Linked List Archive

Bring Back Your Mac’s Startup Chime With a Terminal Command ➝

I don’t plan on running this on my own machine because I almost never turn it off. But if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic and do shutdown your Mac from time to time, by all means, have at it.

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Catalina’s Dialog Bureaucracy ➝

An excellent piece by Nick Heer discussing the terrible state of permissions prompts and security-related dialogs in macOS.

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Not Selling the Computer I Want ➝

Matt Birchler:

This all brought me to an interesting realization: Apple doesn’t make a Mac for me anymore.

Or maybe I’ve just changed what I want from a desktop computer. Either way, none of the options Apple currently sells would make me happy, which is how we get to today.

He ended up purchasing a PC from Dell. And this is someone that has been using Macs for decades. If that doesn’t tell you how dire the situation is, I don’t know what will.

I’ve written previously about my frustration with Apple’s Mac Pro pricing and I think that’s the key to all of this. The Mac Pro was the safety valve — the best option when no other Mac met your needs. Because of its internal expansion and high power ceiling, it was versatile enough for just about any task. The current Mac Pro has that in spades, but what it doesn’t have is a relatively affordable starting price point. Without that, folks like Matt and myself have to consider whether macOS is actually worth buying a machine that doesn’t offer the features or form factor we need.

Ten years ago, I suspect Matt would have ended up with a Mac Pro. Perhaps begrudgingly since it was a bit over his budget, but at least he would have had an option that was attainable. The current Mac Pro is just too darn expensive for a large swath of Mac users that previously would have considered it as the best option for them.

Unlike Matt, I’m not going to end up with a PC — my current plan is to buy a new Mac Mini. But it’s pretty sad that Mac enthusiasts are even having this conversation.

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YouTube Audio to Overcast Update ➝

An update to my YouTube To Overcast shortcut, thanks to Xipeng Li on Twitter. He updated the shortcut adding a “Get Name” action to pull the title of the video and use it to automatically populate the file name prompt. I made a minor adjustment to his version — changing the file name formatting — and you can find my latest version of the shortcut here.

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How to Download YouTube Videos With an iOS Shortcut ➝

If you’re looking for a way to download YouTube videos using Shortcuts, without the audio conversion like mine does, Charlie Sorrel wrote for Cult of Mac about the one he put together.

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Matt Birchler’s watchOS 7 Wishlist ➝

My buddy Matt Birchler doing his best work, sharing his ideas for what watchOS could be. Including some brilliant mockups showing many of his proposed features. It’s an excellent read, but I would add to this wishlist the ability to run shortcuts from the Watch without having to use Siri.

I want to be able to open the Shortcuts app on my Watch to trigger automations right from my wrist. But I’d also like the option to have individual shortcuts added as complications. In each shortcuts’ settings, a “Show as Complication” option could be added alongside the widget and Share Sheet toggles. Then I could display the shortcut’s glyph as a complication on my Watch face and tap on it to initiate the actions.

Shortcuts triggered from the Watch might be a bit limited, but anything that could be run fully from the app’s widget should be doable. And if there is an action that can only be run from within the app, it can be passed off to your iPhone to complete.

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On Subscription Apps ➝

Josh Ginter:

The fact is that there is a finite appetite to pay for apps (it’s called a “market”). Each person will have a threshold for what they’re willing to pay for apps and services in a given year. Each app and service is vying for a larger piece of that pie. And subscriptions eat into that threshold much, much quicker than one-off $4.99 purchase prices.

Said another way, we’re testing the boundaries of app price elasticity here.

Developers are experimenting with subscription pricing because it seems like a good way to bring some predictability to their revenue. And it gives them an opportunity to try and earn a bit more from each individual customer. The problem for users is that many of these subscriptions are priced much higher than what we’ve become accustomed to.

But those low, single transaction prices were not sustainable for developers. If you want these types of well-designed apps to continue, a few dollars for life just isn’t going to cut it. Perhaps the new pricing is too high, but it will take a few years of experimentation before everyone settles in on what the market can bear. In the meantime, if you feel the need to complain, at least be kind about it. Developers get a lot of flack when they change pricing models and there’s no reason to pile on.

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Introducing Voice Boost 2 in Overcast ➝

Marco Arment, on the recent major update to Overcast:

Since Voice Boost is mostly about high-quality volume analysis and loudness normalization, I went straight to the top, implementing the ITU BS.1770–4 standard that gives us the LUFS measurement seen in high-end audio editors. […]

Voice Boost 2 normalizes all podcasts to –14 LUFS — a level I chose because it closely matches the volume of Siri and most iOS turn-by-turn navigation voices, so when you’re listening to a podcast while driving, navigation interruptions are less jarring.

Most professionally produced podcasts are already mastered to similar volume levels, so Voice Boost 2 won’t overcompress them with aggressive processing — it’ll only apply as much correction as necessary to make them all the same volume.

I never used Voice Boost prior to this update, I just didn’t like how it sounded. But this update is absolutely fantastic, I forget I’m even using Voice Boost at all. When I toggle it, though, I can really hear the difference — especially on podcasts with lower production quality.

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