Twitterrific 5.9

Twitterrific is one of the best Twitter apps for iOS, but it has always been missing the ability to preview and open a variety of media types. Today, with version 5.9, Twitterrific can now:

  • Upload multiple images
  • View multiple images
  • View Twitter GIFs
  • Play Instagram, Vine, etc. videos directly in the app

Plus, the app can now preview and open images from many different services like Instagram.

Today’s update puts Twitterrific back at the front of the line. If you have never used the app, I strongly encourage you to download it and give it a shot. Also check out MacStories for a full run-down of what’s new.

You can download the app from the App Store for free.

The Verge demoes the HoloLens ⇒

If you want to learn more about the HoloLens, check out this article from The Verge about the demo time they got with the device. They have some other good coverage of the HoloLens as well.

The thing that strikes me as most important about the HoloLens is that it isn’t virtual reality. It’s just virtual items being projected onto actual reality.

The Microsoft HoloLens

Microsoft announced a bunch of stuff today. One of those things is called the HoloLens.

The HoloLens is a self-contained holographic computer inside of a visor. The user wears the visor, and the HoloLens can show real time holographs that can interact with the environment. For example, it could show a grocery list on your refrigerator, or perhaps a TV on the wall across from your couch.

This is so cool.

Follow that link and watch the video. I understand that it doesn’t show actual footage from the real product, but Microsoft did show off a prototype today and the results look promising. The HoloLens knows where you’re looking, which means you can interact with the holograms in 3D.

One example of this was a real-world game of Minecraft. The user can place bricks with his or her fingers. Microsoft plans to open this up for developers which means that practically anything is possible.

The video shows some potentially life changing examples. One of them involves video chatting with someone and allowing them to draw diagrams that show up in your 3D environment. Imagine the potential of being able to interact with someone else’s perception of reality while being miles away. That has huge implications for a number of fields like education and science.

The HoloLens is an example of technology that makes me very excited for the future.

First trailer for Marvel’s Ant-Man

Shown for the first time during last night’s premier of Agent Carter (which was quite good), the Ant-Man trailer shows off some of Ant-Man’s serious shrinking skills.

I am very excited for the humor that Paul Rudd will bring to this role. You can already see it come through in this trailer. However, you also see the how relatable Rudd is, which is important for a thief-turned-hero.

Details from Panic’s 2014 Report

Panic make some of the best software for iOS and OS X. Just this year, they released Transmit for iOS, which is one of the most useful iOS apps ever.

Having been in business for so long, Panic is in a good position to analyze the market for both the iOS and Mac App Stores. They just published a report on 2014 that contains a lot of great information. Firstly, I'm very happy to see that Panic saw a lot of success in 2014. Their releases last year were stellar, and I'm glad to know that there is still plenty of demand for apps like Transmit, Prompt, and Coda.

Last year, Panic decided to pull Coda from the Mac App Store. They had this to say about the decision:

But when we finally did it, I felt an incredible, almost indescribable sense of relief — mostly because as we began to wrap up bug fix releases, we were able to immediately post them to our customers within minutes of qualifying them. My god. That’s how it should be. There’s just no other way to put it — that’s how you treat your customers well, by reacting quickly and having total control over your destiny.

Having control over features and release schedules is very important for developers and users. I almost always choose to download an app directly from the developer when given the choice between direct download and App Store. I prefer being able to receive updates immediately, and I don't have to worry about sandboxing ruining features.

So how did the transition go?

The results were interesting. We sold a couple hundred fewer units of Coda post-App Store removal, but revenue from it went up by about 44%.

I'll let you read the explanation, but the point here is that Mac apps can survive outside of the App Store. Coda is a much loved app used by power-users and professionals, so users are going to seek it out no matter where it is.

The App Store is great for discovery, but I don't think that's as important on the Mac. I hardly ever go browse the Mac App Store looking for new apps, but I do on the iPhone and iPad. This makes the Mac App Store less important for developers. It does provide convenience for distributing and downloading apps, but good apps can survive outside of the App Store just fine. That's great for developers, who make a living building apps that can't exist in the App Store because of Apple's policies.

The other thing that caught my eye in Panic's report is the shortage of revenue from their iOS apps. 51% of sales come from iOS apps, but only 17% of total revenue is generated from the sales of those app for a given month.

Those numbers are really scary. Panic's iOS apps are especially impressive because they bring desktop-level functionality to iPhones and iPads, but the revenue Panic is making from those apps is troubling. How can they continue to invest time in the development of word-class apps when they pull in such little amounts of revenue compared to their desktop counterparts?

And what is the solution? Raising prices is one option, and it's one that I would like to see. But Panic has to weigh that choice with the risk of lowering sales.

I really hope that Panic is able to increase their revenue on iOS, because we need more apps like Transmit and Prompt in order to make working on iOS devices as powerful as working on a Mac. I would hate to see Panic (or any other developer) stop developing for iOS because consumers aren't willing to pay fair prices for an app just because the iOS App Store has conditioned people to expect unrealistically low prices.

The Fermi Paradox ⇒

The though of extraterrestrial life other than our own is something that really excites me. It’s probably why I’m such a nerd for space stuff. Surely, somewhere out there, there is another intelligent civilization. But why haven’t we found evidence of them? The Fermi Paradox describes this problem.

Continuing to speculate, if 1% of intelligent life survives long enough to become a potentially galaxy-colonizing Type III Civilization, our calculations above suggest that there should be at least 1,000 Type III Civilizations in our galaxy alone—and given the power of such a civilization, their presence would likely be pretty noticeable. And yet, we see nothing, hear nothing, and we’re visited by no one.

So where is everybody?

Welcome to the Fermi Paradox.

This article does an excellent job at describing the possible explanations for our lonely existence in space. The theories are very interesting, and some are even frightening.

28 Months on Mars ⇒

The New York Times have put together this very cool piece that documents the progress of NASA’s Curiosity rover as it explores Mars. There are some stunning photos here, as well as a visualization of the path Curiosity has traveled since it landed.

The rover has spent 28 months on Mars already, and it has a lot longer to go as it explores Mount Sharp.

Typed for Mac

Today, Realmac is releasing their new Markdown writing app for the Mac. Typed is available now from Realmac’s website.

I was fortunate enough to get an early look at Typed, and I was very impressed. There are tons of writing apps for Mac, and Typed is not revolutionary. But, it does have some very nice features that make it worth having.

First is zen mode. This option takes the app fullscreen and plays one of six relaxing sounds. You can choose which "soundtrack" you would like to listen to from the settings, or cycle through them from the Zen menu. This feature doesn’t seem like much, but it makes for a very pleasant, simple writing experience.

One thing I like about Typed is that the window takes advantage of Yosemite’s translucency, but this can also be turned off if you prefer your windows more opaque.

The app has a nice little bar on the left side of the window that appears when you hover over it. It lets you customize the appearance (including 3 themes), preview your writing, and also share your writing. The app can export as HTML and RTF, and it also takes advantage of Yosemite’s sharing extensions.

Typed for Mac

One thing you will notice about Typed is that hovering over and clicking interface elements is accompanied by very nice sound effects. Realmac also makes Clear, so this comes as no surprise. Another detail taken from Clear is an inspirational quote that is shown on an empty document. I love little touches like that.

I encourage you to give Typed a try. The guys at Realmac put a lot of time and thought into make this app right, and that shows. Typed isn’t revolutionary, but it is exceptional.

A redesign of United States currency ⇒

Designer Travis Purrington has created a beautiful proposal for the redesign of the paper currency in the United States.

USD Redesign

I absolutely love these designs. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to choose it would probably be the $50 note.

I wonder what it would take to change the design of our currency? There have been minor revisions over the years to certain bills, but never a complete redesign of all the bills.

The Book of Life

Tonight I saw the new animated film from Guillermo del Toro, The Book of Life. It’s a love story based in Mexico that features a colorful underworld where the dead go to party in the afterlife.

The film’s animation was colorful, vibrant, and fun. All of the characters are wooden figures, and the textures and shapes are very beautiful. I loved the film because the leading lady is strong, smart, and independent. Plus, the movie features a ton of popular songs (both new and old) that are performed by the eccentric characters.

The Book of Life has a lot of charm, and is a lot of fun for all ages. I recommend it.

John Gruber’s talk at XOXO 2014 ⇒

John Gruber gave an excellent talk at this year’s XOXO conference. He discusses writing online, making a living out of it, and also discusses how it is never too late to start.

One thing that he mentioned was how he expected the internet to be filled with tons of indie writers in every category of interest by now. Unfortunately, that’s not the way that it is today. Many people with a story to tell feel like there is no point in sharing it, or that it is too late to matter. That is not the case. The internet needs more people — no, individuals — writing about stuff they care about.

Ghostbusters 3

Fantastic news. Today it was confirmed that Paul Feig will be directing the Ghostbusters reboot. Even better, he will be writing it with the help of Katie Dippold. Even more better, the busters will be comprised of a team of female, comedic actors.

Ghostbusters holds a special place in my heart, so I am very excited about this. Paul Feig directed Bridesmaids, which was a hilarious movie. I have a lot of faith that the next Ghostbusters installment will be fantastic.

Emoji++ ⇒

If you have ever been frustrated with the navigation or organization of Emojis on the default iOS emoji keyboard, then David Smith has a great solution.

His new app, Emoji++ lets you browse Emoji’s quickly. Also, they are actually organized instead of being grouped into random categories. I am now using Emoji++ instead of the default emoji keyboard. Pick it up on the app store for only 99 cents.

Living in the Future

The world is a place filled with impatience. The constant push for the biggest, boldest, best whatever happens every day. Human beings are a curious species, and we are also a desirous one. We want more and more, because more often means better.

On the internet, it can be hard to step back from this. After all, I like better batteries, bigger screens, and faster computers as much as the next guy. Innovation is not a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s a really great thing. I wouldn’t be the person that I am today if it weren’t for Apple and their neat toys. I look forward to every fall when they show us newer, neater toys. But everyday I think to myself more and more that, finally, it’s enough.

Think about what we are capable of with the little squares on our pockets. We can instantly communicate with anyone around the world. We can access any information we would like. At this point, it’s just about coming up with better ways to accomplish those tasks.

Last week, Dropbox updated their $100/year pro plan from 100GB of storage to 1TB. One Terabyte! 1,000 Gigabytes! Wow. Think about that for a second. I can now store all of my files in a place where they are available at any place and time. I can store more online for $100/year than my MacBook Air (128GB), iPhone (32GB), and iPad (32GB) can store all together. That blows my mind, and it should blow yours as well.

We live in the future. And boy, is it great. The best thing is that it gets even better every day. However, for today, I am satisfied. We should all be perfectly content with the amazing technology available to us. I mean, if the iPhone (or even any other smartphone) doesn’t make you smile when you think about what it does, then you should rethink your definition of awesome. We are so lucky to live in this day and age, where it’s possible to do so much so easily.

Even though I can be impatient about new and improved technology, I can honestly say that I am 100% content with my tools. I don’t feel the need for any device or app that I don’t already have or could get.

For a nerd, this is a big deal. Having every bit of your personal technology figured out and working exactly how you want it to is a great place to be in. And I am in the place because I live in the future.

No Bad Cameras

Chris Gampat, writing at The Phoblographer:

No one is making a bad camera or a bad lens or a bad light or a bad camera bag or a bad sensor. For years (yes, years) the sensors have been incredible. Too much noise at a high ISO level? Oh well, bring it into Adobe Lightroom and no one will bitch about it unless they like looking at an image at 100% all the time. But those people never go on to become better photographers and only worry about looking at lab tests all day and night. Now, more than any other time in history, it is possible for you to create a better image.

Photography is quickly becoming one of my favorite hobbies. When I bought my first mirrorless camera I set out to learn as much as I could about the technical aspects of photography. Knowledge of things like aperature, shutter speed, and ISO were what I believed made good photographers great. Boy, was I mistaken.

Nowadays, I struggle not with the gear, but with the deeper part of photography. How do I capture emotion? How do I tell a story with a single image? There are no online resources that teach these things.

I love Chris’ piece because he’s right—it doesn’t matter what gear you use. A good photographer can capture something significant with just about any camera.

I don’t think I’m there yet. But every time I take a photo I try to stop and ask myself 1) what it is that I am trying to capture and 2) why I want to capture it. By doing this, I can better understand what separates the good photos from the bad.

The Great Traveling Art Exhibition

You know how when you were a kid and you came across a dirty truck in a parking lot, you had to draw in it with your finger?

Well, artist Ben Long has been doing just that for years. The only difference is that his drawing are a bit more complex than the ones you made as a kid. I love the idea of a traveling exhibit of art that could last for a few hours, or several weeks. By using trucks, Ben is able to bring the art to the people. Brilliant.

Overcast

Marco Arment has just released his new podcast app for iPhone and the web, Overcast. I have only used Overcast for a little bit, but it is already my favorite podcast app. Marco has a talent for making really great apps and services, and Overcast is a good example of that. For specifics, be sure to check out Marco’s article. Federico Viticci also has a review and interview with Marco about the app.

As far as my review goes, I think that this is my favorite part of the app:

Overcast

Marco is one classy dude.

LaunchBar 6

Yesterday, Objective Development released version 6.0 of LaunchBar. For those who don’t know, LaunchBar is a fantastic application for the Mac that lets you launch apps and actions using your keyboard.

I have been testing LaunchBar 6 for several months and I really love it. I was previously an Alfred user, but while testing LaunchBar 6 I found that I enjoy it a lot more. I think that LaunchBar comes set up out of the box for more advanced features, and I love its instant send feature.

Every Mac user can make use an app like LaunchBar of Alfred. I highly encourage you to download LaunchBar 6 and give it a try. Also, be sure to read Shawn Blanc’s excellent review of the app and history of application launchers.