This is the first post on my journal of using DocRaptor to generate PDF. I will keep posting how I use the PDF generator for my course materials. I write online courses on MakClass.com and would like to generate PDF book from my teaching materials. Previously, I had been using LeanPub to generate the PDFs. I also try generating […]
Link: https://mailchi.mp/makzan/2019w17 The shortcuts app and Pythonista app allows us to create many different kinds of automation in mobile devices that fit our own needs. For example, a simple python script to download file into iCloud Drive. A simple PDF to image conversion. Or we can create more complicated shortcuts. Building this kind of automation requires the sense of programming. By making […]
This is a simple shortcut that convert PDF into images. I often need to save PDF into image into other image-only application such as Day One journal. These PDFs may be a document scan, a screenshot of website via “Create PDF” from Safari. This is my go-to shortcut for these purposes. https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/b22e373ebd344c5e910512f5d7968c34
From the latest MacStories newsletter, I learnt a new app called PreText. It is as if the TextEdit app all from macOS migrated into iOS. It does only one thing, text editing with files provider, and that is all we need sometimes. Although this app is not a replacement to my current writing workflow, it […]
I’m setting the header and footer content while using the DocRaptor and PrinceXML engine. Nothing appears on the header and footer until I give the page some margin. That is my lesson learnt. Originally I configure the @page margin to be 0 and use only page padding. This works until I need to place the […]
I often need to have a quick QR code generation from URLs. Really quick. For example, when I am teaching mobile web class, I demonstrate the code and put the QR code up on screen for students to scan into their mobile phones for testing. That’s why I had written a tiny tool named inQRCode.com. […]
I have been switching between iA writer, Ulysses, Bear, Scrivener, Ulysses, Bear, Drafts and so on. Switching between them back and forth to seek the best writing workflow that works for me. What setup I need to support my writing? First of all, I write books, slides, short class notes, blog posts. I write in […]
People often compare Bear and Ulysses. I too. I keep trying which one shall I use to write my books and store my daily thoughts and ideas. I also compare them with Drafts to see if I can write long form writings in Drafts with its workspace feature. At the end, I use all of […]
Hi there, It has been 3 weeks since my last newsletter. I had been teaching new courses and preparing the course material really take me so much time. Currently I’m teaching an iOS development and mobile first web design class, along with a PHP class. It is not an excuse, I know. so I’m keeping my writing […]
Hi there, In last week, I finally moved into my new apartment and began our new life there with my wife and 2 sons. It also means I need to have better budget system to track all the household spending. That’s why I’m now reading the book You Need A Budget. It shows a different aspect […]
Hi there, In last week, I was busy moving things into my new apartment. It was scheduled to move in living there lats week but we need some move construction work so it delays to next week. I setup a LG UltraFine 4K in a corner of my working room. It is a nice companion […]
Hi there, I celebrated the Chinese New Year with family this week. Taking my leave time to pack things to move to my new apartment. And take the chance to make a stand for the collected pins when I was in previous WorldSkills competitions. I also switched to Notion to write my books. It allows […]
Hi there, This week I’m exploring a dual tablets setup, with my Surface Go and iPad Pro. Why two tablets? Why two systems? Why not just iPad Pro or just Surface Go? It is like having a dual displays setup. It allows me to work and have a reference near-by. Two is better than one. […]
Hi there, In week 4 of 2019 January, I went to Kazan for WorldSkills competition preparation. WorldSkills is an international competition that host every two years. Worldskills flag This is my seventh WorldSkills experience. I was competitor at 2003 St. Gallen and came back again since 2009 Calgary. We keep coming back to the WorldSkills […]
Hi there, When you’re reading my email, I’m on the way heading to competition preparation week. I have been looking forward to seeing my friends there. More photos in Kazan on my Instagram (@makzan) next week. Links worth sharing Useful shortcut → Capture and share I build my productivity workflow for quickly capturing ideas and efficiently […]
This week, I am deeply honored to receive the award of professional merit medal from Macao SAR government. Feeling Grateful This is an encouragement for my work and training in skills competitions. Let me take this chance to thank WorldSkills, thank Macao SAR and my employer, CPTTM, for offering me the opportunities. Thank my fellow experts from […]
In this “Shortcut” category, I share useful shortcut that I found or created. In my daily workflow, I often need to quickly capture my thoughts and file them into my daily system. I have three shortcuts for this purpose. The first one is the “Dictate and Share” shortcut. The second one is Draw and Share […]
This is a re-post from my email newsletter sent on 2019-01-06. This is the first email since 2018 June. What have I been working on in the last 6 months? My 2nd son was born on June. A new infant means I was suddenly running out all my time and can’t spare any time writing much. […]
Gladys is a clipboard management app that syncs to iCloud. It works on both iOS and macOS. Gladys as a temporary storage Gladys is like a temporary folder for me to store multiple things and use in other places. It is a swap storage. For example, I may collect multiple images from internet into Gladys […]
A thought on what an HTML ebook reader might be. It converts input of HTML content into a series of reading experience. The input is a group of HTML files, or a group of content in <sections> in a single page HTML file. The reader should be: Offline readable Offline downloadable Mobile and desktop friendly […]
Every day I use several apps and workflows to empower my work. Bear app is the master of everything. I store all notes and project files there. I organize all notes into nested tags, e.g. `#worldskills/2019/competition-week`, `#inspirations/typography`. A note can belong to different tags. This is a many-to-many structure alongside the 1-to-many structure between nested tags. This […]
https://mailchi.mp/makzan/newsletter-47 Here is a excerpt: Why I write newsletter—It’s an archive of myself This newsletter does not have much audiences, To be honest. Despite that my writing may not actually be read, I still want to keep my writing steak every week. To me, this is like an archive of myself. I take this opportunity […]
The Getting Real book from Basecamp is my model format of a book. The format of Getting Real has a clean structure. Different topic forms a chapter. Different individual post are grouped into topic. In each post, there are 3 parts under the title. They are: 1. One bold line of sentence to conclude the […]
It’s so easy with the kinds of tools we now have to get the feeling of productivity, the sensation of productivity, without having to actually accomplish anything of merit or anything that we might actually find meaningful at the end of the day. — Jocelyn K. Glei, Offscreen 19 interview.
There are some features that used to be good in FiftyThree Paper app but is now removed or broken. 1. 3D Touch app icon to quick new canvas/text/camera. I believe this is a bug FiftyThree team forgot to take care during the latest 4.0 updates. 2. View next and previous page in a journal in […]
The FiftyThree Paper app is always advertised as a drawing app. But their text writing experience is indeed very impressive. The left/right swipe to change text format is unique and well suitable for mobile typing. The typography is a little bit like typewriter but still good for reading. The ability to drag a text note […]
Almost there. I used iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard yesterday to scaffold a rails application with cloud9 web IDE. Almost there to make C9 fully works in iPad. Just come minor issues. What works: Editor, except arrow keys and text selection. Terminal, for all git, heroku and Files operations. Navigation panel, for opening files without […]
We want to build an HTML5/JS game that connect players with socket. Here is what we need to get started: 1. Web socket or socket.io library 2. HTML5 based game scene (a playground for interaction) 3. Showing other players into your game scene. Let’s get into them. 1. Socket library If we are getting started […]
A rear fingerprint sensor on phone may trigger accidental purchases. When we hold the phone, we may rest our index finger on the rear fingerprint sensor. In such case, whenever the UI prompts for confirmation of purchase via fingerprint, the confirmation is instantly finished even without user aware of that, due to the always there […]
I don’t like putting business videos on YouTube. Especially the videos that I need to embed in my website. That’s because of the non-controllable video suggestions at the end of the video playback. It may distract and redirect the reader from my site to the next funny videos. The same applies to Medium. In Medium, […]
Using iPad is more focus than using macOS, thanks to the nature of app-based environment vs. window-based environment. Moreover, Mac has so many background processes that are running and thus sometimes make the main application not fast response enough, even with an i7 core. For iPad, especially iPad Pro, the iOS is so fine-tuned that […]
View this post on Instagram Hello Freewrite. A post shared by Thomas Mak (@makzan) on Feb 8, 2017 at 10:35pm PST It does not become my writing tool. It becomes my thought dump. That’s like a meditation via typing on mechanical keyboard. It is the pleasure and joyful of typing what’s in my mind currently. […]
Do not rely on a software company, any software company, to provide you with a servoce for any length of time – especially one that is free. Investiscope wasnt free, but it should have been if it is suddenly shutting down. Obvisouly, the business mode didnt work. I encourage everyone to control their own data, […]
Software that supports my productivity day: Google Keep to save all my fragmented ideas and inputs. Dropbox to store files based on life roles and years. Basecamp to work together with contractors. JunkDraft to write my books and documents into a 1st draft. Jourla to store my diary and family moments. Makzan.live to post my […]
tl;dr I moved back to Ulysses to write and manage my tasks. I have been writing in different editors. I tried the Bear writer recently. It synced to iCloud with CloudKit managing all the content. No file management needed means no messy around in the finder. Before Bear, I also tried to write directly in […]
I’m testing the Ulysses’s new WordPress publishing ability. There are some things to test, including the categories/tags setting and embedding images as well as video tag. Here is the screenshot of the minimal writing setup on Ulysses that really forces you to focus on the writing itself. It has a library to store all your […]
Here is my current writing process. 1. Note-taking: iA Writer (iOS) + Log.md (Desktop) iA Writer has a convenient left/right button in tool bar. I can type my 1st draft of notes in iPhone very fast. Then I use the left/right button to fix typos. At this stage, I don’t care much about grammar and […]
Link: Short note on improving usability of scrollable regions Making a [overflow:scroll] scrollable region operable for keyboard users is pretty simple. Add tabindex=”0″. The region will now be included in the focus order and when focused the keyboard user can scroll through the content. Nice tips on making overflow-scroll elements scrollable by keyboard.
Link: Your Life Is Tetris. Stop Playing It Like Chess. Chess comes with a set of prescriptions and best practices. 1. e4 is considered a strong opening move for white. 1. h3 is not. That’s because chess is a closed system. There’s no random constraints, no dumb luck. The pieces always move the same, and the […]
I just created 2 demos of CSS 3D hovering effects—Parallax flipping and Pop-up highlight. Parallax flipping: Video Preview: View this post on Instagram CSS Parallax 3D card flipping effect. (With slow motion) A post shared by MakClass (@makclass) on Feb 2, 2016 at 8:36am PST Pop-up Highlight: Video Preview: View this post on Instagram CSS hover […]
I start a new email newsletter. It is called “10 Things Worth Sharing”. Every week, I hand-pick the essays / posts / tutorials I read and select 10 of them that worth sharing to my friends. The first issue arrives this Friday. Please sign-up to have them delivered to your inbox every week. I promise, […]
Link: The future of Parse Parse has agreed to be acquired by Facebook. We expect the transaction to close shortly. Rest assured, Parse is not going away. It’s going to get better. For less than 3 years, they already break their words.
I don’t understand why prefer such hover effect. When you hover, the content is blocked by the title. But when you hover something, usually it means you’re interested in something, and now the illustration I’m interested is covered by a solid color block. ????
When I discuss with web designers on what tech they use these days, people usually talk about Angular, React, Flux, GraphQL, Ember, Meteor… the list goes on. But I didn’t hear people talk about jQuery. When you learn those frameworks/libraries, you usually search the equivalent way on how to achieve something in that framework without […]
Just realize that z-index only works on non-static element. May be I knew it before but didn’t really make it a knowledge. When using tab to focus between links, we can use outline to style the focus outline and make it clearer. But element next to the focused link can block the outline. The key point […]
Yesterday I built a tool to log my every day’s thoughts down. It is called log.md. By using this tool. I can quickly jot down my ideas and thoughts from my mind. I can use #tag for later grouping and organizing. It is still a very early stage tool. But this tool already helps me to gain productivity. […]
When I am making the first letter of my latest post into lowercase, I realise that CSS’ ::first-letter selector doesn’t work for inline element. The spec said it supports block element. I tried to use inline-block and success. See the highlighted “a” in the following screenshot.
When designing web page for mobile device, I always leave some space at the bottom. Especially when there are footer links. That’s because in mobile Safari, tapping on the very bottom of the screen will toggle the toolbar, which hides when you scroll down the page. And so when user wants to tap on a […]
I’m creating an email course. It is a guide to use Flexbox in website layout. It’s free. It’s content is based on Flexbox.website, but I will have bonus/update content in the email course. p.s. This is my first try of hosting email course on ConvertKit. Don’t know if it fits my usage eventually. But I’ll […]
This is an informative message when disabling a feature in a Basecamp, which could affect the others. The message clears tell you what is going to happen and how others will interactive with the disabled function.
I’m now working on the 2nd edition of my HTML5 Game Development video course. Here is the game example that I’m working on. The game is not finished yet. And I haven’t polish the graphics and animation.
When I’m making todo list items, I always go back to the following essay from Ryan Singer to remind me the areas of concern. Link: Managing Product Development by Integrating Around Concerns The natural approach most people take at this point is to divide the work by role. They create a “design” todo list and a “programming” […]
When making web page, content is the most important thing that should be easily accessible all the time. But this website fails by putting the share button on the left. In the smaller screen, it put the share button fixed at the bottom of the screen. But in wider screen, like the screenshot, it put […]
I’m doing an experiment to see if I can create some of my video tutorials by using solely iPhone. 1. First, I prepare the slides in ExplainEverything app. It could be hand-drawn video or keynotes. The killer feature of this app is to record my drawings. 2. Then I edit the video in Clips app. The […]
I’m Testing to make a video teaching clip solely on iPhone. git merge in 30 seconds It’s done in ExplainEverything + Clips + Memopad. The raw drawing animation is recorded in ExplainEverything. The Clips app is for editing and recording the voice over. Memopad and other graphics app are for drawing static frames. What’s missing […]
I really stick to Basecamp 3. I’m now using it for almost everything, including coding projects, design projects, promotionals, book writings, daily office works, inspirations library and my life management.
Recently I’m checking if I should include a font-resizer component in a web site. According to WCAG: WCAG 1.4.4 Resize text: Except for captions and images of text, text can be resized without assistive technology up to 200 percent without loss of content or functionality. (Level AA) But we can conform to the guide with […]
Link: Refactor Until You Feel Almost Comfortable How do you know when you’ve refactored enough and when you’ve refactored too much? I asked Sandi Metz about this once; here is a paraphrase of her answer: “Refactor until you feel you are one step behind the solution you want. Avoid your comfort zone. And while you might see extractions […]
Link: Japanese bookshop stocks only one book at a time “This bookstore that sells only one book could also be described as ‘a bookstore that organises an exhibition derived from a single book’. For instance, when selling a book on flowers, in the store could be exhibited a flower that actually appears in the book. Also, […]
This is the graph that I use when comparing building app with web technology (HTML5) or native IDE (Xcode + Swift or Android Studio + Java). Using the pure web technology to build app is fast. But it could take huge amount of time to make it polish and fix every little detail to make […]
Webkit has disabled click delay on non-scalable web page in its nightly build 2 months ago. And here is an update with mention of the touch-action CSS property. Link: (Webkit) More Responsive Tapping on iOS Putting touch-action: manipulation; on a clickable element makes WebKit consider touches that begin on the element only for the purposes of […]
Link: The web accessibility basics And while I always thought that it is not so difficult to find resources about these basics, the recurrence of that question prompted me to finally write my own take on this topic. So here it is, my list of absolute web accessibility basics every web developer should know about. […]
Link: “Force enable zoom” in Opera 34 for Android Did you know that 61% of mobile sites don’t allow you to zoom? We’ve fixed that for you in Opera for Android 34, which we’ve released today. I always teach my web design students to allow scaling in mobile web. If you are making a web page, […]
Link: https://www.designernews.co/comments/193811 So basically, feature support is important. But for those in countries that don’t have unlimited (or essentially unlimited) internet access, Opera Mini’s data saver features are incredibly useful. It seems that people are using Opera Mini mainly because of the data saving. I’m in 1GB plan and every month I run out of […]
I moved the site to WordPress to try several themes, mainly iA and NADA theme. I thought I would be happy with those minimal themes. But I figured out my site needs a theme that supports better category browsing. My essays have a wide range of categories that’s not a linear reading experience. That’s why […]
Link: Material Design: Why the Floating Action Button is bad UX design The search FAB thus distracts the user from an immersive photo-browsing experience. By taking up real estate on the screen, the FAB effectively blocks content. User dumazy posted on Graphic Design Stack Exchange about a problem he encountered when the FAB blocked the “favourite” star as well as […]
We want to customizing app screen on app switcher in the following situations. Hide sensitive information on app switcher Enhance what user see on app switcher Create a view controller that shows a customized screen. During applicationDidEnterBackground, we presentViewController, without any animation. During applicationWillEnterForeground, we dismissViewControsser, without any animation.
Link: CSS Toggle Switch The beauty of this CSS toggle switch is that it is accessible when JS/CSS is not available. The following is the HTML it uses. Which works when in HTML-only environment. I also demonstrated a customized checkbox.
Link: Introducing the IBM Swift Sandbox The IBM Swift Sandbox is an interactive website that lets you write Swift code and execute it in a server environment – on top of Linux! Each sandbox runs on IBM Cloud in a Docker container. In addition, both the latest versions of Swift and its standard library are available […]
In the post Engaging users with web, we see how we can use web technologies to build interaction with users. Link: WhatWeCanDo.today This website let you check how your browser supports the latest web technologies.
Link: Native or Not? The Untapped Power of Web Apps This essay lists what we can do on web, which is more powerful than you may expect. Of course the web has its limitation, but the web has its benefits too: Perhaps the biggest advantage the web has over native apps is how quickly users are […]