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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.

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Mellel vs Nisus

The first characteristic that emerges when you start using Mellel is how fast the application reacts to actions. I attribute it to its being based on XML. The second is how styles are organised. Paragraph and character styles are separate entities, so I can have one paragraph style for quotations and different character styles for Italian, English (UK), Catalan… And there are page styles, too. In regard to both features, Mellel drifts apart from Nisus, which is based on RTF and has a more standard approach to styles.

It’s hard on everyone to start using a word processor from scratch, but many documents cannot be written in plain text. It’d be worse to pay a monthly subscription to Adobe or to buy a QuarkXPress 2015 one-time license. In my opinion, Mellel is well worth the effort.

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Quark in the Mac world

It’s a joy to see QuarkXPress 2015 featured on Macworld’s website («QuarkXPress 2015 review: Chock full of new features requested by you»). Many members of the community of typesetters and print media designers have always been keen on using Mac computers, and Quark adds to that the opportunity to live a life outside Adobeland.

There are two big reasons to take a peek at Quark’s capabilities: integration with XML and exporting to EPUB. However, Quark can be used as a regular page layout application, in other words, when the accuracy and power of the usual suspects (Word, LibreOffice, Pages, Nisus Writer…) isn’t enough.

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Mellel, good news

I feel sorry for Nisus Writer people, but Mellel (38,99€ at the Mac App Store) has just made a huge step forward: in the middle of June its sibling application for iPad came to light (19,99€ a l’App Store). According to its presentation on the web, there is “complete fidelity” between the documents on the two platforms.

Mellel is a text processor intended to handle long documents, even if they are written in non-Latin alphabets. One Mellel’s functionality that seems to be ahead of what Nisus Writer offers is the management of word partitions. We’ll have to buy both applications to assess their virtues by ourselves.