app

Adding weather to Calendar in Mac or iOS

Weather in your iOS and macOS Calendars

I use Apple’s native Calendar application in Mac OS on my MacBook Pro as well as in iOS on my iPhone 6s and iPad Air II. I’ve used other calendars but there’s something about the simplicity and integration of Apple’s native apps that appeals to me.

I think the reason I didn’t think to attempt to include a weather forecast in my calendar on my Mac before was that I was used to using both the weather widget and a third party widget called Radar in Motion in Mac OS’ Dashboard.

Radar in Motion stopped working a while back and while I have weather set up in my Mac Notification Center (off the right side of the screen), I thought it would be more useful to attempt to integrate a weather forecast into Calendar so I could see both events and weather in the same place.

A few minutes of searching and I found Chris Short’s post above which covers adding a Weather Underground ICS calendar subscription file to almost any calendar, including Mac OS’s Calendar. Note, I’ve not tried this directly on an iPhone or iPad but it should work.

I copied this sample URL into my browser:

https://ical.wunderground.com/auto/ical/NY/NYC.ics

and changed the state and city:

https://ical.wunderground.com/auto/ical/CT/WARREN.ics

Note, before you go and do this, please read the following:

I’ve made numerous categories (calendars) in my Calendar: Home, To Do, Event, Hiking and I’m subscribed to Holidays. I color code each of these calendars and it helps me quickly look at my Calendar and see what’s what. I’ve been doing this for many years, since iCal first appeared.

If you don’t make a new category/calendar called something like Warren Weather” and you go too fast through pasting the URL in your browser, downloading the ICS file and adding it to your Calendar, you may accidentally add the weather subscription to one of your existing categories. I did this by mistake and could not, for the life of me, figure out how to undo it. Couple that with the fact that my Calendar is connected to iCloud and immediately synced with my iPhone and iPad and you have a potential issue if you make a mistake.

I recommend creating a new category/calendar called “Weather” or better, “Warren Weather” (substitute your town/city) and when you download the ICS file add it to that category/calendar and give it a unique color.

calendar detail

The last thing to consider is that this ICS file is for a particular place and it will not change if you travel from, for example, Warren, Connecticut to Chicago, Illinois. If you can figure out how to modify the ICS file to make it GPS aware, please let me know. But, short of that, if you find yourself in another city, make a new weather category/calendar for that city and click the X off in front of your home city to hide it temporarily.

calendar

Looks like we’re going to have some snow on Tuesday and I’ve got an appointment I might have to move. Brilliant.

The app effect

I saw this video during the less than wonderful 2015 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference keynote presentation but unfortunately, it was lost in a mess of a presentation.

It’s a brilliant video, and it reminds me of the old Knowledge Navigator video Apple made in 1987 to explore what computing might look like in the future.

This app effect video isn’t a mockup, it’s real now and yes, it’s all about Apple devices and apps, but it’s also about all handheld devices that have the ability to add applications that haven’t been thought of yet.

Of course, we’ve had this relationship of hardware and software (applications) since the dawn of personal computing in the late 1970’s but hand-held devices change the equation in powerful ways.

Apple is taking Maps in the wrong direction

Apple hopes ‘real-time’ maps will be a Google beater

It won’t.

Simply, Apple is trying to look good without being good. Watching Big Ben and the London Eye turn is a fun party trick but it won’t help you get around London. Click on a London Underground station and you get no information on which lines run through it.

Apple needs to put a lot more energy into deep and accurate metadata in cities rather than eye-candy like this. There are still no subway line listings on subway stops in New York City. That should have been part of Apple Maps from day 1.

Here is a screen shot of Apple Maps around Grand Central Station in New York. Note that Grand Central is listed but not the two MTA subway lines that run under it: The 4, 5, and 6 (green) lines and the Shuttle:

applemaps_subway

Here is what Apple Maps shows when you click on a subway stop (the only one shown):

applemaps_subway2

If you’re trying to figure out how to get around New York on the subway, Apple Maps is useless.

Here is what Google Maps shows around Grand Central Station when you click on a subway stop:

googlemaps_subway

New York is a major world city. One would think Apple would have this kind of information for the most popular form of transportation but in fact, they don’t. Nothing in London either.

I want Apple to stop putting so much energy into the way things look, a bit more energy into the way things work (or don’t).

How to get the best out of photo apps on your smartphone

How to get the best out of photo apps on your smartphone

Dan Rubin, editor-at-large of the Photographic Journal and an early Instagram adopter, takes a tour of London to test some of the best smartphone photography apps. By shooting a variety of people and places, Dan shows how using some specially selected apps throughout your photography workflow can dramatically improve the shots you capture – and offers some cool tips and tricks of what you can do with those shots afterwards.

This is an excellent video, well worth watching for any smartphone user and especially for those who use their smartphone cameras a lot. Dan is using an iPhone but most if not all of the apps he’s using are available for Android as well.

Reunion

This is a brilliant advertising piece by Google that I found embedded in the following article on Medium: Why did Google make an ad for promoting “Search” in India where it has over 97% market share? by Himanshu Gupta.

The gist of the Gupta piece is that Google is all about getting everyone, including mobile users to use browsers for everything, including running apps. This makes sense, they get to serve up ads and control quite a bit of the back end of what we do with browsers. However, on mobile devices people use connected, client apps as well as browsers and Google has no control in this arena.

This is the same struggling going on at Twitter now: Twitter would like to make it tougher for third party client apps to use its service because those apps can filter out ads and Twitter would like to make money serving ads. So, if you use Twitter via a browser or via an “official” Twitter client app, you’ll see ads and Twitter will be happy. Otherwise, no ads and you’ll be happy. Google, Twitter, and Facebook, among others, are struggling with this stuff right now.

The funny caption under the image at the top of the Medium article also caught my eye and it underscores the idea that in mobile, it’s about apps: “Why didn’t you just Skype with me Dumbledore?” Brilliant.

Money and Speed: Inside the Black Box

This is a very well produced one hour documentary produced by vpro digital in The Netherlands on high speed computerized trading on the financial markets. It looks at a single event and discuses the implications, a flash crash in 2010 when there was a huge drop and recovery in the markets that took place in a few minutes.

This documentary has the feel of a Frontline piece mixed with the excellent movie Margin Call.

You can watch it here or on YouTube and/or buy the app on iTunes which allows the entire documentary to play on an iPad and has more detailed background on each segment: Money and Speed: Inside the Black Box app for iPad.

Cardiio

Cardiio

I just downloaded and used a new iPhone app called Cardiio that measures your heart rate with the front camera of your iPhone.

Every time your heart beats, more blood is pumped into your face. This slight increase in blood volume causes more light to be absorbed, and hence less light is reflected from your face. Using sophisticated software, your iPhone’s front camera can track these tiny changes in reflected light that are not visible to the human eye and calculate your heart beat!

It works amazingly well, keeps track of your various measurements over time and shows you how you’re doing relative to others your age.

This is really incredible and I can’t wait to use it on a hike to see what my heart rate is on a steep climb.

Profiled By The TSA? There’s An App For That

Profiled By The TSA? There’s An App For That

Excellent All Things Considered segment by Tasnim Shamma on problems with TSA screening Sikhs and other groups who wear turbans and head coverings and a new app called Fly Rights that aims to make it easier to report profiling abuse.

Marco Arment on the Instapaper business model and more

Marco Arment on Planet Money

This is a great interview. The Planet Money guys are brilliant and Marco gets right in sync with their style.

Marco made and sells one of my all time favorite utilities: Instapaper. In a nutshell, if I start reading an article on my computer and want to finish it or read it on my iPad, I hit a button on my browser “read later” and the article is sent up to Instapaper, a cloud-based service that acts as my breadcrumbs in the clouds. Later, when I’m using my iPad (still connected to wifi) I click the Instapaper app and update its cache of saved stuff. The article appears and I can read it there.

What many don’t realize is that Instapaper caches the articles on the iPad and/or iPhone and so, I can read them there when I’m not connected, like when I’m on a plane. So, before my regular trips to LA I routinely load up my Instapaper account with things I want to read on the plane, then update the iPad’s Instapaper cache memory and I’m set.

Instapaper has many iBook-like reading tools including typographic control and more.

I’m hoping to use Instapaper to help my mother read The New Yorker as its app is totally worthless for anyone who can’t read small type.