Here’s a few things I’m enjoying this week.
Carousel by Dropbox
When Carousel launched, I’ll admit I was underwhelmed. I have a lot of pictures stored in Dropbox, and they’re all neatly organized into folders (big surprise there, I’m sure). Initially, Carousel’s performance seemed lacking with massive libraries, and the app would pick up images from throughout your Dropbox, with no way to specify which folders to use. The option to proactively pick a “photos” directory is still missing, but the app did get the ability to hide entire folders from the web. Previously, it was possible to hide individual images from the iOS app, but now if you visit on the web, you can right-click to select an entire folder to disappear as well. There’s also a “flashback” feature which we’ve seen with other photo services before, but which is a nice addition since I used it last. This stuff, plus some nice speed enhancements, which make it very usable with my large library, have given me a reason to throw it a second look.
Amazon Music with Prime Music
Another app that’s improved over time is Amazon’s music offering. While the title evokes a Microsoftian naming convention, the app’s UI has gotten a little better over the past few months, and the Prime streaming service, while nowhere near as comprehensive as Spotify, Rdio, et. al., has improved a bit as well. It still lacks the super deep catalog of those other services, but I have been pleasantly surprised at what I did find as I browsed. The curated playlists and recommendations are pretty good (for me at least), and it’s gotten more fun to use, with some swipe controls to move through the different sections of the app. If you’re a Prime member, it’s worth taking another look. If you have little kids, there’s a ton of great music on there that you can stream and add to your library for free.
Here’s a few things I’m enjoying this week.
I’m usually very skeptical of utilities that allow you to do something with your Mac’s login, but this one is solid. MacID lets you configure your computer to unlock via Touch ID when your iOS device gets a notification. You can auto-lock it again when you walk away, and it also does proximity unlock when you come back–as well as clipboard sharing and audio controls. I’m only currently using the standard unlock without the other stuff, but it works really fast, and if you have a crazy password (I do, surprise!) it does save a ton of time. Plus, it’s pretty fun. Learn more about it and download the companion app here.
This one’s a biggie. Fantastical has long been one of my favorite apps on the Mac and iOS. This new Mac version was released yesterday and blew my mind. Formerly a calendar accessory, F2 is a full calendar replacement. Adding some impressive new functionality along with a beautiful Yosemite interface, this app merges simplicity and power in a great way. You can buy it direct from the Flexibits website or find it in the Mac App Store. It’s on sale for the launch event (20% off).
As I find things I really enjoy, I’m going to try to share them here. I can go into more detail than I can on Twitter, and it’s nice to have a quick way to look back at these things from the future and see what’s changed (or how I have myself). So here we go: here’s what I’m digging this week.
A great new podcast by my friend Aaron Mahnke. It focuses on folklore, history, and stories that scare us. He shared the first episode with me shortly before he launched it, and I was immediately hooked. It’s brief, well-produced, and full of rich storytelling and historical detail. Here’s the site for the show.
A new app by another friend, John Voorhees, that makes searching for media and generating affiliate links from the iTunes stores exceptionally easy. With a nice, clean interface, and iOS 8-friendly extension, it’s a great addition to your device if you find this process tedious on iOS. Blink is out today.
This app has a rather storied history, but it’s back now, and I missed it the first time around, so I’m getting into what it can do. Short version: you can pin shortcuts to other apps and actions in a Notification Center widget. Which means all kinds of cool functionality is now only a swipe away. A perfect complement to Launch Center Pro and Workflow, you can pair it up with the other powerful automation apps you might be using and make a crazy Voltron of mobile productivity. Get it here.