The Omni Group recently released version 3 of their popular diagramming and graphics tool for iPad, OmniGraffle. The new version add several new features including multi-column interface, a floating tool palette that gets out of your way, expanded keyboard shortcuts, art boards and are board layers, SVG paste on canvas, and more.
One of the things I really like about the new version is the refinement of the interface and user tools with the moving pallet and overall attention to detail for making a professional level application for the iPad that is both powerful and easy to learn and use.
I have always thought of this application as pretty special. It's one of the first applications for iPad that really took advantage of multitouch as an alternative input mechanism. From the beginning, the Omni Group has been refining and perfecting this interface in OmniGraffle and you can clearly see benefits of all that work in this third version.
Moreover, this time I got to spend a fair amount of time on the inside. I produced the tutorial videos for the new version for the Omni Group and saw the painstaking efforts the developers and designers went through to get this application just right.
There's a lot of talk these days about what you can and cannot do on iPad. To me, one thing is clear. You can make beautiful diagrams and related graphics on an iPad with OmniGraffle. Check out OmniGraffle three for IOS the Omni Group website.
Apple’s Clips app came out several months ago. It’s a great app that I’ve seen almost nobody using. I like the app but it has a bit of a learning curve. There’s a lot more power in there than you’d think. The trick is to pick your asset (video, photo, title card, etc...) and hold down the record button to add it to your Clips composition. The best tutorial I’ve seen on the app is this one over at 9to5 Mac.
Today Apple released an update to the application that adds a lot of new media assets including some familiar Disney and Pixar characters. The animations are cute and easy to use. It’s really well done and when I showed it to a few Disney fans in my life, they immediately put time in learning the Clips app. There's a small sample Mickey animation in the video below. (That right. I met Michael Giacchino.)
Clips is an interesting (and powerful) app. The fact that they can update the app to add new media content without an iOS update is exactly the type of feature I think Apple should be adding to Messages.
Transmit is the undisputed king of file transfer applications on the Mac. It's been around for 20 years, and if you need to send files to servers, there's nothing better. I was frankly surprised yesterday when they released Transmit 5. It seems like just yesterday I was buying Transmit 4 but it turns out that was actually seven years ago.
While I don’t use Transmit every day, when I do need to perform a file transfer operation from my Mac, there's nothing better. This is an excellent tool to have in your belt. They have a discount on the new version (from $45-$35) but it's only good for a week. If you ever need to perform file transfers, get in on the discount now. I already did.
Jeff Richardson did a nice job summarizing the latest from US Customs and Border Protection concerning what it can and can’t do with your digital devices upon entering the country. Even if you are a US citizen, If you refuse to unlock your device you’ll be delayed and your device gets confiscated. If you’re not a US citizen, they send you back. I keep trying to put this into the context of my parents' generation. If my dad was entering the US after a trip abroad in 1960 and customs wanted to make a copy of his diary, what would he have said? Most likely he'd have a few choice words about getting shot in Korea so this sort of thing didn't happen.
Privacy continues to erode.
Time is your most precious resource. You need to know how you are spending it. But time tracking is hard. Having to throw a switch somewhere every time you change tasks or projects never works and is super-distracting. As a result, you end up with bad data.
The brand new Timing fixes that. Timing automatically tracks which apps, documents, and websites you use — without start/stop timers.
- See how you spend your time, eliminate distracting activities, and improve your client billing.
- Timing lets you stop worrying about time and focus on doing your best work instead!
- Timing also understands that your time tracking data is super sensitive, so Timing keeps it safe on your Mac.
I use this app on my Mac every day, and it’s helped me learn a ton about where I'm spending my time. This data is very useful in becoming more productive.
Try it yourself with the free 14-day trial and get 10% off until the end of July with the links in this post.
There has been a lot of talk lately in the Mac Power Users Facebook group about favorite utilities so Katie and I decided to do a show on it. We ended up with with over 30 of our favorite Mac utilities. There's some great stuff in there.
I spent part of today at the Disney D23 convention where they've got an entire section devoted to the Star Wars Experience at Disneyland. I spoke with lots of Imagineers and learned a lot of information. The Saturday sessions will disclose a lot more about this expansion and I'll write up what I learned more afterward but I thought you may want to start out by looking at pictures of this remarkable model. These images are lightboxed so clicking on them will blow them up. Enjoy.
I don't write much about Apple rumors because generally, I don't see the point. We're going to get to see the new iPhone in September, and there is no reason to get all bent out of shape about rumors about the new phone when we'll get to see the actual phone in just a few months. Also, I don't necessarily want all the spoilers. Apple products (at least the good Apple products) tell a story and need a proper introduction, not some shady back-alley blurry photos.
This year's crop of "Apple/iPhone is doomed" rumors seem to have a lot of oxygen. While I don't have any idea whether or not there will be a fingerprint sensor or some new-fangled authentication technology, I do know – for certain – that all the hardware decisions that the Internet thinks Apple is struggling to solve right now were locked down at Apple months ago. They ship millions of those phones on Day 1. There's no way they'd still trying to figure out what to put in the phone at this point. I was all set to post on this issue at length, and then John Gruber went and did it for us.
Occasionally, Apple geek and scientist Dr. Drang has some bit of household paraphernalia fail on him. While most folks might just throw the broken pieces in the trash, Dr. Drang photographs, documents, and explains the finer points of what exactly went wrong.
Most recently, his toothbrush broke and we get a lesson in tensile stresses and fatigue. Some days, I love the Internet.
Nilay Patel at the Verge brings us up to date on the Net Neutrality issue. I've tried to understand how removing Net Neutrality helps consumers and I honestly just can't see it. Net Neutrality has served us well and allowed many great ideas grow into great companies.
- You can now view, create, and edit attachments on iCloud and Exchange
- Travel Time! Receive notifications when you need to leave to reach an event on time
- Fantastical will now combine identical events that are on multiple calendars
- Undo and redo got a lot more powerful
There are quite a few more new features. Indeed so many updates that I made a few videos for the Flexibits team showing off the new features. Below is the “What’s New” video. I’ve been running this update since its early betas, and it’s solid. Head over to Flexibits to learn more.
This week MacSparky is sponsored by OmniOutliner. OmniOutliner is the best outlining application for the Mac, iPad, and iPhone and it just keeps getting better. One of the things I love about purchasing software from the Omni Group is that they continue to make their various productivity applications work better together. Most recently we saw this in the additional features allowing you to import OmniOutliner outlines into OmniGraffle. You already look pretty great, but when you import them to OmniGraffle, they can look amazing. Once your outline is in OmniGraffle, you can even add to or reorganize your outline using OmniGraffle's outline editor. You can learn more about combining your OmniOutliner outline with OmniGraffle at the excellent Omni Group Blog.
The ability to move your outline to a different app is just one of the many features you'll find in OmniOutliner. OmniOutliner makes it easy to create complex and beautiful outlines on your Mac, iPad, and iPhone. They’ve got new business model for OmniOutliner that lets you get in with OmniOutliner essentials for the basics or the Pro version if you're looking for the real power tools. Head over to the Omni Group today and check it out.
I had a little down time this week and wanted to play a game on my iPad. I settled on the recently released Monument Valley 2 from ustwo Games. I enjoyed this sequal even more than the orginal. Monument Valley 2 puts you in charge of guiding a mother and her daughter through a variety of optical illusion style puzzles. They get difficult towards later levels but are absolutely solvable on your own. There are no zombies or killers with machine guns. Just a mother and her daughter and some satisfying puzzles. I found the game a perfect way to relax and recommend it to you for this weekend.
I’ve been sporting this new 10.5” iPad for awhile (that I love) but I’ve not shared any details about my case. For several years now I’ve been using Waterfield bags and cases. It’s a San Francisco-based company that locally manufactures excellent bags for your Apple gear. With my prior iPad I used a one of their Dash sleeves and for this new one I went again with the Dash iPad Sleeves.
However, since I bought the last Dash sleeve, they’ve updated the design. The new Dash 2.0 design is pretty great. The sleeve is made just big enough to hold your iPad (or your iPad plus a Smart Keyboard). The iPad slides in to a soft fabric with foam backing to protect you iPad. The exterior is either ballistic nylon or a rugged textile. I’ve been romping around Hawaii this week where it rains often and I discovered the fabric is water resistant. The Dash Sleeve comes in several colors including black ballistic nylon and blue, green, grey, and red fabric.
Like the prior Dash sleeve, there is a simple bit of elastic on one side that you can pull over the top to secure your iPad in the sleeve. New to version 2.0 is a zippered pocket to securely add a few accessories. The pocket is tall enough to hold an Apple Pencil and there’s even a little slot inside the zippered compartment to hold the Pencil. Once you stow your Pencil in the slot and zip up the compartment, it’s not going anywhere. The compartment is also big enough to hold my plus-sized iPhone
I really like the updated Waterfield Dash 2.0 iPad Sleeve. It’s both attractive and protective enough to carry your iPad around without any other case. I often use it as my sole case as I move around my day living the iPad lifestyle. At the same time, the Dash Sleeve is small enough that it easily fits in my breifcase or backpack so I can throw my Dash-protected iPad in with other gear without worrying about it getting damaged.
I was first attracted to the Waterfield products when I saw friends carrying them at Macworld Expo years ago. Their products are great looking but also built to last. Waterfield bags I bought years ago are still in great condition and getting used everyday. I expect this new Dash Sleeve will be no different and taking care of my iPad Pro for a long time to come.
Day One, the best diary app for iOS and Mac is transitioning to a subscription model and they are taking a beating for it. Gabe Weatherhead wrote a post about this and I agree with every word.
I spoke with a developer friend that makes legal-related apps. He explained the transition of his app to a subscription model as a last resort to keep the lights on but also “the worst two months of my life”. This new app economy has been particularly rough on quality productivity apps. Those apps take a lot of time and attention to do right while at the same time consumers are not used to paying subscriptions for them. Nevertheless, that is probably the best model available to them at this point.
My fear, as someone who really likes quality productivity apps is that all this will end up driving productivity apps out of business.
Being friends with (and representing) app developers for years, I can tell you this also has had a chilling effect on productivity app development. I know several app developers that had a great idea for a productivity app but didn’t pursue it because it’s “too hard to make money” in that space.
The traditional model for productivity apps was the upgrade price, where developers released a new version every year or so and everyone paid a reduced fee upgrade price. I know the App Store has made improvements over the last few years but, having zero inside knowledge, I can’t help but feel we will never see upgrade pricing in the App Store. In the meantime expect more quality apps to go to the subscription model and, if they are apps you love (or even like), I’d encourage you to support them through the transition.
Starting this week Lucasfilm is releasing Star Wars Forces of Destiny, a 2D animated web series by Lucasfilm Animation series getting distributed on YouTube. The first episode is below. The series centers on female characters across multiple eras and installments of the franchise. Episodes are two to three minutes each and eight will be released in July 2017 with an additional eight will be released in fall 2017.
There are some heavy hitters behind this series starting with developer Dave Filoni, who has led Lucasfilm Animation for years. The original actresses from the movies will voice their characters in the series including Ashley Eckstein, Felicity Jones, Vanessa Marshall, Daisy Ridley and more. The series narrator will be Oscar winner (and voice of Maz Kanata) Lupita Nyong'o. Having a daughter that loves Star Wars, I’m really happy Lucasfilm is giving her more stories from her favorite Star Wars characters.