Design

A 7-post collection

NetNewsWire 6 – now with iCloud Sync

As I’ve written about before, NetNewsWire is one of my favourite apps, and it’s absolutely my favourite way to consume news.

NetNewsWire focuses on the content, it puts you in control, and it’s refreshingly simple and honest.

As noted by the maker himself, Brent Simmons– NetNewsWire is a Mac-assed Mac app, the same applies to the iOS and iPad apps too. They’re the definition of well crafted native software for Apple’s platforms.

Until now, though, while I’ve had NetNewsWire installed on all my devices, I’ve only ever really used it on my iPhone. That’s because I didn’t have any of the third party services set up to sync my feeds and read-status across my iPhone, iPad and Mac.

Until now...

NetNewsWire 6 introduces my most wanted feature: syncing with iCloud.

Now all my feeds are on each of my devices. When I read an article on my iPhone it’s marked as read on my iPad and my Mac. Everything’s in sync, everything’s up to date, and it all just works.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with news – especially if you’re feeling bombarded by stories and ads and articles for things you don’t care for or want to know about – NetNewsWire is the app you’ve been looking for.

Not only is it great, it’s also free. What’s not to like?!

Get NetNewsWire on the App Store now

Tracking Nutrition – the missing half of Apple Fitness

Hot Dog Not Hot Dog – the ultimate in AI food detection from HBO's Silicon Valley

I'm increasingly obsessed with my own fitness.

I've been closing my rings on my Apple Watch ever since I first put it on my wrist back in 2015.

Through the pandemic and working from home, Apple Fitness+ became a helpful motivator for getting me to try new workouts and experiment with yoga, meditation, heck even dance – all without leaving the house.

I don't feel overweight – I feel "just about right" – but as I shift into a new decade of my life, I'm increasingly concious of the fact that I won't be able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, forever.

So I recently started using a great app, LoseIt! to help track the other half of my fitness – what I consume. While Apple Watch tracks my ability to lose calories and keep fit, LoseIt! tracks what I put in – helping me to balance that all important equation: "calories IN minus calories OUT = a negative number" if I want to lose weight.

I'm new to this calorie counting game – I never thought I'd be "one of those people" who asks how many calories are in a meal or in a cereal bar. I never thought I'd be someone who said no to a sweet treat. But increasingly – I am thinking twice about every snack I eat, and every portion of food I see on a plate.

Along with tracking the calories I'm consuming, I'm also trying to keep track of WHEN I eat food. I've been trying to obey a stricter schedule for when I wake, when I eat each meal, and when I get to sleep. According to some, WHEN you eat is just as important, if not more so than WHAT you eat.

I'm concious that when I eat, I am usually with people – friends, family, my partner, colleagues. I don't want to be sitting with a plate of delicious food poking at an app trying to add things to a calorie tracking app. Instead, I have found the least distracting, most effective solution is to simply snap a quick photo as subtley as I can of the meal I'm eating.

By snapping a photo I can grab an instant snapshot of the meal I had, along with the size, and the time I was about to eat it – which I can add to LoseIt! at a later date when I have more time to note down and clarify the details.

There are a few rumours circling that Apple may be bringing some form of food tracking functionality to iOS 15. This is something I am rather excited about – and if it's true, I can't wait to see how this works, and how accurate it will be. I'm sure Apple can find an innovative way to solve some of these complex problems.

I'm also excited to see what a company with the resources of Apple can do in a problem space that is

Apple Store Bangkok Vortex Ceiling

Vortex Ceiling, Apple Store, Bangkok
Vortex Ceiling, Apple Store, Bangkok

There are few better ways to spend a Saturday in lockdown than drawing. I find it incredibly therapeutic, and I get a thrill from finishing a piece and sharing it with others to see their reaction.

This is no masterpiece – just a quick sketch – but I felt compelled to quickly draw the vortex ceiling of the Apple Store in Bangkok, Thailand.

Apparently this ceiling is made from 1,800 pieces of oak. I’ve never been to the store, or Thailand at all for that matter. Perhaps one day we’ll be allowed out again and I can see this for myself!

I drew this on my iPad Pro, with Apple Pencil, and used Procreate – the best value app I think I’ve ever purchased.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CMFkI2WpUHn/

A few updates to my blog

Updates to the look and feel of the blog.

While spending my weekend indoors – as we all are right now – I've spent some time updating my blog.

What's changed?

  • New navigation to the left of content.
  • Homepage now features more of each post – rather than just snippets.
  • New "About Me" page with a currently miniscule amount of information about me.
  • New "Email Updates" page to sign up for, well, email udpates for new posts.
  • Improved typography throughout – and now using the wonderful Inter font.
  • New styling for links in posts.
  • Improved styling for footnotes.
  • Removed a bunch of extraneous cruft.

It's been a rewarding project, and it's a pleasure working with the Ghost blogging platform.

Hopefully I can now focus more energy into writing in the knowledge that my blog is looking a little more polished.

The best laptop hinge ever designed

iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard

I haven’t used it yet – as far as I’m aware, no one outside Apple has.

But the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro looks fantastic.

Sure, it has the trackpad that many have been clamouring for for many years, but it’s the hinge that blew me away.

I felt the previous keyboard covers for the iPad were some of the most confusing products Apple has ever made – the hinge and flaps were so complicated. They always reminded me of when you have a large map and you try to fold it back up to put it away and can never quite fold it exactly as it needs to be.

This new hinge – with the ability to adjust the screen on multiple axes – appears to give the user more options in viewing angle than any current laptop.

It begs the question – if it's great for the iPad, would a "floating cantilever" not be great for MacBooks too?

A first look at Pitch

I am so excited for this product. What a beautifully made, perfect teaser video.

I really want to get my hands on this – I get the feeling it's going to make Keynote and Powerpoint feel like they're from the stone age.

Their full post has some more information about a few features, and the rollout of Pitch – a rethink on presentation software.

How much do you care about the details?

The details are not details. They make the design. – Charles Eames

I was lucky enough to get a new Apple Watch this week – the Series 4 Nike+.

Apple Watch box and lid.

The packaging is beautiful as with any Apple product. Compared to my Series “0” original Apple Watch, the packaging is different – being a sport model it's unboxing the Series 4 is slightly less theatrical, but it’s still delightful and the details astound me.

One point that stood out – there’s hardly any documentation, but the paperwork that is in the box is carefully crafted down to the last detail.

Apple Watch face, bezel, and paper border radius.

Look at the border radius and shape of the paper – look at the border shape of the watch, the screen of the watch, and even the wrapper that goes around the paper. Even look at the previous image and see the box cut-out that holds the paper in place.

They all match up. And that’s not by accident.

Imagine the time and effort it took to ensure that happened internally – from the graphic design of the leaflet, to the collaboration with the printing team to the facility where they cut the paper stock. To the quality control to ensure it always looks perfect and not wonky or misaligned.

All this effort for a detail that almost no one will pick up on. But almost everyone will feel it.