Archive for July 12, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Fantastical 2.4 for Mac

Flexibits:

You can now view, create, and edit attachments on iCloud and Exchange, as well as view attachments on Google Calendar.

[…]

Set and view travel time for events, and receive automatic time to leave notifications to ensure you get to your events on time.

[…]

Fantastical now has full undo and redo support for adding, editing, and deleting events and reminders.

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Ever end up with so many events on one day that you can’t see them all in the Month view? There’s now an easier way to see those additional events. Click on the “more…” label on a busy day it will temporarily expand to show you everything on that day.

It’s like they read my mind and implemented my four most-wanted features. Great update. Hopefully attachments and travel time will also come to the iOS version soon.

Using Workflow as a Site-Specific Browser

Michael Rockwell:

Of course, you could always just save these website shortcuts to your Home Screen and let them open up in Safari, but that makes for a pretty mediocre experience. I want to treat these web apps like native applications and I don’t want to be forced to close a browser tab when I’m done using them — I always close my browser tabs when I’m done with them, it’s a sickness. But there is a solution and it’s made possible because of every iOS power users’ favorite utility — Workflow.

To build these site-specific browsers, it just takes two simple actions — a URL action with the web app’s address and the Show Web Page action. When run, Workflow will open up the URL in a Safari View Controller, which gives you access to your action extensions alongside forward, back, and refresh buttons.

[…]

There is one major caveat with these workflows — they don’t scale well. You can use them while multitasking with native apps, but you can’t run more than one of these site-specific workflows at a time.

Dropbox Discontinues Photo Albums

Dropbox (via Hacker News):

The Photos page on the Dropbox website (photos.dropbox.com) is changing on July 17, 2017.

After that date, you’ll no longer be able to create or share albums on the web, and the Photos page timeline will be updated to have a new look and feel. All your photos will remain safe in your Dropbox account, and you’ll continue to be able to view all the photos in your Dropbox account on this page.

[…]

If you’ve shared an existing album, you can view it by navigating to dropbox.com/share/links. You’ll be able to continue to view shared albums on this page after July 17.

It was a nice feature, but I guess they need to focus.

Pondering the Conversion From HFS+ to APFS

Mike Bombich:

Lack of documentation is not a small problem. Basic questions remain unanswered, such as “How do I determine how much space a particular snapshot uses?” and “How can I determine if ‘file Y’ is a clone of ‘file X’?” Here’s a good one: how can I definitively determine how much space any particular folder really uses? Doesn’t that sound like a weird question? What’s alarming is that even Finder doesn’t do this math correctly yet.

Snapshots are probably the most exciting and promising feature of APFS, but that aspect of the new filesystem simply isn’t ready at all. In fact, it remains to be determined whether third-party developers will ever get access to snapshot APIs.

Fast directory sizing is also undocumented. The APFS guide doesn’t even say what the filename limit is, although I was able to get an answer: 255 UTF-16 code units, which unlike HFS+ may be precomposed.

But if that’s not your hobby – if you wouldn’t call yourself “technically inclined” or if you’re the person that wants to use your Mac to do things rather than mess around with OS reinstalls and data recovery, then I urge you to not check the APFS conversion checkbox this Fall. Let us nerds get the bugs sorted out while APFS finds its footings. HFS+ may be an aging and sometimes flawed filesystem, but we know it and we’re familiar with it. APFS will get there, but trust is earned when reliability is proven.

I’m really excited about APFS—and optimistic about its reliability given that the iOS conversion seems to be going well—but I also don’t see a compelling reason to convert to it right away. There are more likely to be problems with Mac apps than iOS ones. Developers, of course, should update at least one Mac or VM to use for testing.

Declining iTunes Video Share

Mikey Campbell:

Citing Hollywood studio sources, The Wall Street Journal on Sunday said Apple's share for selling and renting movies, as well as other video content, has dropped to between 20 percent and 35 percent, down from over 50 percent as recently as 2012.

The steep decline comes as competitors Amazon and Comcast enjoy market share gains on the back of aggressive industry moves.

[…]

Interestingly, the loss of market share is not uniform across genres, the report said. For example, iTunes is a top distributor of independent movies, as Apple promotes and signs exclusive deals for films made outside of the traditional movie studio system, sources said.

Apple’s own video revenue has gone up, but the market as a whole grew faster.

Jason Del Rey and Rani Molla (via Hacker News):

Someday soon, more U.S. households will be subscribers of Amazon Prime than cable or satellite TV, according to recent estimates of Amazon’s popular shipping and entertainment service.

According to estimates from Morningstar, nearly 79 million U.S. households now have an Amazon Prime membership, up from around 66 million at the end of last year.

I wonder how many use Prime for video and how many have both cable and Prime.

Previously: Amazon Prime Video Coming to Apple TV.