All posts tagged ios

→ Downloading Old Versions From the App Store

Michael Tsai asks some really good questions about Apple allowing you to download old app versions from the app store. It will be interesting to see how some of these play out.

Some updates on Reeder for iPad and Mac

Reeder developer Silvio Rizzi tweeted a couple of updates this morning:

  1. Reeder 2 for iPad will go into beta this week. He also says that he anticipates submitting the app to the App Store in August.

  2. Reeder for Mac still needs work, but he says there will be a public beta.

Personally, I am most looking forward to Reeder for Mac and Reeder for iPhone1

  1. Unfortunately, I have a feeling we won’t be a getting a new version of Reeder for iPhone before, at least, the end of October. 

→ David Smith on iOS In-App Purchases

I really like David’s take and his recommendations. I would like to add one more recommendation: Remove apps with In-App purchases from the “Top Free Apps” listing. I do not care if they are listed in some new category, but they should not be listed with apps that are actually free. Being listed there just gives them a change to sucker more people into buying costly in-app purchases.

→ First Look at Editorial for iPad

I really want this.

→ Elliot Jay Stock’s iOS App is now Available

Countdone1, the new app from designer Elliot Jay Stocks, is now available in the App store. I really like the description:

In case you’re wondering what exactly Countdone is, it’s essentially the essence of the Pomodoro Technique, distilled into a beautifully simple interface. Set time limits for your to-dos and watch as the timer counts down and the screen turns from green to red, motivating you to get things done by applying a gentle amount of pressure. For added motivation, turn on the optional sounds for a further indication of how much time you have left and hit that ‘done’ button as fast as you can!

  1. Affiliate Link 

Living Comfortably in the Instacast Ecosystem

After a few years of dealing with shortcomings of various iOS podcasting apps, I can now finally say that I am happily living in the Instacast ecosystem.

(Fairly) Reliable Syncing

If iCloud has shown anything, it is that syncing is hard. After fighting with iCloud syncing for approximately a year, Instacast developer Vemido moved to its own syncing solution for Instacast 3 for iOS[1]. This was a great move. The new sync is faster and more reliable than any other alternative I have seen, including iCloud. Though there are occasional hiccups in the sync[2], I rarely run into problems if I consistently use my various devices. Also, as an added major benefit, the new syncing solution does not result in the battery drain that I felt was prevalent among iCloud podcast syncing solutions.

Instacast for Mac

Though syncing across my iPhone and iPad was a huge feature, it was actually the release of Instacast for Mac that really made me love the Instacast ecosystem.

I admit, when I first downloaded the Instacast for Mac, I thought I would have little use for a podcast client on my Mac. I was completely wrong. I use Instacast for Mac all the time. Aside from Instacast for Mac’s ability to easily play all of my favorite podcasts, what really makes it such a major part of my podcast listening and managing experience is its excellent podcast and playlist management features. In Instacast for Mac, you can easily drag and drop individual podcast episodes from your podcast subscriptions into the various playlists that you have created. This is especially helpful for dealing with feeds like Grantland’s Pop Culture podcast, where I only listen to 1 out of the 3 or 4 shows that are put in the feed. Before Instacast for Mac, I would have to notice when the one show I actually like was added to the feed, and then manually add it to the playlist in the iOS app via a playlist’s “Add Episode” menu. Since the “Add Episode” menu is just a chronological list of all episodes in Instacast, it could be quite difficult to find the actual episode that I wanted to add if I did not get it within the first day or so of it being available. Now, I can just go to the specific subscription, drag and drop a particular episode to given playlist, and I’m done.[3] This means that I can easily create small, custom playlists whenever I want, something that is especially useful when long car drives are coming up.

Adding episodes to playlists, however, is only one of the excellent podcast and playlist management features found in Instacast for Mac. Tasks such as re-ordering subscriptions and playlists, renaming playlists, and even subscribing to podcasts, seem much easier on Instacast for Mac than they ever were in the iOS version. Of course, what makes these features so important, is that the results are synced almost instantly to your iOS devices.

One (Minor) Remaining Issue – Feed Refresh

The one minor remaining issue that I have with the current Instacast ecosystem is feed refreshing in the various apps. Currently, the refresh mechanism takes approximately 20–40 seconds for my 73 podcast subscriptions.[4] Though that refresh can be annoying when it forces me to wait for that new episode of a given podcast that I know is available, the bigger problem is that this refresh makes the Instacast iOS app unresponsive for about 10–15 seconds when it occurs. Now, iOS 7 will alleviate some of this hassle, with its new background downloading APIs[5], but I think that does not go far enough. Instead, I hope that Instacast implements a server-side refresh of feeds, similar to the one found in Shifty Jelly’s Pocketcasts. Obviously, if Vemedio had to implement this type of server side processing on its own, it could be a time consuming, labor intensive, and resouce-costly process. Thankfully, David Smith, creator of Feed Wrangler, mentioned in a recent interview on the 15 Minutes with… podcast that he felt Feed Wrangler could be easily integrated into podcasting clients for a feed refreshing back end. I think adding “Feed Wrangler feed refresh” as an option in Instacast could be a major performance and, possibly, usability improvement. [6]


Ultimately, the combination of custom Instacast cloud syncing and the release of Instacast for Mac relieved almost all the issues I previously had with iOS podcasting apps. At this point, I feel that I listen to more podcasts then I ever have before, but I spend much less time managing them. Consequently, I had no problem signing up to become an Instacast member. I really enjoy Instacast’s podcast ecosystem and I want to do what I can to help support Instacast’s ongoing development.

If you are someone who enjoys listening to podcasts on your Mac or iOS device, I highly recommend giving Instacast a try. If you are already an Instacast user, then I suggest that you at least consider becoming an Instacast member to help support a great ecosystem of podcasting apps.

  1. Affiliate Link (as are other App Store links in this post).  ↩

  2. For example, my iPad seems to overwrite the played status of certain podcasts if I have not opened the iPad version of the app in a few days. This normally means I have to "Mark as Played’ an episode or two that I listened to a few days ago, but Instacast now thinks is unplayed. It does not happen all the time, but it happens enough to be noticeable.  ↩

  3. I have to point out that implementation of the drag-and-drop functionality in Instacast is especially awesome. If you are viewing “Subscriptions” in the left panel, but drag a single podcast episode over that panel, the panel automatically switches to “Lists” so you can drop that episode into a playlist. It’s brilliant.  ↩

  4. I have managed to cut down my number of subscriptions substantially, from a high of around 150. Now, instead loading Instacast with any feed I think I may want to listen to, I put a lot of podcast feeds into a Feed Wrangler smartstream. I then use the amazing HuffDuffer to build up a custom feed of just episodes from those shows that I want to listen to and I put that HuffDuffer feed into Instacast.  ↩

  5. At this point, there is no reason for Vemedio to implement one of those geo-fencing hacks like Downcast has. Time would be better served making sure Instacast works with the new background API.  ↩

  6. I can see at least two ways that Instacast could integrate with Feed Wrangler. One, Instacast could have an option where you log into an existing Feed Wrangler account, select a particular smart stream, and that smart stream is your subscription list from that point forward. This could obviously result in some interesting usability issues (e.g. can someone update his or her subscription list from both Feed Wrangler and Instacast?, does the initial smartstream selection replace your existing subscriptions or does merge take place?), but it would allow for people who have a Feed Wrangler subscription to leverage Feed Wrangler in Instacast, while allowing those who do not have a subscription to still use Instacast’s built in RSS refresh functionality. Alternatively, Instacast’s sole method of feed refresh could be offloaded to the Feed Wrangler cloud, no individual user accounts would be required, and Vemedio and David Smith could work on some kind of revenue split for copies of Instacast that are sold. This would probably take more custom integration with Feed Wrangler than the other alternative. Of course, I am probably missing a much better alternative, and I have complete confidence in Vemedio and David Smith to develop an awesome feed refresh solution, should Vemedio choose to go this route.  ↩

→ 27 new iOS 7 features Apple didn’t talk about

In case you needed more coverage of the major iOS revamp.

→ New Dropbox APIs allow easier Syncing for Mobile Applications

Dropbox is the current leader in the file syncing space, and moves like this are just going to extend that lead.

→ iOS 6.1 is Out

Unsurprisingly, this “update contains improvements and bug fixes.”

→ Macworld’s Review of Google Maps for iOS

Dan Moren:

Google Maps is a very solid entry in mapping and navigation apps; those that have been waiting for it since upgrading (or holding off their upgrades) have probably already downloaded it. But given that it’s a free app, having it on your phone costs nothing but its slim 7MB download.

I have moved all of my navigation over to Google Maps. I used it extensively on my trip to Florida and never ran into any issues. The traffic and “estimated time” information seems to be the best I have ever used. Also, the voice navigation is leaps and bounds ahead of anything else I have heard. I am not wedded to using this app forever, but at the moment, it is far and away my preferred navigation app.

→ 1Password 4 now available for iOS

iPassword 41 is now available in the iOS App Store. As you might expect, there has already been a ton of writing about it:

So far, I like what I see.

  1. Affiliate Link (as is the post link.) 

Hot in Fever – Google Maps for iOS Released

Currently hot in my Fever instance – Google Maps for iOS Released

The day people who have upgrade to iOS 6 have been waiting for has finally arrived!1

Links related to this:

  1. Okay, that might be a littler hyperbolic. 

→ Automating iOS with Pythonista

A tremendous article / review / tutorial from Federico Viticci.

Hot in Fever: Microsoft Office for iOS

Currently hot in my Fever instance – Microsoft Office for iOS to be released in March 2013

I am torn on this. I was kind of hoping that Office would never be released for iOS and people would simply move away from it as a de facto standard for documents. I guess it will be able to “track changes” on my iPad, however1.

Links related to this:

  1. Assuming that feature is included. 

→ Why it is Important Multiple iOS Backups

This iMore article strikes me as particularly important after my recent experience upgrading to iOS 6. During my upgrade, restoring from my iCloud backups seemed to either fail completely or result in only a partial restore of my applications. Thankfully, I performed a backup to my computer a few weeks prior that I was able to use to restore my device.

My lessons learned as result:

  1. Make sure I backup my iOS devices to my computer at least every two weeks(I set a repeating Omnifocus task for this).

  2. On the day before any iOS update, backup my iOS device to my computer.

I intend to continue using iCloud as my “automatic” / “nightly” backup mechanism, but I will be supplementing that with backups to iTunes on my computer going forward.

→ iOS 6 WiFi Issues

I got bit by this earlier. It was really strange. I had to jump onto my guest network and then back to my primary network in order to get WiFi to work on my upgraded devices. I am glad Apple has already got it figured out.

→ iOS 6 Tips and Tricks

Good listing from MacStories.

→ Java to Objective-C Conveter

I might not develop an iOS application using this, but it could be helpful for experienced Java programmers using Objective-C for the first time1.

  1. I think it would be similar to learning HTML by doing something in the Dreamweaver GUI and then seeing what HTML the program writes in the “source view.” 

→ Diet Coda 1.1 Update

As explained on MacStories , Diet Coda1 now offers the ability to upload images from your camera roll to your server via FTP. I am hoping this is finally the solution for handling posts with images going forward2.

  1. Affiliate Link (as is the post link). 

  2. I have really struggled to find something that works well. I had one alternative, however, I could only get it to work via plain FTP. I deciding that trying to increase the security on my server was more important than sticking with that workflow. 

→ Apple Event on September 12

One of the worst kept Apple secrets in some time is finally revealed1.

  1. Even my mom told me this weekend that “the new iPhones should be out in a week.”