About a month ago, I asked Jason Snell about an app for the iPad Pro to read comic books on. And that's how I started my process of rediscovering all the favourites from my childhood.
Apart from the best apps and games for every platform, Apple also published a list of the runner-up apps and games of the year. The list contains a few excellent pieces of software, some of which I use, including Fantastical, Reeder 3, Ulysses, and many others.
Apple published their ‘Best of 2015’ app lists — you can find them below — and the first choice caught me by surprise. There are a few great apps in the list, apart from the winners, and I strongly recommend checking them out. It also appears that I’ll need to find the time to play a few of the awarded games.
I bought Workflow for iOS [App Store] on the day it came out. The app was already amazing back then, but lacked a few features which could help me use it on a daily basis. The most recent update added WordPress support however. It took me a little over thirty minutes to put together a rough workflow for publishing linked posts on Infinite Diaries. I’ve been perfecting that workflow ever since and I’m finally ready to share it with the world.
I recently wrote about the future of PointOut for iOS, expecting to wait at least a month or two before its next update, but lo and behold—1.3 is here with support for the iPad Pro, a simplified landscape view on iPhone, full landscape support on iPad, and most importantly, Split View and Slide Over functionality. You can find my full review of PointOut over here.
Before I get down to revealing what PointOut’s developer, Marek Moi, has planned for the future, I would like to take a minute to talk about the latest 1.2.1 update, which just made me laugh out in glee.
Christmas came early this year—yesterday was Tweetbot 4 for Twitter Launch Day. Despite all the hate surrounding the fact that it’s a paid upgrade, it was a pleasure just watching all the excitement of the new users—some loved it, others had a few technical issues, but overall all was well with the world from where I was sitting. More importantly however, Tapbots invited me to their beta program, which gave me the chance to use Tweetbot for the past month or so. This in turn allowed me to prepare my review ahead of time. My single most beloved app and the chance to publish my review on launch? A dream come true.
Casey Neistat, a very charismatic individual known for his crazy off-road driving, killing hover boards, sneaking into various places, directing films, running, ad campaigns (for Nike and Mercedes amongst others), and his daily YouTube vlogs, has finally unveiled what he and his team have been working on for the past year. I was personally curious what his newest project was going to be for quite a long time now and both my suspicions were correct: it’s about video and it’s an app. Despite that, it’s not exactly what I suspected it would be…
Benjamin Mayo of 9to5Mac reports that Instacast has been discontinued due to the simple fact that its parent company Vemedio ran out of money. Since the specifics are unknown at this time, I can only assume the main problem was lack of profitability. I could probably write many words on the subject of business models and so forth, but that horse has been beaten to death in various places on the internet many times in these past few years. What I would prefer to focus on are two subjects that I have already mentioned here.
Marek Moi, the developer behind the great PointOut, updated his app to 1.1 a few hours ago. The new version includes some great new functions and he also managed to squash some bugs at the same time. I spoke with him regarding the future roadmap of his latest baby and while he asked me not to speak of it, I can mention that it will be impressive. I’m also trying to convince him to start working on an OS X version.
I’ve been traveling these past few weeks, having a wonderful time in Morocco, and I didn’t have my MacBook with me—I went iPhone only and I didn’t regret it until two days ago, when the wonderful folks at Tapbots announced Tweetbot 2.0 for Mac [App Store]. This has been my goto Twitter client ever since the iPhone version gained notifications back in … a long time ago. This is also my favourite piece of software. Ever.
Marek Moi created something truly wonderful last year and I got a chance to join him on a fantastic journey experiencing the creative process behind Bison Bonasus. This year he invited me on the beta of his secret project—his new iOS app which had something to do with the word ‘Deetl’ …
I use a lot of various apps on both my iPhone and iPad. I paid for most of them, while some were free. Years ago! Yet I use them each and every day. David Smith’s Pedometer++ app [App Store] is but one example. Tweetbot [iPhone, iPad, Mac] is another—for iPhone, iPad and OS X. I don’t even recall when I bought the last two, but it was obviously some time ago (updates are in the works!). What alerted me recently was Panic’s 2014 report on the state of their apps.
Federico Viticci wrote a
post review as close to a book as you can get about Twitter clients. He really does get down into the specific details of each one. Since Twitter is one of my favourite ways to waste spend my time, I jumped in with gusto. A few paragraphs in, I noticed the following words, which tie in exactly with my own thoughts.
I’m a Twitter completionist. Because I’ve always used the service to discover interesting new apps and links, I’ve developed a habit of trying not to miss a single tweet that is shared or retweeted in my timeline, with the only exception for the weekends.
Particularly after launching better linked posts on the site and starting our MacStories Weekly newsletter with a dedicated Links section, discovering stuff on the Internet has become essential to my livelihood, and Twitter is the best (and most diverse) service for this. I know that I haven’t missed cool apps, links, and news thanks to my dedication to reading my entire timeline every day, and for this reason, in spite of strong evidence suggesting that Twitter doesn’t intend timelines to be consumed this way, I won’t change how I read Twitter.
This behavior makes timeline gaps and timeline sync one of the most prominent aspects I have to consider in a Twitter client. I want to be able to wake up in the morning and start reading my timeline from where I left it the night before; and, I want to know that I can close Twitter for a couple of hours in the afternoon without losing my place in a stream of tweets. More importantly, whenever a timeline gap occurs I need the ability to load tweets without making the timeline scroll and lose my position.
Unfortunately, the official Twitter app doesn’t support sync and leaves much to be desired for timeline gaps.
I read or skim my whole timeline, sometimes curating it as as I go up and up, on my way to Tweet Timeline Zero. I know of people who, upon seeing a few hundred tweets, prefer to scroll up and then go down the other way, just to catch up on the last hour or so. This is not something I am comfortable with, nor is it something that I can do with with a clear conscience. I did try to use the Twitter’s own app1 at one point, but the fact that the app would sometimes reload the whole timeline and scroll me all the way up killed it for me. In fact, Federico makes note of this…
In practice, the Twitter app results in several minutes I spend scrolling and trying to find the last tweet I saw when I closed the app. Every morning and whenever I leave the app for a couple of hours, Twitter either completely reloads the timeline (pushing me to top to see the latest tweets) or inserts a timeline gap that occasionally fails to load new tweets above my position.
In 2013 I wrote an open letter to Twitter, which included the following:
What is important to me is reading my timeline. My whole timeline. I follow some two hundred sources. A bit too many perhaps, but I carefully curate my list to allow me to quickly read that which satisfies my interests in chronological order, as events unfold. The only reason I am still doing this is because of developers like Tapbots, Iconfactory and all the other great Twitter clients out there.
2015 is almost upon us and Twitter is still lacking, especially for “completionists”, as Ticci put it. I cannot fathom how Federico can use Twitter’s app despite his strong motivation to read his whole timeline—I’m still on Tweetbot and when it finally dies, so will most probably my love for Twitter. In the meantime, I’m still waiting for Tweetbot 3 for iPad…
- I believe this was when I was playing around with Android a bit. ↩
My wife and I are currently on vacation in India, lounging on the beaches, eating fresh shrimp every evening and having a great time. Before we left though, two things happened—I changed my writing workflow and spent some time with Dan Counsell of RealmacSoftware, talking about Markdown writing tools.
I returned home this evening, away from the cold weather outside, glad to finally let my bones absorb some warmth. Having a few minutes to spare before dinner, I started browsing my Twitter timeline and saw something extremely sad—my heart goes out to James Thomson. He must be truly crestfallen.
I’m extremely proud (and a little frightened) to present our first photography album and travel guide for the iPad written in English. The idea first came to me after using my webpage to show my photography and talk about our family’s travels — it was a sub par experience and I didn’t have full control over the layout. Since I use Adobe Creative Cloud for various other things, I decided to try to leverage their tools and create the whole album in InDesign, to my exact specifications.
I had the opportunity to beta test the wonderful PCalc by James Thomson for these past few weeks and I’ve really come to love it, especially on the iPhone. You can read my short review about the iOS version here.
The two other new features that got me hooked are support for Handoff and PCalc’s widget. Handoff — one of iOS 8’s new features — means that I can start my calculations on my iPhone and should I choose to pick up my iPad, a little icon will appear on the lockscreen, allowing me to continue where I left off. I’ve actually had a few situations where this worked out perfectly. The only downside is that Handoff support in iOS 8 is still a little bit finicky — sometimes it just refuses to work.
I’ve also been using the OS X version and unfortunately, Handoff only worked correctly between iPad and iPhone – I just couldn’t coax anything useful out of it on OS X on either of my computers. James rolled out the update in the Mac App Store a few days ago and I just updated it a few minutes ago. At first it didn’t work at all with my iPhone 6 and iPad mini 2… and then I had the idea of turning on Bluetooth on both devices, to test it again (this did not work earlier during the betas). The PCalc icon appeared in the lower left hand corner of my lockscreen immediately. And it worked the other way too!
Tweetbot and I have been having an affair since its inception. From iPhone, to iPad and Mac, I simply cannot fathom using another app for my daily Twitter fix. And I’ve tried. A lot of them. Most of them? Probably not, but near everything available for iOS and OS X. And none of them come close.