Federico Viticci

8032 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 on his two podcasts – Connected and Virtual.

|


Apple Music on Snapchat

Adario Strange, reporting for Mashable on Apple's usage of Snapchat for Apple Music:

In a fairly unprecedented move, Apple has taken its promotional message to a competing software concern: Snapchat.

The company's brief Snapchat story takes us to Los Angeles, where Beats 1 DJ Zane Lowe (sporting an Apple Watch) goes behind the scenes of Beats 1 L.A. After a few scenes of Lowe DJing in the studio, he throws it to his colleague, DJ Julie Adenuga, to continue the music program in London.

I have Snapchat installed because of stories and how publishers are using it (see our previous articles on it), and this is pretty cool indeed. Apple Music has been very active on Twitter, and I hope this Snapchat experiment is successful because I love this kind of “behind the scenes” access.

Permalink


More on Twitter’s Project Lightning

Casey Newton has interviewed Twitter's Kevin Weil for The Verge, with a focus on Twitter's Project Lightning and their ongoing focus on rethinking the reverse chronological timeline.

Here's Weil on how Project Lightning will work initially:

One of the things we’ve talked about with Project Lightning is the idea of a temporary or an event-based follow. The idea is that as the VMAs conversation is playing out, in Project Lightning, you’re getting the best of this particular conversation. You’re seeing it curated live, so you can go and flip through it in a very immersive view of this conversation. You can also follow it, and when you follow the best tweets from that conversation or that event or that location or the game or whatever, it will be added to your home timeline as they happen. So it’s again breaking this notion of a purely reverse chronological home timeline where the tweets are only from the people you follow, and reimagining it to make it more about what’s happening now in your world that you care about.

The more I read about it, the more it seems like Project Lightning will be a bold step in reimagining the Twitter timeline for news, events, and topics. Twitter is amazing because it can keep you informed on anything that's going on, but right now it doesn't have proper tools for that. Search, trends, timeline tweet injections, and other tweaks always felt like halfhearted attempts that didn't want to risk too much. For that to change, a full-featured initiative is required, and Project Lightning is being described as a major change to the timeline concept.

I suspected this would be the case last year:

The Twitter timeline was built to be a reflection of a Following list people could build meticulously over time. But as it approches its ninth anniversary, Twitter has realized that curating a list of accounts isn’t most people’s forte, and they want to make sure that the timeline stays interesting even without investing time into finding accounts to follow. And that meant breaking the original concept of the timeline to include content and account suggestions. It meant to make the Twitter timeline a little more like Facebook.

This sounds like blasphemy to longtime Twitter users. And I completely understand: the idea of the timeline was a sacred one, especially for people who have invested hours over the years in following other people and trimming the uninteresting branches of their following lists.

And here's Weil today:

And for people like you and me, we’ve spent a lot of time curating who we follow, getting to exactly the right amount, the right set of people, the right set of content, and we follow, we unfollow, we curate. We’ve put a lot of time into it. But the next 500 million people who come to Twitter aren’t going to put the same amount of time that you and I have into making our Twitter timeline the best representation of what’s happening in our world right now. And that’s our guiding light for where the Twitter timeline goes.

With or without Jack, this is where Twitter wants to go.

Permalink

How iOS’ Switch Control Is Changing Lives

Great story by Charlie Warzel for BuzzFeed on Christopher Hills, Apple-certified Final Cut Pro editor who overcame the difficulties of using touch screens and modern software thanks to Apple's Switch Control:

Maybe most important though — at least for Hills — it’s about a feeling of liberation that’s hard for any company to measure in an earnings report or tech specs sheet. “These tools have allowed me to come out of my shell and make my own way in the world,” he wrote in an email to BuzzFeed News. “From communication and environmental control, to work and learning, and recreation and entertainment. Combined with the internet, Switch Control has allowed me to engage with the world more than ever before and to participate and contribute in ways that I never really thought would be possible.” Ultimately for Hills, it’s about a personal sense of dignity that comes from being able to share his voice and passion with the world.

Beautiful and inspiring.

Permalink

Spatial Interfaces

I believe the best software is an extension of the human brain. It lets us think naturally, and conforms to us, not the other way around. Translation of information should be the computer’s job, not ours. It’s what we built these digital slaves for. A great Spatial Interface meets our expectations of a physical model. Designed for human beings, it supports a mind, living in the dimensions of space and time. They are Interfaces that are sensible about where things lay. Like a well designed building, they’re easy to traverse through. One space flows into the other, without surprise.

Great article by Pasquale D'Silva on the role of space in software interfaces, with a special focus on some popular iPhone apps. Make sure to check out the GIFs and videos.

Permalink


Google Starts Showing Busy Times for Places in Search

Here's a clever addition to Google search results announced by the company today: you can now view busy times for places listed in search results. Google writes:

Now, you can avoid the wait and see the busiest times of the week at millions of places and businesses around the world directly from Google Search. For example, just search for “Blue Bottle Williamsburg”, tap on the title and see how busy it gets throughout the day. Enjoy your extra time!

This is already working in Safari for iOS (see screenshot above), and I'm going to use it a lot – my girlfriend and I are constantly checking out new places in Rome, and it helps to see the best times so we can avoid queues and possible parking issues around a store. I assume this uses the location shared by the Google app for iOS (which can keep track of where you go as it's always running in the background) as well as Google Maps. Very cool, and I'd like to see it inside Google Maps as well.

Permalink

IFTTT Launches Spotify Channel

This is an interesting idea by IFTTT: a Spotify channel to create automated recipes for the music service so you can connect it to other apps. Triggers include new saved tracks and tracks added to a playlist (the same are available as actions). I haven't kept my Spotify account since switching to Apple Music, but this is the kind of integration that likely won't ever come to Apple's service, and it seems like you can create some pretty cool recipes with it. Worth checking out if you're a Spotify user and are into web automation.

Permalink

VideoBlocks: Royalty-Free Stock Footage Downloads [Sponsor]

VideoBlocks is an affordable, subscription-based stock media site that gives you unlimited access to premium stock footage.

One of the main benefits of VideoBlocks is its unlimited download model: with a library of over 100,000 HD video clips, plus After Effects templates and motion backgrounds (for a total of 250,000 graphics), VideoBlocks subscribers pay on average less than a dollar per download over the course of a year. VideoBlocks offers the same content you would find on more expensive stock sites with a great variety of time lapse, aerials, US and international locations, nature shots, and more.

VideoBlocks is continuously adding new content to their library so it stays fresh all the time. Everything on VideoBlocks is 100% royalty-free, with unrestricted usage rights for personal or commercial projects: keep what you download and maintain usage rights forever.

Want to know more? Visit videoblocks.com/promo/macstories and start your subscription today.

Our thanks to VideoBlocks for sponsoring MacStories this week.