Category: Coding / Operating Systems

Change default reading font in Outlook from Times New Roman to Calibri (or any other)

I use Outlook 2016 and some emails are shown in Times New Roman, even if the default font was set to Calibri. This is the case, when HTML mails do not have any CSS style. In this case, Outlook uses the default fall back font Times New Roman. It took me some time to realise that there is no setting for this in Outlook.

But: the related setting can be found in Word 2016 (yes, Word!).

To change the setting, open Word and go to:

File > Options > Advanced > General section > Web Options… > Fonts tab > Proportional font …

There you can change the setting with Times New Roman font to any other font. After the change you have to restart Outlook. Each unformated HTML mail should now be displayed in the selected font.

Photo by Federica Galli on Unsplash.

Background tasks in iOS

As already discussed in Background task in iOS action extension, it sometimes becomes necessary to perform time consuming tasks in the background. This is really important, if such a task would block the user interaction. Especially for action and share extensions, this might lead to some waiting time before a task completes and the extension disappears. After several attempts to realise a working solution, the following code help to extends an App’s background execution time.

This code was described in the article Extending Your App’s Background Execution Time.

Extending the background execution time in an app

func performTask()
{
   // Perform the task on a background queue.
   DispatchQueue.global().async {
      // Request the task assertion and save the ID.
      self.backgroundTaskID = UIApplication.shared.
                 beginBackgroundTask (withName: "Perform Long Task") {
         // End the task if time expires.
         UIApplication.shared.endBackgroundTask(self.backgroundTaskID!)
         self.backgroundTaskID = UIBackgroundTaskInvalid
      }
            
      // Run task synchronously.
      self.performLongTask()
            
      // End the task assertion.
      UIApplication.shared.endBackgroundTask(self.backgroundTaskID!)
      self.backgroundTaskID = UIBackgroundTaskInvalid
   }
}

Extending the background execution time in an extension

func performTask()
{
   // Perform the task in background.
   let processinfo = ProcessInfo()
   processinfo.performExpiringActivity(withReason: "Long task") { (expired) in
      if (!expired) {
         // Run task synchronously.
         self.performLongTask()
      }
      else {
         // Cancel task.
         self.cancelLongTask()
      }
   }
}

As mentioned in the documentation, the ProcessInfo code block is called a second time if the system need to suspend the process:

If your block is still executing and the system need to suspend the process, the system executes your block a second time with the expired parameter set to true. Your block must be prepared to handle this case. When the expired parameter is true, stop any in-progress tasks as quickly as possible.

Source: https://developer.apple.com/documentation/foundation/processinfo/1617030-performexpiringactivity

Important: it’s important that the tasks are executed synchronously. When the end of the block is reached, the thread will terminate and end the execution of your task. If your tasks are asynchron, you can use a loop like shown below to wait inside the background thread until the asynchron task is finished:

// Keep background thread alive until asynchron task ends.
repeat {
    sleep(1)
} while(taskIsRunning)

General thoughts on using background tasks in iOS

A good summary of background tasks is available at https://forums.developer.apple.com/thread/85066


Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash.

Note To Self: how to instantly create tasks in Trello

If you are using the mail import feature of Trello, you can speed up the notes with Note To Self Mail. The app creates notes in Trello in seconds.

Setup Note To Self Mail for Trello

1. Get your Trello email address

Get your Trello email address by open up one of your boards in Trello and go to “Email-to-board Settings” ind the settings section of the sidebar. Emails sent to this address will appear as a task in this board. The subject of the email will become the title and the body will become the description.

2. Add your Trello email address to Note To Self Mail

Add this email address to Note To Self Mail. You can also set the label to “Trello” or any other descriptive name.

Note To Self Mail > Settings > Add email …

3. Adjust the subject

Trello uses the subject as a main source of a new note. Set the subject to “Use first line of note”. This ensures, that the first line is used as subject and all the other text lines are moved to the description of the task.

Note To Self Mail > Settings > Add email … > Subject

Usage

There are some shortcuts or special chars that can be used in the subject of the mail. All available features are described in Trello’s documentation: Formatting Tips (opens in a new tab)”>Creating cards by email > Formatting Tips.

Now, you can send any note to Trello. With the following text …

… a new task will be created in Trello …

You might notice, that the task was placed in the correct list (as set in Trello) and was tagged with “home”. All the other contents of the input (line 2 up to the end) are moved to the task description. That’s it!

Note To Self: how to quickly create tasks in OmniFocus

If you are using the email capture / mail drop feature of OmniFocus, you can speed up the notes with Note To Self Mail. The app creates notes in OmniFocus in seconds.

Setup Note To Self Mail for OmniFocus

1. Create your OmniFocus email address

If you’re already using the Omni Sync Server to sync OmniFocus, you can log in to the sync server web interface and create your first Mail Drop address. After logging in, just click the Create Address button to automatically generate the email address (a combination of your account name and a random string of characters, for example).

2. Add your OmniFocus email address to Note To Self Mail

Add this email address to Note To Self Mail. You can also set the label to “OmniFocus” or any other descriptive name.

Note To Self Mail > Settings > Add email …

3. Adjust the subject

OmniFocus uses the subject as a main source of a new note. Set the subject to “Use first line of note”. This ensures, that the first line is used as subject and all the other text lines are moved to the body.

Note To Self Mail > Settings > Add email … > Subject

Usage

In OmniFocus, the subject line of that message becomes the name of the new Inbox item. The body of the message becomes the Note, which can contain text, attachments (such as images and files), and simple HTML (more complex formatting is removed). All available features are described in OmniFocus documentation: Capture Methods > Email Capture (Mail Drop).

Now, you can send any note to OmniFocus. With the following text …

… a new task will be created in your Inbox.

You might notice, that the first line is used as title. All the other contents of the input (line 2 up to the end) are moved to the task description. That’s it!

Note To Self: how to create tasks in Asana – the fast way

If you are using the mail import feature of Asana, you can speed up the notes with Note To Self Mail. The app creates notes in Asana in seconds.

Setup Note To Self Mail for Asana

You can create tasks and conversations from email addresses associated with Asana. Check which email address is associated by open up Asana and go to “My Profile Settings > Email Forwarding”.

1. Add the Asana email address to Note To Self Mail

Add the Asana email address x@mail.asana.com to Note To Self Mail. You can also set the label to “Asana” or any other descriptive name.

You can create conversations by using [team-name]@mail.asana.com. For example, marketing@mail.asana.com goes to the Marketing team, and customer-success@mail.asana.com goes to the Customer Success team.

Note To Self Mail > Settings > Add email …

2. Adjust the subject

Asana uses the subject as a main source of a new note. Set the subject to “Use first line of note”. This ensures, that the first line is used as subject and all the other text lines are moved to the description of the task.

Note To Self Mail > Settings > Add email … > Subject

3. Check your “from” email address

When using Gmail, your login id is used as sender address. If you use a custom SMTP server, you can specify the sender email in SMTP settings. In this case you have to make sure that this email is the same as the one used in Asana settings (see 1.).

Usage

Now, you can send any task to Asana. Tasks emailed will appear in your My Tasks list.

  • The subject line will be the task name
  • The body will be the task description
  • All email attachments will be attached to the task
  • You can cc teammates to add them as task collaborators

A detailed description of the possibilities are listed in Asana’s documentation: Emailing Tasks.

Now, you can send any note to Asana. With the following text …

… a new task will be created in Asana …

You might notice, that the task was placed in the correct project. The subject is set to the task title. All the other contents of the input (line 2 up to the end) are moved to the task description. That’s it!

Note To Self: how to quickly create tasks in Wunderlist

If you are using the mail import feature of Wunderlist, you can speed up the tasks with Note To Self Mail. The app creates tasks in Wunderlist in seconds.

Note: as Wunderlist was acquired by Microsoft and is therefore not available after 6th of May 2020, feel free to check out an alternative task manager like Trello, Evernote, Omnifocus, Asana or any other.

Thank you 6 Wunderkinder for this great app!

Setup Note To Self Mail for Wunderlist

1. Add the Wunderlist email address to Note To Self Mail

Add the email address me@wunderlist.com to Note To Self Mail. You can also set the label to “Wunderlist” or any other descriptive name.

Note To Self Mail > Settings > Add email …

2. Adjust the subject

Wunderlist uses the subject as name of a new task. Set the subject to “Use first line of note”. This ensures, that the first line is used as name and all the other text lines are moved to the description of the task.

Note To Self Mail > Settings > Add email … > Subject

Usage

Now, you can send any task to Wunderlist. With the following text …

… a new task will be created in Wunderlist …

The task was placed in the inbox list and was tagged with “home”. All the other contents of the input (line 2 up to the end) are moved to the notes of the task. That’s it!

Note To Self: how to quickly create notes in Evernote

If you are using the mail import feature of Evernote, you can improve this behaviour with Note To Self Mail. The app creates notes in Evernote in seconds.

Setup Note To Self Mail for Evernote

1. Get your Evernote email address

[…] Your Evernote email address is a unique address you can use to save emails into Evernote and looks something like this: username.5199b42@m.evernote.com. To find your Evernote email address, go to your account settings […] as described in documentation.

2. Add your Evernote email address to Note To Self Mail

Add this email address to Note To Self Mail. You can also set the label to “Evernote” or any other descriptive name.

Note To Self Mail > Settings > Add email …

3. Adjust the subject

Evernote uses the subject as a main source of a new note. Set the subject to “Use first line of note”. This ensures, that the first line is used as subject and all the other text lines are moved to the body of the note.

Note To Self Mail > Settings > Add email … > Subject

Usage

There are some shortcuts or special chars that can be used in the subject of the mail. All available features are described in Evernote’s documentation: How to save email into Evernote.

The simplest structure to create a note in Evernote is the following:

[Title of note] ![optional date for reminder] @[notebook] #[tag]

Sending a note with the following text …

… will appear in Evernote as a note …

You might notice, that the note got an alert (tomorrow) and was placed in the correct notebook and tagged with “home”. All the other contents of the input (line 2 up to the end) are moved to the notes body. That’s it!

Note To Self: new features that make your notes even faster

Note To Self Mail

The latest update 1.10 introduces a lot of new features that make your notes even faster. This includes features that improve the usability and also reduce the size of the note.

One of the main improvements is the customizable toolbar. This allows a custom positioning of the most used actions above the keyboard. There are different actions available to add and manage attachments, open the archive or send the note.

To make the notes smaller (and therefore send them faster), images can now be resized for sending. For this, a fixed size can be set or (to make things more flexible) the size of the images can be selected before sending.

Additional new features are:

  • Customizable app icon: default, dark, light
  • Preview of the note contents in share extension
  • Spanish localization … hola!
  • Support dynamic font sizes

Beside this, a large number of minor issues on layout and functionality have been fixed:

  • Updated design to handle dark mode of iOS 13
  • Fixed cursor jumping during text editing
  • Fixed layout issues when changing from landscape to porttrait (and vise versa)
  • Action extension can now handle more content types
  • Characters < and > are now displayed correctly in the HTML version of the mail

Stay tuned, there are more new features to come in the next release!