A Modest Proposal

If I’m using my iPad as my primary computing device, which Apple obviously intends I should, why shouldn’t the Facetime camera be on the long axis of the device, the side with the volume controls? I so seldom use the device in portrait orientation, especially since I have a keyboard/folio, that having the camera on the side is a pain.

Follow Up to Using iPad as Primary Computer/Apple as a Service Company

Since early September I have been using my 12.9” iPad Pro Gen 3 as my primary computing device and I must say it is handling the task with very few complaints.

Furthermore, my complaints are mostly about how iCloud works rather than how the device works. All of them center around services that Apple offers that, if they worked better, would make a huge difference in usability on the iPad.

My first annoyance is with Apple Notes. It syncs across devices and across accounts with shared folders. But it does so with glacial speed. If I scan a pdf of a document and add it as a note it will take as much as a day to propagate across all of the devices and users it is shared with. I have noticed it comes in two stages.

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iPad as My Primary Computing Device

As of today with the receipt of my 12.9” iPad Pro Gen 3, I am all in on taking Apple up on the proposition that, with the advent of iPadOS 13.1, it can be my primary computer.

I have been experimenting with an older 9.7” iPad Pro with a Smart Keyboard. A lot is possible, but I felt constrained by the screen size. The larger iPad, just by virtue of its size, makes things that were difficult much easier.

I was disappointed to learn that sharing iCloud Drive folders would not make it into iPadOS 13 as I had planned to migrate all my cloud storage to Apple. I will keep my Dropbox account until it expires in January and either shared folders will make it into iCloud Drive or I will move to the storage that comes along with Office 365.

The ability to share folders in Notes made the move from Evernote a no brainer and has already been accomplished. The attempt to move from Office 365 to iWork was a disaster. We have too much invested in learning how to use Office to make the switch worthwhile.

In addition to iPads and iPhones for my wife and me, we will keep a vintage Mac Mini and Thunderbolt Cinema Display running for times when we need a desktop (like de-duping files in cloud storage). When MacOS no longer supports that Mini, we’ll plunk down for an iMac (or whatever they are selling then) and I’ll convert the mini to a Linux server.

Dropping Dropbox

I have been planning on dropping Dropbox when shared folders are available on iCloud. My primary reason was to save money and improve my security by staying in the Apple Walled Garden. Dropbox’s recent announcement of major changes in the way they think about what their service is have made me think a move is even more warranted.

In its new iteration it’s a centralized collaboration point for all of the things people work on together. The new Dropbox not only lets you sync and share your files, the folks at Dropbox now insist that it’s:

…a single workspace to organize your content, connect your tools, and bring everyone together, wherever you are. The first thing you’ll notice is an all-new Dropbox desktop app that we’re introducing today through our early access program. It’s more than an app, though — it’s a completely new experience.


I must fully concur with John Gruber at Daring Fireball who writes simply, “I didn’t want any of this.”

That seems to be the upshot of the commentary on the new Dropbox. Nobody was looking for another way, outside the operating system they are running, to integrate the cloud services they use. Especially one that comes in an electron app that eats memory. They wanted a lightweight, cross platform way to sync and share files.

Has Dropbox jumped the shark? Time will tell, but this makes me feel like jumping off the Dropbox platform is the correct decision.

Spreadsheets on iPad

One of the goals of moving to an iPad as my primary computer is trying, as much as I can, to use native Apple tools. If, after having paid a premium for the hardware, I fail to use the software tools that come with it I have wasted the premium to some extent.

I have been a user and occasionally a power user of Excel since version 4 on Windows 3.1 and 3.11 and now use Excel 365 at work and home. Working with Numbers with its entirely different paradigm, was somewhat of a shock to the system. Just the idea that I couldn’t open an actual blank spreadsheet (with no formatting at all) that occupied the entire sheet seemed strange.

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Blogging With Apple Notes

So one of my first projects was to find out how iPad could support my blogging activities, preferably without spending any money or only a little.  I needed something that would work well with my self hosted WordPress site and would or could have a low distraction environment.

Most of the dedicated iPad blogging software that works with WordPress gets horrible reviews.  That includes Blogo which I had used and liked previously on Mac, until they switched to a subscription model and I dropped them like a hot potato.  Apparently other users didn’t like the change either and their revenue dropped like the same hot potato.  The developer claims they are understaffed and are working hard to recover.  Blah.  They get two stars out of five.

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A Return to Blogging

I’ve certainly taken some time off from blogging, several years of writing only intermittently and a change of sites to boot. But it’s time to return.

But for what purpose? Most of my prior posts consist of bible studies, while the second most are related to computers/tech, and last but not least, political issues. I’m not teaching bible studies right now and politics is fractious right now, to say the least, so that leaves computers and technical topics.

And to lead off we’ll start with my current deep dive into the Appleverse.

Ruth and the Woman at the Well

You have no doubt heard the old joke about what happens when you play a country song backwards.  You get your wife, your dog and your truck back,  Grandma is alive and well,  and you get released from jail. In short, all of the myriad hurts and harms of life that form the basis for all good country songs are cured.

When I think about it, that’s a lot like the redemption of Ruth.  Boaz made good on her lack of everything she needed in this world, family, a home, status, food, and  a future for her family to come.  And sometimes I think that’s what we are really looking for when we come to God, we just want Him to play the song backwards because we are in places we don’t want to be.

But, as always, Jesus has other, grander goals for us.

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Life in the Spirit

Last week, in our study of Ruth, we noted that the Book of Ruth is traditionally read during the Jewish Festival of Shavuot, also know as the Feast of Weeks or in Greek as Pentecost.  This was the harvest festival in ancient Israel and, more importantly, the celebration of the giving of the Law of Moses.  It is called the Festival of Weeks because the Jews count the seven weeks starting with the second day after Passover, 49 days.  This is called the counting of the Omer.

An Omer was a volumetric measure of grain equal to about 2.4 quarts or 3.74 pounds of barley.  Each day of the counting, an Omer of barley was offered as a sacrifice in the temple until Shavuot when an offering of wheat was made.  Counting the Omer is to show how the coming of the law is anticipated and how the people desire it to be make it real in their lives.

It is interesting to note that Shavuot is commanded in Leviticus 23:15-21 and immediately after that in verse 22 is the command that they were not to reap to the edges of their fields, the very command that provided food for Ruth and Naomi.

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