Things 3 by Cultured Code

Things 3 is coming

More than three years after its announcement, it finally looks like Cultured Code is about to release version 3 of its task manager, Things. Things is the most beautifully designed task manager I have ever used, and I used it and stuck with it for years. A lack of significant functionality updates finally made me switch to Omnifocus, then to Todoist. I have high hopes that Things 3 will bring up to par with its competition. I would switch back in a hot second if version 3 offered;

  • File uploads
  • An email address to send tasks too
  • An API to allow automation

Unfortunately, Cultured Code have not released any details about what version 3 will and will not do.

Is the Mac Dead?

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There is a lot of talk at the moment about the Mac being dead. Nonsense. Apple cares about the Mac. At the moment Apple just doesn’t seem to be delivering much. Look at the major lines;

– iPhone: The case has not had any significant design changes. iOS 10 was not really a significant update.

– iPad: No new iPad Pros in a year. The 12 inch is now 12 months old. The new “iPad” is a spec bumped Air. The be honest, the hardware is great. It’s not the problem. The problem is the software! iPad has had no love since iOS9 when Apple introduced some half baked but much needed multitasking features. If Apple sees the iPad as a Mac killer, you’d think they’d be putting more effort into the Software.

– iPod: New colours. Maybe?

– Apple Watch: This seems to be progressing well and gets much fashion love in terms of new bands.

– The Mac: New models of laptops appear regularly and there is some innovation there, even if the specs are not what Pros really want. Ok, it’s not great on the desktop. The Pro has seen no updates since Dodo’s roamed the Earth. macOS gets regular love love with Apple sticking to its yearly updates.

Apple has not delivered much over the last year or so. Where there attention is at the moment is anyones guess. Perhaps great things are in the pipe. Perhaps they’re having manufacturing issues. Perhaps they’re experiencing some organisational issues.

The Mac is not neglected. Apple just isn’t delivering at the moment. 

We Need a Federal UK

Brown is expected to say: “The third option, a patriotic Scottish way and free from the absolutism of the SNP and the do-nothing-ism of the Tories, is now essential because post-Brexit realities make the status quo redundant and require us to break with the past.

I think he’s right. If the UK is to stay the UK, we need to make some changes. Changes that devolve power to the constituent countries and regions. The system we have now would never be designed by a rational mind. It could only evolve. It’s a dead end.

Todoist and Workflow and Checklists

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I have a long history with todo list managers and iOS. I started off with a jail brake todo list written by Erica Sadun long before the app store. Later I started a multiyear love affair with Things by Cultured Code. Unfortunately, that ended poorly. The app was glorious as far as it went, but it never got updated. We have now been waiting 3+ years for version 3 of the app. I’m not sure what these guys are doing on a day to day basis. Eventually I got fed up and moved to the powerhouse that is Omnifocus. I still love this app. It’s native, stable and packed with features. Unfortunately it’s macOS / iOS only and it has no API and what I really wanted to do was automate.

To be fair, Omni are working hard on adding automation features, but the simple fact that Omnifocus is an app not a service means that what can be done will be limited and collaboration will always be problematic.

My latest move is to Todoist. So far I am very happy. The apps they provide are not native and they’re not as nice as Things or Omnifocus, but they are good enough. And it is everywhere, iOS, macOS, Android, Windows and the web. The functionality is great. I can tag, and filter to my hearts content in a manner similar to Things and far more easily that Omnifocus. And it has an API! This opens up all sorts of possibilities. For me it means I can create repeating checklists using Workflow for iOS. You should try this app.

My first step was to make this simple workflow. It lets you write a list in any text editor that supports the share sheet. An example list might be…

This is an item
This is another item
This is yet another item 

You then hit the extension button, select the workflow extension and then the “List to Todoist” option. The todos get pushed into you inbox, with each line a separate todo. The Todoist app is then opening in the correct location.

So far so good. This is perfect for brainstorming. You can also use a similar kind of workflow for creating checklists. Here’s an example workflow for a packing checklist. This one takes some pre-canned todos and adds them to an existing Todoist project, then opens the Todoist app at that project.


Location Alert

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Back in iOS 8 Apple deprecated the beautifully simple and readily abusable UIAlertView. The replacement; Surprisingly, its replacement UIAlertController has some short comings the UIAlertView does not. One major limitation is the inability to simply add custom views.

Fortunately, it is possible to remedy that with a little hacking about. I’ve put up a demo on Github using a MapView as an example. You can get it here.

One Watch Kit App from multiple targets

This has happened to me a few times now. I’m working on an iOS app with multiple targets. Each target is designed for a specific customer. I want a single watch kit app that serves and adapts to the hosting iOS app. Sounds simple. Actually it is. Bit it is not obvious. Here’s how you do it.

First create the WatchKit app as you normally would, associating it with whichever target is most sensible. The steps are;

1. Do: File > New > Target 2. watchOS > WatchKit App > Next 3. Give the target a name relating to the hosting iOS App target 4. Select the Target you want to from the “Embed in Companion Application” dropdown 5. Click finish 6. Write it

Next, when you’re ready to add the watch kit app to another target, just like the above create a new watch kit target (steps 1 – 5 from above).

Like before, this will create two new file groups (which will end with “WatchApp” and ” WatchApp Extension”). Next, delete all the files created with the possible exception of the the PLIST or assets folder in order to customise the app on a target by target basis.

Next, go into the file groups for the first Watch App. Set the target memberships to include the new target (with the possible exception of the PLIST and the assets folder).

You should now be able to build and the second target, using the code from the first target.