012, 6 p.m. CET).

This is a world-wide offer and so starts on March 29, 2012 at 6 p.m. CET so that you can take advantage of it regardless if you live in New Zealand or on Hawaii. The offer will close on Tuesday, April 3, 2012, at 9 a.m. CET.

iMessage on your Mac!

Apple has just released Message Beta, which allows you message iOS iMessage users (iPhone and iPad and iPod Touch) from your computer. Message Beta is a feature to be released in the next desktop operating system OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, but Apple has allowed the public access to the Message app in Beta form. You can download it from here and try it out. Feel free to post your experiences! This will be very handy for those of us who live at our computers — we’ll now essentially be able to send text messages from our computer, although only to others who use MacOS X (Lion/Mtn Lion) or iOS (5.x+) devices.

Dropbox: beyond the basics

Dropbox is one of the most popular and useful of the cloud-syncing applications, with clients for nearly every platform desirable. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you really should consider the excellent, and free, application PlainText, which allows you to edit DropBox documents easily on your iOS device. After basic editing and sharing of folders, accomplished through your account at, there are a variety of other ways to utilize the syncing service. Here are two articles from LifeHacker about how to make the best use of DropBox. Please comment with queries!

“Use Dropbox for More than Just File Syncing”

“The Cleverest Ways to Use DropBox That You’re Not Using.”