Outrun is a beautiful, privacy-first iPhone running app

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outrun
Run, in private, with Outrun.
Photo: Bruno Nascimento/Unsplash

Outrun is a privacy-focused run-tracking app that integrates with the Health app. (It’s also a seminal arcade racing game from 1986, but that’s not what we’re talking about today.) The Outrun running app is a great alternative to all those running and cycling apps that upload and/or sell your data to anyone who wants it, or drive you crazy with ads. Or both.

Give your videoconferencing calls killer audio quality

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Not every videoconference audio setup has to be as janky as this.
Not every videoconference audio setup has to be as janky as this.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You’ve probably made more video calls in the last few weeks than you’ve made in the previous few years combined. And if they were on your iPhone or iPad, then they probably sounded great. But what if you’re using a Mac, with its prehistoric mics1?

No worries. Through the magic of technology, you can use a better mic with your Mac’s Skype or FaceTime. (As a bonus, it also might make you feel more comfortable during videoconferences.)

How to make your own coronavirus Ragmask

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Make your own protective mask with Ragmask's amazing guide.
Make your own protective mask with Ragmask's amazing guide.
Photo: Ragmask

Do you need a coronavirus mask? The World Health Organization still says no, unless you are caring for someone with COVID-19 or carrying the virus that causes it yourself. But perhaps The WHO isn’t as impartial as we’d like to think. As health experts’ opinions on the subject evolve, a DIY homemade mask looks increasingly enticing.

Perhaps wearing a mask when you take the subway or visit a supermarket is a good idea after all. Whatever, none of this changes the fact that you cannot buy a mask anywhere. But you can make your own. Check out the Ragmask, a homemade mask deign from Loren Brichter. Yes, that Loren Brichter — the former Apple employee who went on to develop Tweetie and was dubbed the “high priest of app design” by The Wall Street Journal.

5 Zoom alternatives to keep you connected during COVID-19 crisis

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Zoom definitely isn't your only option for videoconferencing. Check out these Zoom alternatives, including Houseparty.
Zoom definitely isn't your only option for videoconferencing.
Photo: Life on Air

Zoom might be the best video-conferencing app, but that’s a bit like saying Facebook is the best social network. It might be true 1, but that doesn’t mean you won’t feel dirty if you use it. Despite a seemingly never-ending stream of privacy violations, security holes and utter disregard for its customers, Zoom is still being used as the de facto standard video conferencing and broadcasting tool during the COVID-19 crisis.

We’ve already seen the problems with Zoom. And we’ve also shown you how to protect yourself if you choose to use Zoom despite the company’s many privacy missteps. (Zoom pledged to do better this week.) But what about other services you could rely on during the coronavirus shutdown? Read on. We have five great Zoom alternatives you can use.

BeepStreet Drambo changes the face of iOS music apps

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BeepStreet Drambo on iPad and iPhone
Drambo works on any iOS device.
Photo: BeepStreet

Once in a while, an app comes along that changes the way you think of a computer platform. Like Photoshop on the Mac, Lotus 1-2-3 on the IBM PC, or GarageBand on the iPad. We just got another one of these apps Tuesday. It’s called Drambo, from veteran music-app developer BeepStreet, and it redefines music apps on iOS.

Yes, iOS. This amazing, modular, do-almost-anything app works on the iPhone as well as the iPad.

Grab these pricey creativity apps and use them for free during the pandemic

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Ableton and Logic Pro X free app trials: Nothing says
Nothing says "unbridled creative frenzy" like a mass of tangled cables.
Photo: Ableton

Being stuck at home with nothing to do but watch the world collapse around us is kind of a downer, but there are some upsides. One is that people are getting creative. Like, literally creative — making more music, writing and sharing videos. The other silver lining is that app-makers are offering big discounts and extended trials for some amazing apps.

For instance, Apple now offers a free, three-month trial of its music-production app, Logic Pro X. And Ableton just matched this offer with its Live Suite.

How to make private, at-home podcasts for family and friends

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home podcasts
You don't need any fancy gear to record and publish a podcast.
Photo: Jonathan Farber/Unsplash

You’re stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, and maybe you’re spending lots of time keeping up with family and friends. But here’s an idea: Why not make a podcast? Not that you should stop actually talking to the people you like and love, but as a home project, making a podcast is a lot of fun.

And if you’re a musician, or you have kids, you can do a lot more than just monologuing into your iPhone’s mic. You can talk, add music, interview other family members, and anything else you can think of. Then, your friends and family will have a cool show to look forward to every day, or however often you publish.

How to get new music notifications in Apple Music

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new music notifications
Never miss new releases from your favorite artists again.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You may have seen a notification from Apple Music at some point. It popped up, told you about a new album from a favorite artist, and you thought, “Thanks Apple Music! That’s great news.” Finally, you thought to yourself, this is a machine doing what machines are supposed to do. Then maybe you clicked on that notification, and the Music app launched, but didn’t go to the artist or album. Or perhaps you dismissed the alert, and when you opened the Music app later, you were confused because you couldn’t find the notification anywhere.

Now, Apple has (maybe) fixed this problem. Instead of just plain old lock-screen notifications, the Music app will now show you new music alerts inside the app itself. Here’s how to switch them on.

No, you shouldn’t try to decontaminate N95 masks in your oven

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decontaminate n95 masks
Do not put used N95 masks in your oven.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, N95 filtration masks are in short supply worldwide. It remains unclear whether wearing a mask as a prophylactic is necessary, but that isn’t stopping people from strapping them on when they venture outside their homes. And if you are infected with the COVID-19 virus, or you are working closely with infected people, then you probably do want a mask.

Can these masks be reused? New guidance from Stanford Medicine says yes, you can sterilize N95 masks — by “baking” them in a low-temperature oven. However, you should definitely not do this at home.