Apple Apps enterprise ready?

Apple announced new features for their messaging platform. While all of us can enjoy editing and unending the messages and complain that Twitter can’t get a simple editing feature; there is something else that no one has mentioned yet.

Even Apple Mail now boasts about Unsend Mail, Schedule Mail and a better search.

With these simple features, Apple Messages, FaceTime and Mail apps are now set up for enterprise use. If you use Apple Gear across your organization (or maybe a higher percentage of users have Apple), you are now looking at using these apps to replace Teams or Zoom as your communication platform.

IconFactory’s WorldWideWeb

I absolutely love IconFactory’s apps. I use at least 2 or 3 of them on almost a daily basis. Iconfactory’s developer Craig Hockenberry announced a new app recently and it home for me.

The Mac and Web have a long history together. From the very beginning, Mac OS X included the ability to run an Apache web server by clicking a Start button

About a decade ago, things started to change. Since then it’s gotten harder and harder to start a simple web server for testing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I eventually found a way to do it using AppleScript, but as Apple continues to remove open source components from its standard macOS distribution, this workaround isn’t likely to last.

It’s simple and yet powerful. Reminded me of my college and work days when starting an apache or IIS server and hosting your PHP application was the way to go about developing your app.

FYI, this works on macOS, iOS and iPadOS.

gqt

Off late I have been dealing with API at work and home, REST and GraphQL. Came across this fantastic utility today – gqt. It’s a simple GraphQL client, but runs in the terminal. Using this in Visual Studio Code’s Terminal is so helpful when you don’t have to switch windows while working.

Give it a spin.

Markdoc

Came across Markdoc today, made by Stripe.

Stripe is know for its excellent developer documentation – well it has to be, its probably the most important feature for the company. If you go through their documentation is not just a good reference guide, but they also allow you to interact with it to get a feel on how to use the API effectively.

Stripe built their own content authoring system and have now released this as an open source project. It supports Markdown which makes it a joy to use this tool. The tool looks great too.

The tool is so easy and pleasing to use, that I have been using this to simply write my notes 😊

Moving away from 1Password

I have been using 1Password for a very long time. However, for the past year or more, I have come to rely on Safari (on macOS, iOS and iPadOS) to suggest me strong passwords, storing them for me and ultimately, me making a manual copy/paste to 1Password.

Last month, I turned off my auto-renew on 1Password thinking it gives me 6 months to transition over. I have been using 1Password for Username/Passwords and URL and Backup codes. I have never used 1Password to sore my credit card information. In fact, I was a late adopter of that and just waited until ApplePay came out. I now have one credit card info stored in my Safari for those websites that still don’t accept ApplePay.

Exporting data from 1Password and importing them into Passwords (or iCloud Keychain) was easy – but of course there are a few curve balls. There are two things you need to ensure

  1. Make sure all your passwords in 1Passwords have a URL (better if they are valid URL’s)
  2. iCloud Keychain does not like quotation marks (”); this is something you will need handle them

But once you are ready, you can export your passwords form 1Password by selecting the vault and then navigating to File > Export > All Items...

1Password will ask for your Master Password. And before hitting the done button make sure you change the file format to “iCloud Keychain (.csv)”.

Now, remember those quotation marks? You can now edit the csv file and look for them and reset those passwords – yup thats a manual process. I had a few, so I logged into to those applications, changed my password and let Safari handle them for me. Once this was done, I went and deleted those entries in the csv file.

Now import the CSV file into iCloud Keychain from System Preferences -> Passwords. Hit the three dots at the bottom of the window and select “Import Passwords…” and select your csv file.

An important step after you do this, is to disable 1Password extension on your Safari browser on all your devices. This will help you focus on using Passwords. On your macOS, you can simply type “Passwords” in your spotlight search and it will bring up the Passwords manager. I wish Apple makes these things consistent and bring them on iOS and iPadOS too.

The best part of the transition was that I have probably opened 1Password once. The transition has been super smooth.

Now I hope there is something for 2FA as well.

One of the best CLI utility I have used in a while

Having worked on Linux early in my career, it is hard to get away from the cli. I continue using cli as much as I can and am constantly on the look out of tools that can make my life easier.

Last week, I came across The Fuck utility. This is literally one of the best utility I have installed and used in a very long time.

I learned typing as a school subject when I was 16. Yes, I can type fast, but when it comes to cli commands, I’m error prone. And every time I type in a command that doesn’t work – 90% of the time its because of a spelling mistake or a missing character. I would literally blurt out “fuck” in my mind and roll my eyes and in some cases out of frustration I would type in “fuck” multiple times.

Well now, I literally type fuck and it auto corrects my command and voilà.

It works for most of the commands I use on a daily basis and my usage isn’t vast. I mainly use GitHub, Docker, node.js, curl, etc. Here is a demo from their GitHub page:

No. I do not use CLI for email.

One more gadget: The Ember Mug 2

Coffee is probably one of the most ubiquitous and social products in the world. I’m sure tea is also somewhere right up there. So it doesn’t hurt to say a Hot Beverage.

I have seen messy desks (I have one) and extremely clean ones and a mug for a hot beverage is ubiquitous. One of the things that drives me nuts is the rate at which my beverage goes from pipping hot to stone cold. It’s not that I am lazy to get up and heat it – its the fact that every time I wake up i have the urge to make a fresh cup of hot beverage to replace my cold one. I hate wasting food.

I’m sure there are studies that would say Coffee/Tea is good or bad for your health. For me apart from Coffee being a fuel it helps me be alert (especially when you are in those long and boring meetings), it has certainly helped me improve productivity (also proved by this MIT study).

Earlier this year I was diagnosed with Cervical Radiculitis – a pathological condition of the spine and one of the reason for this was my sitting posture. It’s hard to maintain a good posture when you work in front of a screen for more than 12 hours a day. It’s even harder to correct a habit that is ~30+ years old. A hot beverage allows me to stretch back, straighten my poster and take a nice hot sip. Doing this every 20-30 minutes helps tremendously.

So when Ember came out with their temperature control mug, it was a no brainer to get one of these.

Ember has a travel mug and a regular mug. Personally I prefer the mug.

They come in 2 sizes, 10 oz and 14 oz. To put it in perspective, the 10 oz although small looks like a normal mug that’s available in the market. The 14 oz mug – although they do have that extra 4 oz; stand out cause the shape and size is not like any other normal cup available in the market.

Also remember these mugs come with a batter – which is typically heavy, so the more bigger you cup, the much heavier it gets. I went with the Black Ember Mug2 10 oz size.

I generally prefer the black color, but when it comes to utilities, I do prefer white. There was one reason I chose the Black Mug – Coffee Stains. These mugs are made of durable stainless-steel with a ceramic reinforced coating (presumably food grade) which gives these mugs the nice matt finish. And this finish will retain coffee stains. I’m sure the black mugs also retains coffee stains, but they are barely visible.

The App

The Ember Mug comes with an app. Following the instructions and I was able to pair this mug with my phone in less than 30 seconds. That was awesome.

It also walked me through to create a profile that allows me to choose a coffee brand, brew style, and my desired temperate. They suggest 135 F to being with; after setting this temperate for a week, i reduced mine to 132. Personalization is a great thing. The app also comes with multiple presets for different kinds of coffee brews.

The overall app is OK. Not the best usable app. The main screen is basically a screen with a single color and a number that shows your current coffee temperature in the middle and at the very bottom an animation showing how far off it is from your desired temperature and your profile if it’s selected one.

The ^ right below the animation suggests more options, and every time instead of tapping it, i swipe up and close the app. When you get there, you can select a coffee preset, or add/remove presets; a Tea timer if you need one, and some coffee recipes. I have never used this page after the first setup.

Settings
The settings screen allows you to:
1. change the color of your LED – I set mine to green
2. Adjust brightness (of the LED maybe?)
3. shows the Battery level
4. Change Temperature – I have mine setup at Fahrenheit
5. Notifications – I turned mine on to notify me when my coffee reaches the right temperature.

Menu
The menu has a lot more options. I enabled Ember X Health and every once in a while when I’m thinking what exactly this app does, I venture into insights.

The LED Indicator
One of the things that has always confused me is the LED indicator on the mug. It flashes Red when the battery is running low or out of charge. Most of the time it is white; and I’m have seen it go Green only when its on my charging plate. Basically IO have absolutely no idea what these indicators mean. For now I think or it as the mug has battery and its working.

Conclusion

So far its the best $99 that I have spent this year.

It keeps my coffee at my desired temperature. The battery on this lasts long enough for me to take my mug and walk around or go to a hour long meeting. Because of the ceramic coating, they do feel fragile, but I’m assuming the stainless-steel makes it durable. The confusing LED indicator – try and tune out of this and think of the white light as the mug’s working.