Grep, BBEdit (and 'What you can't do on an iPad Pro')

A few minutes from the latest MacBreak Weekly, with Jason Snell explaining why he had to jump to his Mac from his iPad Pro to finish a recent article (limitations in the iOS version of Numbers, font limitations, and needing to grep text):


I’ve given up thinking of an iPad as a replacement for my MacBook. I agree with Gruber, it’s like typing with mittens on. (Even while typing a message here, I clicked out to look up Gruber’s name, come back and now my text cursors is gone!) To me the iPad is for reading, writing, email, and brainstorming. It’s a waste of time to try to create a shortcut for what can be done easily on the Mac. I’m sure the story would be different if my line of work was in the media arts. I still love it, but I do carry both.

I think a lot of people, including me, have a lot of hope - false hope, perhaps - that iOS 13 will professionalize the iPad. On the iPad iOS desperately needs to improve text selection (dev John Sundell already coded a proof of concept that utilizes the Pencil), revamp the screen-wasting home screens, support external drives and external pointing devices (trackpad!), be able to link the same app with more than one other in side-by-side mode (or otherwise modify that often-confusing behavior), give better desktop-quality Safari/WebKit, etc etc. It’s a long list.

As someone who calibrates his DSLR, monitor, printer and paper, for me to consider using the iPad for photography I’d need to do more than try adapt to the lesser photography apps currently available (there’s really nothing that matches the editing/printing power of Lightroom/Photoshop for $10/month) - Apple needs for iOS to offer dual-monitor support and significantly improve the printing too.

I’m really not holding my breath on both of those happening any time soon, so I don’t see myself giving up my macOS desktop for a few years, unless macOS comes to ARM chips and the apps I love and use most can be easily ported over. That’s something that might not be difficult for Mac App Store apps, given that they are all required to be coded at a high enough level such that Apple might be able to make the switchover relatively trivial. But apps outside the MAS, like Photoshop and Lightroom and the audio apps I use (eg Ableton Live) would probably much longer to port. I remember well that Apple introduced the Carbon/Cocoa programming frameworks in 1999 but Adobe finally transitioned Photoshop to Cocoa only in 2010.

Jason did a follow-up on that. To put it simply, Textastic does Grep and, as I recall, his particular issue with Numbers was his preference for a font which can be installed using an app such as AnyFont.

There’s a recent thread for people to list their iPad delights/disappointments. I did a list of both there. I’m sure that when iOS 13 comes we’ll get some of what we want. And of course there will be some we don’t get. And then there will be new things that come up that people want.

I’d guess that there will always be people with workflows/needs for which the iPad does not work or work perfectly. Sometimes this is due to actual limitations to the OS or available apps or both. But as is the case with Jason’s article he was just lacking knowledge about available apps. Sometimes it’s just a question of not knowing or making the effort to know a solution. I think for some, especially older, long-time Mac users, it just comes down to the second case of not wanting to be bothered and there’s nothing wrong with that so long as they don’t make grand proclamations based on their own ignorance of what is possible.

In any case, it’s great that there are so many excellent tools for people to choose from.


This particular issue drives me nuts. It and the keyboard missing the first few letters I start typing when I pull up Spotlight are at the top of my requested fixes.

What are you using for this at present? I had everything set up perfectly in Aperture & have accumulated a couple years of photos and photo books to print while waiting for the dust to settle.

Most people who print can easily get away with using ICC profiles their printers already include for that brand’s papers (ie Epson ICC paper profiles for Epson printers, Canon for Canon), so they may just need to calibrate their monitors. (And if you’re seriously into photography there’s something to be said for a high-end monitor [often with hood] that has a built-in calibration unit.)

Also, if you like to send out for prints from a digital lab (like Costco, Adoramapix or higher-end shops like you can often download ICC profiles for the printers you’re going to use and employ them in Photoshop

The best affordable options are the X-Rite Colormunki or X-Rite1Display Pro ($160/$270). If you want to calibrate your DSLR too both lines have ‘Photographer Kits’ that include enhanced software and a ColorChecker Passport card ($250/$300). But if you want to calibrate a number of devices as well as any papers from any manufacturers (Canson, Ilford, Moab, Red River, Hahnemühle) to your printer, the best consumer solution is probably the X-Rite i1Studio ($470, review here and here).

There are comparable devices on the market from Spyder and others but from what I’ve read over the years from experts like Andrew Rodney they tend to range from inferior to problematical. (Also note that if you’re interested in the more affordable Colormunki you may want to research it to see about software updates, as I have a hazy recollection that a year or so ago people were having problems with a software update or something like that.)

I love paper sample packs - but often you only get one page of each type, and you need 1+ to properly first calibrate, meaning I have to buy multiple packs! :disappointed_relieved:

Thanks - I’ve had good results with Canon paper & printer (not with me at the moment so I can’t say which ones exactly…) & Canon-provided ICC, and I’ve downloaded ICC profiles for Adorama before & used them with Aperture. At the moment I’ve not been doing much photo editing or printing, but I’ve been using the file system & Lyn as a stopgap measure while I figure out a longer term replacement for Aperture. Lyn does allow selection of proofing profiles. I’ll need to revisit it all in six months or so when I’m back with my printer.

Sounds good. Printing at home is a time and money sink. I found that when I first printed, years ago on a lower-end dye printer, that my resulting images were too dark, which is pretty common. When I calibrated I (surprise, surprise) ended up with a monitor that had lower brightness, which helped a lot. And my colors got more accurate when I painted over the dark blue wall my monitor was in front of with a medium gray; the wall color subtly affected my ability to accurately see some color/gradations.

Working without too much light can be helpful, and it’s the reason hoods are often standard in higher-end monitors. A fashion retoucher I know told me that for several years his Photoshop work was done on an older iMac (which didn’t calibrate well) in a darkened room, and that if you turned all the lights on the images would look substantially different.

Of course, if you don’t need accuracy it’s not worth calibrating. A friend does a gorgeous macro flower photography with a 30-yr-old reversed manual focus lens on an old Canon 40D, and she doesn’t sweat it if the yellows shift in a print as long as the photo looks good.

FYI photographic educator Tim Grey has an ‘Ask Tim Grey’ newsletter and in today’s issue, which I just got in my inbox, he recommends a lower-end $99 X-Rite monitor calibration tool called the Smile that I wasn’t aware of.

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