Fake Shower

Federico Viticci, MacStories:

Yesterday, after my friend Matt tweeted about Fake Shower, I downloaded it (the app is free) expecting to stumble upon a silly joke. To use Apple’s parlance, I thought it was another fart app, disguised as a clean-looking utility to actually achieve the opposite goal.
Then I decided to look for more information.

What started as an inane joke on Twitter quickly became — somehow — a source of interest for Federico. And, in a fascinatingly unexpected turn of events, it appears his curiosity was actually rather well-justified.

As it happens, the app — designed to mask the embarrassing sounds of a bathroom stall — is actually derived from a good cause: conserving water. Moreover, the app is startlingly well-designed and considered.

You can read more of Federico's thoughts regarding "Fake Shower" at MacStories. And, if you're so inclined, you can download the app from the App Store.

Belated Praise for Day One

Day One

Federico Viticci on August 2:

Where the human mind can’t get, I think software can help. In the connected and post-PC era we’re living in, I believe the devices and apps we use play an important role in enabling us to create memories. But just as relevant as “content creation” has become to this discussion, we have to ensure the memories we create today will be preserved digitally for the future.

For the past few months, I have been using a new version of Day One to build an archive of my life. Released today, the new Day One goes beyond the previous version’s support for text entries and adds photos, location, and weather information in an app that, for me, has become more than a simple journaling utility.

For months and months, various contemporaries within the technology community have been offering unsolicited pitches for Day One. Dedicated to the intelligent journaling of your life, the app repeatedly wedged itself into an unappealing corner of my mind.

In a world in which I’m increasingly encumbered by more and more apps that I’m supposed to use, I felt that I certainly did not want even one more. Beyond the beautiful interface, the unified appearance across devices, and the delightful integration of photography and contextual metadata, Day One represented, in my eyes, a dangerous agent of time-consumption.

And yet, as is endemic to the mind of the average geek, the yearning for experimentation with a new toy continued to niggle at my consciousness. Finally, following Federico’s review (which actually drove a fair amount of traffic to ONE37 as a further reminder) I bought into the experience and spent a measly $4.99 for the Mac app.

Five minutes later I owned the iOS app, and twenty minutes later I had retroactively completed all of the preceding five days of journaling.

Considering my vociferous apprehension toward Day One and its inherent potential for bothersome time-consumption, my experience with the app ecosystem thus far has been quite to the contrary of my expectations. Rather, in an age in which my mind is constantly dragged from app to app, Day One provides a solitary, disconnected means for reflection, solace, and experiential archival.

This past weekend, having visited the Olympic Stadium for a number of events, Day One became a vessel for recording precisely which athletes, events, and experiences I enjoyed. Although photos were in the ether via Instagram and Path, Day One stood out as a personal means for lending meaning and significance to these digital elements.

In essence, Day One has provided an invaluable semblance of coherence to the disjointed digital wilderness in which my data — and, therefore, my experiences — reside.

Lacking any more complication than is necessary, and inviting you into its walled-garden of personal experiences and photographs, Day One has instantly become one of my most prized Mac and iOS applications. I genuinely couldn’t be happier with the experience, and I’m endlessly pleased that I succumbed to my intrigue and tested the app.

Day One is available from the Mac App Store and the iOS App Store for $4.99, respectively. Highly (highly) recommended.

MacStories Features: OS X Mountain Lion

MacStories

Gabe Glick:

MacStories is pleased to announce their first eBook, MacStories Features: OS X Mountain Lion, for $6.99. With a detailed review of Mountain Lion, numerous sections covering its new apps and features in depth, and 30% of its proceeds going to the American Cancer Society, MacStories Features: OS X Mountain Lion is a great way to learn about Mountain Lion, support MacStories, and fight cancer all at once.

In my humble opinion, MacStories is easily one of the best Mac news resources available. Boasting a brilliant staff, a fantastic collective voice, and a penchant for testing the bounds of the publishing arena, the site continues to leap from strength to strength.

Today, some 27,000 words later, MacStories has published the entirety of its Mountain Lion coverage as a purchasable e-book. Beyond the fantastic coverage (and a foreword by Shawn Blanc), thirty percent of each sale is donated to the American Cancer Society.

You can (and should) buy the first MacStories e-book from E-Junkie.

Analytiks

Analytiks

Federico Viticci:

Released yesterday, Analytiks 2.0 by Stelios Petrakis is an interesting widget-type iOS application to quickly check on your Google Analytics account. Whilst I don’t normally bother delving deep into Google reporting while on my iPhone, I have been looking for fresh alternatives to Garrett Murray’s Ego (which took a substantial hit in terms of daily usage after I stopped using Mint), and Analytiks delivers on the need of providing essential information at a glance with an elegant presentation.

Although I have a sincere mistrust of Google Analytics, I’m utterly enthralled with the minimalist design implemented in Analytiks. Colorful, attractive, and competent, Analytiks has prompted an ever-so-slight reconsideration of my usage of Google Analytics.

Such is the power of good design.

Analytiks is available for $0.99 from the App Store.

Misjudging Free

Pocket

Yesterday, following Read It Later’s pivot into a less discriminatory “for later” service, Pocket, the Internet was abuzz with discussions of presumed ill-intent and accusations of poor business practices. Federico Viticci and Ben Brooks had a (presumably) amiable back and forth between their respective weblogs, and Twitter was filled with commentary.

For my part, I wrote an article back in February that aptly articulates my feelings on the matter. Entitled, “Fearing Change,” I wrote:

Embracing change allows for a dialectic discussion between innovation and the status quo. Without this conversation, things cannot and simply will not improve for anyone. In that light, wedging one’s head into the sand and swearing off anything different is absolutely pointless.

The world is a much better place once you snap out of an apprehensive and confused state - once you open the curtains and view the world for what it really is. Hiding under the covers and refusing to acknowledge anything beyond your desired state of affairs is cowardly, not constructive, and contributes absolutely nothing to the betterment of the situation.

Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but fear of it certainly is.

The presumption — without justification — that a company will hurt you and your interests betrays an infrastructure of fearful thinking. Moreover, it is not in keeping with the nature of the age in which we live.

Business is currently a hot bed for rampant and dazzling innovation. Holding oneself back from embracing such change, particularly when relying upon pessimistic and cynical presumptions, merely serves to stunt the aforementioned “dialectic.” Furthermore, given the ever-changing nature of the Internet, swearing off perceived imperfections in business practices inevitably paves a path toward disconnected isolation and paranoia.

We no longer live in a world in which commerce is characterized by the simplistic exchange of currency for a product or service. Instead, the Internet has given rise to utterly new forms of revenue generation. Although, arguably, many of these methods are inherently flawed, I have faith that such problems are merely indicative of the Internet’s continued growing pains.

Moreover, many of the Internet’s most prominent innovators have an insatiable desire to develop fantastic new services. In doing so, there is a perpetuated adrenaline rush leading toward the inevitable release of said service. During this time, I imagine pondering the nuances of business models and monetization are rather low on the list. Instead, people simply want to bring something inherently good and new to their audience. Perhaps that causes problems down the line but, rather than feeling resentful toward such innovation, I feel endlessly grateful. Without the blind maneuvering of innovators, we’d be left with few of the Internet’s most prominent services.

Thus, I choose not to view the innovation and imperfections of various services in a fatalistic light. Rather, I choose to embrace the discussion, enjoy what is new, and to foster an accordingly greater understanding and ever-increasing quality of life.

With specific regard to Pocket, I’m admittedly impressed. Although I have unsuccessfully courted and experimented with Instapaper-competitors for years, I tend to think Pocket has latched onto an intelligent and important point of attraction. Rather than focusing upon text, Pocket foregoes any specific allegiance to a particular medium. Instead, Pocket is a colorful, enjoyable, and useful window onto the Internet in its entirety. In many respects, Pocket fills the gap between “for later” services and Pinterest. Perhaps that is uninteresting to some but, for me, I find it thoroughly compelling.