Solving Problems on Systematic

If you need something to listen to this weekend or during your next commute, here's a link to me prattling on for forty-six minutes about how and why I build the software I do.

Systematic podcast logo

Brett Terpstra was kind enough to invite me on as the guest of his Systematic podcast this week. And when he says I'm "on about the same level of geek frequency as" he is, well, that's a heck of a compliment in my book.

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Listen Up

One of the best things that have come out of the pandemic for me has been my little Mac app, Ears. I had the idea for it and built it about a month into quarantine because I was in so many remote meetings throughout the day. And depending on the time of day, how much notice I had before the call, if my kids were around, all sorts of reasons - I found myself frequently switching my Mac’s audio between speakers, AirPods, headphones, etc. It was a pain, so I built Ears to make that easier.

Since that first release in June, I’ve been refining the app to fit my workflow even better. And tonight, I’m delighted to push out a new release with additional features for all the work-from-home-warriors out there jumping between calls.

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Do You Hear That?

Shortly into quarantine at the beginning of March, I realized I had a problem. My iMac has too many audio devices, and managing them was becoming a pain in the ass. And it was all because working full-time at home again, in this new age of frequent work video meetings, Slack and Discord calls, and dealing with two young, screaming kids with no school to attend, created a perfect storm of audio requirements.

So I did what I always end up doing, and wrote the app I wanted for myself.

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Spotish for macOS

Spotish is a dead-simple Mac menu bar app for Spotify – there are many like it, but this one is mine. Here’s why.

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Three Things Today

Every task management app has a feature that will let you postpone, delay, or snooze a task. You can tell them to push a todo item out by a day or a week, etc. But I like to think Three Things is smarter than that. It's designed to be flexible and forgiving - pragmatic and realistic. When you defer a task, it won’t accidentally reschedule it for a day that’s already overflowing with commitments. It literally will not allow you to schedule more than three tasks per day.

It fits my brain. Maybe it’ll fit yours, too.

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The Patron Saint of Dumb Ideas

I'm going to try something new. And it's so far outside my wheelhouse and what I would normally be comfortable with that the only reason I'm doing this is due to encouragement from my wife and the assurances of a few friends who swear it's not a completely insane and arrogant idea.

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Reviving an Old Mac App

A long time ago, on a Mac far, far away... In 2011 I had an idea for a tiny little Mac app called CommandQ. I'm a terrible touch-typist and it just so happens that on U.S. style keyboard layouts, the Q and W keys are right next to each other. That means...

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Why Many of my Apps Failed And What Comes Next

I've started building something new. I'm about four weeks in and already finding it incredibly useful in my day-to-day. I've built many different apps over the years, thrown them against the wall, and excitedly watched which ones developed a following and which ones failed miserably. Most of my apps have fallen into two...

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Twelve Hours

A few months ago I wrote about how I've spent my software career constantly building new ideas and putting them out into the world to see what sticks. It's scary as hell to release a new product into the world - never knowing how it will be received. But that's...

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Constraints

I often find that constraints, real or artificial, can be a huge motivation and productivity boost when I find myself stalled on a project or piece of work. Forcing yourself to work within a specific limitation can cause you to find a creative solution in a direction you might otherwise...

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Minion for Mac

In case you missed it, I've been working on a new Mac app for the past month or so. I spent the last few days polishing things and getting it into an MVP state - not quite as full featured as I'd like, but complete enough that I felt comfortable...

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Nostalgia - Rename Your Photos

I have a problem. Half of my photos come from my iPhone (via the Dropbox uploader), which creates filenames based on the date they were taken. But all the photos from my awesome DSLR are named BLAHBLAH_7001.jpg and BLAHBLAH_7002.jpg. That annoys me. I want all of my filenames to be...

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