Date Archives September 2015

Peace: Ad Blocker for iOS 9

Update: Marco Arment has now pulled Peace from the App Store. Find out more here.

One of most talked about features of iOS 9 is the ability to enable content blockers. This gives you the power to disable ads, comment sections, social network plug-ins and much more from running in Safari.

Running an ad-blocker on iOS will make Safari faster, use less data and increase battery performance. Today Marco Arment released an ad-blocker for iOS 9 called Peace. I’ve already downloaded it myself and it’s fantastic. If you’re wary of advertisers, you should download Peace now.

OmniFocus Review

For a long time I’ve struggled to stay on top of my daily to-do list. I constantly forgot to do things, delayed doing others I should’ve done a while ago and was unable to progress at projects I wanted to complete.

To be frank, I was unproductive.

I’ve long searched for an application to help me get better at getting things done. I’ve tried detailed programs like Things and Wunderlist, simple programs like Clear, and even extremely simple things like a notepad to keep me organized. And yet, all of these methods failed. It took all of two or three days for me to complete forget their existence and to slide back into my normal routine of forgetting, delaying and stagnation.

I had all but given up hope when I decided to try the most advanced task manager of them all, OmniFocus. I’d heard good things from my of my colleagues on Twitter, but quickly dismissed it. I mean, how would it be any different?

Regardless, I made one final attempt to be more productive. I downloaded OmniFocus 2 on both my Mac and iPhone in an attempt to get things done.

And did I ever get things done.

It’s still early, but OmniFocus has jived with my mind and made me more productive. It’s made me a more organized and better person.

I start every day by dumping all of daily tasks into OmniFocus. Then I get to work, crossing off item after item. As a new task pops up during the day, I immediately add it to my inbox and sort it into the correct context. Quick and simple.

By making a full commitment to one program, I feel like I can take one look at OmniFocus and get a full glimpse of everything going on in my life. Home projects. Work tasks. Baby preparation. It’s all there.

I always thought my task list was best served via my iPhone, but I’m starting to feel otherwise. OmniFocus on the Mac is a powerful tool and my favourite way of interacting with my to-dos. It’s nice to be able to see lists on-the-go, but if I could only have OmniFocus on one platform, it’d be the Mac.

That being said, Omnifocus is fantastic on the Apple Watch (and with a new compilation, it’s only going to get better).

The thing about productivity is that everyone tackles it differently. There’s no right way to do it. It makes sense then why there are so many different applications available, each promising to make you more productive. The truth is, for some, only one will do. For some, a simple checklist like Clear is sufficient. Others may prefer paper.

Myself? I prefer OmniFocus. It keeps me organized, sane, and makes me feel more productive. I don’t know about you, but I can’t put a price tag on that.

OmniFocus is available online for the price of $45.99 or $79.99 for the Pro version (which I recommend). On iPhone and iPad, it’s available for $45.99.

Do yourself a favour and use OmniFocus. If you’re anything like me and struggle to stay on top of things, you won’t regret it.

Apple Event Predictions

Another Apple event, another set of predictions from me. I’ll try to keep these quick.

The meat of the show will of course be the iPhone 6S/6S Plus with Force Touch. There will be lengthy demos of the new technology as well as a recap of iOS 9 features.

Apple Watch will get a fair amount of presentation time. I expect to see a recap of WatchOS 2.0, some new app demos and new band colours.

Most of this should come as no surprise as it has been reported on time and time again.

Most of the speculation comes from the supposed ‘iPad Pro’ and the new Apple TV.

I don’t expect to see the iPad Pro unveiled tomorrow.

Not that I don’t think it’s ready to show, but because I don’t think there will be enough time. As Phil Schiller alluded, in an interview with John Gruber, the 2 hours (or less) is the ideal length for an Apple Keynote. I don’t see how it’s possible to include all of these announcements AND a new iPad model in one keynote.

Considering all that’s expected to be announced in regards to the new Apple TV – hardware, new version of iOS, App Store SDK, gaming details – I can’t imagine Apple glossing over this announcement. I expect the new Apple TV will take up a good portion of tomorrow’s keynote.

That it in itself is a packed keynote, not to mention the potential for a recap of El Capitan and Apple Music.

I’m excited to see what tomorrow will bring from Apple. Get ready for a packed event, I know I am.

Boom 2 Review

I first discovered Boom while working at an open concept office without any music. On a daily basis, everyone was forced to either work in complete silence, or put on headphones and disconnect from everyone around them. While the latter is not necessarily always a bad thing, it’s impossible to do while working collaboratively.

Over time I began playing music on my Macbook Pro internal speakers. Everyone loved the background music, even if the volume was hindered by the small speakers inside my Macbook.

That’s when I stumbled across a Mac utility called Boom.

Boom is straight forward in what it does, but it does it extremely well. Using no additional hardware, Boom artificially boosts the sound levels of your speakers to make everything sound better, and more importantly, louder.

Around eight months ago, Boom 2 was released, improving the concept and adding some neat new features. Boom is now tailored specifically to every Mac in Apple’s lineup, which means the sound quality and volume is even crisper and louder.

Boom 2 also comes in with a built-in equalizer which can work with a variety of programs on your Mac making everything from music to movies sound better.

Once I installed Boom on my Mac, I knew there was no going back. Over time it was installed on every Mac in my house and now with Boom 2, it’s becoming even more difficult to live without.

Boom 2 is available on the App Store for $16.99. 

If you’re still unsure about Boom, you can download a free trial on the developers website. Just be warned: once you try Boom, you won’t want to use a Mac without it.

Steve Jobs: The Man In The Machine Review

Gibney is befuddled by why average people would mourn the death of Steve Jobs, someone they’d never met who Gibney sees mostly as a jerk who ran an electronics company. But to see Jobs as only that not only misunderstands the man, but the world we live in today. We live in the computer age, and no man has shaped that age and how we use computers more than Steve Jobs.

At one point I was interested in watching this documentary, but now not so much.