Archive for June 3, 2018

Sunday, June 3, 2018

OmniFocus 3 for iOS

Brent Simmons:

OmniFocus for iOS is now celebrating ten years on the App Store — it’s been there since day one, and we’ve been so proud to see it earn its status as the trusted to-do list app.

This major update is the result of two years of design and engineering work — much of it under the hood — to bring new features, better workflows and user experience, and even more reliability and safety.

At the same time, the app should still feel familiar to everyone who used OmniFocus 2.

Indeed, it feels like a nice refinement. I like the new undo button. The release notes are far from exhausitve.

Ken Case:

Implementing free trials, upgrade discounts, and free upgrades for recent purchases for all our iOS apps was a whole lot of work—but on days like today (OmniFocus 3 release day) it’s nice to see that effort pay dividends in customer satisfaction.

Omni Group:

OmniFocus 3 for iOS is a free download in the App Store, with the Standard and Pro feature sets available via In-App Purchase. We also offer a 14-day free trial, after which OmniFocus will function as a free viewer.

The purchase options available to you are based upon your purchase history. If you owned a previous version of OmniFocus for iPad or iPhone, you can purchase Pro or Standard in v3 at a discount. If you start with Standard and decide you want Pro later, you can upgrade for the difference in cost.

Eric Bowers:

OmniFocus 1 and OmniFocus 2 were both very much geared toward the GTD method and contained some built-in Context lists like “Errands” as a default, and included a Project perspective to ensure that you captured items that were more complex to complete. It was and still is the gold standard for GTD in the Mac and iOS user-space.

However, some folks didn’t want to practice a “purely GTD” system, and that’s where the advent of OmniFocus 3 begins to add a lot of possibility to a once workflow-specific system.


A reason that each task now has a cleaned-up interface in OmniFocus 3 is due to what is called “Progressive Disclosure.” Progressive Disclosure is best exemplified by the “Repeat” setting.

Ryan Christoffel:

Notifications are now much more powerful in OmniFocus 3, because each task can now be assigned as many notifications as you’d like.

When a task is assigned a due date, by default it will receive a matching notification, just like in OmniFocus 2. Now, however, you can also add custom notifications to a task whether it has a due date or not. If you want a system that nags you until a particular task is done, you can create multiple reminders, spaced five or ten minutes apart, that won’t stop bugging you until you’ve marked the task complete.


Batch editing is the best small feature of OmniFocus 3.

Marc A. Kastner:

The Omni Group refreshed the look of OmniFocus for iOS. I would not go as far as calling it a revamp in design language - but various color changes, bolder font styles, and stronger contrasts make the app more visually pleasing.


The iPad now features a three pane layout, which is much easier to use than the previous sliding layout behavior in OF2.

David Sparks:

I’ve been experimenting with tags based on energy level, so when I’m in the afternoon doldrums, I can have OmniFocus show me just a list of “brain dead” tasks I can check off without needing to concentrate. I’m also experimenting with certain classifications of work. For example, I’ve created a tag that relates to a very specific online corporate filing I do for some of my legal clients. It’s a massive pain in the neck to get logged in, and that process started so now, with a tag, I can easily get a list of all those filings (regardless of project) once I do log in to the creaky government flash-based website and batch the filings all at once.


I’ve been adding more locations tags with places I go often like the grocery store, the post office, Target, and the hardware store so whenever I go in, I get a notification and can take a look at my list. Because this is tag based, it can pull items tagged to my location out of any of my projects.

A lot of folks like to set their tasks in an A-B-C priority order. You can do that. You can do whatever floats your boat. Make tags for tasks you just want to perform in the morning. Make tags for tasks you’ll only perform while drinking tea.

Jason McIntosh:

In recognition of how much this software-assisted cycle has helped me over the years, and in the hope that it may help someone else as well, this article describes several strategies I use when working with this glorified to-do list program. I focus here more on overall approaches than on software-specific tips-n-tricks.


I have a context called “Waiting”, whose status I marked as On Hold, and which has no particular location or other information associated with it. When the next step in a project literally involves me waiting for something to happen — an email response, a package arrival, and so on — then I represent it with a task — “Wait for Jim-Bob’s reply”, say — and assign that task the Waiting context.

Previously: Omni’s IAP Trials and Upgrade Discounts, Omni’s 2017 Plans, OmniFocus 2018 Roadmap.

Update (2018-06-03): John Gordon notes that, because of the In-App Purchases, OmniFocus no longer works with Family Sharing.

1Password 7 for Mac

Dave Teare:

While in your browser, mini will automatically suggest the items you’re most likely to need.

And mini doesn’t limit itself to just browsers. With our new app integration we’ll automatically suggest logins for the current app you’re using. Along with support for drag and drop, this is a real game changer.


You can now give your notes richly formatted text using Markdown!


It all began by combining 1Password and 1Password mini into a single process. This made items faster to load, reduced memory usage, and decreased launch times.

Jeff Shiner (Hacker News):

To be quite honest, one of the main reasons we haven’t had a paid upgrade on the Mac side for all these years is that we were dreading the pain this would cause us and our customers. However the time has come to bite the bullet and have a paid upgrade.

To avoid this pain in the future, this will be the last time we will be submitting a new app to the App Store. To make that possible, 1Password 7 will only be available as a subscription in the Mac App Store.


If we were to sell standalone licenses in the Mac App Store we would have these same problems all over again when 1Password 8 is released. Ultimately this is why we decided not to sell licenses through the Mac App Store.

Joe Rossignol:

For those who wish to purchase a license for 1Password 7 for Mac, instead of a subscription, the app must be downloaded directly from the AgileBits website. Licenses are $49.99 for a limited time, and $64.99 after that, and are per-person, per-platform.

I haven’t figured out how to actually pay for the direct version.

Kate Sebald:

1Password 7 from the Mac App Store will only support our hosted service, as that’s what you’re purchasing with a 1Password membership. If you install from our website, you’ll have to option to use a standalone vault synced via iCloud if you purchase a standalone license, or use our hosted service if you purchase a 1Password membership.

I see why they did this, but it does regress the product for me, because now the non-subscription version can’t automatically check for updates if I’m blocking the app’s network connections with Little Snitch. Previously, the App Store could do that on the app’s behalf.

See also: Gabe Weatherhead, David Sparks, Bradley Chambers.

Update (2018-06-05): Jeroen van der Ham:

It took me a long while to figure out how to pay for the direct version of @1Password because it’s not listed anywhere on the website.

What you do is download the app, and then you can select to buy the standalone version in the purchase screen.

Apple vs. My Daughter’s iPad

Erica Sadun (tweet):

The other day, Apple locked her out of her iCloud account and her iPad. We don’t know why. The Apple support people don’t know why. I think it may have to do with when I modernized my AppleID to use an email address, which is what the iTunes account on the iPad is registered to.

My daughter knows her account name. She knows her password. She did not forget either one. She did not lose her device. She did not do anything to trigger the Apple ID issue. The only thing we know is that it happened at roughly the same time the ApplePay person told me to update my AppleID.


Despite the fact that she owns the iPad, has the physical iPad, knows her id, and knows her password, there is no way for her to ever use the iPad again because we do not have a receipt for the iPad, nor does the kind gentleman who gave her the iPad. The Apple Store does not provide access to records from that far back, roughly 7 years ago.

Erica Sadun:

Our device was not stolen. My daughter did not enter bad passcodes or wrong passwords. There was no reason that the lockdown should have happened and no way for Apple Support to explain why it did happen. If it could happen to us, it can happen to anyone and potentially at any time.

That my daughter had forgotten her security recovery information, too, led to a much broader issue. She was young, foolish, and feels sorry for her choices. At the very least, she should have changed her email when the provider shut down its services. But having an outdated email and no memory of security questions isn’t limited to her specific situation.

Previously: iPad Erased By Too Many Failed Passcode Entries, If iPads Were Meant for Kids.

The Story Behind the Echo Eavesdropping Story

Jason Snell (Hacker News):

The story of an Amazon Echo sending a private conversation to a woman’s contacts has been making the rounds since it showed up in a local news story earlier this week.

Amazon’s statement on the matter says that this was a case of a false positive phrase triggering an Echo feature that lets you send voice messages to your contacts. (iOS has a similar feature built in to Messages, albeit not voice activated.) Usually, this requires a few steps worth of confirmation, which again, could be falsely triggered by overhearing a conversation. It’s extremely unlikely, but given the number of requests and number of devices out there, even a one-in-a-million incident is going to happen, you know, one in a million times.

What I suspect happened, as some other sites have speculated, is that the confirmation query was issued on a device that wasn’t in the room the people were in. (Or the volume was down on the responding device.)

John Gruber:

I do have a few Echo devices, but I never granted them access to my contacts and never enabled “Calling and Messaging”. If you did, and now wish to disable it, you need to call Amazon on the phone. Not joking.

Apple’s Emoji Search is Bad

Jeremy Burge:

At this stage you might think it’s simply a matter of learning the correct name for each emoji, so you know how to start a search.

That is sadly not the case.


Sorting is a challenge, so I don’t want to harp on here. But it does seem like an exact match of the Unicode name, CLDR name and Apple name should probably bring up that emoji in the top 10 at least.


iOS emoji search is one of the top feature requests I see whenever Apple releases new emojis.

Stephen Hackett:

The thing is, this shouldn’t be a hard problem. Every emoji has an official name granted by Unicode, as well an official localized name that can be more user-friendly. Apple’s search should take those two labels, plus its own custom names, into account when searching. Right now, the entire system seems bad in random ways, and inconsistent across emoji characters.

Jeremy Burge:

You’re not dreaming. There used to be a gavel emoji on iOS. It didn’t get removed, it simply changed appearance. Yesterday’s gavel is today’s 🔨 Hammer.


At the time of writing, Emojipedia contains every single emoji update from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, LG, and HTC for the years 2008 to 2018.

Facebook’s GDPR-Related Dark Patterns

Francis Irving:

Facebook actually put fake red dots to try and make you think you have messages even if you don’t, so you agree to their tracking more hastily. Read full complaint against Facebook - with tricks like that, sorry Facebook, you deserve to be hit hard.

Via Nick Heer:

This is pretty sleezy, but also basically what you’d expect from a company that misleads users into accepting facial recognition, guilt trips users who try to deactivate their account, and places several other barriers to deactivation.

Previously: Cambridge Analytica Harvested 50 Million Facebook Profiles, Avoiding Apple Pay’s Pestering.