One Epic Roadtrip

by freerk smit
A 76-year-old man named Gunther Holtorf is back home in Germany now after an epic road trip. How epic was it? It could very well be the world’s longest: the journey took 26 years, included 177 different countries around the world, and spanned nearly 550,000 miles.


by freerk smit

Bonnie Cha reporting for re/code:

I listen to at least a dozen podcasts on a regular basis — “This American Life,” “WTF With Marc Maron,” “The Dan Patrick Show” and “Stuff You Missed in History Class,” just to name a few. And they’ve become my go-to source of entertainment — even surpassing music — when I’m riding public transportation, stuck in traffic or slogging through a workout. The problem is: How to manage them all?

I don't listen to that many podcasts, but they have become my primary source of entertainment (in terms of hours spent). I have a daily commute of about 30 minutes one-way during which I always listen to podcasts. My app of choice these days is Overcast by Marco Arment. My favourite shows include:


How a bug in Dropbox permanently deleted my 8000 photos

by freerk smit
I contacted Dropbox support which then broke the news to me: there was a delete event of 8343 files from 2014-04-29 at 14:57:30 GMT (UTC). Looking at the log record from this event, I realised most of the missing files were my photos!

In a time where more and more of our prime possessions are in digital form only it shows that having a proper backup of your data is immensely important.  I wrote about backups before, you can find it here. If you don't want to worry about having a proper backup I highly recommend using a service called Backblaze. For $5/month they provide unlimited, hassle-free backups for your computer. 

OS X Yosemite

by freerk smit

MacStories reports: 

Apple today unveiled OS X Yosemite, the next major version of their Mac operating system. Introduced by Apple's Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, Yosemite brings a big new redesign to the Mac that is reminiscent of last year's iOS 7 redesign. Continuity between OS X and iOS is also a huge aspect to the Yosemite release, including a so-called 'Handoff' feature, instant hotspots, and support for making phone calls and sending text messages from a Mac. Beyond that, Notification Center now includes the 'Today' view from iOS (with support for widgets), a brand new 'Spotlight' and big improvements to Mail, Safari and the new iCloud Drive.

It's going to be an interesting summer.

A rundown of Photo Stream alternatives

by freerk smit

Here's a nice little rundown of Photo Stream alternatives by The Sweet Setup. I am still debating what solution I am going to pursue. PictureLife sure looks interesting. 

When it comes to syncing data across our devices, we’ve largely “arrived.” If you predominately use all Apple or Google apps and services, then most of your data and documents are synced through those first-party services.

Incomplete Backup

by freerk smit

Be paranoid.

Too many people have no backups at all. Storing your photos and documents on an external hard drive is NOT a backup. Dropbox is NOT a backup. A backup is separate from the original files. A backup is a duplicate. And the best duplicate is somewhere other than where your files reside.

Preparing for tomorrow

by freerk smit

This afternoon, while I was clearing out my RSS feed I stumbled upon a post from Simplicity Bliss that talks about 'preparing for tomorrow'.

Doing a little preparation the night before is said to help with the a productive day. While I struggle with this approach and usually use the first cup of coffee in the morning to prepare and plan the day ahead, this simple approach from Chris Brogan shared in Open Forum post about nighttime habits intrigued me.

My routine is similar. During my first cup of coffee in the morning, either at home or in the office, I prepare for the day ahead. This usually entails opening up OmniFocus and select my 'Get This Done' perspective. It shows me my available actions for my work related projects. 

Chris Brogan shares a simple approach to preparing for tomorrow. It's basically a short scripted questionnaire that helps you focus your thoughts and get them out of your head before going to bed. 

Tomorrow, I’m going to ____________________.
To be ready, I need to ____________________.
I will remember my ____________________.
The random thoughts that just filled my head are ____________________.
Also remember to ____________________.

I like this approach and that's why I will try to implement it in the next few weeks. I have chosen to put the entries into Day One so they are available on my Mac as well as my iOS devices. Let's see how it goes. 

Be sure to also check out the TextExpander snippet as an extra bonus. 

The Sweet Setup

by freerk smit

With a lack of curation in the app ecosphere I welcome any serious attempt to collect and share opinions about the best apps out there.

A new initiative by Shawn Blanc, called The Sweet Setup is trying to do just that. The site recently launched and is already hosting some great content.

Here we will be recommending only the apps which are proven to be the best rather than new (I already write plenty about what’s new and cool over at and Tools & Toys). Additionally, by focusing on only the best, it means all the content on our site is relevant all the time. I didn’t want to post our articles in a reverse-chronological order that, by nature, would cause still-helpful reviews to be pushed out of view once new reviews get published. 

The Sweet Setup has already found its way into my RSS feed and I will be checking it frequently for new recommendations. Besides app recommendations the site will also feature articles, interviews and tips & tricks.


Eat your own dog food

by freerk smit

Yahoo! is apparently 'forcing' its employees to use Yahoo Mail.

Earlier this year we asked you to move to Yahoo Mail for your corporate email account. 25% of you made the switch (thank you). But even if we used the most generous of grading curves (say, the one from organic chemistry), we have clearly failed in our goal to move our co-workers to Yahoo Mail.

It's time for the remaining 75% to make the switch. Beyond the practical benefits of giving feedback to your colleagues on the Mail team, as a company it's a matter of principle to use the products we make. (BTW, same for Search.)

Clearly it must be saying something when 75% of your people don't care about their own product(s). Apparently it's a matter of principle to use an inferior email solution.

For others, you might now be running in your head to a well worn path of justified resistance, phoning up the ol' gang, circling the hippocampian wagons of amygdalian resistance. Hold on a sec, pilgrim.

Say what?