Tag Archive for ‘Software’

AlternativeTo, Crowdsourced Software Recommendations ➝

I’ve been using this service a lot lately to explore alternative software options and think it’s worthy of a shout-out. It offers filters for platform, features, and license. Interested in open source alternatives to Apple Notes?They have you covered. Or self-hosted alternatives to LastPass? They have that too.

And if you find something you enjoy, you can like/heart the app or service so others will find better results in the future.

➝ Source: alternativeto.net

Awesome-Selfhosted ➝

A list of free software and web applications, which you can host on your own servers. I’ve referenced this list quite a bit as I’ve been building out my own personal cloud. I think everything I’m now using is on this list.

➝ Source: github.com

Taking Stock of Subscriptions ➝

Nick Heer, on the subscription pricing trend:

But, especially over the long term, I think users will find it fatiguing — at best — to live in a world where we pay hundreds of dollars a month to listen to music, use software, and store files. There are advantages: we can listen to most music of our choosing on demand; our software is constantly up to date and regularly has new features; the files we store are synced across our devices.

Extrapolated over a longer term, however, these niceties start to feel like lock-in. What if your music listening habits don’t change all that much? What if you don’t really need all those new features, or you’re frustrated that you feel forced to relearn a piece of software you’ve relied upon for years because an update changed the UI dramatically? What if you only edit most of your files from the same device?

I’ve embraced subscription pricing for some things — like the software that I use and rely on every single day. I’m looking at you, 1Password, Ulysses, TextExpander, Overcast, Day One, and Bear. But there’s a part of me that feels like subscription services are a terrible trap in other contexts.

Take music, for example. What happens in ten years when the pace with which you listen to new music slows? You find yourself listening to the same hundred albums over and over again. In previous generations? No big deal. You bought your records, 8-tracks, or cassettes and can listen to them until they physically cease to function.

But with subscription services, you either keep paying or go through the costly process of buying the music you truly care about. Because you never actually bought the albums, you just paid a monthly fee for access to them.

Electron and the Decline of Native Apps ➝

John Gruber:

The Mojave App Store app certainly isn’t written using Electron. But the problem with Electron apps isn’t really Electron — it’s the decline in demand for well-made native Mac apps. And that is ominous. The biggest threat to the Mac isn’t iPads, Chromebooks, or Windows 2-in-1’s — it’s apathy towards what makes great Mac apps great.

I don’t think it’s necessarily bad for Mac apps to be un-Mac-like. But if the way that an app differs from the norm creates a worse experience for the user, that is bad. I can understand why some companies are building apps on Electron — it allows them to quickly develop desktop apps using the same codebase as their web app.

For a lot of application categories, you need a web app. And the rise of Electron is in no small part due to the economics of software development — building a single app that works on a number of platforms is significantly less costly than building native apps for each. But I wish that these companies would more seriously take into consideration the vastly superior user experience that can be achieved by embracing each platform’s strengths through native APIs. Doing so would result in software that users are excited to launch and truly enjoy using.

Why I Still Buy Apple Hardware ➝

Ben Brooks, regarding the Surface Studio’s biggest flaw:

When I was talking about the Surface Studio on Twitter, someone responded “have you guys even used Windows lately”. I chuckled, because I have, and it’s shit. Anyone who thinks the Surface Studio makes up for that, is going to be really fucking sad.

No good Markdown writing apps, no robust note taking app market (hope you love OneNote), or good apps period. The apps look like apps out of 2003, and don’t even hold a candle to many of the free apps on Mac or iOS.

I originally switched to the Mac in 2006 because I fell in love with Apple’s hardware designs. After purchasing an iPod nano and fifth-generation iPod, I wanted that experience to extend behind my music listening.

I bought the base model white plastic MacBook and upgraded the RAM and hard drive myself, shortly after taking it home. What followed was serval weeks (or months) of discovery. There were all of these incredible third-party developers making some of the most well-designed applications I’ve ever seen.

I may have switched to the Mac because of the hardware, but I’ve stayed on Apple’s platforms because of the software. Nothing on Windows compares to the fit and finish of apps like Transmit, Alfred, Ulysses, and countless more. I haven’t dipped my toes in the other pond as recently as Ben — it’s been a few years since I’ve used a Windows machine for any meaningful length of time — but the impression that I get is that very little has changed on this front.

The Latte Rationalization ➝

Eddie Smith:

Pricing apps as non-digital goods is hopeless in the long run. If you’ve read the Internet at all, you’ve seen what I call “the latte rationalization,” which goes something like this:

If you spend $5 a day on coffee, why can’t you spend $5 one time on an app that benefits you every day?

The problem with “the latte rationalization” is that there isn’t another shop down the street that’s giving away cups of coffee for free. But, in the software market, you can find dozens of competing apps that will work well enough. And many of them are available at no cost.

Function Strip ➝

Dr. Drang, on the rumored touch-sensitive OLED strip on the next MacBook Pro:

But there is this nagging thought in the back of my head. Can Apple pull this off? Does it still have the UX chops to figure out the right way to implement what could be a very powerful addition to the Mac? So much of what’s good about Apple products, both hardware and software, seems to be based on wise, user-centric decisions made years ago. Can it still make those decisions? […]

On the other hand, the story of watchOS 3 is an indication that Apple still has the goods, that it can still make good decisions, even if it means reversing much-hyped earlier decisions. That’s the Apple I hope to see in the new MacBook Pro.

How Apple Can Improve the Apple Watch Without New Hardware ➝

Tim Schmitz:

I wrote recently that I’ve been somewhat disappointed in the first generation Apple Watch. A lot of that has to do with the limitations of the hardware, but a sizable part is related to the software as well. Apple can only release new hardware so often, but they can update the OS much more frequently. Here are a few areas where I think there’s room for significant improvement without new hardware.

I agree with all of his recommendations. But I do think Apple will need to improve the Watch’s hardware to make this device a must-have. The problem is that it’s just too slow. Aside from glances and complications, everything is much easier (and quicker) to find or do on my iPhone than it is on the Watch.