The App That Never Was

While using one of my favorite iOS Shortcuts the other day, it occurred to me how much things have changed in six years.

I say six years ago specifically because it was in 2014 that I made an iOS app called Upshot.

Sadly, Upshot never saw the light of day because I couldn't get it past App Review for very dumb reasons. Lucky for you though, after I show the ridiculously simple Shortcut that I now use instead, this gives me the opportunity to tell you my very favorite App Store rejection story.

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Digital Heirlooms

If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you'll find that I take preserving our (my family's) digital memories and history seriously.

However, if I were to die tomorrow, the app I made for my son and installed on his iPad this morning will stop working in one-hundred and ninety-two days. Not for any technical reason. Not because of future software incompatibilities. If his iPad remained in working order for another hundred years, it wouldn't even matter. This digital heirloom will self-destruct as soon as my developer certificate expires.

And it's all due to an arbitrary decision on Apple's part.

I don't think I'm being hyperbolic when I say that future historians and even archaeologists are going to revisit our time and be furious at the direction our industry turned towards using consolidation, monopoly power, and artificial restrictions to protect profits at all costs.

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Sample Code to Make your Mac App Open at Launch and How to Handle Global Keyboard Shortcuts

After my post last week about the updates I made to my audio app Ears, longtime internet buddy @macrael asked:

@tylerhall Do you use libraries for the hotkey-setting UI or the start-on-launch stuff? I'm putting together my first Mac app and am looking into those parts rn.

I do, actually. In addition to replying to MacRae on the nightmare birdsite, I thought I'd post the two helper projects here for anyone else searching.

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Listen Up

One of the best things that have come out of the pandemic for me has been my little Mac app, Ears. I had the idea for it and built it about a month into quarantine because I was in so many remote meetings throughout the day. And depending on the time of day, how much notice I had before the call, if my kids were around, all sorts of reasons - I found myself frequently switching my Mac’s audio between speakers, AirPods, headphones, etc. It was a pain, so I built Ears to make that easier.

Since that first release in June, I’ve been refining the app to fit my workflow even better. And tonight, I’m delighted to push out a new release with additional features for all the work-from-home-warriors out there jumping between calls.

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Don't Let Experience Get in Your Way

A coworker and I have been working crazy hours since March on a huge new product feature - him on Android and myself on iOS. Quite frankly, it's maybe the best work we've done in our careers. And work I, at least, wasn't sure we were even skilled enough to pull off. When we first pitched it to the client, we asked for eight weeks of uninterrupted dev time to build an MVP. They gave us five.

If he and I had predicted these challenges upfront, I'm not sure if we would have pitched the work at all. But we missed them. And now I think that's a good thing. Because, unfinished loose ends or not, we now find ourselves mere weeks from shipping the best work we've ever done.

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Categories
Personal Programming

Surtainly Not

Eighteen hours later, I'm here to write about the dumb, little toy of an app I made this morning just for Big Sur. I honestly don't expect other people to use it. I'm not even sure if I'll keep using it. It was more of a "I hate this. I wonder if I can fix it?" type of thing.

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Shelley

I've written previously about using Hazel on macOS to react to a new file appearing in a synced iCloud Drive folder and running commands. But I wanted a faster solution that I could trigger from almost anywhere - including an iOS Shortcut. A way to send a command directly from my phone (or maybe any other device?) to my Mac.

What I came up with is a tiny, macOS menu bar app I call Shelley - because as a friend told me, it's a Frankenstein of a hack.

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Merging and Deduplicating a Whole Lot of Google Photos

The point of this blog post is to say that I’m preparing for an eventual move to another photo cloud service. I’m also trying to keep my local backups neatly organized. So, I wrote a small command-line tool to specifically deal with the Google Photos backup format that you’ll receive if you request a dump of your data.

It takes Google’s directory structure and all their duplicated files, merges, sorts, and deduplicates your photos and videos into a sane folder structure - the one I’ve been using for over a decade.

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An Epic Blog Post

Oliver Reichenstein, founder of iA Writer, writes about Apple and modern software monopolies. The entire post is well worth reading. And whether you side with him and the $17.86 billion corporation or the $1.97 trillion corporation, you gotta admit it takes guts to lay out that argument on your company blog when the future of your business depends on the kind of day your next anonymous App Store reviewer is having.

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Categories
Apple Indie Business

Download Jigsaw for macOS

Jigsaw is one of those ridiculously fun (dumb?) ideas that come along and smack you upside the head one day and you can’t help but take an afternoon to build.

Apple already lets you sync the contents of your Desktop using iCloud. But, if you’re a visual person like me who often arranges their Desktop icons in meaningful ways, not having the positions of your files on screen also stay in sync is frustrating as I move between my laptop and desktop throughout the day.

Jigsaw solves that by syncing the positions of your Desktop icons over iCloud. Move a folder on your iMac, and a few seconds later it mirrors itself on your laptop.

Jigsaw is free to download.

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