Ashes for Fever°

Ashes for Fever°

Ashes for Fever° started off a couple years ago as an iPad-only Fever° client. It was buggy to say the least. It was slow and it crashed constantly. After looking forward to a better way to look at Fever° on my iPad (compared to the non-iPad specific website) only to be let down by a poor iPad app, I was heartbroken. The app looked beautiful, but its performance was awful.

Having said that, you can imagine my surprise to see that there is a new Ashes now available for iOS, and it’s for both the iPhone and iPad. The two version are largely identical, but that’s fine. The app retains its orangey and reddish hues, and where other apps would use white, Ashes uses a manilla folder yellow. Some may not like it, I didn’t at first, but after a few days of use, the color scheme has grown on me.

So what’s special about Ashes? For one, the performance issues of the past are gone (for the most part). The 1.1 release that’s currently available (as of 2013-05-09) is rather snappy. There are times when swipes aren’t recognized on the first try, but it’s not bad. The sync speed seems slow at times, but that’s largely dependent on how many sparks you have on your Fever° install. I have 300 or so, and because Ashes caches every article of every spark, if you have a lot of sparks, it can take a while. Also, because you host Fever° on your own, those with slow hosts will have slower speeds. When my host is running fast, Ashes syncs rather quickly. At busier times, my host just can’t spit Ashes the data very fast. YMMV.

The most impressive aspect of Ashes is its “Share Anywhere” feature. Share Anywhere allows you to craft your own sharing URL schemes. If you’ve used Drafts or Launch Center Pro, you get the idea. I was able to create sharing actions for Ashes that tied to my existing Drafts actions for adding to my daily journal, creating link lists from Fever° articles, and I whipped up a little action to send articles from Ashes to OmniFocus. You can read the tutorial about “Share Anywhere” on the the Ashes site.

So, should you buy Ashes? Well, even if you bought the old iPad app, you’re gonna have to buy Ashes again. I know, it might sting to buy it again. It was a $7 or $8 app back then, and it’s currently $6 and will go up to $8 after the introductory price period ends. It is a brand new app though. It’s completely new. It’s being actively developed, and there was a major update shortly after 1.0 shipped, and small bugs from 1.1 have been fixed and an update is coming again soon. If you’re happy with Reeder or Sunstroke, you might not need Ashes. If like me, you weren’t super happy with either of those options or if you’re really into the idea of creating your own sharing actions, Ashes could be a good investment. The power of Share Anywhere should not be underestimated. While Drafts empowered a lot of us with iOS automation, this is the first time I’ve seen a news reader give you the ability to create your own automated share actions. The possibilities are endless. You can buy Ashes for Fever° in the App Store.

Tweetbot Is the Word

I’ve been a Tweetbot user for a long time. (I’m an OG beta tester, yo.) I’ve seen Tweetbot when it lacked most of the features it has now, and I’ve seen it grow into the best Twitter client out there. Not just for iOS, but for all platforms. Tweetbot gets called “heavy” sometimes, and while the description isn’t all that descriptive, I get what people mean when they use that term. All Tapbots’ apps have non-standard UIs. That’s their thing. Most of the time, I hate non-standard iPhone UIs. Tapbots is one of the few developers that does non-standard right.

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Tweetbot for iPhone 2.0

Tweetbot 2.0 for iPhone isn’t an earth-shaking update. It just refines what was already the best Twitter app. The colors in the app have been softened a bit, which makes it a little more readable, and Tweetbot got Readability added to its mobilizer options (and Readability’s display is way better than Instapaper’s.) There is also a new DM view that looks more like the Messages app and it’s much easier to read and reply to people. Tweetbot 2.0 also got image thumbnails in the timeline. (It does a good job parsing things like Instagram images even!)

Buy Tweetbot for iPhone here.


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Tweetbot for iPad

Then there’s the new app: Tweetbot for iPad. In design conscious circles, people have been clamoring for a version of Tweetbot to use on their iPads. I knew in the back of my mind that it was an inevitability, but I was still surprised when the beta download link landed in my inbox. And Tweetbot for iPad looks like the iPhone app, not blown up, but expanded. The UI concept is roughly the same. The account selector and panels (tweets, replies, etc.) have moved over to the left side of the screen. It’s got all of the little features that the iPhone app has like mobilizers and image and link services.

Buy Tweetbot for iPad here.

Interesting Links: July 28, 2011

A primer for converting Markdown files into Microsoft Office-readable files.

I’d rather not see hashtags take off on G+.

The hashtag was invented by Chris Messina only three years ago. So far, its power has been limited to Twitter. But I see an opportunity to expand its use and its empowerment the more it is supported on other platforms. When Google+ finally gets search and when it releases its API, it would be wonderful to see it enable users to easily enter tags and cluster conversations around them. There’s an opportunity to use tag data to learn more about the topicality of conversations and content all around the net, on Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, blogs, Flickr, YouTube, maybe Facebook. There’s our chance to limit the power of these silos.

I’m right there with you guys.

This is why console games are easier and more widely played compared to PC games.

Well, that’s pretty nice of Nintendo.

WiMAX in Japan

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This is my new little buddy, WiMAX. I picked up an NEC W3500R the other day. I searched and searched for this specific piece of hardware because it’s got a much longer battery-life than most other WiMax wifi-capable devices. This little guy can last up to 8 hours. It’ll allow up to 9 devices to connect to it, I believe. So far, I’ve had my MacBook Air, iPhone and iPad all connected to it at the same time, but it seems capable of handling more. It gets download speeds of up to 40Mbps, but I’ve seen more like 5~6Mbps in real world use. It feels snappy though, and downloads are fast enough. I downloaded Transmit 4 over WiMax and connected back to my MacBook Pro at home and did screen sharing without any lag.

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From this shot of the W3500R with my 11 inch MacBook Air, you can see that it’s not very big. It’s a little bit bigger than my iPhone and it’s pretty light. I just toss it in my backpack and hit the on switch when I need to connect. You can set the WiMax device to auto-turn off after a certain number of minutes to save the battery. I think I’ve got it currently set to 30 minutes, so I just have to flip it on after it’s been sitting for a while. Better to have to do that than to have it’s battery die out too soon.