Of all the apps that will benefit from custom keyboards in iOS 8, TextExpander by Smile Software is one of the more obvious. In case you’re unfamiliar, TextExpander allows you to create snippets of text and media that can be inserted anywhere with a quick keyboard shortcut.
“We’ve been hard at work since Apple announced the new and exciting extensions and custom keyboards available in iOS 8,” said Smilie in a preview of their new keyboard layout. “TextExpander touch 3, coming on the heels of iOS 8 this fall, includes a TextExpander keyboard which can expand snippets in any app on the iPhone or iPad, including built-in apps such as Mail and Safari.”
We know how to grab our location in plain text on the iPad, using Editorial and some Python voodoo (Python Voodoo could be a great name for a band). But what about the Mac? Easy. Using TexExpander and some AppleScript, you can easily turn a few keystrokes into longitude and latitude, without too much attitude (Python Voodoo will be a and 8-bit rap band).
This is the Mac version, as the iOS version hasn’t yet been seven-ified, and looks totally ugly.
One of the things that makes typing long-form text on the iPad bearable is TextExpander Touch, the iOS version of Smile Software’s amazing snippet-substitution app for the Mac. Sadly, iOS7 has broken the clever hack Smile was using to let it share its snippets with any app on your iDevice.
But happily, there’ a new hack, and it just requires third-party developers to make some tweaks to their own apps.
There are a handful of apps that I have to have on every Mac I use, or things quickly start to get annoying. Launchbar is one. Dropbox is another, and TextExpander is one more. TextExpander is sold as a way to expand a short string of text into a longer string of text, so I can just type, say, “aadd” and my address magically appears. I use it all day long on both Mac and iOS for adding Markdown and HTML code to my Cult of Mac posts, and even to the the name Cult of Mac (shortcut: ccom).
But there’s a lot more in there, as this example will show. BEcause TextExpander can run scripts, it can query all kinds of neat stuff — including finding out about your Mac.
NaNoWriMo is the annual attempt by many tens of thousands of people to finally get that novel out of their head and into the cloud storage option of their choice. The goal is to write a 50,000-word novel by midnight on the 30th November, and you can get there by fair means or foul. The rules? It has to be a novel, it has to be 50,000 words (or more) long, and it has to be written in November.
The tools you will need most to write your NaNoWriMo novel are inspiration and a lot of perseverance. Luckily, apps can help you with both. Here’s the definitive guide to NaNoWriMo apps on the Mac and iOS. If you can’t drag that novel kicking and screaming into the world with the help of these apps, you can’t do it at all.
TextExpander becomes the first high-profile casualty of Apple’s sandboxing rules.
TextExpander from Smile Software is a wonderful tool that turns text strings and images into tiny little shortcuts, saving you time and effort every time you type. It’s a little like the Shortcuts feature Apple built into iOS 5, but a million times better. You can currently find it in the Mac App Store, but we’d advise you not to buy it there.
Why? Because the Mac App Store version is the older version 3.4.2 release, and Smile Software has chosen to depart Apple’s marketplace for version 4.0. It turns out that the Cupertino company’s strict sandboxing rules, which went into effect on June 1, don’t allow some of TextExpander’s core features.
My iPad blogging setup, including camera connection kit, emergency battery pack and pouch of spare SD cards. Photo Charlie Sorrel (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
BARCELONA, MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2012 — This year I decided to cover the Mobile World Congress without a computer. Or at least, without my MacBook. I live in Barcelona, so I knocked out a couple of posts on my iMac when I was at home, but on the show floor and in the press lounge I relied solely on my iPad. And amazingly, it was up to the task. There are some annoyances, but with a combination of perseverance (or just stubbornness) and the right apps, I got a pretty easy system going.
Every day, there’s another app bundle, and sometimes it seems like each is more forgettable than the last. Code Canyon’s Freelance Mac App Bundle is a wonderful exception: it’s the first app bundle we’ve seen in ages worth getting excited about.