Piques of the Week – Volume 5

Here’s a couple of things that are piquing my interests this week:

Pixelmator for iOS

Pixelmator is a powerful image editor on iOS and Mac. I can’t remember when I picked up, but for a while I did not use it. It wasn’t until earlier this year when Gabe Weatherhead of Macdrifter had a fantastic use for it: annotating screenshots.

This opened my eyes to the app in a new way, and I’ve been using it ever since. Recently, there have been a few thing things that have bugged me when it comes to using my iPhone as my computer, and rather than bugging the developers incessantly for a change, I used Pixelmator to create mockups of how I want things to look and shared them.[1]

Each one of the mockups is about 5–10 separate screenshots. I’m able to splice them together, create different elements, and size things the way I think they should be. I was able to show how split screen apps might work on the 5.5" iPhone with ease.

There are a few key things about the app that I really like over many of the other editors I’ve tried. First is the cropping tool. This is far superior to the native iOS editing tools, and seems to handle small images well; this has been helpful for changing some text or an icon in some of the mockups.

The second function, and my personal favorite, is the option for copy/paste. If you want to modify something with your current image, you simply tap the share button in the upper right of the screen and select “copy image”. Then, navigate out to your images, and press the “ ” icon; select create image, and there will be an option to use the clipboard.


This has been immensely handy when creating the mock-ups. I can simply copy the image that I’m currently working on, paste it as a picture, and modify it in a manner in which I need. I can even use Longscreen to take the mockup screenshot and put it on an iPhone.

Pixelmator has been moved from my second-screen photo folder and moved to my homescreen; it has been the main image editor that I use for a while now. You can find Pixelmator for iOS on the App Store as a universal app for $5 — I highly recommend that you do.

Slack

I haven’t really been using Slack for very long. I’ve joined a few groups, and even created my own personal Slack. And like many other things, I’m a little late to this party.

First off, I love some of the circles I’ve gotten into and use with Slack. Over the past couple of years, I’ve really made some amazing friends that I wished I lived closer to.[2] We often use links in those chats which generate the rich previews we like to see, with Apple now incorporating into iOS 10; the reactions and custom emoji I have been wonderful when responding, allowing us to convey feelings or intents more than just words. Customizing Slackbot with witty responses to key phrases has made the chats more fun. It’s been one of my favorite messaging clients that I’ve ever used, but it’s capable of so much more.

Last year, I read about using Slack as a personal information center to aggregate information into one focused place. And at the time, I didn’t get it. But now that I have been using it more and diving in to all that it can do, I’m finding all the little uses I didn’t even know I wanted.

I’ve been using it for several different things, either as integrations or through IFTTT:

  • Chat client
  • RSS feeds
  • Twitter notifications [3]
  • Calendar events
  • Daily weather forecasts

With all the integrations possible, it’s really something that you can make your own, and personalize things just right. I’m open to more suggestions about ways to use it, which you can feel free to tell me about.

It will be interesting to see how much Slack progresses going forward.[4] It’s amazing that one app, along with some key integrations, can replace several other apps. I think Slack is a fantastic solution to a lot of things, and I feel like I’m just getting started with it.


  1. which they seem to have appreciated.  ↩
  2. Or we could just go live on Hangover Island  ↩
  3. for my site and other key words  ↩
  4. I’d really want to see landscape mode for the iPhone 6s Plus.  ↩