iOS tip, iPhone and iPad: double tap the navigation bar to quickly jump to the top

on iOS, iPhone and iPad, if you browse back and forth through a long list of items, sometimes you want to jump straight back to the top. We are used to this with web sites, but not necessarily when using native apps. I discovered this tip by just trying around, could be

I somehow randomly discovered this trick a long time ago, could be a few years, and I’ve just come to rely on it all the time. I wondered if many people knew about it, hence this post.

If you’re browsing a list, typically Safari web browser, Twitter timeline, Facebook, anything that has a scrollable list, you can jump straight back to the top with a gentle double tap somewhere on the navigation bar. I use it so often that I don’t even know when I first started. It could be a time saver for those who browse back and forth through a long list of items.

Caveat: if the app you are using has buttons on the navigation bar, you want to avoid tapping those. But I found that any free space on that navigation bar will work the same way.

OSX Mavericks is actually ready for the public, it rejuvenated my MBP late 2008!

OSX 9 Mavericks is ready for the public, not just developers. I’ve upgraded a MacBook Pro Late 2008, the installer only asked if I wanted to continue but after that I didn’t get any other question. Once the installation was complete about half an hour later, I could just carry on working where I left off. So far, my laptop actually feels faster, and I am hoping that the battery would last longer on a charge. That’s the only thing I need to witness now before I declare this a great great OSX upgrade.

I know, I know. You don’t install a beta software on your production (everyday) computer. But you know what, blame Apple for all this as they showcased battery-saving old-laptop-life-extending performance-boosting features in last week’s WWDC. From the moment I watched the keynotes my dilemma started, how long was I going to wait to get this stuff on my ageing MacBook Pro Late 2008? Finally, I cracked and upgraded my laptop to OSX Mavericks.

My experience? Well, it felt like it was just a regular patch install or something like that, rather than a major upgrade. If this is what they call beta, then I’d install a beta anytime. I downloaded the beta, installed it and only had to confirm I wanted to install it, it took about 30min to install and restart. When it restarted on OSX Mavericks, I could just continue working where I left off without touching anything at all, absolutely everything I had before was preserved intact where I had left it on OSX Mountain Lion!

Here I was, a mere 45min after clicking “Install OSX Mavericks”, using the brand new bleeding edge OS without having to answer a single question or any form of trouble!

I was thinking that there’s bound to be a catch somewhere, surely something would fail, I’d see some nasty error messages popping all over the place! Nope, none of that occurred, not a single error popped up, not a single trouble so far. I found it hard to believe that would be the case, still expecting something nasty to happen anytime but that may just be paranoia.

Here is the list of programs I am able to just carry on using after installing OSX Mavericks beta 1 without even touching a thing, not even changing a setting, just start it as usual and use it:

  • Google Chrome (both Canary and regular), I also listen to BBC Radio or RTS (Swiss) with this
  • Firefox (latest) and Firefox Aurora
  • Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Alfred
  • Parallels Desktop 9 (that’s also a beta software)
  • Omnigraffle Pro, Pixelmator, Evernote, Skitch
  • Intellij IDEA 11,  Eclipse Juno, XCode
  • Apache Tomcat, JBoss, Mule ESB
  • Ruby on Rails (3.1.13 and 4.0 RC2)
  • Postgresql 9.2, MySQL 5.6
  • Homebrew (brew), Ruby version manager (RVM)
  • Apple’s iWork: Pages, Numbers, Keynote
  • LibreOffice 4

You can see there’s a lot of software development products, despite that nothing broke. I thought Rails (Ruby on) would certainly fail, or that something like ‘bundle install’ would choke. Nope, they all worked fine just like before. I did notice that Chrome Canary would have a rendering problem in between previews while writing this blog post, but that’s it, and that is actually normal since Canary itself is a bleeding edge program.

What else can I say? Without even trying a benchmark or anything sophisticated, I see that my MBP Late 2008 is noticeably faster than it’s ever been before, just starting programs and carrying out tasks, everything is working smoothly.

I am now expecting gains in battery life, which I can confirm after a couple of days of usage. In fact, my urge to migrate was triggered by the hope that it will be faster and battery life would be better. It delivered on the first, now let’s wait a couple of days on that last point.

A Personal Cloud system for iOS devices

Omnipresence, a personal cloud solution for users of Omni Group’s products. This is a nice system for the power user looking to leverage their work across devices and remain firmly in charge of the process.

Omnipresence, from Omni Group, is potentially a very good answer to the need for a Personal Cloud system. I don’t see the term Personal Cloud being hijacked by anybody yet, as far as I can tell, so I am laying claim on it.

The ability to synchronise data across all your devices is a clear problem these days. Omnipresence is addressing the issue from the perspective of Omni Group’s users, but you’d ideally want it for every kind of file. Conceptually it’s a sort or private cloud solution, but I’d rather avoid that term here to make my point independently of vendor terminologies.

The fact that you can roll your own web service is a net benefit for the user, compared to the existing solutions from Dropbox and others. Apple’s iCloud hasn’t yet solved this problem in the way that I’d want it (see my post that mentions this subject, a while back), the big players (Dropbox, Microsoft, Google, Amazon) would tie you into their own infrastructure. Aside from the catchy and quite spot-on name, Omnipresence goes in the direction that power users would appreciate more.

One potential drawback is that you’d have to raise your game in terms of Internet security. Deploying a web service (WebDav based) without hardening it is potentially disastrous, this should be done by security conscious people.

It’s too early to tell how this is going to fare, but I like the approach.

Here is a link to the original announcement article: OmniPresence document syncing