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Posts in reviews

Review: Yoink Adds Support for Latest Mojave and iOS 12 Features

Yoink is the app I use on my Mac every day as a temporary spot to park files, snippets of text, images, and URLs. By itself, Yoink for Mac has been a fantastic time-saver. The latest updates to Yoink for iOS and the Mac, however, have been transformative. There's more that can be done to support the cross-platform use of Yoink, but Handoff support, which makes it simple to move data between my Mac and iOS devices, and several other new features have already added a new dimension to the way I use the app and embedded it deeper into my day-to-day workflow than ever before.

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OmniFocus 3 for Mac: Multiple Tags, Enhanced Forecast, Powerful Perspectives

I, like probably many of you, struggle to remember essential things. I can remember that the fire alarm went off last Tuesday at 11:07 AM, but essential things like what I need to finish for the next episode of Automators don't seem to stick in my head. Thankfully, I'm not alone! Many of us are on a constant quest, looking for the perfect task management system. Everyone has different requirements, and even if we did all use the same system, we'd use it differently.

Finding the perfect task management system can feel like a hunt for the mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – everyone has a different idea of how to get there, and lots of ideas for using the gold, but a solid plan and utilisation of the system at hand is missing. No task manager can or will work for everyone, nor should it, but one thing we are not short on in today's world is choice. It can be mind-bogglingly overwhelming trying to choose a system, and once you've made it that far, you then have to decide how to use your system. But the simple fact that we have choices is good news – everyone can choose which app to use, how to use it, and even when to use it.

I was once disorganised, continually missing deadlines, and had no idea what was going on. Thankfully after reading what felt like everything available on the Internet on the subject, I found out how to manage tasks well, and more importantly, I found what I needed to know to become organised. One task manager constantly kept cropping up as the recommended solution, and so after that long ago free trial I purchased OmniFocus 2 – and started to get to grips with it. I've adjusted my setup many times over the years – I started using OmniFocus when I was a teaching assistant living in Germany, and I used it when I went back and finished my degree, while I was a teacher, and now I use it as a programmer and a writer/podcaster. My setup and usage has evolved over the years to better work with my changing life and needs, like any good task management system should.

I share all this as introduction for the news that OmniFocus 3 for Mac has arrived, and with many new features. OmniFocus was the first task management system I found that really suited my needs, with all the power and flexibility I wanted, and the latest version has been put through its paces quite thoroughly by myself and other beta testers to make sure it lives up to the reputation OmniFocus has gained over the years. In terms of what's new, in version 3 we now have multiple tags instead of a single context, extra powerful perspectives, customisable repeats, and a new look to polish the whole application off.

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HomeCam 1.5 Adds Shortcuts to View Live HomeKit Camera Feeds in Siri, Search, and the Shortcuts App

I previously covered HomeCam, a HomeKit utility by indie developer Aaron Pearce, as a superior way to watch live video streams from multiple HomeKit cameras. In addition to a clean design and straightforward approach (your cameras are displayed in a grid), what set HomeCam apart was the ability to view information from other HomeKit accessories located in the same room of a camera and control nearby lights without leaving the camera UI. Compared to Apple's approach to opening cameras in the clunky Home app, HomeCam is a nimble, must-have utility for anyone who owns multiple HomeKit cameras and wants to tune into their video feeds quickly. With the release of iOS 12, HomeCam is gaining one of the most impressive and useful implementations of Siri shortcuts I've seen on the platform yet.

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LookUp 5 Teaches Siri the Word of the Day and More via Shortcuts

We all know that it's important to regularly learn new things, but often the busyness of life crowds out that learning and we settle into routines that make learning unnecessary. Fortunately, one of the things made possible by iOS 12 and the new Shortcuts app is that you can create your own custom "routines" of sorts with the help of Siri, and integrate daily learning into those routines.

In that vein, the excellent dictionary app LookUp was updated this week to version 5, which takes advantage of Siri shortcuts in iOS 12 to offer access to the word of the day via Siri. The update also brings a new Collections feature, additional shortcut options, and more.

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1Password Extends into the iOS QuickType Keyboard with Password AutoFill

This year's WWDC must have been a wild roller coaster ride for 1Password's developers, Agile Bits. Anxieties were surely at a high as Apple shared news of iCloud Keychain's expanded capabilities in iOS 12 – the system now offers seamless new password creation, security code AutoFill, and more. Those segments seemed to signal Apple's intent to make third-party apps like 1Password unnecessary for most users. Yet not long after Apple's Keychain announcements, a new API was discovered that told an entirely different story. As I wrote in my iOS 12 overview earlier this summer:

One advantage Apple's own iCloud Keychain has had over third-party password managers like 1Password is that it can populate relevant account info inside the QuickType keyboard. That level of convenience is hard to beat, no matter how much more full-featured third-party apps may be. Fortunately, in iOS 12 a new Password Manager API will enable the same type of feature to be adopted by third parties.

The team at Agile Bits wasted no time getting to work implementing this Password Manager API, and it's launching today in 1Password alongside iOS 12.

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Overcast 5: Redesigned Now Playing Screen, Search, Siri Media Shortcuts, and More

Overcast, Marco Arment's popular podcast client for iPhone and iPad, received a major update today to version 5. While I've long praised Apple's work on their built-in Podcasts app for iOS – particularly since getting three HomePods and leveraging Podcasts' support for AirPlay 2 – I also recognize the appeal of Overcast's advanced features and powerful audio effects. Sprinkled throughout Overcast's release history are design details and enhancements big and small that make it a sophisticated, versatile client for podcast aficionados who don't want to settle for a stock app. From this standpoint, despite welcome improvements to Podcasts in iOS 12, changes in Overcast 5 make it an even more attractive option that has caused me second-guess my decision to embrace Apple's native app.

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tvOS 12: The MacStories Review

tvOS 12 is available today, the latest major software version for the Apple TV. tvOS releases are never as significant as those found on Apple's other platforms, and that remains true this year; however, tvOS 12 does include a handful of new features that have the potential to truly improve the Apple TV experience on a daily basis. Improvements include upgrades to aerial screensavers, Dolby Atmos support, an easier way to enter passwords, and more. Let's dive in.

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When CARROT Met Siri: Shortcuts and Siri Watch Face Support Added to CARROT Weather

One of the big themes of Apple's software releases this fall is the opening up of Siri. With day one adoption of both Siri shortcuts and Siri face integration on the Apple Watch, CARROT Weather makes for a wonderful demonstration of how valuable this new, extended Siri can be in all its various forms. Finally, Siri can provide weather data from sources besides the first-party app, both through the standard voice interface and, to my delight, on the Siri watch face. And CARROT Weather takes great advantage of both new capabilities.

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