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.

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lynda.com [Sponsor]

lynda.com helps you learn and keep-up-to-date with your software, pick up brand-new skills, or explore new hobbies with easy to follow video tutorials. Whether you want to take better pictures and video with your DSLR, learn the programming skills to develop your own mobile app, or edit your own video footage using Final Cut Pro X or Premiere, lynda.com offers thousands of video courses in a variety of topics.

Featuring over 2,400 courses taught by industry experts (with more added weekly), lynda.com works directly with software companies to provide timely training, often the same day new versions or releases hit the market. Courses available on lynda.com aren't like low-quality, homemade screencasts available elsewhere on the web: they are professionally-produced, high-quality courses that feature project files, transcripts, playlists, and that are broken into bite-size pieces to be viewed at any time.

Courses encompass all experience levels, so whether you’re a beginner or advanced user, you'll always find material to improve your skills, keep up with technology, and learn new software applications. One low monthly price of $25 gives you unlimited access to the entire lynda.com library, which includes, among many others, iOS tutorials, photography courses, and hundreds of Apple tutorials. The lynda.com iOS app, available for iPhone and iPad, includes a visual, intuitive interface, and offers offline course and video viewing (making it easy and convenient to learn even in environments without Internet access).

lynda.com is providing a special offer for MacStories readers to access the entire library for free, for 7 days. Visit lynda.com/macstories to start your 7-day free trial.

Our thanks to lynda.com for sponsoring MacStories this week.


April Zero

Three months ago, Anand Sharma started tracking everything about himself: runs, walks, heart rate, food, locations, and even restaurants and haircuts. Using only an iPhone and apps like Moves and Foursquare, he has built a complete log of his life, which he has turned into April Zero, a website that, through animations and lots of graphs, presents data collected using an iPhone and apps.

This site tracks where I go and what I do every day. Most of the data comes from various apps on my phone.

I've measured my heart rate 415 times and typically it beats 69 times per minute. In the past 105 days, I've pushed 1,311 commits to this site, gone on 26 runs & eaten 14 burritos. I love a good burrito.

I'm extremely fascinated by this project: since I've started testing fitness trackers and apps to have a healthier lifestyle, exercise more throughout the day, and sleep better, I've made an effort to use data and numbers about myself to see which areas I can improve (spoiler: less carbs, more fiber and vitamins, go to bed earlier) and how different data points relate to each other with specific trends that I can observe. The quantified self approach can be a little concerning from a privacy standpoint, but, personally, I'm noticing that visualizing certain aspects of my life helps me understand myself better and actively make changes.

Anand's website takes lifelogging visualizations to the next level, and I'd be interested to know which other apps he used and how he managed to have the patience to track himself every single day, multiple times per day without forgetting about apps or going crazy. It's also interesting that all this was possible with just an iPhone and no dedicated hardware, and it makes me excited about the potential of HealthKit for third-party developers on iOS 8.

Check out April Zero here.

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Spotify Actions for Launch Center Pro

I recently tweeted about a change in the Spotify app for iOS – which I've been using to listen to music every day1 – that broke my shortcut to search for songs and artists from my Launch Center Pro action grid. I've been trying to identify the culprit and I've read documentation about Spotify's URL scheme and integration with the web app, but I haven't been able to figure out how to make searches typed in Launch Center Pro work with Spotify again. Therefore, I've tweaked my Spotify action setup and settled on a compromise that's (kind of) working for now.

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CMD+Space with Jared Sinclair

This week Myke is joined by Jared Sinclair. They talk about balancing being a developer and a designer, and his apps Riposte, Whisper and Unread.

Speaking of Myke and podcasts, I particularly enjoyed this episode of CMD+Space with Jared Sinclair. Jared is the creator of Unread – my current favorite RSS reader for iOS – and I found his career path and decisions to be fascinating and inspiring. There are a lot of points worth thinking about in the episode, such as balancing utility and artistry when making apps with a vision, and I highly recommend it.

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Five Years of Pinboard

Perspective does not make you immune to burnout. It just makes burnout less scary. I've gone through a few episodes since starting Pinboard, and I'm sure there will be more to come. People have been very understanding about my occasional need to flee the Internet. I find that the longer I run the site, the more resistant I become to the idea of ever giving it up, even if I need to take the occasional break. It is pleasant to work on something that people draw benefit from. It is especially pleasant to work on something lasting. And I enjoy the looking-glass aspect of our industry, where running a mildly profitable small business makes me a crazy maverick not afraid to break all the rules.

A great post on Pinboard's fifth birthday by Maciej Cegłowski. Pinboard is one of my favorite web services because it does its job well and it's dependable. There's a lot to learn from Maciej when it comes to building trust and a profitable business on the Internet.

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The End of Our Podcasts and A New Challenge

Today, my friend and co-host Myke Hurley announced that he's leaving 5by5 to pursue new goals and be independent again. From his blog post:

Today I am announcing that I will be departing 5by5 on July 16th 2014.

The last 18 months have been a tremendous experience, but it is time for me to move on to new things. I have new goals that I want to tackle, and to be able to do this I need to be independent again.

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