On Thursday March 25, I streamed with my designer friend Joey Banks and walked him through some of the oddities of the Home app, working on scenes, grouping devices, and HomeKit automations:
Jon Fingas, writing for Endgaget about Transit for iOS releasing a new version of their Apple Watch app:
The popular public transportation tool is now a native app, of course, but it also gives you considerably more detail than just arrival times, including future arrivals and a map indicating where to go.
I’m glad to see more apps slowly returning to the Apple Watch (or adopting it for the first time). Will be trying this out over the weekend ?.
Today, as first noticed by 9to5Mac, developer Marcel Schmitz launched a brand new app called DuetCam for $2.99 that takes advantage of iOS 13’s ability to record video with both the front-facing camera and one of the back cameras at the same time.
Schmitz’ app basically lets you film what’s in front of you while also recording yourself in a smaller picture-in-picture box, creating an immersive experience where you can talk to the camera while showing what you’re looking at.
In the latest app update on iOS, Audible now lets users actually buy audiobooks inside the app using existing credits.
According to a tweet from Chris Fralic of First Round (originally sourced by Joshua Topolosky of The Outline), the “Add to Library” button in Audible will show the message “You can now use credits without leaving the app!”:
This is a big deal in the Apple mobile ecosystem. You can buy books right in the app from credits you have (used to have to go to https://t.co/jdw7IGFIAv to buy). Thx for the scooplet @joshuatopolsky and the book rec @schlaf pic.twitter.com/R2rGzfFgvB
— Chris Fralic (@chrisfralic) September 16, 2019
Yesterday, David Sparks released the Keyboard Maestro Field Guide, the seventh paid course offered through his Learn MacSparky site1. This 4-hour block of videos covers 76 different screencasts about Keyboard Maestro, the Mac automation application that provides significantly deep capabilities and makes them available to use across your Apple desktop or laptop.
As usual, David’s course is well-paced, insightful, and makes it easy to learn complex topics like Keyboard Maestro’s slightly esoteric design language.
iPad users who have been holding out hope for an update to Reeder for iOS can relax – a new version was released today with full support for all devices on all platforms and some interesting new features.
See, previously, Reeder 3 wasn’t updated for the new iPad Pro models – after 7 months without proper support in sight, many iOS power users like me sought out new RSS readers. And while apparently Reeder 3 had resolved layout issues a month ago, I had honestly already deleted it since it didn’t work on half my devices.
But that all changes today with the latest release of Reeder 4.
Available as a new purchase costing $4.99 on the App Store and $9.99 on the Mac App Store, bringing with it a refreshed design, some unique reading features, and a unified code base across iOS and Mac that will make it easier to update in the future.
I bought the app as soon as I heard about it this morning – here’s why I think my money was well-spent.
Table of contents
- Why I like Reeder
- The Many Views of Reeder
- Customization and control
- New features
- Bionic Reading
- Instapaper Tags
- Read Later
- Small changes
- Keyboard shortcuts adjustments
- Ideas for expansion
Lately, I’ve been diving deeper into Apple News – thanks to the recent addition of Apple News+ magazines, along with the recently-added “Open In Apple News” share sheet extension, it’s been my go-to source for a quick news digest, some longer reads, and now feature stories as well.
Plus, I’ve been using my old iPad Mini 2 to consume the news as a more focused and intentional usage of my devices, almost only ever using it for News and Books.
About three weeks ago I read Digital Minimalism, but then hadn’t touched the iPad Mini since (I just read News on my other devices). But when I picked up the device again to read How To Bored over this last weekend, I was met with this on the screen:
Page after page of Apple News notifications, all from sources I barely actually read and who were attempting to grab my attention every 15-30 minutes – my Apple News account was spamming me.
Available for $4.99 via the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, the app makes it as easy as possible to see what time it is where somebody else lives and arrange a meeting at the correct time across timezones and work schedules.
I’ve never found a calendar app that lets me have timezones presets visualized so easily, giving me the correct the information of what time it is across the world, and packing an impressive amount of utility into multiple small spaces.
Here’s how Calzone accomplishes all that.
With the sharing feature that was in Workflow not being available in Shortcuts1, many people are resorting to sharing screenshots to show people how their shortcuts work.
Oddly, this has had a great benefit for the fledgling community – shortcuts are very visual, and a bunch of hyperlinks links on Twitter might not have had the same effect as a good photoset2:
BRB, making Harry Potter spells into Siri Shortcuts. pic.twitter.com/ceK3bBuyEh
— Ben Markowitz (@bpmarkowitz) July 6, 2018
But longer shortcuts with more than a handful of actions can’t fit onto one screen, so users have to resort to more creative options.
My recommendation is StitchPics, a simple but very functional app to combine photos that’s free with a $1.99 in-app purchase to add more than 8 images3.
Made by a Chinese developer, the app isn’t fully translated, the logo is somewhat inexplicably an L, and on iPad it only works in portrait orientation.
That being said, I’m definitely glad I bought it. That’s because, beyond basic auto-stitching, StitchPics has a fantastic pinch-based method of combing images that’s super reliable for getting things exactly right.
Here’s a quick example:
Once it takes a guess at how to put your images together, you can slide either image up or down behind the crossover point and collapse parts you want to be hidden.
Especially with longer shortcuts where you may need to take many screenshots, it makes aligning the different actions much easier.
StitchPics is also great for getting images of complete webpages on mobile – just take screenshots as you scroll and stitch them together in the app.
A popular alternative is Tailor, but historically I’ve found it is unreliable at parsing multiple screenshots from Workflow (and the same is true for Shortcuts). The actions just look too similar across many images and it doesn’t know how to handle it.
Tailor is also free (but with a watermark removable by in-app purchase) and should work fine for simpler shortcuts. However, it is only available for iPhone.
That’s why I’ve been using StitchPics – it ain’t pretty, but it gets the job done, and a bit better, on both my devices.
Links in this post
- StitchPics for iPhone and iPad (Free on the App Store)
- Tailor for iPhone (Free on the App Store)
- Ben Markowitz on Twitter
- I don’t know if it’s temporarily removed or gone for good, but boy am I hoping for the former not the latter. ↩
- Awesome work Ben! And also wow, almost 7,000 people liked a good automation joke (even if it’s mostly for the Harry Potter). ↩
- Plus you can add your own watermarks, change it to a custom size, cut off the top or bottom, leave blank spaces, or change the color of the fonts in the app. ↩
Lately, when I’m ready to sit down and enjoy something for the evening, I’ve struggled to find the right movie to watch.
It’s way too easy to quickly pick whatever’s available on Netflix, Hulu, or HBO, but really all you’re shown is what they’ve purchased movie rights for. The TV app and iTunes on Apple TV are somewhat helpful, but you can’t go very deep into the catalog of films available when you’re just browsing.
So I’ve been trying to use Letterboxd to keep track of movies and build up a better list to pick from when it’s time to watch. The iOS app is designed for finding films, saving them for later, and logging reviews, wrapped up in a mini social network.1
Letterboxd is nice enough for a dedicated app just for movies – the features you’d want here are different from a TV-tracking app like Couchy, which is more designed for keeping up (because you don’t usually review episodes).
Thankfully, Letterboxd added automation support last year along with the release of their iPad version. They have documentation for their URL scheme available, so I took a look and put together a shortcut to help me get started tracking movies to watch.