3 Launch Center Pro Quick Tips

February 19, 2014

3 Launch Center Pro Quick Tips → via @_patrickwelker

Launch Center Pro is one of my most-used apps and since the big 2.2 update which Contrast rolled out along with the iPad version, I’ve been restructuring my setup quite a bit. In this post I’ll show you three very basic quick tips which can come in handy.

The first tip is how to get Launch Center Pro to start the official Photos app. I’ve been wanting to do this forever, but never succeeded. I didn’t want to keep the Photos app on my home screen and tucking it away in a folder wasn’t the ideal solution either. Gladly, about a year ago this tweet hatched:

The second tip is about getting Launch Center Pro actions to look nicer. Since the introduction of custom icons I really like the app much better because it’s easier to trigger the right action when it gots a good icon. Some apps have an outdated app icon in the contrast database and other url schemes like the photos-redirect:// from above don’t show you an icon at all. Here are three things I do most of the times:

  1. The quick fix: Navigate to the original app on your iPhone, take a screen shot, crop it in the photos app and assign it to your action in LCP.
  2. The as good as new version: make an image search for the icon, save it to the camera roll and use this as your icon.
  3. The best is only good enough: wait till you’re at your Mac and use Brett Terpstra’s iTunesIcon to grab a high-resolution version of your icon. Get it on your iOS device and enjoy the pixels.

The third and last little tip is for all you search machinoados out there. I used Phillip Gruneich’s custom !bangs search script for Pythonista for a long time to replace a group full of individual search actions. Now with the new list parameter Lauch Center Pro makes it easy to build web searches fast and more native. Here’s what I currently use – for readability purposes with line breaks:

UPDATE: Fixed App Store search thanks to David Barnard himself.

  |App Store=search.itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZSearch.woa/wa/search?media=software&term=
  |Google Images=duckduckgo.com/?q=!gi%20
  |Wikipedia (DE)=de.wikipedia.org/?search=
  |Brett Terpstra=brettterpstra.com/archives/?q=

Adjust the list above to your liking, remove all line-breaks and import the action in Launch Center Pro. Or, if you just want to roll with it:

Import in Launch Center Pro

Phillip knows best. Fixed → Side note: the NerdQuery search will need a separate confirmation since the original one from the help section has it's prompt in the middle of the parameters. This Launch Center Pro action only works when the prompt is always at the same place (here: the end).

Count The Days Since X Happened With Time

February 18, 2014

Count The Days Since X Happened With Time → via @_patrickwelker

I’m a dedicated Due user. I have all kinds of reoccurring tasks in the app set up as reminders and a fleet of timers which come in handy when working in the kitchen. I even went so far to setup a reminder to clean my glasses once a week with water instead of just wiping them with a cloth. In the past I regularly submitted feature requests to the Due team. One of those request was to integrate an option to display how many days passed since a reminder was checked off. This would make the log view much more useful for me and I could pass on using an extra app for this tasks.

Well, the app I used until now wasn’t pretty, wasn’t iOS 7 ready and wasn’t easy to use. I started looking for a replacement and found it in the Time Duration Calculator by Benjamin Kramer.

The app can display how much time went by since you last did something and also how long until a certain event is about to happen. Similar to Begin the app divides your screen vertically into these two sections – if you just use one, c.f. you have only listed events in the past, you will only see those entires. All-in-all it’s a very clean interface and a joy to use.


As you see in the screen shot above, there are some events which are highlighted in green. That’s because it’s also possible to set a reminder to notify you before or after a certain time span has elapsed. You can set a fix reminder by date or by a custom interval:

time reminders edit view

Time is well thought through. For instance, a nice little feature is to display a list of all reminders by swiping down. A subtle animation will reveal all your alerts.

time alerts

As far as gestures go, you can tap and hold on an entry and edit it. The other to options are swiping right to reveal the exact time that passed or is still left. If you tap on that area you can switch between three views. By swiping left you can delete an entry or set the event to today.

time gestures

I started out using Time for passed events only, but found myself using the “time until” function sparsely for stuff like expiring subscriptions or coupons. The latter is usually a fine fit for a calendar app, but I find it nice to have a list which gives me a visual glance over what’s expiring next (in form of actual days).

Time set me back 99 cents and thats 99 well invested cents to be precise. No in-app purchases and alike. Just the type of sleek app I missed on my phone.

Bookmarklet for adding Markdown Links to PlainText Lists

February 02, 2014

Bookmarklet for adding Markdown Links to PlainText Lists → via @welkerpatrick

This is a follow-up to “How I Handle My RSS Queue On The Mac And iOS”. When I wrote the post I struggled to find a good solution for filing away RSS articles on the iPhone since no RSS reader offers support for a kind of advanced automation (aka x-callback-url support).

This post is about a bookmarklet which enables you to send an inline Markdown link to Launch Center Pro which prompts you to select one of your plain text lists and prepend or append the link.

Previously, I’d open the article in Safari and press my bookmarklet for saving an inline markdown link to my clipboard. Then I’d open up Drafts and send the link to one of my plain text lists. That might read like a few taps but it feels slow and tedious.

I love my list workflow on the Mac…


… but I really struggle with getting automation done on my iOS devices.1 Anyway, I managed to port my filing browser links workflow to TaskPaper. I now have a bookmarklet that I can fire up in Safari and end up with this:


What this does is it sends the URL as a Markdown Link to one of my Taskpaper lists formated like this:

- [Automating iOS: A Comprehensive Guide to URL Schemes and Drafts Actions](http://www.macstories.net/tutorials/guide-url-scheme-ios-drafts)
- [Share your clipboard among your devices with Command-C](http://philgr.com/blog/share-your-clipboard-among-your-devices-with-command-c)
- [SearchLink for Editorial](http://olemoritz.net/searchlink-for-editorial.html)

I struggled at some point, but iOS automation wizard Eric Pramono from Geeks With Juniors was kind enough to help me out on Twitter. Although I did my own research and Eric gave me a working example which closely resembled what I tried to accomplish, there where still some bolders in my way.

The code:

Here’s the end result:

Decoded view:

	- [ document.title]('location.href ')
&path=/Todo/&name=[list:TaskPaper Lists|Inbox|Today|iOS Automation|OS X Automation|OS X Organization|RocketINK|Web Development].taskpaper');

Basically you can copy everything until line 3 (and don’t forget to remove the line-breaks). Then customize the script and encode it the part you just edited.

Encoded view:


I struggled a bit since Launch Center Pro wouldn’t accept my list. The problem was that the URL title (more precisely the spaces in a title). I tried double and triple encoding it, but failed. Adding the URL encoder helper `` around the fetched document.title and double-encode them proofed to be the solution.


To keep it simple, here’s an older YouTube video on how to install bookmarklets on iOS: http://youtu.be/BG9TXlJ5pts.

If you use iCloud to sync your bookmarks you can modify the code to your liking and copy it to a new bookmark.


Bookmarklet for getting an inline Markdown link into Drafts:


Bookmarklet for getting an inline Markdown link into Drafts and use the apps “Copy to Clipboard” action:


Bookmarklet for getting an inline Markdown link into the clipboard via Launch Center Pro:

  1. This is why rarely see a post about Pythonista or Editorial on this blog. I have some basic actions, but they are not what I envision or to buggy to post here.

Link List – January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014

Link List – January 31, 2014 → by www.rocketink.net → via @welkerpatrick