I like the simplicity of writing in plain text. The only thing you are worried about are the words themselves, not any fancy fonts or complicated designs. To me, that restriction stokes my creativity and forces me to make the text itself creative, as opposed to simply what it’s wrapped in.

via freshcutwritings.tumblr.com/post/142795402166/plain-text

Plain Text

“Building better reading interfaces requires that we closely observe and rethink the way we read. While we need to find ways to navigate long texts on tablets, typography will continue to play the main role in the performance of a reading interface.”

“The technical challenges, information architecture, interaction design, and digital typography are complex and tough. But if our goal is to build digital reading interfaces that improve the efficiency of our reading experience as much as the bicycle improved the efficiency of our legs, we have to not just optimize screen typography and type design, but rethink reading and writing from inside out.”

Improving the Digital Reading Experience

Twitter 140-Character Limit About to Change

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Twitter is building a new feature that will allow users to tweet things longer than the traditional 140-character limit, and the company is targeting a launch date toward the end of Q1, according to multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans. Twitter is currently considering a 10,000 character limit, according to these sources. That’s the same character limit the company uses for its Direct Messages product, so it isn’t a complete surprise.

Source: Re/code

Terminology for OS X Dictionary

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If you frequently use OS X Dictionary app, and you love seeing antonyms, synonyms, and similar word suggestions inline, then you’ll want to download and install Terminology for OS X Dictionary. I’ve used it less than a day and already found it infinitely more useful than the standard dictionaries.

Terminology for iOS is based on WordNet, a great semantic lexical reference. We do not offer a full Mac app for Terminology, but have prepared a dictionary using this same great data for use in the built-in OS X Dictionary app.Terminology for OS X is not an app, and does not have some of the features of the iOS version. It is, however, a great resource and the integration with the OS X Dictionary makes it work great with contextual “Look up…” commands and other integrations provided by the Dictionary app.

Source: Terminology for OS X Dictionary | Agile Tortoise

WooThemes Joins Automattic

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Great news about this acquisition:

“…we are joining the Automattic family!”

Also, good to read this, specifically:

“…If you’re using WooThemes products (extensions, themes, or other) your licenses and experience will continue as before and there is no reason to worry. In the coming weeks and months you can expect business as usual from WooThemes, now with the added power of Automattic behind everything we do.”

-Mark Forrester, WooThemes Joins Automattic

Don’t Screw With My Background App Refresh Settings

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I don’t feel like I should have to say this, much in the same way I shouldn’t have to tell someone to not purposely spill red wine on my living room rug. Apparently, however, some things actually do have to be said after all.

Seems there’s more and more of this lately:

  1. Install (or update) an app.
  2. Navigate to Settings > Background App Refresh.
  3. Find said app automatically switched this setting ’on’ totally unbeknownst to me, the user. No alert dialogue asking permission. No kiss on the cheek. Nothing.

It’s bad enough when, upon first install, a newly downloaded app does this. Worse still is updating an already installed app only to find that it switched ’on’ that same setting which, prior to the update, you had consciously set to ’off’.

It just feels wrong on so many levels. Not to mention the fact that with many apps having Background App Refresh enabled increases battery drain and is likely responsible for many people thinking that their iPhone simply has crap for battery life when that’s really not the case.

Respect for your users means not taking liberties on their behalf which they never asked you to take – and in some explicit cases – expressly forbid.

Developers: don’t enable Background App Refresh without asking permission, not even if it’s critical to the functionality in your app…and most certainly don’t override a setting which a user has previously chosen.

That’s a dick move if you ask me.

TextExpander in Every iOS 8 App

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Smileworthy news indeed. Huge news for productivity nerds and regular users alike.

TextExpander touch 3, coming on the heels of iOS 8 this fall, includes a TextExpander keyboard which can expand snippets in any app on the iPhone or iPad, including built-in apps such as Mail and Safari.

For a video example of what this will look like and to signup for the beta, check out the full post on the Smile blog. I’ll just be over here – doing a happy dance.


The New OmniFocus 2 beta for Mac is Out(standing)!

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Relying on OmniFocus as heavily as I do for remembering everything, I was excited when OmniFocus 2 for iOS (App Store link) was released in September 2013. I visited the App Store and couldn’t hit ‘BUY’ fast enough.

I immediately loved the direction they took with my favorite power tool for “getting things done” or, to be more precise, my favorite power tool for remembering to get things done.

I became a beta tester of the early OF2 for Mac and I must admit that I was not a fan of those early beta releases. They were missing features and incredibly buggy, not to mention the entire UI just wasn’t there yet.

By end of fall 2013, The OmniGroup went silent on the whole releasing beta builds front. As it turns out, they were anything but silent internally as they took incredible amounts of user feedback, combined with new inspiration for the design aesthetic of iOS 7 and went back to the drawing board.

Last week, a new OmniFocus 2 for Mac beta release was announced and I, like so many others, eagerly installed it hoping like hell that it was much better than the last beta build I’d fired up (now months ago).

I’ve now had a couple of days of working with OF2 Mac beta and I can confidently say that it’s truly awesome. The UI (finally, without use of a theme!) has beautiful polish like so many users have wanted for years now. The same rock-solid functionality is all still there, plus some extra nice touches like Quick Look, similar to Quick Entry but for…well, viewing projects, contexts, whatever. Very slick and very well done.

I won’t go into the details of the app – there are many other great resources for that sort of thing, like this video walkthrough by Tim Stringer.

All in all, it’s a beautiful update to an already indispensable app.

We all need help remembering things. With fast paced lives in the modern world, task management is a skill which is required by necessity and acquired by experience. You try a lot of things, some work, others don’t. In my own personal experience you will not find a finer, more elegant and efficient way to manage your tasks/brain/life than with OmniFocus. It just works.

If you need help managing your time and tasks and responsibilities and deliverables and deadlines and oh my! then I would encourage you to give OmniFocus 2 a try. I sleep easier at night knowing that my tasks and responsibilities are out of my head and in my trusted OmniFocus system.

In my humble opinion, this new version kicks ass and I can’t wait to hand them my money in June when the public release ships. (TAKE MY MONEY ALREADY, OMNIGROUP!)

If you were in on the early betas you can download this new beta using the same credentials you used before.

What do you think of OmniFocus 2 for Mac’s new beta? Love it or hate it, I’d love to know what you think!