May 2014

Good Reads for May, 2014

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Let’s face it: there’s so much stuff on the web that you’ll never be able to read it all. So, every month we’ll be bringing you no more than a handful of slightly longer — but always worthy of your time and attention — reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Instapaper account not included, Kindle sold separately.

  • May was the month Apple VP Corporate Communications Katie Cotton announced she was leaving Apple, and anyone who works in PR could stand to learn a few things.

Cotton was VP of worldwide corporate communications at Apple, and while PR people aren’t always seen as super important, Katie Cotton was. She controlled how Apple dealt with the outside world, and she shaped how the company was viewed by the media and the general public.

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Review: Captured — Screen Capture Sharing for Mac

A review from the perspective of a long-time Skitch user

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A few weeks back I found myself looking for the ideal app for sharing screenshots, both on the web and elsewhere. I’ve been an Old SkitchTM holdout ever since they went and Evernote-d up the newer versions, and while I hear the new Skitch now has feature parity with the older versions, you’re still forced to share screenshots via Evernote’s own service, and not your own. That makes sense as Evernote now owns Skitch, but a small incompatibility with Retina displays meant it was time to go looking elsewhere.

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Quick Review: Birdbrain — Statistics for Twitter

Birdbrain iconI know what you’re thinking. There’s a certain sense of vanity or narcissism that comes with the territory of using an app to track Twitter statistics, and while Birdbrain can be used for those purposes, I use it mostly out of curiosity rather than anything else. At its core, Birdbrain is an app for tracking Twitter statistics. It’s been around for a while now, and while it hasn’t always been the fastest app to get updates, the recent update redesigned for iOS 7 is worth looking at.

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I Think I Just Became OK With In-App Purchases

Wherever you look these days, there’s an app or game trying to nickel and dime you for every penny you have. They do this by offering up a smorgasbord of in-app purchases, which do everything from letting you skip levels, unlock additional content, or even allowing you play the game, in some extreme cases. For all the moaning and groaning every time a new title is launched with in-app purchases, you would think that in-app purchases are the worst thing ever to happen to apps and games.

But here’s the thing: not all in-app purchases are bad, and most of the time, I’m actually OK with them.

In-app purchases can be grouped into roughly two main kinds. The most popular seem to be the ones that unlock content (additional levels, chapters), or there are others that have a direct effect on gameplay (upgrades, hints, bonuses). Some apps also offer purely cosmetic enhancements, such as additional colour packs or sound effects. The official Pokédex app for iPhone pictured above lets you unlock Pokédex data for the various regions, and puzzle games with a built-in hint mechanic usually let you purchase an unlimited amount of hints for a once-off fee. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy every episode of The Walking Dead or every game in the Ace Attorney HD Trilogy, mostly because I know the games and have played them before, but those who are a little more cautious with their iTunes credit get the chance to try out the game before they take the plunge. If they like what they see, a once-off in-app purchase is right there.

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Welcome to AppleTalk

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AppleTalk. Previously a proprietary suite of networking protocols from Apple, now a place for Apple enthusiasts to chat about anything related to Apple. Like the AppleTalk of old, AppleTalk Australia is designed to be plug and play.

While there’s no denying where we’ve come from, it’s equally as important to look towards the future and the opportunities it presents. We’ll be the editors of our own fates, so to speak — we’ll triumph and be successful as much as we’ll make, and be held accountable for, our own mistakes. Importantly, we’ll be doing all this with you, our readers.

There are a few things I’d like to point out from the get-go:

  • We’re community focused. I cannot stress this enough: the community will always come first. We promise to be open and transparent about everything as much as possible, so if you want to know, just ask.
  • All of us (Toby, Bart, and myself) have made a commitment to this for the long haul. None of us are in this to make a quick buck, with the intent of turning it over after a year.
  • While the realities of running a website and paying contributors don’t escape us, we have plans in place to make ends meet that don’t involve selling your email address or anything unscrupulous. We’ll explore sponsorship options, consider running ads, and if it comes down to it, fund the whole operation out of our own pockets (which is what we’re doing at the moment).

So, this is us. A new name, a new front page, a new discussion platform. A fresh start in many respects, and a clean slate in every other. We’ll still be covering all things Apple, Mac, and iOS, and we’ll do so from that unique Australian perspective you’ve come to know and enjoy. For starters, we’ll be taking it slow with a daily news summary from the world of Apple from yours truly. Over time, we’ll add reviews, how-tos, and editorials into the mix, and we’ll see where things go from there.

For now, click around, jump in the shiny new forums, and let us know what you think. Send us email: contact@appletalk.com.au. We’re on Twitter (@appletalk_au), if that’s your thing, or you can subscribe to our RSS feed.

I’m glad you could make it, and I’ll see you in the forums very soon.

Yours,
Benny (@bdyling), Bart (@dev_enter), and Toby (@tcn33).