IFTTT Updates and Competition

It’s an interesting week for IFTTT. At the same time they announce a complete redesign (in both functionality and design), Microsoft dips their straw into the web automation milkshake. I was a huge fan of IFTTT for many years, but the lack of a solid business model a dramatic increase in venture capital lead me to cut ties. I like their technology and the new features look great. But I think I trust Microsoft more even if they have far fewer integrations.

IFTTT for Slack Link

IFTTT introduced a new set of Slack actions today. Right now it looks like there are no Slack triggers but there are a lot of ideas for automatic posts to Slack channels based on things like location or calendar events. I’d love to see Slack triggers added to do things like record shared URLs or archive uploaded files. But this is a nice start.

FastMail Searching

I really enjoy using the FastMail email service. 1 Initially, I used it as an IMAP email sync provider for apps like MailMate and Mail.app for iOS. But the web app for FastMail is superb and the attention to detail has kept me coming back to FastMail through my browser. The FastMail web app on iOS, Mac and Windows feels more like a native app than most generic web interfaces for email and it comes with a lot of functionality.

Keyboard Control Episode 3 FastMail Web App

FastMail is a great email service. One of the things that makes it so great is the excellent web app. It’s so good that I occasionally use it over a dedicated email client. It’s also crazy awesome on an iPhone. It’s practically a native app. Sure, there are the standard keyboard shortcuts like j/k to move between messages or n/p to move between conversations. FastMail also has a bunch of compose, delete, send, and mark as spam shortcuts that are common.

Respect for the Audience

If you’re reading MacStories in an RSS reader, you’ll probably want to switch to reading it on the web site. There are very few sites that respect their audience as much as MacStories. The redesign demonstrates that perfectly. There’s one ad. There’s not a bunch of additional “what’s hot!” side bar garbage. It’s just a nice place to read. You know a site that cares enough to be readable also cares enough to not re-write someone else’s tutorial for page-view boosts.

Setting Date String Format in iCloud Calendar

As a follow-on to my post about setting the date string pattern on the Mac, here’s how to get it right in Calendar for iCloud. On the web, open iCloud and switch to the Calendar view. Click the settings icon in the lower left of the screen. Now just change the separator and the date pattern. If you’re going to be stuck on Windows all day, iCloud is actually a pretty good web app with just enough functionality to get stuff done.

FastMail CalDAV Beta Link

FastMail just announced the availability of a beta test for their new calendar webapp and CalDAV syncing service. It looks simple but functional right now. There are some notable (and acknowledged) missing pieces, like non-functional alerts but this looks like a good start. I’ve been extremely happy with FastMail for my email. Here’s my referral code for FastMail if you want to support this site while getting an awesome email service.

Publish By Day One Coming Link

As a fan and friend of Day One, this upcoming feature looks interesting. Day One is rapidly becoming the greatest and most personal publishing system on any platform.

Appear.in Video Conferencing Link

Appear.in looks convenient. There is no login or account. You just create a room and email the link to up to 7 other participants. Now if only I had 7 people I wanted to see at the same time, I’d be all set.

Wikimedia Moving to Elastisearch Link

Seems like a significant and overdue change: First a bit of background. All Wikimedia sites have been using a home-grown search system based on Apache Lucene since 2005 or 2006. It was written primarily by volunteer Robert Stojnić and is called lucene-search-2. This is a fantastic search engine, which has powered the sites for years now, and has managed to scale very well for the past 8 years or so.