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Logger Is the Missing Console for Shortcuts Power Users

Logger for Shortcuts.

Logger for Shortcuts.

Indie developer Alex Hay has long pushed the boundaries of what third-party developers can build with the SiriKit framework and Shortcuts integrations on Apple platforms.

In late 2019, his Toolbox Pro app redefined what it means to complement Apple’s Shortcuts app with additional actions, creating an entirely new sub-genre of headless utilities designed to provide additional actions with configurable parameters. Recently, Hay introduced Nautomate, another utility that provides users with Shortcuts actions to integrate with the Notion API without having to write a single line of code. And today, Hay is launching Logger, another Shortcuts-compatible app that is similar to his previous ones, but with a twist: rather than adding actions for external services or apps such as Apple Music and Notion, Logger offers actions to create the troubleshooting console that has always been missing from Shortcuts.

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Nintendo Switch Online 2.0 Gets a Redesign and Adds a Few New Features

Since it debuted, Nintendo Switch Online’s utility has been primarily limited to initiating voice chats and other online features in the Switch games that support them. That’s still the core of version 2.0, but the app has been redesigned and adds a couple of nice new features.

The new design divides the screen into a scrolling row of friends along the top, thumbnails of the games you own that support online services, like Animal Crossing, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, and Splatoon 2, and the app’s Voice Chat feature. It’s a simple, good-looking design, but the abundance of blank space, if you’re not using voice chat, reveals just how little else the app has to offer.

Tapping on a friend's Mii shows you what they're playing or when they were last online.

Tapping on a friend’s Mii shows you what they’re playing or when they were last online.

The row of friends indicates who is currently online and who you’ve marked as a ‘Best Friend,’ which pins their Mii avatars to the beginning of your friends list. Tapping on a Mii shows you what someone who is online is playing or when they were last online. The game-specific thumbnails act as launchers for each game’s service, and voice chat is only activated if you first start a game on the Switch in a mode that supports it.

Nintendo Switch Online walks you through the process of starting a voice chat and lets you manage your visibility to friends.

Nintendo Switch Online walks you through the process of starting a voice chat and lets you manage your visibility to friends.

A small but welcome touch is the ability to copy your friend code in the app’s settings. Previously you had to grab your Switch, dig into your profile, and manually copy the information if you wanted to send it to someone. Personally, that’s been a huge drag on how often I share my friend code, so I appreciate the change.

It’s good to see Nintendo Switch Online updated, but it’s still a little disheartening to think that it took the company five years to get to a version 2.0 with such modest feature additions. Still, the update is an improvement, and hopefully, it’s also a sign that Nintendo is prepared to invest more time and effort into the app as a way to enhance the Switch experience.

Nintendo Switch Online is available as a free update on the App Store.


OutlineEdit 3 Offers a Fast, Keyboard-Driven Way to Outline Your Thoughts

One of my earliest MacStories reviews was of OutlineEdit 1.0, a Mac-only outlining app that caught my eye with its attention to the kind of details that are a must for creating carefully structured outlines quickly. Version 3.0 recently landed on the Mac App Store and at its core, OutlineEdit is just as capable as ever at effortlessly turning ideas into outlines. The changes introduced with version 3.0 include refinements to existing features, as well as a handful of new features that extend OutlineEdit’s capabilities. Let’s take a look.

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Obscura 3 Takes the App’s Design in a New Direction

I’ve been following Ben McCarthy’s journey with Obscura since the app first launched in 2015, watching the app as it has evolved alongside changes to Apple’s camera hardware. Camera apps pose unique design challenges, especially for camera apps like Obscura, which has consistently aimed to deliver pro features that can be used one-handed on an iPhone. Those challenges have only continued to multiply since I wrote about Obscura 2 and its innovative Control Wheel.

With Obscura 3, which is a brand new app, McCarthy and the Obscura team have taken a new direction with the app’s design that’s better suited for the capabilities of Apple’s modern camera hardware. It’s a direction that remains true to the app’s historical design aesthetic and user experience while making changes that I expect will provide greater flexibility to quickly adapt to future camera innovations.

I’m going to focus on Obscura 3’s design because I haven’t tested every possible combination of features the app offers. It’s winter in the Chicago area and not the best time for photo walks. Still, I’ve spent enough time with the app to know that the new design works well, allowing users to step through its myriad of features with ease, so let’s take a closer look.

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Play: A Fantastic Utility for Saving and Organizing YouTube Videos for Later

Today, Marcos Tanaka released Play, an iPhone, iPad, and Mac app for saving links to YouTube videos for later. The app doesn’t save the videos themselves. Instead, it saves their URLs, along with metadata, making it easy to organize, sort, filter, and rediscover videos that might otherwise fall by the wayside.

Play is an excellent example of how purpose-built apps often outshine more general solutions. There are many ways to save a YouTube video for later, from a bare URL pasted in a text file to a bookmarking or read later app. YouTube has its own solution, too, with its Watch Later playlist. Each solution I’ve tried in the past works to a degree, but by focusing solely on the experience of saving YouTube links for watching later, Play outshines them all.

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MacStories Starter Pack: The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1300 Is Perfect for Anyone Whose Paperless Workflow Still Starts with Paper

Fujitsu iX1300.

Fujitsu iX1300.

Editor’s Note: The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1300 Is Perfect for Anyone Whose Paperless Workflow Still Start with Paper is part of the MacStories Starter Pack, a collection of ready-to-use shortcuts, apps, workflows, and more that we’ve created to help you get the most out of your Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

I’ve had a couple of different Fujitsu scanners over the years. In the early days, I used my scanner a lot. It helped me cut down on the paper in my life, which was great. However, over time, I found myself using my scanner less and less as banking, taxes, bills, and other paper-heavy areas of life became increasingly digital. As time wore on, and I found myself rarely, if ever, turning to my library of scanned documents, I also realized I didn’t need to scan and keep as much as I’d thought.

So when Fujitsu sent me their latest ScanSnap iX1300 scanner to try, I was skeptical. I wondered if there was still a place for scanners in the home or whether the many excellent scanning apps available on the iPhone and iPad were good enough. For most people who don’t need to scan more than a few pages of paper ever so often, I think apps or a scanner built into a home printer are adequate. However, if you run a business with workflows that involve paper, you’re working from home in a paper-oriented industry, or you simply find yourself needing to digitize paper documents regularly for whatever other reason, the iX1300 is an excellent choice.

The S1300i is a little smaller, but as a practical matter, you need more space or yere will be paper all over your floor.

The S1300i is a little smaller, but as a practical matter, you need more space or yere will be paper all over your floor.

What’s fascinating to me about the ix 1300 is that it’s actually slightly bigger than the ScanSnap S1300i model that I already owned, but I would never have guessed it. That’s because the way the two scanners work is quite different, which makes a considerable difference in how much space they demand. However, that’s not the only edge the newer iX1300 has, so let’s take a closer look at what sets it apart from its predecessor.

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AirBuddy 2.5: A Refined Experience That Adds Shortcuts Integration and Other New Features

Today, Gui Rambo released version 2.5 of AirBuddy, his Mac menu bar app for connecting and managing wireless headphones and other devices. AirBuddy has come a long way from its origins as an app that simply connected AirPods and some Beats headphones with your Mac. The app still does that well, but as I wrote about AirBuddy 2.0, the app is a fantastic way to monitor the charge status of a wide variety of devices and hand their connections off from one Mac to another. With the latest version, the app’s core features are faster and more reliable, the UI has been refreshed with a Monterey-friendly design, and there are some excellent new features, too, so let’s dig in.

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