Tech, Useful

Meditation & Writing

This may be old hat to others, but I just recently experienced the combination of meditation and writing. Well, meditation and then writing, to be more specific.

As part of this Whole Life Challenge thing, I’ve been required to do a different mini-challenge every two weeks. The first was drinking half your weight in ounces in water every day (a healthy recipe for becoming very familiar with your nearest restroom). The second was getting at least 7 hours of sleep (relatively easy for me, but apparently others power through life on very little rest). The current one is to experience 10 minutes of mindfulness every day.

I’m only two days in, but I can already tell the difference in regards to my writing productivity (and my mental well being, of course). I’m currently using an iOS app called Buddhify 2, but I imagine any guided meditation will work. Using it yesterday I was able to hammer out more than 1000 words on a tv concept that’s been gestating with me for some time. My fingers never left the keys, my typing didn’t slow until around 900 words in. It was a pleasant, flowing, drug free sprint. I have no idea if this is sustainable, but even if it only comes in spurts, that’s a promising result for only 10 minutes of time listening to someone speak in a calming voice.

Let me know what your results are if you try it. Or if this is your goto method already.

{edit} I should also note that I wrote my 1000+ word spurt in Ommwriter, which is a full screen text editor that plays calming music. Mostly I think I just like that it plays a noise for each keystroke. Makes me feel classy.


Tech, Writing

Writing Tools – Drafts for iOS

Starring 1980s Bruce Willis.
It can’t lose.

The need: To very quickly get an idea out of my head and onto my phone/device.

The problem: Carrying around paper and pen doesn’t always work. It’s an extra thing for my pockets, my handwriting is atrocious, and I’d often forget to transcribe it to digital form later.

The solution: Drafts from Agile Tortoise (a software company, not a ninja turtle).

Why it works: Tap on it and it loads to a fresh document in under a second. No waiting. No selecting “new document”, no navigating to the correct notebook in Evernote, no fumbling around trying to email yourself while your idea floats away, never to be seen again.

Why it’s awesome: It’s more than just quick note-taking. It’s all about shuttling those ideas quickly too. Say you want to send that note as a txt to a friend? No problem, it’s built in. Or as an email to yourself? Easy. Or post it to twitter, Facebook and Google Plus all at the same time? Doable.

This is all possible because Drafts has a ton of built-in actions you can use to get your ideas other places. When you have time, after your idea is safely in digital form, it’s time to sort through things. Just tap the share icon and…

First in the alphabet, first in your hearts.
First in the alphabet, first in your hearts.

With one more tap, I can send it to append an already existing Evernote note, create a new note based on the date/title/whatever, email it to myself, post to twitter, etc. Super convenient. No more copy/pasting (which no one likes to do on a mobile device).

I find it incredibly useful, perhaps you will to. Here’s the iTunes link for your convenience (it’s $2.99). Oh, and just because I’m a nerd, here are the icon alternatives I came up with (because the only thing I don’t like about it so far is the somewhat drab icon). Enjoy.

Mmm, paper textures
Mmm, paper textures

Finding Mac Flashback

There’s a mac virus making the rounds this week. Yes, I just said “mac” and “virus” in the same sentence. These things happen.
First off, run Software Update to get all the spiffy Java updates waiting for you.
Second, go to Safari :: Preferences ::  Security, and disable Java. Not Javascript, just Java.

Anyhow, the method for checking if you’re infected can be a little cumbersome. It involves using the Terminal app, which not many are comfortable with. So instead, I’ve just wrapped that stuff up into a clickable application.

[box type=”download”]FlashCheck[/box]

It’s a simple Automator app that runs the following:

set +e
defaults read ~/.MacOSX/environment DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES
sleep 2
defaults read /Applications/ LSEnvironment
sleep 2
defaults read /Applications/ LSEnvironment
set -e

A file on your desktop will have your results. If it’s empty, you’re good to go. If it has something in it, then it’s time to download something to help you get rid of the virus. ClamAV & Sophos are both free and pretty straightforward. F-Secure has also released a tool specifically designed to get rid of this virus. It’s over here.

I’ll try to keep this up-to-date if I can. Good luck. Let me know if you have any questions.

[box type=”note” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Apple’s latest Java update now removes the virus as well. So an update should cure what ails you. Tho an anti-virus app couldn’t hurt going forward.[/box]
Photography, Tech

Morning Cat

The great fluffball contemplates life, philosophy, and the desperate need to eat all the cilantro outside.

Taken with a new app I just downloaded today. It’s an iPhone app from Smugmug called ‘Camera Awesome’. It’s slick and easy to use. It’s a free app that charges you for additional presets/filters. But if you never want to fork over 99 cents for those, it’s still quite useful. [button link=”″ size=”small” style=”download” color=”silver”]Download It[/button]