Give Siri Another Try

Merlin has been on a Twitter crusade this week about the new Siri in iOS 9:

This is good advice; Siri really has become a lot better. Here three of my favorite things to do that are new:

“When I get in the car”

Siri now understands that your car’s Bluetooth is a car. This does not require CarPlay; any factory Bluetooth system should work. “When I get in the car” and “when I get out of the car” are also available to set as Reminder locations manually.

Car choices available from Reminders

Reminders about specific apps

You can go back to a specific page you were looking at from any app, using Siri. In the screenshot below, I’ve set a reminder from a Drafts document.

Siri deeplink reminder

When that reminder triggers, it opens right back to the same place in the app. You could use this to…

Set timers

As far as I know, Siri has been able to set timers for a while, but she used to be so slow/flaky that it wasn’t worth the trouble. This is not the case any more– Siri is by far the fastest way to set a timer on iOS. So far, this is probably my most used command. Set timers for cooking, making coffee, when you call a take-out place, before you take a nap, just about anywhere.

🎵 Random 10

As always, generated by this AppleScript

Moving to Github Pages

For a few years, Github has allowed users to generate their own profile pages at

These pages just so happen to use the exact same software stack that this site uses (Ruby with Jekyll). So for the past few days I’ve been tinkering with migrating everything over in an attempt to come up with an easier way to post to this site from iOS.

This has worked and the site that you’re currently reading is on Github pages. In all likelihood (also hopefully), you won’t be able to see a single difference. Posting from iOS is also working, thanks to Workflow and chaining together some other tools (more on that later).

Normally, I’d write more about the transfer process and things to watch out for if you do it yourself, but in this case, it really was a drop-in replacement. I didn’t have to change anything about my source files and so far I haven’t found any new bugs.

Yet Another Angular Boilerplate

I am working on a new app that uses a web service to deliver JSON data to a frontend. I settled on using Angular for the frontend because the overall complexity of the app is not that high. This led down the rabbit hole of all the various Angular boilerplates and starter kits, and I didn’t like any of them. There is no need to generate a huge list of Bower dependencies or Grunt tasks just to make a simple one-page app.

So I made my own Angular boilerplate. It is opinionated, in that it includes some common modules and some third-party modules by default. It is also extremely small and loads everything it needs from a CDN. If what you’re working on is mission-critical, you almost certainly want to transfer these files to your own server instead of trusting the versions served by the CDNs. It also includes a Rakefile with a simple serve task that uses built-in features of OS X to serve your app at localhost:8080.

Get YANB on Github