We’ve put a lot of effort into this book: it contains exclusive guides for preparing your Mac for Mountain Lion, walks you through every aspect of the install process, and contains great tips and tricks you won’t find anywhere else. Every inch of its over 120 pages is custom-designed and optimized for Retina displays, presenting its content in a beautiful, easy-to-read format.
The aim of this text then is not just in using the productivity and task management program OmniFocus, but also in getting to the creative space wherever that may be found. The hope is in getting to those things you want to do and enjoy while maintaining the responsibilities that inevitably accrue in life. Be it in work, play, or with family, we are aiming for a relaxed depth of focus and flow.
Originally released in November 2010, Creating Flow with OmniFocus by Kourosh Dini is one of the best resources available to learn more about The OmniGroup’s fantastic GTD software. Specifically aimed at Mac users of OmniFocus, the 555 pages of Dini’s book will take you through the basic concepts of the application, such as Projects and Contexts, to more advanced techniques and workflows that may involve prioritization of your tasks, context management and, overall, finding the right “flow” for your tasks and Getting Things Done system. As a reader of Creating Flow with OmniFocus myself, I’ve always been impressed with the way the author made this book about balancing your own creativity with goals and projects you have to complete in real-life, rather than simply writing a “how to” guide for OmniFocus. Sure, the book has its tutorial-oriented sections with screenshots and tips, but I found the overall “focus” on creating flow and making the system work for you quite liberating.
Creating Flow has been substantially improved since its original release. Kourosh Dini worked hard to bring the book up to speed with the latest refinements introduced in OmniFocus for Mac (now at version 1.9), and today he released an audiobook version that is available on his website. I have been able to listen to a pre-release copy of the audiobook, and it’s a good alternative for those times when you don’t want to sit down with a full copy of the eBook in your Mac or iPad PDF reading app of choice (personally, I like PDF Expert), but still would like to catch up on some great OmniFocus suggestions and discussion. In fact, I would say that the biggest advantage of the audiobook is that, once synced to your iOS device, you’ll be able to quickly navigate between chapters and instantly get to your desired section with just one tap. You’ll lose images and the overall visual style of the eBook (albeit the .zip file comes with a reference of over 300 screenshots), but you’ll gain an improved navigation that makes it easy to skip sections you don’t want to listen to again if you’ve already read the book. In this regard, existing owners of Creating Flow should consider supporting Kourosh again and get the audiobook just to have a refresh on some parts of the original book without having to go through it again.
The audiobook has been narrated by professional voice actor, Bruce Edwards, encompassing nearly 10 hours of listening material. As I wrote in 2010, Creating Flow with OmniFocus is the book every OmniFocus user should read. Now you can listen to it as well with the audiobook available here.
In a statement released today, the European Commission has revealed that it is opening formal antitrust proceedings to investigate the possible presence of anti-competitive practices within the ebook industry. The investigation will target a number of international publishers including Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster and Penguin. The Commission will also be investigating whether Apple has helped the publishers engage in anti-competitive practices.
The European Commission has opened formal antitrust proceedings to investigate whether international publishers Hachette Livre, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck have, possibly with the help of Apple, engaged in anti-competitive practices affecting the sale of e-books in the European Economic Area, in breach of EU antitrust rules. [Shortened]
The Commission will examine the ‘agency agreements’ entered into by the publishers — with concerns that they may breach EU antitrust rules that “prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices”. It isn’t yet known for how long the commission will run for.
The Commission will in particular investigate whether these publishing groups and Apple have engaged in illegal agreements or practices that would have the object or the effect of restricting competition in the EU or in the EEA.
A new patent revealed today shows that Apple has given consideration into a hybrid display that could dynamically switch and even simultaneously use e-ink and a traditional LCD system for displaying content for a device such as an iPad. The patent filed in October of 2009 and entitled “Systems and Methods for Switching Between an Electronic Paper Display and a Video Display” has a clear purpose in that it could be used for easier reading of text, particularly in an application such as iBooks.
The system described in the Apple patent would work by placing a translucent e-ink display above the traditional LCD panel (and below the touch panel), and depending on what content is supposed to be displayed, the switching on and off of the panel would be done by the system rather than the user. E-ink displays have some clear benefits in that they do not require a backlight, are less likely to induce eye strains than the bright screens of an LCD display and can be read in direct sunlight, as this Amazon ad last year highlighted to great effect.
An LCD obviously reigns supreme with high-resolution, dynamic and coloured content whilst e-ink is best for static text in black and white. The Apple patent aims to solve such an issue by allowing for separate display regions that can be independently activated when necessary. It was in fact previously rumored that the iPad 2 would have greater anti-reflective and anti-smudge treatments as a way to improve reading on the device but such a system described in this patent with a hybrid display of e-ink and LCD technology would be a far superior answer to the problems of reading in direct sunlight.
Market research firm Book Marketing Ltd has revealed to GigaOM that in the UK both the iPad and iPhone are beating the Kindle as an eBook reader most used by consumers based on data from last September. The story however is very different in the US however with the Kindle far ahead after stellar growth throughout 2010 as the graph below the break demonstrates.
Apple seems to be tightening its control over the App Store ecosystem after telling some developers including Sony that the selling of e-books within their app must go through Apple. The move is somewhat contradictory of recent movements by Apple to open up the App Store and gestures of collaboration with publishers.
Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading division told the New York Times that Apple rejected Sony’s e-book reader iPhone application on the basis that the app would have let users buy e-books bought from the Sony Reader Store, bypassing Apple and that any purchases made from within an app must go through Apple from now on. Mr. Haber said; “We always wanted to bring the content to as many devices as possible, not one device to one store.”.
[Updated and points clarified in light of responses to the NYT article]
My biggest problem with the iPad is its shortcomings as an e-reader. First off, it’s heavy. Josh noticed it in his review, and it hasn’t gotten any lighter over time, no matter how many iPad-curl reps I do. Next up, it’s just a little large for curling up with like you do with a book. Combining the curl-up-incompatibility and the weight and I’ve actually managed to hit myself in the face numerous times with the iPad while attempting to recline with it. Third, the screen’s resolution is inferior to many e-ink displays, along with the high-res LCDs being used on the 7-inch Tab and Nook Color and PlayBook. Finally, the glass front might look classy, but it’s terrible for glare, particularly when it’s outside.
Paul Miller makes some good points, but I wonder how many of his complaints about the current generation iPad will be fixed in the second generation one. With a thinner and lighter form factor, a somehow higher resolution and a better behavior when outside, the “iPad 2″ won’t surely be a 7-incher or become a dedicated ebook — but you can stay assured it’ll be better at things it already does, reading included.
October has been a great month for iOS app development-related books: iPhone App Entrepreneur by David Appleyard and App Savvy by our friend Ken Yarmosh are two of the best pieces anyone interested in getting started with iOS development (or anyone interested in iOS, period) should read.
November brings another great book with it, this time tailored to Mac users who have found their productivity setup in OmniFocus. “Creating Flow with OmniFocus“, written by Kourosh Dini, MD – “a Chicago based psychiatrist, musician, author, husband and father who also happens to really enjoy technology” – is the ultimate resource that covers OmniFocus from the very first steps (setting up new projects and contexts) to advanced functionalities such as the much popular and loved Perspectives. (more…)