Text editor and outliner, all with Markdown
It's not as if you are stuck for applications to write in: whether you go for Microsoft Word or TextEdit, there are just about 40 different word processors for every man, woman and child on the planet. It's just that not many work in Markdown, which is a form of writing, a format, and a syntax that works well for the web. SmartDown is one of those, and it works very well.
Power file sorting tool that should be on every Mac
You don't hear enough about Hazel from Noodlesoft. Its simplest description is that it automatically does things for you to do with files and folders, it moves and renames and sorts them. Unfortunately one reason you don't hear enough about it is that once you've set it up, you never have to think about it again. It just keeps right on doing its stuff. That's admirable and it's also a shame for Noodlesoft which should be lauded more. It's also a shame for you because you genuinely forget that it's there when you could be using it for more and more.
In push to move forward, beloved bits and pieces sometimes fall to the wayside
Stop us if you've heard this one: Apple takes one of its key software applications, radically changes it, losing important features along the way. Existing users say Apple has dumbed down an app that was perfect, while new users say this is fantastic, they can finally understand the application. Flash forward a few months, and Apple has stealthily added back some or all of the features. We've seen this with iMovie and Final Cut Pro, we saw it with Pages, we are seeing it now with iPhoto turning into Photos. It is a well-worn path by Apple, and if we're not fans of the way they go about it, we are often fans of how these new applications turn out ... eventually.
New iMac problem, jpg editing on iPod Touch, more
Today in the MacNN forums, Forum Regular "Harvey" explained some troubling behavior with their 8-month old iMac and wonders if anyone else has experienced anything else like this on Yosemite. Also today one Mac Elite was trying to figure out how to edit jpg files on his new iPod Touch, and fellow forum-members began suggesting apps to use.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 24, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we search online and offline retailers for discounts, offers, and sales on an array of hardware and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today, we cover the still-active deals from throughout the week, while the new deals list includes a sub-$300 960GB SSD, the Pure Jongo T2 wireless speaker, and the Garmin Vivofit fitness band.
Deliveries makes us as happy as a new phone book makes Steve Martin
We've said it before in other venues, but it's worth repeating: when you become an adult, you get really excited over the strangest things. You know that part in the 1979 film The Jerk when Steve Martin's character jumps up and down yelling, "the new phone book is here! The new phone book is here!"? That was us when we tried out Deliveries: a package tracker by Junecloud. We tested Deliveries on an iPhone 5 and an iPad Mini 2, but there's also a Mac app, and everything syncs through iCloud.
Software development kit announcement includes round watch face imagery
The next smartwatch from Samsung is likely to have a round face, if a teaser image in a press release is to be believed. A release inviting developers to sign up for early access to a software development kit (SDK) for the manufacturer's "Next generation of the Gear device" has a supplementary image accompanying it, depicting a variety of round faces, strongly suggesting the watch will have one as well.
Engineering chief invented modern versions of iMovie, Final Cut Pro, iPhoto
As if on cue, Apple on Thursday announced a bug-fix update to its consumer video-editing program, iMovie, on the same day that the head of Apple's photo and video software teams, Randy Ubillos, announced his retirement. Ubillos, who has been with Apple for the past 20 years, has been the key engineer behind the modern versions of iMovie, Final Cut Pro, iPhoto, and Aperture -- and before joining Apple, was one of the team that created the Premiere video editing suite for Adobe.
Project management now on your iPhone
OmniOutliner is for everybody, OmniFocus is for most people, but OmniPlan is is for comparatively few. It and the graphics app OmniGraffle can therefore seem the least important of the four Omni applications that have now been brought to the iPhone but if you do use OmniPlan, this is big news. If you don't but you are a project manager, it's big enough that you should take a hard look at OmniPlan.
New filters style, enhance video like filters for photographs
For more than 70 years, Tiffen has been a leading manufacturer of professional filters for photography and film. Generally, their premium glass filters are the first thing that comes to mind for anyone who hears the name "Tiffen." These filters would need to be applied at the time the photos or videos were being shot, but now in the digital age they can be applied in the post-production world as well with Tiffen's Dfx filter packs. Earlier this year, an update to version 4.0 was released, and we got our hands on a set to see what changes have been made.
Apple plans store in Cologne, Germany, hangs mural for new Miami store
Apple appears to be constructing a second, but thus far unannounced, Apple Store in Cologne, Germany, report enthusiast sites Macerkopf and Apfelpage. Photos taken from a building opposite the proposed site on Schildergasse appear to show the company's trademark long wooden tables and some remaining renovation work for the forthcoming glass staircase. The store would not be expected to open until this fall.
From raw audio file to 'ready-for-air' podcast file, plus hosting
Over the next couple of weeks, our Wednesday Pointers column will continue to be devoted to writing about how to create a podcast. In previous segments, we've talked about software and hardware one uses to record the audio that is the core of every podcast, either for live group conversations, VOIP-based group audio calls, or even if you're just recording yourself. We've discussed the different types of podcasts, and how to record the content suitable for each (basically, audio-only or enhanced with images, or full-on video). This time, we offer some editing tips, how to add in music/sound effects and artwork, and then lead into hosting and publishing your work.
Classic RPG style reimagined for the modern age
Pillars of Eternity is an ode to classic Infinity Engine role-playing games (RPGs) that would likely not have been possible without the support of more than 70,000 backers on Kickstarter. The game, originally listed in 2012 under the name "Project X" and then "Project Eternity" on Kickstarter, launched with a goal of $1.1 million. Only five days after starting the campaign, Obsidian had already surpassed its initial goal by reaching the $1.6 million dollar mark, and announcing the game would be coming to OS X. When all was said and done, Pillars of Eternity managed to raise a total of $3,986,929, making it the most highly-funded video game on Kickstarter at the time. Now, two years later, Pillars of Eternity is here, meaning its time to see if Obsidian was able to live up to all of the hype and expectations that come with a highly-crowdfunded project.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 22, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers for discounts, offers, and sales for you, the discerning reader. A recap of still-active deals from earlier in the week follows the new batch, including a Core i7 notebook from HP, DJ headphones from Technics, and a pile of SSDs
Compulsive newsreading app became an obsession
The entire point of the Living With articles on MacNN.com is to examine what software and hardware are like after that initial first glow. To show how products have borne up under pressure or have crumbled under the stress. Invariably and unsurprisingly, this long-term testing brings out problems that are just not apparent until you are months into it. Except now. There is one single issue with my use of Reeder that I might change if I could go back in time and only one single feature of RSS newsreading in general that claws at me.
Retina 12-inch MacBook can hang during first setup, workaround posted
A new tech note from Apple details a flaw that can occur during the initial setup of the new 12-inch Retina MacBook that causes the process to stop temporarily -- sometimes for a prolonged period -- before finishing. According to the new tech note, Apple recommends that if users experience the issue they can restart the initial setup process by restarting, and can opt to disconnect from the Internet in order to allow the setup to proceed, and then connect to the Internet afterwards. The problem appears to center around Apple ID setup or iCloud account creation.
New tool automatically spots potentially abusive tweets, limits reach
Twitter is making more changes to the way it deals with online harassment, including limiting how many people can see the messages of an abusive user. The microblogging and messaging service has also altered its policies relating to what is prohibited and how it deals with users posting policy-violating content, with a new tool able to help its staff more effectively monitor abusive tweets.
Developers can sign up for single Sport model, shipping guaranteed by April 28
A new email being sent to developers from Apple is offering them the opportunity to buy a specific, single Apple Watch model -- and, importantly, guarantees shipping by April 28. The company is trying to ensure that developers either actively working on Apple Watch applications or are planning to develop apps for that platform have a test model they can use to confirm and troubleshoot their work. Apple is offering a single variation in the pitch to developers: a Sport model (42mm) with the aluminum casing and a blue sport band.
the new MacBook, disk rattling and more
With the new MacBook arriving in stores and in peoples homes, MacNN forum goers have been giving their first impressions of this latest addition to the Mac family in the thread titled "MacBook Returns". Late last week one Fresh-Faced recruit was looking for some help figuring out the cause of rattling noise they hear in their startup disk when they boot up.
MacNN and Electronista Deals for April 21, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, that time of the day when we search online retailers for discounts, offers, and sales on hardware, software, and gadgets for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Yesterday's still-active deals are joined by a Toshiba notebook, a bundle for the PlayStation Vita, and a $350 3D Printer
Apple game roundup for April 21, 2015
On Tuesdays and Fridays, MacNN takes a few minutes to round up important goings-on in the Mac and iOS gaming world. Today, we're looking at our DiRT 3: Complete giveaway, a Carcassonne sale and forthcoming OS X version, Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm open beta and release, and Kerbal Space Program exiting Steam's early access program.
Superb tool for recording anything on your Mac's screen
Seriously, how often are you ever going to need to record a video of what's on the screen of your Mac? Unless you are the sort who routinely demonstrates things, you know it's not a very big number of times -- but we're going to tell you that it is precisely the same number of times that you should be using ScreenFlow 5.01.
Supported device list pruned as part of YouTube Data API changes
Google is preparing to cut support for its YouTube apps on a number of aging devices. An announcement on the YouTube support pages notes that select devices manufactured before or during 2012 will lose support for the video app, with the list including smart TVs and Blu-ray players, older Google TV devices, earlier models of the Apple TV, and some iOS devices.
OnePlus makes One smartphone available to buy without invitations
The OnePlus One is now available to buy without an invitation, the manufacturer has revealed. Plagued by restricted invitation-only sales since its launch one year ago, and only recently selling freely in weekly 24-hour sales, OnePlus has lifted the restriction entirely, allowing users to order the smartphone whenever they want. The company won't be shutting out invitations completely, as the upcoming OnePlus 2 will also initially sell via invitations.
Upcoming Android Wear update lets smartwatches be used away from smartphones
The next update to Android Wear will extend the capabilities of wearable devices using the operating system, making them more useful as standalone devices. Just as previously rumored, the update will allow smartwatches with Wi-Fi connectivity to work over a local wireless network connection when outside of Bluetooth range, but it will require the user's smartphone to have some form of Internet connection in order to remotely access apps and notifications.
TechTool Pro 8 diagnostic utility can test more than 100 electrical, temperature sensors
Micromat has launched the eighth version of its Mac troubleshooting utility, adding more functionality to the software. TechTool Pro 8 builds upon the previous version's ability to test core components of the Mac's motherboard, by increasing the array of testable components to include more than 100 electrical and temperature sensors on some Mac systems.
So, anyway, why haven't you bought it yet?
BusyMac, the makers of BusyContacts, have been steadily adding to this address book app with the kind of attention you get when you've gone from a beta to a shipping product and now have customers all over the world stress-testing it every day. There have been many fixes to bugs we hadn't ever encountered ourselves and there have been improvements to features that we did spot and do like. However, regard this as less of a Hands On 2 review, more a nudge that we think you should get this app.
Your Mac and iOS devices come with a great dictionary
Some people collect dictionaries, some have never bought one in their lives -- but we all have them at our fingertips right now. If you have a Mac, an iPhone or an iPad, you've got a dictionary, and it is a good one. It's good enough to replace most concise dictionaries you can buy, and it's easier to look up than a book. We're not saying it's arduous looking things up a in book, but the fact that you have to turn away from what you're reading is reason enough that many of us pile on with a soon-forgotten vow that we'll look it up later. Here's an easy way to look up the definition of a word right there on your Mac -- and then if that isn't enough, we've an even easier way to do it at your fingertips.
Smart document scanning app comes to iOS
Didn't we just do this one? At first glance, if you compare the new Microsoft Office Lens to Evernote Scannable, you might conclude that one is red and one is a sort of cyan blue. Otherwise, they do the same job of scanning documents very quickly, they do the same job of processing them, and they do a very similar job of passing that data on to other applications. In the case of Office Lens, that is chiefly anything beginning with Microsoft, and with Scannable, that is chiefly Evernote.
Gaming news summary for April 19, 2015
The Game Replay is a twice-weekly look by MacNN and Electronista on the wider gaming landscape, highlighting some of the more notable stories from the last few days. Today's list includes improvements to security on Steam, "Timewalking" in World of Warcraft, and the small matter of a new Star Wars game.
Former iOS chief acts as advisor to Snapchat, helps fund Broadway play
Following more than a year of silence, former iOS software chief Scott Forstall has re-emerged into the public eye in one intentional way, and one unintentional way. Leaked emails from the Sony Pictures data breach note that Snapchat paid Forstall in stock for services as a "special company advisor," while Forstall himself debuted his Twitter account by announcing his role as a co-producer of an upcoming Broadway musical Fun Home, based on an autobiographical graphic novel by noted cartoonist Alison Bechdel.
Extend Apple's Spotlight features with this free utility
Those of us who have used Apple's built-in local search tool Spotlight through its early years to now often find they've outgrown it, and are now life-support-dependent upon Alfred 2. Yes, there was some notable improvement in Yosemite, but it was too little, too late. Now Flashlight could bring us back. It's a free application that extends Spotlight's searching facilities, and to give you quick access to different corners of your Mac. From the keyboard, you can search the web, start a phone call, email someone a file, or shut down your Mac.
Security feature in Wink Hub software causes downtime
Owners of the Wink Hub smart home device have endured a major service outage yesterday, following a software update. The outage, which lasted from 12:40pm eastern until 11pm, prevented the hubs from being able to perform general smart home functions, and though many hubs were able to recover from the incident, a number are having to be returned to the manufacturer and replaced.
Curses. It's on the iPhone now. How will we get any work done?
Bad news for fellow addicts of the iPad game Sue Doku: it's been updated, and is now a universal app. You do hear that term a lot, and it often isn't explained, so let us clear that up now: a universal app means Sue Doku is now available on both your iPad and iPhone. Translation: distraction. It's just a sudoku app, we can stop playing any time, but it is a particularly well done one on the iPad, and enough so that we sidled back to our desk to quietly pick up our phones and download it immediately.
OSX compatibility, iPhone screen replacements and more
This week in the MacNN Forums, Moderator "andi*pandi&" recently scored a white MacBook and discovered they are able to upgrade the OS for free, but wonders if 10.10 would "run like a dead horse" on that machine, or if it would be alright. Yesterday one Dedicated MacNNer announced the breaking of his wife's iPhone 4 screen, and has a few questions about buying a replacement.
Scribe adds Penguin Random House Audio; 45,000 audio books available
Subscription reading service Scribd announced that it is expanding its audiobook offering to include more than 9,000 audiobooks from Penguin Random House Audio, increasing Scribd's audiobook selection to more than 45,000 titles. New titles include fiction and non-fiction by internationally renowned authors such as Alice Munro, Lee Child, Harlan Coben, Anne Rice, Sue Grafton, Deepak Chopra, Danielle Steele and more. The monthly subscription fee remains at $9 per month, with a free one month trial available.
MacNN and Electronista daily deals for April 17, 2015
Hello and welcome to Daily Deals, where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers to find discounts, offers, and sales for you, our discerning readers. A recap of still-active deals from the rest of the week follows the new deals batch, which includes an inexpensive hybrid hard drive/SSD for the desktop, a great deal on the 850 evo SSD, and a good price on a smart TV.
Veteran Apple PR spokesman named as replacement for retired Katie Cotton
Nearly a year after former Apple PR chief Katie Cotton retired from the post, Apple has finally named her successor: her lieutenant and interim chief, Steve Dowling. For the past 12 years, Dowling has been one of the lead spokespeople for the company, and was in charge of the iPhone maker's corporate PR team. Having filled in for Cotton since October, he will formally take the reins of the company's worldwide communications strategy. Prior to joining Apple, Dowling was a CNBC broadcaster covering tech news. The company also recently hired well-known MacWorld columnist Chris Breen for an unnamed promotional role.
New beta comes on heels of 10.10.3 release, no change log yet available
Just a week after the official release of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 and days after the first beta of iOS 8.4, Apple has posted the first 10.10.4 beta for developers and testers, though it is has not been (and is not likely to be) made available to public beta testers until future builds are released. The sparse announcement of the new beta says only that the update focuses on "stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac," which suggests it will build on the improvements made in 10.10.3.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 16, 2015
Hello and welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we find great offers, discounts, sales, and deals for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today's recap of still-active deals from earlier this week comes alongside new items including the Belkin WeMo Wi-Fi enabled light switch, an all-in-one laser printer from Dell, and the Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band.
Skype, Microsoft Office, other apps will be included in future Cyanogen releases
Users of CyanogenMod will soon find more Microsoft apps on their devices. Cyanogen and Microsoft have announced a strategic partnership between the two companies, which will see the Android ROM producer adding Microsoft-created apps to Cyanogen OS, including Bing services, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, Microsoft Office, and Skype.
Live streaming app heads to Android before Twitter-owned competitor
Meerkat, the live-streaming mobile app, has beaten the Twitter-owned Periscope to Android, albeit in beta. While both apps are similar and available on iOS devices, Meerkat is the first of the competing services to make the transition to Android, with the startup asking for external beta testers to sign up and try out the app on the mobile platform.
It has a very particular set of skills and it will find you
You've got to really need to find something before you'll bother going away from Google, and you've really, really got to need to find it before you'll spend money on a search utility. Yet don't see this as a reason why DevonAgent Pro must be a niche product, or see it as telling that this app satisfies those most demanding searches and searchers. It's a $50 utility for your Mac that does just do searches, but it does them through an intelligent and supremely customizable set of tools.
Google adds option to find Android smartphone to search results
Owners of Android devices have a simple way of finding their misplaced smartphone, by performing a Google search. Similar to Android Device Manager's tool for finding a lost device, a search for the phrase "Find My Phone" with the owner logged in to their Google account will load up a card showing the device's location on a map, with the added option of setting the phone to ring at its loudest setting to help with finding it nearby.
Capturing the magic and bringing it all together for your audio or video podcast
This should be considered part 2.5 of a short series of Pointers that concern themselves with the finer points of podcasting (we sort-of started with a Pointers about voice recording on the Mac generally, then went into the first requirements specifically for a podcast). This week, the Wednesday Pointers will focus on defining your podcast, including which of three media types you want to go for; recording tips for local, field, and remote discussions; and then some focus on editing.
Gaming news summary for April 15, 2015
The Weekly Game Replay is no more, because there will be more posts than just once a week, due to popular demand. Rebranded the Game Replay and published every Sunday and Wednesday, the staff of MacNN and Electronista provide a look at the wider gaming landscape. Today's list of noteworthy gaming items include the launch of Grand Theft Auto on PC, the return of Guitar Hero, and one gamer's attempt to recreate the ill-fated OnLive using Amazon Web Services.
Audio Description tracks added to Netflix-produced shows
Netflix is making some of its content more accessible to the visually impaired, by adding an alternate "Audio Description" track to shows. Starting with the recently-released Daredevil today and reaching other Netflix-produced shows in the coming weeks, the extra option provides a narration track that describes scenes and important character attributes, such as costumes, facial expressions, and actions.
Space-exploration quest marred by mobile roots, frustration factor
Few would have expected -- when the iPhone was released almost eight years ago -- that our phones would become a major platform for gaming, but they did. One result of this phenomenon has been the odd movement of some games from mobile-first to the desktop. One of the most recent games to make this backwards leap is Out There from French developer Mi-Clos Studio.
Safari troubles, Mighty Mouse programming and more
This week in the MacNN forums, members discuss problems they have been having recently with the copy bounding box in Safari on the iPhone as it seems to be broken at the moment. One Mac Elite who is new to OS X and the Mighty Mouse is wondering how to program the Mighty Mouse to work different.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 14, 2015
Hello and welcome to Daily Deals, where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers to find discounts, offers, and sales for you, our discerning readers. A recap of still-active deals from Monday follows the new deals batch, which includes $100 off the Alienware Alpha, a triple-pack of Seagate storage drives, and a heavily-discounted Lytro camera.