Federico Viticci

7285 posts on MacStories since April 2009

Federico is the founder and editor-in-chief of MacStories, where he writes about Apple with a focus on apps, developers, and mobile software. He can also be found in the iBooks Store and on his two podcasts, The Prompt and Directional.

|


Marked Released On Mac App Store, Discounted, and Updated

Marked, developed by Brett Terpstra, is my must-have utility to convert MultiMarkdown to HTML on my Mac. Whenever I need to publish an article from OS X rather than my iPad (usually because I need to record and include GIFs or screencasts), I rely on Marked to handle conversion to valid HTML with a keyboard shortcut. And yet, as we've shown before, there is so much that Marked can do, such as printing to a variety of formats, keyword and readability analysis, and more.

Today, Brett released version 2.3 of Marked and made it available on the Mac App Store as well. Both versions of the app share the same features and they are both sandboxed to comply with Apple's App Store rules. However, in spite of the restrictions, Marked hasn't lost its functionality – instead, Brett managed to add new options such as full GitHub Flavored Markdown support, improved PDF export stability, a document reading progress bar (I love this), and a mini map for navigation with fast scrolling.

What I still find most impressive about Marked isn't its feature set per se, but rather how the app can be used as a simple tool for short posts or an advanced solution for writers who are working on a book or long documents. Marked is incredibly powerful and flexible and, at $9.99 on the Mac App Store as a limited time sale, I highly recommend it.

(Check out Brett's blog post and our previous coverage of Marked.)

Permalink

Unreal Engine 4.3 Adds Metal Support

From Unreal Engine's blog:

Unreal Engine 4.3 includes greatly improved mobile support, awesome new rendering features, improved Blueprint workflows, and strides toward an excellent experience on Mac and laptops. Be sure to check out the new World Composition tools, spline features, and the preview of Paper2D, our 2D toolset! Today we’re also shipping SpeedTree 7 support, our work on Metal API for iOS 8 to date, and new Oculus Rift features such as time warping.

Unreal is one of the most popular engines used by game developers today. With iOS 8 and new devices on the horizon, I can't wait to see what kind of advancements Metal will bring for mobile graphics.

Permalink


The Prompt: World’s Greatest Finale

The young men (and Stephen) of The Prompt gather one last time and discuss Overcast and IBM.

In the final episode of The Prompt, we take an in-depth look at Marco Arment's new app, Overcast, with a discussion on its feature set and business model. You can get the episode here.

I'd like to thank everyone for listening to The Prompt over the past 57 episodes. It's been a fantastic journey, and I can't wait for what's next.

Permalink



Overcast Review

When I received the first beta of Marco Arment's new app, Overcast, back in May, I didn't think I could use an iPhone-only podcast client with no iPad version and no streaming support as my daily podcast listening solution. Overcast, available today on the App Store, is launching to high expectations and hype for what Arment, best known for creating Instapaper, founding The Magazine, and co-hosting the Accidental Tech Podcast, has been working on since his reveal in September 2013.

Two months after putting Overcast on my Home screen as a vote of confidence and using it to listen to podcasts every day, I don't want to go back to any other podcast app I've tried before. In spite of lacking iPad and OS X versions and some features from popular podcast apps, the listening experience in Overcast and its approach to podcast discovery have been so thoughtfully implemented and cleverly engineered, I find it to be a superior choice for my listening habits.

Read more


Spillo Is a Versatile and Fast Pinboard Client for OS X

Developed by Damien DeVille, Spillo is a new Pinboard client released today for OS X and available on both the Mac App Store and Bananafish Software’s website. Unlike Shiori (a desktop app for Pinboard I covered before) and other minimal apps that try to facilitate the process of saving bookmarks to the service, Spillo wants to be a full client for management and discovery of links, and it’s reminiscent of powerful solutions for iOS such as Pushpin and Pinswift. I’ve been using Spillo for the past couple of weeks, and I think it has potential.

Read more


Estimote Rolls Out Power Management Features for iBeacons

Estimote, makers of wireless beacons powered by Bluetooth and compatible with Apple's iBeacon technology, today rolled out a series of power management features available in their updated iOS app and developer SDK:

Our embedded and systems engineers have worked for thousands of hours optimizing every packet in the Bluetooth stack and have devised several new schemes to extend the life of an Estimote Beacon measurably. We abstract 100% of this from developers and expose this neatly in both our mobile app and SDK for you to manage. And this is simply the first release in a series of power management features due out from us. We believe that pretty soon a beacon will be able to last forever, powering millions of interactions as consumers move about their journey through the physical world, and we want to be the first company to get there.

Emphasis mine.

The more I read about them, the more I believe beacons and contextual awareness will profoundly change the way we interact with apps, letting our devices have a better understanding of our location, intention, and interaction with our surroundings. We're already seeing this in retail, museums, stadiums, and even personal home automation. Estimote is leading the way with their iBeacon implementation, and you can check out the app here.

Permalink