iOS 10 is here »

And it’s a pretty great update. Loads of new goodies. I may be celebrating my next birthday before I get through them, but both Nick Heer and Federico Viticci’s reviews are worth your time. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming of me barely posting.

Associate: easy Amazon linking »

Associate is a new app from the good dudes at Squibner—makers of Blink.

At a glance, it’s very similar, but instead of working with iTunes, it untangles the nightmare of Amazon Affiliate links. I rarely use my Amazon affiliate account because it’s a pain. Associate makes these links incredibly easy to create.

Affiliate links are an easy way to generate a little bit of cash to keep sites like these. Especially for those who do a better job keeping up with theirs. I’m happy apps like this exist. Plus, John and his son Owen are good people. I like supporting good people. You can get Associate for $4.99 on the App Store.

Drafts: still my jam »

I’ve been redoing my Drafts setup lately, much like Gabe. He’s always an excellent source for some critical thinking about your setup. I don’t know where I stumbled across Tim Nahumck’s site, but he has some pretty amazing stuff of his own on the subject. Cheers to these guys.

Side note: Sorry for not putting anything on the site recently. It’s been a little busy. Rest assured, I’m still here. Maybe I’ll get back to this regularly, maybe I won’t. We’ll see!

Apple joins financial lobbying group »

Hamza Shaban, at BuzzFeed:

“We believe that if you look at the amount of investment happening in the fintech startup space, which is off the charts right now, there are a lot really smart people working on these challenges and technology is going to be the solution.” Peters hopes the group will capitalize on young people’s dissatisfaction toward traditional brick-and-mortar bank branches and the trust they have for customer-friendly technology companies. Financial Innovation Now also aims to push novel mobile and cloud-based services, with an eye for the tens of millions of “unbanked” Americans who lack access to savings accounts and credit cards. “The companies believe that technology is going to help solve the financial inclusion challenge, which a lot of policymakers are focused on,” Peters said.

Now if they could just force my credit union to get up to date.

Blink 2.0 »

John Voorheen of Squibner Software:

Blink 2.0 has a bunch of other cool features too, including side-by-side multitasking. I’m really excited about this one. Just as Blink 1.0’s action extension was its secret weapon letting users generate affiliate links from within Apple’s stores and third party apps, I think multitasking on the iPad is going to be big for Blink 2.0. No one likes to switch back and forth between apps and now, whether you are looking up media in Blink or via its extension from another app, having it next to your text editor makes it immediately more useful. Keyboard shortcuts will also make searching for media easier for iPad users who use an external keyboard and the ability to edit links in Blink’s extension enhances Markdown links because who hasn’t run into a title that is a little too long, especially App-Store-Optimized app titles like FancyKey for iOS 8 - Personalize your keyboard with cool Fonts, colorful Themes and beautiful Emoji Art?

So what’s next for Blink? Blink, which was conceived as a tool for bloggers to generate affiliate links (Blogger + Link == Blink), has started to become something more. The Apple Music and Apple Podcast App support are just the start. In a world where web advertising is in decline and being actively blocked as user-hostile, it has never been harder for creators to earn a living. Affiliate linking, by its very nature is not in your face and the barrier to entry is nonexistent — signing up takes all of five minutes, it’s free and it scales. Whether you share links with a handful of friends or run a web site with millions of page views an month, the iTunes Affiliate Program is an easy way to add a revenue stream that supports your blog, podcast, book club, or whatever. The point is that it’s not just for big web sites or developers, affiliate linking is for anyone who has ever recommended a good book or shared a playlist, podcast, or cool new game they discovered and can be part of any business model that includes linking to iTunes media.

We are at a unique moment in time where affiliate linking has the opportunity to take off as a respectful alternative to the gross, in-your-face mess that much of web advertising has become. But to take off, affiliate linking is going to require education and better tools on every platform. That is where Blink is heading.

Good software made by good people. I like Blink, and John is good people. You should grab a copy if you use affiliate links. Yes, that link was generated in Blink.

Dropbox File Requests »

Jason Snell, at Six Colors:

But the thing is, a lot of the people I work with have a free Dropbox account—meaning they’re limited to 2GB of Dropbox data. Sometimes that Incomparable Transfer Folder can get big—and some of them are so close to the Dropbox size limit that they’re not able to even join the shared folder, because it’ll push them over. And though I’m a paying customer, I can’t grant the rights to some of my storage space to members of my shared folders. That’s not how Dropbox works.

But a feature introduced by Dropbox in June is starting to change how I use the service. It’s called File Requests, and it allows me to create a link that I can give to anyone who needs to send me a file—whether they use Dropbox or not.

I feel like a dope, but I had no idea that this existed. I could use this in a ton of ways.

The Next Apple TV »

Matthew Panzarino, at TechCrunch:

To control the new Apple TV? A new remote. One major feature of which was pretty much nailed by Brian Chen in an article earlier this year. It’s slightly bigger and thicker, with physical buttons on the bottom half, a Touchpad area at the top and a Siri microphone. Info about this remote was included in a report by Mark Gurman earlier this month, along with some other information we’ve confirmed about the new Apple TV.

One thing that hasn’t been talked about yet is the fact that the new remote will be motion sensitive, likely including several axis’ worth of sensors that put its control on par with a Nintendo Wii remote. The possibilities, of course, are immediately evident.

Of all the new things reportedly coming to the new Apple TV, this is what I’m most excited about. Am I weird? Maybe.

Liftoff »

Stephen Hackett, at 512 Pixels:

Over the past six months or so, I’ve been writing, talking and thinking a lot more about space and how we get there.

That’s led — somewhat inevitably — to a new podcast on Relay FM. We’ve named it Liftoff.

There’s a dwindling number of podcast networks out there, but Relay is my favorite by a mile. And it keeps getting better. Stephen and Myke have added a ton of shows and they’re all superb. Big congrats to them for yet another great addition.

Twitter removes the stupid limit on direct messages »

Alex Kantrowitz at BuzzFeed:

Starting today, that limit is gone. You can now send Twitter DMs of up to 10,000 characters in length. Don’t worry, you can still send incriminating photos via DM and hope they don’t accidentally publish to all your followers, if that’s what you’re into.

Obligatory “finally.”

Blink 1.1 »

Gabe Weatherhead:

I reviewed Blink 1.0 back in March and I still think it’s excellent. Version 1.1 is out now and adds some nice new features. You can now include the “geo” code so that links work better for sharing across international borders. You can also now share Apple Music links so that they open in in the Music app instead of the Store app. I haven’t researched the difference between affiliate payouts but I mostly don’t care. I think it’s nicer to have them open in the Music app.

Gabe’s right, Blink is far and away the best way to work with iTunes affiliate links on iOS. Doesn’t hurt that it’s made by good people. Well worth the $5.