Tag Archive for ‘Marco Arment’

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.

➝ Source: marco.org

We Need Low Power Mode for Mac ➝

Marco Arment makes the case again for low power mode on macOS. He points out that Turbo Boost Switcher Pro, which he has been using as a sort-of makeshift low power mode, uses a kernel extension that won’t be usable in a future versions of macOS.

➝ Source: marco.org

‘I’m on Cloud Nine’ ➝

Marco Arment on the newly announced 16-inch MacBook Pro’s scissor switch keyboard:

Look at this glorious keyboard! An Esc key! Inverted-T arrow keys! A millimeter of key travel! Enough spacing between the keys for our fingers to accurately orient themselves! And keystrokes will probably work, 100% of the time, for years! […]

The new keyboard is very similar to the recent desktop Magic Keyboard, and I expect it to have a wide appeal, just as the Magic Keyboard does. It has slightly less travel and spacing, but the overall feeling is very similar — and it’s nothing at all like the butterfly keyboard.

I absolutely love it — not because it’s the most amazing keyboard in the world, but because it’s completely forgettable in the best possible way. It just feels normal again.

I love my 2018 MacBook Air in every way, it’s one of my favorite Macs I’ve ever owned. Except for the keyboard, which is absolutely atrocious. I’ve had the machine for about a year and have been struggling with duplicate keypresses and missed keypresses for almost that entire time.

But this new keyboard truly seems like it will fix all of the issues with reliability while also reintroducing all of the design decisions that we’ve been clamoring for. I just hope Apple very quickly adds this new keyboard to the rest of their notebook lineup.

➝ Source: marco.org

Overcast’s New Recommendation System ➝

Marco Arment, on the latest Overcast update:

Overcast now offers its own data-driven recommendation engine, and I’ve removed Twitter integration entirely.

Podcasts in the new “Suggestions for You” section of the Add Podcast screen are based on the shows you subscribe to, and what else their subscribers subscribe to, which gives much better recommendations without involving any social networks.

Most importantly, it works for all of Overcast’s customers.

The new recommendation system seems far more effective than the previous Twitter-powered version. I’ve already added a new subscription to my rotation and I expect I’ll check the list from time-to-time to see if there are any new shows I’d like to listen to.

Apple Is Listening ➝

Marco Arment:

It’s hard to tell when Apple is listening. They speak concisely, infrequently, and only when they’re ready, saying absolutely nothing in the meantime, even when we’re all screaming about a product line as if it’s on fire. They make great progress, but often with courageous losses that never get reversed, so an extended silence because we’re stuck with a change forever is indistinguishable from an extended silence because the fix isn’t ready yet.

But there has clearly been a major shift in direction for the better since early 2017, and they couldn’t be more clear now:

Apple is listening again, they’ve still got it, and the Mac is back.

I absolutely agree with Marco, my optimism for the Mac has grown exponentially over the past year or so. But my biggest concern is still a work in progress. Apple needs to build off of this momentum. In two or three years, the current iteration of the Mac Mini can’t still be the current iteration. Regular, predictable under-the-hood upgrades to existing products is an important piece of the puzzle and the jury is still out as to whether that will take place over the long term. Again, I’m optimistic, but if rumors start to spread that the momentum is slowing, that feeling can change on a dime.

Clip Sharing Comes to Overcast ➝

Marco Arment, writing on his weblog:

With today’s 2019.4 update, you can now share audio or video clips, up to a minute each, from any public podcast. Simply tap the share button in the upper-right corner.

You can generate an audio clip, or portrait, landscape, or square video, using your current Overcast theme setting.

I’ve seen a ton of podcast clips in my Twitter timeline as a result of this update and I hope that trend continues. Podcasting is such an incredible medium, but it’s historically been very difficult to share them. Having a tool like this is a big step in the right direction.

And I really appreciate how considerate Marco has been with this feature. None of these clips are being hosted on Overcast’s servers. Instead, the app generates video files that you can share directly. Or, when sharing with a link, the file is still downloaded from the podcast’s server itself and then the web player seeks to the proper starting position. its a pretty slick implementation.

The New Mac Mini ➝

This is a great review by Marco Arment of the new Mac Mini — a machine that I’ve had my eye on since Apple announced it last month. This seems like the perfect replacement for my 2011 model that has been humming along as our home server for the last seven years. It has lots of I/O, a great CPU, and super fast storage. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Low Power Mode on the Mac ➝

Marco Arment makes the case for Apple to add Low Power Mode to macOS which would disable Turbo Boost, limit CPU voltage, turn off the discrete GPU on relevant models, and make a number of other adjustments. He ran several tests to show what these changes could do to extend battery life and the results are compelling.

I’ve wanted Low Power Mode on the iPad from the day it launched on iPhone, but the iPad’s battery life is already quite good whereas the Mac would benefit greatly from the feature. I rarely use my MacBook Air, but if Apple was only going to bring it to one platform, I’d rather see it on the Mac.