Cool App: PodcastMenu

Apps

I’ve been singing the praises of Overcast for playing podcasts on iOS devices for quite a while now. It’s easily one of the most used apps on my phone and with the latest update allowing me to upload my own files to it, it’s becoming my audiobook player of choice as well. The app has always had a web interface that works well enough when I’m on my desktop computer, but I came across this awesome little menu bar app that lets you control the interface using the media keys on your keyboard.

If you’re like me, sometimes you’ll be listening to a podcast and need to quickly pause to think while writing a snarky blog post or check an email, and being able to use the built-in keys on the keyboard to do this really is a game changer. If you use Overcast and are looking for a way to bring your podcasts, and where you’ve left off in them, to your Mac — give this a look.

Drafts Screencast Series

Apps

I’ve been a big fan of the iOS app Drafts for quite a while. Here’s the premise: open the app, get a blank screen to start typing, then after your thought is out — decide where to send it. One of my biggest uses is to type something and then append it to a file in Dropbox to keep a running list (movies to watch, gift ideas for friends and family, etc.). This video series by David Sparks is a great way to learn the ropes: highly recommended.

Cool New App: Talkshow

Apps

An interesting new app called Talkshow debuted this week:

Talkshow is a simple messaging app that allows you to text these things in public. With Talkshow, individuals, groups of friends, entertainers, creators — anyone! — can have conversations in public, to be viewed by others in real time or after the fact. Every Talkshow can be shared outside the app and embedded into other websites.

I can definitely see some interesting uses for this kind of thing.

Helpful App: Chatology

Chatology

Chatology is an app for OS X that allows you to search through your iMessage history. It’s one of those things you didn’t know you needed until you really need it.

If you use Messages, you probably know that searching messages to find important info from past chats can be frustrating. Perhaps you couldn’t find what you were looking for, or your Mac slowed down so much that you gave up.

Chatology helps you find exactly what you’re looking for without frustration.

Helpful App: Thunderspace 5K

Apps

The last few weeks have been just a tad stressful. Needless to say my sleep schedule has taken a massive punch in the balls. Over the past few days I’ve been using this app, Thunderspace 5K, at night as almost a white noise machine. It’s been a revelation. It might be growing up in Oregon, and having spent many a night falling asleep to the sound of rain on the wood deck outside the window of my youth, but this app has replaced podcasts when I finally find my way to bed.

Cool App: Fluid Browser

Apps

Sarah Perez, writing for TechCrunch:

One of the better features to emerge in iOS 9 is support for picture-in-picture mode on the iPad. But when you’re trying to surf the web while watching Netflix on your Mac, it’s not as easy to do – you often end up moving separate windows around on the screen, or switching back and forth between the playing video and other browser tabs.

A new floating browser app for Mac called Fluid solves this problem by offering a way to view your work alongside your media content from places like YouTube, Netflix, Vimeo, Hulu and more.

As I’m writing this I have Plex running and playing The Social Network in the corner. Pretty great.

Adding Chapters to Podcasts

John Voorhees, writing for MacStories, looks at the new Mac utility Chapters, which allows you to easily add chapter marks into podcasts:

Historically, adding chapter markers to a podcast has been more trouble than it is worth for many podcasters. The ‘hassle factor’ is a legitimate concern. Producing a podcast can be a lot of work even without chapter markers, but that is beginning to change with the introduction of tools like Chapters, a new Mac utility from Thomas Pritchard that makes adding chapter markers a breeze.

I used this app to add chapters to the latest episode of Encore and was impressed at how easy and dead simple it was to use.

Favorite Software

Technology

One of the more frequent questions I’m asked is what software do I use for insert a task here. This post hopes to keep a running list of my favorite apps, programs, and tools that I use on a regular basis. I’ve tried to break up the list into helpful sections and linked out to the app store when appropriate. Everything listed here I personally use and recommend. I’ll try and update this post on a semi-regular basis.

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Cool App: Next (Expense Tracking)

Apps

Federico Viticci, reviewing Next for MacStories:

Next is on my Home screen on my iPhone and iPad. I use the app every day, and I log every expense (whether it’s cash or an expense from my bank account) as soon as I can. My perspective of my spending habits has considerably changed since I started using Next, and I’m making more informed decisions thanks to the overview that this app offers and its elegant design combined with astounding ease of use.

I’ve been using Mint for quite a while to get a good overview of my finances (#adulting), but recently I realized I had two main categories that I wanted to better break down for budgetary purposes: food and shopping. I wanted to have a weekly food budget, and a monthly shopping budget, and make sure I could keep track of just those two things with relative ease. Enter: Next.

I’ve been using this system for the last month and am really impressed by how much it does help me make purchasing decisions. Being able to quickly glance at my week of food spending keeps me from buying that extra 6-pack of beer after my weekly store run. I like the simplicity of this system because instead of having to remember a variety of categories within my budget, I can keep two numbers in my head: food per week, shopping per month.

While I still like (not love) Mint for being able to give me a bigger overview of everything in my financial world, Next is the first budget app I’ve actually felt some delight in using each day.

Plex on the Apple TV

The new Apple TV interface, married with our own design touches, gives you the slickest navigation and search experience yet, showcasing all of your media in an elegant and intuitively organized way. Now, finding what you want is easier and more simple than ever before. And with Apple TV’s new top shelf, you can see your featured Plex content right on your Apple TV home screen.

I had tried Plex about six or so years ago and it didn’t seem for me. I liked the basic idea but this was before the wave of little pucks attached to TVs really took off and it was cumbersome to get it to work right. Instead, for the past few years, I’ve been using the old Apple TV with Home Sharing through iTunes. I used iFlicks 2 for adding metadata to any extra media I had in my collection, and, all-in-all it worked pretty well. However, recently I felt like I was spending more time managing and organizing the files while troubleshooting weird network issues (like stuff not showing up if the computer had been asleep too long). So, after hearing basically everyone gush about Plex over the past few weeks, and reading the reviews about the new native app for the new Apple TV (which I really love), I decided it was worth giving it another look.

I’m really glad I did.

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