In case you somehow missed it, in January 2014 I shut The Axx down once and for all. All of my posts now appear solely on my new website, Unapologetic.io. I also contribute to MacStories.net.

If you've come to The Axx looking for some of my old actions, most of them can be found in updated forms over at Unapologetic. Some of my most popular ones can be found at the following links:

If you came here looking for iOS automation tips, you might also be interested in some of my other pieces:

Introducing Unapologetic

Today I'm announcing my new site, Unapologetic. Obviously, for readers of The Axx, this may have some effect on you. First and foremost, The Axx is not going away. Rather, I'm forking it, moving part of it to a new place whilst keeping it's heart here where it belongs.

The Axx has always been a site with two completely different visions, both competing to be featured most prominently. The first vision was of a website where I shared the advanced URL actions I was creating for anyone to see and use. The second vision was of a personal technology blog where I contributed my own thoughts on the latest apps and news to the tech world. As I have progressed with The Axx, both of these aspects of the site have been successful. However, the problem I've always faced is that these two competing visions never aligned into a single website. Uniting The Action Page and The Axx blog never really happened because they both required a dedicated environment. Today, with Unapologetic, I'm finally giving each vision the prominence it needs and deserves. With the old Axx, my writing was often overshadowed by my actions, yet my actions seemed forever undervalued by being jammed into a subpage of the website. Not only were they separated from the home page, but even upon going to The Action Page you were required to navigate further into the "Actions" section to read through each action. Well now actions at The Axx will finally be getting the attention they deserve. In the next few days the "Actions" section of The Action Page will be transferring to the site's home page. New actions will be featured prominently with truncated descriptions and direct import links available for people who just want a sum up of what the action does and then to import it. Title links will direct you to the full content posts if you want a more in depth description. Finally, the new home page for actions will now support a full content RSS feed, so you can subscribe to get new actions as they arrive without having to check back manually.

With the release of Launch Center Pro 2.0, LCP has entered the arena of apps supporting direct imports of actions. With this newfound ease of adding actions to your Launch Center, I will be adding support for direct import links of Launch Center Pro formatted actions to all of my new actions as well. Obviously all actions won't be fully compatible to each app, but whenever possible there will be options to use one or the other.

Looking back at my own action directory, many of the actions are outdated by new features in newer versions of Drafts and LCP, others actually contain typos or errors. Due to this, I won't be transitioning all the old actions to the new home page immediately, but rather, starting somewhat from scratch and adding older actions back again as I have time to go through each and update them to newer and cleaner forms based on the techniques now available. LCP support will also be added to older actions when possible. The current pages will all continue to exist, so no old links will be broken. Furthermore, in alignment with my new goals for Unapologetic, any terminal errors or typos in my actions, links and description posts will no longer be acceptable. I will be doing my best to hold myself to a higher level of quality, and I hope that you, my readers, will help me do so. If you see any errors in my work, of any sort, I urge you to make them known to me so I can correct them as soon as possible. Hopefully, however, there will be very few to worry about.

As for those of you following The Axx for my actual writing on the blog section, I really hope you will accompany me to the new home for my writing at Unapologetic. I encourage you to read my introduction post over there to understand my reasons for starting the new site, and the refreshed goals I have for my writing. Briefly, my main focuses will be on writing more daringly, not being afraid to voice my opinions, and creating more of my own original content instead of just linking to posts from other blogs. I also put a huge amount of effort into making what I hope you'll agree is a much more fun, colorful, and friendly design, and a better environment in which to read long articles. I would love to here your feedback on the design choices and future goals for Unapologetic.

The Axx has always been a place for actions. The only reason the site began was for me to have a place to put my actions, and the blog portion usurped their rightful place at the helm. With my main writing moving to Unapologetic, actions from The Axx will finally receive the attention they deserve at the home page of the site. By dismantling the complicated layout of The Action Page, I can now reenable the Squarespace responsive design for the entire site without ruining the layout, thus making the experience of reading about and importing new actions from your mobile devices a much friendlier one. I still have big plans for the future of The Axx, and this is only a small step towards them, but it's a big change from how we began, so I hope you will be as excited about it as I am.

The update to The Axx will be coming within the next few days. In the mean time, you should go check out Unapologetic, which is live already, and make sure to tell me what you think!

Drafts 3.5

Drafts 3.5 is a really nice upgrade to bring the app up to date with iOS 7 and add quite a few notable new features. It's an iOS 7 only update, so if you're planning on continuing to run iOS 6, unfortunately, you're out of luck.

The first thing you'll notice upon opening is the fresh iOS 7 style UI. The keyboard, custom keyboard add-on, icons, menu bar, lists, windows, buttons, etc. have all been updated to the softer, lighter look. Where the update really shines, however, is on the inside.

With version 3.5, developer Greg Pierce has added four new [[variable tags]], making Drafts far more powerful and versatile. Here's the run down for the tags, three of which are technically just different versions of the old [[line|n]] tags, but now allow for ranges:

  • [[line|n..]]is replaced, when you run your action, by the contents of everything except the lines above the number you specify with the "n". It's very similar to the [[body]] tag, except you choose the line to begin from. (So, for instance, [[line|4..]] would be replaced by every line in your current draft after the fourth line, including the fourth line itself.)

  • [[line|..n]] is replaced, when you run your action, by the contents of the first line of your draft all the way to the nth line of your draft. You choose the line by replacing the "n" with a number. (So [[line|..4]] would be replaced by only the first four lines of your draft.)

  • [[line|a..b]] is replaced, when you run your action, by the contents of a range of lines between "a" and "b", where you replace "a" and "b" with two different numbers. (So [[line|2..4]] would be replaced by the second, third and fourth lines of your draft.)

  • [[Selection]] is replaced, when you run your action, by the contents of the last selection of text used when editing the current draft. If there was no selection, it is replaced by the contents of the entire draft.

Together these new tags, particularly the first three, allow for incredibly more powerful automation. In the coming months I'll be releasing the most powerful workflow I've built with Drafts yet, and it's all due to these new [[line|....]] variable tags. As for the [[selection]] tag, I personally haven't found a great deal of use for it, but if you think of anything cool, you should definitely let me know.

Another nice new addition is added functionality to the plus button to create new drafts. You can now tap and hold on the button to bring up a menu where you can choose to create a new blank draft, a new draft from the contents of the clipboard, a new draft from the current text selection, or a new draft from a file in Dropbox. The Dropbox choice will only work if you have your Dropbox account linked to Drafts, and the Dropbox app installed. Choosing that option will launch the Dropbox app, where you choose a file and are sent back to Drafts with a new draft created from that file. I've actually found all of these new options, except the selection option, extremely useful, and I use them on a regular basis. The only reason I don't find the selection option useful is that the ">new" function in the custom contextual menu in Drafts already offers the same functionality, yet with less steps since that menu pops up every time you make a selection anyway.

With Drafts 3.5, you can now run actions on blank drafts. This is great for using any actions which draw the [[clipboard]] variable, or for using Drafts to launch other apps. It can also be useful for more interesting possibilities such as building "template" actions which, when run on blank drafts, will create a new draft in a template format for you to type into. On the reverse side, a slight disadvantage to this new feature is that any actions which rely on Drafts running into a blank draft and getting an error, such as looping actions which need an error to finish, will no longer receive that error value, they'll just loop infinitely or not function properly in some way, so keep that in mind when building your actions, or if certain old actions no longer work.

An easy, but overdue addition is the ability to use tags in the To, Cc and Bcc fields of email actions. This means it's now possible to create an email action that doesn't either have the recipients hard coded into the action, or require you to type them in when the in-app email window pops up. You can just designate one line of your draft specifically to email addresses and have your actions use that line for the To field.

Another great new feature will now allow tweets of over 140 characters to be sent out if that overage is due to a URL, and if the shortening of that URL to the t.co address will bring the whole tweet back under 140. I'm particularly happy about this in regard to my automated process for tweeting new blog posts, which previously would have issues if the post title was so long that it brought the tweet over 140 when the URL wasn't shortened.

Finally, some miscellaneous, yet noteworthy, tweaks and changes:

  • A new "Archive Inbox Drafts" button in Sync and Storage will send your entire Drafts inbox to the archive section. This is a great way to get rid of all the excess clutter that builds up without completely deleting it, or dealing with each item one by one.

  • The extended keyboard now includes a tab key.

  • The "Markdown: Preview" action can now trigger an x-success parameter, so you could call this action from another all, use Drafts to preview your markdown, then callback to that same app when you finish previewing.

    • Something important to note about this change: if you run the Markdown: Preview action straight from your action menu in Drafts, it will now activate your default "after success" setting when you hit the done button. This means that if you have your drafts set to delete once you've run an action on them, then simply previewing your markdown can cause your entire write up to be deleted. I've put a word in with Greg asking to change this so it will no longer cause after success if you simply run it from within the app.
  • "Post to Google+" is a new built in action. This means that the long requested Quadruple Cross Post action is now possible, and I have already put it together. If you're someone who actively uses, and wants to post the same content to App.net, Twitter, Facebook and Google+, this action could save you some serious time and effort.

That's all for Drafts 3.5. Overall it's a great release packed with great new features. One thing to keep in mind is that iOS 7 apparently has some issues with UITextViews, and this is causing some jumpyness in the text display while writing, or sometimes trying to select. I've notified Greg, but he has assured me it's an iOS 7 problem, not a Drafts problem, so don't blame him if you have any problems with it. It will hopefully be fixed in the next update to iOS 7, which I think everyone who is running it on the iPad will agree should probably be pretty soon.

If you don't yet have Drafts, I highly encourage you to download it immediately. It's not every day you find an app that completely changes the way you use your devices, and for me Drafts is one of those apps. For more on Drafts and Greg Pierce's other apps, check out the Agile Tortoise website.

AppStore Links: Drafts for iPhone and Drafts for iPad.

Apple's Secure Enclave

From Quora:

In the torrent of the billions of words already written about Touch ID very, very few people have really understood just how revolutionary this really is. Apple not only has developed one of the most accurate mass produced biometric security devices, they have also solved critical problems with how the data from this device will be encrypted, stored and secured. Apple Calls this the Secure Enclave and it is a relatively new concept.

Intriguing article. You should read the whole thing. Apple really oversimplified the Secure Enclave in their quick discussion of Touch ID in the keynote. I feel like there would be less argument over the (nonexistent) dangers of storing your fingerprints with Touch ID if Apple had gone into just a little bit more detail on just how complex and solid the security measures are. For instance, I was unaware that if your phone restarts or isn't unlocked for 48 hours you must mandatorily enter a full pass code to unlock it, preventing hackers from having long amounts of time to try to crack the Touch ID security measures.

It's also good to know (at least if the author truly knows what he's talking about, and he certainly seems to) that Apple plans to open up Touch ID APIs for third party developers to make use of. There's some seriously cool stuff on the horizon. I can't wait to see where this goes.


Hari Gottipati, writing for GigaOM:

iBeacon opens up a new whole dimension by creating a beacon around regions so your app can be alerted when users enter them. Beacons are a small wireless sensors placed inside any physical space that transmit data to your iPhone using Bluetooth Low Energy (also known as Bluetooth 4.0 and Bluetooth Smart).


In the age of context, iBeacon can provide the information you needed when it is needed. Just like NFC, iBeacons even allow you to pay the bill using your smart phone. The best part? iBeacon can run for up to two years on a single coin battery and it comes with accelerometer, flash memory, a powerful ARM processor and Bluetooth connectivity. Also, you can add more sensors to iBeacon to provide better context.


NFC range is up to 20cm (7.87 inches), but the actual optimal range is less than 4cm (1.57 inches). Also, mobile devices need to contain a NFC chip that can handle any NFC communications. On the other hand, iBeacons are a little expensive compared to NFC chips, but iBeacons range is up to 50 meters. Not all phones have NFC chips, but almost all have Bluetooth capability.

So many awesome implications from this technology. Gottipati uses the example of walking through a store and getting real time updates with coupons for products around you, or directions through the store for a specific product. I've thought of some other potentially awesome possibilities as well.

I do a lot of my work at various coffee shops around the University campus. With over 12,000 students attending the relatively small campus (it would take me less than 15 minutes to walk from one edge of campus to the other, so not extremely small, but not very big either. And most restaurants/coffee shops are packed in two small regions.), each time I enter a coffee shop I have to make a decision: either find an open table and leave my stuff, unattended, to save it while I purchase my coffee, or take my stuff into the line and hope others in the crowd don't fill up all the seats in the mean time. (They usually do.) It would be amazing to be able to just walk in and sit immediately and order and pay with my phone without even going to the register. That cuts down on wasted time standing in exorbitantly long lines so I can get to work immediately and know that my order is already in the queue. I also would never need to leave my devices unattended.

Another, similar example: if restaurants supported iBeacon, no longer would you have to wait, after finishing your food, for the waiter or waitress to pick up your check and take it back to the register, ring you up and bring your card back. On busy days this can waste much of your time. With iBeacon, you could just pay with your iPhone when you order and be free to leave whenever you're ready. I've worked in a restaurant, and trust me, this would not only save customers time, but would also make the lives of the waiters, waitresses and bussers easier, as they would have one less step to take care of and one less thing to wait for on hectic nights. Best of all, you could do it all right from your seat, since iBeacon would have coverage of the entire restaurant.

It seems natural for iBeacon to integrate with Siri and passbook, allowing users to dictate quick purchases, like you can already do with Fandango tickets. Dictated or prepared purchases could be added as passbook passes, then when you enter the facility with the iBeacon coverage, your pass pops up in the lock screen, you swipe it and touch your fingerprint scanner, and boom! The transaction is completed. The implications of this technology are incredible, and seemingly endless. With Apple's full control over software and hardware, integrating the lightning fast and effortless fingerprint authentication with Siri, passbook and third party apps, the potential for iBeacon is astounding. If Apple and other, third party companies really take advantage of these technologies, we could finally have a solution for making purchases that is far easier and far quicker than standing in a line and paying with a card from your wallet.

The iPhone Jony Ive Wanted For iOS 7

MG Siegler:

While Ive spent the subsequent years at Apple shifting from polishing white plastics to bending aluminum (or, a-lew-min-e-num, in his parlance), it seems that he’s returning to his roots, so to speak. It’s not unlike an artist going through different periods in their work.

And this is a good time for Ive to return to his colorful period, because again, now he has control of the software side of the equation as well.

“I think that designs with a real coherence are the result of developing form, material, and color in unison. Each element informing, and in many ways defining the other,” Ive says in the video. If you truly believe that design is not just the superficial — not just how something looks when it’s on a table — but rather how it works, as Ive’s longtime collaborator and boss Steve Jobs did, the hardware and the software have to be fully intertwined. And Ive gets to fully design for that symbiosis for the first time with the iPhone 5c.

Ive certainly seemed more passionate about the 5c than he did the 5s, and Apple is putting far more emphasis on it. In Ive's own words, the iPhone 5c is "beautifully, unapologetically plastic."


Apple isn't apologizing for using plastic because Apple isn't using plastic for the reason we all expected. The 5c was supposed to be the "cheap" iPhone, and using a plastic case instead of a metal one was supposed to be a main route Apple was taking to lower the price. As it turns out, Apple wasn't making a cheap iPhone at all, they were making Jony Ive's iPhone. As Siegler points out, plastic is where Ive's roots are. And colorful plastic, at that. In fact, it's where all of Apple's roots are. The Bondi Blue iMac (and company) played a key role in bringing Apple back to a profitable state after it almost went bankrupt in the late 90s. Since then, Apple has slowly moved away from releasing playful, or colorful products. The iPods have almost always come in a variety of colors, but they haven't been Apple's most popular products for years. With the iPhone 5c, Apple is finally bringing color to their biggest product line. They're bringing the famed Apple playfulness back to the masses. Combined with the bright new palate of iOS 7, including the color coded wallpapers for each 5c, the experience is truly seamless — the software and the hardware are united.

We expected the 5c to be plastic because it was going to be cheap, but we should have known better. Apple never compromises quality for price. The 5c is plastic because that's what Ive's vision for the iOS 7 iPhone truly is. The plastic isn't cheap. It's playful, it's colorful, and it's going to be a huge, huge hit.

Yahoo's Logo Reveals The Worst Aspects of the Engineering Mindset

Glenn Fleishman on the new Yahoo logo:

Mayer writes:

We wanted there to be a mathematical consistency to the logo, really pulling it together into one coherent mark.

If there is one sentence in the entire blog post that tells the whole story, that is it. This shows that not only does she lack an understanding of design — which is fine, it's not where her strengths lie — but that she also doesn't know it; that designers consulted were unable to disabuse her of this ridiculous notion; and that the final result pleased her, when it is obviously flawed in this regard.

The only type designs that are "mathematically consistent" are used for computer-readable purposes, such as fonts developed to be magnetically scanned off checks. All other faces, including monospaced faces used in text editors or for developing software and ones that simulate monospaced or proportionately spaced typewriter letters, are designed for optical consistency.

I'm not trained in design, so while I can look at the logo and know that I hate it, I can't necessarily describe exactly why. Fleishman has provided an excellent interpretation of this.

Apple Outsider on the Microsoft Nokia Deal

Matt Drance echoes some of my own thoughts on the Nokia Acquisition:

5) Nokia was already making very nice Windows Phone hardware. And the Windows Phone software, while not making a huge market share dent, has been routinely praised. What, then, has been the problem — and again, is this merger really the solution? This is easy to answer with another question: How would the Lumia line be selling if it ran Android, and without Nokia as a Google subsidiary?

You should read the rest of them, too. All great points.

Om Malik on the Microsoft Nokia Deal

As you've probably heard, Microsoft is acquiring Nokia. Om Malik thinks the acquisition is a bad idea:

Some will argue that the deal is good for both companies — after all, the number three spot in the mobile OS is still up for grabs. I am not one of those. Although Microsoft is still printing money and can afford a multi-billion dollar gamble, what if this doesn’t work out? Can it afford to fritter away a few more years on chasing shadows? There is nothing in the deal than inspires confidence that it will turn two also-rans into champions.

I certainly hope the deal will ultimately be a good thing for the two companies. Having another competitive smartphone OS on the market, besides iOS and the many faces of Android, would be great for everyone. Still, Nokia and Microsoft have already been working together for quite some time, making smartphones like the Nokia Lumias, yet these have failed to make any sort of splash in the overall market. I find myself doubtful that Nokia officially becoming part of Microsoft will allow them to render any significantly stronger results.

On a side note, I think it's a shame that Microsoft is also acquiring all of Nokia's smartphone titles. The Microsoft Lumia just doesn't have the same ring.

Google Blocks the Microsoft Windows Phone YouTube App Again

We think it’s clear that Google just doesn’t want Windows Phone users to have the same experience as Android and Apple users, and that their objections are nothing other than excuses. Nonetheless, we are committed to giving our users the experience they deserve, and are happy to work with Google to solve any legitimate concerns they may have. In the meantime, we once again request that Google stop blocking our YouTube app.

If Google is really blocking the app for the reasons Howard is suggesting, this is ridiculous. Seems to me that Microsoft has clearly complied to the main demands, the ones which make sense: not downloading videos, not being able to see reserved videos, and displaying ads. A requirement for the app to be HTML 5 based, though? That's an insane reason to block the app. Then the second allegation, that Google refuses to give Microsoft the information to be able to serve correct ads, but then blocks the app because it isn't serving ads based on this information? Seriously?

Don't be evil, Google.

All Developer Program Services Are Now Back Online

The contents of an early morning email from Apple:

We are pleased to let you know that all our developer program services are now online. Your patience during this time was sincerely appreciated.

We understand that the downtime was significant and apologize for any issues it may have caused in your app development. To help offset this disruption, we are extending the membership of all developer teams by one month. If you need any further assistance, please contact us.

Great that all the services are back online, great that Apple is extending everyone's memberships, but too bad that they continue to avoid giving any more details on what exactly happened to trigger the ordeal.

Regular People Have No Idea How To Manage Photos On Their iPhone

Apple has always prided itself on making technology for regular people. This is a problem that regular people need solved. Photo storage and backup needs to be automatic and so easy that it's nearly impossible to screw up.

His proposed solutions are excellent and make so much more sense than the way photo storage currently works for iOS. I hardly know of anyone among my not tech geek friends who maintain photo backup workflows with their iPhones. Most people just assume that their phone is doing its job and backing everything up for them.

With the rising trend of people ditching dedicated cameras in favor of just using their iPhones, Apple needs to move quickly to assure that they take care of the memories that millions of their customers are trusting Apple devices with.

While We’re Trying To Follow His Game Of Checkers, Jeff Bezos Is Playing Chess

MG Siegler, writing for Tech Crunch:

The goal is actually to not make a huge profit too early, and Bezos manages it perfectly. You want to avoid showing your cards too early as you continue to lay the groundwork for an ever-larger business. Occasionally, you’ll have to show those cards and win a hand to prove that you can. But the rest of the time you call and fold, as you await the monster to take the entire pot.

An excellent article. Siegler does a great job shedding some light on the mystery surrounding Amazon's, and therefore Jeff Bezos', game with the stock market. This is the first thing I've read that has truly begun to let the reasons for the seemingly inexplicable Amazon stock increases after quarter on profitless quarter make sense. Definitely worth a read.

Apple Retaliates To The DOJ's Proposed Penalties

The beginning of Apple's angry response to the DOJ:

Plaintiffs’ proposed injunction is a draconian and punitive intrusion into Apple’s business, wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm. Plaintiffs propose a sweeping and unprecedented injunction as a tool to empower the Government to regulate Apple’s businesses and potentially affect Apple’s business relationships with thousands of partners across several markets. Plaintiffs’ overreaching proposal would establish a vague new compliance regime — applicable only to Apple — with intrusive oversight lasting for ten years, going far beyond the legal issues in this case, injuring competition and consumers, and violating basic principles of fairness and due process. The resulting cost of this relief — not only in dollars but also lost opportunities for American businesses and consumers — would be vast.

DOJ Proposes Extremely Harsh Punishments in Apple eBook Case

Lex Friedman, writing for MacWorld regarding the proposed punishment by the DOJ for the eBook price fixing trial which Apple lost last month:

The DOJ proposes that the court require that Apple terminate its existing agreements with the five major publishers—the ones with whom Apple was found guilty of colluding: Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster. It further proposes that Apple be barred “for five years from entering new ebook distribution contracts which would restrain Apple from competing on price.”

Apple would also be prohibited from “again serving as a conduit of information among the conspiring publishers,” or from punishing those publishers who decline to sell their ebooks on Apple’s preferred terms. The DOJ’s proposal further suggests that Apple be “prohibited from entering into agreements with suppliers of ebooks, music, movies, television shows or other content that are likely to increase the prices at which Apple’s competitor retailers may sell that content.”

And that’s not all. The DOJ also wants to fiddle with Apple’s App Store rules. Currently, Apple disallows third-party ebook vendors like Amazon and Barnes and Noble from linking to their online bookstores from within their iOS apps. The DOJ’s proposal suggests eliminating that rule for two years, “allowing consumers who purchase and read ebooks on their iPads and iPhones easily to compare Apple’s prices with those of its competitors.”


The DOJ’s proposal asks the court to appoint an external monitor to observe Apple’s behavior, “to ensure that Apple’s internal antitrust policies are sufficient to catch anticompetitive activities before they result in harm to consumers.”

This much punishment to Apple would do nothing except further cement the huge monopoly that Amazon has on the eBook market. If Apple is truly guilty of the price fixing allegations then they certainly do deserve some form of punishment, but the penalty should ultimately be in the best interests of consumers. A punishment of this scale, which effectively locks Apple out of the eBook market for years to come, and strengthens the monopoly that Amazon has always had, and continues to have despite Apple's efforts hence forth, is ridiculous. A monopoly of any market by a single company is never, ever good for consumers, and consumers are the ones in who's favor this decision should be made.

This is, of course, only the proposed penalty by the DOJ, and whether or not each or any of these terms will be enforced remains to be seen, but that the DOJ would disregard the best interests of consumers in favor of going for blood and strengthening an already massive monopoly is not at all understandable.

The Byword Action Group

Yesterday, Byword was updated to introduce a pretty powerful URL scheme. Notably, the scheme supports x-callback-url. If you're a user of both Byword and Drafts, this could be great news for you and your workflow.

The Byword URL scheme supports five main functions: New, Replace, Append, Prepend and Open. This creates a wide variety of possible functions for many different occasions. Here I will mostly be focusing on possible integrations between Byword and Drafts, but here's one quick and very simple possibility for integrating with Launch Center Pro: if you're a Byword user on your iOS devices and your Mac (or just iOS devices), you could very easily create a Launch Center Pro action that lets you open a particular file that you add to or are working on frequently with a single tap. If you have a large file that you update often, and ever want to make a quick change to it on your iPhone, now you can make that change even quicker with this simple Open action. If you have multiple of these files, create a folder with multiple actions. If you have far too many, you could even make the action prompt you for a title first, and typing in the title will open the corresponding file in Byword. (That last one, however, may not be faster than simply opening the app and accessing the file there.) If you have any specific use cases identical to, or similar to those I mentioned above, and need help with any of those simple and quick actions, contact me and I'll write them up for you.

So on to Byword and Drafts. The interesting thing that Byword has done with this powerful scheme is that they have basically created a level of possible integration with the same amount of power as the custom actions services already integrated with Drafts: Dropbox and Evernote. Using templates for the built in Dropbox and Evernote services allow for the same types of actions: Creating a file, appending to a file or prepending to a file. Byword has even added a fourth: completely replacing the contents of a file. This means that you now have a third choice if you wish to perform similar functions, you can store your files in Byword's iCloud or Dropbox services, yet still append, prepend, create and replace the text within them. So if you prefer to write on Drafts on your iPad or iPhone, but use Byword on your Mac since there is no Drafts for Mac, you now have a way to sync the work you've done on your iPad or iPhone with the work you've done on your Mac.

The Action Groups --

Following the links below on an iOS device with Drafts installed will open a new draft formatted correctly to run my Batch Import Action and import all the included actions at once. Before importing you can check each action to make sure it is how you want it to be, tweak them if you need to (such as changing the "icloud" presets in the actions to "dropbox" if you store your Byword files in Dropbox or "local" if you store them locally on your device), and delete any that you don't wish to import. Just make sure you have the four actions necessary for batch importing already installed on your device in Drafts (follow the link at the start of this paragraph to get them).

The Byword Action Group

Click the link above to open a Draft formatted to batch import five Byword actions:

  • An action to open a file in Byword (No callback here, it wouldn't really make sense)

  • An action to append text to a file in Byword, then immediately return to Drafts

  • An action to prepend text to a file in Byword, then immediately return to Drafts

  • An action to replace the text in a file in Byword, then immediately return to Drafts

  • An action to create a new file in Byword, including the text of the file, then immediately return to Drafts

The Format -- In order for the above actions to work properly, you must run them on a draft formatted as so: the first line of the draft is the title of the file that you wish to open, append to, prepend to, replace text within, or create. This title must include the extension for the file (i.e., ".txt", ".md", etc.). The body of the draft (everything after the first line) is the text which is appended, prepended, used in replacement of the previous text in the file, or used as the text for the new file, depending on which action you call on your draft. The "Open Byword File" action does not necessitate text in the body.

Possible Tweaks -- If you wish to create an action that effects one particular file every time without you having to specify, similar to the built in Evernote or Dropbox templates, you can do so easily by opening the raw actions through the link above and changing "[[title]]" in each action to the actual title of the file you wish to manipulate. Then also make sure to change "[[body]]" in each action to "[[draft]]", so that Drafts knows you are now using the entirety of the draft, not just everything but the first line, for your document.

**Important: Don't forget that if you replace [[title]] with the actual title of one of your documents, you must wrap the title of the document in {{curly brackets}}, so that Drafts knows to encode it, or else the action will fail. (You could also, optionally, percent-encode the title yourself, but the brackets are easier.)

Also, if you actually do not wish to be returned to Drafts after you have successfully appended, prepended, created or replaced, you can remove "x-success=drafts://" from any of the actions to disable that functionality.

UK Government to outlaw Google Glass for drivers


A Department for Transport (DfT) spokesperson told Stuff: "We are aware of the impending rollout of Google Glass and are in discussion with the Police to ensure that individuals do not use this technology while driving. It is important that drivers give their full attention to the road when they are behind the wheel and do not behave in a way that stops them from observing what is happening on the road."

Too bad Google hasn't finished their self-driving car yet.