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AppStories, Episode 13 – Interview: Rehearsal Pro with David H. Lawrence XVII

On this week's episode of AppStories, we chat with actor David H. Lawrence XVII about his app Rehearsal Pro, which helps actors rehearse for parts, the intersection of the performing arts and apps, how David's experience as an actor has helped his app find a large following among other professional actors, and how some of the app’s more famous users have become its best marketing.

Sponsored by:

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    • Set up a free Trails account and email Trails support with the subject 'AppStories' for a free month of Trails Pro service.
  • Big Keys - Finally, an iOS keyboard and emoji you can see.
    • On sale for $0.99 for this week only.
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Fantastical 2.4 for Mac Brings Travel Time, Attachment Support, and More

Today the team at Flexibits launched Fantastical 2.4 for Mac, and it is a release packed full of improvements. There’s nothing revolutionary here, but the changes make an already excellent calendar app even better.

Travel Time

A long-requested feature, Fantastical now includes travel time as an option when setting event alerts. No longer do you need to provide a fixed alert time for each event – though that option still remains – because the travel time option will select an alert time that’s tailored to each event and the distance you’ll have to travel to get there, plus a few minutes of cushion.

Attachments

File attachments are now supported for events in Fantastical, with some stipulations. If you have an iCloud, Exchange, or other supported CalDAV-powered calendar, the full range of attachment powers will be at your disposal. With events on those types of calendars you can add, remove, and view attachments. If your calendar is Google-based, you still won’t be able to add or remove attachments directly from Fantastical, but you can view any attachments already present.

Month View

The popular month view in Fantastical has received two significant improvements. One is that if a day contains so many events that they won’t all fit, you can now click the ‘more’ button at the bottom of that day and the hidden events will pop out. When they pop out, they temporarily cover a portion of the day underneath so you can view all the day’s events in the same view. The second improvement is that you can now customize the number of weeks that are displayed at once, ranging from two on the low end to eight on the high end. This is a much-appreciated feature for tailoring the calendar to your personal needs – if you like plenty of breathing room for your events, you can display a smaller number of weeks, whereas if you want to pack a ton of information onscreen, now you can do that too.

Miscellany

Combined Duplicate Events: When you manage a variety of different calendars, including some that may be shared with family members or coworkers, your calendar app can quickly get clogged up with duplicate listings for the same event across those shared calendars. For example, if my wife and I are attending a wedding, which of us puts that on our calendar? Probably both of us, because we’ll both be attending. But Fantastical now condenses those duplicate events so they’re displayed as a single event only, reducing the visual clutter of your calendar while ensuring everyone keeps events on their own calendars as needed. For those who may not like this approach to duplicate events, you can turn it off in the app’s preferences.

Invitation Improvements: Google calendars have received three improvements in the area of invitations. Now you can add a customized message with your invitation response, and you can also view other people’s messages by hovering over their names on the invitation. Lastly, if an invitee is bringing guests with them, you can now see that information as a +1 to their response (or whatever the correct number is). With Exchange calendars there are two small updates to invitations: you can now forward invitations to other Exchange users, and you can respond to invitations without notifying the sender.

Undo and Redo: If you add, remove, or edit an event or reminder and wish to take that action back, now you can thanks to built-in support for undo and redo.

Push Updates for Facebook Events: Whenever a Facebook event has its information updated, or you first confirm that you’ll be attending a Facebook event, those changes are now pushed immediately to Fantastical.


Fantastical was already one of the most powerful, customizable calendar apps on the market, but the improvements in today’s update offer even more in the areas of power and flexibility.

Fantastical 2.4 is available on the Mac App Store and a trial version is available directly from Flexibits.


OmniGraffle 3.0 Brings the Power of Its macOS Counterpart to iOS

OmniGraffle got a major upgrade on macOS last fall, and now, it’s the iOS version’s turn. Today, The Omni Group released OmniGraffle Standard and Pro 3.0 for iOS. What I said in my review of OmniGraffle 7 for macOS is equally true for its iOS equivalent:

…the power of OmniGraffle lies as much in the flexibility of its tools as anything else. By giving users the ability to tweak virtually any property of a shape, line, or other graphic element on its canvas, OmniGraffle works equally well for prototyping an iPhone app as it does for laying out an addition to your house or creating a corporate organization chart.

The iOS version of OmniGraffle adopts the paneled design found on the Mac, which should make fans of that version feel right at home with the update. The app also brings the iOS version in line with the core functionality of the macOS version including features like artboards.

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PayPal is Rolling Out to the App Store, Apple Music, iTunes, and iBooks

PayPal announced that its payment service is coming to the App Store, Apple Music, iTunes, and iBooks on iOS devices and Macs today, starting in Canada and Mexico with the US and other countries to follow soon. Setting up PayPal works the same as adding a credit card:

Paying with PayPal is simple. Customers with a new or existing Apple ID can select “PayPal” as their payment method from their account settings in the App Store, Apple Music, iTunes [and iBooks] from their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac, or on iTunes from their PC.

After PayPal is enabled, purchases from the selected Apple ID will be made from the customer’s PayPal account.

Adding PayPal should expand the universe of customers making purchases from Apple’s stores by creating an alternative for people who don’t have or don’t want to use a credit card.

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Mindscope Review

The first thing that came to mind when I saw Mindscope for iOS was Literature and Latte’s Scapple for macOS. Both apps are designed to get text onto a screen in a way that is easily manipulated and organized with as little fussing with formatting as possible. John Goering, the developer of Mindscope, describes the app as a magnet board for your brain. That’s a good description as far as it goes, but it doesn’t entirely capture what is possible with his app. With wiki-like cross-links and the hierarchical depth of an outliner, Mindscope offers a dimensionality to organizing text that isn’t possible with tools like Scapple.

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Game Day: Poly Bridge

It’s a good bet that I’ve stumbled onto a great game when it gets in the way of finishing the review. That’s been the case with Poly Bridge, a physics-based puzzle game with simulator elements that sucks me in for long stretches every time I launch it.

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Softorino YouTube Converter 2 Makes Downloading Streaming Video Effortless

There are few macOS utilities I’ve tried that take a potentially complex, multi-step process and boil it down to a simple task as well as Softorino YouTube Converter 2 does. That’s because it’s a difficult technical and design challenge to hide complexity without creating an inflexible app with too many compromises. Softorino YouTube Converter, also known as SYC, does an excellent job avoiding the pitfalls and striking a balance between utility and simplicity. It only takes a few steps to go from a URL to a downloaded video or audio file, but SYC still allows for just enough tweaking along the way that it preserves a level of versatility that should make it attractive to a wide range of users.

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‘Nintendo Switch Online’ App Arriving on iOS Soon

Juli Clover writes for MacRumors about the upcoming release of Nintendo’s previously announced iOS app, which will serve as a companion to the Nintendo Switch:

During a Nintendo Direct event this morning, Nintendo announced plans to release a new "Nintendo Switch Online" app on July 21, the release date for Splatoon 2. According to Nintendo, the Nintendo Switch Online app, available for iOS and Android, is designed to "enhance your online experience for compatible games on the Nintendo Switch console."

At launch, the only game compatible with the Nintendo Switch Online app will be Splatoon 2. The app will let users voice chat with friends, invite people to online matches, create teams, and access SplatNet 2. SplatNet2 offers up online play statistics and info on upcoming game features.

At launch all components of the new app will be free for all users, but it’s unclear how long that will last. Nintendo has stated that from some point in 2018 and beyond, its online service for the Nintendo Switch will cost $19.99 per year or $3.99 per month, and there has been no clarification to this point on which aspects of the companion app might be tied to that paid service.

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