What happens to the traffic you send to the App Store? — iA

We constantly test new ways to optimize our sales funnel. The funnel Twitter — Site — App Store is a long, shaky funnel and we don’t get useful data from Apple’s Analytics. We test the wildest things.


This year, we increased our blogging activity. This allowed us to test how much we can influence our sales by blogging more than just every couple of months. We had a lot to say, and so we blogged almost every day, got better traffic, and indeed that resulted in more sales.


Nice! As the traffic started going up from in January, sales started going up, too. Okay, maybe we need to blog more regularly then? Daily, even? Well, we also noticed that if we throw lots of traffic at the Store, we get punished, too. The App Store algorithm started downranking us in the charts and thus throttle sales from within the App Store. That was not the first time, either.

Interesting article showing that as there is more traffic to the App Store, developers are penalized. It’s almost as if Apple has an algorithm that wants to keep sales at a specific level, no matter how much work developers do to promote their apps.

iA, maker of iA Writer, my text editor of choice, has found that while blogging more increased traffic to the App Store, they didn’t make any more money.

Maybe they should just sell the app directly…

Source: What happens to the traffic you send to the App Store? — iA

MarsEdit 4, the Ultimate Blogging Tool

Red Sweater Software has just released MarsEdit 4, the ultimate blogging tool. I’ve been using MarsEdit since the previous version was released, back in 2010. (Yes, it’s been seven years since there was a major update…) Just about everything I write for this site – and other blogs I manage – is written in MarsEdit.

It’s got great features for blogging. You can set any font you want in the editor, and use your own blog’s theme for previews. You can write with your HTML code visible, or you can use a rich text editor. It works great with WordPress – which is what I use for blogs – handling some of the unique features, such as post formats, featured images, and more. It can download and store a full archive of your blogs, so you always have the text of your articles handy. And it makes adding images to your articles easy, letting you choose the alignment, size, and even handling retina images correctly.

In addition, the great Safari extension lets you select text from an article on a website and open a new post in MarsEdit; that’s how I create posts here where I quote an article.

I’ve been using MarsEdit 4 for nearly a year, in alpha and beta versions, and it’s the best tool available for blogging on the Mac.

MarsEdit 4 costs $50, with a half-price upgrade available for users of MarsEdit 3. If you blog, you should be using MarsEdit. Get it now from Red Sweater Software, or from the Mac App Store.

Analyze Your Writing with Scrivener 3’s Linguistic Focus Tool

Scrivener 3 was recently released, and the app is full of useful improvements. With a refreshed interface, Scrivener 3 also boasts a brand new compile feature (this is the part of the app that exports your projects to various formats). It brings styles, as are common in word processors, making it easier to manage formatting in your projects. Outlining is improved, the Corkboard is enhanced, and statistics are available at a glance. If you currently use Scrivener 2, then it’s a must-have upgrade.

One feature I really like is Linguistic Focus. When you’re writing with Scrivener 3, and get near the end of your project, you may want to scan your work to find certain words you’ve used too much, such as adverbs, or you may want to focus just on the dialog if your work is fiction. Scrivener 3 has a useful new Linguistic Focus tool that can help you zero in on certain types of words and texts.

View a document or your entire project (by selecting your Draft or Manuscript folder), click anywhere in the Editor, then choose Edit > Writing Tools > Linguistic Focus (Control-Command-L). In the panel that appears, select a focus, such as nouns, verbs, or adverbs. Scrivener dims text in the Editor that doesn’t match that focus. (Depending on your Editor’s view, you may need to switch to Scrivenings view to display more than one file. To do this, choose View > Scrivenings, or press Command-1.)

If you select Direct Speech, Scrivener dims all text that is not between quotes, so you can scan dialog more easily.

Linguistic focus

To adjust the dimming of the un-focused text, use the Fade slider at the bottom of the Linguistic Focus panel; if you drag that slider all the way to the right, the un-focused text becomes invisible.

Note that the algorithm for choosing parts of speech is part of macOS and is not perfect, so you may find that certain words are mislabeled when you choose a specific part of speech.

Check out Scrivener 3, and get my book, Take Control of Scrivener 3, to learn how to be productive with this essential writing tool.

Say Hello to Scrivener 3 (and to My Book Take Control of Scrivener 3)

Scrivener3It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. Scrivener 3, the first major update to the go-to text app for writers in seven years, is now available. I’ve been using this for several months, and it’s a solid upgrade to one of the most essential tools for writers.

With a refreshed interface, Scrivener 3 also boasts a brand new compile feature (this is the part of the app that exports your projects to various formats). It brings styles, as are common in word processors, making it easier to manage formatting in your projects. Outlining is improved, the Corkboard is enhanced, and statistics are available at a glance. If you currently use Scrivener 2, then it’s a must-have upgrade.

Tc scrivener3And you’ll probably want some expert guidance when you launch the app. My Take Control of Scrivener 3 ebook is now available so you can make your first steps with the new version of the app with plenty of support. Written with oversight from the Scrivener developers, this is the go-to book for getting the most out of this app.

Learn more about Take Control of Scrivener 3.

Here’s a list of the many new features in Scrivener 3:

  • The interface has been overhauled and modernised.
  • Compile has been redesigned and is now not only much easier to use but also more flexible.
  • The text system now has a full styles system (which is even more powerful when used with the new Compile).
  • View index cards on coloured threads based on label colour (great for tracking different storylines or anything else).
  • Epub 3 and improved Kindle export have been added.
  • Keep track of how much you write each day using Writing Statistics.
  • Improved Custom Metadata allows you to add checkboxes, dates and list boxes to the Inspector and outliner.
  • Enhanced outlining.
  • Corkboard and outliner filtering.
  • Refer to up to four documents in the main window using the new “Copyholders” features.
  • Quickly find any document in your project using the new Quick Search tool.
  • See draft and session progress bars in the toolbar.
  • The powerful new Bookmarks feature replaces Project Notes, References and Favorites, and allows you to view oft-needed documents right in the Inspector.
  • Use “Dialogue Focus” to pick out all the dialogue in your text.
  • Export rich text to MultiMarkdown or Pandoc.
  • Broadened support for technical formats via Markdown output and custom post-processing.
  • Extensive Touch Bar support added.
  • Modernised and rewritten codebase for 64-bit. Scrivener is faster, more stable and ready for the future.

Scrivener 3 costs $45 and is available from the Literature & Latte website. A Mac App Store version will be available soon. Upgrades are available, and a free 30-day download is also available. Scrivener 3 requires macOS 10.12 Sierra or later.

Get Scrivener 3 now, and get Take Control of Scrivener 3.

BBEdit Turns 12

The venerable text editor BBEdit, which has been a staple for many Mac users for 25 years, had just reached version 12. This major update, the first in three years, ensures compatibility with macOS High Sierra, and adds some interesting features, such as the ability to cut, copy, and remove text in columns (delimited by tabs, commas, etc.), a Canonize feature, to perform massive text replacements from a word list, and new display options, including an improved dark theme, something the kids like. (My aging eyes don’t work well with dark themes.)

BBEdit is the tool I use whenever I work on code, or large text files. It’s a powerful text editor that doesn’t suck. If you use it regularly, update now; if not, you should try it out. It costs $50, with upgrades for $30 or $40 depending on how long you’ve owned a previous version.

Get BBEdit.

Why Google Maps Is Better than Apple Maps

I’ve been using Google Maps for years, since before Apple released its own map apps. When Apple Maps was first released, I found it very hard to read; there wasn’t enough contrast between roads and backgrounds, and texts were tiny. That’s improved a bit since the initial release, but not much.

Every now and then I try out Apple Maps, when looking for a certain location or a specific type of business. I tried again recently, to see if Apple had improved things with the releases of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra.

Here’s an example. There are three pubs near me. I searched for pubs in both Apple Maps (where it’s a preset category) and in Google Maps (where I just typed the word “pub.”) Here’s what Apple Maps told me:

Apple maps

And here’s Google Maps’ results:

Apple maps

As you can see, Google Maps knows about all three pubs; Apple Maps only knows about one (and not the best one, at least for food).

This is what I find for anything I search. Look for restaurants, gas stations, any type of business, and you won’t find as many locations in Apple Maps as in Google Maps.

Some people in the US have told me that it is very complete over there, but others here in the UK have confirmed that they have similar problems. Apple doesn’t create its own map data; they license it from various companies. I’m sure those companies, which sell GPS devices in the UK, have excellent data, so why doesn’t it filter into Apple Maps?

Also, when I moved to the house where I currently live, a bit more than a year ago, I looked at many of the businesses around my area, and in Stratford-upon-Avon, and submitted a number of corrections to Apple through their Maps app. Apple did fix these, and relatively quickly, but what surprised me was the number of corrections I was able to make in a very short time. Most of these were businesses that were not in the right location; I didn’t add any businesses that I didn’t find on the map.

So, it’s back to Google Maps. It’s reliable, I can trust that when I’m looking for a place to eat or to fill my car’s tank, I’ll find what I want.

How to Print a List of Your iOS Apps from iTunes

If you haven’t yet updated to the latest version of iTunes (12.7), you may have heard that this update removes the iOS App Store and Apps library. Many people have libraries of apps that they use from time to time, but don’t always want on their iPhones or iPads. This seems to be common among gamers, with some games being several gigabytes. If you don’t want to have to redownload your apps, and especially if your internet bandwidth is limited or capped, it’s practical to keep local copies.

When you update to iTunes 12.7, you won’t see apps any more, but they’ll still be on your computer. They’re stored in the Mobile Applications folder of your iTunes Media folder. You can see their names in that folder, but it could be handy to print – or save as a PDF – a list of apps from iTunes before updating.

To do this, select Apps from the Media Picker (the menu above the sidebar), then click Library. Choose View As > List to see all your apps in list view. Then click Date Modified so the most recently updated apps are at the top of the list. Sorting like this will make it easy to scan your list of apps and see which ones are recent and which are older. You may also want to sort by name, if you want to search that way. When you print, or save this list to a PDF, you can do both.

To print the list, choose File > Print, then select Song List from the menu in the dialog. You can see a thumbnail of what that list will look like.

Song list

You can print this on paper, by clicking Print, or, if you click Print, you can choose to save this list to a PDF (on macOS; I’m not sure what the process is on Windows), by clicking the PDF menu at the bottom left of the next dialog, then choosing Save as PDF. Here’s what the PDF looks like:

App list pdf

You can see that it shows the app name, the “Album,” which is the seller, and the Seller, which is, again the seller. (Don’t ask me why it saves these columns; you have no control over them.)

So you can use this list to check what you’ve downloaded from the iOS App Store, rather than going through a long Purchased list on your iOS device. And this list will include those apps that you’ve downloaded and kept, excluding those that, perhaps, you tried out and didn’t like.

In any case, get ready for no longer having access to apps, or syncing apps, with iTunes.

A Look at New Features in Apple Photos for High Sierra

Apple’s macOS High Sierra is due out in a couple of months, and beta versions, both to the public and for developers, have been circulating for a while. We’re up to the third version of this beta software, and we can now see many of the more obvious improvements in the operating system, and in specific apps.

Photos sidebarPhotos is one app that is getting an overhaul. The sidebar that lets you browse your library has been updated to include sections, as in iTunes:

The Library section includes Photos, Memories, Favorites, People, Places, Imports, and Recently Deleted.

The Shared section shows Activity and Shared Albums; a top-level Shared Albums folder contains all the albums you have shared.

The Albums section contains two top-level folders:

  • Media Types, which houses everything other than regular folders, such as Videos, Selfies, Live Photos, and more.
  • My Albums, which includes all the albums you’ve created, though the All Photos album is no longer present; it now shows at the top of the sidebar under Library.

Finally, a Projects section displays with a My Projects folder, which contains any card, book, calendar, or print projects you may be working on.

Read more

MarsEdit 4 Public Beta – Red Sweater Blog

It’s been over 7 years since MarsEdit 3 was released. Typically I would like to maintain a schedule of releasing major upgrades every two to three years. This time, a variety of unexpected challenges led to a longer and longer delay.

The good news? MarsEdit 4 is finally shaping up. I plan to release the update later this year.

I’ve been using the beta of version 4 since before it was a beta. It’s a big improvement over the previous version, and it’s really the most useful tool out there for blogging from a Mac.

If you blog, you should use MarsEdit. I use it for all my articles.

Try out the public beta and see if you agree.

Source: Red Sweater Blog — MarsEdit 4 Public Beta

Enlight 1.3 review: Editing your photos on an iPad is as easy and tap and drag

If you’re a committed photographer, you probably use a powerful tool such as Adobe’s Lightroom or Photoshop to work with your pictures. But not everyone needs apps like this, which have steep learning curves, and not everyone shoots enough photos to spend the time and money for this type of tool.

Most people who take pictures just want to do some simple editing, and you can use Apple’s Photos app on both macOS and iOS. But between those two alternatives, the $4 Enlight is a powerful editing tool for iOS that anyone can use. Its tap-and-drag interface gives you access to a number of filters, presets, and tools, and you don’t need to spend a lot of time learning how it works.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.