When I was talking about my iPad Pro desktop replacement experiment, I mentioned Workflow, a powerful automation tool I use for tasks of many kinds on the iPad and iPhone. It lets you connect various features of many iOS apps in an easy to use interface that often reminds me of Apple Automator on the Mac, an application that Apple is slowly fading out in my opinion… or at least that is what I thought.
As it turned out, Apple just bought Workflow in March 2017, giving me new hope for more professional capabilities on iOS devices. Right now, the app provides the easiest way to generate workarounds for the various restrictions of many system and third party apps on iOS. For many things that are simple to do on a desktop machine, tasks need to be distributed between several iOS apps and chained together. Doing this manually takes forever, with Workflow it only takes longer than on a desktop machine.
With the acquisition I am hoping for a deeper integration into iOS that would allow for easier usage of workflows within and between apps. Also, I would consider it a good idea to broaden the number of preconfigured workflows to specifically target typical desktop tasks. If Apple is really serious about the iPad as desktop replacement, there is still much left to be done.
So I am looking forward to whatever will happen next.
During my last trip to San Francisco in early 2017, I once again enjoyed an amazingly awesome omakase style dinner at the sushi bar at Sushi Ran. I have been there a few times and still enjoyed it as much as every time I went there.
First, I started with a moriawase 1o piece sashimi platter with aaa grade big eye tuna, yellowtail, ocean trout, bonito and barracuda at two pieces each. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures.
I opted for an 11 piece omakase sashimi plate after that and once again I was blown away. It came with uni (deep sea urchin), katsuo (cherrywood smoked bonito tuna), kamasu (barracuda), tennen hamachi (wild yellowtail), aji (horse mackerel), kusshi oyster, hotaru ika (baby firefly squid), kinmedai (golden eye snapper) and buri toro (wild yellowtail belly). This time I took some photos.
omakase sashimi plate
kaisu uni deep sea urchin – katsuo lightly cherrywood smoked bonito sashimi
Since there was time for more, I switched to nigiri and tried some more of the sushi bar exclusives. I was served chu toro (medium fatty blue fin tuna belly), toro (fatty blue fin tuna belly), kasugodai (baby red snapper), kinmedia (golden eye snapper), kamasu (barracuda), mahatma (black grouper), buri toro (wild yellowtail belly), wagyu a5 beef striploin, shirayaki and unagi (two types of freshwater eel).
I never had black grouper before and liked it very much. The bluefin was also awesome, as was the barracuda. All in all it was as amazing as always.
chu toro medium fatty kindai-tenku blue fin tuna nigiri
toro kindai-tenku blue fin fatty tuna nigiri
mahata black grouper nigiri
kasugodai baby red snapper nigiri
kinmedai golden eye snapper nigiri
kamasu seared barracuda nigiri
buri toro willd yellowtail belly nigiri
satsuma wagyu a5 japanese beef striploin nigiri – kagoshima
shirayaki eel nigiri
I will surely be back next time I am in San Francisco.
For some reason I had more issues than usual with Japanese sushi terms and had to ask more than once about the variety of fish I could choose from. A few times I even had to take out my iPhone and look stuff up. That felt rather weird, considering I have been a rather frequent sushi eater. Also, it took far to long to find what I was looking for.
This is why I think I will come up with a chat bot to help me out next time. Wouldn’t you like that?
In case you ever wondered, how peer reviews are usually done in context of academia, scientific journals and conferences, there are some short but informative posts by Peter Casserly (and others) on Ex Ordo for Academics explaining how it works.
Ruffly, there are single-blind peer reviews (which are still most common), where the author is known to the reviewer but the reviewer stays anonymous, double-blind peer reviews, where both the author and the reviewer remain anonymous and open peer reviews, where everything is kept transparent. In the posts the basic workflows are explained and research studies are citied to elaborate on the advantages and disadvantages of each process.
In my personal opinion, double-blind peer reviews are most suitable within a scientific context. Although there are large benefits in having full transparency, it might add bias and peer pressure to the process and reviewers might feel the need to work more on their personal profile and alignment of their then public commentary than the actual scientific research in review.
Although it is rather hard to make double-blind reviews truly anonymous, since authors can often be inferred from the content of the article, I consider this the best way to go.
Submission and Rejection
For anyone interested in submitting a paper to a journal for review, it might be important to know, that it will probably be rejected and might take some additional work to be saved (or published for that matter). If you might feel that this can be hard to bare, I can recommend getting used to rejections to better cope with the process in the future by submitting your paper to The Journal of Universal Rejection (JofUR):
“The founding principle of the Journal of Universal Rejection (JofUR) is rejection. Universal rejection. That is to say, all submissions, regardless of quality, will be rejected.”
While staying in Melbourne in February 2017, I stumbled upon ReWine on Queen Victoria Market. It’s a local retail company, selling wine by the glass or in refill bottles directly from the barrel of regional wineries.
ReWine – Reserve Shiraz & Cheese
I really like the concept behind this:
“We buy wines that we like direct from wineries in our own tanks and bring them to Melbourne. Usually they’re ready to go. Occasionally, if we feel we can enhance a wine we can blend it and mature it until we’re happy that it’s at its best for you to enjoy. ReWine has wine stored in the barrel at the Queen Victoria Market and our wine bar and shop in Brunswick East. We generally sell in our own refillable glass bottles, but can sell wine in any volume that you can carry home.”
When I lived in Sydney in 2016, I tried a great variety of Australian wines, joined Naked Wines as an Angel and was on a quest to find what I like most. It was not easy at times, especially with Australian white wines. Although I certainly found some great Australian reds and some select whites that I did like, most wine menus left me unsatisfied at times.
At ReWine I enjoyed almost all wines they offered, the Viognier and the Reserve Shiraz being my favorites. With their selection of local cheese it was easy to find a reason to come back several times during my stay for refills.
All things considered, Melbourne is very different from Sydney. It misses the iconic coastline with stunning beaches for one. Also it feels much more urban and condensed, catering to artsy and hipster crowds. Another difference is, that the public transport system not only seems to be far better developed, it actually works (and offers a free tram zone in the central business district).
Queen Victoria Market
Melbourne Street Music
Melbourne Hosier Lane
Apart from some very nice cafés and restaurants, I particularly enjoyed the Queen Victoria Market and went there several times during the 2 weeks for food and wine. I can also recommend Higher Ground, my favorite café for breakfast, lunch or an early glass of wine.
The Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road Sunset
The Great Ocean Road, a classic tourist dominated route along Victoria’s coastline, was very nice as well but not as great as advertised in my opinion. Having travelled along Highway 1 in California for quite a few times, I would still chose the latter over the Great Ocean Road on any day. Still the roadtrip provided ample opportunities to stop for panoramic views.
It was fun to explore Melbourne and I really had a good time. But to answer an apparently pressing question of the many people I talked to in Melbourne, I liked Sydney even more.
In reviewing the City of Sydney’s Tech Startups Action Plan, a comprehensive document, outlining the city’s strategy towards the entrepreneurial ecosystem and measures undertaken to stimulate its growth, several disconnects between entrepreneurship policy and academic research findings have been discovered:
“Abstract: Public policy can shift the economic composition of a region. Many policy makers promote entrepreneurship under the assumption of a link between new ventures and economic growth and job creation. While this link is hotly debated in scientific literature, this literature and evidence base does not necessarily inform public policy. This project explores the (dis)connection between municipal innovation policy and the academic literature, using the City of Sydney’s recent Tech Startups Action Plan as a case study. This paper makes four contributions. First, comparison of the first and second parts of the review reveals several disconnects between the plan and the literature on entrepreneurship policy. Second, the origins of these disconnections are traced back to how relevant scientific findings had not been considered in the composition of the Tech Startups Action Plan. Third, this review reveals further deficiencies regarding the plan’s proposed implementation. More specifically, although the plan attempts to consider the entire ecosystem and its challenges, and introduces metrics to track the ecosystem’s growth, the plan lacks concrete implementation methods. Overall, this plan exemplifies challenges in developing municipal entrepreneurial policy. As a fourth contribution, this paper proposes means for closer collaboration between the research community and policy makers.”
Source: Recke, M. P., Bliemel, M., 2016. The City of Sydney’s Tech Startups Action Plan: A Policy Review.
The peer reviewed paper was used as a basis for further development of the research as well as for a similar case study of the innovation policy in Hamburg, Germany, and its impact on the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem.
In February 2017 I attended the ACERE conference 2017 in Melbourne as a speaker to present a case study on the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sydney and the regional entrepreneurship policy. The paper was created in 2016 during my time at UNSW Business School in Sydney.
“ACERE stands for Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange, an annual conference in its 11th year. Initiated by Professor Murray Gillin AM and inspired by the Babson College Entrepreneurship Conference (BCEC) in the United States, these conferences were organised annually by Swinburne University (and co-hosts around Australia and New Zealand) under the label “AGSE IERE” (2004-2011). Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship (ACE) has produced the ACERE Conference since 2012.”
It was the first time I attended the ACERE conference and it was a very interesting experience. The discussions around presented research papers were both constructive and inspiring and I certainly met some very interesting people over the course of the conference.
NAB The Village
NAB The Village Lobby
ACERE 2017 Program
ACERE 2017 Welcome
ACERE 2017 QUT
ACERE 2017 slides
ACERE 2017 awards
ACERE 2017 schedule
The conference was held at NAB’s The Village and was hosted by QUT (Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research at Queensland University of Technology) and RMIT University. The location itself was kind of interesting as well and certainly the most open corporate bank office space I have ever seen.
For anyone interested on what kind of papers were presented, I attached the conference schedule: ACERE 2017 Program
While staying in Melbourne in February 2017, I chose to buy a mobile hotspot to stay online with the various devices I had with me. As in 2016, I chose Vodafone as the service provider, since they seem to offer the best network, coverage, value for money and data options.
I bought a 4G pocket wifi R216H mobile hotspot with a 30 day 8GB prepaid option for AUD 59 (about USD 45 or EUR 43). Any additional recharge would be AUD 30 for 8GB of 4G data.
During my time in Australia the pocket wifi mobile hotspot never failed me. I used it with up to 4 devices (2 iPhones, 1 iPad Pro and an Apple Watch) both in Melbourne and on the Great Ocean Road. The advertised 10 hour battery life is easily matched and with mobile battery packs this can easily be extended to have a full day of mobile internet access with just one SIM card and one prepaid package.
So for anyone traveling in Australia, I can definitely recommend both Vodafone as a decent service provider as well as the pocket wifi devices they offer in combination with their prepaid data plans.
In February 2017 I will be at ACERE Conference (Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange) in Melbourne, Australia, to present research findings as a speaker. The conference will be held at NAB’s The Village and is hosted by QUT (Australian Centre for Entrepreneuship Research at Queensland University of Technology) and RMIT University.
Melbourne Apartment View
Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange
I worked on a case study of Sydney’s entrepreneurship policy and strategy towards the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem, outlined in the City of Sydney’s Tech Startup Action Plan, a comprehensive document created in collaboration with entrepreneurial ecosystem stakeholders as well as industry consulting entities over a period of at least 5 years. The plan was adopted by Council in June 2016 and builds on premises such as links between entrepreneurship and economic growth:
“Encouraging tech startups will create more jobs, boost Sydney’s economy, strengthen global connections and make the city a more desirable place to live, work and visit. Our tech startups action plan details how we will work with industry and government partners to create an environment that enables technology entrepreneurs to start and grow successful global businesses.”
The case study was done in 2016 during my time at UNSW (University of New South Wales) in Sydney as an international research student from Hamburg University of Applied Sciences in collaboration with Dr. Martin Bliemel, senior researcher at UNSW Business School, and also consists of input by industry stakeholders, policy makers and startup advocacy groups.
The peer reviewed paper will be presented during the conference and might provide an ample starting point for discussions on effective entrepreneurship policy and additional academic work in the future.
Literature research done in this context also provided a basis for further research and a master thesis on entrepreneurship policy implementation in Hamburg, Germany, that was completed in December 2016.
Well, it has been a few months now and so far I did not regret my decision. I opted for an iPad Pro 9,2″ with an Apple Pencil and a backlit Logitech CREATE Smart Keyboard to explore a post PC setup for professional work once more. The setup is complemented by my iPhone 6S and Apple Watch. I plan to try it for at least 6 months and then decide whether to buy a Macbook/Macbook Pro or stick with it. So far, I think this might in fact change my entire tech outfit.
Back in 2010, when the original iPad was introduced, I was thrilled by the possibilities advertised and switched from my MacBook Pro to an iPad and tried to get everything done on tablet exclusively. Back then, I was working at Scholz & Friends as was involved in project management and corporate change management. I just implemented Google Apps for Work at the entire agency network and mainly used web based tools such as Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, Things, some Adobe Products etc.
The main issues back then were performance related (lag when switching apps, unusable clipboard functionality, no multitasking, etc.) and problems while integrating with agency toolchains and workflows with the Adobe Creative Suite, PowerPoint and Apple Keynote. Although the iPad had proven to be a very portable device and great for presenting, it quickly failed the test of being able to substitute a full fledged Mac as a professional working tool. Still I tried it for almost 6 months, so I am pretty confident about what I liked and missed.
When the iPhone 6 Plus came out, I wanted to try it out, so I could get rid of the iPad Mini. Since I mostly used it for reading, it seemed like the larger iPhone might be a good way to reduce the number of devices. I was so wrong. The iPhone 6 Plus was the worst iPhone experience I had so far. I wrote up some notes on that some time ago and couldn’t wait for the iPhone 6S, which for some reason still is my current iPhone. Although far bigger than on older iPhone models, the iPhone 6S screen size doesn’t suit me personally for reading longer texts, so I am kind of back to reading serious texts on my Mac. (I might still try out the iPhone 7S for the dual camera setup, which I think is pretty neat).
The iPad Pro
When the large iPad Pro was announced in 2015, I was amazed by its performance benchmarks and the perspective the device holds for creative professionals. Still, when I took a looked at the device and held in my hands, I was sure it wasn’t right for me. It’s too big, too heavy and doubtful as a game changer to the way I used computers before.
In March 2016 though, Apple introduced the iPad Pro 9,2″, a smaller version of its bigger brother. Without going too much into technical details, it is basically the same iPad in a smaller iPad Air like size. The small iPad Pro comes with some additional features, such as the astonishing truetone display technology and the downside of just 2GB of RAM instead of 4GB in the larger iPad Pro. So what’s the difference for me you ask? Basically, it changes everything.
I must admit, I am not sure if I would love an iPad Pro in even smaller iPad Mini like size even more. Still, I think this is not only the best iPad (and tablet for that matter) that you can buy today, it opens another angle to a post PC professional working environment for me. Among many others, Walt Mossberg to think so too and wrote up the best “iPad as a Laptop replacement” review in my opinion.
What do I do with it?
Nowadays, I read a lot in a professional capacity, ranging from scientific journals and magazine articles to endless project reports, technical requirement lists and strategy documents among many other things. Also, I am more on the move than ever before, traveling a lot, communicating mostly via mail, instant messages/chat (far less #slack as one would imagine) and collaborating on documents with cloud based tools such as G Suite (formerly Google for Work) and more recently iCloud (Keynote and Pages mostly). Since most of my daily tools are highly optimized for mobile usage, I am confident not to miss out on anything over using a desktop machine.
The real benefit comes with reading documents (mainly PDFs). For years I have been trapped again behind my desktop screen, reading and marking PDFs, scrolling through comments etc. all while sitting at a desk or in a somewhat uncomfortable pose with the laptop on my lap. With the Apple Pencil and the high performance iPad Pro, for the very first time it feels like I am actually faster on the iPad than on a regular Mac and in fact faster than on paper.
I especially like Workflow, an app that allows you to choose from or create automation workflows to optimise seemingly long click-thru processes on the iPad. It feels like Automator for Mac, an application than Apple seems to be fading out slowly.
Of course there are more apps I use on the iPad, but they are the usual suspects for communication, media consumption, travel, shopping etc.
Although there is still ample room for improvements for efficient ways to do complicated things on the iPad, there is far more than can be done than I would have expected a few years ago. I will let you know, how it goes from here.