Posts in Linked

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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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