The Instructional is Closing

It's with mixed emotions that I'm announcing the closure of The Instructional, effective from today. I launched the site at the beginning of the year and it's success has been far beyond what I ever expected. 

So why am I closing it? Well, 2014 has been a hugely eventful year for me so far, both personally and professionally, but I've had to deal with an unfortunate change in my personal life though, at the same time, given a fantastic opportunity to work for an amazing company. After some reflection, I've decided to reevaluate how I spend my free time and closing The Instructional (along with shuttering some other side projects I've had on the go) is a decision that I feel is right.

A few years ago I suffered with depression, thanks in part to a terrible working environment and a turbulent relationship. Projects like this were a distraction away from the parts of my life I didn't want to think about or deal with. Since then, this has become too much of a bad habit and I've spent so much of my free time working on various projects, from web development to writing, that they eat up almost every hour of my free time.

While there are many people who do find a balance, I have not and, honestly, I don't want to anymore. I just want to have more free time and a hobby, not an obsession. I'm at a point in my life where I'm happy and don't need distracting. 

Next Steps

The Instructional isn't going away anytime soon and all my ebooks will soon be made available for free. I'll be keeping the site up on Squarespace for the foreseeable future, before making a static archive available as a download permanently. Furthermore, I am interested in passing on the torch if someone else would like to continue running the site. If you're interested, let me know

I'm both saddened to be ending such a project as The Instructional, while at the same time relieved that the time I'll have back is something I'm able to use, only this time more wisely. To the readers of The Instructional, you have my heartfelt thanks for your support over the last ten months. 

Thanks for reading,

An Update on Reader Support

Many frequent readers of The Instructional will no doubt be aware that I've offered a monthly membership of $2 per month to help support the site. It's through the generosity of readers who subscribed that I've been able to run the site continually since it started back at the beginning of the year.

I'll be posting an update soon about the future of The Instructional but what I'll be announcing means that the need for reader support is no longer necessary. More importantly, I've not been posting as frequently as I have done and so I just don't feel it's right to have readers keep paying for that. 

Existing member subscriptions will automatically expire and sign ups for new members has been disabled. 

How to Setup and Use Text Shortcuts on iPhone and iPad

Text substitution in iOS, while not comparable to something like TextExpander, does have the advantage of being available to use in any app. Even in iOS 8, TextExpander snippets will require using a custom keyboard. 

Using iOS text substitution is still a great way to substitute abbreviations and characters for alternatives, and this guide over at iMore has some great tips. 

If for nothing else, specifying that the phrase "eml" should be substituted with my email address is one of the best hacks I've ever used and makes it so much easier to log into websites and apps. 

Using a Third-Party Remote Control with Apple TV

While Apple's Aluminium Remote Control is decent, you can actually control your Apple TV from almost any other remote, especially universal remote controls, which can help de-clutter the coffee table.

If you aren't a universal remote like a Logitech Harmony which can be automatically programmed, Apple has published a support article explaining how to use some spare buttons on an existing remote to control your Apple TV. 

TextExpander 4 on Sale

For a limited time, TextExpander 4 is available through StackSocial for just $16.99, a massive 51% off it's standard price. 

TextExpander is an invaluable tool that's available for both Mac and iOS, and is one I've been using for a number of years. The app lets you create powerful text snippets that you can customise with fill-in text fields, drop down menus and even keyboard commands.

The developers, Smile, recently demoed their custom iOS 8 keyboard that offers full access to snippets throughout your device. With snippet syncing via Dropbox, now is a perfect time to start using TextExpander on your Mac if you aren't already doing so! 

The Instructional is using a StackSocial referral link and makes a small amount with each sale using it. 

How to make your own Fusion Drive

Fusion Drive is a utility that combines an SSD and traditional hard drive into a single storage space. Your Mac then automatically manages where data is stored, moving files and apps between the SSD and HDD depending on how often they're used. It's a great compromise between SSD's high speed and HDD's large capacity.

While Fusion Drive is officially only supported on an iMac or Mac mini purchased with an SSD and HDD combination, it can be set up on any supported Mac. Macworld published a useful guide back in 2012 on how to do this and after a few minutes in Terminal, you'll have a fully working Fusion Drive set up and ready to use.