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New Podcast for Casual Kitchen (My Cooking Show) 

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I’m really excited to tell you about this. I’ve been thinking about creating a podcast for my Youtube show “Casual Kitchen” for quite a while. Some topics simply are better/easier to talk about and listen to in audio instead of video, so a podcast makes a lot of sense. Now the first episode is up.

Listen to episode 1


Running OwnCloud on macOS (Using Docker)

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OwnCloud

OwnCloud

Being fed up with Dropbox and their constant nagging to sign up for their business plans, I recently investigated OwnCloud. OwnCloud is essentially a open-source clone of Dropbox, that you can install on your own server. It has many, many more features, but I’m going to leave it at that.

After I installed OwnCloud on my linux server (which really easy to do) I started talking about it on a couple of podcasts and with a few friends. One question I got was “Can I run it on a Mac?”. “Sure” I thought, not seeing anything that would prevent it from running on macOS. Turns out, it’s not officially supported and OwnCloud doesn’t offer a package for it.

There’s a solution for this, though. Docker, a container-based virtualization solution, to the rescue. You’re basically running a mini-linux within a small virtual machine. Exactly what we need.

So here we go: Setting up OwnCloud from scratch on macOS in 4 short steps.


Review: Withings Aura

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Withings Aura

Withings Aura

Back in November of 2014 I bought a Withings Aura. I also published an article talking about my first impressions after using the device for a week. Since then, I’ve been using the Aura every day, both as a sleep tracker and as a lamp on my nightstand. I’ve also seen various software updates and gotten a feeling where Withings is heading with this device. So, I think it’s about time I publish a thorough review of this device.


The Apple Watch and Home Automation: On Considering a Watch App for Switch Control

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Apple Watch

Apple Watch

Ever since Apple announced the Apple Watch, I’ve been thinking about what this device could do for home automation. Most of it is in the realm of being technically possible (like detecting when I’m in the room) even if it might not be possible just yet. To say the least, that thought has excited me for how the future (MY future) might look like. And as I’m also selling a third-party app for a home automation system, I started thinking about how I could integrate my Apple Watch (yes, I knew I’d get one the moment Apple announced it) into my home automation workflow and how a Watch app for Switch Control might look like.


On the iPad: Why It Still Matters a Lot for Me

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iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3

iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3

A lot has been said about the iPad over the course of the past year, most of it was pretty negative. To be fair, a lot of stupid, negative stuff has been said about it ever since Steve Jobs unveiled it 5 years ago. Still, something happened last year that changed the overall sentiment of most of the (tech) media.
Ever since, Tim Cook had to endure numerous questions about the “disappointing sales of the iPad” and “where he sees the iPad in the future”. Some have even called the iPad’s entire existence into question.

But how can a device that sold 63.661 million units in 2014 and made 27.8 billion in revenue ever be considered a failure? Remember, if the iPad were its own business, it would still be in the Fortune 150 and be equal in revenue to McDonalds and Macy’s (No. 106 and 107 on Fortunes' List for 2014). And even if you compare those numbers to the iPhone – 192.662 million units and 120.675 billion in revenue would put it in the Fortune 20 on position 16 right in front of Verizon Wireless and HP – roughly one in three people who bought an iPhone in 2014 also bought an iPad. That’s a huge number!
If that’s how failing looks like, than I’m willing to fail all-day everyday.

Not everything is doom and gloom, though. A few people have voiced their support for the iPad and expressed their continuing love for that marvelous piece of engineering that is the iPad, one of them being MacStories' Federico Viticci. Granted, he’s a very unique flower – he does almost all of his work on his iPad – but that got me thinking about how people I know use their iPads and how I use it nowadays.

So here it is, my very anecdotal story about the iPad and why I still love it:


Automating Markdown Links With TextExpander

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Adding links to Markdown documents can be tedious at times. Especially when you’re doing it a lot or under pressure, e.g. if you’re creating show notes for your podcast while you’re recording. You’ll usually get a link from somewhere, from the chat, a guest or just by searching for it and all you want to do is insert the link with the proper title and formatting. What would you normally do? Insert the link into your document. Then open it in a new browser tab and copy the headline. Go back to your document. Insert it and fix the formatting.
There must be a better way to do this, right?

And indeed, there is. Several actually. First let me explain how I did it, then I’m going to mention a different approach created by the infamous Brett Terpstra. Depending on your workflow, you might prefer one or the other which is totally fine. Whatever works for you!


One Week With the Withings Aura

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Withings Aura

Withings Aura

I’ve been a long time fan of Withings. Not just because they make gadgets for my iOS devices, not even because they sell health-related products. It’s their very Apple-like approach that impressed me most. Their devices (and their packaging) look like something Apple would have created.
No, they aren’t perfect. Far from it. But honestly, who is? Their user guides aren’t optimal, but you can live with that as their devices are usually very easy to set up and you really don’t need the guide anyway.

Ever since Withings announced the Aura at this year’s CES, I’ve been wanting to give it a try. The Aura is a combined sleep-sensor and bedside light/alarm that allows you to not only track your sleep but also sleep better and wake up at the ideal time (while you’re in light sleep). At least that’s the promise of the Aura and a lot of other sleep tracking devices and apps on the market. I’m not going to go into detail here, explaining how the Aura works. I’ll leave that for the full review I’m planning on writing. Instead, I want to talk about the very first week with the Aura.