Federico Viticci

8260 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 mobile software. He can also be found on his two podcasts – Connected and Virtual.


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Tokens Adds Support for Apple TV Apps

From the Tokens blog:

Today, we’re proud to launch Tokens 1.5. This update brings support for Apple TV apps and marks an interesting point in the development of the app.

iTunes Connect (iTC) has changed a lot in the years since we first launched Tokens. The first version interacted with iTC entirely by scraping HTML. This technique was inherently slow and fragile. A chain of page requests were required for every query and minor text changes on iTC could break our scraping code. Over the last two years, iTC has improved dramatically in this respect; it is now almost entirely a modern front end web application backed by a JSON API.

If you're a Mac or iOS developer, Tokens is a must-have. With the latest iTunes Connect changes, the app can even work for users limited to Marketing roles. Tokens is only $29 – a steal considering the time it'll save you for generating and saving promo codes.


Email to 2Do

2Do is the task manager I've been using since August. I'm planning to write about it – the app is just so feature-rich, I'm still exploring all its possibilities. In the meantime, 2Do's developer has announced today an optional $2.99 add-on that will soon enable 2Do users to capture emails directly from the app.

Email to 2Do is an optional one-time-only purchasable add-on that you’ll be able to buy ($2.99) and configure in zero time, starting v3.8. For those unconvinced, we’re so sure you’ll love it that it’ll come with a free trial period of 14 days (which other iOS app does that?). The possibilities are endless. You could create a special email address for 2Do and remotely forward or send emails to this address for 2Do to pick up behind the scenes and convert to tasks. You could even use this with IFTTT! Currently we plan on supporting all major IMAP service providers, including but not limited to: iCloud, Google, Outlook, Yahoo! and of course your very own custom IMAP server.

2Do has always remained true to its core goals – which has been to provide you with tools that work with services you choose for yourself, not the other way round. 2Do syncs with the service you’re comfortable with, and will now integrate seamlessly with an email address from your service provider of choice.

No todo app has ever really perfected the email capturing experience – the disconnect between email clients and apps on iOS is too big to overcome it with URL schemes or IFTTT workarounds. 2Do's email feature sounds like an integrated approach – an actual email plugin into the app that checks for messages saved in a certain way, transforming them to tasks.

I'm curious to check this out. In the meantime, you can request access to the beta here.


WordPress.com Goes Open Source, Launches Mac App

Big news from the WordPress community today: WordPress.com has relaunched with a brand new interface to manage WordPress.com blogs and Jetpack-enabled websites, a new codebase (called Calypso) and API based on JavaScript, and an open source foundation:

A little over a year and a half ago, we challenged ourselves to find a fresh way to interact with WordPress, and now we're ready to unveil what we've been working on. The new WordPress.com interface is built from the ground up as a single JavaScript application that relies on the WordPress.com REST API to communicate to the WordPress core.

I took the new management interface for a spin with MacStories, and it looks great. Clean, responsive, faster than ever. The people who worked on Calypso clearly put a lot of thought and willingness to start fresh into this.

As for existing WordPress users (both .com and self-hosted versions):

If you’re an existing WordPress.com user, you already are! Elements of the new WordPress.com have been progressively launched over the past eighteen months. If you run your own self-hosted WordPress site, you can install the Jetpack plugin to use the Calypso-based editing and management tools. Your site will be ready to go once you log in to WordPress.com.

A new Mac app has been released to manage all WordPress sites on the desktop, and Automattic told me the mobile apps have already been built on this backend as well.

Last, make sure to check out Matt Mullenweg (CEO of Automattic) on today's launch and decision to go open source:

A lot of people thought we should keep this proprietary, but throughout my life I’ve learned that the more you give away, the more you get back. We still have a ton to figure out around plugins, extensibility, contributions, Windows and Linux releases, API speed, localization, and harmonizing the WordPress.com API and WP-API so it can work with core WordPress. Thousands more PHP developers will need to become fluent with JavaScript to recreate their admin interfaces in this fashion. I’m also really excited to revisit and redesign many more screens now that we have this first version out the door.

This is a beginning, not an ending. (1.0 is the loneliest.) Better things are yet to come, as all of you dig in.

WordPress is such a great success story. I'm very happy I chose to use it over six years ago.


The Pen Addict’s Apple Pencil Review

Of all the Apple Pencil reviews I've read over the past few weeks, very few of them offered examples of actual handwriting – which is perfectly understandable, as most of us don't use physical pens and pencils for writing anymore.

This is why I recommend reading Myke Hurley's review of the Pencil for The Pen Addict – he knows what he's talking about:

The second issue these weights attempt to solve is to stop your Pencil rolling off your desk. The Pencil is completely cylindrical – there are no flat edges and no clip – so it's prone to fall victim to gravity and non-level work spaces. But with the weights inside the Pencil, as soon as you set it down, it rolls a little and then stops itself. The weights appear to have been designed to balance it and take over. In most instances this works out great, but I have observed that if you place the Pencil down with any force, say if it is not gently put down on a desk, but maybe dropped from a few inches (I love my implements, but I use them too...), the Pencil will likely roll a couple of times in the process.

When this happens the weights actually seem to give it momentum, and will propel it forward further and faster than it would have otherwise. Each time as the Pencil turns, it acts against itself as it is moving to quickly to balance, and on it goes, off the table.

Myke makes some good points in his review, which I haven't seen anywhere else.


Travelling Indonesia with an iPhone 6s

Great story by Nick Heer on his trip to Indonesia:

At around 9:00 at night, the temperature in Magelang finally drops to a more hospitable 28°C from the 37° or so that it’s been hovering at. My girlfriend and I are in Magelang for this leg of the trip and we’ve stopped at a warung for dinner — think of a small trailer that can be pulled behind a bicycle serving ridiculously tasty food. This warung is known for several noodle dishes, but we’ve asked for mie godog — literally, “boiled noodles”. The broth from this cart is made with candlenut and it’s cooking overtop some hot coals in a wok with spring onions, garlic, some mustard greens, and the aforementioned egg noodles. Every few seconds, someone on a scooter or motorbike putters past, inches from the trio of younger men sitting and smoking on the stoop of the karaoke bar next door.

I’ve taken a couple of Live Photos of the scene and play them back, and I realize that it’s captured the sights and sounds well enough that I’ll be able to show my friends and parents back in Canada, but something’s missing: the smell of this place. It’s a distinct blend of engine fumes, clove cigarette smoke, burning wood, and this incredible food. This, to me, says worlds about the immediacy of place of Live Photos, as well as the limitations that they have. They are a welcome step closer to better capturing a moment in time, but the technology isn’t quite good enough yet for this moment.

Lots of spot-on observations about using an iPhone (and iOS) outside of North America and Europe in the article, too.


Virtual: Space Motorbike

This week Federico and Myke discuss PS2 emulation on the PS4, Star Wars Battlefront, using a Bluetooth controller for iOS games, and why they aren't playing Fallout 4.

Speaking of MFi controllers – I've been playing some games with my Nimbus controller on the iPad Pro this week, and shared some thoughts with Myke on Virtual. You can listen here.

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AfterPad’s List of MFi Controller Compatible Games

Kevin MacLeod has been doing good work with AfterPad – unlike most gaming blogs, AfterPad is "dedicated to hardcore and indie gaming on iOS, with a special focus on cutting-edge technologies like MFi game controllers, AirPlay, and Metal". I've found myself checking out AfterPad on a daily basis, and Kevin's knowledge on MFi controllers has come in handy when buying games for the new Apple TV.

In addition to the blog, Kevin maintains a list of MFi controller compatible games. This is the kind of curation you don't even get from Apple on the App Store: games are organized by date, categories, collections, and you can also browse Editor's Choice picks and Kevin's reviews for selected games.

Great work, and one of my new favorite websites.


Serenity Caldwell on Apple Pencil

From Serenity Caldwell's first thoughts on the Apple Pencil:

It says something that Apple doesn't ship the Pencil with a "settings" app. Wacom does. So does Microsoft. Even some third-party styluses have preferences for adjusting your pressure choices.

Normally I would be annoyed by this. Everyone draws differently, and everyone's used to pressing against the screen in a different way.

But you know what? I agree with the company here. Apple is essentially saying: This is a tool, just like your HB pencil. You can't tell your HB pencil you want it to make lighter strokes. You have to learn how to use it. You have to trust it.

Serenity has been drawing digitally for over 16 years. She's been waiting for the Pencil for a long time, and I can't wait to see what she creates.


Apple Won’t Accept New Apps and App Updates December 22-29

With an update on their Developer website, Apple confirmed the annual iTunes Connect shutdown for the holidays that will prevent developers from releasing new apps and updates:

The busiest season on the App Store is almost here. Make sure your apps are up-to-date and ready for the winter holidays. New apps and app updates will not be accepted December 22-29, so any releases should be submitted, approved, and scheduled in advance. Other iTunes Connect functionality will remain available.

Because of your incredible apps, the App Store crossed 100 billion cumulative downloads. Revenue from the App Store increased 25% year over year, and the number of transacting customers grew 18%, setting a new all-time record. We want to thank you for all your hard work and dedication to our platforms.

As usual, developers who are making a new app or preparing an update should plan accordingly.