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.
MindNode 6 is out and it brings more productivity features to help us with our mind maps. Some of the new features: Focus Mode puts a spotlight on one part of your mind map and fades out all the rest; Hide Connections reduces distractions even further by hiding all connections on the canvas; Sticker Search helps you quickly find the right sticker to make your document even more appealing; Multi-Select gives you styling, editing, and rearranging for multiple nodes; External Screen Support lets you put your mind map on two screens at once; Customizable Panels lets you drag and drop your favorite actions onto the panel’s quick actions. On iPad drag the panels to the other side of the screen; Traditional Chinese is the newest language, increasing overall localizations to 14. App Store: Free (Offers In-App Purchases)
Popular productivity app BBEdit left the Mac App Store in October 2014. Today it’s back. As the “go to” tool for web site designers, web application developers, writers, and software developers, this award-winning product provides an abundance of high-performance features for editing, searching, and manipulation of text, code, and HTML/XML markup. An intelligent interface provides easy access to BBEdit’s best-of-class features, including: grep pattern matching; search and replace across multiple files; project definition tools; function navigation and syntax coloring for numerous source code languages; code folding; FTP and SFTP open and save; AppleScript and Automator support; Unix scripting support; text and code completion; a complete set of robust HTML tools; and more. Mac App Store: Free (Offers In-App Purchases)
Typography Insight is a toolkit for learning & teaching typography, designed for those who love type. You can learn about historically important typefaces, observe and compare them. Now you can access system fonts and thousands of fonts from Adobe Typekit with Adobe ID. Features; Juxtaposing comparison: Understand the detail differences between the typefaces with side by side comparison; Overlaying comparison: Compare two typefaces by overlaying on top of each other; Type inspector: Observe the detail shapes of typefaces such as serif, counter, and ear in very large scale, with pinch and pan gesture; Basics: Learn about the basics of typography and simple tips for making a readable page; Typeface anatomy: Learn about the elements and terminologies of typefaces; Historical typefaces: Understand different characteristics of historically important typefaces; and more. App Store: US$2.99
A bill payment app called doxo is adding the ability to pay bills with Apple Pay. With doxo you already have a single account from which to pay your bills. With Apple Pay you now have a safe, secure way to pay them. Steve Shivers, doxo CEO, said:
This is just one of many steps we’re taking on our mission to greatly simplify and reduce the hassle of bill pay for our millions of users, and thereby bring new benefits to the billers on doxo.
I’ve been interested in applying Stoic philosophy to my life for a while, although I haven’t quite taken the plunge yet. That’s why this app caught my eye. This Stoic journaling app gives you daily journaling, meditations, reflection, and mood tracking. It sets you up with morning and evening routines. Prepare in the morning, so that nothing can surprise you during the day; and reflect on your actions in the evening, get better every day, and iterate faster. You’ll learn reflective exercises like negative visualization: Discover how many things you have in your life that you should be grateful for. Things you take for granted. achievements that you forgot a long time ago. You are luckier and more privileged than you think. Quotes from philosophers are available, and see how your journal entries and mood change over time. App Store: Free (Offers In-App Purchases)
Firefox Send is a free tool that lets you send encrypted files up to 1GB in size, or 2.5GB if you sign in with a Firefox account.
What sets Send apart is its ease of use. It works in any browser; just go to send.firefox.com. Upload or drag and drop files, and Send will generate a link that you can set to expire after a certain number of downloads—up to 100—or a certain amount of time, ranging from five minutes to seven days.
Being able to use any browser is probably the best part about this tool.
If you’re a designer looking for tools to use, look no further. This GitHub list has 200 design tools covering everything a wide range of categories. You can use the table of contents or just search for what you need. You can also ask Ms. Dziuba on Twitter for help. Additionally, you can contribute a design tool that you found. Read the contribution guidelines, then send a pull request. There are specific labels for free tools, open source tools, and tools only available for macOS. The list: Accessibility Tools, Animation Tools, Augmented Reality Tools, Collaboration Tools, Color Picker Tools, Design Feedback Tools. Design Handoff Tools, Design System Tools, Design to Code Tools, Experience Monitoring Tools, Font Tools, Free Screenshot Software, Icons Tools, Illustrations, Information Architecture Tools, Logo Design, Mockup Tools, Mouse Tracking Tools, Prototyping Tools, Sketching Tools, Stock, Photos Tools, UI Design Tools, User Flow Tools, and Version Control for Designers.
The Private Internet Access 2.8.0 update brings a network management tool. When you enable the feature PIA will automatically turn itself on when you connect to untrusted Wi-Fi networks. You can add networks you do trust to a whitelist, including your cellular network. If you set it not to trust cellular networks and you turn on the option to protect all networks, it means that the VPN will automatically turn itself on all the time.
The update also adds support for IKEv2. Internet Key Exchange (IKE) is part of the IPsec protocol suite, and it’s used to set up a security association. Jargon aside, IKEv2 is responsible for making a secure connection between you and the VPN server. It does this by authenticating you both and establishing which encryption methods will be used.
The Security Checklist is an open source list of resources designed to improve your online privacy and security. Check things off to keep track as you go.
This website provides a beginner’s checklist for staying safe on the internet. This website is the result of a conversation started during a recent episode of the Design Details Podcast and a subsequent tweet by Michael Knepprath.
This is a great website that Kelly Guimont pointed my way. Even if you’re a techie and have a handle on your online privacy, you should check this out too.
The Touch Bar on recent Macs doesn’t seem to get a lot of love, but David Nield writes about macOS Touch Bar apps that do make use of it.
We’re only going to limit ourselves to mentioning one Apple app in the list, but dig around, and you’ll find that pretty much every native macOS program includes some Touch Bar shortcuts you might find useful.
Personally I’m of the opinion that the feature is gimmicky and doesn’t add much functionality to Macs.
Private tax companies don’t want you to know this, but if your income is below US$66,000 the IRS offers free tax filing software. If your income is above US$66,000 you can still file for free, but you’ll have to do it manually with fillable forms. However, thanks to the long government shutdown this year, tax returns will end up being late.
Did you get an iPad Pro recently and need some pro apps? Or maybe you’ve had one for a while and still can’t find pro apps. Here are five that we’ve found that take advantage of the iPad Pro’s hardware.