Locked out of Instagram

This week started with a bang: I somehow got locked out of my Instagram account. The account itself still exists and you can view and like my photographs and — as I expect will start happening now — leave a tonne of spammy comments. The reason my account was flagged was likely because I posted from travel abroad, which already resulted in an e-mail seeking clarification about accessing the account from a previously unused location or something to that effect. Back in my country now (which probably got flagged as another major change in location, although that does not make much sense) I find that the e-mail associated with that account has been mysteriously deleted and access to my account revoked with only one possibility of restoration: contacting Instagram directly. Continue reading

Evernote is not dying

News has been making rounds on the internet about the impending death of Silicon Valley’s first “unicorn”, Evernote. The term (which is likely a slang) refers to a startup that is worth one billion dollars; the uni in unicorn refers to one. Startups worth ten billion are therefore “decacorns”, while those worth a hundred billion dollars are “hectocorns”. On the other hand Canada calls them “narwhals” so they seem to have missed the pattern here entirely. In any case, a low hum about the “death” of Evernote had been in the background for a couple of years now and noisily rose to the forefront following a Business Insider article late last year. Continue reading

Take notes: nvALT and Simplenote workflow

Little work gets done when we spend a lot of time thinking of how to go about it. This is, in fact, the quintessential problem with trying to stay organised — we often end up overdoing it. Notoriously enough, over-organisation (with little action) is far too easy and gives the same kind of satisfaction, to most people, as action itself. This is in the same boat as the “Fake it till you make it” philosophy1 and, before we realise it, knowing that we have planned a task gives us enough satisfaction to take our eyes completely off the fact that we have not taken any steps whatsoever towards actually accomplishing the task. Continue reading

Airmail makes e-mail convenient and effective

Following a month of testing and real-world use, I decided earlier this week to rope Airmail into my workflow as my main (and only) e-mail programme across all my devices. Airmail is a sharp and powerful app from Italian design and development studio, Bloop. For anyone who maintains a certain manner of working with tools that they use regularly, it is understandable that adding new tools — or replacing old ones around which your habits have long since formed — can be too huge a step. This new tool, whatever it is, has to offer something compelling to justify its use because, while it may offer a fun new feature, what is important is to recognise that it demands from the user, more than anything, is a certain level of dedication and investment — particularly of our time and our patience as we develop new habits around new tools. Continue reading

Apple Notes and Evernote: apples and oranges

I see a huge number of people on the hunt for a good note–taking application these days, and most attempts at an answer involve some sort of comparison between Evernote — the reigning king — and Microsoft’s OneNote, which has its own, growing tribe of followers. And they are both, at some point, almost inevitably, compared to the inbuilt Notes.app provided by Apple. This is simply wrong and should be avoided.

First of all, there are broadly two classifications of note–taking applications: on the one hand are swift, simple (humble?) jotting applications and on the other are file organisers. A note is a type of file at the end of the day which makes Evernote squarely a file organiser whereas Notes.app is a simpler, more straightforward note–taking application. Continue reading

The best third-party replacements for stock iOS apps

Having previously written about the positive side of stock iOS apps, I think it is only fair to highlight third-party applications in much the same manner. After all the App Store plays a huge part in the iOS experience and stock, or default, apps — those which are bundled with every Apple device and, much to our chagrin, cannot be uninstalled — may not be powerful enough to meet everyone’s requirements, especially in niche areas.

Not only do third-party apps then become a necessity, they also work towards enriching the user experience of those who do not necessarily need all the features of third-party apps. Continue reading

An iOS 10 wishlist

June this year will see the release of Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 10, during their annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) at the Moscone West convention centre in California. Abiding by the usual secrecy company which the company always keeps, no feature of the upcoming operating system has been talked about anywhere in official capacity.

On the one hand, this means considerable suspense builds up prior to launch — which is what Apple’s publicity team likely wants — and on the other, it means we are free to build castles in the air. Apple has probably surged far enough in its development cycle that it will not be in a position to listen to any user requests right now and accommodate features into the system, but there have been some things in the air already which may have made it into the upcoming OS. Continue reading