Linked List Entries

The Linked List is a frequently updated list of notable links and commentary. You can subscribe to the Linked List with its dedicated RSS feed or you can follow along on the main feed, which includes both Linked List entries and feature articles from the site.

April Home Screens Update ➝

This month, I write about moving all of my iPad’s apps into the dock, Reddit clients, and the first game I’ve had installed on my iPhone in years.

RSS Readers Are Due for a Comeback ➝

Brian Barrett, writing for Wired:

The modern web contains no shortage of horrors, from ubiquitous ad trackers to all-consuming platforms to YouTube comments, generally. Unfortunately, there’s no panacea for what ails this internet we’ve built. But anyone weary of black-box algorithms controlling what you see online at least has a respite, one that’s been there all along but has often gone ignored. Tired of Twitter? Facebook fatigued? It’s time to head back to RSS.

We should all spend a little less time reading knee-jerk reactions on social media and spend more time reading thoughtfully composed articles in our RSS readers.

How to Make a Workflow Run From Both the Widget and the Share Sheet ➝

A great tip from my buddy Matt Cassinelli, writing for The Sweet Setup:

Sharing from another app using the action extension sends content as input into the workflow, whereas workflows run from the widget don’t have an input. Instead, you can create your own input point by using the clipboard. This way, you can copy something, open the widget, and run the workflow to accept the contents of the clipboard.

Instead of setting up two different workflows for each point of entry, you can also use an input check method that makes a single workflow more dynamic. With this, you use the Count and If actions to count whether there’s an input (1+ items) and, if so, use the Workflow Input coming from the action extension. Or, when there’s no input (0 items), it can use the Clipboard instead so you can run it from the widget as well.

This is one of those neat little Workflow tips that I take for granted when building my own, but I bet there are a lot of users who are completely unaware of it. If you want to build more dynamic workflows that can be run from a variety of locations in the system, this trick is worth learning.

The Case for an ePad ➝

Stephen Hackett:

What would it mean for Apple to make an ePad?

Making the tablet more rugged would be at the top of the list for a lot of educators. I’ve heard numbers all over the place when it comes to accidental damage rates for deployed iPads in schools, but making an ePad that could take more abuse would be a winner in most people’s books, I’m sure. […]

Apple should also reconsider its keyboard strategy. I don’t know if taking a page out of the education-only eMate 300 and going with a built-in keyboard is the right answer for every school, so in this fantasy, let’s say every ePad can support an external keyboard via the Smart Connector, but perhaps there could be a SKU that came with a keyboard built into the device more directly. It should still fold flat out of the way when not needed, granting greater flexibility than the traditional notebook form factor.

An inexpensive, education-only iPad that’s built to withstand some punishment sounds like a compelling product. I expect there’s a lot of school districts that would reconsider their hardware choices if such a device existed.

Mark One by Studio Neat ➝

From the Kickstarter page:

Perhaps unsurprising if you know us, but our design goal from the beginning was to design a pen that was both minimal and beautiful. Mark One has a completely seamless (literally) design, with no excess ornamentation or logo. This seamless design was quite an engineering feat, and involved designing a custom mechanism that can screw in from the back. The pen comes in two colors: black or white, which both have a slightly textured, matte finish. The metal plated nocks provide a nice little accent to each. We wanted the pen to be sophisticated without looking overly tactical or masculine.

I recently took up journaling and this is exactly the type of pen I’ve been looking for. Something that’s minimal, durable, retractable, and made by a group of people that care deeply about good design.

Apple Announces Its Spring Collection of Watch Bands ➝

A lot of great options in this new lineup. The Tahoe Blue Sport Loop, Gray Stripe Woven Nylon, and Lemonade Sport Band are high on my list. If I could only buy one, I’d probably go with the Sport Loop, if only because I don’t own a Watch band in that style yet.

Overcast 4.1 ➝

An incredible update to my favorite podcast app. It features Smart Resume, the option to delete episodes 24 hours after completion, and support for some password-protected feeds. If you already use Overcast, get the update now. And if you don’t, this is a great time to consider switching.

I was really excited about support for password-protected feeds. I subscribe to the Wrestling Observer and listen to many of their shows, but the only way to get those episodes into Overcast has been to utilize the premium-only uploads feature. I built a workflow to help with the process, but it’s still tedious. My hopes were high, but upon testing it with the Wrestling Observer’s feeds, it looks like Overcast’s system doesn’t work for the shows I listen to. They must be using some alternative authentication method that Overcast doesn’t support. Maybe that will change in a future update, but until then, I’m stuck using my old process.

Smart Resume, on the other hand, is exactly the type of feature that has kept me using Overcast. Adjusting the seek point to add context and minimize resumes in the middle of words is such a great little detail that subtly improves my listening experience.

The Call to Encrypt the Web ➝

K.Q. Dreger, with another take the recent push to encrypt the web:

Unfortunately, the world wide landscape today desperately calls for us to encrypt what we can. We, as creators on the web, are obliged to help protect the privacy and security of our readers. Enabling HTTPS on a domain doesn’t hurt existing content, but it does provide your visitors with a little more protection, and — critically — it doesn’t require a change in their behavior. They get to keep just using the web.

There’s no easy solution to this. Encrypting the web is almost certainly better than not, but it does introduce an additional barrier to entry for new creators. And, as I said when I linked to Dave Winer’s piece last week, it would be a very bad idea to dismiss unencrypted webpages as a byproduct of encouraging developers to move to HTTPS. To put it another way, it’s okay to move forward, but that doesn’t mean we should destroy everything behind us in our quest for progress.