Tao Effect’s Espionage has always taken a novel approach to encrypting data on OS X. In contrast to applications like TrueCrypt or Knox that protect data in individually encrypted virtual disks or vaults, Espionage does its best to mask encrypted disks from the end user. Rather than interfacing with virtual disks that are individually encrypted, Espionage uses the folders you want to protect as a reference point and applies a 1Password approach to the protected folders on your system. Espionage solves two problems: it centralizes all of your protected data and makes that data easy to access through a single master password. Espionage’s approach to securing your data means that you can interface with folders on OS X as if they were regular folders — tasks like mounting and unmounting encrypted volumes are taken care of for you in the background through a streamlined interface. Protecting your data shouldn’t have to come at the cost of convenience.
Google Launches “Hangouts” Messaging Service for iOS, Android, and Web
#MacStoriesDeals – Tuesday
Pixelmator 2.2 Blueberry
iOS 7 Wishes
Today Weather Gets Dark Sky Alerts, Forecast.io Support
It’s not hard to talk about the latest and greatest features of Instacast 2.0 when the developer has dutifully written his own epic walkthrough of his app’s new features. Instead of having to decipher release notes and a summary of bullet point features, Martin Hering of Vemedio has already published an in-depth write-up of everything “version two” has to offer, which includes a couple pro-tips here and there for those who aren’t skimming paragraphs and looking for bolded words. The mini-manual will be a handy reference for getting adjusted to Instacast’s tap-and-hold friendly UI and advanced features.
With the features already explained in great detail, I don’t feel the need to recap everything Instacast 2.0 has to offer or explain how it works, but I do want to share some of my experiences with the app post-upgrade. There are lots of little changes that have been made and thus lots of little habits that had to be relearned. While some of the changes take some getting used to, others have been improved upon so well that I could not think of going back to an older Instacast. Upgraded player controls, playlists, and bookmarks add a new pro-layer of control without dampening the player’s aesthetic or user experience. Additional sharing features strive to strengthen online discussion around podcasts thanks to commenting and an HTML5 audio player.
Shortly before the Christmas holiday, a few apps got a lot of attention in Apple media after being barred from the App Store for inappropriate use of the Notification Center. These apps, App Switcher, Launch Center, and Quickpick, were submitted with the intent of using the Notification Center as a way to access a list of customized commands (shortcuts) that take advantage of Apple’s and third party URL schemes. App Switcher and Quickpick were pulled, and Launch Center simply didn’t get approval. The three apps removed this feature and are now available on the App Store as standalone applications.
If you jailbreak your iOS devices, these apps probably aren’t going to find their way into your standard toolkit. Paid and free utilities available through Cydia will mirror features available on Android through widgets, the lock screen, and the Notification Center. Purists, however, could find some value in automating common tasks and reducing the time it takes to perform custom actions. Jeff Broderick’s Settings is free, but the icons are fixed and I decided I only want access to a few. There’s also Icon Project, but I have no desire to fiddle with making icons. Of the apps noted above, Launch Center looks polished and simply presents a clean list of actions.
Okay you MacBook Pro plus Cinema Display users, I’ve got an app for you that impresses me more than the balls Tyler Glenn had to wish the USA a happy fourth of july with his pair of patriot boxers at this year’s iTunes Festival. (Can you tell I’m watching the Neon Trees today)? If you’ve ever wanted to swap windows between your MBP and Cinema Display monitors, move the front most window over, or move all of an app’s windows (say all of your open Safari windows) to the next monitor, Swapp for the Mac is impressive.
The “big update number two” award today goes to Flipboard with a major 1.5 release that makes navigating the social magazine easier than ever. Just how great would it be if you could continuously flip through articles, fave everything, and jump into the content you’re interested in with a new visual search browser. It’s fantastic. Flipboard just got way cooler.
Instacast is simply my favorite podcast player on iOS, and I’m delighted to say that Instacast has now reached version 1.3 and is available for download in the App Store. Instacast 1.3 brings lots of new features to the fold, including improvements for clearing out cached tunes, a download waiting list, chapter lists (super useful for podcasts like the Mac Geek Gab), video airplay for those Revision3 podcasts, and “group sorting” in the All Episodes list that bundles together similar episodes. There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s dive right in.
While Instapaper and Read It Later have their own web apps where you can browse your saved articles, I’m not a big fan of keeping an open tab in my browser just for the five or so minutes I want to kill. The biggest thing for me is that I like this kind of stuff to be really frictionless — the reason I use a desktop app over Twitter on the web is so I don’t have to log in each time. The same thing can be said for plucking out a quick article to read, and ReadNow for OS X is a simple menubar utility that can contains your Instapaper or Read It Later articles in convenient popover.
ReadNow allows you to preview your Unread or Archived articles, and Instapaper users can even take advantage of ReadNow’s article view to read articles with the clutter of web ads (provided you sign up for Instapaper’s subscription service). It’s almost like having Instapaper on the Mac since you can like, share, and archive articles in a simple UI. Read It Later users will have their articles opened in a web browser, but in both cases you can opt for options you’ll be familiar with if you use the services on your iPad. ReadNow supports offline reading if you want to download your hundreds of unread articles (great for the airport), and can be configured to automatically archive articles as you open items from your list. A convenient search bar will search titles for everything about the “MacBook Air” or “iPhone” for example. Articles you find interesting can be posted to Twitter, and you can even grab the article’s short link to paste into an email body or blog, and ReadNow also supports custom bit.ly URLs. Right-clicking messages give you some additional options (also accessible via keyboard shortcuts) for optionally deleting articles, which is fantastic for accidental login saves.
My favorite features of ReadNow (after search) are keyboard shortcuts and the interface. You can open ReadNow with a keyboard shortcut, use the up and down arrows to scroll through articles, and hit the return key when you want to browse an article. The best part is that even if you just want the short URL, you can hit option+B and command+V to paste it immediately. If you wanted to share a reading list online, you could probably do some wild things with Keyboard Maestro to insert your five newest articles into your Tumblr feed for example. ReadNow’s hud interface is lightweight, and reminds me of the old Twitterrific for Mac in a lot of ways — I like there isn’t a lot of chrome. Perhaps it’s nostalgia.
I generally don’t like clutter in my menubar, but ReadNow’s tag is pretty okay. I’d say it’d be nice to autolaunch with something like MarcoPolo when you’re away from your local network. It’s convenient, and offers quick access to all of your saved articles in your favorite online service. To my knowledge you can’t use both Instapaper and Read It Later at the same time, but I think most people likely choose one or the other. ReadNow is $3.99 in the Mac App Store.
*Edit: You can get the article view for Read It Later just like Instacast. Simply choose offline reading, and you’re off running!
I’ve started to shy away from the bulk of text editors that hit my inbox since few bring something different to the table. There’s only so many ways you can rewrite a text editor, and while I’d love to cover everything the ones I really want to showcase have to offer something truly unique for me to sit down and crank out a review in TextMate. It’s terribly difficult to find something that stands out, but I think those disappointed with the App Store’s current offering may find something of interest here. Daedalus Touch for the iPad is different in part because of how it allows you manipulate documents in a hybrid stack & coverflow style that takes advantage of gestures, and not lists, to organize your ideas. There are no lists or hierarchy of folders, but rather stacks of sheets that contain your text. Of course it has Dropbox and TextExpander support (a must nowadays), which means you don’t have an excuse not to check Daedalus past the break.
Calories aren’t fun. No matter what kind of appreciation you have for food, watching what you eat while being a food-a-holic can be difficult when everyone else focuses on just the numbers. Eating should be about discovery. It should enjoyable, shared, and fun without making everything else out to be a dangerous game of cat and calories. In my opinion, it’s much better to be mindful of what you’re eating, and Foodish is exactly the kind of app that fulfills this desire very well.
Not only is Foodish wrapped in a beautiful user interface, it’s fun and simple to use. Based on good conscience alone, you simply snap a picture of your meals and rate them on a general “bad to good” scale that tracks your overall eating habits over time. The concept is great: not only can the foodie in you keep a record of all those great meals and memories, but it also keeps you aware of just what exactly you’re shoving into that pie hole. Plus, you get to totally brag about the incredible meal you’re having at that five start restaurant from within the app. It’s a win-win!