I’m debating the best mobile solution for Emacs for me. My main driver is org-mode, of course.
* File sync for configuration and org-mode
* Power management (battery life)
* Portability (weight, size, profile)
* Display quality (readability, sharpness of text)
* Keyboard (Japanese JIS, shortcuts)
* Inputs (USB, Bluetooth, on-screen keyboard), outputs (micro-Display Port|USB C|Micro USB|mini-Display Port), and network (wifi, Ethernet [via USB], cellular)
* Non-native integrations like pandoc, PDF-tools If I go with a primarily tablet solution, it will have to be Android or some other non-iOS option. If I go with a primarily laptop|ultrabook|netbook solution it has to have a good Japanese keyboard.

On iOS, Drafts seems an interesting option.

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I need to not only capture notes and tasks in meetings. I need to capture each meeting’s specifics as well.

I live in an Apple-centric world at work and some functionality is far better on iOS than it is on the Mac. This includes calendar integration.

I created a Workflow that looks at my iOS calendar and creates an org-mode compatible text entry in Drafts for iOS for each event selected. The meeting’s particulars are captured as org-mode Properties.

Once in Drafts I can append a meeting entry to my ‘refile-drafts.org’ file immediately so it shows up in Emacs on my Mac or else keep it in Drafts if I need to enter data from my iPad or ~shudder~ iPhone.

I’m pleased with my first stab at a Workflow and a Drafts action, but I know they can be improved.

I wish I could open the refile-drafts.org file in Drafts, for example. But iOS makes that hard to impossible. I think I need to write a Workflow that renames it to refile-drafts.txt and then opens the file in Drafts. Then I can use my existing action to make it into an org-file when I’m done.

To see both the Workflow and the Drafts action, check out https://www.github.com/zenshinji

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Ulysses, the popular macOS and iOS text editor, went to a subscription model. LastPass recently upped their monthly subscription price to $2/month, a 100% increase (among other things). 1Password, TextExpander, and a host of others have done the same.

I’m no fan of the subscription model for software – I think developers overvalue their efforts in many cases. I also understand that the other popular revenue models also suck. Apple does not make this any easier for developers or users.

I do not have an easy answer as I am not a developer. As a user, I am taking responsibility for the cost/value proposition each service (which software is becoming) offers to me. Part of the calculus is how much time and effort and enjoyment (or lack thereof) I will get leveraging another option.

Others take the victim approach to these announcements. In many cases I understand why. There is an increasing trend for revenue model changes happening without notice. Some companies do a poor job on their first stab taking care of existing customers. Others overcompensate for their existing users, alienating new users who think they are getting ripped off because they didn’t buy version 1 back in 2008 (or whenever).

David Sparks made the comment that “What [users] shouldn’t do is trash the app in review because you’re not happy with the business model.” I disagree. A developer’s or company’s behavior is relevant to the app review process as it exists today, especially in the Apple ecosystem. Many application developers act on negative comments in these reviews.

Now, were Apple and Google and Microsoft and other app store overlords to open up the app review process to categories such as technical, ownership, support, etc., my disagreement with Mr. Sparks would fall away. A more nuanced approach to feedback is needed in general. That is another post for another day.

I do agree with the fundamental fallacy of relying on negative app reviews for change. As a user, I recommend applying at least part of your righteous indignant energy toward something more positive for you.

I was in a 7 day cooling off period before jumping on the Ulysses bandwagon when the switch occurred. The initial cost for macOS and iOS before the change was a hurdle. In the new model, I can test it for two months for about $10 (as pointed out by Dr. Drang) before committing.

Fundamentally, anything only in the Apple ecosystem is a hard sell for me. I use and like using Windows 10, flaws and all, on my Surface Pro 4. I use my Nexus 6p running Android N almost as much as my iOS devices. If the application or service cannot run on at least one of those platforms, I have no need for it right now. 1Password and TextExpander are cross-platform, by the way, as are LastPass and iaWriter – two apps I am leaving.

By the way, I am doubling down on Emacs and org-mode. I picked them back up recently to help solve a few work related workflow issues. I get infinitely more flexibility with it and it is cross platform on everything but iOS. I learned I can capture and edit org-mode with Drafts.

And I like using/configuring/tweaking Emacs. Bonus.

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