The great thing about blogging is that I can grab my iPad and start rambling about a topic which then turns into an idea I want to do. So, I publish the raw post (sometimes privately) and then send its link to my inbox to review later.

I just love to do this!

It’s Saturday so the best way to spend the day is developing an iOS app for my blog. I wanted to search it’s content from Spotlight, so I’ve created a small app that loads all my posts into a table view and also indexes them. Now I can search and load the actual post. It’s really cool to quickly find my stuff and also a great way to learn new APIs in iOS.

12/02/2018, 18:46 – Colin Walker

The outboard memory is like an external hard drive, a place to curate any useful information, quotes, facts or figures you might come across. You might be familiar with the term “commonplace book” which is, usually, a handwritten book where all these references and snippets would be placed.

I’m very into the idea of using my blog as a commonplace book. Maybe some of that stuff should be public though.

Playing with Things’ URL Schemes

I’ve just got the new beta of Things 3.4 which introduces a whole new level of automation with URL schemes. Things had a minimal set of URL schemes in 3.3 and prior versions, but these were only usable for creating tasks. The new beta elevates the concept to the same rich level of URLs as OmniFocus has. Read the docs for more information. Here’s my initial set of workflows to give you an idea where to use URL schemes:

Creating list of stuff to pack before I travel

This is done via a Workflow script which finds my current travel project(s) and appends a list of stuff I have to pack for every trip. I can run this on my iPhone then open Things on my Apple Watch and start packing.

Emulating OmniFocus perspectives

The new /show action is awesome because it can open a specific view or list with an applied filter of tags. This is insanely useful in conjunction with the Anytime list where only available to-dos are listed (in contrast to Things’ default tag view where everything is listed, even stuff postponed in the future). I can save these URLs in Workflow then trigger them from a Spotlight search or add them to Reminders via Siri’s “Remind me about this…” feature with a location attached (great for lists of errands).

I even created a set of bookmarks on macOS—type your URL scheme into Safari’s URL bar without pressing return, then drag it onto your desktop. Now I can open my saved views from Spotlight on my iMac too.

Nice Things icons are added of course.

Adding agenda items to contacts

Reusing the same idea of perspectives here, we can link to the Anytime list with a tag filtered for a particular person. These links are great for GTD agenda items or waiting fors. You can save these URLs into the person contact card, so next time you’re having a conversation with that person over Messages, just tap the “i” button on the top, tap the contact name, then tap on the Things URL. Things will open a list of stuff you want to discuss (it’s even better on iPad having Things open in a slide over view).

Robin Rendle › How to Read the Internet

On a similar note, many believe that blogging is making a return. Folks now seem to recognize the value of having your own little plot of land on the web and, although it’s still pretty complex to make your own website and control all that content, it’s worth it in the long run. No one can run ads against your thing. No one can mess with the styles. No one can censor or sunset your writing.

Not only that but when you finish making your website you will have gained superpowers: you now have an independent voice, a URL, and a home on the open web.

I’m optimistic about the state of blogs in 2018. I discovered a handful of new blogs thanks to and I don’t want to leave them unread.

Colin Walker writing about issues subscribing to RSS:

While RSS readers are making a bit of a comeback in certain quarters there’s no doubt that, as Sameer puts it, “subscribing to feeds definitely has fallen out of parlance.”

RSS is more than a decade old now, but explaining it to mere mortals still hasn’t really been solved. Podcasts apps are also using RSS technology in the background, but they usually have a directory of podcasts which gives you an easy way of subscribing in the app. This solves a lot of problems for average users.

Out in the open web, you have a feed URL and you need to know where to paste it. It’s a big UX problem, but I’m not sure it is even solvable. We can build walled gardens or create a directory of blogs with a built-in RSS reader, but in theory, they still lock you into a service.

As a blog author, I still have to figure out the technical aspects of the IndieWeb and as a blog reader, you also have an obligation to find out how to follow blog over RSS. In this process, you can find a balance to lock yourself into a walled garden or choose something else which you can control, but give up some convince along the way.

In reply to: colinwalker

I did the obvious thing: there is a big Subscribe button in the header with the classic RSS glyph. Some people know what to do with it, well, others don’t. It’s still better than writing manuals about how to subscribe to RSS.

I’m not sure how we could solve this, but I remember it was a problem with indie blogs back in 2007 as well.

Brent Simmons on why is different than

But if you think of the years 1995-2005, you remember when the web was our social network: blogs, comments on blogs, feed readers, and services such as Flickr, Technorati, and BlogBridge to glue things together. Those were great years — but then a few tragedies happened: Google Reader came out, and then, almost worse, it went away. Worse still was the rise of Twitter and Facebook, when we decided it would be okay to give up ownership and let just a couple companies own our communication.

Yes, it’s pretty much sums up the last decade of the web. I want to get back the ownership of my content, that’s why I’m posting from my blog nowadays and syndicate elsewhere. On the top of that, is a pretty great network with a lot of interesting people. As Jack Baty wrote:

I need to say it again… I love It feels like something new and it’s pretty great. Sign up. Post stuff. Interact. Own your shit.