What to know about the Siri Shortcuts beta đź”—

Yours truly, writing for iMore:

For this update, Apple reworked some the fundamentals of Siri Shortcuts, taking the Shortcuts app’s powerful actions and offering those capabilities to other apps on the App Store. Plus, they all work fully in Siri, marking another step forward in Apple’s voice strategy.

The Shortcuts app has been redesigned, making it easier to understand and get started with, there’s powerful new Automation capabilities that let you run your Siri Shortcuts based on a series of triggers, and the Gallery now has new automatic recommendations based on your personal usage.

With about 2,500 words and 24 screenshots, I covered everything that’s new in the betas so far. I’ll be revisiting each topic over time, but this is the best way to get all the news in one place.

Check out the full post.

A Billion Pockets, Y’all! 🎙

New episode of Supercomputer out:

Alex and Matthew are back from WWDC (for real this time) and are VERY excited about Shortcuts. Alex also briefly shouts about the Mac Pro, and Matthew needs a monitor.

After a break during WWDC and a new week on a new recording schedule, Alex and I are back to talk about the Mac Pro for a bit before diving into the first half of what’s new in Siri shortcuts

Listen to the show:

Make your Mac dance after watching MacSparky’s Keyboard Maestro Field Guide

Yesterday, David Sparks released the Keyboard Maestro Field Guide, the seventh paid course offered through his Learn MacSparky site1. This 4-hour block of videos covers 76 different screencasts about Keyboard Maestro, the Mac automation application that provides significantly deep capabilities and makes them available to use across your Apple desktop or laptop.

As usual, David’s course is well-paced, insightful, and makes it easy to learn complex topics like Keyboard Maestro’s slightly esoteric design language. Continue reading “Make your Mac dance after watching MacSparky’s Keyboard Maestro Field Guide”

Reeder is back and better than ever (my new favorite RSS app)

Want to read this in iBooks? Get an ePub of this article here and use this shortcut to extract from the .zip.

iPad users who have been holding out hope for an update to Reeder for iOS can relax – a new version was released today with full support for all devices on all platforms and some interesting new features.

See, previously, Reeder 3 wasn’t updated for the new iPad Pro models – after 7 months without proper support in sight, many iOS power users like me sought out new RSS readers. And while apparently Reeder 3 had resolved layout issues a month ago, I had honestly already deleted it since it didn’t work on half my devices.

But that all changes today with the latest release of Reeder 4.

Reeder 4 for iPad Pro 12.9″ in both Light and Dark modes.

Available as a new purchase costing $4.99 on the App Store and $9.99 on the Mac App Store, bringing with it a refreshed design, some unique reading features, and a unified code base across iOS and Mac that will make it easier to update in the future.

I bought the app as soon as I heard about it this morning – here’s why I think my money was well-spent.

Table of contents

  • Why I like Reeder
    • The Many Views of Reeder
    • Styling
    • Customization and control
  • New features
    • Redesigned
    • Bionic Reading
    • Instapaper Tags
    • Read Later
  • Small changes
  • Keyboard shortcuts adjustments
  • Ideas for expansion
  • Conclusion

Continue reading “Reeder is back and better than ever (my new favorite RSS app)”

Apple News has a notification spam problem

Lately, I’ve been diving deeper into Apple News – thanks to the recent addition of Apple News+ magazines, along with the recently-added “Open In Apple News” share sheet extension, it’s been my go-to source for a quick news digest, some longer reads, and now feature stories as well.

Plus, I’ve been using my old iPad Mini 2 to consume the news as a more focused and intentional usage of my devices, almost only ever using it for News and Books.

About three weeks ago I read Digital Minimalism, but then hadn’t touched the iPad Mini since (I just read News on my other devices). But when I picked up the device again to read How To Bored over this last weekend, I was met with this on the screen:

Page after page of Apple News notifications, all from sources I barely actually read and who were attempting to grab my attention every 15-30 minutes – my Apple News account was spamming me.

I have almost all of these notifications turned off on my other devices, but this just goes to show how bad the problem can easily become if you don’t deliberately manage this single app.

Not a single notification shown on my screen required any amount of urgency, even when marked BREAKING, and Apple even recommended a “lifestyle” story about a porn website.

For someone trying to reclaim my attention and focus from places like Twitter, I am finding myself fighting against the very application that’s supposed to help.

I am extremely surprised that Apple has created such a “trusted” medium for news organizations to spam us all day long, even more than Facebook would ever dare with notifications (though, rest assured, they’ve tried).

I really hope Apple takes another look at the core experience of the News app and how/when services are able to send notifications, hopefully moving beyond a simple on/off switch per channel. Because if we are to trust this application on a daily basis, it can’t be one of the most spammy apps out there.

New Shortcuts beta has fixes in the works for Transit, Choose From Menu, Tweetbot

Apple released a beta version of the Shortcuts app to developers today, coming in at version 2.2.1 beta 1. This includes fixes for Get Travel Time’s transit options, a fix for Tweetbot’s native action, a bug that prevented users from deleting items in a Choose From Menu action, and a few other minor fixes not detailed by Apple.

Continue reading “New Shortcuts beta has fixes in the works for Transit, Choose From Menu, Tweetbot”

Matt Galligan’s Shared Shortcuts on Notion

Last week, I came across a useful shortcut for calling into meetings, tweeted out by Matt Galligan, former founder of Circa and now CEO of Interchange1:

The shortcut grabs your next calendar event, extracts the phone number, and dials it for you – with a trigger phrase set up, you can just say “Dial In” to Siri and it’ll just work.

Matt also has a neat way for sharing this and his other shortcuts: using Notion. Continue reading “Matt Galligan’s Shared Shortcuts on Notion”

Preventing food from expiring with two Siri Shortcuts

I have a bad habit of wasting food. I will buy groceries, eat most of it, but usually end up letting one or two things go bad just because I don’t think about it.

It’s probably because I don’t cook enough, but it’s still a problem I want to avoid with longer-term items who expiration dates I rarely think about when I buy them.

This is one of those things I genuinely try to work on, but every time I think about it I can’t remember when I bought or defrosted something.

So when earlier this week, the ground beef I had taken out of the freezer was no longer good, I got fed up with myself for doing it again and decided to change something.

So, I made two Siri Shortcuts for logging and checking expirations to make the process easier on myself, more reliable, and most of all: automated (because that part’s just fun for me too). Continue reading “Preventing food from expiring with two Siri Shortcuts”

CalZones is the only scheduling app you need to plan across timezones

Developer David Smith has released a new app today called CalZones that is a combination calendar and timezone converter.

Available for $4.99 via the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, the app makes it as easy as possible to see what time it is where somebody else lives and arrange a meeting at the correct time across timezones and work schedules.

I’ve never found a calendar app that lets me have timezones presets visualized so easily, giving me the correct the information of what time it is across the world, and packing an impressive amount of utility into multiple small spaces.

Here’s how Calzone accomplishes all that. Continue reading “CalZones is the only scheduling app you need to plan across timezones”

7 Shortcuts for meetings and making new contacts

After a meeting with someone new yesterday, I realized there was a few places where I could have used the Shortcuts app to speed up the processes around our encounter.

Before the meeting, I was headed somewhere new and needed to figure out how to get there on time.

During the meeting, I was fumbling with my phone a bit, handing it to them to type in their contact information, and didn’t have an easy way to share mine either. Plus, I dealt with everything after the meeting too – writing down notes, sharing my info, and following up later.

From all this, I noticed a few repeating patterns, that could be automated using mostly default apps – the data I need already exists or can be entered on the fly.

So, I came up with a few jobs to be done:

  • Knowing when to leave to get to the meeting on time
  • Getting directions to the meeting when it’s time to leave
  • Sharing your “business card” contact information
  • Logging someone else’s contact information
  • Taking helpful meeting notes afterwards
  • Following up with them the same day (or later)
  • Scheduling that follow up if it’s not today

Continue reading “7 Shortcuts for meetings and making new contacts”