THIS WEEK'S SPONSOR:

Kolide

The fleet visibility solution for Mac, Windows, and Linux that can help you securely scale your business


MacStories Unwind: Penguins, Prey, and Mario

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This week on MacStories Unwind, John recommends a CNN documentary called Patagonia: Life on the Edge of the World and is joined by Alex Guyot who kicks back with Prey, the latest installment in the Predator movie series. Plus, John shares his current Game Boy Mario obsession: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins.

John’s Pick:

Alex’s Pick:

  • Prey on Hulu in the US

Bonus Pick:


Photo Editor Acorn Adds Deep Shortcuts Integration

Photo editors are the perfect fit with automation tools because, so often, there’s a set of edits, filters, transformations, or file exports that you want to apply to multiple images. Many apps come with some sort of built-in batch processing tool, which is great, but supporting automation opens the door to integrating users’ photo editing processes with system features like Finder and other apps.

Earlier this year, Pixelmator Pro added deep Shortcuts integration, which opened up a long list of the app’s functionality via Shortcuts, enabling shortcuts like the machine learning-based super resolution one that Federico shared during Automation April. More recently, that app has been joined by Acorn, a Mac app with a long history of supporting automation with AppleScript and JavaScript support, as well as Automator actions.

With the release of version 7.2 at the end of July, Acorn added its own deep catalog of Shortcuts actions for users, including actions to:

  • Create images from the clipboard
  • Crop, rotate, flip, trim, and resize images
  • Apply individual filters and presets
  • Change the color profile of photos
  • Search for text in images

There’s some overlap with what can be done with other apps like Pixelmator Pro, but not as much as you might think. By combining Acorn’s actions with other system and third-party app actions, extremely sophisticated workflows that would take substantial time to complete one image at a time can be reduced to running a single shortcut, which, of course, is what Shortcuts and other automation schemes are all about.

Acorn is available directly from Flying Meat Software for $20.00, 50% off the regular price. The app is also on the Mac App Store for $20.99.


AppStories, Episode 290 – How iOS and iPadOS 16 Are Affecting Our Lives

This week on AppStories, we consider how iOS and iPadOS 16 are affecting our work and personal lives.

Sponsored by:

  • Kolide – Nail third party audits and internal compliance goals with endpoint security for your entire fleet. Learn more here.
  • Setapp – More than 240 powerful apps. Try it free for a month.
  • Sourcegraph – Universal Code Search. Move fast, even in big codebases. Try it now.

On AppStories+, Federico is experimenting with Lock Screen widgets as app and shortcut launchers.

We deliver AppStories+ to subscribers with bonus content, ad-free, and at a high bitrate early every week.

To learn more about the benefits included with an AppStories+ subscription, visit our Plans page, or read the AppStories+ FAQ.

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Apple Podcasts Marketing Tool for Social Media Released

Apple has released a free web app that lets podcasters create artwork and links to promote their shows on Apple Podcasts. The app offers several customization options that should appeal to a wide variety of creators who want to market their shows on Apple’s service. Still, there are a couple of limitations worth keeping in mind.

Apple's tool offers several options, but the marketing messages are limited to a predefined list.

Apple’s tool offers several options, but the marketing messages are limited to a predefined list.

At its core, Apple’s tool makes it easy to generate promotional artwork in several predefined sizes along with links that can be posted to social media to promote a show, an episode, or an Apple Podcasts channel. Six size choices cover the standard artwork specifications for most social networking services. By default, the artwork is generated with a purple gradient that matches the Podcasts’ app color scheme, but you can change it to whatever you like.

Shows that offer Apple Podcasts subscriptions can promote bonus content and other perks to users.

Shows that offer Apple Podcasts subscriptions can promote bonus content and other perks to users.

There are several messaging options tailored to whether a show is free or offers a subscription version.

There are several messaging options tailored to whether a show is free or offers a subscription version.

The tool also provides several predefined messages that are applied to the artwork, the number of which depends on whether a show is free, paid, or free with a paid option. Shows that rank among Apple Podcasts’ Top Shows have the option of promoting their rankings too. However, there is no option to craft your own marketing message for the artwork, which is a little disappointing but not surprising.

Promotional art comes in multiple sizes for different social networks, and URLs can include affiliate parameters.

Promotional art comes in multiple sizes for different social networks, and URLs can include affiliate parameters.

The app generates full and shortened URLs, too, with the option to include affiliate parameters if you participate in Apple’s affiliate linking program for services.

Apple’s new marketing tool for social channels works well and generates good-looking artwork with minimal effort, making it a nice option for anyone with limited time and resources. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that the tool is limited to Apple Podcasts. The messaging options are limited too. You’ll need a different solution if you’d rather promote your podcast’s own website, another podcast directory, or use a marketing message not offered by Apple. Still, because such a large percentage of many shows’ audiences listen using Apple Podcasts, the company’s new tool is an excellent way to reach those listeners and potentially grow that segment of your audience.


Last Week, on Club MacStories: Deleting Significant Locations from Your iPhone, the Rumored Pro Apple Watch, and Tech RSS Feeds

Because Club MacStories now encompasses more than just newsletters, we’ve created a guide to the past week’s happenings along with a look at what’s coming up next:

MacStories Weekly: Issue 331


Kolide: The Fleet Visibility Solution for Mac, Windows, and Linux That Can Help You Securely Scale Your Business [Sponsor]

Device security is a lot like Mount Everest: it’s tough to scale.

When you’re a small company dominated by engineers, you can keep up with fleet management with nothing more than trust and a spreadsheet. But once you start to hire marketers, designers, and the rest, the number of laptops balloons and the line between “work” and “personal” devices gets fuzzy. 

But fuzzy isn’t going to cut it. You have to prove you’ve got device security under control to close deals with customers, pass a third-party audit, and prove you’re ready for acquisition or an IPO. 

At this point, you start looking for a tool that will give you visibility across all these devices. And you have two options. 

Option one is an MDM, which acts as the puppet master for your whole fleet, forcing compliance through intrusive agents. But for all an MDM’s power, it still can’t answer your most nuanced questions. And when it comes to Linux devices? Good luck with that.

Your other option is Kolide. 

Kolide is an endpoint security solution that gives IT teams a single dashboard for all devices, regardless of their operating system.

Kolide can answer questions MDMs can’t. Questions like:

  • Do you have production data being stored on devices?
  • Are all your developers’ SSH keys encrypted?

  • And a host of other data points you’d otherwise have to write a custom shell script to learn about.

Want to see how it works for yourself? Click here for a free trial, no credit card required, and let us show you what we’re all about.

Our thanks to Kolide for sponsoring MacStories this week.


MacStories Unwind: Backbone One Controller and Paolo Nutini’s Last Night in the Bittersweet

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This week on MacStories Unwind, John returns from vacation to pick the Backbone One iPhone game controller, and Federico recommends Paolo Nutini’s latest album, Last Night in the Bittersweet.

John’s Pick:

Federico’s Pick:


Safari Extension Noir Adds Theming and Deeper Keyboard Shortcut Support

Last year, we awarded Noir Best New App of 2021 as part of the MacStories Selects Awards. Jeffrey Kuiken’s Safari extension for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, which can apply a custom dark mode to websites that don’t offer their own, is a fantastic example of an app that implements a new technology – the native Safari extensions introduced with iOS and iPadOS 15 and earlier on the Mac – in a way that is simple to use but also provides advanced customization for users who want that. Noir immediately became a MacStories favorite on launch, and it remains an app that I rely on every day.

The latest update to Noir takes the app’s original concept a step further with new theming options, theme sharing, and extensive keyboard shortcut support. It’s an excellent update that anyone who likes to tweak the colors used in their apps will appreciate. Let’s take a closer look.

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AppStories, Episode 289 – Our ‘Recently Added’ Apps

This week on AppStories, we dig into the Recently Added folders on our iPhones and the stories they tell about what we’ve been up to lately.

Sponsored by:

  • Trade – Save Big, Support Small Roasters. Get $30 off your first order.
  • Sourcegraph – Universal Code Search. Move fast, even in big codebases. Try it now.
  • Memberful – Monetize your passion with membership.

On AppStories+, I explain what’s coming this fall in Apple Maps and CarPlay, and Federico reports on new Shortcuts actions added to the latest iOS 16 beta.

We deliver AppStories+ to subscribers with bonus content, ad-free, and at a high bitrate early every week.

To learn more about the benefits included with an AppStories+ subscription, visit our Plans page, or read the AppStories+ FAQ.

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