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Interview: The Omni Group’s Ken Case On OmniFocus 2, OmniOutliner 4, And More



In the midst of The Omni Group’s hectic schedule of debuting exciting new Mac versions of some of their most popular software, including the highly anticipated OmniFocus 2, CEO Ken Case sat down with MacStories from the 2013 Macworld/iWorld event to tell us about some of the new products releasing this year.

Ken and I discussed the upcoming versions of OmniFocus, OmniOutliner, their new OmniPresence technology, and also some great new iPad specific features coming to OmniGraffle and OmniPlan this year.

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MacStories Interviews: John Siracusa

In our ongoing series of interviews with developers and creators in the Apple community, I had the chance to talk with John Siracusa.

John is well known in the Apple community for his detailed OS X reviews and other articles published on Ars Technica. He co-hosted a podcast called Hypercritical for 100 (98) episodes with 5by5’s Dan Benjamin, and he also shares some of his thoughts on tech, games, and pasta on a blog with the same name. On Twitter, you can find John as @siracusa.

The interview below was conducted over email between January 3 and January 15, 2013.

Federico Viticci: Hey John, could you introduce yourself to the readers who haven’t heard about you before?

John Siracusa: Though I’ve spent my career as a web developer, I’m better known on the Internet for my articles at Ars Technica, especially my very long and detailed reviews of OS X going back 13 years, and for my podcast, Hypercritical, which just ended its two-year run. I’m also a regular guest on The Incomparable, a podcast about geeky books, movies, TV shows, comics, and video games. Read more

MacStories Interviews: Greg Pierce

In our ongoing series of interviews with developers and creators in the Apple community, I had the chance to talk with Greg Pierce, founder of Agile Tortoise. Greg makes some of our favorite iOS apps here at MacStories, namely Drafts and Terminology. Greg is also the man behind x-callback-url, an inter-app communication spec that I’ve been personally researching for the past few months. On Twitter, you can find Greg as @agiletortoise.

The interview below was conducted between May 7 and December 29, 2012.

Federico Viticci: Hey Greg! Could you introduce yourself to the readers who haven’t heard about you or haven’t tried any of your apps before?

Greg Pierce: Well, my name is Greg Pierce. I’m a family man and somewhat accidentally a professional developer living near Fort Worth, Texas. I am President of Agile Tortoise, an indie software company I founded in 2006 – where I split my time between developing my own iOS and web projects, and doing consulting.

Most of your readers would know me best for my word reference app Terminology, and for my newer apps Drafts and Phraseology. While I, sadly, am not a great writer myself, I’ve always had a great love of language and writing and I try to focus on producing simple and useful tools to writers (or anyone else using text and words) that exploit some of the interesting possibilities of the iPad and iPhone.

When I’m not working on my apps, I do Ruby on Rails development – primarily, a Texas-based science curriculum resource that serves K–12 schools. This is also an exciting project that is on the cutting edge of the move to replace traditional textbooks with online resources. Read more

MacStories Interviews: Gus Mueller

In our ongoing series of interviews with developers and creators in the Apple community, I had the chance to talk with Gus Mueller, founder and programmer at Flying Meat. You may know Gus because it makes two of the finest Mac apps – Acorn, an image editor, and VoodooPad, a note-taking and wiki app. Gus tweets as @ccgus.

The interview below was conducted between May 5 and December 15, 2012.

Federico Viticci: Hey Gus! Could you introduce yourself to the readers who haven’t heard about you or haven’t tried any of your apps before?

Gus Mueller: Hello!

I’m Gus Mueller, and I’m the founder/programmer for Flying Meat Inc, which makes software for the Mac. These days my most known application is Acorn “The image editor for humans”, but before that I was mostly known for my desktop wiki VoodooPad. I also have a couple of other minor projects – JSTalk, FMDB, and a handful of open source libraries that are popular. Read more

A Conversation With Loren Brichter

Following my review of Letterpress, I sat down with Loren Brichter to chat about his latest effort, developing for iOS, other mobile platforms, and spitting into microphones. In reality, I was still in Italy and our interview was conducted on Skype, but Loren says the part about spitting was real.

Federico: Hey Loren, thanks for chatting with me today. Firstly, so we can get this out of the way: why a game?

Loren Brichter: When I left Twitter I started working on a whole slew of projects that I hadn’t had time to work on since Tweetie took off.

One of them was a game (not Letterpress), which was a testbed for some graphics ideas I was kicking around. It was pretty close to finished, just needed some more polish and content. But around that time I went out to dinner with my wife, and while we were waiting for a table, we were both playing this other (totally awesome) word game called SpellTower. But it was single player only, and I figured I could try my hand at a multiplayer word game. So I dropped the first game, and made this instead. Read more

Behind The App: MoneyWiz

Early this year, I set out to find an iPad app that I could enjoy using to manage my finances. After a couple of days of looking, I settled upon MoneyWiz from the developer SilverWiz. Its developers describe it as “beautiful, powerful and easy to use”, and having stuck with the app since late January I’m inclined to agree. In my reviews of the iPad and Mac versions my overall take was mostly positive (there is also an iPhone version, but that I have yet to use).

After exchanging a few emails with Iliya Yordanov, the founder of SilverWiz, I thought it would be interesting to have a Q&A with him and learn a bit more about the app, similar to what we’ve done in previous interviews here on MacStories, but this time, I decided to change things up a bit. For this interview I’ve assembled all the various stories about MoneyWiz and the SilverWiz company that Iliya shared with me into a single story that (hopefully) gives you a fascinating and unique look behind the app and company.

Disclaimer: At the time of publication SilverWiz is one of the advertisers on MacStories; however, this article was in the works before the campaign began. Advertising on MacStories is not handled by editors but by BackBeatMedia, and has no relation to editorial content whatsoever.

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Interview: Justin Williams

In our ongoing series of interviews with developers and creators in the Apple community, I recently had the chance to talk with Justin Williams, the founder of Second Gear and developer of Today, Elements, and MarkdownMail. When he’s not busy developing new features for his apps or sketching out ideas, Justin also writes his personal weblog at carpeaqua. You can follow him on Twitter as @justin. The interview below was conducted between January 18 and April 19.

MacStories: Hey Justin! Could you introduce yourself to the readers who haven’t heard about you or haven’t tried any of your apps before?

Justin Williams: I’m Justin Williams. I’m the Crew Chief and lead developer at Second Gear. You may or may not have heard of our products:

  1. Elements — the original Dropbox syncing Markdown text editor for iOS.
  2. MarkdownMail — A quick and easy way to send HTML emails on your iOS device written in Markdown syntax.
  3. Today — A daily calendar app for Mac OS X.

I also write about technology and user experience at and post bad jokes on Twitter at @justin. Read more

Interview: Tapbots’ Paul Haddad Talks Tweetbot for iPad Launch

Following yesterday’s release of Tweetbot 2.0 for iPhone and Tweetbot for iPad (our reviews here and here, more coverage here), I was able to chat with Tapbots’ co-founder Paul Haddad (@tapbot_paul) about the launch of their first “real” iPad app, the reception of Tweetbot 2.0 for iPhone, and the iPad App Store.

Check out the interview below.

MCSTR: Hi Paul, congratulations again on the launch of Tweetbot 2.0 and Tweetbot for iPad. So how did yesterday go in terms of sales? Was the launch as successful as you hoped?

PH: Yeah I was surprised we hit #1 in the iPad App Store so fast, I was hoping we’d hit it at some point but wasn’t expecting it to happen in 8 hours. It was pretty fast – the Top Paid is a moving average over what I think is 3 days, so to do it in less than one is pretty amazing.

MCSTR: I mean, it’s not easy for a social networking app priced at $2.99 to get the first spot over games and utilities (most of them sold at $0.99), right?

PH: At least in the US I think the iPad market is certainly different than iPhone, not as heavily skewed towards the $.99 games/apps.

MCSTR: Do you think with the current number of downloads you can stay on #1 for many days?

PH: I hope so, but don’t really have any idea. The iPad App Store is virgin territory for us so we don’t have many set expectations both in the short and long term.

I will say that yesterday was our second biggest day ever in terms of revenue.

MCSTR: Nice. I guess your biggest day ever was Tweetbot for iPhone launch? Or perhaps that Tweetbot sale you had last year?

PH: Tweetbot for iPhone launch was the biggest day, but that was also a full day Vs more or less a half day, so who knows what will happen today.

MCSTR: Yeah, it seems you guys are still #1 in the US Store, so that’s promising. Besides the rave reviews, how has general reception been?

PH: Surprisingly good. It’s really hard to gauge these things pre-launch and we’re too close to the app to really get a feel for what other people will think of it. There certainly was a concern that people would dislike the idea of it being a separate app. But there have been very few complaints about that.

Since it was our first large iPad app, I was also worried that people would feel our style wouldn’t translate well on the device. But again – overwhelmingly positive responses.

MCSTR: How about Tweetbot 2.0? Obviously the iPad launch was bigger because it was a completely new app, but Tweetbot 2.0 is pretty sweet too.

PH: It was really cool to be able to do both at the same time. I think Tweetbot 2.0 answers a lot of the criticisms folks have had with the app, while still making it feel like Tweetbot. I’m really happy that we were able to make it look and perform better at the same time.

MCSTR: The obvious question is – now that we have two Tweetbots, will we get to see some sort of iCloud integration between them?

PH: We don’t generally talk about future features because we don’t really know how long things will take, or even if things are possible. I will say it’s one of the things we are looking at.

MCSTR: Sounds good. Last question: Is there anything you would have done differently in Tweetbot 1.0 for iPad?

PH: I’m really happy with the way Tweetbot 1.0 came out. We actually have a very strong set of features planned out for the near future that will make it even cooler. But 1.0 is exactly what we wanted it to be, the best Twitter app for iPad and a solid base to grow from.

MacStories Interviews: Dave Caolo, Author of “Using Your iPad as a Business Productivity Tool”

If you live in a corporate environment these days, chances are your employer has given you an iPad to try out. It is no secret that hundreds of companies are piloting or deploying iPads and iPhones, but when it comes to a machine that’s less than a year old and has created a new category of portable computing, trying to make it fit in your daily workflow can become a problem. What apps do I need to install? What about email settings? What’s the best way to manage my calendar? And Exchange?

Author Dave Caolo provides answers to these questions in his first book “Using Your iPad as a Business Productivity Tool”. The book is available now in the iBookstore for iPad at $5.99, but you can also pre-order it for your Kindle on Amazon. We had the chance to chat with Dave about the background of this book, and why he decided to focus on the iPad, a relatively young device for a business audience.

So head after the break for the full interview, and go download the book for your iPad here. Read more