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.

All hail AT&T »

Jared Newman, writing at Macworld on AT&T loosening it’s throttling policy:

This is a major change from AT&T’s previous policy, which began throttling unlimited data users at 5GB in a congested area. In an even older policy, AT&T throttled users at just 3GB for 3G/4G HSPA+ networks and 5GB for 4G LTE networks, whether they were in a congested site or not. (Some users complained that throttling began at just 2GB.)

Why this matters: AT&T stopped offering unlimited data plans to new customers in 2012. While existing customers have been allowed to keep their unlimited data, AT&T has severely curtailed the benefits of those plans through strict throttling policies and the inability to tether a tablet or computer without additional fees. Subscribers who’ve stuck with their unlimited plans through it all are now being handsomely rewarded, especially as streaming video, photo sharing, and streaming music cause data use to climb.

YES. I’d tear my clothes off and run around the neighborhood in celebration, but I’m a grown up (and no one needs to see that). But, I’m really happy. This is the first non-hostile thing AT&T has done for its legacy plan customers in a very long time. I’m still skeptical of their motivations, but my plan is still better off than it was yesterday. Yeah, they got slapped with $100M fine, but in reality, that’s a drop in the profit bucket for a company of that size. Glad I hung onto my old crusty plan all this time.

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.

Coda 2.0 for iOS is here »

From the Panic site:

We’ve put an stunning, desktop-class amount of work into Coda for iOS. It’s truly pro. But, it’s not hard to learn. You’re getting an incredible amount of power at a killer price. Buy it today! And let us know what you make with it!

Yeah. Just buy it. And yes, this post was created in/posted from Coda for iOS. Crazy awesome stuff.

The Guilty Whiner »

Jordan Cooper hosts the very funny podcast, Tech Douchebags. I was on the most recent episode, which was a ton of fun.

In this week’s meeting, Nate Boateng confronts his guilt over whining about inconsequential things and how he gets unreasonably annoyed at software bugs, poor user interface design, slow app updated for new iOS versions, and generally having his time wasted.

In addition, we discuss the psychology of online criticism, consumer expectations of mobile apps, podcast app bugbears, road rage, and supermarket gentrification.

I miss regular podcasting. And blogging. Might have to get back to doing both.

Life After Cancer »

Federico Viticci, on life:

Cancer changed me. It’s not necessarily about chemo drugs (they’re awful, but they work) or the oncology routine and terminology that you’re forced to learn suddenly and force upon the people around you. As a survivor, it’s not even strictly about living with the consequences and the constant reminder that I need to be prepared for anything.

Cancer taught me the beauty of life. To find magic in the simple act of having dinner with my girlfriend. To see work as an opportunity to inspire others and be useful. To love my parents now and cherish every moment with them because one day they’ll be gone and I’ll hold onto my memories forever. To listen to people and respect others because, in the end, no matter our diverging opinions and disagreements, we’re human beings and empathy drives us forward. My experience gave me a profound awareness of the fact that my time is limited and that, at a basic level, I have no idea what I’m doing here. And this freedom is amazing.

I’m here today because people saved me. I recognize that I am lucky and privileged. Last year, when I realized that I wasn’t fully seizing the second chance I was granted, I decided to do everything in my power to change my habits and respect this new opportunity. What I can do as a person is to take better care of myself and find a balance between my activities and my personal, physical existence on this planet. I sought a healthier lifestyle so I wouldn’t squander my extra time.

Take some time, and really digest this piece. It’s not a surprise that Federico’s most personal writing is also his best. Cheers, Ticci.