Instapaper - Free

Instapaper the read it later app created by Marco Arment is free (Normally $3.99) on the AppStore this week until December 19th. You can find it on the frontpage under the Free App of the Week section.

With Instapaper you can save articles that you would like to read at some point, but do not have the time to read right now. It strips out the text of an article and provides you with a clean plain text article with no distractions.

The service is free to use with limits on how many articles you can save, and disabled search functionality. These limits are lifted with the a subscription service. Fortunatley through the end of the year new users get two free months of the subscription based services according to Instapaper's blog; check out their post by clicking through the title post.

Apple's Design Teams Need to Get on the Same Page

Apple updated it's Podcasts app yesterday, and before I hit update I wondered if there would be a redesign of the interface. I was correct in thinking that the skeuomorphic Reel To-Reel tape recorder was most likely removed. What I wasn't expecting was to have yet another instance of an inconsistent AirPlay design.

Apple updated the lock screen a couple of months ago; which aligned the cover art in the center of the screen for the iPhone 5, and changed the look of the controls. The first thing that I noticed was that the AirPlay icon when active changed from what has always been blue in color, to an orange.


When I got in my car this morning I loaded the Podcasts app and I noticed that there is yet another change in the AirPlay icon color. It has been changed back to blue, but it is a darker color than it was before. I know these are little details, but these are the little details that Apple usually sweats.


Capitalizing on the death of Google Reader?

I have seen a few articles over the last couple of days on the issue of Google Reader shuttering it's doors. There are a lot of people who still use the service, regardless of Google stating the user base is declining and using that as one of the reasons they are closing it down.

There are all sorts of reactions to the closing of that service such as petitions to save it, hope that the closing of it will bring about an innovation in RSS, suggestions on alternative services to replace Reader, are just a handful of the many reactions in response. 

I currently use Reader myself, and use it multiple times a day, everyday. I do so mostly on my iPhone using the app Reeder. This app's lifeblood today is Google Reader, but the developer posted a tweet stating that the app would be fine without Reader. Currently though until the folks who develop Reeder announce what their plans are, I was wondering what to do in the meantime as a possible alternative.

I started to think about how I use to consume the web before the iPhone, and remembered that I use to use an app called NewsFire by Dave Watanabe. I was curious if NewsFire still existed and wondered, as I haven't used it in quite a while, if it could load RSS feeds directly into the app instead of being dependent on loading your Google login and password to filter Google Reader RSS feeds through the app, as Reeder does. 

I went to the NewsFire website and was pretty excited when I clicked on the download button, and it opened the Mac Appstore. I was a little disappointed that the price was $9.99. I love to support developers, but at the same time I am mindful that I already paid for Reeder on my Mac, iPad, and iPhone. So to pay another $10.00 for an RSS app was not something I was looking to do. I regularly use the website, and it's companion iOS app, to be notified when software goes on sale. A quick search brought up NewsFire and I clicked on the name of the app which brings you to a page (NewsFire on Appshopper) that displays all of the same information that the Mac Appstore does such as a description of the app, screenshots, the price and a buy button.

The site is also useful, because it displays the price history of an app from the time it debuted on the App Store to the present. What I found interesting is that the app became a Mac Appstore app on February 3, 2011 and was priced at $4.99. Coincidentally the only time that there has been a price change was on March, 14 2013, the day after the announcement that Google was shutting Reader down.

Some back story on what my experience with seeing this developers name on the web. Around 2004 or 2005 when NewsFire was released, anytime there was a story about it or any of the developer's other software there was always a huge uproar about the developer's practices. Claims that he was using code that was not his (I do not know if this is true and I am not accusing. I just know what I have read many people say), among all sorts of other rants in the comment sections. I used the software and quite liked it, but it was hard to look past how much discontent everyone had for the guy.

A quick search on MacUpdate for NewsFire brought me to a disgruntled user on the very first page in the comments section. User younkint posted a comment on February 18, 2009: This comment was posted four years ago, but also four or five years after NewsFire was released. 

Before you consider installing ANY software concocted by David Watanabe on your computer, please do a decent Google search of "David Watanabe" first. Especially do this if, for some reason, you are contemplating actually sending him your hard earned money.
It will not take you long to come to a conclusion. Even a simple search here on macupdate should suffice.

I did a Google search and came up with a whole page dedicated to complaints about Watanabe. 

I know that developers make their living from selling their product, but this to me seems so unlike what most developers would do today. I would expect most developers would try and help users out by running a short sale to try and get people an app with which they can load all of their feeds into, and give the user a way to migrate away from Reader now. By helping people out it would only boost their sales, because those types of discounts tend to circulate tech websites that cater to people who would use their software. The dip in price would certainly make up for itself in the volume of sales that would be generated.

The biggest problem I have with this is, that knowing the public opinion of the developer from years past, and the fact that the only price change to this app since it was accepted into the App Store was a $5.00 increase the day after Google announced that they were doing away with their RSS solution, just doesn't seem right to me. 

In Depth Look Into the Company Behind Hipstamatic

Austin Carr of has a story about the company behind Hipstamatic that is definitely an interesting read. It has been out for a couple of months now, but I am glad I came across it. I hope that this statement is true:

"This fall we're launching a bunch of stuff…"

Fall has come and is on it's way out and I really haven't heard of any new stuff from them. I like Hipstamatic a lot and want them to succeed. They should be bigger than they are.