Record and Edit Your Audio with AudiOn (Sponsor)

A man wearing an open red shirt with a white T-shirt underneath. He is sitting, talking into a microphone, and wearing headphones. he is looking at the microphone, and has a tablet between his hands right behind him is a really big red circle signifying a record button, and behind that you can see a waveform in red with some smoke, on a black background. This image is a product shot for the AudiOn, a voice recorder for iOS and android.

This week I welcome a new sponsor to MacSparky: AudiOn, from the makers of Boom3D, an app that lets you record and edit audio easily on iPhone, and that gives you a lot of great editing options.

I record my voice a lot to capture thoughts, ideas for content, or anything else that comes to mind. AudiOn takes that experience to a whole new level. You can do a lot to bring your recordings to life once they’re captured. You can add some effects like reverb or use the built-in equalizer, blend your voice with music, and also edit and merge recordings. I can see AudiOn being used by podcasters, voice actors, or anyone that use their voice to create content.What impressed me the most after using the app to record my voice is how clear the recording is. I was also able to use the Voice Isolation feature right within the app. You can of course record any audio, not just your voice, and have access to a nice set of editing tools.Take your iPhone audio recording to the next level with AudiOn, available for free on the App Store (with optional in-app purchase).

Capture Your Ideas Easily with Whisper Memos

I’m pleased to welcome a new sponsor to MacSparky: Whisper Memos.

I love this app’s blend of utility and simplicity. You just open the app and start talking. It uses AI technologies to get an excellent transcription of your words, separated logically into paragraphs. You then get an email with an AI-generated subject line, so you’ve got your words captured with no extra effort. It’s that simple. You talk, and your words are reliably transcribed and captured.

Whisper Memos also shines on Apple Watch, and if like me you’re sporting the Apple Watch Ultra, you can set the Action Button to start a recording in the app. You can also add a complication on your Watch face; no need to open the app, just tap and talk!

Behind the scenes, Whisper Memos is using OpenAI and GPT-4 to get the best possible transcription, and Google Firebase for authentication and data protection. You can opt out of storing your transcripts in your account, so Whisper Memos just sends them to your email and then dumps them, leaving no traces on their server

I’ve been using it (on Private Mode) for months now. It’s simple and incredibly useful. If you like to record your ideas and thoughts, I think you’ll love it, too.

Dropzone: One of My Favorite Mac Utilities

This week I’m welcoming back Dropzone as a sponsor at MacSparky. Dropzone is a productivity tool that enhances drag-and-drop on your Mac. Drag files onto the menu item and a beautifully designed and animated grid of all your actions opens. Share with services such as AirDrop, Imgur, FTP, Amazon S3, Facebook, X (Twitter) and many others. Move and copy files, launch applications, and even develop your own actions using the powerful Ruby-based scripting API.

With Dropzone, you can easily add actions to your grid with the new Quick Add menu or by dropping folders or apps onto the ‘Add to Grid’ area. Quickly reorganize your actions using drag-and-drop and delete them by holding the Option key. The new in-grid progress bars let you keep track of task progress. Also see how tasks are progressing at a glance in the new animated menu item.

Drop Bar has another great feature: Drag files you know you’ll need later onto the Drop Bar area of the grid to stash them temporarily. Drag stacks on top of each other to combine them. You can even drag a stack onto another Dropzone action.

One of my favorite new features is Add-on Actions, where you can add pre-configured actions to Dropzone. Want to resize files, search images, download from YouTube? Those actions (and a lot more) are available to you.

Dropzone menu bar icon with its window revealed, showing the various files saved to it.

I use Dropzone daily. Here are just a few things I do with Dropzone:

  • I keep some of my most commonly used image files (MacSparky Logo, podcast artwork) permanently saved in Dropzone. Anytime I need them, they are there waiting for me.
  • Often I’ve got temporary files when working on a project. I put them on the DropBar in Dropzone so I can use them as needed.
  • When working on my laptop and I’ve got apps in full-screen mode, Dropzone hold any attachments I need to move between files.
  • When I want to keep a YouTube video, I drop it on the Dropzone YouTube downloader.
  • I’ve set certain folders as repeating Dropzone targets. Now I can move files to my Action folder or copy items to the Desktop with just a drag.

I’m a big Dropzone fan and happy to have them as a MacSparky sponsor. Check it out today.

Fantastical: The Superhero of Calendar Apps (Sponsor)

I’m thrilled to once again have Flexibits’ fantastic calendar app as a MacSparky sponsor. 2023 was a busy year for the Fantastical team and that meant users got a ton of great improvements. I use Fantastical every day at MacSparky HQ and I keep being blown away by how much it can do for me.

This is one subscription that gives me great value, and I’m happy to keep renewing. Flexibits published a nice video recap in December so you can see for yourself all the hard work they put in. For me, some features really landed and continue to make managing my calendar events and Zoom calls a breeze:

Openings and Proposals links got a lot better and I can now add contact details in the URL link.

Live Activities — for those of us with a Dynamic Island-equipped iPhone, seeing your upcoming Fantastical event in this prime spot is so handy, and you can get right to it with a tap.

In June, the Quarter view was added to the Mini Window on Mac. This is my favorite view in Fantastical and one that I’m convinced they added just for me.

With iOS 17 came interactive widgets, and SmartStack and StandBy widgets, too. Fantastical was ready, and took advantage of these new features in September. I use widgets all the time. They also made the Apple Watch app so much nicer and easier to use.

I could go on and on…but I think you’re getting it: Fantastical has never been better, and if you’re wondering whether it’s right for you, head over there now and give it a spin! Managing your events, tasks, and meetings has never felt as good.

Time Tracking Made Easy with Timing (Sponsor)

When it comes to time tracking, it’s only as useful as the data is accurate. Setting manual timers often leads to bad data. As humans, we’re not very good at throwing switches every time we mode shift. We’re in a new year and this would be a great time to start figuring out how you are spending your time.

This week’s sponsor, Timing, gives you the benefit of time tracking without the inconvenience. Timing is an app for your Mac that automatically tracks your time. You don’t need to push buttons. Timing just does its job. It’s smart, it’s beautiful, and it’s easy to use.

Just download and install Timing, and it’ll start recording how much time you spend on each app, document, and website you use.

And now Timing will import your iPhone and iPad usage from Screen Time as well! This means you’ll get the complete picture of how you spend your time across all your devices.

If you haven’t tried Timing lately, you should. They added a new vertical timeline that is really nice. It’s easy to read and easy to edit. Time tracking gives me a lot of insight about where I am really putting my efforts. Timing is a great way to do it.

If you’ve tried time-tracking before and gave up on it, try Timing. It does the work for you. I’ve even made some videos showing how the app works.

Fix Your Photos with PowerPhotos 2.0 (Sponsor)

We’re heading into a new year, and I’m guessing over the holidays you took a few pictures. How’s your Photos library doing? If it’s anything like mine, it’s a mess right now. 

Did you know there is an app to help you out with that? PowerPhotos is here to the rescue.

PowerPhotos works with the built-in Photos app on your Mac, providing an array of tools to help you get your photo collection in order. Find and eliminate duplicate photos, split up your library into smaller ones, merge libraries together, open libraries in separate windows, export photos/albums, and more. 

Best of all, PowerPhotos 2.0 is now available! There are some great new features in version 2.0: 

– Convert your old iPhoto or Aperture library to an equivalent Photos library
– Advanced export of photos/albums
– Full support for iCloud Photos
– New visual duplicate detection engine library groups
– Global menu bar item
– Multiple windows 

PowerPhotos adds all the features to Photos that Apple never will. You can download PowerPhotos for free to check it out, and purchasing a license will unlock all the features of the program. MacSparky readers can get a 20% discount with the coupon code MACSPARKY23, and existing iPhoto Library Manager and PowerPhotos 1.0 users can also use their old serial number to receive upgrade pricing, 50% of the normal price.

So make the Photos app work harder for you with PowerPhotos 2.0. You can get it today.

DEVONthink: The Place for Documents and Files (Sponsor)

I often hear from listeners/readers looking for a research solution in the Mac ecosystem. My favorite app for this, without a doubt, is DEVONthink. DEVONthink is the most professional document and information management application for the Mac. It’s the one place for storing all your documents, snippets, or bookmarks, and working with them.

The Integrated A.I. assists you with filing and searching, while the extensive search language with advanced Boolean operators.

DEVONthink features a Flexible sync system that supports many cloud services – or lets you synchronize over the local network too – with everything securely encrypted. This gives you the choice for however syncing works best for you!

It has Smart rules and flexible reminders that let you automate all parts of your workflow and delegate boring, repeating tasks. Let DEVONthink automatically organize your data with rules you define!

DEVONthink’s AppleScript dictionary is one of the largest on the Mac. There’s no part of DEVONthink that can’t be automated. Extend DEVONthink’s functionality with your own commands by adding them to its Scripts menu.

Even templates can have scripts inside and you can set up new documents with data from placeholders, or inserted by your own AppleScript code.

DEVONthink To Go, the iOS companion app, has really seen a lot of updates this year. The latest version, 3.8, adds in-document search to text documents, formatted notes, and RTFs. Search using quotes and Boolean operators. When you open a document from a global search, DEVONthink To Go reuses the query to highlight occurrences in the document. You can now also undo and redo many item actions, from moving and replicating to converting and more. It even now shows replicated or duplicated items in color, just like on the Mac.

I find DEVONthink’s combination of innovative features and automation support irresistible. Interested? MacSparky readers can get a 20% discount on DEVONthink.

Making Light, Candles that Create Focus (Sponsor)

This week MacSparky is sponsored by Making Light Candles, my favorite source for candles (both as gifts and for myself). There is something special about lighting a candle. It’s a ritual we humans have been doing for a long time, and I find it an excellent way to stay focused and in the moment.

Making Light Candles are great for this. It’s a small family business with over forty years of experimentation and a solid commitment to sustainability. They use all-natural soy waxes, cotton wicks, reusable and recyclable containers, and a carefully curated collection of beautiful fragrances.

With a Making Light subscription, you (or your loved one) will get a monthly delivery of several Making Light candles, matches, and a nice note.

And when you gift a Making Light subscription, you’re helping spread the idea of focus. The subscription is based on using the candle as a ritual to do something you love. I treat these candles as special and burn them only when working on my most important projects. The ritual of lighting the candle, the smell, and the entire process now triggers my brain into focus mode. It’s like a shortcut but for your brain. When I’m done, I blow out the candle, and it waits for the next time I need to engage in that project.

These rituals work on our brains. They help you stay focused and more in the moment for the most important things you do. When you give a Making Light subscription, tell your recipient about this idea and how this is your small way to help them with their essential work. They’ll appreciate that.

And while you’re doing it, you’ll know you are helping a small family-owned and operated company that focuses on making the best products and giving back. (One of my favorite things about the company is their focus on teaching kids to make candles and burn wax instead of their brains on social media.)

Best of all, use the code “Sparky” and get a $10 discount code on any new subscription. This offer is time-limited, and the holidays are approaching, so don’t miss out.

TextSniper Lets You Extract Text from Anywhere (Sponsor)

This week MacSparky is sponsored by a killer Mac utility, TextSniper. TextSniper is a Mac OCR app that can extract text anywhere on your Mac’s screen and automatically save it to your clipboard, so you can paste it anywhere you need it. It can even read the text to you. The whole thing works a lot like the built-in screen capture on the Mac, just way more powerful. You know those websites that won’t let you copy text? With TextSniper, you can. Do you know the pain of getting a phone number out of a document? It’s easy with Text Sniper.

That’s not all. With TextSniper, you can:

  • Quickly get text from PDFs, Zoom calls, Presentations, and Videos.
  • Read QR codes and barcodes.
  • Get text out of just about any image format, including JPG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, and BMP.
  • TextSniper also doubles as a QR code and barcode reader. It can even read the text back to you with its Text to Speech Engine.

I use this app often. It’s made by a developer who spends much time making it the best capture utility on the Mac. You can even use your iPhone or iPad camera to take a photo for TextSniper to perform its magic. Just last week I used TextSniper to pull text out of a paused YouTube video. Yup. You can do that.

Moreover, in an era where so much software is more about data mining than giving you a service, TextSniper doesn’t collect your data. The text recognition is processed on your Mac and does not require an internet connection.

TextSniper works with macOS Catalina and later and also works with Parallels Desktop

Get TextSniper now and enjoy the fastest way to copy uncopyable text, wherever you find it. Use promo code TSMS2023 to get an additional 25% off.