It’s All Connected: Ecology of Things

If we decided to (and I’m not placing any bets) we could use the coming interconnectedness of things and the information that provides to first understand and then correct the ways we waste, pollute, and despoil the very basis of our existence.

The “Internet of Things” holds as much promise as it does risk.

Read more on the ecology of connected things at Life, the Universe et Cetera. Internet of Things as Ecosystem

Documents by Readdle: iPad File Mgmt at Last

Frankly, I have mostly not considered my iPad as a tool for accessing files from anywhere other than the web or occasionally a pdf or two from Dropbox to read on the plane.

Apple apparently does not think this crucial need for road warriors is essential enough to provide such a tool in the built-in apps list. 

So the prospects of finding, opening, editing, saving and later retrieving any given text, rich text, pdf or html page on my iPad has just not been practical. Until now.

My tablet has just become far more useful, especially with the Kensington keyboard attached, since I found Documents. It is a file manager but not just.

Documents is from a product line generated by an outfit from the Ukraine called Readdle. I was aware of them having downloaded and enjoyed using Scanner Pro some months ago. They are poised to move into the business-apps realm, and I’d expect their efforts to succeed, based on the quality of their software.

Since techie-type posts are largely yawned at here, I’ll just suggest in the remote possibility you are interested, that you read about it here at AppStorm, where the writer reaches the same conclusion I did:

So pardon me for saying this so bluntly, but it’s an indicator of how necessary I think Documents is: Apple should buy it.

They should pick up the phone, call Readdle and make them an offer they can’t refuse. I’d make the argument that if Apple wants to become the de facto leader in corporate environments, they need a solution like this that makes sharing and managing files painless — even between multiple users.

Thanks to the way that Documents integrates with the cloud, it’s easy to use it for both personal and group situations.

A few other computer tools I’ve appreciated over the years and still use daily:

Workflowy An instantaneous and intuitive outliner with tremendous potential for ordering your thoughts, making lists, brainstorming.

Growly Notes (now via the App Store)  A click-anywhere document creation tool with some features I miss from OneNote.

Evernote  I was among the first 25k users for this “replacement brain” and have something like 1100 notes, including one I use to store ideas for and to write blog posts.

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A Good Word for WorkFlowy


Geek-moment here. Move on if you’ve come for more snakes, vegetable glamor shots, or endearing stories of marital bliss. That, for another time. This is for that one soul out that suffering anguish for want of this solution.

Outlining is the way I think and organize and brainstorm. I have used Checkvist, OmniOutliner, Ecco Pro, Circus Ponies Notebook, Fargo and other outliners over the past couple of years.

And I’m here to tell you that, for most if not all outlining needs, I seem to have settled for good on WorkFlowy.

Most of my use of this one-thing-well app has been writing out the text for presentations–maybe a half dozen over the past 8-9 months. But the demands bumped up a notch now that I will have to create agendas, meeting notes and minutes in a form that others can readily access.

ANd here I hit a deal-killer glitch. Or so it seemed.

Try as I might to find the right bulleted list-outline format in Word, every time I copied the WorkFlowy text into the word processor, things fell apart, visually.

But at last, with very prompt help from the kind folks at WorkFlowy, I have the answer:

From WorkFlowy, export your outline as “formatted” (vs plain text.) Paste that into an email body–at least it worked with G-mail. I can’t say about others. Google Documents was also suggested but I had less good luck there just bungling around on my own earlier.

Copy the outline from the body of the email. Paste into a new Word document.

The resulting outline is fully capable of promoting-demoting any given outline level (but not expand-collapse), and the document can be formatted with numbering systems.

So I’m happy. I can use my MacBookPro or even my iPad to take notes in WorkFlowy. I will always have my notes as part of my WF file, even on my iPhone. And when ready for approval by others and archiving, I can finish with the notes outline in Word for archiving.

To download your own free personal copy of WorkFlowy to love and cherish for the rest of your outlining life, click this link, and I’ll get some more space to “make lists, not war.”

BTW, the screenshot is of my WorkFlowy (collapsed) outline for the neglected book. Will I ever convince myself there is an audience for such an effort that warrants that use for the time and energies that remain? Dunno.

Hands Down, Dragon Dictates

Two years ago, I decided to end a decade of pain that visited me before I ever typed enough keystrokes to complete a blog post, email, twitter update or essay. I agreed to see a hand specialist for what is known as “basal joint arthritis” of my left hand.

Maybe the hardest part of blocking out 8 to 10 weeks of post-surgical recovery I was told to expect was what to do about my obligations at the keyboard. Would I have to abandon my book, blog and board-of-directors correspondence for the better part of a season?

I had used Dragon Naturally Speaking back when I was a PC guy, but gave the program up in 2008 when I switched over to the MAC side.

What I was delighted to discover was that Nuance had not abandoned Apple product users, and Dragon Dictate for Mac’s capabilities seemed well suited to give me back my “voice” at the keyboard during my handicapped months.

Weeks before the surgery, I sent myself to “school” learning the keyboard voice shortcuts for the kinds of text management I routinely required. The final week at the keyboard before surgery, I made myself keep my left hand in my pocket so I would have to depend on speech-to-text to get my work done.

Dragon Dictate for Mac gave me back a sense of control and actually kept me productive during my orthopedic adventure. So when the other hand required the very same surgery a year later, I knew I need not stress about keeping up.

Producing with speech what you usually create with your hands takes some getting used to. The effort is well worth it. You’ll be glad you let Dragon Dictate.

Computer Carrion: My Hard Drive

Black Buzzard


Another iPhone wildlife photo op on my forced march to town last week, and appropriate ominous bird of the dead for a morning when I dread what it is I have to do:

Reformat my MacPro hard drive and RESTORE from Time Machine.

The 2008 hard drive has been spinning for much of its lifetime, and it is slowly losing its mind. Time has come for electroshock therapy. I dread it.

So today, after the house is empty of guests for the first time in almost two weeks, I’ll confront the black buzzards of the digital world (sorry, my bird friends, for the slam) and muster the courage to do what needs to be done.

If I disappear from the digital radar (I am not so sure I am even on it on the best of days anymore) then I am in computer purgatory and will hope to be back online shortly. See you on the other side.

Any techy folks out there with words of wisdom for getting Mt Lion purring again, I’m feline the love. Thanks in advance.