That Mac Nerd

Posts - Page 2 of 12

Email Clients: My Weakness

  • 4 min read

There are few things on the App Store that get me to download them almost immediately like email clients.

I’ve tried all the heavy hitters: Mail.app, Airmail, Spark, and Outlook. I’ve bounced back between Airmail and Spark quite a bit, never settling on one or the other.

Outlook never stuck with me and Mail has promise now that I can drag emails out and put them in something like OmniFocus on iPad.

But recently I have tried out a couple new email apps. There are a few new ones worth mentioning and some have new, improved features that are going to push them into business class apps.

Airmail

When Airmail came to iOS, I was thrilled. I used it on the Mac for a while but since it didn’t have an iOS counterpart, I went back to Mail.app on the Mac and some other third-party app on iOS.

Right away, I was happy with the iOS version.

Design-wise, it is very clean.

Snooze, Send Later, Saved Searches, and Custom Actions, which were added later, were a selling feature of using Airmail over other email clients.

[caption id=”attachment_2383” align=”aligncenter” width=”319”]Custom actions Custom actions[/caption]

While Airmail is definitely an app for email power users, bugs plague the app. Sometimes archiving an email or emails doesn’t work as expected 1. Other times I’ve had crashed when composing an email or not all of my email is being shown. Sometimes I’d have to use another app like Gmail to see all my emails.

It is a very powerful app but the bugs outweigh its usefulness.

Email

This seems like an obvious name for an app. I don’t know how I came upon this 2 but I had to try it.

It, too, is a powerful app. You don’t get custom actions because AFAIK only Airmail has this.

But it is powerful in its feature set.

Email: Sidebar Features

The Email sidebar has a lot of nifty features: Subscriptions, Bills & Receipts, Packages, Travel, Entertainment, and Security.

This is useful for tracking your packages, seeing what you’ve spent money on, and getting your itineraries, etc.

The nicer things, however, are being able to bulk unsubscribe from newsletters 3 and adding newsletters as favorites. Also, being able to see if your email account has been breached is a big plus for me and for many others.

I don’t use this client often. I appreciate that they are security conscious and are thinking of encryption and user privacy. But it is free and I am not sure how long it will be around and, as in lots of situations like these, if they will sell to someone who is not so privacy focused.

Astrobot

I only downloaded this after realizing that the excellent Astrobot skill I got for Alexa would need something like this.

The selling point of the app is its AI bot. I don’t use it. But I do use the Alexa Skill.

https://vimeo.com/238661367

Spark

Whenever I change email clients away from Spark, I always come back.

The design is top-notch. The speed is almost unmatched. The intelligent sorting of emails is a feature that always hooks me. And now, with their latest release, they are aiming squarely at business users.

OmniFocus Integration

Having web service integration is really nice, but some people don’t use Todoist or other web based task managers.

With Spark on the Mac 4 you can send an email to OmniFocus, lessening the need for OmniFocus Clip-O-Tron in Mail.app

The implementation of this is my favorite so far. I also like the design of the modal.

Send Later and Follow-up

These are two new features added to Spark that make this a new entry into the business market with apps like Newton Mail which I will also be writing about 5 fully in another post.

https://vimeo.com/238328926

These are some of my favorite features of Spark, which is becoming a direct competitor to Newton. Readdle has stated they are moving towards “The future of work” as a business model. Seems they are taking the right steps.

Newton

I won’t get into too much about Newton as I am saving the review for later. But I will say I really like what I am seeing. Fast, fluid, beautiful, and useful for people who need to connect with clients, employers, and other business related tasks.

It is $50/yr which is a lot for an email client. And it is subscription based and you can only subscribe yearly. But I have to be honest, I love this app.

The Mac app is okay but I still use Gmail/G Suite in the browser because of the extensions. But on iOS this is one of the best clients for professionals I have seen yet.

https://vimeo.com/238312269

Email Clients are My Sickness

At least so far. I don’t get as much email as some but I do get enough and I need to manage it.

There was a time where I got at least five requests in one day and I almost lost my mind. I can imagine how people with 3,000 emails in their inbox feel.

Email clients are important. Still, there feels like most are missing critical features.

  1. Meaning they come back. 

  2. Actually it was in Apple’s Work feature on the App Store. 

  3. This depends on whether the sender allows email unsubscribes. 

  4. Still waiting for this to make its way to iOS. 

  5. And offering an apology to the team. 

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PDF to Word Converter for iOS: Review

  • 2 min read

Cometdocs was gracious enough to provide me with a full review copy of PDF to Word Converter. Note: this does not affect my review.

For businesses and power users who work with a lot of PDFs, converting to and from PDF on iOS can be cumbersome. Going all in on the iPad as a platform means that many people need a powerful app to convert between different formats.

There are several apps that can do this. One in particular is PDF to Word Converter by Cometdocs.

It is free to try but there are three IAP. One is for lifetime unlimited access to the fast conversion for $9.99. The second is for linking of services, which is not clear what that means, for $1.99. For using for a business, you have to pay another $49.99.

Using the App

Upon opening the app, you are greeted with the following screens:

 

You are presented with a lot of cloud and local options, as well as the ability to add from the web.

This view, unfortunately, does not rotate to landscape, which is how I use my iPad.

The design is clean but unwieldy.

Connecting a cloud provider is simple yet searching for your documents isn’t.

There is no search option so if you have a lot of folders and documents stored in Dropbox, it is hard to actually find them. The folders and documents aren’t sorted in alphabetical order, and there are no sort options available.

Conversion

Conversion with the fast conversion is fairly quick, but if you have graphics of any kind, the Word conversion is extremely poor.

 

 


[caption id=”attachment_2355” align=”aligncenter” width=”845”]Feedly in Dropbox as PDF Feedly in Dropbox as PDF[/caption]

 

 

[caption id=”attachment_2353” align=”aligncenter” width=”584”]Converted with PDF to Word Converted with PDF to Word[/caption]

 

 


 

Converting PDFs with no graphics works fine though there are some formatting issues.

[caption id=”attachment_2357” align=”aligncenter” width=”584”]PDF converted though letter spacing is off. PDF converted though letter spacing is off.[/caption]

Worth It?

Currently it is not worth the amount of money you must pay to do such rudimentary things. The formatting with graphics is awful, and I will give the devs credit: that’s a hard thing to get right. But when you are charging $52 for an app that is supposed to suit the needs of professionals, this app is sorely lacking.

I have reached out to the developers to let them know that it needs work. A lot of work. Here’s hoping they can improve and iterate quickly. The market may become more crowded with iOS 11, and $52 for what they are offering won’t cut it.

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Workflow: Drafts to Trello for Content Management

  • 1 min read

After watching this video on using Trello for an editorial calendar , I was pretty excited to start doing so for my two main blogs.

Creating and editing Trello cards and lists is a tedious process on iOS and if an idea popped into my head, I wanted to be able to get it down quickly and into Trello.

Drafts

I knew that Drafts was the quickest way to jot something down on iOS. I also understood that I could easily find a few actions that could help me accomplish this quickly.

Configuration

Configuration is a bit of a step. You’ll have to find your board and list’s ids by exporting the board in question to JSON. You can do this by setting something like this:

https://trello.com/b/[board_shortlink]/myBoard.json

And searching through the long list of dictionary items to find the exact ones you need. This is cumbersome but there isn’t a better way to do so currently, unless you plan on developing an app that interfaces with Trello.

Executing

If you have boards set up like this one for instance:

You can then start adding cards to lists in your preferred board.

https://vimeo.com/237651605

 

Easiest Way to Use Trello?

That’s debatable. But now with the Trello Mac app things are looking mighty good for Trello users.

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