Jeff has been with iDownloadBlog since 2010, acting as resident video specialist, and tutorial expert.
He earned his degree in Computer Network Systems back in 2001, but decided Cisco routers and the like just weren’t for him. Since then, he’s been heavily involved with online writing. He’s written for numerous tech and video game sites since the late 1990′s, and has a knack for explaining things in a simple, clear, and concise manner.
Jeff works primarily from the east coast on his Retina Macbook Pro, and shoots video with a Canon DSLR. During downtime he likes to travel the world, visiting the various Apple Stores across the globe.
You can email him at jeff [at] idownloadblog.com and follow him on Twitter @JeffBenjam or on Google+.
My favorite calendar app for iOS—Fantastical 2—has been updated with a few new features that you should know about. First up is support for the latest version of TextExpander. As we told you about in an earlier post, TextExpander was forced to change its approach to sharing snippets. As a result, any app that features TextExpander support must be updated to retain snippet functionality.
The second feature to be found in Fantastical 2′s latest update is support for Waze. If you have the GPS and navigation app installed on your iPhone, you can now upon location links using Waze instead of Apple Maps or Google Maps. These, and other changes make the cut in Flexibits’ latest update to Fantastical. Check past the break for the full change log. Read More
Episode 006: We talk about some of the best photo and weather apps from 2013, Sebastien installs new RAM in his iMac, Jeff and Cody debate heavily over Touch ID accuracy issues. The crew discusses iOS 7′s sparse design details, frequent crashing issues, and Apple’s new App Store milestone.
As someone who records podcasts and records videos, I constantly find myself switching between the various audio input and output devices on my Mac. You can do this by venturing into the System Preferences and clicking on the Sound option, but that can really slow down your workflow when you need to switch between audio devices many times each day.
I’ve found a tool that runs in the menu bar that makes switching between the different audio devices on the Mac a cinch; in fact, doing so is just a mere two clicks away. The utility is called Audio Switcher—a free tool available for anyone who wishes to switch between audio devices more efficiently. Read More
Lots of people have asked me how I go about recording footage directly from the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. The process is one that is simple and straightforward with the help of a couple of hardware and software tools.
From time to time I will record footage directly from an iOS device, while at other times, I like to record the screen using an external camera so that you can see my hands as I work with the device. Depending on the circumstances, I’ve been known to switch up my methods for doing so.
The bottom line is that there are times in which you should definitely go the direct feed route as opposed to recording the screen externally. As the saying goes, there are many ways to skin a cat, but the method that I’ve been using has been working quite well for me. Have a look inside as I spill the details on what makes a successful iOS device recording setup. Read More
Information you care about, right on your wrist. That’s how developer Keanu Lee presents Pebble Cards—a new app for the Pebble 2.0 that places customizable cards on your Pebble Smartwatch. After finally getting my hands on the Pebble 2.0 app and firmware, I was able to put the awesome looking Pebble Cards through its paces.
Pebble Cards is an app that provides you with short little bursts of information on cards. Multiple customizable cards can make up a deck that can be scrolled through, updated, or expanded to expose more details about the information pertaining to a particular card.
If you’re a Pebble Smartwatch owner, then Pebble Cards should definitely pique your interest. Have a look inside as I show off the Pebble Cards app in our hands-on video walkthrough. Read More
Is iOS 7 jailbroken yet? No. But if you’re the one who can turn that answer into a yes, there’s a growing bounty of crowdfunded dollars awaiting you. That’s the idea behind isios7jailbrokenyet.com—a site where people can go to donate money to fund an open source jailbreak for iOS 7.
The venture has generated over $2000 at the time of this post, and it uses Stripe to accept donations from those eager to free their devices from Apple’s constraints. The prize money will go to the first developer(s) who release an open source iOS 7 jailbreak. As you might expect, there are quite a few stipulations involved in order to be eligible to win. Have a look past the break for the details. Read More
I had never encountered that error message until then, and I chalked it up to the random iOS 7 problem. After rebooting my phone and logging out of my Apple ID account via Settings > iTunes & App Store, I was met with the same exact error message. Even when trying on another device the error message persisted. I decided to go to bed, hoping that everything would be okay in the morning.
Well, I just tried to download an app again, and was met with the same exact error message. I thought to myself, “Okay, perhaps this is an iOS 7 issue since I had only tried it on iOS 7 enabled devices up to that point.” Nope. After trying it on my iPod touch, which is still running iOS 6, I was met with the exact same FATAL error message. In fact, I was met with the same error on my Mac when attempting to download from the Mac App Store. So what gives? Apple’s System Status page is showing everything is okay, but that’s obviously not the case… Read More
iCloud Keychain is a nice new addition to iOS 7, because it allows you to save username and password combinations to the cloud. This means that it’s possible to save login information for sites you frequent and auto login to those sites using the saved username and password info.
iCloud Keychain has been criticized by the tech press for being half baked. While that is certainly true—it has many opportunities for improvement and refinement—it’s better than nothing if you ask me.
Some have lamented about the fact that certain sites force passwords to go unsaved. Web sites have the option of requesting passwords not to be saved, and many sites—especially financial services like banks—have opted in to this. This feature, among other issues, is a thorn in the side of many iCloud Keychain users. Fortunately, it’s an issue that can solved with relative ease. Read More
Have you ever tried to right-click on an image in order to save it, only to find that the option to save the image is no where to be found? From time to time you’ll likely run into such an issue, and in many cases it has to do with how a particular web page is designed (css, etc.).
There’s a particular Chrome extension that I use for the Google Chrome browser called Image Downloader. This extension makes it easy to quickly identify all images on a particular web page. You can then download those images in batch form or individually.
Image Downloader probably isn’t an extension that you’ll use on a day-to-day basis, but it’s been instrumental to me in those instances where I needed to quickly download a stubborn image. Have a look at our video walkthrough as I step through the entire image downloading process using this great extension. Read More
I wouldn’t call myself a Nest Learning Thermostat early adopter, but I did acquire one fairly early in the game, and I haven’t looked back. The Nest, as you’re likely well aware of, is the new-aged thermostat from iPod designer Tony Fadell. The Nest allows users to control the thermostat from anywhere in the world using a web browser, or by using an iOS app for the iPad or iPhone.
Mac users have sort of been left out in the cold; pun intended. Desktop users have basically been relegated to using the web browser in order to control the Nest, as there is no official Nest app available for OS X. The good news is that developer Joseph Workman has taken the initiative to wrap the Nest’s web interface into a handy utility called Climate, and it runs in the Mac’s menu bar. This makes it so that you can quickly access the Nest’s temperature controls and other features from anywhere on your Mac.
We’ve taken the initiative to create a video walkthrough in order to showcase to you how Climate works, and why it’s so beneficial to Mac users. Jump past the break to see all the details. Read More
NoSleep is a handy menu bar utility that I use each and every day to keep my MacBook Air awake. It’s like speed for your Mac. Even with the lid on the MacBook closed, it stays awake.
The best thing about this utility is that it can be easily toggled on or off by means of a single click on its menu bar icon. NoSleep is a simple tool, yet it does feature a few options to customize the way it works. Have a look inside as I showcase NoSleep on video. Read More
Apple has seeded its latest 10.9.1 beta for OS X developers; this time sporting a build number of 13B40, compared to the 13B35 build released back on November 21. Like build 13B35, this version focuses on Apple Mail, Safari, VoiceOver, and graphics drivers. Check inside for more details, screenshots, and the full release notes. Read More
It’s an unfortunate eventuality that virtually every Mac user has to face: the dreaded problem of having way too many items in your menu bar. So many menu bar items clutter the top right hand corner of your screen, that they’re starting to flood into the app menu items on the left-hand side of the screen. That, folks, is the sign of a serious problem.
But don’t worry, we’ve all been there. For me, it got to the point where it was downright embarrassing when I would take screenshots and my menu bar would appear in the shot. I had a real problem keeping my menu bar organized, and many of you reading this probably do to.
I needed help, but I couldn’t fight this uphill battle without assistance. Thankfully, that helping-hand came in the form of an awesome little Mac utility called Bartender. Bartender is a utility that lets your organize and tidy up the contents of your menu bar with relative ease. It can turn an overweight and overstuffed menu bar into a svelte menu akin to a stock OS X installation. It’s the tool that you need if you’re like me and you sufferer from menu-bar-itis. Watch our full video walkthrough after the break, and you’ll see what I mean. Read More
Episode 005: Sebastien describes his work environment, including his power-adjustable desk and his $700 stool. Jeff explains his recent change of heart regarding the smart watch and other wearables. Cody runs down his Black Friday experience. The trio also discusses Evernote paperless strategies and how to best achieve the elusive inbox zero.
In episode 002 of Let’s Talk iOS we talked about Pinboard, and why it’s such a useful service for saving bookmarks. I won’t get too much into the specifics about Pinboard on this post, so I urge you to listen to that episode if you haven’t already. The episode does a good job of explaining the methodology behind Pinboard, pricing, etc.
What I do want to talk about is an awesome Pinboard utility called Shiori. A free download for OS X, Shiori is a Pinboard utility that allows you to quickly add new bookmarks to your Pinboard account and just as quickly search all of the contents of your account.
Shiori runs in the menu bar, and both its add and search functions can be accessed by a pair of useful keyboard shortcuts. Have a look inside as we go hands on with Shiori on video. If you’re at all interested in saving bookmarks for the longterm, then I’m positive you’ll find Shiori useful. Read More
When you initially install OS X, there are a few items that are placed in your menu bar by default. There are a couple of ways to go about adding or removing stock OS items from your menu bar in an effort to keep it tidy and organized.
In this tutorial, we’ll cover some of the basic menu bar management tips for stock menu bar items. This includes basic tips on rearranging, removing, and adding items back to the menu bar. We’ve also got a handy video showcasing some of the basic concepts of stock menu bar item management. Have a look inside for more details. Read More
If you follow my rants on Let’s Talk iOS then you know that there’s a running joke about how many times I change my mind. In the last 2 years, I’ve switched from an iMac, MacBook Pro, another iMac, a MacBook Air, a Retina MacBook Pro and another MacBook Air. I don’t have to tell you that that’s insane, and probably not a healthy way to go about living your life.
But I’ve settled. I’ve settled on the machine for me. That machine is the 11″ MacBook Air. It’s the MacBook with the exceptionally long battery life due to its Haswell processor. This — and trust me I would know — is the perfect computer for me. It’s probably the perfect computer for you as well; you just don’t realize it yet. Read More
The iPhone and iPad are serious gaming devices. If you ask me, games are one of the best perks about owning an iOS device. The problem is that, just like with virtually every other genre of app on the App Store, there’s an abundance of games available and many of them can be quite terrible.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to start a new series showcasing some of the games available on iOS. Unlike a normal post, I’ll actually add video along with commentary of myself playing the game. By doing this, you’ll be able to better gauge whether or not the game is right for you.
I’ll be doing this a lot with new releases, but I’ll also dig back in my stash of previous gems that everyone should know about. The first game in this series is a game that’s been available for quite some time now—the legendary Terry Cavanagh’sSuper Hexagon. This is far and away one of my favorite games for iOS, because it has the perfect mix of drama and replay-ability. Watch me play Super Hexagon after the break. Read More
Sometimes dragging and dropping items between multiple windows and full screen apps and folders can be challenging. But dragging and dropping doesn’t have to be a tedious or perplexing task. One of my favorite utilities for the Mac is called Yoink, and it allows you to simplify the process of dragging and dropping on OS X.
Its description in the Mac App Store states that Yoink simplifies drag and drop between windows, apps, spaces and fullscreen apps. As a long time user of the tool, I can vouch for developer Matthias Gansringler’s description. As you’ll see in the video walkthrough that follows, Yoink is one of those apps that you don’t realize you need until you see it in action. Have a look inside for the full walkthrough. Read More
ScreenFlow is, in my opinion, the best screen recording software available for the Mac. It’s what I use each and every day to create a lot of the video content that you see on iDB. Its developer, Telestream Inc., has made the app available on both the Mac App Store and via direct download from its website.
Unfortunately, as with a lot of the apps that feature Mac App Store versions and direct download versions, the Mac App Store release lags behind. ScreenFlow is stuck at version 4.0.4 on the Mac App Store, while the direct download version recently got updated to version 4.5. For that reason, I recommend buying the direct download version, because that version gets updates much faster than the Mac App Store version.
It’s also a great time to buy the direct download version, because Telestream is having a 30% off sale. This means you can snag ScreenFlow 4.5 for under $70 bucks. That’s a steal for this type of powerful software, as it’s usually $100 bucks.
Version 4.5 of ScreenFlow is a huge update, which brings numerous new features, improvements and bug fixes to the table. Have a look inside to see what all has changed. Read More