Unite 5 – Turn Web Apps into Supercharged macOS Apps (Sponsor)

This week’s sponsor, Unite 5 for macOS, takes your web experience to the next level, transforming websites into feature-rich Mac apps. Powered by a completely redesigned WebKit browser, Unite 5 offers a more immersive and customizable browsing experience.

What sets Unite 5 apart? They’ve gone beyond just app conversion. Their new intricate link-forwarding rules give you unparalleled control over web interactions, making your web apps smarter and more integrated than ever before.

Some highlights of Unite 5:
Advanced Link-Forwarding: Navigate your web apps like a pro.
Revamped Browser Engine: Faster, more reliable, and tailored for macOS.
Enhanced Customization: More ways to make your web apps truly yours.

Create powerful web apps in seconds, such as:

  • A Gmail client that integrates seamlessly with macOS.
  • A resource-efficient Slack or Discord app with full notification support.
  • A dedicated AI app for ChatGPT or Claude.AI
  • A Robinhood or Figma app that feels native on your desktop.

MacSparky readers get an exclusive 20% off this week. Use the promo code ‘MacSparky’ at checkout or visit http://bzgapps.com/unitesparky.

Experience Unite 5 for yourself with a 14-day free trial, or access it as part of the Setapp subscription.

The Marqui Cross Body Pouch and Hip Sling Bags from Waterfield

For the longest time, I only carried backpacks. But there’s a problem with that: I call it the “backpack tipping point”. You know what I’m talking about, right? When you are going out for the day and need some stuff with you, but not enough to justify that tipping point of carrying a full backpack. In that case, previously, I’d either have a big backpack with barely anything in it or fill my pants pockets to a point that challenged the laws of physics.

Moreover, the iPad is pretty good these days, and a lot of time, I can get by with an iPad alone when I want to work remotely somewhere, but my 11” iPad is way too small to justify a proper backpack and way too big to fit in my pocket.

I decided to look into my options for bags that are more than my pockets and less than a backpack. This leads me into the nerdy world of everyday carry. There are a lot of bags made these days in this space. Small bags for men are cool again on the endless tick-tock of coolness. 

I landed on two specifically from Waterfield, my bag vendor of choice: The Marqui Cross Body Pouch and the Hip Sling Bag.

The Marqui Cross Body Pouch

This is a minimalist bag that slings across your arms and keeps your pockets empty. If I’m going out for a while with a lot of gear (but without an iPad), it’s perfect. It’s a shallow profile and fits nicely under a jacket. In it, I can carry all the day-to-day gear: wallet, keys, pocket knife, phone, cards, and AirPods. I’ve been using it for six months, and I usually put everything in this bag, except for my phone, which goes into the front-left pocket (as it has since 2007).  

There are two sizes, and I got the bigger one (which could accommodate an iPad mini). You can adjust it to wear a crossbody or as a sling. Waterfield constantly sweats the details; one such detail on both bags is the self-locking YKK zippers. (I could do an entire rant on why you should only buy products – and pants – with YKK zippers.) The Marqui has a single strap with a clever cam-lock adjustment mechanism, making it possible to adjust the length with one hand.

There is a main compartment and a secondary front compartment. Both are easily accessible. Two external loops for hanging keys, flashlights, or whatever else comes to mind. This bag is the antidote for full pockets.

The Hip Sling Bag

This bag is firmly aimed at the midpoint between backpack and pants pockets. This is one of the customer-designed bags in Waterfield’s line. It can be worn as a sling or around your waist. (I have worn it as a sling since I was alive back in the day of fanny packs.) This bag carries everything I can put in the Marqui, plus an 11” iPad Pro with a Magic Keyboard and a bit more. 

Again, it has a front pocket and a central pocket, but in this case, the main compartment has dividers, and both pockets have double zippers so you can open it from either side.

Most Waterfield bags have some element of delight. In the case of the Hip Sling Bag, it’s the magnetic buckle. It comes off with a simple pull but locks back into place with a satisfying magnetic “snap” just as quickly. This buckle makes it easy to take the bag off or put it back on without feeling like you have to climb into it. Both bags are lined with gold rip-stop fabric for high visibility. 

If I had to pick one, it’d be the Hip Sling. It is just so convenient, and it’s the bag I use the most lately. I’m taking a trip in a few weeks for several days and I plan to bring it with me. Though I also use the Marqui when going out sans iPad.

The reason I keep going back to Waterfield is because of the quality. I bought my first Waterfield laptop bag in 2008. I’ve since handed that bag down to a friend, but it is still getting used daily and looks even better than it did when it was new.

I’ve had these bags for several months now, and they serve the job exactly as I’d hoped. Now, I can leave the house with a relatively light load but still with everything I need. I no longer have to worry about the backpack tipping point. Generally, I keep the Hip Sling preloaded and leave the house with it often. Below, I am using it at my remote office.

A view from the back of Sparky, walking towards the castle at Disneyland in Anaheim. He's turning his head to the right, is wearing jeans and a brown jacket, and has the Waterfield Hip Sling slung around his left shoulder. It is an overcast day, with green tress showing in front of him, on both sides of the wide pedestrian path he's walking on.

Mac Power Users 732: Catching up with Mike Vardy

Mike Vardy drops by Mac Power Users to talk about the journey behind his upcoming book, his love of the Freewrite family of products, and how he runs his growing online business.

This episode of Mac Power Users is sponsored by:

  • 1Password: Never forget a password again.
  • Squarespace: Save 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain using code MPU.
  • Ecamm: Powerful live streaming platform for Mac. Try it for free today.

Vision Pro Notes: Media Consumption

This is the third part of my series on early notes from the Vision Pro. This one is focused on media consumption—earlier entries covered the hardware and interface and productivity.

  • Media consumption with photos and videos is fantastic. There’s nothing like it. Watching movies on it is even better. I’ve never had a particularly good home theater system. Now I do.
  • I started by watching Moana in the Disney+ app in their theater environment. It is like having your own movie theater. I got so absorbed in the movie’s climax that I teared up a bit. Since I couldn’t wipe my eyes with the Vision Pro, it made me cry a bit, but the story about watching Moana and coming to tears without being able to wipe my eyes, my light seal cushions got wet, which was kind of funny. Hippie.
  • 3D videos are impressive, but at this point, more like a demo. When I have older videos of my family, they’ll start ruining light seals like Moana did.
  • Panoramas look great. I will be shooting a lot more of them going forward. I can tell newer vs. older panoramic photos based on their fidelity. I want to be able to make some of them the equivalent of a background wallpaper so I can put apps in front of them. My guess is Apple is more focused on Environments.
  • I watched a Netflix show in Safari. It was also great, but app-specific media is better.
  • The big asterisk with media consumption is that it is a solitary experience. There are shows I watch without my family, and it’s great for that. The device does not enable any joint viewing experience.