App Store Deals — 2015/11/25

November 25, 2015 · 15:09

There’s still a few days to go before Black Friday hits, but various app promotions are already here. Feel free to skim the list below — you might find something you’ll like — but I strongly recommend you get Pixelmator for Mac and iOS. It’s a great Photoshop alternative and pretty cheap in comparison.

AG Drive – iOS – Games – €3.99 > €1.99
Air Login – iOS – Business – €0.99 > €0.00
Alternote for Evernote – Mac – Productivity – €6.99 > €3.99
Boom 2: Best Audio Enhancement App – Mac – Utilities – €19.99 > €9.99
CP 1919 – iPad – Music – €9.99 > €0.99
The Cursed Ship, Collector’s Edition – iPhone – Games – €4.99 > €0.00
The Cursed Ship, Collector’s Edition HD – iPad – Games – €6.99 > €0.00
Curtis – iPad – Music – €9.99 > €0.99
Door Kickers – iPad – Games – €4.99 > €1.99
Folx GO+ – Mac – Utilities – €9.99 > €1.99
liquivid – Mac – Video – €19.99 > €1.99
LongScreen – iOS – Utilities – €2.99 > €0.99
Pixave – Mac – Graphics & Design – €9.99 > €4.99
Pixelmator – iOS – Photography – €4.99 > €1.99
Pixelmator – Mac – Graphics & Design – €29.99 > €14.99
PocketWings: Discovery Island – iOS – Games – €2.99 > €0.00
Todo – To–Do & Task List – iOS – Productivity – €4.99 > €0.99
Linky – Share webpage’s, images – iOS – Social Networking – €3.99 > €1.99


Stolen Pencils →

November 25, 2015 · 09:26

Adarsh Verma:

People visiting the Apple Stores are reporting that the most of the demo units are stolen. “Yesterday saw guy next to me steal a limited supply Apple pencil demo unit. Employees didn’t bother chasing him,” a Twitter user tweeted. A Reddit user IMPRNTD said, “[m]y local store in Canada mentioned that most of the Apple Pencils were stolen.”

Pathetic, but to be expected. I’m assuming future demo units will have some sort of proximity sensor / alarm built-in.


Are You a Star Wars Fan?

November 25, 2015 · 09:04

If the answer is yes, then you’ll be pleased to know that Google prepared a beautiful Easter egg for the occasion. Go to google.com and search for:

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away

Don’t forget to turn your sound on!


‘Forty was Definitely Prolific’ →

November 25, 2015 · 08:24

Jason Fagone:

By August 2014, Finley had reached out to the F.B.I.’s Atlanta field office, asking if the bureau could help with a swatting case in which the suspect was a minor. He was told the swatter would have to be ‘‘prolific.’’ Finley asked what that meant. He knew the swatter had made hoax calls to 11 police departments in that one January alone. How many swattings is prolific? No one Finley spoke to at the bureau could say. But Finley kept tracking Obnoxious, kept calling the F.B.I. with updates — he could connect the guy to 20 swatting calls, then 30 calls. When he got past 40 about a month later, he finally found a special agent named Andrew Young. Forty was definitely prolific.


Using an iDevice for Podcasting is Maddness →

November 25, 2015 · 08:17

Jason Snell:

In the meantime, there is a way to make a Skype call and also record on a high-quality microphone using only iOS. It’s just kind of ridiculous: You make the Skype call on your iPhone, presumably with iPhone earbuds or other compatible headphones with a microphone, while sitting in front of an iPad that’s attached to a microphone and recording locally. The people on Skype hear your bad microphone, but your good microphone is what gets used on the actual podcast. Serenity Caldwell used this method for both this week’s Incomparable Radio Theater and Upgrade episodes. The risk is that if your recording fails, all that remains is a lousy recording of your voice on a set of earbuds via Skype—not a great backup.

This is so convoluted that I would probably just prefer to use a Mac—less hassle, more foolproof.

Also, I’m using Jason’s posts to test my Workflow workflow. See previous post.


Jason Snell Reviews the iPad Pro →

November 24, 2015 · 23:22

Jason Snell:

You get used to the size fast. After a week using the iPad Pro, I dropped my iPad Air 2 down on my trusty old Origami Workstation and just started to laugh. It’s like a tiny baby iPad! On a tabletop or other workspace, the size of the iPad Pro’s screen really shines.

Unfortunately, in other contexts it’s the size of the device itself that comes to the fore. When I wake up in the morning I like to grab my iPad and check in on the Internet before I get up and face the rest of my day. In this scenario, the iPad Pro feels like overkill. Sitting in a chair or on a couch, it felt big but not overwhelming, but in a context where I’m leaning back and really just reading stuff, not doing a lot of typing, I was a lot less comfortable.

I have close to the exact same experience as Jason. The problem is that going back to my Air 2 seems as if I’m returning to using a toy…


Using Workflow for iOS to Publish to WordPress →

November 24, 2015 · 22:57

Federico Viticci:

As I’ve teased in some articles over the past weeks, I’ve been using the new WordPress action to publish content to MacStories in a semi-automated fashion that doesn’t involve manual interaction with the WordPress admin interface or Python.

This post was published via a quick workflow that I made in… Workflow for iOS [App Store]. Took me about half an hour to perfect, complete with quoting text selected in Safari.

Thanks for the tips Federico!


Amazon Kindle Voyage 2 Unlikely in 2015 →

November 24, 2015 · 18:12

David Rothman:

A Kindle Voyage 2 is unlikely in 2015, but the game isn’t over. If you were putting off buying a new Voyage, you’re probably safe purchasing the original model now—even though Good E-Reader said last summer and several weeks ago that the 2 would show up this month.

I’m still extremely satisfied with my first generation Voyage1 and I encourage anyone who does any substantial amount of reading to get one. It’s far from perfect, but it’s the best there is.

  1. Typography on it needs work.

Spectre Sets Guinness World Record for Largest Film Stunt Explosion →

November 24, 2015 · 12:26

Rachel Swatman:

Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli commented: “It is absolutely tremendous that the Guinness World Records have recognised Chris Corbould’s incredible work in ‘Sprectre’ in which he created the largest explosion ever in film history.”

Taking place in Erfoud, Morocco, the blast had a total yield of 68.47 tonnes of TNT equivalent and was the result of detonating 8,418 litres of kerosene with 33 kg of powder explosives – and it lasted for over 7.5 seconds.

I remember that scene distinctly—I’ve already seen the movie twice—and while it was extremely impressive, the thought that this was the biggest explosion in cinema never crossed my mind.


Touching Pixar-Style Ad from the Spanish National Lottery

November 24, 2015 · 10:52

I hate ads. I don’t even have cable at home—we disconnected two or three years ago and have never looked back. We now rely on our Playstation 4 for Blu-ray movies and Apple TV for rentals. Since I don’t have access to regular TV channels, I don’t watch many advertisements, but I did dedicate four minutes yesterday to watch what is most probably the most touching ad ever created.

Continue reading →


Fitbit Automatically Detects Exercise; Still No HealthKit Integration →

November 24, 2015 · 09:54

Lauren Goode:

A new feature called “SmartTrack” will now automatically detect when you’ve started a workout session or new activity, rather than requiring you to press a button or swipe through an activity menu to start a workout. According to Fitbit, the software is able to detect running, outdoor cycling, walking, elliptical workouts, basketball, tennis, soccer, and even high-impact cardio workouts like kickboxing and dance classes.

Still waiting for HealthKit support. Get it done please, Fitbit.


The Apple Pencil as a Writing Tool →

November 23, 2015 · 15:48

Myke Hurley:

To really see what the Pencil is capable of, the best place to try it is in iOS’ built-in Notes app. The drawing mode that you can activate only features a modest selection of tools and options, but is by far the most responsive experience. Using the Apple Pencil in Notes is the closest I have ever come to getting a true handwriting experience from a digital device.

To say there is no lag would be incorrect, but it is close enough to feel that it works. When you move the Pencil across the screen, most lines will travel ever so slightly behind it. But compared to previous experiences of using a stylus on a iPad, the difference is like night and day.

My Pencil delivery date can’t come soon enough—4 weeks to go.

I also tried out a selection of drawing apps, just to see what the Pencil was capable of. I spent most of my time in Paper by FiftyThree, Adobe Photoshop Sketch, Procreate, Tayasui Sketches, and Zen Brush 2. The responsiveness of the Pencil really differed in each of these apps, with Paper by FiftyThree being the worst.

Am I the only who is curious which one was the best?

Update

And Myke responded to my question while recording Upgrade in their IRC channel:

[18:14] <imyke> Morid1n: the notes app is good. I also like Notability and GoodNotes.

Seems that Notes is the way to go.


Dell Ships Laptops with Root CA →

November 23, 2015 · 14:22

Rotorcowboy on Reddit:

I got a shiny new XPS 15 laptop from Dell, and while attempting to troubleshoot a problem, I discovered that it came pre-loaded with a self-signed root CA by the name of eDellRoot. With it came its private key, marked as non-exportable. However, it is still possible to obtain a raw copy of the private key by using several tools available (I used NCC Group’s Jailbreak tool). After briefly discussing this with someone else who had discovered this too, we determined that they are shipping every laptop they distribute with the exact same root certificate and private key, very similar to what Superfish did on Lenovo computers. For those that aren’t familiar, this is a major security vulnerability that endangers all recent Dell customers.

Was it Lenovo that started shipping malware with Superfish? This is just another reason to always go Mac—it runs Windows too if needed, but without all that crap to worry about.

via @wojtaszek


CSSGram—Reacrete Instagram Filters with CSS →

November 23, 2015 · 10:50

Una Kravets:

Simply put, CSSgram is a library for editing your images with Instagram-like filters directly in CSS. What we’re doing here is adding filters to the images as well as applying color and/or gradient overlays via various blending techniques to mimic these effects. This means less manual image processing and more fun filter effects on the web!

This is really well done. Una also includes the ability to choose a sample image—that’s my shot of the Eiffel Tower above.


Siri on CarPlay is Far from Brilliant →

November 23, 2015 · 09:30

Matthew DeBord:

Siri on CarPlay, however, is brilliant. It’s like having K.I.T.T. or J.A.R.V.I.S. or the computer from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” installed in your dashboard. You speak simple voice commands, like “Send a text” or “Find me a Starbucks” and Siri responds. It reads your texts and reads them mellifluously. Its machine brain understands your human diction — better, it seems, in a car.

I had the pleasure of driving a Golf R recently and the whole CarPlay experience is simply terrible. I don’t remember anything as bad—ever—since I started driving cars over twenty years ago. Siri is fine if you only use English, but until she can simultaneously read and listen in at least two languages, I’ll do anything and everything to avoid CarPlay in any future cars I might have.


Twitter Button Changes—No More Tweet Count →

November 21, 2015 · 17:58

Twitter:

The Tweet button counts the number of Tweets that have been Tweeted with the exact URL specified in the button. This count does not reflect the impact on Twitter of conversation about your content — it doesn’t count replies, quote Tweets, variants of your URLs, nor does it reflect the fact that some people Tweeting these URLs might have many more followers than others.

The count was built in a time where the only button on the web was from Twitter. Today, it’s most commonly placed among a number of other share buttons, few of which have counts.

For some odd reason, this change has caused many people to have their panties in a bunch.