John Voorhees

452 posts on MacStories since November 2015

John joined MacStories in 2015. He is a regular contributor to MacStories and the Club MacStories newsletters, co-hosts AppStories, a weekly podcast exploring the world of apps, with Federico, and handles sponsorship sales for MacStories and AppStories. John is also the creator of Blink, an iTunes affiliate linking app for iOS.

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PDF Viewer Adds iCloud Drive Sync, Improved Apple Pencil Support, Document Providers and Search

Last fall, PSPDFKit introduced PDF Viewer, a powerful, free iOS app for viewing and annotating PDFs that matched or exceeded many of the features found in paid PDF apps. Since then, the team behind PDF Viewer has rolled out a steady series updates, adding new features and refining existing ones. The latest update continues that trend with major additions that round out PDF Viewer's feature set.

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Sal Soghoian Announces CMD-D, a Mac and iOS Automation Conference Coming in August

Sal Soghoian, Paul Kent, and Naomi Pearce are collaborating on a new conference called CMD-D covering automation and scripting on macOS and iOS.

The conference is called CMD-D (pronounced “Command-D”), and it will be held August 9th at the Santa Clara Convention Center. It’ll be a full day of exploring the current state of automation technology on both Apple platforms, sharing ideas and concepts, and showing what’s possible—all with the goal of inspiring and furthering development of your own automation projects.

To assist in this exploration of all things Automation, I’ve invited some of my smartest friends to present sessions focused on their own areas of automation expertise, on macOS and iOS. And, for those new to automation, we’re also planning a Scripting Boot Camp on August 8th.

Speakers include Andy Ihnatko, Jon Pugh, Jason Snell, John Welsh, and Sal Soghoian. Registration is open and can be found here.

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Apple Releases How-To Videos on iPhone 7 Photography

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus include Apple's most sophisticated cameras. Most of the time you see people out and about snapping quick shots that don’t necessarily take advantage of all the camera hardware and app have to offer. A series of 30-40 second videos released by Apple provide mini how-to tutorials on how to take iPhone 7 photography to the next level.

The videos are available on a new Apple website called ‘How to Shoot on iPhone 7’ and include videos on taking:

  • Portraits with the Portrait feature that’s exclusive to the iPhone 7 Plus;
  • Closeups using tap to focus and slide to adjust exposure;
  • Vertical panoramic photos;
  • Shots without using the flash;
  • Action photos with burst mode;
  • Selfies using the timer;
  • Photos framed with a unique angle;
  • Stills while filming video; and
  • Night time photos using street light.

Five of the videos are also on YouTube, and you can watch them after the break.

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Game Day: A.S.I.

Brian Mueller’s CARROT series of apps serve up healthy doses of snark along with the weather, fitness, tasks, and alarms. It’s a style that is immediately recognizable and adds an element of humor and fun that give his apps personality. That unexpected game-like quality, combined with utility and productivity apps, is what makes Mueller’s apps stand out from the crowd. Watching the family of CARROT apps grow over the years, it’s not surprising at all that Mueller has taken what feels like the next logical step and made an iOS game. A.S.I. brings CARROT, the star in his apps, to life in a sprawling and fun sci-fi sendup of artificial intelligence and tech culture.

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PDF Expert 6 Adds Powerful Editing Tools and More

Readdle released a major update to PDF Expert today. Version 6 incorporates powerful PDF editing tools, in-place cloud-based editing and annotation, document-level assignment of passwords, and more. PDF Expert was already one of the premier PDF apps on iOS, but free alternatives have given it a run for its money recently. The new features in PDF Expert 6 should help maintain its status as a favorite for many PDF power users.

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Beddit Sleep Tracker Acquired by Apple

Beddit, which makes a sleep sensor that collects sleep and other health data and sends it to companion iPhone and Apple Watch apps, was acquired by Apple. According to Beddit’s privacy policy:

Beddit has been acquired by Apple. Your personal data will be collected, used and disclosed in accordance with the Apple Privacy Policy.

Since the introduction of the Apple Watch Series 2, Apple has placed renewed emphasis on the health and fitness tracking features of the Watch. One notable hole in Apple’s lineup of built-in health and fitness apps has been the lack of a sleep tracker. With Beddit, Apple fills that gap and presumably adds a team of engineers that can help it develop additional sleep tracking capabilities in-house.

The Beddit 3 Sleep Monitor is available on Apple’s online store.

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SQLPro Studio: A Cross DB Management Tool for macOS [Sponsor]

Do you work on a Mac, but need to interface with Enterprise Databases such as Oracle or Microsoft SQL server? Are you tired of firing up a Windows virtual machine just to run a query? Have you ever wished for a native Mac client? SQLPro Studio is the answer you've been looking for.

SQLPro Studio is a native Mac application that works with MSSQL server (both on premise and in Azure), Oracle, MySQL, PostreSQL and SQLite. The interface is fast and responsive, just like you'd expect from a native Mac app. It should go without saying, but SQLPro Studio can connect to databases hosted on Windows, Mac or Linux operating systems and supports either direct connection, or tunneling over SSH.

Write and execute queries in the tabbed query interface, SQLPro Studio supports all the features you'd expect: drag and drop fields from the SQL browser on the left to the SQL editor, auto complete SQL statements including table and field names, even reformat your SQL code to make it 'pretty.'

You can easily export results as CSV, JSON or XML, and you can edit your results inline so long as you have a primary key on the table.

SQLPro Studio is your all in one solution for managing databases of all kinds, natively, from your Mac!

SQLPro Studio - macOS database management UI is available for $109.99, but MacStories readers can get 20% off by using the promo code MACSTORIES.

SQLPro Studio Studio is also available on the Mac App Store.


Apple Clarifies That Affiliate Program Changes Affect In-App Purchases Only

On April 24th, Apple sent an email to participants in the iTunes Affiliate Program that said:

Starting on May 1st 2017, commissions for all app and in-app content will be reduced from 7% to 2.5% globally. All other content types (music, movies, books, and TV) will remain at the current 7% commission rate in all markets. We will also continue to pay affiliate commissions on Apple Music memberships so there are many ways to earn commissions with the program.

The drastic cut in the rate on apps and In-App-Purchases and the short notice took participants in the program by surprise.

The May 1st deadline came and went seemingly without any change to the payout rate on apps. Apple has since posted a clarification to the iTunes Affiliate Resources website that says:

We’d like to clarify some changes being made to the Affiliate Program. Commissions for all iOS in-app purchases will be reduced from 7% to 2.5% globally, and all other content types (including music, movies, books, paid iOS apps and TV) will remain at the current 7%.

Anecdotal evidence since May 1st supports the clarification that the change to affiliate commissions affects In-App Purchases only. Links to apps and other content sold by Apple will continue to earn 7%, which is welcome news for websites and developers who rely on that revenue.


Game Day: Antitype

The clean, elegant design of Antitype caught my eye immediately. It’s a scrambled word game from BorderLeap that’s all about opposites. From its design to its gameplay, what makes Antitype unlike other word games is its unique approach that requires you to think about its puzzles differently than you would other word games. That makes the rules a little hard to grasp when you first try Antitype, but once you have the system down, it’s addicting.

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