All posts by dwight


Useful Apps – iOS 8 & Extensions

iOS 8 has added a feature I have wanted for a long time: Extensions. Apps are now able to interoperate much more than in previous versions. So here are the apps I have been using. (Here is my previous Useful Apps post for comparison)

Fantastical – $5
I’m still loving this app’s free-form event entry. At some point I am going to break down and get the Mac version, but I just don’t do enough with my calendar to really feel the pain.

Flickr – free
I’m still using Flickr. Yahoo has fixed the auto upload feature and has even made it so you can upload videos. I hope they keep working on this app.

Dark Sky – $4
I keep Dark Sky around for the rain notifications. I actually like Lines better, and it is available as a free web-view. I can’t decide between the two, so I use both.

Instapaper – free
Instapaper is now free (with in-app purchases.) The iOS app is best for catching up on reading all the articles anything I saved because I didn’t have time to read them when I found them.

Reeder – $5
Reeder lets me access my Feedly feeds and integrates with Instapaper and Pinboard for saving to read and read articles, respectively. The developers haven’t jumped on the sharing extension bandwagon (yet?) which is fine with me. They did a good job of creating a sharing experience that works great for everything that I want to do (mostly send things to either Instapaper or Pinboard.)

That about does it for my main screen. I have a couple of blank rows even after you add in Camera, Calendar (used for the convenience of having the date displayed in the icon), Maps, Settings, Passbook, and Phone. My dock has Mail, Safari, Music, and Messages. Mail finally added a way to archive or delete a message without jumping through a bunch of hoops, so it has (for now) won the email job for me. Dispatch just updated their app for iOS 8, so I might give them a look again sometime.

Here are some apps I use that aren’t on my front page:

Pushpin – $10
This was a purchase of necessity because Instapaper switched to using the sharing extensions and I send lots of links from Instapaper to Pinboard. I’ve used it only a few times but I read good things about the app. We shall see if this sticks around next time I list my useful apps. I’ll also be ready if Reeder switches to the sharing extension menu.

Fuzel Collage – free
I have a bunch of photo effect apps, but I use this one the most. I only use it for making stereographic images.

ESPN SportsCenter – free
I’ve used this app for a while for notifications when my teams finish a game. It also partakes in another new iOS feature: Notification Center Widgets. I’m not a huge fan of the widget though. It shows all of my teams upcoming or recently played games, two at a time, rotating through. I would prefer to only see the teams that are playing or played today.

1Password – free
iOS 8 has allowed apps to use TouchID to unlock. 1Password is a great app for managing strong passwords instead of trying to keep memorable passwords around. TouchID makes it even more handy. I believe there are in app purchases to unlock all the features of the app.



I’m using f.lux these days on my computer. It is a utility that warms (shifts away from blue) your display’s white balance as the sun sets. I tried it a few months ago and didn’t really like the effect, but I gave it a try again and this time adjusted it so it didn’t go as far and I’m liking it this time around. They have a page that lists a lot of research supporting the detrimental effects of blue light before sleep if that is your cup of tea.

It works on OS X, Windows, Linux, and jailbroken iOS.

I’m not going to jailbreak, and I don’t see Apple letting an app do this anytime soon, but it would be nice to have this on my iPhone.


Out There

This is a fun game that is currently $2 on iOS and Android. I think you can get it for $10 on Steam for you big computer. (Also, it looks like there is going to be an update soon which adds even more content.)

I especially appreciate the lack of babysitting* required, no in app purchases, the austere survival aspects, and the intuitive user interface.

Go get it, you won’t regret it†.

*Babysitting in a game is any game mechanic that involves checking in on the game multiple times a day in order to make the most progress. Which is usually combined with a game mechanic that limits the amount of playing you can do at one time.
lack of regret not fully guaranteed. You could have a different taste in games than me.