Link Posts

Fantastic article by Federico Viticci:

Apple is reinventing iOS. The way apps communicate with each other and exchange functionality through extensions. How status awareness is being brought to iPhones, iPads, and Macs with Handoff and Continuity. Swift and TestFlight, giving developers new tools to build and test their apps. Custom keyboards and interactive notifications.

There are hundreds of new features in iOS 8 and the ecosystem surrounding it that signal a far-reaching reimagination of what iOS apps should be capable of, the extent of user customization on an iPhone and iPad, or the amount of usage data that app developers can collect to craft better software.

Seven years into iOS, a new beginning is afoot for Apple’s mobile OS, and, months from now, there will still be plenty to discuss. But, today, I want to elaborate on my experience with iOS 8 in a story that can be summed up with:

iOS 8 has completely changed how I work on my iPhone and iPad.

Wow. Just, wow.

Austin Mann flew to Iceland on The Verge’s dime to take some absolutely stunning photographs and videos using the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus (though mostly using the 6 Plus, dangit).

Wednesday, September 17

Over on The Sweet Setup, we’re compiling a running list with the most notable and exciting iOS 8 updates to many of the best apps. OmniFocus for iPhone is taking advantage of the Today view in Notification Center to show you your list of due tasks; 1Password is now a freemium app and has a slew of awesome upgrades; and more.

As I say in the article, it’s a “living” post, so check in to see what’s been added as new apps go live in the App Store. You can also follow @thesweetsetup on Twitter, as we’ll be tweeting updates.

Graham Spencer and the MacStories team:

Just like we have in the past few years, we like to find those little gems that come with every brand new version of iOS. So in this post, you’ll find dozens and dozens of tips, tricks, and details of iOS 8 that we’ve collected throughout the summer since the first beta release of iOS 8.

Tons of awesome little tricks, like how you can swipe to close Safari iCloud tabs on other devices. I’ve tried to do that a million times since iOS 7.

Stephen Hackett, writing on The Sweet Setup:

With iOS 8 — which is being released today — Apple has re-invented many things about the OS that powers the iPhone and iPad. Limitations which have long shaped the very nature of the OS and what apps can do have been lifted. Apps and their data are far more accessible while still staying just as secure. And though default apps for certain tasks still can’t be set, with iOS 8, using third-party apps is faster and easier than ever.

If you like great software, it’s an exciting day today. I’ll be doing most of my work over on The Sweet Setup where me and the crew will be highlighting today’s most noteworthy new apps and app updates.

Tuesday, September 16

This week’s setup interview is with Sruili Loewy, who sums up nicely why I prefer a laptop as my primary Mac:

I love the versatility of the MacBook Pro. I can take it with me wherever I need to go or dock it on my desk and still have the same amount of computing power.

That, and keeping two machines in sync is still a pain in the behind.

Monday, September 15

PDFpen Scan+ offers scanning and OCR from your iPhone and iPad.

Scan directly from your iPhone or iPad camera.

Batch scanning is quick with post-process image editing.

Scan cropping is fast and precise.

With the new PDFpen Scan+ 1.4, you can automatically upload scans to Dropbox or PDFpen’s iCloud storage.

After OCR, preview the results, then copy the text for use elsewhere.

Share your scanned PDF, with embedded OCR text, by email or to your favorite cloud service.

PDFpen Scan+ is universal. It works on both your iPhone and your iPad, and it’s available on the App Store.

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My thanks to Smile for again sponsoring the RSS feed this week.

Wednesday, September 10

Programming note: this week’s episode of The Weekly Briefly is being published early because I’ll be out of town for XOXO festival in Portland.

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On this week’s show I talk about (what else!?) the hot new gadgets announced yesterday by Apple. Topics include how big the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are compared to the iPhone 5; questions about how helpful Apple Pay will actually be; and considerations on how compelling the new Apple Watch is and what role Tim Cook had in its development.

Brought to you by:

  • Uuni 2: wood-fired perfection to your kitchen or garden. Use the discount code ‘thesweetsetup’ to get $20 off your Uuni 2.

  • The awesome members of Their support makes the work I do a sustainable possibility.

Tuesday, September 9

Print this PDF (if you even own a printer), cut out the drawings, and boom — you have a true-to-size paper model of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

I’ll be getting the 4.7-inch iPhone, and honestly, I don’t think the size increase is going to be a bitter pill. My hunch is that it will be as easy to get used to as it was when we went from 3.5-inch screens to 4-inch screens (the rounded edges and thinner form factor will sure help with that). And in a few months from now, we’ll look at an iPhone 5 and think how small the screen is and we’ll wonder how we ever managed to check Twitter.

The 5.5-inch iPhone? Well, that’s a whole other ballpark.

We are all shooting in the dark regarding what this wearable thing is going to look like and what it will do. Assuming it even exists, what will make it compelling to a lot of people? Why did Apple make it? Who are they selling it to? How will fit in to the Apple ecosystem?

Maybe it’s because people who buy giant iPhones will want a satellite device that shows them their incoming messages. But I don’t think so. That’s been done before and so far it’s proven to be not very compelling. I think the iWatch just might be a little bit head-tilting and a little bit eyebrow-raising.

John Gruber writes:

But there will be something, or several somethings, that will cause it to be misunderstood by those who are only able to frame new creations in the context of what came before them. Apple’s watch won’t fit in an existing mold. It won’t be a phone on your wrist. It won’t be a watch as we know it. We already have excellent phones. We already have excellent watches. For the Apple watch to be worth creating, it must be excellent at something else.

The first iPod was compelling because it did one thing well. And for a decade it continued to do that one thing well with pretty much the only iterations being to the hardware’s form factor and capabilities. Will the “iWatch” be in a similar vein? Deceptively simple while excelling at one thing in particular?

Max Child’s idea for an iWatch that’s an “‘insanely great’ wearable running computer” sounds compelling and interesting to me. I began running a few months ago, and so yes, I’m still a noobie at it, but I also have been on enough runs to know how helpful and yet simultaneously frustrating the iPhone is as a running companion device.

Apple’s wearable may be hyper-focused on running and exercise, or perhaps it will be something different. But either way, it will likely be controversial as a lot of people call out all the missed opportunities Apple didn’t take with this first-generation product.

Good, friendly advice.

The big event starts at 10am Pacific. Aside from being at the Flint Center itself, the best place to watch today’s Special Event is from the couch. If you’ve got an Apple TV, tune in to the Apple Events channel.

The live stream will also be available online so you can watch from your computer or iPad.

There will also be several liveblogs. The teams at Macworld and at The Verge both do an excellent job.

Monday, September 8

Federico Viticci got a sneak peek at something amazing:

The core aspect of Transmit for iOS 8 will be its share extension, which will enable users to upload files using a custom Transmit interface from any app. Once enabled in the system share sheet, Transmit will appear as a sharing option for images, documents, voice memos, and any other file that can be shared; with a single tap on the share sheet’s icon, Transmit’s UI will come up (requiring Touch ID authentication if enabled) with the app’s full feature set to navigate across folders, connect to servers, and see connection history. Considering the old limitations of iOS for inter-app communication and file management, using the Transmit extension feels like a major breakthrough and exactly the kind of experience that the app was meant to be on an iPhone and iPad.

Over on The Sweet Setup, we spent about six months examining and using a whole bunch of the best and most popular Mac budgeting apps. This was a difficult review to write because everyone has different needs for their finances and budgeting, and everyone has different preferences and approaches to how they manage their money.

In the end, we think iBank 5 is the best option out there. Of course, YNAB is also excellent. Check out the review, if only for the hero image — it’s literally the money shot.

Welcome to the wood-fired revolution.

Uuni 2 is the definitive tool for your garden or outdoor kitchen this fall. At fraction of the cost of a traditional wood-fired oven, and with it’s compact size, it blows the competition straight out of the water.

This is how it works:

  1. Light it up, and it’s ready to cook in 10 minutes
  2. Prepare your home-made pizza, and put it in your Uuni
  3. Your delicious wood-fired pizza is ready in just 2 minutes

And it’s not just for pizza — you can cook all sorts of foods with it. Have a look on our website for examples of wood-fired foods we’ve made with it.

Order yours this week, and use the discount code ‘thesweetsetup’ to get $20 off your Uuni 2.

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My thanks to Uuni for sponsoring the RSS feed this week.

Friday, September 5

In our always-connected world, I think it’s getting more and more difficult to manage our work/life/digital boundaries. In this week’s episode of my podcast, The Weekly Briefly, I discuss this topic and what I think some paths to a solution are.

Sponsored by:

Thursday, September 4

My friend and co-worker, Stephen Hackett, is sponsoring a month-long fundraising drive for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Stephen is one of the good guys in our little community of the Web. And his son, Josiah, has received millions of dollars worth of care and aid at no charge to his family.

What a gift and a blessing St. Jude is to the Hackett family. Needless to say, they are an excellent cause to give to.

Stephen’s goal is a mere $6,000. We can give far more than that. My wife and I donated, and we hope you will, too.

Here in Kansas City there’s an IKEA opening up next Wednesday, and just yesterday everyone in town got an IKEA catalog in the mail. Pretty incredible (and impressive, I think) that the majority of the staged rooms and layouts in that catalog are actually 3D renderings.

Part of the reason is they do this is that it’s easier (especially when it comes to kitchens). From his CGSociety interview with Kirsty Parkin, Martin Enthed, the IT Manager for IKEA, said:

The most expensive and complicated things we have to create and shoot are kitchens. From both an environmental and time point of view, we don’t want to have to ship in all those white-goods from everywhere, shoot them and then ship them all back again. And unfortunately, kitchens are one of those rooms that differ very much depending on where you are in the world. A kitchen in the US will look very different to a kitchen in Japan, for example, or in Germany. So you need lots of different layouts in order to localise the kitchen area in brochures. Very early on we created around 200 CG exchanges versions for 50 photographed kitchens in 2008, with the products we had – and I think everyone began to understand the real possibilities.

I wonder if Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, and others do something similar. If not, are they thinking about it?

This is an excellent tip. It’s how I make space on my iPhone. It’s also the only time I ever plug my device in to my Mac.

The latest update to LaunchBar has a pretty great new feature called Staging:

Staging is a technique that allows you to create multiple selections in LaunchBar and to act on all of these items at once.

Wednesday, September 3

The folks at Lynda produced an excellent short documentary on Jeffrey Zeldman and his vital role in Web standards and design.

Tuesday, September 2

Share screenshots with a few keystrokes. Swap files with teammates and clients quickly and securely. Showcase your work straight outta the Adobe suite with a key command. Customize it all to showcase your brand.

Droplr was made for creative collaboration, for sharing ideas and inspiration with your team and clients. And now it’s even better. We just made creating and building teams a cinch, updated our pricing, and redesigned our dashboard. Check it out.

Oh, and new customers get 50% off a year of service this week:

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My thanks to Droplr for sponsoring the site this week. Long-time readers of this site will know I’m a huge fan of Droplr and that it is one of my most-used Mac utility apps. Highly recommended.

Speaking of intentional iPhone Home screens, Jake Knapp made his iPhone as “dumb” as possible last year and it’s going quite well:

I wanted to get control, but I didn’t want to give up my iPhone altogether. I loved having Google Maps and Uber and Find Friends and an amazing camera.

So I decided to try an experiment. I disabled Safari. I deleted my mail account. I uninstalled every app I couldn’t handle. I thought I’d try it for a week.

This week’s interview is with Norwegian student, Eivind Hjertnes:

My home screen is organised a little bit differently than what I see most other people do. The only apps I have are the apps I use all the time or need to access very fast.

I like to think that my iPhone’s first Home screen is organized much like Eivind’s — that the apps on my Home screen are the ones I actually use regularly. But part of me wonders if I’m just so used to my Home screen apps that these are actually only the apps I think I use every day.

For fun, I’ve been taking a screenshot of my iPhone’s Home screen on the first of every month. I started doing this back in March 2013. Below is my iPhone’s first Home screen as of March 1, 2013, and next to it is my Home screen as of yesterday. As you can see, only three apps are swapped out and most apps are still in the same place. The biggest changes are to the aesthetics of the iOS Springboard and icons.

iPhone Home screens

Friday, August 29

For this week’s episode of The Weekly Briefly, I’m just coming back from 2 weeks away in Colorado and Louisiana. And so, before getting back into the daily swing of things I wanted to have a more fun, geeky episode talking about a few things that are awesome and are related to what I’m working on now.

Sponsored By:

Tuesday, August 26

Our latest app review and recommendation over on The Sweet Setup is for VPN clients. Aside from rolling your own, there are basically two main players in the VPN space for iOS and OSX: Cloak and TunnelBear. We prefer the former because it’s quite a bit easier to use even though it’s a bit more expensive than the latter.

Erik Spiekermann:

Every craft requires attention to detail. Whether you’re build­ing a bicy­cle, an engine, a table, a song, a type­face or a page: the details are not the details, they make the design. Con­cepts don’t have to be pixel-perfect, and even the fussi­est project starts with a rough sketch. But build­ing some­thing that will be used by other peo­ple, be they dri­vers, rid­ers, read­ers, lis­ten­ers – users every­where, it needs to be built as well as can be. Unless you are obsessed by what you’re doing, you will not be doing it well enough. Typog­ra­phy appears to require a lot of detail, but so does music, cook­ing, car­pen­try, not to men­tion brain surgery. Some­times only the experts know the dif­fer­ence, but if you want to be an expert at what you’re mak­ing, you will only be happy with the result when you’ve given it every­thing you have.

Tapes lets you share a recording of your screen in an instant—press ⇧⌘2, select an area you want to capture and press it again when you’re done. Tapes will immediately put a shareable link in your clipboard, all while the video is uploading in the background. Each tape can be up to 3 minutes long (your recipients will thank you) and you can record up to 60 minutes each month. Your videos are kept forever in the best possible quality. Tapes costs $9.99 — pay once and save time for every long email you would’ve sent without every having to pay again.

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My thanks to Tapes for sponsoring the RSS feed this week. It’s a very well-done implementation on a very simple idea: that sometimes we want to share a screencast and not just a screenshot. Tapes is one of those apps that does one thing and does it very well. Just $10 in the Mac App Store.

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