Mike Becky

Tag Archive for ‘Applications’

The Verge Looks at Europe’s Alternative App Stores ➝

It’s unlikely, as I’m sure Apple has sufficiently locked it down, but it would be rad if someone figured out how to trick iOS into installing these alternative app stores outside of Europe.

➝ Source: theverge.com

Apple’s New Rule for Emulators on iOS ➝

From Apple’s App Review Guidelines:

Additionally, retro game console emulator apps can offer to download games. You are responsible for all such software offered in your app, including ensuring that such software complies with these Guidelines and all applicable laws.

When I first saw the email announcing this change last night, I saw the word “emulators” and may have jumped to conclusions about what this would mean.

I suppose it’s still possible that emulators like RetroArch and PPSSPP would be allowed, but it seems like the rule could imply that this is just for retro game collections that allow for downloading of more games within the app. More like Sega releasing a Sonic the Hedgehog collection that utilizes emulation or a game developer that wants their homebrew NES game available on iOS.

I suspect someone will test the rule and see exactly where the line is drawn, but I get the feeling we’ll still need sideloading to have what we think of as “emulation” on iOS.

➝ Source: developer.apple.com

Don’t Speed Up Your Podcasts ➝

Matt Hauger:

Faster playback gives listeners time for more podcasts—a welcome perk, since the library of available shows continues to grow exponentially. As the market explodes, faster playback seems like a no-brainer: more great conversations, no additional time commitment. What’s not to like?

My advice? Don’t do it. Keep that playback speed locked at 1x. While you’re at it, turn off clever features like Overcast’s “Smart Speed”, which saves time by cropping out silence.

I completely agree with Matt on this. Just listen at 1x without any silence trimming. If you don’t have time to listen to all of your podcasts, consider trimming your subscriptions or skipping episodes that seem less interesting to you.

➝ Source: matthauger.com


Posting your default apps has become the trendy thing among a certain group of cool people. Obviously, I’m equally as cool and am, therefore, compelled to join in the fun.

I’m at an odd point where I’m trying to make my apps and services a bit more platform-agnostic. On the desktop, I still use macOS quite a bit, but I’m trying to move as much as I can to Linux.

On the mobile side of things, though, I expect I’ll be on iPhone or iPad indefinitely, but if I ever felt the urge to move elsewhere, I’d prefer to have my apps and services ready to do so.

Gogh ➝

From the webpage:

Color Schemes For Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Elementary OS and all distributions that use Gnome Terminal, Pantheon Terminal, Tilix, or XFCE4 Terminal; initially inspired by Elementary OS Luna. Also works on iTerm for macOS.

This is a great project. I’m currently using VS Code Light+ on all of my Linux machines.

➝ Source: gogh-co.github.io

The App Store Turns 15 ➝

Those early days of the App Store felt so magical. Suddenly, this little pocket computer had access to hundreds of applications to expand its capabilities. No more sweet solutions necessary.

But here we are, fifteen years later, and the App Store feels like more of a hindrance. A limitation on the platform that prevents entire categories of applications from even being developed.

For those of us that want to run these types of apps, we’re stuck relying on other sweet solutions to install and run the code. I would have hoped that Apple was the kind of company that would have opened things up years ago, but it seems they’ll be clinging to the status quo until regulators force their hand.

➝ Source: mjtsai.com

One-Off Upgrade Fees Are More Honest ➝

I agree with Chris Hannah on this, however, I would make an exception for applications with core functionality that relies on an online service. To ensure the developer is able to maintain that web service, I think it’s perfectly fine to charge a subscription fee.

➝ Source: chrishannah.me

iPad Home Screen

iPad Home Screen

Since iPadOS 15, I’ve been struggling to find an iPad Home Screen layout that I actually like. I still haven’t found one, but this is the least offensive I’ve been able to come up with.

The biggest problem for me is that Apple decided to crunch the vertical spacing between icons when you don’t have a widget present. And no matter how hard I try, I can’t find a good use for widgets on my Home Screen. I’m just too accustomed to having them hidden in the Today View (or whatever it’s called now).

Hopefully Apple will give us a bit more control over the layout of our app icons in iPadOS 16. But until then, I guess I’ll just try to focus on the apps that are on my Home Screen instead of how they are organized.

The Apps

Messages — My friends and family still predominantly use iMessage and text messages work just fine for those who don’t.

Battery Widget — The only reason I have a widget on my Home Screen is because it’s the only way to get sane spacing on my app icons. The battery widget is one of the least obtrusive available and provides me with reasonably useful information (but I’d still rather keep it hidden in the Today View).

Fantastical — The best calendar app by far.

Automattic — A shortcut that displays a list of work-related apps and launches the one I select. I could use a folder for it, but I like having a nice clean icon without any notification badges.

Code Editor — It’s no longer available unfortunately. There doesn’t seem to be another app on the platform that offers the same functionality with even close to the same polish.

Plex — I maintain a large Plex library with all of the DVDs, Blu-rays, and iTunes content we own. Almost everything we watch as a family lives in Plex.

Screens — A great VNC client for managing my home server and for helping with some family tech support.

Broadcasts — I’ve been getting into radio a bit lately — it’s distributed and most stations are regionally owned, two things I absolutely love. Broadcasts let’s me setup collections and have quick access to the streams for my favorite local stations.

Odysee — I’ve been trying to reduce my usage of YouTube lately. To help with that effort, I’ve been trying to go to Odysee first in those instances when I just want to watch some random videos. Since the Odysee app doesn’t support the iPad, this is just the web app saved to my Home Screen.

Kiwix — A nifty little app that can be used for accessing archived websites offline. I have Wikipedia and Wikitionary saved locally, so this primarily fills the role of my dictionary app.

Day One — I started journaling more seriously before my son was born and I continue to this day. There’s less writing in each of my entries now, but a lot more photos.

1Password — My favorite password manager.

Pixelfed — An open source, federated photo sharing service. I manage my own instance and you can follow me on your favorite ActivityPub-compatible service (including other Pixelfed instances) — @mike@libertynode.cam.

Photos — Apple doesn’t let you set another app as the system photo library, so here we are.

Balance — Like Automattic, a shortcut that let’s me launch all of my finance-related apps.

⌘ Folder — This folder houses all of the other apps I have installed on my iPad.

Files — For managing files, obviously.

Prism — I maintain a music library in Plex and use Prism for playback. It reminds me a lot of the iPod app from the early days of the iPhone.

Unread – The best RSS app, which I have synced with FreshRSS.

Mastodon — It’s missing some features when compared to apps like Metatext, but the official client is rock solid and there’s been steady development since it launched — including the addition of iPad support.

Wallabag — A read it later service that I self-host. This is the web app that I simply saved to my Home Screen from Safari.

Spark — I recently tested just about every email app available on the platform. None of them are perfect, but Spark comes the closest.

Safari — I wish there was a healthier browser market on iOS, but Apple really hinders what third-party developers are able to do. Until they correct the error of their ways, we’re stuck with Safari.

Things — The first to do list app that really clicked for me.

Ulysses — Where I write everything that’s published on Initial Charge.

SimplenoteI’m likely biased, but I appreciate the simple nature of this app for note taking.

Calcbot — You need a calculator app and Calcbot is a great option with a lot of character.

Pocket Casts — It was acquired by my employer last year and I’ve fallen in love with it. It’s so nice to have a well-designed podcast app that also supports video podcasts.