How to find something on the App Store

The iPhone and iPad App Store is the best of these app stores in every way bar one. Usually the argument that it’s the best of them is said to be because of the sheer number of apps you can get. It’s certainly true that there are a lot: something like 1.2 million.

I’d say the reason it’s the best is that the apps on it are the best. The most mature, the most feature-rich, the simply best-designed. Hopefully it won’t always be thus but Apple has the benefit that coding for iOS and then releasing your apps is easier on its platform than on Android. And Android has the problem that its users don’t pay money. It’s a fascinating example of how a culture can arise around a technology; iPhone users will pay for an app they want, Android users think if it isn’t free, there’s something wrong with it.

Mind you, even on iOS you get people saying £3.99 is expensive or overpriced and that’s a laugh.

Just on this issue of culture and technology, I do also enjoy how there’s a funny snobbishness with some developers who make announcements apologising for releasing on the iOS App Store first. They say a lot about how great their Android version will be but the thing is that it’s plainly easier for them to code for iOS.

Nonetheless, there can be few App Stores where it is harder to find the thing you want. Macworld has done a feature about finding apps that I want you to see but as full as it is of advice for how to search this bleedin’ thing, I don’t think it’s critical enough. When Microsoft Office finally came out for iPad, I went on the store and I searched for the words “Microsoft Office” and I still couldn’t find it.

I don’t think there can be a worse example of how hard it is to find apps. IF they weren’t so useful, wouldn’t sane people give up? The doubtlessly sane folk at Macworld have persisted far better and far further than I have and they’ve got five solutions for you.

I want to suggest a sixth. One of theirs is that it’s worth searching on the developer’s name. It’s not guaranteed to help, they say, but it can and if you like one developer’s app you may well like other ones they do. I agree with that very much and would add that when you find one, there is a tab called Related that shows you the firm’s other software right there.

This is how I found OmniOutliner after being such a fan of OmniFocus and now I am such a fan of OmniOutliner. I hope this happens to you too and if it does, this Macworld article will have helped.

Quickly find something on a website

Google searches everywhere, pretty much, and the search within a particular website is often rubbish. Often seriously rubbish. But you can combine the two to get straight to what you want.

For example, if you wanted to find every mention of OmniFocus on this site, The Blank Screen, then you would need hours of reading but practically no time searching. Just go to Google and type”

OmniFocus at

That’s it. Google will now search for the word OmniFocus. The search page will go on and tell you more from other places, especially if anyone’s linked to my blathering on about that To Do software, but the top results will be the ones you want on the site you’re searching.

Be smarter: don’t apply for jobs when they’re advertised

It can’t always be a good idea, but when it’s right, this could work well for you:

Introduce Yourself When They Aren’t Looking

What if you saw an ad for a job where you knew there was a fair amount of turnover. To add to this, let’s assume you are not desperate and unemployed. Wouldn’t it make sense, then, to allow the ad to run its course and send a letter a few weeks later to make it appear your interest in the company was genuine and not an opportunistic spur of the moment decision made because there was an enticing ad that sparked your interest? The point here is to get yourself noticed when they aren’t looking — and when there aren’t a hundred other candidates seeking their attention all at once.

8 Ways to Get Noticed During a Job Search – Wisebread (2 May 2014)

The other seven ways are pretty good too: read the full list. (And a nod of the hat brim to Lifehacker for spotting this.)