Cody Fink

1547 posts on MacStories since January 2010

Former MacStories contributor.

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Ensure that if a device isn’t secure it can’t access your apps.  It’s Device Trust for Okta.

How Apple is Quelling Motion Sickness and Making iOS More Accessible with iOS 7.1

For The Guardian, Craig Grannell writes about many of Apple’s new animations for iOS 7.1, and what that means for people who previously got motion sick. While iOS 7 had lots of nice visual touches, bouncy animations and parallax effects made some customers feel physically ill when using their iPhone. In addition to numerous visual changes that aim to reduce physical illness in iOS 7.1, Apple has also been hard at work making iOS even more accessible by reintroducing button hints.

Josh de Lioncourt at Macworld also runs through some new additions in accessibility that should help those with low-vision or motor impairments. For example, the camera button can be turned into a switch that turns on head tracking, reducing the need for a separate device.


Paper 1.6.1 Refreshed for iOS 7, Adds Dot Sizing

Paper is one of our must have apps, and it’s recently been updated with iOS 7 in mind. While the app’s design and personality free it from many of iOS 7’s visual styles, popovers and menus have been refreshed with a flatter, cleaner look.

Two additional small but important changes to Paper’s drawing tools should make drawing detailed characters, things, and environments much easier than before. When using the loupe to zoom in, the drawing tools you use will adjust their size as well, giving you finer control over all of the smaller details. And lastly, drawing dots has become much easier, with long presses generating bigger dots.

Paper is free to download in the App Store, with tools available for sale in the app individually or as a bundle.

Verbs 3.0 is Updated for iOS 7, Integrates with Dropbox

Previous owners of Verbs, an instant messaging app for iOS, will find a free update on the App Store that readies the app for iOS 7, while introducing a slew of new notification options, support for Jabber, and integration with Dropbox for sharing files and photos in chat. Verbs has also added a couple of read later options for sending links to Pocket and Safari’s Reading List.

As conversations take place outside of the conversation view, the status bar will flicker when new texts appear, much like status updates in Tweetbot or Mailbox. Inside the conversation view, Verbs has added some small contextual changes to message bubbles, changing their color when they’re delivered, and adding the option to use shapes to indicate your buddy’s availability status.

Dropbox integration with the app works out of the gate without a lot of setup. If you have Dropbox installed on your iOS device and are already logged in, you can pick a file and share the link with a friend. If you setup your Dropbox account, you can add files as well.

While I still don’t like how you switch between conversations views throw a Safari-like carousel, the remainder of Verbs feels fresh, and the app has always maintained a decided simplicity for simply sending and receiving messages from common services. If you don’t have Verbs yet, you can give it a try for $2.99 from the App Store.

Cathode Brings the Vintage Terminal to iOS

Your favorite customizable terminal app for the Mac is now available for iPhones and iPads, letting you wirelessly connect to any computer offering SSH access. The app gives you lots of control over its vintage look and feel, letting you change color, lighting, “shape,” and your choice of retro bitmap fonts. For iPad owners, the app supports Bluetooth keyboards, and works in both portrait and landscape orientation. Cathode supports multiple sessions and can automatically connect to nearby computers using Bonjour. For the geeks out there, Cathode costs a cool $5.99 from the App Store.


Disco Zoo is Part Battleship, Part Get Your Groove On

I don’t know who opens a Zoo before putting animals in it, but nonetheless, you’re given a pile of money, a hot air balloon, and a mini-map where you have ten attempts to find a given animal in an old-school game of battleship. You read that right.

I mean, this is what the whole game inside the game really is. To find an animal you have to uncover a number of squares revealing it, and you have ten attempts to do it on a 5 x 5 grid. Each rescue, or ten attempts, costs a certain amount of gold, and you’ll initially be given enough gold to fail a few times and get a general gist for common patterns and shapes that animals can be found in. Each time you uncover an animal, it’s added to your zoo, and it’ll begin generating gold in its exhibit.

Back at the zoo, the animals you’ve rescued are throwing a party. They hop around. They say cute things. They pass out and you have to wake them back up. The more animals you have in your exhibits, the more money you make as a result. Pleased visitors will sometimes throw money at you. Sometimes you’ll earn cash for random contests that you didn’t even know where going on.

It’s a continuous cycle. Rescue animals. Get coins. Rinse and repeat. Oh sure, you’ll be required to wake your animals back up from time to time — animals that are asleep don’t generate any revenue at their exhibits — similar to how stocking and deliveries worked in NimbleBits’ Tiny Tower.

To keep your animals partying, you can throw a disco party. Throwing disco parties requires “bux,” a super currency common in NimbleBit titles that gives you some immediate benefit. In the case of Disco Zoo, you can use bux to throw a disco party, where animals will dance and groove for an extended period of time without falling asleep, whilst generating twice the revenue. Things get crazy in the best way possible.

Bux can also be used to add attempts to any given rescue, especially helpful if you’re trying to find rare or mythical creatures… like unicorns. If you’re out of bux, they can be purchased with real money. (A ha! There’s the revenue model!)

Soon enough you’ll have enough coins to get something better than a hot air balloon, which will allow you to expand your zoo and rescue more animals from different regions. The more animals you have, the longer they’ll stay awake, the better the ratings you’ll get, the more money you’ll make, etc. etc.

Remember how addicting Tiny Tower was when it landed on the iPhone? If you want to relive that addiction, but with zoo animals instead, get ready to lose hours of your life in Disco Zoo.

That said it’s ridiculous and fun and is clearly a trademark NimbleBit game through and through. Download it from the App Store for free.

Crashlytics Announces New Beta Distribution Tool

Matthew Panzarino from TechCrunch highlights a new beta distribution tool from Crashlytics, which was acquired by Twitter last year.

The new distribution tool is cross-platform — meaning that it works on both Android and iOS. That puts it on rough parity with Hockey, the other major player in the beta distribution space, though Hockey also supports Windows Phone.

The new tool comes out of Crashlytics Labs, the experimental arm of the crash-reporting and analytics firm. It’s been in private beta for a bit but is now expanding into public beta …

Crashlytics has their own blog post about the new venture here, where you can sign up to try their new tool.


My Finances Lets You View Your Income and Expenses at a Glance

If you just want to keep tabs on your expenditures and income without the overhead of managing a budget, My Finances is a lightweight iPhone app that gives you a glance at how you’re spending your money and what your net worth is at any given time. Put expenditures into categories, track how you’re spending over time, and make quick decisions on whether you’re spending too much. To begin tracking, My Finances lets you enter a starting value in the settings to create a baseline. The app doesn’t connect to your bank to automatically track spending, but it does you mindful since you have to enter each transaction yourself. Setting up basic categories for gas, groceries, public transportation, and eating out can go a long way towards becoming aware of where your money is really going. The app is free to download, but an in-app purchase for $3.99 unlocks all of the features.


Audiophone Lets You Stream Music to Your iPhone Without Limitations

Provided you use Subsonic, Audiophone lets you take your personal music collection with you wherever you go. As an alternative to online storage solutions like Amazon’s Cloud Player, Google’s Play Music, or iTunes Match, Audiophone is about giving you direct access to your library from your personal computer. Want to listen to songs encoded in FLAC and WAV on your iPhone? Because it’s a music player that piggybacks off of Subsonic, the music can be transcoded and pre-buffered so that your streamed tunes can make the most out of your available bandwidth, no matter where you are. Like Genius in iTunes, Audiophone can also generate playlists based on your favorite songs on the fly. Plus, it includes support for AirPlay so you can stream music to a pair of speakers through an AirPort Express or your Apple TV. The app is $4.99 on the App Store, designed for listener who wants to end-to-end control over their music streaming experience.