Federico Viticci

8875 posts on MacStories since April 2009

Federico is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of MacStories, where he writes about Apple with a focus on apps, developers, and iOS productivity. He founded MacStories in April 2009 and has been writing about Apple since. Federico is also the co-host of AppStories, a weekly podcast exploring the world of apps.

He can also be found on his three other podcasts on Relay FM – Connected, Canvas, and Remaster.

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Connected, Episode 138: Modern Day Moses

Myke is back. Gurman is back. iPhone rumors and iPad wish lists are back.

On this week's episode of Connected, we covered the latest "iPhone 8" rumors and started discussing what we would like to see in the next generation of iPad software and hardware. You can listen here.

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Canvas, Episode 33: iOS Device Security

This week, inspired by true events, Fraser and Federico look at the user-facing security technologies available in iOS.

On the latest Canvas, we go over the best practices to set up an iOS device with security in mind and to make it easy to lock everything and retrieve data when things go wrong. You can listen here.

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iPad Diaries: Numbers, Accounting, and Currency Conversions

iPad Diaries is a regular series about using the iPad as a primary computer. You can find more installments here and subscribe to the dedicated RSS feed.

For years, I struggled to settle on an accounting workflow I truly liked.

In the past 8 years of MacStories, I've tried organizing financial records and statements with plain text files and PDF documents; I've used and then abandoned dedicated finance management apps; for a couple of years, I even tested a combination of Dropbox, Excel, and Editorial to visualize transactions and generate invoices with a Markdown template. My Italian bank doesn't support direct integrations with third-party accounting services, and my particular requirements often include converting expenses from USD to EUR on a per-receipt basis.

Eventually, I always managed to keep my records up to date and neatly sorted with the help of an accountant, but I never loved any of the workflows I had established. In the end, several factors contributed to begrudgingly assembling reports and statements with systems I didn't find flexible enough.

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Connected, Episode 137: Fancy Screwdrivers

With Myke pondering life in the woods, Stephen and Federico talk about Clips and what the Mac and iPad can learn from each other before quizzing each other on their preferred platforms in a battle for eternal nerd glory.

A fun episode of Connected this week, with a special final segment. You can listen here.

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Remaster, Episode 32: First-Party

Microsoft unveil specs of their upcoming Project Scorpio, and Shahid explains what makes a developer 'First Party'.

On this week's Remaster, Shahid helps us understand the differences between first-party and second-party game studios. You can listen here.

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Why Pro Matters

Great take by Sebastiaan de With on why Apple needs to cater to the pro community and care about the Mac Pro again:

The same kind of huge leaps are happening in gaming and game development; a powerful modern GPU is a requirement for working on and using VR and AR, one area Apple is said to be working on. Demand and interest in 3D work, for design, game and software development, and video is bigger than ever and growing exponentially.

Without a truly top-tier workstation, Apple will miss out on a huge segment of digital creatives that can craft the future of human-machine interaction — something way beyond tapping a piece of glass. It would lack a Mac workstation with the raw computing power to prototype VR and AR interactions, build game worlds, simulate complex models and render the effects of tomorrow’s great feature films all the while offering those same creatives a platform to create for its own mobile devices.

The Mac Pro user base may be a single-digit percentage of all Macs sold, but it's a group of users with an important indirect effect on the Apple ecosystem. Very often, they are the same users who make the movies, videogames, TV shows, music, and apps we put on our devices every day. They are few people who create highly influential content millions of others use, enjoy, and rely upon. And Apple has realized they don't want to let that community go.

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The 2016 Panic Report

From Cabel Sasser's latest Panic report (as always, a great read):

If you remember, 2016 was the year we killed Status Board, our very nice data visualization app. Now, a lot of it was our fault. But it was another blow to our heavy investment in pro-level iOS apps a couple years ago, a decision we’re still feeling the ramifications of today as we revert back to a deep focus on macOS. Trying to do macOS quality work on iOS cost us a lot of time for sadly not much payoff. We love iOS, we love our iPhones, and we love our iPads. But we remain convinced that it’s not — yet? — possible to make a living selling pro software on those platforms. Which is a real bummer!

Giving more tools to companies like Panic to make professional, powerful software for iOS is one of the challenges Apple faces along with making the OS itself more capable. There should be more iOS-first and iOS-only Panics and Omni Groups around.

See also: last year's episode of Remaster on Firewatch (which you should go play right now if you haven't).

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MindNode for iOS Adds TextBundle Export Option

I've long been using iThoughts to create mind maps for my longform stories, but I've been playing around with the latest MindNode for iOS over the past couple of weeks, and I'm intrigued. MindNode 4.5 for iOS adds the ability to export mind maps as TextBundle archives (more precisely, the compressed version called TextPack), which can then be opened as rich documents in Ulysses.

Launched three years ago, TextBundle is an archive format designed to let Markdown text editors exchange text documents that also contain referenced images. Ulysses, my favorite text editor, fully supports the TextBundle spec, along with the popular Bear and Marked. With the latest MindNode 4.5, this means you can now create a mind map that contains sub-nodes, inline images, and notes, export it as TextBundle to Ulysses (or other apps), and you'll end up with a Markdown-formatted sheet that retains inline attachments.

A mind map with an image becomes a sheet in Ulysses thanks to TextBundle.

A mind map with an image becomes a sheet in Ulysses thanks to TextBundle.

While writing in plain text with Markdown formatting is fantastic for file portability, there's the downside of .txt files not being able to act as containers of other referenced files (such as screenshots). Ulysses' unique handling of sheets breaks with the tradition of plain text files, but it enables for powerful additions to standard Markdown editing, including notes, keywords, and images. I've been writing in Ulysses for over a year, and its non-standard approach to Markdown hasn't been an issue because every time I publish a story or save a draft for a document I'm working on, I also save a second copy of the same file as a regular .txt in my Dropbox. This way, I enjoy the best of both worlds – Ulysses' richer editing environment, and the portability of plain text files synced with Dropbox.

With MindNode, TextBundle, and Ulysses, I can now create mind maps that contain images and notes, outline a document visually, and then copy it to Ulysses, where I can write, edit, and continue to see images referenced inline. This feels like a much better workflow than having to constantly keep my text editor next to a mind map. I'm going to test this system and evaluate how much it could be automated1 over the next few weeks, but, overall, it's a fantastic improvement for MindNode and Ulysses users.

MindNode 4.5 is available on the App Store.


  1. My ideal scenario: I would like to export a .textbundle archive from Ulysses and let Workflow turn local image references into images uploaded somewhere on the web. However, I can't figure out how to open .textbundle archives with Workflow, as changing their extension to .zip won't work. ↩︎

Connected, Episode 136: Metaphysical Garbage Disposal

Apple comes clean on what’s going on with the Mac Pro, but Federico still isn’t buying one. Myke gets excited about new Samsung phones and Stephen feels old when thinking about Twitter.

A good episode of Connected this week. We talk about the implications of Apple's Mac Pro news and our relationship with Twitter. You can listen here.

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