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MacStadium: Hosting Solutions for Apple Mac Infrastructure [Sponsor]

MacStadium is the premier Mac hosting company that provides dedicated Mac hardware and private cloud services. They have multiple data centers where your hardware is secure, always available, and supported by a team of Mac experts.

The ways you can use a Mac mini server are only limited by your imagination. For example, developers from small indie shops to some of the biggest companies in the world use MacStadium minis as build servers. With Xcode 9, it’s easy to set up an Xcode Server bot to handle your builds.

A Mac mini server is also a fantastic option for hosting a website. MacStories has run on a Mac mini at MacStadium for years, and it's always been fast and reliable.

MacStadium’s servers work great with tools like Transmit, Sendy, Yourls, for storing files, sending email newsletters, and shortening URLs. You can even create a private Dropbox-like service with ownCloud and bill clients with tools like Pancake. Those are just a few of the possibilities available when you use a Mac mini server.

The folks at MacStadium are running a special promotion for MacStories readers who want to try a Mac mini server for themselves. You can trial a Mac mini server in their data center for a full month at no cost. Sign up to rent a Mac mini using coupon code “MACSTORIES,” and you’ll be all set.

You can check out the details here.

Our thanks to MacStadium for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Serenity Caldwell’s 2018 iPad Review

Serenity Caldwell, writing on iMore:

To me, the 2018 base-model 9.7-inch iPad is a special beast: It hits a line drive right through the company's fabled intersection of technology and liberal arts — and at the right price point. The iPad Pro did it first, but at a cost unattainable for all but the tinkerers and serious artists, and without iOS 11's crucial multitasking features. At $329, the iPad offers a low-end tablet experience unlike any other on the market. Add an extra $99 for Apple Pencil, and Apple has created the best device for all-purpose education, period.

But it's easy to make that claim, and a whole other thing to explain why I believe it so whole-heartedly. As a result, I decided to try and prove it: Starting with a blank page in Procreate, I created an entire iPad review video by just using my 2018 iPad, Apple Pencil, and third-party apps. My Mac came into play only once — when I uploaded my video to YouTube.

I know what you're thinking – the new iPad is "boring" compared to the iPad Pro and you don't need to watch another video about it. But trust me, you'll want to watch Serenity's review because it's unlike anything you've seen for a new iPad. Only Serenity could put this together – including the music, which she composed in GarageBand; everything was drawn, assembled, and edited on a "boring" 2018 iPad. You can watch the video below and read Serenity's technical notes here.

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Connected, Episode 188: A Better Thing Than a No Thing

Apple has launched a (kinda) new iPhone, discussed the Mac Pro and saved the world. Big week!

A variety of topics on this week’s episode of Connected, including a discussion on what “pro” means on different platforms. You can listen here.

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Eventail 2.2: A Compact and Customizable Calendar Widget

Eventail, developed by Jozef Legeny, is a handy utility for visualizing upcoming calendar events in a widget. Instead of building an alternative client to compete with Apple's Calendar app, Fantastical, or Week Calendar, Legeny created just a widget that you can use as a companion app alongside the calendar client of your choice.

Eventail has been updated to version 2.2 today, which brings a new vivid color scheme for events, a true black theme for the iPhone X, and other visual tweaks. I've been testing the updated app for a couple of weeks and I liked it so much, it's now got a spot at the top of my widget list on both the iPhone and iPad. In a compact and customizable widget, Eventail tells me everything I need to know from my calendar at a glance: which days are going to be busy and the time of my first appointment. There's a fair amount of personalization that you can apply in the app's settings (the app itself – pictured above – is a list of preferences): you can choose the number of days to display, whether you want to highlight weekends or not, and even if you want to display reminders alongside calendar events. Then, once you're looking at the widget, you can tap individual days to expand them and tap again to go back to the main column view. It couldn't be simpler.

Eventail's widget will not scale for busy individuals who have dozens of events going on each day. However, as someone with only a couple of appointments on a daily basis, I find Eventail's approach to be good enough for my needs and pretty to look at. I'm still using Week Calendar as my primary iPhone calendar client, but I now frequently open the Eventail widget when I need to know what my week looks like in a couple of seconds.

Eventail 2.2 is available on the App Store.


The Power Macintosh G3 All-in-One: Function Over Form

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the iMac, the all-in-one that saved Apple and radically changed the consumer technology landscape.

Any nerd in their 20s or 30s probably remembers seeing one those colorful, curvy iMacs in school growing up. Their friendly design and relatively low cost – for a 90s Mac, at least – made them a staple in education for years.

I certainly saw and used my fair share of them in middle and high school, but I also got to experience the iMac G3's weird older sibling, the Power Macintosh G3 All-in-One.

Yeah, the one that looks kind of like a big tooth.

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11 Tips for Working on the iPad

In a recent episode of Connected, we rounded up some of our favorite "iOS little wonders" and Myke was surprised by one of my picks: the ability to launch individual notes on iOS through shared links. The ensuing discussion inspired me to assemble a list of tips and tricks to improve how you can work on an iPad with iOS 11.

Even though I covered or mentioned some of these suggestions in my iOS 11 review or podcast segments before, I realized that it would useful to explain them in detail again for those who missed them. From keyboard recommendations and shortcuts to gestures and Siri, I've tried to remember all the little tricks I use to get work done on my iPad Pro on a daily basis.

After several years of being iPad-only for the majority of my work, I often take some of these features for granted. And admittedly, Apple doesn't always do a great job at teaching users about these lesser known details, which have become especially important after the productivity-focused iPad update in iOS 11. I hope this collection can be useful for those who haven't yet explored the fascinating world of iPad productivity.

Let's dig in.

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The MacSparky iPhone Field Guide is Available Now

David Sparks has a knack for breaking down big topics and making them approachable with his series of MacSparky Field Guides. His latest book, the iPhone Field Guide, covers everything iPhone-related. The guide is Sparks’ most ambitious work yet, coming in at 450 pages with over 50 screencasts.

The raw numbers are only part of the story though. New iPhone owners will appreciate Sparks’ coverage of the basics and Apple’s stock apps, but there’s a lot here for more experienced iPhone users too. The book is full of short tutorials and app recommendations to help all users get more out of their iPhones. I especially like that many of the screencasts focus on third-party apps, which is a great way for readers to get a feel for them before deciding to download.

The iPhone Field Guide is a fantastic reference that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone who wants to take their iPhone and iOS use to the next level. Skimming through the book, I found many MacStories favorites among the apps covered, and having them all available in a beautifully-designed, interactive iBook makes picking out new apps a pleasure.

The MacSparky iPhone Field Guide is available on the iBooks Store for an introductory price of $19.99, which will increase at a later date.


If iPads Were Meant for Kids

Speaking of Apple and iOS parental controls, this is a must-read article by Dave DeLong that explains all the problems he ran into after giving iPads to his kids:

If iPads were meant for kids, then there would be a way to limit how long they can use an iPad. They’d get reminders when they have 15 … 10 … 5 … 1 minute left of usage time, and then the device would lock and they wouldn’t be able to get back in without the parental passcode.

If iPads were meant for kids, then there would be a way to make the iPad turn off when it’s bed time and not turn on again until morning. Because my son likes to sneak in to our room and take his iPad back from wherever we’ve stashed it, and then stay up until nearly midnight playing Angry Birds.

If iPads were meant for kids, then there would be a way to turn off/hide all their games when they’re supposed to be doing their homework. But you can’t “hide” apps without straight-up deleting them. And all of the remote management systems out there that allow this require device supervision (and not just MDM) and are a complete pain to set up and administer.

There are several other examples in DeLong's post. I hope someone at Apple reads DeLong's story and asks their team whether they're doing enough for parents.

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