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Social Media Management Utility Buffer Adds Mastodon Support

One of the things I immediately missed when I moved to Mastodon was the ability to schedule posts. This isn’t something I do a lot. However, with a busy editorial calendar at MacStories, I’ve used a variety of services over the years, including Buffer, to allow me to set up draft posts in advance when we’ve got a big story or episode of AppStories coming up. Losing that convenience wasn’t the end of the world, but it introduced friction I hadn’t had to deal with in years.

That’s why I’m glad to see Buffer has added Mastodon support to its web and iOS apps today. I’ve been testing Buffer’s beta for the past day, and the best part of the update is that there’s not much to say about it because it’s so easy to use. If you’ve used Buffer before, the process is similar to any other scheduled post you’d create: draft the post, add any media and hashtags you want, and then schedule it. If you want, you can also use Buffer to cross-post to other services.

Scheduling a Mastodon post with Buffer.

Scheduling a Mastodon post with Buffer.

Managing posts for multiple accounts has always been the sort of thing that can disrupt my other work. It’s too easy for me to get distracted and wind up browsing my timeline after I post something from one of our company accounts. With Buffer’s new Mastodon integration, I’m looking forward to creating those posts as part of our production workflow and avoiding getting sucked into my timeline when I have more pressing tasks.


Last Week, on Club MacStories: Things and PDF to JPEG Conversion Shortcuts, MacStories Unplugged, and Apps

Because Club MacStories now encompasses more than just newsletters, we’ve created a guide to the past week’s happenings:

MacStories Weekly: Issue 353


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Our thanks to SaneBox for sponsoring MacStories this week.



Things 3.17 Overhauls the App’s Shortcuts Actions

Things 3.17 is out for iPhone, iPad, and Mac with greatly expanded support for Shortcuts. That opens up a much wider variety of possible automations than ever before. It’s a lot to take in at once, but I’ve been playing with these actions since the end of last year, so I thought I’d highlight what each does and share a few shortcuts that I’ve built with them.

At the highest level, these are the kind of Shortcuts actions I like best. They work across all of Apple’s platforms and include parameters and predicate filtering, which allow users to build fine-tuned shortcuts that either weren’t possible before those features were added to Shortcuts or would have required users to jump through many more hoops to achieve.

When you start exploring Things’ Shortcuts actions keep in mind that they operate on more than just tasks. When you see ‘items’ referred to in the actions, that could any of the primary components of the app, including projects, headings, tasks, areas, or checklists. Not all actions support all item types, and each item has a unique set of properties that can be accessed depending on the action, so it’s worth experimenting to understand everything that can be accomplished.

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The Mac’s 30th Anniversary Icon Font Shared As SVG Images

In 2014, for the 30th anniversary of the Mac, Apple celebrated with a mini site featuring the stories of the people behind the computer and its users. As part of that event, Apple created a special font of line-drawn versions of every Mac from its introduction on January 24, 1984 through 2014.

Robb Knight, my co-host on the Ruminate podcast, has had that font sitting on his Mac for years until yesterday when he released it as a series of downloadable SVG images with the help of friends Keir Ansell and Josh Calvetti.

The Mac's 30th anniversary website.

The Mac’s 30th anniversary website.

I love this sort of project. The line drawings of these Macs look great and, as SVGs, are suitable for a wide range of projects. Robb has a long list of other interesting projects worth checking out on his website, including Alfred workflows, a Mastodon bookmarklet, a Mac utility to eliminate trackers from URLs, and a set of tools for Micro.blog to name a few.

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Unread 3.3

Saving an article from Unread to Readwise Reader.

Saving an article from Unread to Readwise Reader.

Unread, the elegant RSS reader by Golden Hill Software that we’ve covered before on MacStories, received its 3.3 update today, and it’s an interesting one I’ve been playing around with for the past week. There are two features I want to mention.

The first one is the ability to set up an article action to instantly send a headline from the article list in the app to Readwise Reader. As I explained on AppStories, I decided to go all-in with Reader as my read-later app (at least for now), and this Unread integration makes it incredibly easy to save articles for later. Sure, the Readwise Reader extension in the share sheet is one of the best ones I’ve seen for a read-later app (you can triage and tag articles directly from the share sheet), but if you’re in a hurry and checking out headlines on your phone, the one-tap custom action in Unread is phenomenal. To start using it, you need to be an Unread subscriber and paste in your Readwise API token.

The second feature is the ability to save any webpage from Safari as an article in Unread, even if you’re not subscribed to that website’s RSS feed. Essentially, this is a way to turn Unread into a quasi-read-later tool: the app’s parser will extract text and images from the webpage, which will be then be saved as a ‘Saved Article’ in Unread Cloud, Local feeds, or NewsBlur, or as a ‘Page’ in Feedbin.

If you’re a new Readwise Reader user, I recommend checking out Unread 3.3, which is available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad.

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AppStories, Episode 313 – Imagining Apps for an Apple VR Headset

This week on AppStories, we imagine the kinds of apps that may emerge for an Apple VR headset.

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Club MacStories Sample: Federico Achieves His Universal Control Dream and John Reflects on Indie Life

Editor’s Note: Every now and then, we like to share some of the writing we’ve published for Club MacStories members with the broader MacStories community to give readers a feel for what we offer in case they’re thinking of joining themselves.

The Club has grown to encompass far more than just our writing. There’s the Discord community, AV Club events to discuss community-chosen media, Club-only columns, podcasts, and more.

But, at the heart of the Club are our two regular newsletters available via email and the web. MacStories Weekly, which is packed with new app discoveries, tips, shortcuts, columns, and more, is published roughly 48 times a year, and the Monthly Log, which features longer-form columns, comes out every month for a total of 60 newsletters a year.

Today we’re sharing the November 2022 issue of the Monthly Log, featuring two columns. The first, by Federico, is an in-depth look at how he’s used Universal Control to achieve the iPad Pro setup he’s always wanted. In the second story, John reflects on some lessons he’s learned since joining MacStories.

We hope you enjoy these stories and consider joining the Club. MacStories wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of its readers, so thank you to all of you who are already members or were in the past, and welcome to those of you just joining now. Your support means a lot to us.

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