MindNode’s Newly-Editable Outline View Adds a Terrific New Dimension to the Mind Mapping App’s Mac Version

When I think about my writing, I think in outlines, which is a remnant of my days as a law student. A big part of every law school’s first-year curriculum is teaching students how to synthesize vast quantities of research materials into carefully-organized outlines. Outlines are a system of organizing my thoughts that have served me well, but it’s not the only approach, nor is it always the best.

Mind maps provide a more visual way to organize your thoughts and afford more room for creativity by making it easier to spot connections between related ideas and organize them in a less constrained way. Outlines suffer from a linearity and information density that makes those connections harder to find. However, when you pull back and consider most mind maps and outlines from a birds-eye perspective, they’re complementary rather than alternative ways to approach the same problem.

Last year, as I planned my Big Sur review, I briefly considered switching from MindNode to an outlining app to organize my notes. MindNode has included an outline view for years, but it wasn’t editable, which always bothered me. I appreciated the alternate visualization but wanted the ability to move nodes around within the outline’s hierarchy.

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Doodle Jump 2 Review: A Modern Take on a Classic

As I wrote in a recent issue of MacStories Weekly, the original Doodle Jump is one of my all-time favorite iOS games. This classic features an adorable doodle (officially dubbed “The Doodler”) bouncing its way up what appears to be a sheet of notebook paper. The beautifully simple controls consist of tilting your device to maneuver The Doodler and tapping your screen to fire projectiles at the monsters and UFOs that are trying to put an end to your adventure. The game is, at its core, an infinite runner. The higher you jump, the higher you score, and that’s Doodle Jump.

Doodle Jump’s initial release was in 2009 — an astounding 12 years ago this April. With so much time having passed since the original, I never really expected to see a sequel. This felt especially true to me since the original Doodle Jump absolutely still holds up after all this time. As it turns out though, Lima Sky — the development studio behind the game — wasn’t done with ideas for the Doodle Jump world. Last month, Doodle Jump 2 was released, and fans of the old game will not be disappointed.

Doodle Jump 2 is instantly familiar to anyone who has played the original. The controls haven’t changed at all, nor has the core idea of The Doodler bouncing its way to ever-increasing heights. However, the game’s art and animations have been completely revamped, with tremendous results.

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Apple Partners with VolunteerMatch to Feature Local Volunteer Opportunities in Apple Maps

iOS 14 introduced Guides into Apple Maps earlier this year. As we covered in our summer preview series, the feature surfaces local city guides from third-party sources. These are integrated directly into Apple Maps so that you can see the exact locations of the activities that the guides highlight. Since the initial release of Guides, Apple has continued to expand the feature, adding more guides and debuting support for more cities.

Recently Apple introduced a new set of Guides from VolunteerMatch. These are meant to expose local service opportunities, making it easier than ever to volunteer in your community. VolunteerMatch Guides in Apple Maps are available for Chicago, Atlanta, Washington DC, New York, New Orleans, Houston, Boston, Seattle, Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Each guide contains a variety of different opportunities to volunteer. When you find one that interests you, the Guide directs you to the VolunteerMatch website, where you can get more information and learn how to get involved.

I think Apple Maps Guides have a ton of potential to help people get more engaged in their cities. I’m pleased to see Apple continuing to push heavily on expanding this feature to more locations and new publishers. VolunteerMatch feels like a particularly great candidate, as seeing service opportunities directly on the map is such an easy way to spread awareness of them.

If you live in one of the cities mentioned above, or just want to check out the feature, you can access the VolunteerMatch Guides in Apple Maps from here on iOS, iPadOS, or macOS.


Apple Podcasts Adds Spotlight Editorial Feature

Today, Apple unveiled a new monthly editorial feature for Podcasts called Spotlight, which showcases up-and-coming podcast creators. The first podcaster featured is Chelsea Devantez, whose show Celebrity Book Club debuted late last year and discusses the memoirs of celebrity women.

Shows featured in Spotlight include Editors' Notes.

Shows featured in Spotlight include Editors’ Notes.

Spotlight can be found in Podcasts’ Browse tab and is accompanied by ‘Editors’ Notes’ where you usually would see the show’s description. As a result, those editorial notes are available in third-party podcast apps too.

In an announcement by the podcast’s publisher Stitcher, Apple’s Global Head of Business for Apple Podcasts, Ben Cave said that “Apple Podcasts Spotlight helps listeners find some of the world’s best shows by shining a light on creators with singular voices.” I’m glad to see Apple Podcasts continue to evolve and expand its discovery tools. Apple has been instrumental in the growing popularity of podcasts for years. However, the company’s role as editorial curator of shows and creator of its own content is a more recent development. Like features the company has rolled out for Apple Music in recent years, Spotlight is the sort of thing that doesn’t need to be held until an OS update, allowing podcast fans to take advantage of it now.


Apple Spotlights iPhone 12 Photography

Source: Apple

Source: Apple

For the past several years, Apple has shown off some of the best photos taken with the current-generation iPhone. In a press release today, the company highlights 17 beautiful images taken around the globe, as a showcase of what the iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max can do. It’s one thing read about the latest iPhone camera technology, which today’s press release recaps. However, it’s something entirely different to see what the latest hardware and software can do in the hands of a skilled photographer.

A few of the many photos highlighted in Apple's press release. Source: Apple.

A few of the many photos highlighted in Apple’s press release. Source: Apple.

In 2019 and 2020, Apple’s January photography announcement was accompanied by a photography contest judged by Apple employees and a team of professional photographers. This year’s press release makes no mention of a contest, which is understandable in light of the global pandemic.

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MacStories Unwind: CES Roundup, An App To Teaching Your Dog New Tricks, and AppStories’ 200th Episode

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Sponsored by: Unite 4 – Turn Websites into Apps on Your Mac

This week on MacStories Unwind:

MacStories

Club MacStories

  • MacStories Weekly
    • Bartender 4
    • 16 giveaways of productivity apps
    • Federico’s GoodTask quick action setup
    • Apps to expand your HomeKit experience
  • MacStories Unplugged: Food, Travel, and Very Good Dogs
    • In this episode of MacStories Unplugged, Federico and John share the foods they miss from their past travels, discuss the frustrations with dining out and traveling with two very good dogs, and have some advice on stepping back from the brink before burnout takes hold.

AppStories

Unwind


CES Rundown: Highlights of This Year’s Most Intriguing (and Bizarre) Announcements

My coverage of CES has always been virtual. This year the show itself is virtual too, which left me wondering whether there would be much to cover. Although there are fewer vendors participating than in the past, the event continues to provide a steady stream of news about new products planned for the coming months.

Some of what is announced each year will never see the light of day, and other gadgets will never look as good as they did in the hands of expert marketers. Still, CES always provides a useful snapshot of tech industry hardware trends, a handful of unexpected gems, like last year’s Eve Cam that I reviewed over the summer and Samsung’s T7 external SSD, which ended up powering my Big Sur beta testing, plus a healthy dose of the truly strange.

After pouring over hundreds of headlines and press releases, I’ve compiled a roundup of some of this week’s most intriguing announcements. Feel free to skip around to the categories that you find most interesting using the table of contents below.

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