Rosemary Orchard

5 posts on MacStories since September 2018

Rosemary works as a programmer by day creating web applications. When she’s not working you’ll frequently find her at a keyboard working on an automation or productivity-related article. When she’s not doing that she’s often busy hosting Automators or Nested Folders.

| Instagram: @rosemary_orchard |

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Drafts for Mac: It’s Action Time

When Drafts for Mac first arrived, I knew there were great things to come – not that it wasn’t an excellent app already! But since that time, Drafts for Mac has evolved. What was previously a functional app is now functional, automatable, and more importantly a flexible tool that can mold to fit your workflow.

Since Drafts first released, there have been numerous new features. Notably, it now supports multiple windows. This means you can have as many Drafts windows open at once as you like. I’ve taken to assigning different Spaces to different projects, enabling me to have Drafts open with its relevant Workspace in the same area as other apps.

As well as this, Drafts for Mac added batch tagging (and untagging) drafts. This has improved my workflow dramatically, as I can process the items that land in my inbox and need filing much faster. Another excellent feature is the addition of dictation (for macOS Catalina users). Especially with the demise of Dragon Dictate for Mac, this feature is a great way to talk at your computer and let it do the typing.

The headline new feature, though, is something Drafts for iOS fans consider the heart of the app: actions.

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Apple’s Cycle Tracking: A Personal Review

The Cycle Tracking app on watchOS and inside Health on iOS.

The Cycle Tracking app on watchOS and inside Health on iOS.

Menstruation is often forgotten or overlooked – ironic considering that 50% of the population experiences it. This applied to health tracking on Apple Watch and iPhone too, which for the first year offered nothing related to menstruation, but this year Apple Watch received a dedicated Cycle Tracking app, and symptom tracking in the Health app which includes fertility tracking as well. The previous absence of this feature was notable, primarily because other competing health trackers like Fitbit offered it a long time ago.

Everyone who menstruates has different needs when it comes to tracking cycles – if you should track birth control, sexual activity, fertility, and more. What I like most about Apple’s implementation of this feature is that you can turn off elements which aren’t useful for you; I’m sure many others will do the same as me and turn off the vast majority of the options. I personally get the impression that a lot of the features are targeting people trying to conceive, and honestly, that’s not me. That said, I’ve spent a few months evaluating this setup, and comparing it to previous systems I’ve tried, and now I’m ready to talk about it.

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OmniFocus for Web Review: Access Your Tasks Everywhere

The best task manager you can have is the one that’s always with you, no matter which device you’re using. Many people started with paper notebooks or index cards, and nowadays we have iPhones and iPads that can go with us everywhere, and even Apple Watches that can be independent devices if we need them to be.

The web is a ubiquitous platform – it’s everywhere, the framework behind much of what we interact with, and something we nearly always have access to. OmniFocus for the Web is a brand new product that makes the most of the web platform to allow you to manage your tasks on any computer – be that Windows, Linux, or a Mac.

OmniFocus for the Web is intended as a companion product; you need either the Mac or iOS version of OmniFocus 3 in order to use it. You can either pay for access to the web component separately, or if you don’t own OmniFocus on another platform you might choose to go with the complete subscription package, which includes the iOS, Mac, and web applications for the length of your subscription. Sign up is done through the iOS or Mac applications - which means payment runs through Apple’s subscription service.

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Drafts for Mac: The MacStories Review


The quest for the perfect text application – for some of us it has been a lifelong goal, or at least it feels like it. I realised very early on in my computing life that I did not enjoy playing with formatting in Word or Pages, and when I discovered that Markdown provides the ability to make items **bold** or _italic_ with just a few simple characters, I felt like I had finally found my text formatting holy grail.

Many years ago I discovered Drafts for iOS, and the idea appealed: you open the application and type. No creating a new file, or trying to decide what to do with the text before the thought is fully formed, just open, type, then decide. I frequently need to jot down notes, save links, and have found being able to write without thinking too much about where the words need to go, and how they’re going to get there, is extremely helpful in today’s world of constant interruptions.

Last year saw Drafts 5 released for iOS with even more capability than before, allowing you to truly customise it to be the text editor you’ve always dreamed of having. There was only one small but important snag – no Mac version.

Today there is a Mac app. It is what many of us have been waiting for, albeit with a few missing features at the moment. Drafts for Mac has landed.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: you’ve probably heard of Marzipan, the Apple project to enable iOS developers to bring their applications to the Mac. This is not one of those apps. It is an app written from the ground up for macOS, which works as expected with the system features.

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OmniFocus 3 for Mac: Multiple Tags, Enhanced Forecast, Powerful Perspectives

I, like probably many of you, struggle to remember essential things. I can remember that the fire alarm went off last Tuesday at 11:07 AM, but essential things like what I need to finish for the next episode of Automators don’t seem to stick in my head. Thankfully, I’m not alone! Many of us are on a constant quest, looking for the perfect task management system. Everyone has different requirements, and even if we did all use the same system, we’d use it differently.

Finding the perfect task management system can feel like a hunt for the mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – everyone has a different idea of how to get there, and lots of ideas for using the gold, but a solid plan and utilisation of the system at hand is missing. No task manager can or will work for everyone, nor should it, but one thing we are not short on in today’s world is choice. It can be mind-bogglingly overwhelming trying to choose a system, and once you’ve made it that far, you then have to decide how to use your system. But the simple fact that we have choices is good news – everyone can choose which app to use, how to use it, and even when to use it.

I was once disorganised, continually missing deadlines, and had no idea what was going on. Thankfully after reading what felt like everything available on the Internet on the subject, I found out how to manage tasks well, and more importantly, I found what I needed to know to become organised. One task manager constantly kept cropping up as the recommended solution, and so after that long ago free trial I purchased OmniFocus 2 – and started to get to grips with it. I’ve adjusted my setup many times over the years – I started using OmniFocus when I was a teaching assistant living in Germany, and I used it when I went back and finished my degree, while I was a teacher, and now I use it as a programmer and a writer/podcaster. My setup and usage has evolved over the years to better work with my changing life and needs, like any good task management system should.

I share all this as introduction for the news that OmniFocus 3 for Mac has arrived, and with many new features. OmniFocus was the first task management system I found that really suited my needs, with all the power and flexibility I wanted, and the latest version has been put through its paces quite thoroughly by myself and other beta testers to make sure it lives up to the reputation OmniFocus has gained over the years. In terms of what’s new, in version 3 we now have multiple tags instead of a single context, extra powerful perspectives, customisable repeats, and a new look to polish the whole application off.

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