Posted in App

Index Card App – Organize (Ideas, Stories, Papers, More)


When you see the image below, if you get what is going on, you understand the idea of Index Card 4.

The app allows you to capture ideas, draft or write out information to compile ideas. The idea is simple. Like real index cards you can capture information and ideas and then sort them to an order that makes sense. From there, you can complete your project.

The power of the app is demonstrated in the short youtube video below.

So, if you are someone who likes to organize thoughts using paper, try an electronic version. Index Card 4 can make you more efficient and productive.

Posted in App

Ulysses Update Makes Great App Better


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Ulysses by the Soulmen is a great writing app for getting thoughts down and organizing articles, notes and more.

Ulysses Themes

The latest update includes the following long list of new features and fixes:

## New Features
– Added editing of TextBundle files in Dropbox
– Added import of TextBundle and TextPack files
– Added reading time goals

## Fixes: WordPress
– Generally improved compatibility with various WordPress blogs
– Improved error detection on sign-in and when uploading posts and images
– Publishing status is now stored for each account
– Fixed sign-in failure when a blog does not have a favicon
– Added a limit on the number of tags and categories downloaded from a blog
– Fixed a bug where tags and categories where not properly refreshed
– Improved help texts when preparing a post for upload

## Fixes: External Folders
– Fixed a crash when using fenced code blocks in external sources
– Fixed a crash when searching inside external folders
– Fixed a bug when using long CJK file names in external folders

## Fixes: Editor
– Focus mode is now disabled when scrolling to improve readability
– Fixed a crash when pasting from the app ‘Copied’
– Type writer mode now stays in line when using arrow keys
– Fixed dictation on iOS 10
– Fixed a bug where images could not be taken from the camera on iOS 10
– Fixed several drawing problems
– Fixed several crashes while editing sheets

## Fixes: Export
– Updated Medium preview style to latest version
– Fixed several compatibility issues with DOCX and latest versions of Word and Pages
– Added support for importing CSS files as HTML styles
– Fixed wrong font display in HTML export preview
– Fixed a crash when rotating the PDF preview
– Fixed a bug where the ePub exporter duplicated image files

## Fixes: Dropbox
– Generally improved reliability and performance of the Dropbox sync
– Added support for using the Share Extension with Dropbox
– Fixed an issue when authorizing Ulysses to use an existing Dropbox account
– Improved handling of server-side errors in Dropbox
– Fixed a bug where sheets created via X-Callback used the wrong filename

## Other Fixes
– Fixed a crash when moving several sheets
– Fixed a wrong error message when browsing backups
– Fixed a crash when emptying the trash
– Fixed a bug where upload/download indicators did not disappear on iCloud/Dropbox
– Reduced CPU usage when indexing files for search
– Fixed a bug that crashed Ulysses when going to background
– Fixed a crash when removing a Dropbox folder
– Fixed dozens of other crashes

This app is especially powerful and useful with the iPad keyboard. Using the external keyboard give you much more space to type out your thoughts as the software keyboard is not in the way.

The app synchronizes quite well using iCloud with the Mac app so you can take your work with you and always keep up to date.

Posted in App, Review

Ulysses for iPad


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Ulysses for iPad is a great tool for getting text down so you can get your thoughts, ideas, or paper done. The writing app is by the The Soulmen who have been writing apps for the Mac for some time. This app and its Mac sister Ulysses are designed to work together and help you draft and create a brief, story, memo, and more. This post reviews the iPad version of the app.

Organization of Documents

Ulysses approaches document creation differently than most typical word processors. The idea of the app is simple. Focus on getting words and thoughts down even if it means doing so in discrete separate sections that can be combined later.

Ulysses Library

The Library consists of a series of “groups” which is further broken down into individual “sheets.” A sheet can represent a paragraph, a page, or even an entire chapter. However, the power of this app is that it allows you to break your document into bite size pieces to help you better organize and create without so much focus on the ultimate way the document will look in terms of formatting, page numbering, etc.

You can “nest” your groups by tapping on the + on the library panel. Then, add the name of your new group and identify the parent group that it should be nested under. To make the process easier, tap on the group you wish to create a subgroup under first. You can name the group and even assign a unique icon to help identify it.

Keyboard Plus

The keyboard features the standard iOS keys. However, just above that is a row of commonly used and needed shortcut buttons.

Ulysses Keyboard

These allow you to quickly accomplish tasks related to Markup, list making, indenting and more. If you tap and hold down on the buttons, more options become available.

Sync via iCloud

One of the most surprising features was the ease and speed at which the app syncs with the Mac version via iCloud. The set up is straight forward when you initially install and open the app. The changes made on the Mac app rapidly appear on the iPad version and vice-versa.

Personalize Themes

You can modify the default theme with others that are built in. Just tap on the gear icon. Then, tap Theme and select one of the other themes. You can also download others by scrolling down and visiting Ulysses Style Exchange within the app. Then, download a new theme and install it.

Ulysses Themes

The theme above is a built in theme iOS with Dark Mode turned on to assist in writing in darker environments.

Exporting Final Versions

After you have created your document, there are several ways to export it. You can choose from Plain Text, HTML, ePub, PDF and RTF.  You can also share your material via mail, message or simply copy it for passing into another app.

The app even allows you to edit text files created in other apps that are stored on iCloud drive or 3rd party services including Box, Dropbox, and OneDrive.

Features Galore

This app allows you to perform tasks like search, find and replace, adding images, tagging, write notes and write in full screen mode. The ability to write in portrait and landscape mode is available too.

Conclusion

There are very few apps that allow you to organize and write down ideas on your Mac, pick them up on your iPad on the go and provide so much flexibility in terms of output. Ulysses for iPad is one such app. If you are constantly writing or want to write better, Ulysses is a great tool for providing you with the ability to do so.

The Mac version of Ulysses allows for some additional flexibility. You can download a trial version for the Mac from the developer’s website.

Posted in Commentary

Why Type Using an iPad?


Jason Snell at MacWorld has written an interesting article about using the iPad to write articles entitled “Why I’m writing on the iPad.”

He suggests being forced to type slower on the iPad has benefits. He explains that although his mind still tries to get the information out quickly, because he types slower on the iPad, he must focus more on what he wants to say. Importantly, because he can not easily jump go back and forth between web pages, email and other “distractions” like he does on a computer, the iPad’s screen and his slower typing pace cause better focus on the task at hand – writing crisply, concisely, and clearly.

There are several minimalist word processing apps to consider. These apps may or may not be compatible with Word or other more popular word processor’s formatting.

The point is simple. It is more important to get the initial content down before spending time formatting.

Nebulous Notes is one writing app mentioned by Mr. Snell.

WIRED magazine reviewed three other minimalist writing apps recently in Prose on the iPad: 3 Dedicated Writing Apps. The apps reviewed are WriteRoom, DraftPad and ensō Writer.

The idea behind these apps and articles that discuss them is simple – you write better with less distraction.

So, if you have thought that the iPad is not a better tool for writing your work or papers, you could be fooling yourself.

As the New Year approaches, consider the benefits of typing slower using minimalist apps to do more.