Automatic: Your Smart Driving Assistant on Your Smart Phone [Sponsor]

There’s a mountain of data inside your car waiting to be unleashed, and all you have to do is plug in a quick little connector and download a mobile application.

Automatic is a smart driving assistant that plugs into your car's data port and lets you connect your smartphone (either iPhone or Android) with your car. By  talking to your car’s onboard computer and using your smartphone’s GPS and data plan to upgrade your car's capabilities, Automatic will allow you to easily diagnose your engine light, never forget where you parked your car, and save hundreds of dollars on gas.

Automatic learns your driving habits and gives you suggestions through subtle audio cues to drive smarter and stop wasting gas. Thanks to a map view available on your phone, Automatic can display a trip timeline after every driving session, showing you how you're doing with a Drive Score; the app can even track local gas prices and tell you how much you're spending.

In case of engine problems, Automatic can decipher what the "check engine" light means and show you a description of the issue with a possible solution. And thanks to a feature called Crash Alert, Automatic can detect many types of serious crashes and automatically alert local authorities as well as your loved ones when you can't.

Automatic is currently available in the US for iPhone and Android devices, with a 45-day return policy and free shipping in 2 business days. Automatic retails at $99.95 with no subscription fees.

MacStories readers can go to automatic.com/macstories to get $20 off and buy Automatic at just $79.95. For more information, check out Automatic's website.

Our thanks to Automatic for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Sketch to App Store

Created by Cluster Labs, this file for Sketch 3 sounds like a great idea for iOS developers (via Jeremy Olson):

This Sketch file is designed so you make a few changes to the setup page, and over 40 other artboards will be updated with your custom info. Within minutes, you'll be able to export 45 screenshot images.

I constantly hear that generating screenshots for multiple resolutions and languages for iTunes Connect is a time-consuming process. Sketch to App Store seems to automate several tasks involved with generating App Store screenshots such as device templates, text, resolutions, and, of course, exported files.

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Sunrise 3.0 Brings Google Tasks and Eventbrite Integration, New iOS 8 Widget

I rediscovered Sunrise earlier this year, when I was looking for a calendar app that integrated with Todoist and offered a web app in addition to solid iOS clients. Sunrise, founded by Pierre Valade and launched last year, has quickly become one of the most popular free alternatives to the stock calendar apps on iOS and Android thanks to a polished design and integration with various web services such as Evernote, LinkedIn, and Songkick.

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Virtual: Space Age, with Matt Comi

This week Federico and Myke are joined by Matt Comi to talk about the newly released Space Age. They talk about how the game was developed, the importance of music and the dialog.

If you want to know more about the excellent Space Age (my review), we interviewed Big Bucket's Matt Comi on Virtual. We talked about the development process of the game, letting an idea evolve over time, and, towards the end, spoilers. You can get the episode here.

Sponsored by:

  • Squarespace: Start Here. Go Anywhere. Use code INSERTCOIN for 10% off
  • Igloo: An intranet you'll actually like, free for up to 10 people.
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Connected: Dig Up an App

This week, Stephen explains Net Neutrality to the Europeans, Myke explains YouTube Music and why Evernote Context doesn’t bother him before Federico explains how bit rot in the App Store makes him sad.

I've wanted to talk about software preservation and curation in the age of the App Store for a long time, and I finally discussed the topic in this week's Connected. You can get the episode here.

Sponsored by:

  • Harry's: An exceptional shave at a fraction of the price. Use code CONNECTED for $5 off your first purchase
  • Igloo: An intranet you'll actually like, free for up to 10 people.
  • Squarespace: Start Here. Go Anywhere. Use code WORLD for 10% off
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Space Age Review

Space Age is an adventure game from Big Bucket, the indie dev studio by Matt Comi and Neven Mrgan, who previously brought us the exquisite (and addictive) The Incident in 2010.

Space Age – first teased over two years ago – joins Monument Valley in my list of best iOS games of 2014, and it is the kind of game that I believe anyone with an iOS device should play. Space Age looks great, sounds fantastic, and is filled with witty dialog that powers an intriguing story of space exploration and distant memories.

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Google Updates YouTube for iOS with New Music Section

Following the announcement of YouTube Music Key earlier today, Google updated its official YouTube app for iOS with a new Music tab in preparation for the service's beta rollout next week.

The new tab, available at the top of the main interface, doesn't bring Music Key functionalities, but instead showcases a selection of music based on popularity and your watching history on YouTube. In this section, YouTube is offering mixes (non-stop playlists based on songs or artists, like radio stations), recommended videos, a history section for music videos you've played before, plus trending and popular videos.

The selections in the new Music area of YouTube are solid when it comes to personal history and recommendations, but they feel a little impersonal as they lack any sort of editorial pick or curated content. The Music tab is very much user-centric at this point: music videos are either recommended based on your history and likes on YouTube or they're already part of your subscriptions and playlists. The execution is nice thanks to large previews, a clean interface, and the ability to quickly start playing a mix or a playlist, but, right now, YouTube's Music tab is obviously not meant to replace the home page of services like Beats Music or Spotify.

You can get the updated YouTube app with the new Music section on the App Store.


Twitter: “Several Updates” Coming for Direct Messages

In a blog post published today, Twitter announced that native videos and more timeline experiments will come to the service. That's great – especially if they're planning more Cards features.

Towards the end, the company also mentions direct messages:

And we haven’t forgotten about Direct Messages. We have several updates coming that will make it easy to take a public conversation private. The first of these was announced today and will begin rolling out next week: the ability to share and discuss Tweets natively and privately via Direct Messages. Stay tuned!

“We haven't forgotten” sounds like a curious statement from a company that, for some reason, decided to disallow sharing URLs in direct messages last year and never bothered to fix them. It sounds like Twitter will bring back the ability to discuss individual tweets in DMs, but, frankly, it makes no sense that people who follow each other shouldn't be able to exchange any URL privately.

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Google Announces YouTube Music Key

Widely rumored for the past several months, Google today announced YouTube Music Key, a premium service that, starting at $7.99/month, will offer ad-free videos, the ability to keep listening to videos as music in the background, offline downloads, and access to Google Play Music (the new name for Google Play Music All Access).

From the YouTube blog:

Thanks to your music videos, remixes, covers, and more, you’ve made YouTube the biggest music service on the planet. To turn YouTube into your perfect music service, we’re launching YouTube Music Key as a beta with our biggest music fans first, and then we’ll bring YouTube Music Key to the whole world together. So, if you see an invite in your app or email, try it out for six months for free.

YouTube Music Key follows a plan to revamp YouTube's entire music strategy with a new dedicated section:

Starting today, you’ll see a new home just for music on your YouTube app for Android, iOS and on YouTube.com that shows your favorite music videos, recommended music playlists based on what you’re into and playlists of trending music across YouTube. You can find a playlist to perfectly fit your mood, whether that’s a morning motivators playlist or Boyce Avenue YouTube Mix. Check out the newest songs from channels you subscribe to, like FKA twigs or Childish Gambino. Or quickly find the songs you’ve played over and over and over again.

The YouTube Music Key beta will start rolling out next week, and it appears that current Google Music All Access subscribers will get access to it immediately.

I'm interested in Google's plans with YouTube because the service has what other music streaming services have always lacked: a huge catalogue of videos from artists that go beyond albums and singles. As someone who regularly watches concert videos and demo recordings on YouTube, I'm curious to see how an ad-free experience with web and iOS access could improve content that I can't get anywhere else.

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