Widget, widgets, widgets. Boy, have we got some widgets for you. And text. Plain text. Plain old text, turned into a calculator. And widgets. Did I mention those? Weather widgets. Battery widgets. And yes, text widgets.
Read all about these new widgets and other new apps in this week's App Watch.
WunderStation from Weather Underground hooks into thousands of privately owned weather stations and presents their data in an iPad app. The smoothly animated graphs are beautiful and can tell you way more than you’d ever want to know about rainfall, barometric pressure and even UV. If you have stations near you, it’s pretty rad. If not, no biggie – the app is $Free
Filthy name, great app. Droool is a “photo gallery for your social networks.” Browse pictures from Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and more, and index pictures from iCloud and other local folders without moving or copying the files. It’s fast, simple and looks great, and it’s free with in-app purchases. $Free
Terrible name, great app. iBetterCharge monitors your iOS devices’ battery level over your Wi-Fi network, using the same connection that iTunes Wi-Fi sync would use, if you still synced your iPhone with your computer in the space year of 2014. It can pop up warnings when the battery drops to a preset level, and a click on the menu bar shows you the level of all the devices on the network. $Free
This is what the Internet is made for. Photogrammar puts 170,000 Depression-era photos in a searchable, browsable archive. Explore on an interactive map, search or get into the Labs section and browse by metadata sourced from the U.S. Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information archives. Warning: serious time-sink. $Free
PlainTextMenu takes the text on your Mac’s clipboard and transmogrifies it into something useful. It strips out formatting, so you never get big ugly Comic Sans when pasting from a colleague’s Word report, and it can turn the text to uppercase, lowercase or title case along the way. From the school of One Thing Well. $1
Web service re/spin takes Spotify playlists and transforms them into Rdio playlists. If someone’s going to share a playlist, it usually comes from Spotify, and re/spin works with published Spotify playlists. Or you can just paste in a track list copied right from the app. It also works with Last.fm. Remember when PCs couldn’t read Mac floppy disks? It’s like fixing that all over again. $Free
You know all those hard drives grafted onto your Mac? Keep a close eye on them with StorageStatus, an app that turns hard drives into traffic lights in your menu bar and changes their colors when they do something. It knows when they are sleeping, it knows when they’re awake, and it knows when they’ve been good or bad. $3
Not new, but awesome nonetheless. Calca is as close as you’ll get to a plain text calculator. Tap in complex formulas or simple sums and see the results right there in a plain text document. Set variables or just add numbers. And see all your pages synced over iCloud between Mac, iPhone and iPad versions, as well as Windows(!). I love Calca for its balance of simplicity and power. From $3
Finally, a version for the iPad. TVShow Time tracks your favorite TV shows and tells you when they’re on. Browse shows and show synopses, and get notifications when something is about to air. See the shows on a calendar, view news about your shows and read about new shows. It’s pretty comprehensive, and looks great on the big iPad screen. $3
Welcome to the final part of our series about note-taking for writers (or anyone else). Today we’re going to look at getting clippings and bookmarks into Evernote, to be stored and accessible alongside your scanned, paper-based notes (Part 1) and your text notes grabbed on your iPhone or Mac (Part 2).
We’ll use a few apps and services to get this done – EverClip, Mr Reader, IFTTT and Pinboard are the main ones.
As ever, you could just do much of this using Evernote and its web clipper, but this only works in Safari and Chrome on the desktop. In 2014! Clearly that’s no good. Let’s see how we can do it better.
Text selection on iOS is still a pain in the ass. Some apps fix it up with extra buttons above the virtual keyboard, but Thoughts 2, an iPhone notes app, adds extra buttons to the text selection itself. This makes it easy to expand and contract the selection one character at a time which – given the fickle nature of text fields in iOS – should help a lot.
Ever been surfing the web and find a nice bit of text you want to save? You can highlight the text with your cursor, copy, and paste into an app like Text Edit or Notes, sure, but maybe you just want a quick and easy way to put the bit of text aside to use later.
There’s no need to bother with opening an app and pasting in the text in OS X. Text clipping has been around for quite a while, but it’s a feature that we rarely use, for one reason or another.
Liquid looks set to be a fixture on my Mac. It’s an app which lets you carry out transformations and operations on any selected text, which doesn’t sound like much unless you write for a living, or just have to wrangle lots of letters. It’s actually been around for quite a while (the current version is 4.3), but I figured that if I hadn’t heard of it yet, then maybe you hadn’t either.
Changing a sentence to ALL CAPS on my Mac is dead easy: I just select the words, right click and choose Transformations from the contextual menu. If I want to do anything fancier, like weird Markdown footnotes, or adding bullet points to the start of every line, I can just write an Automator workflow and save it as a System Service.
But on iOS? In the immortal words of Run DMC, “it’s tricky”. Or was tricky: now we can use the $5 TextTool to do it for us.
In case you missed it, OS X Mavericks came out yesterday and it’s free. If you’ve downloaded the latest operating system from our fine friends in Cupertino, then you’ll be able to check out this neat little tip.
We all love emoji, right? Those cute little emoticons came into vogue for iOS a while back, and then were rolled into Apple’s mobile operating system as a special keyboard. They’re also avaialable in OS X Mavericks, and you can pull them up with very little effort, in almost any app.
This one’s pretty nerdy, but if you use Markdown to write anything with links in it (web articles, e-mails and so on) then you’re going to love it. It lets you use “lazy” reference links in Markdown to keep your text nice and tidy, but it does it without the references. Reference links without references? What? Wait…