Introduced on July 12, 2002 NetNewsWire was the most popular RSS readers by 2005. It offered people custom feed views, downloading/opening podcasts, syncing feeds between devices, and a built-in browser. After a company acquired it in 2011 it ultimately shut down in 2015. Since then, the original developer Brent Simmons has control once again, and after releasing an updated version for macOS, NetNewsWire is now available for iOS and iPadOS. It’s free and open source. We also have an interview with Mr. Simmons where he talked about the app.
A nice little app I discovered lets you clear your Mac’s menu bar, which can get filled up with icons from various apps. It’s called Bartender and it’s on my list of must-have Mac apps. Bartender lets you hide any menu icon—even system icons—behind its own minimal icon. Just click Bartender’s icon and you’ll see all of the icons you’ve chosen to hide. It costs US$15 and it’s absolutely worth it given how cluttered the menu bar can become. You can try it free for four weeks to see if you like it or not, but trust me, you’ll like it.
Andrew created a shortcut to get app screenshots from the App Store in a higher quality than what it defaults to when you download them.
Andrew found four cloud services that let you torrent files on iPad. All of them have free accounts and with two you don’t need an account.
Writing for MacStories, Federico Viticci reviewed LaunchCuts, a launcher for shortcuts that can organize them into folders, gives you search filters, and more.
…LaunchCuts’ sole purpose is to offer an alternative view for your shortcut library with folders and powerful search filters. If you have less than 20 shortcuts installed on your iPhone or iPad, you’re likely not going to get much benefit out of LaunchCuts’ advanced organizational tools; but if you’re like me and use hundreds of different shortcuts on a regular basis, and especially if your library has grown out of control over the past few years, you’re going to need the assistance of LaunchCuts to make sense of it all.
App Store: US$7.99
Unclutter is a file, notes, and clipboard manager for macOS. To celebrate the new year the company is offering an app PowerPack bundle. You can buy all 11 apps for US$64 (normal value US$311) or buy individual apps for 50% off. It’s a great deal so be sure to check out the list.
Thoroughly hand-picked, it’s not just a collection of apps but rather a bunch of refined solutions to your everyday needs. Whether you work, create or just enjoy yourself, this mighty toolset will broaden the horizons of your Mac experience.
Typewise is a new keyboard that claims to reduce typos by 80% thanks to its hexagonal design. The developers invited me to test the app, and while there is a learning curve it does have a tutorial to follow. I haven’t given up the default keyboard though, but if you’re looking for an alternative I recommend you at least try Typewise out.
Typewise has been completely redesigned to provide an optimal typing experience on the smartphone. The layout was optimized for typing with two thumbs, because, according to the Cambridge study, 74% of users write this way and achieve the highest typing speed. Two space buttons placed in the middle of the keyboard allow these most frequently used keys to be reached as easily as possible.
Yesterday we learned how to customize Control Center in iOS. Now we’re going back to the same area to use the iOS magnifying glass.
iOS translator app Mate Translate is on sale for US$4.99 (down from US$9.99) and today the developers are releasing big features to the app: A Safari extension to translate web pages (located in the share sheet). It lets you translate words, sentences, or full pages without leaving Safari, a feat that was previously only available on macOS. Another new feature is offline mode: Just download offline packs for languages you need from the language picker and you’re good to go. Packs are reasonably-sized — each of them is just around 50 MB. Please note offline translation comes without synonyms and phonetic transcription. I’m told that the app is on sale until Monday. App Store: US$4.99
Every since I bought an iPad Pro I’ve been able to conduct most of my work and personal life on my iPad. But I still need my MacBook Pro for a couple things, like using Automator to batch-rename files (renaming multiple files simultaneously). This isn’t possible to do on iOS, until now. A shortcut I found on RoutineHub lets you do this. It lets you rename your files in custom formats, like alphabetically, prepending text, sorting by date modified, etc.
macOS Catalina dropped yesterday and some apps might not work with it. 32-bits apps aren’t supported but even 64-bit apps run into trouble.
Roman Loyola shares a tip for Apple users looking to upgrade: Creating a macOS Catalina bootable drive.
An external drive that you can use as an installer for macOS Catalina is a handy thing to have. If you have multple Macs to upgrade, it’s a lot more efficient to plug in the USB installer drive and run the installer than to log into the App Store, download the 6.5GB OS installer, and then run it.
32BitAppCheck is an app that scans for 32-bit apps on your Mac. It can help you prepare for macOS Catalina because this release will end support for 32-bit apps. It takes about 30 seconds to scan your computer (longer if you have hard drives plugged in). Once it’s finished it will present a list of all the 32-bit apps it found, which you can save as an .RTF file.
Information then collected in the app’s window begins with a list of 32-bit applications, followed by 32-bit preference panes found in System preferences. Then, you will see 32-bit system extensions, and 32-bit system frameworks. These software will include both Apple and 3rd-party software. You can then edit the information, changing fonts, and adding notes. Click Save to save the information in an RTF file. The most recent information with you edits is also saved within the app.
You can download the app here. As this is an app outside of the Mac App Store, I scanned it for malware using VirusTotal, and it appears to be clean. For an additional resource I’ve also written about Go64, which does the same thing and the UI is a bit more friendly.
Most robocall blocker apps try to determine phone numbers used by spammers, but telemarketers and spammers don’t always use the same numbers, or they figure out devious ways to spoof caller id to get around being blocked. Firewall is a call blocking app that works the opposite way: you create a list of people you want to be able to ring your phone, and all others get blocked or sent to voicemail. The voicemail transcription lets you quickly see who called you, what they wanted, and you can determine if you want to call them back or not. Firewall stops unwanted disruptions and puts you back in control over your phone. Firewall is built by Ad Hoc Labs, the company that makes Burner, a second phone number app. You can read more on their blog. App Store: Free (Offers In-App Purchases)
Cardhop 1.1 came out today, bringing with it a lot of improvements: Template settings to customize fields and labels for new contacts; smart group templates: Create smart groups that automatically update based on common contact searches; multiple business cards: create separate business cards for different situations; business card settings automatically sync between devices using iCloud; stickers! Express yourself in iMessage with Cardhop’s sticker pack; Gravatar support to automatically find contact photos by email when adding or editing contacts; support for sending messages to groups with the parser; added YouTube social profile label, and more. App Store: US$3.99
Andrew recently discovered a shortcut that lets you copy and paste actions between shortcuts, which is helpful when you’re making a shortcut with dozens of actions.
Andrew was inspired by Reddit’s TLDR bot to create his own shortcut to summarize articles and save them for later.
An app called Princeton IoT Inspector is a new app that can tell you if/when your smart speaker spies on you.
Clicker for Netflix is a cool Mac app that lets you control Netflix right from your Touch Bar. Launch Netflix right from the Dock, control it with the Touch Bar, use Picture-in-Picture to watch while multitasking, prevent trailers from auto-playing, auto-resume your last played video, automatically skip the video intro, automatically advance to the next episode, hide the “Who’s Watching?” popup, and remove the Netflix Originals row. The Touch Bar controls include play/pause, jump back 10 seconds, jump forward 10 seconds, go to the next episode, enable/disable closed captions, and launch Picture-in-Picture. It requires macOS 10.10 Yosemite or higher. Get the app for US$5.