Alfred Remote – control your Mac with an iPad or iPhone

At it’s most basic Alfred is an Mac app that replaces spotlight for search on OSX, but it does much more than that.  You can create hotkey controlled workflows or manage clipboard snippets.  If you add the powerpack you get even more functionality, but for me so far just the basic functions are plenty.

I noticed when I upgraded to Yosemite, spotlight is suddenly dog-slow. I’m not sure if that’s something specific to my system but its certainly interrupts my normal workflow, which is to use the search window to launch apps as well as find files.

Switching over to Alfred the speed difference was immediately noticeable. Like bicycle to rocket noticeable.

So now I use Alfred as my system search and as an app launcher, which brings us to Alfred Remote. This is an iOS app that acts as a control panel / command centre for your Mac. You can use an iPad or iPhone as an extra desktop control and set up shortcuts to all your apps and system settings.

The layout is simple yet flexible, allowing you to build panels for all sorts of controls and simply swipe through them. While Alfred Remote has not yet ranked as a necessity in my workflow, there are times when it’s very useful.

The basic Alfred app for Mac is free, but the iOS remote app will cost you about $ 5 bucks.

Tech Envy

53 Pencil iPad stylus – Pretty but disappointing.

Have you ever met someone who was really attractive and also seemed very interested in you, but when you started talking there was absolutely no chemistry?

That was my experience with 53 Pencil.

The 53 Pencil stylus is a beautiful design, but as you may already know, beauty is only skin deep.

Part of the disappointment was my own misunderstanding, but I think it’s a misunderstanding that is intentional spread.  When I read stylus package that says it has a ‘surface pressure’ feature, I understand that to mean it has a ‘pressure sensitivity’, but of course it doesn’t.

Since that was the key feature I was looking for it was a major let-down to learn that it wasn’t available in this stylus.  

For some workflows I could see this stylus working just fine, I like the way they’ve integrated palm rejection, finger smearing and a built in eraser, but that’s not enough to cancel out my disappointment in the lack of pressure sensitivity.

Back to the utilitarian but comfortable design of a wacom stylus I guess.

Unfortunately it looks like 53 Paper has no interest in supporting the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus in their otherwise beautiful app.

Tech Envy

A retro arcade machine that fits in your pocket.

Years ago I built a multiple arcade machine emulator in an old Bubble Bobble cabinet.  It was a delightfully nostalgic experience, but it was also kind of big and heavy.

Not so the Tiny Arcade.

This beautiful little project comes as a kit or a fully built micro arcade cabinet. The whole thing is incredibly small and yet is completely playable with a tiny built in analog joystick and two buttons.

Screenshot 2016-01-09 13.43.04

Looks like this project is fully funded on kickstarter and they’ve started with pre-orders.

If you like the idea of assembling it yourself they sell for $ 60, while the preassembled version goes for $ 75.  Double that for the premium 3d printed cabinet.

I’d be interested to get my hands on one of these to see how ‘playable’ they actually are, but I love the idea.

These are built around Tiny Circuits super-small tinyduino platform.  To find out more check out the kickstarter page.

Tech Envy