Category Archives: Computers

I love Scanner Pro for iOS

I grabbed Scanner Pro for free a few weeks ago via 9to5Mac. Awesome timing!

Previously, I was using a new, regular envelope each month to keep small paper receipts for over a year — shoved into a shelf in my home office.

I’m on a purging kick, so I aim to shred old receipts that aren’t important.

For receipts worth keeping, capturing with this app is quick, and the scan quality is phenomenal.

Which receipts are worth keeping? Here are some examples:

  • Health–related co–pays, medication.
  • Car maintenance.
  • Non–grocery items (gadgets, non–trivial household items).

I’ve decided to scan all receipts, and I’ll archive the less important items into a ZIP file every month. I’ll also do the same in the rare case I take written notes.

If you’re intrigued, Scanner Pro for iOS is currently $2.99 in the Apple App Store — originally priced $6.99, about 58% off — for less than 48 hours.1


  1.  I’m not sure when the promotion began, so just snag it. ;) 
About these ads

View an article with Instapaper Text only using the keyboard

As a happy, longtime Instapaper user, I need the Instapaper Text bookmarklet often when settling in for a lengthy read on my MacBook Air.

I’d like to share a tip that’ll save time of switching to your mouse or trackpad.

When the bookmarklet is saved to your browser, you can use it with the page you’re viewing by following these steps:

  1. Move your cursor to the address (a.k.a. location) bar by pressing Command + L.1
  2. Type the first few letters of the bookmarklet name (or the whole thing if you type quickly).
  3. Press Enter.

If you use folders in Instapaper2, you can take this a step further by saving the bookmarklet for those folders as well.


  1. Mac: Works with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari
  2. Pro tip. If you send saved articles from Instapaper to your Kindle, don’t mix text articles with media so those particular entries aren’t wasting space in that periodical (Amazon’s term, not mine). I have video, audio, and photo folders as well. 

Unexpected upgrade to iPhone 5s

We didn’t plan on upgrading my white iPhone 4S 64 GB because it wasn’t a priority. Then, Amy dropped her phone and most of the front screen was cracked. Wah wah.

I’ve been out of contract for awhile, so I was eligible for an upgrade.

I chose the silver iPhone 5s 64 GB, we finally merged our Verizon Wireless accounts, and switched to a less expensive plan — at the cost of my grandfathered unlimited data add–on.

Reviewing my billing statements from 2012-07-08 through 2013-12-27, I barely reach 1 GB of monthly usage.

  • Average: 428.9 MB
  • Max: 974.4 MB
  • Min: 206.635 MB

I installed DataMan Pro for real–time monitoring and alerts, and I’ll make sure I keep it under 1 GB per month.

For reference, here’s how we switched things over.

Note: I forgot my restore password and didn’t save it into my password manager, so I couldn’t just restore the data onto my new phone.

Old iPhone 4S

  1. Transfer all media in Photos onto my laptop. (I use Lightroom for my photos.)
  2. Ensure I have backup codes for all online services with two–factor authentication.
  3. Follow these steps from Apple: What to do before selling or giving away your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

New iPhone 5s

  1. Setup new phone — including Touch ID — and log into my Apple account for the various services.
  2. Reinstall apps, starting with the ones required for two–factor authentication. Sign into the App Store, then go to Updates > Purchased.
  3. Setup apps used for two–factor authentication.
  4. Setup other apps. Test.
  5. Reconfigure (read: silence) apps from Notification Center in Settings.
  6. In Settings > Control Center, turn off “Access on Lock Screen”. (Ignore if you’re cool with someone disabling your alarms.)
  7. Other configuration tweaks.

Mac menu bar minimalism with Bartender

I bought a copy of Bartender for these features:

  • “Show an app in the menu bar when it updates.”
  • “Menu bar apps still work the same.”
  • Minimalism.

It’s also easy to adjust its settings.

I hope Apple acquires them for direct integration with OS X. (Yes, Windows XP had some of these features.)

Fifteen dollars to help me focus? You got it. I should’ve tried it sooner.

Disclaimer: This is an unsolicited post, and I purchased the app with my money.

Fixing Google Calendar and Gmail in iOS 7

My Google calendars disappeared while comparing Fantastical 2 with the built–in Calendar app (iOS 7.0.3, iPhone 4S). I mentioned this before, and somehow “fixed” it:

I think I deleted and re–added the account, and all was well. Temporarily.

After some searching, here are a couple articles that explain why I was tripping:

  1. How to enable push Gmail on your iOS device“. You add an Exchange account for push e–mail. I originally set this up while using iOS 5, and probably followed the same steps over a month ago. Not sure why that continued to work until now.
  2. A new way to sync Google Contacts“. I was overdue in adding a separate CardDAV account, but was apparently built into adding a Google account process in iOS 7. Also not sure how that worked while I was on iOS 6.

How I fixed things:

  1. In Settings, then Mail, Contacts, and Calendar, delete my Google account (previously configured as Exchange).
  2. Follow the instructions from the support page, “Sync Google Calendar with your iOS device“. The notable difference is adding a Google account, not Microsoft Exchange. You can also turn on Mail or Contacts without configuring a separate IMAP account or CardDAV account, respectively.

Caveat when upgrading from Google Authenticator 2.0.0 to 2.0.1 (iOS)

If you upgraded to Google Authenticator 2.0.0 (see my last post) and recreated all your account tokens, I’d like to warn you.

Your old account tokens will be restored. This means it’ll be difficult to determine which ones are current.

Solution: Rename your current accounts before upgrading from 2.0.0 to 2.0.1 with these steps:

  1. Tap the pencil icon located at the top right corner.
  2. Tap on the name of each field to edit.
  3. When you’re done, tap the check mark located at the top right corner.

Google Authenticator 2.0.1 - Edit Step 1 Google Authenticator 2.0.1 - Edit Step 2

After you upgrade, you can confirm the new tokens still work, then delete the old ones.

Bye, Google Authenticator tokens

Update 2013-09-07: Google released a new version which restores the lost account tokens. If you’ve already re–added your account tokens, please see this caveat.

Before you update to Google Authenticator 2.0.0 for iOS, disable two–step (or wait until 2.0.1). It removed my tokens from the app, and I had to re–add them again. Boo.

To fix this with a Google account, you’ll need to do the following:

1. Go to Account → Security → Edit (under 2–step verification).
2. Under How to receive codes and across from Mobile application, click “Move to a different phone”.

As for the backup codes you printed, if you click the help icon (question mark) next to “Remove Switch to phone”, it says:

When you want to switch to a different phone, select “Move to a different phone” and follow the instructions to configure the Authenticator app on your new phone. This will not invalidate any of your existing application-specific passwords or backup codes.

Or, you can add your Google Authenticator Tokens into Authy. Thanks for the tip, James!

Dropbox: In Account → Security, click the Edit link next to Authenticator app.

Dropbox 2-step verification

How Things makes me even more awesome

Things 2 screenshotAround nine months ago, Isaac Keyet persuaded me to try Things for Mac by Cultured Code. I usually prefer plain text, but that’s too simple for the stuff I jot down.

With keyboard shortcuts galore, I quickly fell in love with this app. It costs $49.99 for Mac, $9.99 for iPhone, and $19.99 for iPad — and it’s worth every penny. I’ll explain how I manage tasks with Things.

At work

At Automattic, we communicate internally through IRC, private P2–themed sites, and Skype. However, I do receive email notifications regularly because it helps with my workflow.

At the beginning and end of each shift, my routine consists of processing my email (new post or comment notifications), and reviewing IRC or Skype messages I missed when I was offline. I skim messages, open batches of five to ten browser tabs, and delete the corresponding emails.

When I come across a post that requires more digging (i.e. longer than a minute), I press Control–Option–Space bar to use Quick Entry, which automatically inserts a link in the notes. That item gets saved to Things. (Inbox, by default.)

Without moving my hands from the keyboard, I can enter a title and tags for the item. When I’m done, pressing Return saves the item in Things and the Quick Entry window disappears, leaving me where I left off.

If there’s a block of text that’s perfect for the notes, highlighting it before pressing the Quick Entry with Autofill keyboard shortcut adds it to the notes after the link.

I also sort my Inbox items into Next or Scheduled after processing email. (This might be against GTD methodology, but I equate the Scheduled focus to my digital tickler file.)

If I have an idea that isn’t linked to a webpage or email, or if someone pings me and I can’t get to them right away, I can press the Quick Entry keyboard shortcut (Control–Space bar) and jot it down in seconds.

It’s exhilarating to know that I’m not missing anything as long as it’s in Things (or my calendar, of course).

Pro tip: Read through the keyboard shortcuts a few times, or print it as a reminder. I’ve been using my trackpad too much.

Not at “work”

Away from my desk, I can write new items or ideas quickly with Things for iPhone. I add items from the Things home screen, saving to the Inbox by default.

When I get home, I add additional context (tags, notes). If I’m browsing a site or Twitter, and something piques my interest, I’ll take the extra few seconds to copy the URL in my clipboard to paste in the item notes.

I used their mobile app with local sync via Wi-Fi (before cloud sync), and I think it’s superb now that cloud sync works perfectly.

Wading through tasks

I’m infatuated with tags, making sure I assign the correct one for each item. By doing this, my Next screen is super focused, allowing me to ignore stuff I can’t handle at the moment. Here are a few examples:

  • At work, my Automattic tag allows me to ignore errands and tasks I need to do at home. (Tag management side note: computer is a parent tag, while Automattic is a child tag since I’m in front of a computer when working.)
  • My home tag removes items I need to do at home and away from a computer.
  • My errand tag focuses my view to tasks when I’m out and about.

Relevancy

This process allows me to batch tasks. I’m not constantly changing gears between P2s, Trac, updating support pages, helping people using WordPress.com through email/forums, processing photos, or writing posts (like this one).

I’m also not worried about forgetting the context of an item. I add just enough notes to describe what needs to be done.

Conclusion

If you work on a Mac every day, you should check out the 15–day free trial. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it.

Thank you, Things, for keeping me sane. :)