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Introducing: Apple TV Remote Stand

The new Apple TV has been a long time coming. I have been rocking the 2nd generation 720p version for the past five years, and it is definitely showing its age. Needless to say, I ordered one today. This new black box is improved in nearly every way from its predecessor, including the remote, which now features a touch pad and a microphone for Siri input. Less heralded is the ability to use the remote to change the volume and turn the TV on and off. For many cord-cutters, the Apple TV Remote may be the only remote they need....

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A Back to the Future Theory

October 21, 2015. Today’s date, the same day Doc and Marty travel to in Back to the Future II. Many have taken today as an opportunity to celebrate one of the greatest movie franchises of all time, and rightly so. I have seen the films countless times, and after a while, you begin to notice things. Over time I have developed a hypothesis surrounding the central characters in the first film. While this theory is not nearly as “out there” as suggesting Ferris is a figment of Cameron’s imagination, I think it provides an interesting lens to view the original...

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Fixing Safari View Controller

With iOS 9, Apple introduced something called the Safari View Controller. It is, essentially, a plug-and-play web view that developers can use in lieu of building their own web viewer. The benefits of this are numerous: much less coding and maintenance for developers, a unified experience across apps for users, and the Safari View Controller can take advantage of the same privileges of Safari proper, such as saved passwords and content blockers. The UI, however, has one serious flaw. It is a pain in the ass to dismiss. I became acutely aware of this problem upon installation of Tweetbot 4...

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Apple Watch Charging Clip

  The magnetic induction charger for the Apple Watch is nice. It works as designed; there is never a problem aligning it, and it precludes the need for an unseemly exposed port. The magnetic connection, however, is not as firm as you may suspect. It pales in comparison to say, the connection between a MagSafe charger and a MacBook, or a Smart Cover and an iPad. If the Watch and / or charging cord are jostled in the slightest, the connection will be broken. This is not too big of an issue if your watch is charging gently on your...

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Introducing: Obi and Thoroughly Considered

Today is a huge day for us. We are launching not one, but two new projects today. The first is Obi, a smart laser toy for pets. The idea for Obi originated about a year ago, when my wife and I adopted our first cat, Mr. Littlejeans. It became clear almost immediately that we wanted a toy that could entertain him in some kind of automated way without being a total eyesore. The Kickstarter project page and video give a good overview of everything Obi can do. Tom and I have been working on Obi for about 7 months and...

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The Best Tripod(s) to Use With the Glif

People often ask us to recommend a tripod for use with the Glif. There is not a single straightforward answer, but rather a few really great options to consider based on your needs. And because the Glif has a universal 1/4"–20 tripod thread, it will connect to any standard tripod. Best Small, Portable Tripod: Manfrotto Pixi Mini Tripod The Glif is small and portable, so it makes a lot of sense to pair it with a tripod of similar ilk. The Manfrotto mini tripod is fantastic. It’s built like a tank, and the ball head works quite well. It’s even...

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How to Make Clear Ice

Clear ice is a mythical creature. If you’ve ever been to a fancy cocktail bar, you may have noticed the perfectly clear ice they serve in the drinks. Cocktail bars of this caliber achieve this high quality ice by procuring (or creating their own) large bricks of ice with large machines, which they then chop into chunks suitable to fit in a glass. Achieving this clear ice at home, however, is a different beast entirely. In designing what ultimately became the Neat Ice Kit, we tried everything. This post will illuminate some of the common myths and misconceptions about achieving...

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Introducing: Highball

We are pumped to launch a new iPhone app today. It’s called Highball, and it’s for sharing and collecting cocktail recipes. It’s also free, so you should download it now! Then come back to read the rest of this post. Tom and I, independently and coincidentally, starting getting into making cocktails at home about two years ago. Over that time, we’ve slowly built up our cocktail repertoire, but cocktail recipes, while simple, are difficult to remember precisely (eg. did that Whiskey Sour call for 1 oz lemon juice or 3/4 oz?). Exacerbating the problem further, the recipes we were finding...

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A Word on Simple Bracket

Once again, March Madness is upon us, which has prompted many to ask if Simple Bracket will be making a triumphant return. The answer, in short, is no. The reason, however, is a bit more nuanced. We launched Simple Bracket on Kickstarter two years ago. We set a funding goal of $10,000, which honestly didn’t even begin to cover the work we had already put into the app (assuming a modest salary for the two of us). We ended up raising about $12k. Even with some additional great press from Daring Fireball, Uncrate, and a few other places, the first...

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How to Kickstarter

To date, we (Tom and Dan, aka Studio Neat) have launched and successfully funded five Kickstarter projects, raising nearly half a million dollars in total. We were one of the first product design projects on the site, with the Glif way back in 2010, and we’ve continued to use the platform to launch new products, most recently just a few months ago. It’s pretty clear to us that Kickstarter is not a bubble, nor a flash in the pan, but a sustainable platform that is here to stay. As such, we wanted to unload all of the knowledge we have...

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Hidden Uses of Slow Fast Slow

Slow Fast Slow is our (free!) app for controlling the speed of videos you shoot on your iPhone. Its typical use is to change the speed of slow motion videos, but there are actually a few non-obvious uses of Slow Fast Slow, making it a useful tool in other contexts. Converting a slo-mo video to normal speed. Normal video and Slo-mo video are adjacent to one another in the Camera app mode selector, so it is not uncommon to accidentally shoot a slo-mo video, when all you wanted was a regular video. Slow Fast Slow makes it incredibly easy to...

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An Update on Slow Fast Slow

A couple months ago, we shifted the business model for our video-speed-control iPhone app Slow Fast Slow from a paid model to a “free with ads” model, in which the ad is for our own product, the Glif. You can read more about why we made the change here.  So, how is it going so far? In short, pretty good! We had a great launch, and were featured in the “Best New Apps” section of the App Store front page. Slow Fast Slow was also featured in both the “Best New Apps” and “Make Great Videos” sections of the Photo...

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How We Made the Simple Syrup Kit Video

There is something endearing about stop motion. Inanimate objects dance around on the screen, in jerky, imperfect movements. It’s a special effect that’s been around as long as film itself, and even in an era of astounding computer graphics, stop motion is still occasionally called upon.There are two things that I love about stop motion. It is super approachable; a five-year-old could make a stop motion movie. The other thing I love is, inherently, you see the creator’s hand (not literally) in the work. The visual of stop motion somehow allows you to understand it was crafted by a person,...

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A New Business Model For Slow Fast Slow

When the App Store launched in 2008, there was something simple and attractive about the business model for independent developers: create something of value, charge a fair price, and you will be rewarded handsomely. Marco Arment summed this up nicely in his appearance on Planet Money: “People always ask me what my business model is, and it’s very disappointingly simple to them. It’s ‘I sell something for money.’”We love making apps. Prior to Studio Neat, Tom worked as a software engineer and I worked as a UI designer, so you could argue software is a more natural fit for us...

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This Behavior's Not Unique

In high school, I was obsessed with Pearl Jam. Perhaps obsessed is putting it lightly. I collected bootleg recordings of their concerts, and had over 200 audio recordings and over 50 video recordings. I bought my first guitar, a dark green Squire Stratocaster, so I could learn Corduroy (and eventually the rest of the catalogue). I even bought my first DVD player just so I could watch Touring Band 2000. I organized a road trip with three of my friends to see Pearl Jam live in six different cities across America's heartland. Their unique, screen printed concert posters adorned my...

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How Does the iOS 8 Time-lapse Feature Work?

In iOS 8, Apple added a new feature to the built-in Camera app: Time-lapse. The announcement at WWDC earlier this year brought an initial wave of panic to Tom and I. As the makers of a stop motion and time-lapse app (Frameographer), we thought we had just been sherlocked. Fortunately, this doesn't seem to be the case, as the time-lapse mode Apple introduced lacks any features or options. Which raises the question: how does the time-lapse mode actually work?In the Camera app, Time-lapse is a new mode you can toggle to (it's located furthest to the left on the mode...

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