| Cult of Mac

How to get started using Mastodon

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Leave Twitter, join us! …please
Mastodon is a good Twitter clone, but it needs some more active users like you.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Perhaps you, like many others, would like to move away from Twitter. If you read news, webcomics or blogs, you can follow all the same stuff with an RSS reader. But if you want to follow people in your community and talk to others online with the same interests, there’s a Twitter alternative you may have heard about: Mastodon. It’s a full-blown Twitter clone that a lot of people you may know are moving to.

Recent changes at Twitter did not instill confidence in the platform’s future. That’s about the shortest and most diplomatic way I can summarize the cavalcade of poor decision-making that has trickled down from their new CEO, he-who-shall-not-be-named, Rocket Car Tunnel Guy. It’s the last straw for a lot of people.

Despite the memes you may have seen, signing up for Mastodon isn’t that hard. There are just a few things you need to consider. Let me show you how to use Mastodon.

Apps to simplify music discovery, baby care and journaling your life [Awesome Apps]

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Awesome Apps iPhone and headphones
Regardless of what you’re trying to do, apps can help make it easier, faster, or more fun.
Photo: Unsplash

Apps can be useful for a a countless number of things. From making a new parents life easier to finding new music, there’s are apps fit to help make things nearly effortless. This week, we have a couple great new (to me, at least) apps, and a really solid update to one of my favorites. As usual, I’ll put out the call for other suggestions as well. If you have something you want us to check out for a future Awesome Apps post, be sure to email your suggestion or tweet them over!

Forget blur: How to cover faces and add emoji to photos

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The emoji in this picture are accurate representations of every picture of me until I was about 8. I didn't know how to smile for pictures and I did not care to learn.
The emoji in this picture are accurate representations of every picture of me until I was about 8. I didn't know how to smile for pictures and I did not care to learn.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

There are lots of times when you might want to cover up faces before posting pictures: Teachers often want to censor the faces of their students. Boudoir photographers (Google it) can censor explicit portions of their photography for social media. Foster parents who are legally prohibited from posting identifying pictures of children in their home can quickly cover them up. Forget trying to blur faces — there’s an app that makes covering up faces dead easy: MaskerAid.

If you’ve ever wanted to hide a face before posting a picture, MaskerAid (a pun on “masquerade”) will quickly censor faces with emoji. Unlike apps like Snapchat, MaskerAid will preserve the full quality and resolution of your pictures.

MaskerAid is the latest app by independent podcaster and developer Casey Liss. You can download MaskerAid here on the App Store for iPhone (there is no Android version). The app is free to try out with your own pictures, but to use the full set of emoji, you must pay a one-time purchase of $2.99.

How to make Twitter fun again

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Twitter can be… fun? Preliminary research suggests it can.
Twitter can be ... fun? Preliminary research suggests it can.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Twitter: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems. People have been talking quite a bit about Twitter lately.

When friends of mine complain about how they don’t enjoy using Twitter, I used to be confused. Twitter is what you make it. If you don’t like Twitter, you can simply follow different accounts and get a completely different experience.

It’s important to note that none of my friends have tens of thousands of followers and/or are regularly harassed on Twitter. That can be a very different experience outside of one’s power to control, to put it lightly.

Twitter has changed, and now, the people you follow might have very little bearing on what you actually see on Twitter at all. Here are my tips on how to take back control of your timeline and make Twitter enjoyable.

Hate Tumblr ads? Now you can pay to make them go away.

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If you hate Tumblr ads, now you can be free of them. For a price.
If you hate Tumblr ads, now you can be free of them. For a price.
Photo: Tumblr

Tumblr founder David Karp has said he never wanted advertisements on his social network and microblogging platform, Tumblr. But they came in after a sale of the company in 2013. A lot of people find them tacky and annoying.

Fortunately for those who hate the ads, Tumblr said Thursday you can now pay to make ads go away.

Reddit updates let you see how others are reacting right now

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New features in Reddit should drive engagement across the site, the company said.
New features in Reddit should drive engagement across the site, the company said.
Photo: Reddit

Social media site Reddit unveiled several new features Wednesday that let users immediately see how others are reacting to content in various ways. The changes should give users a better idea of what’s most popular — or unpopular — on the site. The company said they should increase engagement across Reddit.

Share your memories, think creatively, and enjoy photography again [Awesome Apps of the Week]

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Awesome Apps of the week text in front of face down iPhone 12
With roughly 2 millions apps available in the App Store, sometimes all you need is something to tell you what’s good.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Whether you like great time-wasting games, want to experience the beautiful photography that was once popular on Instagram, or want to preserve your favorite memories in video, this week we have some awesome apps to check out.

Yik Yak is back: anonymous, local social app returns to iOS

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The anonymous, local Yik Yak social media app is resurrected.
The anonymous, local Yik Yak social media app is resurrected.
Photo: Yik Yak

When the social media app Yik Yak debuted in late 2013, it was a hit at colleges. Users remained anonymous and only posts in their immediate area showed up for them. But then the app lost what made it unique and the company disbanded. Now the app is back with new ownership and something like the original formula.

How to easily share tweets to Instagram Stories in iOS

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Now it's easy to share tweets in Instagram Stories.
Now it's easy to share tweets in Instagram Stories.
Photo: Instagram

Twitter rolled out an update to its iOS app earlier this week that lets users quickly and easily share tweets to their Instagram Stories. It’s now nearly a one-click operation, but not quite.

Naturally, users have always been able to take a screenshot of a tweets and manually upload it to an Instagram Story. But the new interface takes some of the manual labor out of the process, making it simple and fast. And the results look good!