The Biggest Threat to the Mac →

December 8, 2018 · 08:08

John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:

The biggest threat to the Mac isn’t iPads, Chromebooks, or Windows 2-in-1’s — it’s apathy towards what makes great Mac apps great.

Apple’s own software quality is slowly going down hill over these past few years, as if they stopped caring. There are too many examples to list, but it’s long past due to sound an alarm. Even on iOS, Apple often fails to have updates for its own apps ready in time for new screen resolutions or features.


David Barnard Explains How to Game the App Store →

November 29, 2018 · 09:09

David Barnard:

I’ve been pestering Apple for years publicly and privately about the manipulation and outright scams going on in the App Store. Apple has made some progress here and there, but overall Apple’s strictness in some areas and hands off approach in others has disproportionately rewarded bad actors while stifling conscientious developers.

First of all, read the whole thing — some parts might shock you. These issues won’t be problematic to users aware of which developers are the good guys — there are quite a few out there — but the average consumer will have no clue which ones to trust. Apple really needs to crack down hard on the bad actors, cleaning out their own store of the garbage that has accumulated over the years.


Castro Is Now Part of Tiny →

November 27, 2018 · 22:14

On Supertop’s blog:

Castro has reached a size where the demands of running the business have been pulling us in too many different directions. We haven’t been able to focus as much on the core work of designing and building a product. Selling to Tiny gets Castro access to more resources, contacts and expertise. By growing the team we can specialize our roles to be more focused individually and get more done collectively. We can get back to what we’re good at and what we love doing.

This sounds promising.


Google Photos for iOS Adds Portrait Mode Depth Editing to iPhones X, 8, and 7; Apple Photos Still Not Offering This Feature →

November 20, 2018 · 08:28

Michael Potuck, for 9to5Mac:

While Portrait mode depth editing arrived with the iPhone XS, XR and the 2018 iPad Pro, the feature isn’t available on iPhone X, 8 Plus, and 7 Plus. Today, Google is rolling out support for the feature with Google Photos for iOS.

It’s been argued that the iPhone X isn’t fast enough to support the editing of bokeh. I called it out after the keynote. Now Google is joining in, assisting users of “old” iPhones and bringing them functionality that Apple should have provided on day one.


iSH — an iOS Linux Shell for Your iPhone or iPad →

November 13, 2018 · 06:53

Lawrence Abrams, for Bleeping Computer:

Have you ever wanted to run a Linux shell on your iOS device to transfer files, write shell scripts, or simply to use Vi to develop code or edit files?  Now you can, with a project called iSH that is currently available as a TestFlight beta for iOS devices.

iSH is a project that aims to bring a Linux shell to iOS devices using a usermode x86 emulator. iSH is built on the Alpine Linux distro, which is designed to have a small footprint, be secure, and easy to use with little or no distracting bells and whistles.

There’s a link to apply for the TestFlight beta there.

via @stroughtonsmith


Export Your Messages and Texts to TXT Files With Image Attachments via Baskup

September 25, 2018 · 15:29

I have been having some issues with Messages in the Cloud on my Macs — both show less texts and iMessages than my iPhone and iPad. I guess I could go through Apple Support but their software solutions usually are to log out and log back in to iCloud or to start fresh (seriously). Instead, I spent a few hours pruning old conversations, which I didn’t need anymore. This still didn’t solve the issue of the multi-year threads that I have with my wife — I have three of those on my iOS devices and only one on my Macs. Since Messages only loads a page or two of messages at a time and requires the user to constantly scroll up to load older messages, its close to impossible to get to the beginning of the thread anyway (I don’t have the patience to scroll-wait-scroll for hours). This led me to the decision to just export our message history as a txt or PDF file and then clear Messages.

Continue reading →


Micro.blog Client Icro Open Sourced →

August 22, 2018 · 10:19

Icro does not serve the purpose of a showcase project. Many parts were hacked together as I wanted to ship this App as quickly as possible. From now on all development will happen in public on Github. A structure with issues, planned features will be added using the GitHub tools.

I use Icro for my Micro.blog interactions and I actually like it more than the official client — the secret is in the font.


How to Install Python3 via Homebrew on macOS

July 20, 2018 · 12:25

I just had to install Python 3 on both Macs and the whole process had some issues, so this is what I had to do to get everything running correctly:

  • I assume you already have Homebrew installed; if not then follow the instructions here and then run the following commands…
  • brew update
  • brew upgrade
  • sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/Frameworks
  • sudo chown -R $(whoami) /usr/local/* if using bash or sudo chown -R (whoami) /usr/local/* for fish
  • brew install python3
  • brew link python3
  • brew doctor

That’s it.


Ulysses Turns 15 Years Old →

July 5, 2018 · 10:12

Max Seelemann:

Ulysses is turning 15 these days. You read that right: fifteen freaking years. In computer terms that’s an eternity. And for me, now 31 years old, it certainly feels like one. This is my story.

So much has happened since that 1st of July, when we released version 1.0 of Ulysses. 2003 was the year of Finding Nemo, Kill Bill and Pirates of the Caribbean, the shipping release of Mac OS X was 10.2, and click-wheel iPods were the hottest thing around. Feeling old already? Well, it is a long time ago.

I knew Ulysses from years ago, but I never knew it was 15 years old! I have been using it daily for a few years now, since Max and his team created the iOS version in early 2015. It’s still the only writing app that integrates so beaufitully with Workflow and it’s hard to imagine life without it. Frankly, were I to switch to Windows 10 on a Surface Book 2, losing Ulysses would be my greatest regret.


Audio Hiijack 3.5 Adds the Ability to Broadcast Audio →

June 29, 2018 · 18:24

Paul Kafasis, on Rogue Amoeba’s blog:

Today, we’ve got a big (and free!) update to our popular audio recording utility Audio Hijack. Audio Hijack 3.5 is all about internet radio streaming, with a brand new Broadcast output block that makes it possible to send any audio to Shoutcast and Icecast servers. It’s perfect for running livecasts of podcast recordings, as well as live streaming DJ sets, and powering all types of internet radio streams.

If you do any podcasting, audio recording, or broadcasting on your Mac, you need Audio Hijack. This is one of the best looking, functional, and just plain cool apps for macOS.


Pocket Casts Acquired by NPR, etc. →

May 4, 2018 · 00:17

Chris Welch, on The Verge:

Pocket Casts, widely considered to be one of the best mobile apps for podcast listening, has been acquired by a collective group that includes NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago, and This American Life. “This unprecedented collaboration furthers public radio’s leading role as an innovator in audio discovery and distribution, while ensuring the continued support and growth of one of the most popular listening platforms on the market,” the companies said in a press release announcing the news. That team of stations and podcast producers are responsible for some of the format’s biggest hits like This American Life (duh), Serial, Radiolab, and Planet Money.

Moving forward, Pocket Casts will operate as a joint venture between the new owners. Philip Simpson and Russell Ivanovic, who formed Shifty Jelly (Pocket Cast’s developer) in 2008, will have unspecified “leadership roles.” The existing staff and development team is staying put. Owen Grover, a veteran of iHeartRadio / Clear Channel, has been named as Pocket Cast’s CEO. NPR’s apps including NPR One will remain in development.

Rest In Peace Pocket Casts, good luck Russell and Philip.

Everyone on iOS go get Overcast [App Store]. I have no clue what you should do if you’re on Android.


The 2017 Panic Report →

May 4, 2018 · 00:04

Cabel Sasser, on Panic’s blog:

Hello, my friends. It’s (Q2) of a (not-so) new year. That means it’s time to talk about Panic!

I look forward to these every year and having recently switched to Transmit Mac, I was saddened to see Transmit iOS retired. Transmit has become my go-to software to not only interface with various servers, but to access my Dropbox, GDrive, etc. I don’t have to rely on their respective apps anymore, which is worth getting Transmit in itself.


1Blocker X for iOS — New App, More Rules

April 25, 2018 · 12:15

The guys behind 1Blocker for iOS and macOS are launching 1Blocker X tomorrow, with support for many more rules by combining several content blockers into one app — this rewrite took them 6 months, which is why I completely understand their need to make back their investment. Salavat Khanov wrote up all the new features of 1Blocker X on their blog — it’s an interesting read — and now that I finally understand how it works under the hood, I’m upgrading tomorrow, when the app goes live. You can pre-order it today though…

1Blocker X — $4.99 / €5,49 / 23,49 PLN


The Graphing Calculator Story →

April 11, 2018 · 15:03

Ron Avitzur:

I used to be a contractor for Apple, working on a secret project. Unfortunately, the computer we were building never saw the light of day. The project was so plagued by politics and ego that when the engineers requested technical oversight, our manager hired a psychologist instead. In August 1993, the project was canceled. A year of my work evaporated, my contract ended, and I was unemployed.

I was frustrated by all the wasted effort, so I decided to uncancel my small part of the project. I had been paid to do a job, and I wanted to finish it. My electronic badge still opened Apple’s doors, so I just kept showing up.

I cannot imagine this would be possible today, which is sad in some ways. Ron’s dedication is truly admirable and I can’t help but wonder how many other stories like this one are out there, waiting to be told.


PCalc’s 25th Birthday →

December 23, 2017 · 07:48

James Thomson is currently celebrating the amazing history of his scientific calculator:

25 years sounds like a really long time. A quarter of a century sounds even longer. Yet, that is how long it has been since PCalc 1.0 was released […]

PCalc was my first ever application. I started writing in the summer of 1992 and it took me around six months to get it into a state where I was happy to show it to the world. Some of that code still runs today, deep at the heart of the machine.

That is both amazing and terrifying.

This means that both the iOS and Mac versions are on sale — down to $0.99 from the usual $9.99.

If you need a really good programmable calculator, do one of two things:

  • wait for the sale to end and buy it at full price (it’s totally worth it)
  • buy it now, go into the About screen, and drop a few coins into the Tip Jar

Wishing you as many more years of PCalc as you want James!

P.S. Don’t forget to play the AR game hidden in the About menu!


BBEdit 12 — It (Still) Doesn’t Suck®

October 13, 2017 · 15:53

Version 12 was released yesterday and Bare Bones Software published info on how to upgrade, depending on which version you’re on — you can find it here. It’s probably easiest to just upgrade when they ask you to — completely worth it in my opinion. They also published a complete change log:

BBEdit 12.0 contains many new features, enhancements, and refinements to existing features. It also includes fixes for reported issues. This document describes changes in BBEdit since the previous update (11.6.8).

BBEdit also has a wonderful manual which is totally worth reading. It’s probably the first software manual that I have read in my life.


Pixelmator Pro for Mac teased →

September 6, 2017 · 11:29

Between Pixelmator and Affinity Photo/Designer, Adobe will soon have a big problem on their hands — not only do I prefer the UI of these new „indie” apps, but they appear to be much more modern, with simpler, more effective tools.

Lightroom and InDesign have yet to be dethroned though.


One Other Thought on Ulysses’ Subscription Model →

August 12, 2017 · 08:59

From Ulysses’ FAQ:

What happens after my subscription or trial ends? Can I still access my texts?

Definitely. Ulysses is in read-only mode, meaning you can still access all your sheets and export them using any export format.

I strongly believe that to alleviate concerns over “renting software” instead of owning a copy, Ulysses (in this example) should still be fully functional when a user ceases paying their subscription, but it would stop receiving updates and new features. If a developer was feeling extra generous, they could support new OS versions and security updates.


The 1Password Memberships/Subscription Conundrum

July 16, 2017 · 13:31

Dave Teare, writing about 1Password Memberships:

1Password is what it is today because we all love working here and have fun helping our customers. We are completely self-funded, independent, have turned down all offers from venture capitalists, and our board of directors consists entirely of people who work on 1Password and help customers directly each and every day.

I love indies who make it work, without outside help. That is what we’re doing with our publishing business, and it’s not easy.

Continue reading →


Hyper Key with Karabiner Elements →

June 16, 2017 · 12:21

A Hyper Key simulates the pressing of four modifier keys at the same time — Shift + Control + Option/Alt + Command. Brett Terpstra explained this back in 2012:

I’ve had my Caps Lock key remapped to an escape key for some time now. I’ve become quite used to it — to the point where using other people’s keyboards is inconvenient. Given that I’ve already ruined my muscle memory, I figured I’d take it a step further. The end result is that hitting my Caps Lock key once still gives me “Escape,” but holding it triggers a “Hyper” modifier key (simultaneous Control, Shift, Option and Command). I can map the Hyper key using any of an assortment of utilities to do all kinds of fun things.

Due to changes in macOS Sierra and Karabiner being rewritten as Karabiner Elements, we lost the Hyper Key, until the latest update:

Yesterday I posted excitedly about full Hyper key functionality being available in macOS 10.12+. I included a snippet of a config file that has apparently led to some confusion, so I’m elaborating here on the full configuration.

My current MacBook Pro config file, after adding Brett’s suggested changes, looks like this:

Everything works perfectly, but please do remember to set Caps Lock to No Action in Sierra’s System Preferences → Keyboard → Modifier Keys.

Thanks Brett!


2017 Apple Design Award Winners

June 13, 2017 · 12:25

Apple announced its 2017 Design Award winners a few days ago and I was quite surprised — I try to keep up with the best apps and games, but I was completely unaware about some of them. Oh well — time to go spend some money.

Blackbox – iPhone – $0.00
Splitter Critters – iOS – $2.99
Mushroom 11 – iOS – $4.99
Old Man’s Journey – iOS – $4.99
Severed – iOS – $2.99
Lake – iOS – $0.00
Bear – iOS – $0.00
Bear – Mac – $0.00
Kitchen Stories – iOS – $0.00
Things 3 – iPhone – $9.99
Things 3 – iPad – $19.99
Things 3 – Mac – $49.99
Elk – iOS – $0.00
Enlight – iOS – $3.99
AirMail 3 – iOS – $4.99
AirMail 3 – Mac – $9.99


Evergreen — RSS and JSON Feed Reader for Mac →

June 6, 2017 · 15:47

Brent Simmons:

Evergreen is an open source, productivity-style feed reader for Macs.

It’s at a very early stage — we use it, but we don’t expect other people to use it yet.

Not for me unfortunately, since I do almost all of my RSS reading on my iPad, but I’m so interested to see the release build. Oh, and Evergreen will be free!


Things 3 for iPhone, iPad, and Mac — Quick First Thoughts

May 21, 2017 · 21:39

Cultured Code has finally released Things 3 for iOS and macOS — the next edition, rewritten from the ground up, of one of the most popular GTD systems for iPhone, iPad and Mac. I have been using it for the past day or so, hence I cannot make any solid statements at this point in time, but I was a long-time Things 1.0 user, right up until my tasks overwhelmed me and it was easier to delete the app than to actually complete everything that I had jotted down in it. I’m hoping that this time I’ll make it work — Cultured Code really seems to have the UI down pat and while not perfect, it fits my needs. I do have a few niggles that I will address in the future, but nothing truly major. Having said that, Things 3 is not cheap, but they do have a launch sale going currently — each app is 20% cheaper and there are a few days left to pull the trigger. I can’t say that I’m a fan of their pricing methods (I would prefer a single, universal iOS app, even if it cost more), but if you need a well thought out GTD system for a single user, give Things a try (there’s a trial of the Mac version of the app).

Things 3 – iPhone – $7.99 (20% launch sale) →
Things 3 – iPad – $15.99 (20% launch sale) →
Things 3 – Mac – $39.99 (20% launch sale) →


Moom Removed from Sale Due to Patent Violation →

May 13, 2017 · 13:37

Rob Griffiths and Peter Maurer:

Tonight we received notice that Moom is in violation of US patent number 8434019, Apparatus and method for positioning windows on a display. Yes, someone has patented positioning windows on a screen via a grid. Given we’ve been notified of a patent violation, we have no choice but to remove Moom from sale, effective immediately.

Sometime patents make sense. Most of the time however, they don’t. This is as absurd as you can imagine anything can be.