Disclaimer: Tom Bihn provided this bag free for a review. All opinions below are entirely my own.

You may recall that recently I reviewed my Waterfield Staad backpack which is a lovely backpack that I use a lot of the time. However there are times when I need to carry more than fits in this bag – trips where I’m away overnight or just need to carry a lot of things. When the chance came up to review a new Tom Bihn bag with a dedicated laptop compartment, clamshell opening and luggage pass through it seemed meant to be – and this was confirmed by the random number generator saying I won!

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Automators Artwork In episode 29 of Automators we got to talk to Adam Tow – creator of awesome automations. I met Adam at the Automators WWDC meetup this year and he demoed some of his wonderful shortcuts for me. I’ve seen them before and even tried them out, but once I saw Adam demoing them David and I knew we had to get him on the show to share how this all works!

Adam walked us through a few of his amazing automations:

  • MsgFiler: A way to file messages in Mail extremely quickly. I’ve been trying this since we recorded and I’m sold, I’ll admit I love using the keyboard and tend not to reach for the mouse unless I have to but this is a great utility!
  • Photo Magic: Adam has an amazing setup whereby photos taken on his DSLR end up automatically sent to him via iMessage, added to Photos, uploaded to Google Photos, oh, and the RAW photos are uploaded to Amazon too. Sounds crazy? There’s a bunch of very good reasons for this!
  • The Dark Dungeon Text Adventure: Did you know you can play a text adventure game in Shortcuts? Or have it translated into (almost) any language? Adam made it easy!

For more details you’ll have to listen to the show.

As a note, in the show I said I thought you could get a public link to a Dropbox folder through Shortcuts. You can get links to files, but for some reason links to folders no longer works – this is a shame, but we can hope that Dropbox offer this as a paramaterised Shortcut in iOS 13.

Thanks to our sponsor for this episode:

Episode 29: The Dark Dungeon with Adam Tow

In this latest episode of Nested Folders I introduced Scotty to the idea of the Non Zero Day. I stumbled across this a few years ago on Reddit and thought that it was a great idea, do something towards your goals every day. It might not seem like rocket surgery but saying it out loud and then reviewing your efforts can make a big difference – especially for those larger goals!

 

There’s more to no(n) zero days than this, so I’d highly recommend you check out the episode: Episode 2 of Nested Folders.

Nested Folders Podcast ArtworkToday I’m launching a new podcast called Nested Folders with a friend of mine Scotty Jackson. Scotty and I met when we started testing early versions of OmniFocus 3 together, I believe our first real encounter was me helping him replicate a bug report so he could nail down the steps to email in. (Coincidentally this is also where I met Ryan Dotson who I ended up writing Build Your OmniFocus Workflow with – who would have guessed that people eager to do an early beta test of OmniFocus would also be good people to make productivity related content with?!)

Nested Folders is a productivity themed podcast, Scotty and I will be diving into all sorts of topics from project planning, to weekly reviews, when not to be productive and more. The Introduction Episode (0) and Episode 1: Checklisting a Project are out today! Episodes will come out every 2 weeks on Tuesdays.

I hope you’ll download the first episodes, give us a listen and subscribe. All of the details are over on the Nested Folders website, and the podcast also has it’s own Twitter account @NestedFolders which because I am an automation geek automatically feeds into our spreadsheet for feedback.

In Automators 27 David and I did the thing we do best: ignore all the advice, install the betas, suffer for it, but in the end we got you the goods on Shortcuts in iOS 13 and what it’s really like!

One of the things we love in this new version of Shortcuts is the replacement of Get Variable with this new sentence format in each action.

Shortcut on iOS 12: Get calendar event, choose from list, get start time, get chosen event, get end time
Shortcut on iOS 12: Get calendar event, choose from list, get start time, get chosen event, get end time
iOS 13 version of the same shortcut
iOS 13 version of the same shortcut

I know in the episode I said I would do a video on this, but I think these screenshots explain it much better than a video would have! It’s now much easier to see what you’re working with – and that’s better for everyone from Shortcuts super nerds to people just poking around who find it installed on their devices after they update the OS in September.

I hope you enjoy listening to the episode – David and I are both running developer beta 3 now!

Episode 27: Shortcuts in iOS 13 – Diving into the Deep End!

One note: I said in the episode that I wasn’t able to run Shortcuts from notifications (e.g. with triggers like time) – beta 3 resolved this.

Thanks to our sponsors for this episode, Away and TextExpander from Smile.

There are lots of wonderful communities out there on the internet, and I’m fortunate enough to be a part of some of them! I’ve seen several people recently asking for recommendations of forums to visit and thought I’d put together a list of the ones I visit:

  • Automators – Yes, the podcast I host with David Sparks has its own forum! There are lots of wonderful people who hang out there sharing automation goodness, and we also host the Scriptable forum inside it too.
  • Mac Power Users – A great podcast, and another forum of awesome people (just like all the others on this list). From tech support to Star Wars there’s plenty to talk about – and the forum for Focused is here too.
  • Bookworm – Another excellent podcast, I love looking through this forum for book recommendations (and summaries of the key points people got from them).
  • The Productivity Guild – This is a great place to talk about the productivity things many of us love and often struggle with.
  • Drafts – I’m constantly stealing script ideas from people here to use in my own Drafts installs.
  • OmniGroup – I confess to primarily being in the OmniFocus area of this forum, and it’s always interesting to see how other people are using this task management software.
  • DevonTechnologies – DevonThink can be used in so many ways that every time I open the forum I come up with new ideas to make even more out of the software.
  • AirTable – I’m still learning how to use AirTable to the max and this place has lots of suggestions.
  • Agenda – I use Agenda for my notes at work and it’s great seeing how other users set it up for themselves.

On a side note, some of you may be thinking of Discord – a chat system, Discourse is forum hosting software – they have similar names and both can host communities but that’s where the similarities end!

In the latest episode of Automators, David and I dived into our home automation setups and went beyond “I can control it from my phone” to find out what things you can really automate, because that’s the kind of automation nerds we are!

I have personally been using Home 3 a lot to amp up my automations – this is what lets me specify the night time routine should only run if the kitchen light is on, and more. These things aren’t available in the Home app that comes baked into your iPhone, but this app makes them available and doesn’t require you to run anything else on a server somewhere to make it all work.

Listen to Automators 26: Getting Started With HomeKit

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