Chief Growth Officer & Co-Founder - Aura, Inc. VP of Marketing for Risk I/O - VP Marketing for Splunk. Director of SourceForge for 5+ years.
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Drafts 5.2 โ€“ The Navigation Update โ€“ nahumck.me

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I really like seeing the pace of Drafts development. I can’t remember exactly where I heard Greg talk about it, but with the subscription model, he no longer has to wait a long period of time for big updates to drop new features; the releases can be done quickly, with focused changes in each one. This is great for him, and even better for users. Like the previous point release, the 5.2 update includes updates that provide better functionality within the app.

Draft Navigation

When writing my review, I needed a way to navigate between the different sections, and all of the subheadings I had created. I had developed an action to navigate to each of the markdown headers, which I was happy with at the time. It was nice to have that functionality to switch around where I was in my review.

Well, I’m happy to say that I have been Sherlocked.

In the upper right corner of the editor, there is a small triangle icon; when you tap the icon, you are presented with a navigation menu. Not only does this navigate headers in Markdown, but it also navigates projects in TaskPaper, and code blocks in JavaScript. It also include a top and bottom button, as well as a select all button.

Additionally, using the keyboard shortcut ⌘\, you can use your external keyboard now to navigate your way through longer writing, coding, or task management projects. This implementation is much better than I could have ever programmed in an action, and it’s great to see this type of behavior built into the application itself. As more syntax highlights come in the future, it will be nice to have navigation along with them.

Loading Modules

My favorite feature of Drafts has been workspaces. In the initial app release, it was possible to use the URL scheme to switch workspaces. Someone in the Drafts Community forum created a workspace switcher action group that could be customized to switch workspaces, using shortcut keys for external keyboards. While switching workspaces in this manner was fantastic, I wanted to see more in the way of loading modules. From my review:

Pushing modules further, I would love to see Workspaces get improved by allowing a pre-defined action group. That way when switching workspaces, the user can automatically have all necessary tools at their disposal right away, thus speeding up capture.

The idea of modules – using a workspace in conjunction with action groups – has been a game changer for the way I use Drafts. And now through scripting and URL steps, I can not only change workspaces, but I can also change the action groups in both the action drawer and extended row; this takes the module concept to completion. For those that don’t want to get into scripting, new URL schemes are available to switch action groups: – /loadActionGroup?name=GROUP-NAME loads action group in action drawer, while /loadKeyboardActionGroup?name=GROUP-NAME loads action group in extended keyboard. If you want to switch workspaces and both action groups, you can have a single module action with three URL steps, one each for the component you are changing.

But for those that use scripting, there are additional methods that allow for some further capabilities with modules. Not only can you switch the workspace and load action groups, but you can show or hide the drafts or action drawer/list; if you had pinned the drawer previously, it will show up as pinned.

When running on the iPad, I want to have my draft list shown (and pinned); however, I don’t want this to be done on the iPhone. When I run an action on either device, I want it to have unique behavior. Thankfully, there is a device script object that pulls which device I’m running the action on, allowing me to change the behavior of the action. For an example of using modules in this way, I’ve shared a Writing Module which contains the following script step:

// Get device model
var model = device.model;

var module = "Writing"
var workspace = Workspace.find(module);
var keyboard = ActionGroup.find(module);
var group = ActionGroup.find("Social");

// Show draft list if action is run on an iPad
if (model == "iPad") {
    app.showDraftList();
}
else {
    app.hideActionList();
}

app.loadActionGroup(group);
app.loadKeyboardActionGroup(keyboard);
app.applyWorkspace(workspace);
editor.activate();

This loads the Writing workspace and extended row, and puts my Social action group to the side. I can use this module to create posts like this one or share a thought or tweet storm to Twitter. When I’m done writing, I can use the external keyboard to quickly switch modules into scripting or task management.

I have even created some additional options in each one: if I’m on my iPad, my drafts list is shown on the side; on the iPhone, it hides the action drawer, presenting you with the editor activated. In some of the modules, I have also loaded different action groups based on the device I’m using. This gives me full control of what I do and where I share my writing, all with a single action; coupled with the use of keyboard shortcuts, this is now a powerful app-like switcher right inside Drafts. I even created a Select Module action with select boxes to load modules when on my iPhone, which I have added to each of my action groups for faster switching. I have placed a duplicate action at the beginning of every action group so that I can switch modules on the fly, especially when on the iPhone. And I’ve thrown them into a module action group, though I haven’t made it an extended keyboard row option because I use the single action to switch on the iPhone and the keyboard shortcuts on the iPad.

Other Improvements

Speaking of sharing actions, there have been a few new elements added in the Action Directory. There are two new visual indicators: trusted member and tested action. These indications give users confidence that the actions listed have come from trusted sources and that they do not contain any errors. When I refer to errors here, I am not speaking about programming knowledge and efficiencies. It specifically refers to the result of the action and that it won’t damage any of your data. This will be handled by the developer on a case-by-case basis: after all, this is Agile Tortoise’s app, and they need to make these decisions for their app and business.

Another nice feature that has been added is the ability to assign tags after a successful action; this can be found in the action editor. When I post to Twitter, I will archive the draft and assign a tweet tag. There isn’t a special script code block required like I had before, it’s simply baked into the action. Users could apply something like a sent tag for messages or emails, or a submitted tag for when you’re sending your writing off for review/editing. The nice aspect of this is that you don’t have to apply the tags up front, but you can apply them after the fact.


The small but useful changes and new features are another nice release for Drafts. The navigational improvements are absolutely fantastic for how you move through Drafts. I’m getting very close to never leaving the keyboard when I’m on the iPad. I love how fast I’m able to switch through modules now, providing different the various different mini-apps at my fingertips to productively get everything done.

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Thoughtful, detailed coverage of everything Apple for 28 years

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We’re extremely pleased to pull back the curtains on our new Web site, which is the main face of a completely revamped Internet infrastructure. Adam Engst explains what we’re trying to achieve and how to make the most of the site.

Worried about your iPhone battery? iOS 11.3 tells you if you need a replacement. The latest version of iOS also introduces the beta of Business Chat, shows videos in Apple Music, and improves Safari.

In a welcome move, Apple has updated the entry-level 9.7-inch iPad with a faster chip, support for the Apple Pencil, and a few enhanced camera features. The price remains the same, starting at $329 for 32 GB.

Google has announced that no new users will be able to use the goo.gl URL shortening service after 13 April 2018, and existing users will lose access on 30 March 2019. Shortened links will redirect indefinitely.

watchOS 4.3 lets you control your HomePod from your Apple Watch, allows the Apple Watch’s Nightstand mode work in any orientation, and shows more information on the Siri watch face. tvOS 11.3 merely lets fourth-generation Apple TV owners play videos in their original frame rate, and HomePod 11.3 fixes bugs.

macOS 10.13.4 doesn't add any major features for most users, but it includes some welcome new features and fixes for professional users.

Apple is a bit of an underdog in the education market, where Google increasingly dominates with inexpensive, easily managed Chromebook laptops. On Tuesday, Apple staged an education-specific press event at a Chicago magnet school to trot out a host of education initiatives meant to make Apple more competitive in the classroom.

The iPad versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote gain Apple Pencil support for drawing and writing, along with Smart Annotations. Also, Pages has new ebook creation features.

Mark Jeftovic, the outspoken CEO of DNS provider easyDNS, has weighed in on the whole Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal with opinions that are simultaneously harsh and realistic. He starts by equating social media platforms to “The Spew,” a 1994 short story by Neal Stephenson in Wired, and lays out multiple condemnations of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. But then Jeftovic returns to the real question at hand: Should you delete your Facebook page? He recommends keeping business Facebook pages but not relying on them, and he says he’ll keep a personal Facebook page while assuming that anything he posts is completely public and will be used for targeting. But he votes against the mobile Facebook apps, which try their hardest to harvest your contact data.

Is your Finder sputtering and freezing? Josh Centers solved his Finder problems by cleaning out his Downloads folder and toggling Dropbox’s Finder integration.

If all goes according to plan, we’ll be starting the transition to our next-generation Internet infrastructure at the end of the week. Here’s an overview of how accounts will work, which you may need to know as you make article comments on the new site and manage your email subscriptions and TidBITS membership.

Apple has announced a new collection of Apple Watch bands, which will be available later this month. On the slate are new sport bands ($49), woven nylon bands ($49), sport loops ($49), and classic buckles ($149) in spring colors. Apple has also created new bundles, including the space gray aluminum Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) with the Black Sport Loop and the space gray aluminum Apple Watch Nike+ (GPS + Cellular) with the Midnight Fog Nike Sport Loop. The Nike Sport Loop band ($49), which will now be sold separately, will come in new colors, and the Hermès Single Tour Rallye ($439) and Double Tour ($489) bands now display contrasting paint details.

This is just a heads-up that we’ll be transitioning everything — Web site, mailing list, commenting system, membership system, and more — to new servers in a few weeks.

Apple has announced an education-focused event to be held at the end of March, at a Chicago high school. You might not want to buy an iPad or MacBook Air between now and then.

If you’ve been perturbed by how easy it to damage or lose the iPad Pro’s Apple Pencil, check out Twelve South’s PencilSnap. It’s a $29 leather case that holds the Apple Pencil snugly and attaches to the iPad Pro’s Smart Cover or Smart Keyboard with hidden magnets.

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Blog ยป Milken Institute

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Jackson Mueller
March 08, 2017

Hello, FinTech in Focus readers! Yours truly attended LendIt USA this week and focused, unsurprisingly, on the policy and regulatory track, including moderating a panel on the regulatory landscape for...

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The Fancy Hands Blog

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Wilko van de Kamp is a best-selling author, award-winning photographic artist and long-time Fancy Hands client. He also runs a weekly magazine called Living By Experience where he shares helpful tips for making the most of your time. Keep reading to find out how Fancy Hands has prevented Wilko from becoming his own assistant. 

Time is the one currency we all cannot get more of. We’re all on borrowed time, which sooner or later will run out. Yet we fill our time with being “busy”, claiming we “don’t have time”. It’s time to get your priorities in order, and starting making time for the things you love. Get your time back, before it runs out!

If you don’t have an assistant, you are one (quote by Raymond Aaron)

I’ve had a few assistants in the past that have helped me with building certain parts of my companies, and there have been several situations where I would just delegate anything I didn’t want to do myself. Not because I didn’t have the time for it, but simply because I didn’t feel like doing it. The fact I didn’t feel like doing it was a form of feedback I was ignoring. Some things I didn’t feel like doing shouldn’t be done in the first place as they didn’t serve any purpose. When I started focusing more on my core business, my assistants got more productive too. I don’t just delegate for the sake of delegating, I delegate for the sake of saving time. True efficiency meanseveryone gets to focus on the important things.

When was the last time you scheduled a difficult meeting? How many times did you have to email back and forth to select a date, time, and location that worked for everyone? How many travel websites do you visit to research your next vacation, trying to make sense of it all? How much time do you spend waiting on the phone listening to annoying music and (even worse) on-hold messages? Did you know this can end today? Don’t worry about the back and forth of scheduling meetings anymore. Spend more time enjoying your vacations instead of planning them. Stop making phone calls you don’t want to make. And much more.

Having a personal assistant used to be something reserved for the rich and famous, but not anymore. Thanks to the internet you can enjoy the benefits of having a “virtual assistant”, saving you time every day. Your time and money are worth more when you are able to concentrate on what you do best and leave the rest to an assistant. Virtual office assistants work from their own home-based offices and are highly trained in their skill areas as well as a variety of technologies. Many of them have advanced degrees as well as years of professional experience. Not only can a virtual assistant relieve you of mundane, everyday tasks, but also in many cases, s/he can even help you grow your business.

One of the biggest benefits to hiring a virtual assistant is the ability to delegate work to people who have better skills, and can do work you don’t know how to do, don’t have time to do, or just don’t want to do. The next big draw (when considering virtual assistants over bricks-and-mortar assistants) is that virtual assistants only clock-in and work when you need them and use their own resources. In other words, they’re not charging you to sit there and play solitaire on a computer you purchased for them.

Is it time to hire your own Virtual Assistant?

Top 10 Ways Solo-preneurs Use Virtual Assistants

1. Your VA receives calls routed to his/her home office phone so a call from your prospective customer does not go to voice mail.

2. You need to confirm appointments for the week. Your VA calls the appointments and notes who is confirmed and who must be rescheduled. Your VA even updates your calendar online, if you’re using a mutually accessible calendar program.

3. By using online invoicing software, billing can be done off-site by your VA. You email information to the VA, who then does daily electronic billing or accounting services to get your billing done.

4. You are preparing a marketing plan and need further information. Your VA can contact possible advertising outlets on the Internet, magazines, periodicals, newspapers, etc. and acquire information on pricing, publishing dates, publishing deadlines, payment policies, etc. All information is compiled into a report for you to review.

5. You are preparing a direct mailing and need to verify your database. The database is sent to your VA via email attachment. Your VA telephones each name and verifies name, spelling, title and address. All corrections are made, old names are deleted, and new names are added. The corrected database is “zipped” and returned to you via email attachment.

6. You need a brochure, business card or flyer for your business. Your VA can design, type and print your advertising material using your own artwork or stock art. Your VA can also make the materials ready to print by a professional print shop and simply email the file to the shop for printing.

7. You have a blog or website, but do not have time to update entries regularly. Brief ideas and thoughts or links can be emailed to your VA, who then helps with research or even updates your site for you.

8. You dictate letters, reports, notes or memos and e-mail it to your VA the MP3 file of your recording. S/he transcribes the audio and emails the completed transcript back to you.

9. You cannot keep up with the volume of email and are missing important messages. You or your webmaster set up a general email account (info@). Your VA retrieves all email, sorts, responds to routine requests, and forwards items of importance to you at your personal email account (myname@).

10. You would like to write a book, but can’t get organized. Your VA can compile rough drafts, notes, fragments, letters or memoirs and get them into an editable form to begin the process of formatting the book, research publishers, and send out queries.

Virtual assistants are here to stay. The above shows that virtual assistants can and do work well for most small and home-based businesses and especially solo-preneurs. Over the next couple of years you can expect your conversations with regards to virtual assistants to go from “What is a virtual assistant and what does a virtual assistant do?” to that of “Who provides your virtual assistant services?”

Implementing the use of a virtual assistant, especially through a virtual staffing agency, is a low-cost, low-risk undertaking. If the virtual assistant doesn’t work out, you simply request another, perhaps for a better fit. What’s more, coupling the use of a virtual assistant (or several virtual assistants) with your already up-and-coming business can catapult your income and success to the next level and beyond.

To see the full post, click here

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A Grain of Salt | Tesla Motors

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A few things need to be cleared up about the supposed safety of Model S suspensions:

First, there is no safety defect with the suspensions in either the Model S or Model X. Since we own all of our service centers, we are aware of every incident that happens with our customer cars and we are aware of every part that gets replaced. Whenever there is even a potential issue with one of those parts, we investigate fully. This, combined with extensive durability testing, gives us high confidence in our suspensions. With respect to the car that is discussed in the blog post that led to yesterday’s news (more on the blog post below), the suspension ball joint experienced very abnormal rust. We haven’t seen this on any other car, suggesting a very unusual use case. The car had over 70,000 miles on it and its owner lives down such a long dirt road that it required two tow trucks to retrieve the car. (One to get the car to the highway and one to get it from the highway to the service center.) When we got the car, it was caked in dirt.

Second, NHTSA has not opened any investigation nor has it even started a “preliminary evaluation,” which is the lowest form of formal investigatory work that it does. On April 20th, as part of what it has told us it considers “routine screening,” NHTSA informally asked us to provide information about our suspensions. On April 30th, we provided all relevant information to NHTSA. NHTSA has since told us that we have cooperated fully and that no further information is needed. Neither before nor after this information was provided has NHTSA identified any safety issue with Tesla’s suspensions. This can be confirmed with NHTSA.

Third, Tesla has never and would never ask a customer to sign a document to prevent them from talking to NHTSA or any other government agency. That is preposterous.

When our customers tell us something went wrong with their car, we often cover it even if we find that the problem was not caused by the car and that we therefore have no obligations under the warranty. In these situations, we discount or conduct the repair for free, because we believe in putting our customers’ happiness ahead of our own bottom line. When this happens, we sometimes ask our customers to sign a “Goodwill Agreement.” The basic point is to ensure that Tesla doesn’t do a good deed, only to have that used against us in court for further gain. These situations are very rare, but have sometimes occurred in the past. We will take a look at this situation and will work with NHTSA to see if we can handle it differently, but one thing is clear: this agreement never even comes close to mentioning NHTSA or the government and it has nothing to do with trying to stop someone from communicating with NHTSA or the government about our cars. We have absolutely no desire to do something like that. It is deeply ironic that the only customer who apparently believes that this document prevents him from talking to NHTSA is also the same one who talked to NHTSA. If our agreement was meant to prevent that, it obviously wasn’t very good.

Fourth, Tesla’s own actions demonstrate just how rigorous we are about bringing issues to NHTSA’s attention. Not only do we regularly meet with NHTSA, we have also shown that we won’t hesitate to conduct proactive and voluntary recalls even when there is only a slight risk of a safety issue. Most recently, Tesla recalled third row seats in the Model X even though not a single problem had been reported by any customer. Before that, Tesla recalled a front seat belt pretensioner, even though not a single injury had occurred. In both of these situations and others before them, Tesla took these actions before anyone reported a concern to NHTSA. We did them on our own, because it was the right thing to do.

There is no car company in the world that cares more about safety than Tesla and our track record reflects that. The Model S is 5-star safety rated in every category and sub-category and Model X is expected to receive the same rating as soon as the government finishes testing. Recently, a Model S was in a very high speed accident in Germany that caused it to fly 82 feet through the air, an event that would likely be fatal in vehicles not designed to the level of safety of a Tesla. All five occupants were able to exit the vehicle under their own power and had no life-threatening injuries.

Finally, it is worth noting that the blogger who fabricated this issue, which then caused negative and incorrect news to be written about Tesla by reputable institutions, is Edward Niedermeyer. This is the same gentle soul who previously wrote a blog titled “Tesla Death Watch,” which starting on May 19, 2008 was counting the days until Tesla’s death. It has now been 2,944 days. We just checked our pulse and, much to his chagrin, appear to be alive. It is probably wise to take Mr. Niedermeyer’s words with at least a small grain of salt.

We don’t know if Mr. Niedermeyer’s motivation is simply to set a world record for axe-grinding or whether he or his associates have something financial to gain by negatively affecting Tesla’s stock price, but it is important to highlight that there are several billion dollars in short sale bets against Tesla. This means that there is a strong financial incentive to greatly amplify minor issues and to create false issues from whole cloth.

That said, sometimes Tesla does make genuine mistakes. We are not and have never claimed to be perfect. However, we strongly believe in trying to do the right thing and, when we fall short, taking immediate corrective action.

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1 public comment
satadru
885 days ago
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Best use of of the phrase "gentle soul" I've ever seen.
New York, NY

Andreessen Horowitz โ€“ Software Is Eating the World

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Signed in as pmcgovern

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