Changes to Tablet Habit

If you tried to go to Tablet Habit and then got redirected to iamjeffperry.com it’s not a mistake. I decided to move my site from Tablet Habit to I am Jeff Perry.

The reason for this was because I wanted to spread my wings a little and not just talk about iOS and the iPad. They are still my main devices, but I wanted my blog to not be a “brand” but rather something that has my name on it. A place where I can share content outside of iOS and the iPad. Things like the Mac, Social media news, and more productivity articles I find. This is a culmination of the things I want to talk about and share online in one place.

This is why I went with I am Jeff Perry. It is my social media accounts for everything (Twitter, micro.blog, and Instagram) and I felt if I was going to do something with my name on it, this would be the name I would use.

Tablet Habit, and the content that was there, is on this website. Everything is on here that was on Tablet Habit, so feel free to search for the posts you loved and read them again. But if you want to stick around for anything else I put out in the future this is where it will be.

I still plan to send my weekly newsletter out every Monday (I have some big plans for that) and I plan to have a regular posting schedule from here on out.

I apologize if this caused some issues for you, and I will be happy to help with any technical issues you may be having with this site.

I will see you all tomorrow with an interview from Rosemary Orchard, blogger and creator of Automation Orchard.

The Apps We Use Everyday – ASoG 7

This episode of A Slab of Glass Chris and I share the apps we use every day to create and automate the things we make. If you’re looking for some apps to try out this is your episode!

If this isn’t your cup of tea, we have something very special coming next episode right before WWDC happens. I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you, but I am really excited to share this with you all in a couple weeks!

Download MP3

Accessible 001: Massive Move

In celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day I wanted to showcase a new podcast by Steven Aquino and Timothy Buck called Accessible.

The podcast is by two Indie Bloggers that I admire and follow, and the podcast is all about “the accessibility in tech.”

Accessible is a fortnightly—episodes are released twice per month—podcast about accessibility in tech. Topics covered on the show are mostly Apple-centric but will span the tech industry at large where appropriate.

Episode 1 was recently released, so you can listen to it now and be part of the beginning of another great tech podcast.

Congrats to the both of them and I can’t wait to see how this show blossoms in the future.

A Confession I Have To Make

Tablet Habit has been a place for me to write about the iPad for a little over six months. I’ve gained a lot of friends and readers in that short time.

But I have a confession to make:

I am no longer iPad Only

When I started Tablet Habit it was partly made because I wanted to show that you can go iPad only if you wanted. I wanted to stick it to all the journalists and bloggers who say you can’t do “real work” on an iPad. I wanted to make this about the tool, and not the product.

I started using my Macbook Air again, and I love it. Tablet Habit was a way for me to show how you can get by with an iPad and be iPad only like me. With that said, I had some gripes about the iPad, and it not offering certain things I wanted in a computer. That is 100% my personal taste and in no way me saying the iPad isn’t a great option for people who aren’t super picky like me. I love my iPad and will continue to use it every single day for a lot of my work, but not for everything.

I record and edit podcasts, handle cloud storage files, write in markdown, and edit my website CSS. All that is possible on the iPad, but there are some Mac apps I prefer that aren’t accessible on the iPad. Some of it because no one has made it into an iOS app. Some because of the sandboxing iOS has implemented (like recording a podcast on iOS).

I also had issues with finding a solution that would allow me to work on my iPad with a keyboard while on the couch. The Logitech Slim Combo is a big fat atrocity, and the Apple Smart Keyboard is too compact. The MacBook Air was built for your lap and can be handled while I’m on the couch or somewhere where a desk isn’t available.

Because of these small, but important, issues I decided to brush the dust off my Macbook Air and see if it solves my problems. Without a doubt it was, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to crack this baby open and see what it could offer.

All this isn’t to talk down about the iPad, I want to make that clear. I love my iPad, it is a great machine, and I encourage a large amount of people to look into it if they are looking for a new computer. It handles so many things well, some even better than the Mac.

Now, this site will be a place for me to share feeling on Apple, iOS, productivity, of which were topics before, it now includes the Mac. The occasional post that isn’t about productivity or tech will pop in and say hello every so often as well. This is my blog, I own every pixel in it. I want to remove any restraints I have when it comes to sharing my feelings and thoughts on something I am passionate about.

Things That Won’t Change

I still plan to write every Wednesday and share Workflows that I find interesting. Workflow continues to be one of my most used apps in iOS and I have a lot of things I want to share about it.

My weekly newsletter is also not going away either. I will still send it every week to my subscribers and give exclusive access to future projects and content. So if you aren’t a subscriber you can change that today by signing up.

What’s Next

I will still be writing content and sharing it on my blog for you all to consume and enjoy. Blogging is something I love to do and want to continue that for a long time to come. It won’t be exclusively about the iPad anymore.

How a Talk at SXSW From 2009 Helped Me Be a Better Blogger

I listened to a talk from 2009 by John Gruber and Merlin Mann from SXSW about blogging, and it caused a carnival of thoughts to swirl in my mind. This is me trying to articulate them.
I had never listened to this talk before, but because I started listening to the podcast Back To Work it made me want to listen to it as after being brought up so much in the first few episodes. I wanted to know if it still holds up, to see if the blogging platform is a shell of its former self. This talk couldn’t be more true today than it was then.

The talk, titled How To: 149 Ways to Turbocharge Your Blog with Credibility, was about an hour in length. Which made me sad because an episode of the The Talk Show can run twice that on average. I wanted more, I felt like there was a great deal more to learn from.

Why You Should Blog

It started with John and Merlin explaining one of the main points: to write about what delights you. To write about what you’re obsessed with. This main point would come up again and again throughout the talk. At one point Merlin would say:

“How do you know that you should start a blog? People keep telling you to shut up.” – Merlin Mann

I can’t say I am not part of this group. My fiancé is tired of me talking about Apple news, working on my iPad, and my feelings on productivity. It is something I have obsessed on in some capacity for years.

After this, they talk about how you can’t, and probably shouldn’t, make everyone happy. Merlin says it best when he explains how he admires John because John’s voice and passion outweighs any obligation to make people happy. He doesn’t go out of his way to upset anyone but he also is steadfast to continue the path he feels is right. This is something I think I lack, and that I should be more assertive at times. Too often I try and be a cheerleader and suppress my negative feelings on certain things, and I think they are valid concerns I should be addressing. I don’t plan on making this blog a place to gripe and complain all the time, but there is a place for that concern and the feelings I have.

Finding Your Audience

Next on their list is finding an audience. Gruber explains his ideal reader is “another version of me.” The crowd laughs, almost as if to say “he can’t be serious,” but I feel the same way as John. I write on Tablet Habit because I imagine myself reading a blog like this that I never started. I imagine myself looking for a place that has similar feelings on Apple, iOS, and using an iPad as a main computer. That is my main motivator for writing here. There are other factors at play, but they are all distant seconds to the strong feelings I have to write about what delights and, at times, upsets me.

“Make something really kickass and try to impress the people you really love.” – Merlin Mann

When Merlin said this, I nearly jumped out of my seat with excitement. This is something I have felt for as long as I started podcasting back in 2009. Find someone you want to impress, and ask yourself every time you hit publish if that person will like it or think it’s garbage. If it’s the latter, do better. If it’s the former, send that thing to everywhere you can.

With that said, it is important, they say, to not try and piggyback off someone else’s success. A great example they provide with this is Ted Koppel, who found success as a broadcaster during the Iran hostage crisis. It caused the ABC show Nightline to be made, and it elevated Koppel to be one of the most well know journalists in that era. Side note: Nightline continues to be a great program of long-form news that I find to be more digestible than anything local or national news programs make today.

But the point they bring up, originallly made by Ira Glass from NPR’s This American Life, is that you can’t be Ted Koppel, he already exists. I can’t be John Gruber, or Merlin Mann, or Federico Viticci, those people already exist. What I can do, as they explain, is to learn from their work and try the things they did to get success. This goes for anyone looking to have success in a creative field, whatever your definition of that may be. Learn, but don’t emulate. Take their work and learn how they do the things they do.

The New Printing Press

Gruber then mentions an old saying:

“It is great that we have freedom of the press, but the only people that really have freedom of the press are people with a printing press.”

He goes on to say that “everyone has a printing press now thanks to the internet.” This is a point that especially made me think.

I worry that the “golden age” of blogging is behind us. I feel that it was great to have this ease of disseminating information when the internet was more in its adolescence back on 2009. The internet is now a giant gorilla dwarfing every other piece of media day in and day out. The internet is no longer where the cool kids are. It’s where corporations, national news, and conglomerates come to spread their message. Is the internet killing the little guys like the printing press did so long ago? I thought so at this point in the talk, but that soon changed.

When to Get Serious About Your Work

All of these pieces of advice and truth are great, but the most poignant point made throughout this was when Gruber took out a sheet of paper and explained that this was an email that Merlin Mann forwarded to him just before the talk. It was an email from a “20 year old kid” asking Merlin what he can to to get serious with his blog. What Merlin said came down to 3 short and direct pieces of advice:

  1. Give away more stuff than you think you should, and make it easy for people to get.
  2. Focus on diverse secondary revenue streams and always have your new and replacement ones.
  3. Don’t do stuff that seems profitable, but potentially messes up the reason people like you.

Not only is this advice sound, it is timeless. You could tell someone today these three things and they would all still be worthwhile. This isn’t just for bloggers. Artists, writers, journalists, painters, photographers, and YouTubers can take this advice and go a long way with it. Then John said something.

“The internet is awesome, it is totally fucking awesome. It is not just that we all have a printing press now … it is that we can do it better.” – John Gruber

This is what made my worries of corporations on the internet go away. Both Merlin and Gruber explained that corporations and big business are still failing to be anything other than giant billboards on a small screen. They don’t give anything away, they don’t offer the value indie bloggers give on a daily basis.

Making Money

Finally, the two talk abut money and making a living on what you create.

“Don’t become too obsessed with the thing you want to make money on.” – Merlin Mann

This is probably the best quote to summarize this section. Money is important, but if you first think about wanting to make money and then start a blog, podcast, or something else creative it will almost always fail to meet your expectations in the time frame you set. If you instead flip it around and make something you love and then think about how you can make money with it your odds of success dramatically increase. There is no guarantee that you will make a living, or even a nickel, doing what you love but if you have a solid foundation the chances that house you build collapses on you decreases exponentially.

Final Thoughts

This talk, 9 years after it was first given, is still timeless and something I think anyone looking to seriously create a blog, podcast, portfolio, or YouTube channel. It manages to give you actionable advice while also providing the higher level of thinking necessary to make sure you are doing things the right way with the right reasons.

If you want to listen to it you can do so on 43 Folders, or just download the file directly here.

Link Blogging and Me

Matt Birchler of BirchTree.me talked about using block quotes and link posts recently and it got me thinking.

Why I Love Link Blogging – BirchTree

The web allows us to create content that is connected with the rest of the web. Everything we do, especially us writers, is kicked off by something someone else said, and we should embrace that. Make your blog a part of a conversation, not an island that feels like you’re just doing this all on your own. None of us are, and we should be proud of that.

Honestly, Matt hits the nail on the head with this one. Link blogging is a very standard way to build off of other bloggers and cite them as you expand your own thoughts. It also allows you to make internet friends with other awesome writers, and when you have people to work with and bounce ideas off of, they can be there to help you out.

I have decided to start posting more link posts on Tablet Habit because there are so many awesome bloggers out there, and I want to join their conversations and join this community rather than be “an island” all alone.

Blogging was something I did as a side-project to step away from podcasting. Since then I have started 2 podcasts (Getting Caught Up and A Slab of Glass), which is a story in itself, but writing here on Tablet Habit has become my favorite outlet for my creativity and continues to push me to do bigger and better things. For instance, I am publishing a free ebook of my favorite apps to get work done on an iPad at the end of the month. This is something I never would have done if I hadn’t started Tablet Habit.

Matt is a blogger I found through someone else’s blog and/or Twitter, and I am happy I did. I hope to find more awesome writers in the near future as well, which is where you can help.

If you know any other bloggers feel free to let me know in the comments below, or over on Twitter. You can also email me if that is your preferred method of contact.

I want to build up my RSS list with more awesome bloggers, so feel free to send as many as you want!

If you want to read the rest of Matt Birchler’s post, you can do so here. Check out the rest of his stuff too if you like it. His daily podcast is a delightful way to start your day off right!

Cool Things You Can Do On Drafts 5

This week’s Workflow Wednesday is kind of an audible, but Drafts 5 was released today and I wanted to share some of the cool things you can do with it.
There are a slew of great reviews of this out there (like MacStories by nahumck, and Christopher Lawley’s video). So I am going to let those fantastic people share their reviews and thoughts on what the app has to offer while I show you some really cool things Drafts in their Drafts 5 directory.

Send List to Things

I recently hopped on the Things 3 bandwagon, and so far I am loving it. However, I am not a huge fan of not having native multiple task input support. Meaning I want to be able to add a ton of tasks without having to input them one by one. This is where Drafts comes in.

With this handy action you can make a list and each new line is seen as a new task. So if I have a ton of things on my mind I want out and captured in Things 3 I can do so with just a single swipe and tap!

Run Workflow

I have spent a ton of time in Workflow, and I love the things I have built. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, Drafts has a handy action built in that you can simply have it run a previously built workflow. All you need to do is edit the action and put in the name of the Workflow. Make sure it is exactly the same, otherwise it will error out, this is one of those times where it is case-sensitive.

One workflow I have is to post Markdown text I’ve written as a WordPress article. So with a quick tap Drafts takes the work I have written and takes it to Workflow to send to my blog. Super handy for the quick linked-posts I do from time to time.

Micro.blog

I have spent more and more time on the up-and-coming IndieWeb social media service Micro.blog. It has become a safe-haven for me to turn to when I wanted to leave Facebook and spend less time on Twitter. I find the community great and it has functions to send out my posts in Micro.blog to Twitter so I can kill two birds with one stone.

Drafts makes it even easier for me. Now, I don’t even need to open the app to send out a quick post. I can just type it out and then send it through the action and the rest is taken care of. This is why I love Drafts, I can quickly send out a post, a tweet, or a message to someone, and then keep right on trucking with my work.

Event in Fantastical

I love Fantastical and their amazing natural language input they have, it makes adding calendar events fun again. But what is even easier is typing it out in Drafts and sending it to Fantastical 2 to sort out for me.

All I do is write something like “Coffee with Jim next Thursday at 9am /p” and it sends it to Fantastical with the name “Coffee with Jim” scheduled for next Thursday at 9am in my Personal calendar. Boom, event added. The “/p” portion is part of Fantastical syntax that takes the “/“ icon and a letter or two written out

Save to File as

Drafts 5 has cloud syncing and auto-saving feature with this app, but sometimes I want to keep a backup of the long posts I write in it, and plain text is my preferred method.

So, I have an action that takes the text I wrote in Drafts, it then prompts me to enter the file name I want. It defaults to a .txt but you can change the filetype to .md or .rtf if you so choose. For me .txt is fine so I leave it. From there it opens up the Files document picker and allows you to save it to any folder in iCloud, or other 3rd party cloud services you have turned on in the Files App, and save it. Now you have a backup of all your hard work!

Conclusion

Drafts 5 is an app I have tried out for testing purposes, but it has easily become one of my absolute favorite apps on iOS. It allows me to get things out of my head and send them out when I want to. I no longer spend my mental RAM trying to figure out what I want to do first, the n what to say.

Drafts makes the process a complete 180 from what it was. Instead of trying to find the app to use, then working on what I want to say, I now can work on getting my ideas and writing out of my head first then send it wherever it needs to. I just tap the app in my dock and dump what’s on my mind out of my head and it’s saved for later organization.

For me, this is how things should be when you have ideas and creativity: a frictionless workspace.

If you want to get Drafts 5, you can download it on the App Store. It is free, but if you want all the features you’ll have to go Pro. It is either $19.99 a year or 1.99 a month. For me, I am paying the $1.99 a month because it allows me to pay Greg more money then $19.99 a year. That is how much I love this app.

How To Clean iPad Smart Keyboard

When you are working hard and doing the important things in your day you can find that your iPad Smart Cover might not be in the pristine condition as you would hope. Things like crumbs, dust, cat hair, and other residue on your keyboard can make the typing experience less than ideal. This can be easily fixed with some water and a couple of paper towels. So let’s make a clean iPad Smart Keyboard.

How to Clean Your iPad Smart Keyboard

One thing you can do, according to Apple, is get a damp cloth (or in my case a paper towel) and wipe the Smart Cover to get any residue or dust off the device. Once you do that you will want to get a dry cloth or paper towel and wipe away any water off the devices before they cause any damage.

Make sure your iPad is not connected to the keyboard. Once you start cleaning the keyboard don’t be shy with getting in between the keys. I found using some elbow grease really made the difference. Don’t use all your might to clean this but don’t be afraid to press down on the keys to scrub off whatever is on the keyboard.

I also found that having a clean microfiber cloth also helped get those pesky pieces of dust and cat hair off the keyboard. In my case, I had a microfiber cloth I got at my local Dollar Store. If that doesn’t work the first time around I would give it another go with just a little more water.

One thing I cannot stress enough is that the cloth or paper towel you use only needs to be a bit damp. It doesn’t need to be sopping wet, a dab will do you. While the Smart Keyboard is water resistant, there are small holes on the back of the keyboard to vent air out of the keyboard every time you press a key.

So if you can’t stand the dust and hair stuck to your keyboard, give it a quick once over and make it shine like new again.

Post to WordPress on iOS – Workflow Wednesday

If you blog on iOS, sometimes you want to send a quick post to your WordPress site as soon as possible. The WordPress app on iOS has come a long way in recent years, but when you are just sending a quick post dealing with the app can be cumbersome. This is where my workflow comes in.

What it is

This workflow is quite simple on the surface. However, thanks to Workflow’s integration with WordPress, you can handle even the most advanced options on every post you share. Things like the slug, post format, tags, excerpt, etc. are all options with this workflow.

What it Does

The Workflow starts by asking you the title of the post, which is then saved for later use as a variable.

After that it asks if you have a featured image for the post. This is an option of yes or no. If you say yes, it then opens up the Photos app to select the photo you wish to be the featured image.

Finally comes the fun part. Posting a blog post on WordPress can be fairly easy, but this workflow also allows you to handle the minutia if you so choose.

Once you connect your WordPress site to Workflow you’re ready to start blogging your heart out!

Tweaks You Can Make

I have set this workflow to only ask for the categories and tags, but you can edit this workflow to ask you for more information if you want to have more control in each post you make. Simple go to the section you want to integrate with your workflow and tap the “Ask When Run” option. This will now ask you for an input every time you run the workflow.

I have also made this workflow with Rich Text in mind, if you prefer to write in Markdown you can add an action to convert rich text to Markdown if you would like. Everything I write is in Markdown, but I wanted to leave the option to you.

Also, if you prefer to select images in your iCloud or Dropbox folder instead of Photos, simple replace that action with a “Get File” action within Workflow.

You can download the workflow here. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below, or contact me.