Ghost 4.0 Migration

17th March 2021

Ghost, the blogging platform that this blog runs on, recently received a major update. So I decided that I would update the version of my instance. Mainly because the update's main focus was adding support for members and email newsletters, which previously have been part of their "labs" section.

I took the necessary precautions, exported the content, even made a complete backup of the base folder. However, I still assumed that it would go well since Ghost has a command-line tool that should take care of everything.

Unfortunately for me, this migration didn't work. The cause was a failing database migration, which seemed odd to me since this is not something that I have changed. And it turns out; the rollback feature doesn't support major versions.

The next step was installing a new version of Ghost v3, which is pretty easy if you use the CLI tool. Once that was installed, I restored the content, and it worked as usual.

I was still set on updating to v4, though. So I tried again. This time thinking it will work because I have a completely fresh install. Sadly, the same error occurred. Which meant my only option was to start with a new v4 instance.

Luckily, the import functionality worked with my data, even though it was exported with a previous version. All I had to do was verify that worked, migrated members, configured the email newsletter, and made sure the images were all available. Everything went perfectly this time.

I'll need to look into the changes more and see if I can make use of anything. One thing I did notice was the excellent new default theme. So maybe I can steal a few things.

While the blog hasn't visibly changed, this migration did cause one annoyance. As after you set up a Ghost instance, it starts you off with a few default blog posts. So every time I did this, these dummy posts were available in the RSS feed. I think this also meant that a few recent posts were triggered when I did the import. This means, if your RSS reader/service polled for changes during this period, you'll most likely have a few posts that you can ignore. Sorry about this!

My Task Manager of Choice

15th March 2021

Something that has slowly evolved for me is how I use task managers. I've used apps like 2Do, Todoist, Things, and a few more in the past. But they never stuck with me for various reasons. The most annoying part of this was that I'd have to keep migrating the data into new apps.

One of those times, I decided to go all-in on the stock Reminders app. Because then I know that my data is available on all of my devices, my tasks slightly would be slightly more accessible than they would be from a third-party app, and it's a pretty simple system.

Being simple attracted me since I always felt like every task manager I used tried to do too much. At least for my uses. I don't do anything fancy with my tasks. I have an inbox where I put rough ideas and tasks that need either more information or to be planned. And I have a few essential lists which I sort tasks into, of which I'd say 99% of the tasks fall within four lists: Blog, Newsletter, House, Text Case.

I didn't settle on Reminders as my task manager "app" of choice, though. For that, I've been using GoodTask. For the simple reason of it being based upon the built-in Reminders system. So while I can access my data via the Reminders app on any platform, GoodTask is essentially my "frontend".

The main thing that I like about GoodTask is the user interface, how flexible it is with the various view options, and the theming (although themes are more limited on macOS). Add in the Smart Lists feature, where you create dynamic lists based on various criteria, and you can create a pretty complex system, all still based on the same Reminders data.

I've also started to use Quick Actions a bit more recently. My usage is relatively simple with some date options, but I imagine these may grow as I play around even more.

It's certainly a good feeling having stuck with a solution for a relatively long period. I used to be someone who would try out any new and trendy task manager, but I really see the value of just making a decision and sticking with it. I definitely think it's something I should take into other aspects of my workflow. The trend I'm noticing in my app choices seems that they're relatively simple, not packed full of wow factors, but do one job and do it well. To be honest, the first two describe me as a person.

Notification Centre in Big Sur

13th March 2021

Notification Centre on macOS is a feature that's confused me for a while and one that I think wastes a lot of it's potential primarily because I don't think its anywhere as convenient as its counterpart on iOS.

I would guess that it's down to the interaction needed to use it. On an iOS device, you can see your notifications on the Lock Screen and can swipe up to reveal the full Notification Centre. But on macOS, it's hidden behind the date and time in the menu bar. So it's certainly not as visible or accessible.

This hidden nature leads me to hardly ever use it. So when I do open it up, it's full of old notifications that I need to clear out.

There's also the fact that notifications in Big Sur are plain dumb. If you've used Big Sur, then I'm sure you understand. I don't think I need to go any deeper.

But in general, I think that notifications on macOS could be a super helpful feature. It just needs to be brought out of the shadows. It needs to be accessible, and actions should be able to be accomplished with a single click or swipe.

Apple discontinues original HomePod, will focus on mini

Matthew Panzarino, writing for TechCrunch:

After 4 years on the market, Apple has discontinued its original HomePod. It says that it will continue to produce and focus on the HomePod mini, introduced last year. The larger HomePod offered a beefier sound space but the mini has been very well received and clearly accomplishes many of the duties that the larger version was tasked with. The sound is super solid (especially for the size) and it offers access to Siri, Apple’s assistant feature.

First the iMac Pro, and now the original HomePod. Is this Apple doing a quick clearout before the upcoming event?

Either way, I hope this is a sign that there will be a new HomePod at that event.

It's probably a weird thing to expect, since it's being discontinued. However, the iMac Pro has been discontinued, and most of us expect an equivalent model to be announced soon, albeit with an M-class chip. Also, wouldn't it be weird to have a HomePod mini as the only model in the lineup? What would it be a mini version of?

My Hopes for the 2021 iPad Pros

13th March 2021

I've thought about purchasing a 12.9" iPad for a while, but I kept putting it off, until the rumours started last year about new models being introduced in March 2021. After then my mind was made up, I was going to buy get the next big iPad Pro that Apple released.

I wrote in November last year about what the perfect iPad would be for me, and I concluded that the current Air or Pro models would probably suffice in terms of capability, but since I want the larger screen, I'd need to go for a Pro.

It's a bit of an odd situation, because I know I'm going to buy an iPad at the next event, no matter what gets announced. But I don't have an idea what the next iPad Pro models will be like.

There are rumours of a MiniLED display, which is good I guess, but I wouldn't say that's something I particularly care about. I can't quite recall any other rumours, apart from 5G support, but then again I haven't purposefully looked for any.

Nevertheless, there are a few things that I would like in the next models, and I think a lot of people would also appreciate them:

  • Longer battery life (similar to the M1 Macs).
  • M1 (or equivalent) chip.
  • 2 USB C ports.
  • Better front-facing camera, and positioned top-centre while in landscape mode.
  • Possibly an even bigger size than 12.9"?

I would also like a new Magic Keyboard to be announced since I think the trackpad could do with being a bit bigger. This is probably unrealistic but could be possible if Apple released a larger size.

Apart from that, the rest of my iPad wishes are software-based. So I'll have to wait until WWDC for those.

GlanceCam 3

GlanceCam is an app developed by my friend, Cesare Forelli, and it's once that I've admired for a long time. In short, it's an app that lets you view IP cameras from your Mac. But in reality it's so much more, especially with the recent major update.

It's a relatively minimal design, however it's still packed full of functionality. It support multi-windows, always on top, 4K streams, you can use it to sent HTTP GET commands to your devices, keyboard shortcuts, a URL scheme, AppleScript support, and so much more.

This app is probably the main reason why I'm thinking of investing in some cameras for my house.

I’m Trying out Mailbrew Again

10th March 2021

I’ve been trying to find a way to discover interesting links and generally more things to read. Because, although I currently use a mix of, Twitter, and RSS, to get news/articles delivered to me. It always felt to me that it wasn’t exactly a diverse source of information and that it relied on a number of people discovering something first.

But then I listened to the latest version of AppStories, where John Voorhees and Federico Viticci discussed how they read newsletters, and they came on to the subject of Mailbrew1. Which reminded me that I tried the service out a while ago, but for some reason that I can’t remember, I stopped using it.

However, they’ve since added a Twitter integration that allows you to view the “top links” from either your timeline or a specific list. And since I’ve stopped using Twitter as much recently, I thought it sounded pretty handy. So I’ve decided to give it a go again.

My daily digest still needs a bit of refinement, since I probably have slightly too many sections. But I’m sure I’ll make changes as I go and if I start seeing trends where a section just isn’t that interesting.

But for now, I’ve gone with these sources:

  • Top posts from Hacker News
  • Popular items from Product Hunt
  • Assorted feeds:
    • Designer News
    • Lifehacker
    • The Verge
    • BBC News
    • The Independent
    • (Swift)
  • Top posts from specific Reddit subreddits:
    • productivity
    • design
    • travel
    • technology
    • programming
    • apple
  • Top links from Twitter (I have a few private Twitter lists for bloggers, developers, and tech in general).

Mailbrew seems like a really good fit for my desire to have an easy way to get articles from all around the web. I think the only work that I will need to do is to find the sources that are right for me.

  1. Mailbrew is a service where you can combine various sources to form a daily digest email. ↩︎

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