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Web to PDF on iOS

After experiencing the limitations of PDF usage with iBooks on iOS (“Weaknesses of iOS: Annotating in iBooks”), I tried to save a web page as PDF using other apps on iOS. This is what happened:

– I used the ‘Web to PDF’ action in iCab browser. The app chosen as destination was Goodreader, which couldn’t open the newly created file.
– On Safari, I tried using the ‘Save to Dropbox’ button in the Sharing menu, but the PDF created was not paginated and not well finished.
– On Safari again, I triggered the ‘Make PDF’ action extension from Workflow (available in its gallery) after tapping on the Run Workflow button in the Sharing menu. It ended up well, but was the slowest thing I ever did on the iPad.

We sometimes forget how young and green the mobile technology is.

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Weaknesses of iOS: Annotating in iBooks

This is how the test goes:

– Take a page in Safari you want to keep and pass it through the ‘Save PDF to iBooks’ sharing action.
– You automatically get the new PDF opened in iBooks, but the only thing you can do in it is inserting a bookmark.
– Don’t try to highlight text, add an arrow or a square or write a comment; such actions aren’t possible.
– You cannot even send this document to the Preview folder in iCloud Drive.

The Sharing action in iBooks on iOS
The ‘Sharing’ action in iBooks on iOS doesn’t allow the user to send the document to the Preview folder in iCloud Drive.
Actions when selecting text on a PDF in iBooks
The actions provided by the app when selecting text on a PDF don’t include highlighting it.

Is that a weakness or a conspicuous failure?

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PDF management across devices

I’ve recently talked about PDF workflows in this threat, where someone asked for feedback about using Papers 3 and Devon Think Pro. I cannot bring up anything about Devon Think, which I haven’t used, but someone did, and it turns out both applications complement each other satisfactorily.

I’ve already reviewed Papers 3 here (in Catalan). I commented on my experience with it and explained why I dropped it. Needless to say, my personal experience is nothing more than a single testimony. Anyway, I kept looking for a solution I can adopt and it turns out I may have found it. It’s called EagleFiler and I plan to use it in conjunction with Goodreader, that is to say, I will place my libraries in the Goodreader folder in iCloud Drive, so that I can access all the documents stored in them from every Apple device.

EagleFiler-finestra

Prior to any other consideration, there’s the issue with iCloud Drive and some folders not showing up in it, which is something that happened to me. The solution has been to completely sign out from iCloud (only in the main machine, in my case), then restarting the computer and eventually signing in again. Once the Goodreader folder on place, trying EagleFiler has proven to be easy. The big inconvenience is that the main Photos library has to be uploaded to the cloud from scratch.

With EagleFiler, I can create different libraries. In Goodreader on the iPad, I see those libraries on the iCloud folder. The iCloud syncing process isn’t fast, not even close. However, as iCloud Drive files get backed up on the iMac and the MacBook Pro, I feel save. Moreover, with a €0.99 cents fee per month, I can store up to 50GB in it. EagleFiler picks the PDF metadata and Finder tags already assigned to files. Consequently, the best practice is to apply tags to files and fill in the PDF metadata (I use PDFpen for that) prior to adding any file to the EagleFiler library of choice.

One of the most valuable features of EagleFiler, in my humble opinion, is that its libraries are an open format. In order to guarantee data integrity, documents are not processed. They are stored as-is. That’s exactly what I needed. In general, EagleFiler’s interface and the integration with Goodreader may not make the ideal environment to most people. To me, they do.

Summing up, I encourage anyone in need of a good workflow to deal with PDFs to look at these two applications. Give them a try. Why not?

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Aeon Timeline, chance to preorder v2

There are valuable features in Aeon Timeline (Mac and Windows), and there will be more, because version 2 has been announced. Both present users and those who have not tried it yet have the chance to preorder the new version with a 50% discount.

Some of the new functionalities will be a better integration with Scrivener, multiple themes and customisable data fields. Our chronologies will look a lot better and will be more usable and appealing.

Don’t miss the chance. I’m already in.

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A visit to the Apple Store

Recently I’ve spent some time in the Barcelona’s Apple Store in Passeig de Gràcia, meandering between the tables. Here are the conclusions I came to:

– The 27-inch Cinema Display is exposed in a corner, as it should, because it does not compare well with the new iMac screens.
– It’s been said that the iPad Pro is a too heavy to hold it with your hands, but it seems an overstatement. I found it light for its size. Its keyboard —just for exhibition purposes; it was the US English version— is functional but too thick and quite ugly.
– The four tables devoted to the watch didn’t draw anyone’s attention. (I confirmed it in a second visit.)
– The new Magic Keyboard models are excessively compact. However, if I was forced to use one, I’d end up adapting my typing to it. The lack of space around the four arrow keys is the main gripe. The actual typing, which is really sensitive, doesn’t feel wrong at all.

MagicAccessories-Family-PR-PRINT

– The AppleTV’s remote control is quite unfortunate. Its weight and touch don’t make it comfortable. The vertical and horizontal navigation would require the usual four arrow buttons. Using your finger in the touch surface to navigate is a pain in the neck.
– I believed that the big iPhone, the 6s Plus, would never appeal to me, but I was wrong. It’s the coolest one. Pictures, maps, notes, web pages… all of them ought to be displayed in screens like that, never a smaller one. As for the disproportionate size of the device as a phone, that’s a secondary factor.