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Posts tagged with "utility"

Warp: A Simple, Keyboard-Driven Mac Utility for Saving Window Setups

One of the cornerstone features coming to macOS Ventura this fall is Stage Manager, which lets you create sets of multiple apps, decluttering your desktop without a lot of fiddling. In my limited use so far, I’m optimistic about Stage Manager’s future as a way to manage apps, but it’s not for everyone, which is fine because there are so many other ways to manage windows on a Mac.

There are other utilities available for arranging windows on your desktop and saving those configurations. For window placement, I use Magnet. I love that the app can be driven entirely by keyboard shortcuts but is also always available in my Mac’s menu bar.

However, for some reason, utilities for saving the window configurations I create with Magnet have never stuck as part of my workflow. With Stage Manager on my mind recently, though, I thought I’d give a new app called Warp a try.

I like the way Warp previews layouts in its preferences.

I like the way Warp previews layouts in its preferences.

Warp is the creation of Mike Choi, who released Juice, a macOS Bluetooth device manager that I covered in 2019. I’ve only been using Warp for a few days, but it has already fit neatly into my Mac workflow because it’s a simple, keyboard-driven utility that scratches the same sort of itch as Magnet.

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Grocery 3.0 Introduces App-Wide Redesign and New Inventory Features

It’s been fun to watch Grocery by Conrad Stoll evolve over the years. The app started as a relatively simple shopping list app on the iPhone but has transformed into something much deeper. Today, Grocery is available on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch and offers a comprehensive feature set that also covers meal planning, recipes, and inventory tracking. This week’s release of version 3.0 of Grocery takes the app’s formula further with a fresh, modern design, tighter integration between inventory management and shopping lists, and other new inventory features for better tracking of what you have on hand. It’s an excellent update that takes advantage of the latest features of Apple’s OSes to offer a broad-based approach to grocery shopping.

I’m going to focus this review on what’s new in Grocery 3.0, but you can read more about the app’s core features in my past reviews.

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WaterMinder 5.1 Delivers a Ground-Up Redesign of Its Apple Watch App and More

Today, there are a lot of apps that track hydration, but for me, the standard-bearer for the category has always been and remains WaterMinder by Funn Media. The app has evolved a lot since we first covered it in 2016, but what hasn’t changed is its emphasis on fast data entry, a clear, easy-to-use interface, and the adoption of the latest Apple technologies. With version 5.1, the WaterMinder watchOS app has been rebuilt from the ground up using SwiftUI. A handful of other nice additions have found their way into the iPhone and iPad apps too.

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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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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: Getting a Handle on Links By Treating Them Like Email

Editor’s Note: Getting a Handle on Links By Treating Them Like Email 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 link problem for a long time. Links accumulate everywhere: in Messages, mail clients, text files, Discord, Trello, research tools, and elsewhere else imaginable. If they weren’t digital, I’m sure I’d be tripping over links on my way to the kitchen for breakfast each morning.

Part of my problem is an occupational hazard. Links to apps, articles I may want to link on MacStories, images on our CDN, podcast episodes uploaded for publication, and materials from advertisers are just a small sampling of the links I deal with every day.

But links are part of everyone’s lives. Friends and family send us links to things to read, videos to watch, itineraries for trips, and a lot more. Companies send us links to things we buy online and deals we want to check out. Most of all, though, there are the many links we collect ourselves throughout our day. The Internet touches every aspect of our lives, which means links permeate every corner of our days, yet links are collected, organized, and processed haphazardly on an ad hoc basis by most of us.

Over the holidays, I sat down to think about links and how I deal with them. It didn’t take long to realize that thinking about links in the abstract is about as useful as thinking about email messages and tasks. The trouble is that links can represent almost anything from a short video that will take two minutes to watch to an expensive purchase that you will need hours to research. They vary widely in importance, the attention required to deal with them, and relevancy. As a result, it doesn’t do you much good to treat links without also considering what they represent.

Leaving links locked inside the app where you found them isn’t much use either. I’d never considered that links could benefit from a more structured processing approach like email or tasks, but having just reorganized my approach to email, I realized that they absolutely can. The trick is to keep the system lightweight and flexible and to be willing to delete most of your links to avoid clutter.

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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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CARROT Weather 5.4: XL Widgets, Time Sensitive Notifications, Complication Customization, Themes, Icons, and More

Last week, Brian Mueller released CARROT Weather 5.4 alongside the iOS and iPadOS update. The update takes advantage of new iOS and iPadOS 15 features and continues to put more control in the hands of users with new customization options, themes, and icons.

CARROT Weather’s new XL widgets.

CARROT Weather’s new XL widgets.

CARROT Weather 5.4 takes advantage of the new XL widgets in iPadOS 15 and the time sensitive notifications on both platforms. On the iPad, CARROT Weather now offers XL Maps and Forecast widgets. The added space allows the XL Maps widget to show weather maps for a wide geographic area. For me here in the Chicago area, that means I can see weather conditions for a big chunk of Illinois as well as parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, an area covering about 500 miles from east to west and 200 miles north and south.

The XL Forecast widget is big enough to include the:

  • Current conditions
  • High and low temperatures for the day
  • Wind speed and direction
  • Chance of precipitation
  • Sunrise or sunset times
  • Moon phase
  • An hourly forecast for the next 10 hours
  • A 7-day forecast

With just one widget, you’ve got all the information that most people want in one place without even opening CARROT Weather.

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