Which apps am I using? AKA using the apps you’ve already paid for

Managing a budget but being into apps is proving a little more difficult these days. With more and more apps switching to subscriptions I’m torn on what to use. I looked back at my entire purchase history on iOS and whittled the apps I will use down into two categories

  1. What have I already paid for and isn’t a paid subscription?
  2. What’s free and good?

Now straight away I’ll say you don’t get something for nothing so (2) really means, what’s built into iOS.

I’ve chosen to not pay for any app that requires a monthly outgoing as I have so much uncertainty about my monthly income at the moment.

Here’s what I’ve settled on

  • Apple Calendar: the app is absolutely fine for my use. I use it as the widget and just to track what I have on my plate each week. I don’t need complexity or even create a lot of events.
  • Apple Notes: I used Bear a lot yesterday but can’t justify keeping a paid subscription just because I like their tagging system. Apple Notes themselves are flexible and let me store or write in any format I want.
  • Things 3: Apple Reminders has let me down too many times, OmniFocus is too fiddly and Things 3 whilst not fully supporting accessibility is enough for me. I’ve already paid across all platforms and the iOS 14 updates have been great so far.
  • Apple Mail: Sometimes following a mail chain with lots of threads is tricky but other than that it works great for me.
  • Amazon Music: Technically a paid app but I spent 99p on 4 months of use, I’m starting to prefer the app over Apple Music too. There are always offers like this one (you’ll be supporting the site).
  • Streaks: To track a few wellbeing habits I’d like to implement, already paid up front.

That’s my core apps that allows me to keep getting stuff done.

Which of these do you use?

My trust issues with Apple Reminders

I’m sure I’ll get blasted for continuing to beat this dead horse but I was actually enjoying using Reminders then this happened.

It’s showing that I have 4 items due today (I actually have 1) but the 3 it’s picked up are nothing. As you can see in the second image it’s showing 3 blank items.

I’ve checked iCloud and it all looks fine to me but iOS is showing these blank rows, even after a restart. Took logging in and out of iCloud to sort it out.

I feel that somewhere along the line of maybe beta testing or the Notes iCloud bug I encountered in iOS 13 (which resulted in a call to Apple engineering and a data reset) has somehow corrupted my Reminders database. But this highlights to me how fragile certain parts of iCloud still are.

Am I alone? I can’t put my trust in iCloud (at least for Reminders) going forward so I’ll most likely be dropping back to something else.

Can you run macOS Big Sur on the 12” MacBook?

So I updated to Big Sur on the 8GB 2016 12″ MacBook to test the final public release performance and whilst it does run a bit faster than the beta I’d not recommend it.

It looks fantastic but there is a lot of lag in the experience on this little machine and I’ll be reverting it back to Catalina.

It’s a shame but this little machine with it’s slow intel to keep cool just didn’t stand a chance. I’d love an M1 12″ because the form factor (keyboard aside) is one of my favourite Mac models.

So, if you’re on an 8GB base model 12″ I wouldn’t recommend using Big Sur.

iPhone 12 Mini and Pro Max launch day

The last of the iPhone models are officially starting to arrive with people and I’m very curious to keep a close eye on the Mini. I want it to do well this year so that it continues to sell well and we get the model made next year.

Until I sort out a job I’m sticking with my 11 Pro but I’ll most likely swap over to the Mini as soon as I’m able.

I obviously don’t get review units, Apple like a lot of companies have switched focus to YouTube reviews rather than blogs these days unless you’re established. If stores were open I’d at least have a bit of coverage but I’m sorry to say I’ll have no coverage or hands on of the most (for the small phone lovers) anticipated model this year.

If you’re picking up a Pro Max or Mini let me know your thoughts.

What’s new in Big Sur?

Source: Apple

Big Sur launches to the public today, here’s the Apple page on what’s new. Personally I’d hold off for the next patch before installing and if you have 8GB RAM I’d carefully consider giving it a miss for now.

I’m testing it again on a 12″ MacBook and it’s not that great in terms of performance on 8GB but it really does look great from an interface perspective.

Give it a week and see how it settles down.

The importance of scheduling your day when you’re out of work

I’ve been out of work now for just over a week and one thing I’m finding hard is losing that schedule of a 9 to 5 job, especially if you had client contact and lots of meetings like I did. I had a hybrid role, somewhere between Technical Consultant and Solutions Architect and was always engaged in something or other. Suddenly stopping that is very difficult and it’s a bit of a struggle right now, appreciate it is hard for everyone in 2020.

It’s easy to fall into treating each day with a lack of focus and energy. Getting lost in thoughts and worry is also easy when you suddenly have headspace. I can’t read the news, especially anything to do with the economy and it’s easy to see doom and gloom.

But, I’m finding if you plan out your projects and your day then it helps give you some focus and takes your mind of things. Be it DIY, gaming or your creative projects you can set aside time for each. I’m not planning meetings into my calendar but having distinct projects in my to do app for each goal and to do items that remind me to chip away at them each day.

Even if it’s all on paper, write down a few things you want to accomplish. Like say launch a Star Wars podcast (watch this space) or finally record that music you’ve been meaning to (again, watch this space).

These give you some purpose outside of the daily job search and rejection cycle that it’s easy to fall into. You can’t look for jobs 7 hours a day! Take time to look at what you want to achieve and plan some time for it.

Getting work done on an iPad Pro

Source: Birchtree

Another great video from Matt Birchler, this time he goes through how he uses his iPad Pro to get work done. It’s gotten me to install Things again, especially because of the widget possibilities the app offers. I would do something similar once I’m setup but my video making chops aren’t great, maybe I’ll do a response post once I’m all setup.

Great work Matt.

Making sense of the Apple M1

Source: AnandTech

It’s hard wrapping my head around what the M1 means for the Mac. There’s not much to compare it to and it’s still unclear how much RAM you’ll need on a machine. AnandTech have done a good job here by looking at the A14 and speculating.