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TiVo Coming to the Apple TV and Other Devices →

Jared Newman, writing for TechHive:

As announced during CES, TiVo will release apps for Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices in the second quarter of this year. Apps for Apple TV and Android TV will follow in the third quarter.

If you have a TiVo that supports transcoding (including the Roamio Pro, Roamio Plus, Bolt, Bolt Vox, and Bolt OTA), these apps will let you stream live and recorded video to another TV, either at home or on the road. For other TiVo devices that lack transcoding, such as the entry-level Roamio or Roamio OTA, you’ll need a separate TiVo Stream box to use the apps.

This is huge news. Well, for me at least. I have an Apple TV, but not a TiVo Mini, hooked up to the TV at my treadmill. I get some shows to that TV by running cTiVo on a Mac mini. cTiVo is an app that automatically downloads shows off my TiVo, formats them, and adds them to my Plex library and iTunes library.

The problem for me is that there are frequent glitches in the process, and shows never make it into iTunes or Plex. I hope the app lets me eliminate this whole setup.

One catch is that the apps will only support video at 720p and 30 frames per second. In my current setup, shows come through at 720p, but at 60 frames per second. It remains to be seen how noticeable this will be to my non-discerning eyes.

Even with the resolution and FPS limitations, this is another great benefit of the TiVO ecosystem. I had previously toyed with going to a streaming television service, but this alone will enough to keep with my TiVo, which I love. Of course, let’s see if TiVo delivers the Apple TV app in the third quarter, as the announcement indicates.


Bring Devices into HomeKit with Your Synology →

Casey Liss, at Liss is More:

The final piece that really opened everything up for me was realizing that my Synology has Docker support. Furthermore, after but a moment of digging, I was able to find instructions specifically for setting up Homebridge on a Synology in Docker.

Following those instructions, within about 10 minutes, I had a Docker container on my Synology, running Homebridge, and allowing me to see my not-yet-updated Wemo devices in HomeKit!

Homebridge is a software bridge that allows you to use certain non-HomeKit devices with HomeKit. Two years ago I installed Homebridge on my Mac mini server, which let me add my garage door and my Wemo switches to HomeKit. This process, which required command line dabbling in Terminal, was convoluted enough (for someone of my skill set) that I eventually abandoned it.

A week ago I resurrected Homebridge. This time I installed it on my Synology. As the above post by Casey Liss suggests, this process was MUCH easier than my first go-around. I had planned to publish a complete write-up of the process, but Casey’s post (and the link it contains) should get you on your way.

I followed a slightly different process than Casey followed, as I hadn’t discovered the instructions he referenced. I instead began by installing Docker on my Synology via the Synology’s Package Center, and then used these instructions to upload and install Homebridge.

No matter how you get Homebridge up and running, I encourage you to give it a shot if Homebridge has intrigued you. Aside from pasting text into a configuration file to get plugins working, the entire process was mostly a point-and-click process.


iPad Limitations With Reactive Work →

Riccardo Mori, at morrick.me:

The point that some iPad die‐hard fans seem to miss is that it’s not a matter of people not wanting to adapt to an iOS‐based workflow; it’s not a matter of people lacking mental agility to ditch their computers and switch to iPads for work. It’s that their work imposes different solutions, in the form of dedicated software, company‐issued computers, multitasking requirements (e.g. ability to monitor more than three applications simultaneously on a bigger screen), etc.

Although the “why I can or can’t use the iPad as my only computer” topic has been covered ad nauseam, and although Riccardo’s post focused on the portability and lightness aspect as a draw for iOS, the above quote is what struck me.

While I love the change of pace of working on my iPad when I can, it simply isn’t possibly when things are flying fast and furious at the office. And that has nothing to do with me not being familiar enough with iOS or iOS automation to bend the iPad to my will so I can react quickly. Instead, it has everything to do with the design decisions of the iPad concerning windowing and multi-tasking, as well as the limits of automation on iOS1.

I can’t instantly jump between apps on the iPad as quickly as I can on the Mac, or keep more than a couple windows on screen at once (three, if you count slide over). iOS automation isn’t to where it is on macOS yet, either. For example, with Keyboard Maestro on macOS, I can apply a brute force filter to entries in our firm’s case management system, using Keyboard Maestro’s ability to click on specified images. With the iPad, I have to do this clicking manually. The iPad method takes several seconds longer, and, for me, those seconds count.

For my type of work, the iPad is good when I know what I need to get done, and can control my work environment. When I have to be reactive, though, I need a system with windowed apps, and more advanced multi-tasking and automation (i.e., macOS).

I’m glad Ricardo framed this as “some” iPad users missing the point. I think most of the people in my online circle seem to understand that what works for them doesn’t work for everyone. I certainly understand that my way of doing things is specific to me, and that the iPad is a much better platform for some of you.

(But don’t get me started on the ergonomic and future health issues of working solely on an iPad or laptop.)


  1. This post isn’t meant as a suggestion that there’s something inherently wrong with those design decisions, or that Apple should change them – just that they hold me back in some situations.


Blogging on a Mac Instead of My iPad →

Jeff Perry from Rocket Panda:

It also has an incredible editing system to show you where you can improve on your writing and grammar. It reminds me a lot of the Hemingway web-app, showing where you write in passive voice, or when you are using words that have preferred alternatives. So instead of saying something is “very large” it could show you something like “enormous” or “gigantic” making for it to be a much more pleasing thing to read.

Jeff’s post inspired me to try out Marked 2’s writing and grammar tools, which I had forgotten. In fact, I used Marked 2 to see some suggestions for improving the post you’re reading right now. To use Marked with MarsEdit, select the “MarsEdit Preview” menu item from within Marked.

In general, my blogging workflow on the Mac is a bit more basic than Jeff’s workflow. I use Ulysses on iOS, but not on the Mac. Instead I write and publish directly from MarsEdit when on the Mac. I, too, use the MarsEdit extension Quick Post extension in my browser.

One reason I don’t use Ulysses on the Mac is because I like MarEdit’s preview function, which uses your site’s CSS to show you what a post will look once published. I also favor MarsEdit’s ability to browse and grab links to posts located on my server. Once you publish a post, you can’t retrieve it or interact with it from within Ulysses.

Both Ulysses and MarEdit are great tools. It comes down to which features are important to you.


Screenshooting on the iPad Using a Keyboard →

Dr. Drang:

As you probably remember, ⇧⌘3 on a Mac takes a screenshot of the whole screen and ⇧⌘4 turns the cursor into crosshairs so you can select a rectangular portion of the screen to capture.. On the iPad, ⇧⌘3 captures the whole screen, just like the Mac (and just like capturing with the top and volume up buttons). The ⇧⌘4 shortcut also captures the whole screen, but in a neat analogy to the Mac, it immediately puts you into editing mode so you can crop the capture down to a smaller size.

I use these keyboard shortcuts all the time on the Mac. Am I the only one who didn’t know they worked on the iPad, too, if you have a keyboard attached?