Unlockable Themes in Clear


So, there’s a new iOS Task app in town. Clear has stunning visuals, animations and sounds. I had a blast moving the vast majority of my non-dev tasks into it tonight. More detail at TechCrunch and Shawn’s blog.

One fun feature is unlockable themes.

Update: 7 more unlockable themes (for a total of 15) shipped for Clear on April 23rd. TouchArcade lists the game related themes and CNet has a rundown of the others. I’ve unlocked 5 of the new themes so far. Details follow.

Install The Heist to get a corresponding theme:

This theme is unlocked by installing Bumpy road:

Installing Path gets you:

In Clear’s Settings pane, gift a copy of Clear to another iTunes user to unlock the Gifted theme:

Mark some tasks complete in Clear late at night to get the Night Owl theme:

If you have Tweetbot installed, you get the Tweetbot theme:

If you follow the @UseClear twitter handle from within the Clear app, you get the Scorched theme:

If you enter a ton of tasks and mark them complete, you get the opportunity to tweet about Clear. Do that and you get the Socialite theme:

And here’s a look at the default themes:

My take on Inside Apple

Image

I just finished reading Adam Lashinsky’s new book, Inside Apple. It’s very good.

Lashinsky’s subtitle for the book is “How America’s Most Admired – And Secretive – Company Really Works”. I was captivated from start to finish and Lashinsky’s analysis is great, but if you’ve been following Apple heavily for several years, you aren’t going to be shocked by the information or the conclusions. This is not a treasure trove of leaked secrets from the infamous Apple University management training program. This is a well thought out collection of insights with a well chosen set of supporting material. A good amount of that supporting material is new (or at least new to me).

If you normally read as much as you can about Apple’s business practices, and you want to see the whole picture in one place, you’ll like this book. It’s a very quick read and Lashinsky does not over-explain. You will come across tidbits that you’ve never heard before. If you do not know much about Apple’s internal culture but are a fan of Apple products and you want to hear how those products come to market, you’ll like this book.

“We had a few weeks to find a wedding on a beach and to get it shot, edited and approved by Steve. The tight time frame allowed for now margin for error.” – Alessandra Ghini on prepping for the iMovie HD reveal

The first 7 chapters each focus on a characteristic of Apple’s business practices. These chapters highlight ways that characteristic has helped Apple, while carefully noting how it impacts Apple’s employees, partners, contractors, suppliers, competition, customers and the press. For instance, Apple’s leadership model and internal secrecy help it create efficient teams, and fulfilling work, but the author’s sources did not describe working at Apple as fun. These 7 chapters are “Rethink Leadership”, “Embrace Secrecy”, “Focus Obsessively”, “Stay Start-Up Hungry”, “Hire Disciples”, “Own Your Message”, “Overwhelm Friends/Dominate Foes”.

“While each store is distinctive, Apple’s architects work with a limited vocabulary of design elments; only three materials, for instance – wood, glass, and steel – are used for store interiors. That’s how you know you’re in an Apple store regardless of location.” – Adam Lashinsky

Chapters 8 and 10 (“Plan for After Your Successor” and “One More Thing”) deal with Apple’s post Jobs strategy, including the preparations to ensure Apple’s values will remain intact, thoughts on the leaders involved and challenges that Apple-Post-Jobs will face. Lashinsky showed great restraint in saving most of his speculation about Apple’s future for these two chapters.

Chapter 9 (“Inspire Imitators”) takes a look at other companies, some whose leaders came from Apple, some not. The idea here (I think) is to suggest that we can learn about Apple’s business practices by monitoring companies who will leverage practices and/or personnel that came from Apple.

I’m not a heavy reader. It’s extremely rare that I’ll read a book in one sitting. This one kept me hooked start to finish – I could not put it down. The stories in “Own Your Message”, and the Apple Store details in “Overwhelm Friends/Dominate Foes” were particularly informative and fun.

Steve Jobs

“Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

I honestly can’t imagine what the state of the art in personal computing would be today without Steve Jobs. Look at the difference between the “smart” phones of 2006 (pre-iPhone) and the smart phones of 2011 (post-iPhone). We owe a lot to him and the team of people he put together and inspired over the years.

I’m looking forward to his biography, but word is that he and a team put together a manifesto of sorts to guide Apple (Apple University). That’s what I really want to read.

Steve Jobs was an amazing, driven, creative man that made my life better. I’ll miss him.

Leatherman Squirt PS4

I’ve been carrying around the Squirt PS4 all summer. The knife, pliers and wire cutters have all been getting a work out and have held up fine. The screwdrivers and scissors are also very well built for their size. I’ve had larger Leatherman tools and smaller multitools, but this is the sweet spot for me in size and functionality. Red, Blue and Black colors are available. Amazon sells them for $25.

The PS4 fits in my watch pocket with plenty of room to spare. It measures 2.25 inches long (closed) and is about half an inch thick.

If you prefer needle nose pliers with a great range of wire strippers, but the same form factor as the PS4, consider the ES4.

Great Mac Software

Here are some of the apps I use frequently.

Productivity

  • LittleSnapper is my favorite screen capture app. Like many similar apps, it stores a library of your captures and has hot keys for common use cases.
  • Things is a todo app from Cultured Code. It’s a little expensive (you have to purchase the desktop, iPhone and iPad apps separately), but it adds the right amount of structure without getting in the way.
  • Soulver is a tape-based calculator with the edit-ability of a spreadsheet. Watch the video before you put your $ down. If you find yourself making a lot of calculations for a project and you want to see them all at once – Soulver might be exactly what you want.
  • DropBox is great for sharing files with other people, other computers and even your iPhone.
  • I use Acorn for image editing (including creating the image at the top of this post). I like it, but I know some prefer Pixelmator and others, Photoshop. They are all great options.
  • Fantastical sits in your menu bar, showing today’s date. Click on it to get fast, interactive access to your iCal calendar. I use it most for it’s large, drop down month view.

Utilities

  • Boom at http://www.globaldelight.com/boom/index.html is a fantastic utility that nearly doubles the volume of your MacBook. It’s incredible for listening to podcasts, music and video when the sounds is just a little to quiet. A recent software update fixed my only concern with Boom – it no longer crashes.
  • I prefer VMWare Fusion over Parallels for running Windows apps on my Mac. Historically, it eats less battery life, in my experience.
  • iStat Menus puts CPU utilization, memory usage and other computer-health metrics in your menu bar, along with a very nice calendar.
  • Stock Menulet shows one or more stock prices in your menu bar.
  • Hyperdock emulates some of Windows 7’s best features. Drag a window to the side of your screen and it will snap-resize to fill exactly half of your desktop. Move your mouse over an app’s icon in the dock to see a preview of the windows owned by that app.
  • DaisyDisk: if your hard drive fills up quickly and you find yourself cleaning out media files or downloads frequently, DaisyDisk can help. Like many other tools, it helps you visualize where all your space is going, but it’s much more fun to use than its cousins.

Development

  • xScope provides awesome tools for measuring distances and areas on screen. Magnifying glass, guide lines, etc. I use this a lot.
  • Hues replaces your color picker with something much more useful. Save more custom colors, work with more color formats – it even has better copy/paste and an eye dropper!
  • Transmit is great for FTP, S3, etc.
  • iTerm 2 is a great replacement for the built-in Terminal. Split panes, colored output, scriptability. Good stuff!

Music to Learn to

When writing code, I can throw on headphones, crank the volume and listen to music from MIA, Mumford and Sons or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. But when I’m learning – reading books or watching instructional videos – I find lyrics distracting. My collection of instrumental music has grown over the last few months while I’ve been digging into Objective C and Ruby on Rails. It plays in the background on low volume. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Beastie Boys: The In Sound from Way Out! (itunes)
  • Beastie Boys: The Mix-Up (itunes) [Yes, these two Beastie Boys albums are instrumental]
  • Jim Guthry: Sword and Sworcery LP – the Ballad of the Space Babies (itunes)
  • Ramin Djawadi: Game of Thrones (Music from the HBO Series) (itunes)
  • Hans Zimmer: Black Hawk Down (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [This one has lyrics, but they are in a different language, so they do not distract.] (itunes)

9/17/2011…

I dreamt about a bee the size of a cat, with feline features. I woke up to our cat, Flower, snuggling with my feet.