Launch Center Pro 2.2 Update

Today, Contrast releases an update to Launch Center Pro. The 2.2 update also acts as the first version of its iPad app. The new iPad version makes it possible to interact with iPad-only apps, such as Mr. Reader and Editorial.

This update brings several new features, such as multitouch support group and move action between groups. Now, you can launch actions from within a group by using two fingers: one finger to open the group and another to tap the action. You can also move action from one group to another, or to the home grids (and vice versa). This makes it easy to organise the actions without having to copy and paste the URLs.

Tweet a code snippet via Dropbox

Launch Center Pro 2.2 also brings a set of new Dropbox text actions. You can now create, append, and prepend text files in your Dropbox folder.

If you're familiar with Drafts, these actions are already available in Drafts. What makes the Launch Center Pro actions different is its ability to retrieve the shareable link to the Dropbox file. The link is copied to the clipboard and can be chained for other purpose.

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How Command-C Replaces Pastebot and Improves My Workflow

I have been using Pastebot as my preferred way to transfer text and images between my iPhone and my Macs. But, iOS 7 has brought changes to some policies, such as background process and shared pasteboards, that made Pastebot felt a bit outdated. As a reference, the last update for Pastebot was almost two years ago.

Fortunately, today Danito Torrisi releases Command-C that offers a more modern alternative to Pastebot. Similar to Pastebot, it comes as a pair of iOS and Mac apps that you can install to all your iOS/Mac devices. I'd recommend you read Federico Viticci's in-depth review on the app if you haven't.

Why Command-C is Better than Pastebot

Instead of rehashing what Federico Viticci has written, I will outline a few reasons why I consider Command-C as a better alternative to Pastebot.

  1. Command-C is iOS 7 native. It's not constrained by 10 minute limit of running in the background. It's also compatible with Launch Center Pro's image pasteboard - something that I can never get to work correctly.
  2. Command-C supports multiple pairs of iOS/Mac and iOS/iOS sharing. Instead of syncing only one iOS/Mac device pair at a time a la Pastebot, Command-C allows you to share the text/image with any device that you have registered.
  3. Command-C has an excellent support for x-callback-url and executable URLs. This allows you to send iOS/Mac URL Schemes over Wi-Fi and have it executed by the receiving Command-C copy. Danito Torrisi even sets up a dedicated website and an in-app form to easily generate your own bookmarklet and URL Scheme.
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5 Awesome Things from Fantastical 2 that Can Improve Your Workflows

Last week we witnessed the release of Fantastical 2. After using it for a few days, I noticed many improvements over the previous version that can make my daily workflows easier. In this post, I'd like to highlight five of them.

The new Fantastical 2 allows you to define alert time period to override the default settings.

1. Improvements in Natural Language Support for Event Creation

Fantastical has always been famous for its natural language parser. It allows you to add new events easily (and gracefully) without having to enter the fields manually. Fantastical 1.x allows you to write new events with the following syntax:

[event name] at [location] [date/time] [URL] [calendar name]

By setting up the default duration and alert time period for your events, you can even write your events faster. For example, I setup my default event duration as one hour, and my default alert time period as two hours prior the event. Here are some of the sample sentences that you can enter in Fantastical 1.x:

  • Meet with Abraham at Lenmarc Mall on Mon 10.30-noon http://modernjamming.com /w
  • Mission Trip at Jakarta on Nov 13-17 calendar Church
  • Family Vacation at Singapore from 12/4 for six days /h
  • Internal Team Meeting at R714 on Wednesdays from 11-2p /w
  • Board Meeting at R215 every other Thursday from 11 AM to 2 PM /w
  • Family Dine Out on the 2nd Friday of every month at 6-9p /h
  • Wash the Car every third Thursday at 8.45a /h
  • Pick up Noah at MSCS on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10a from 11/13 to 11/25 /h

Fantastical has a great way of parsing date/time languages. The above examples show that it can understand the basic short/long day formats (Mon/Monday), noon/midnight, and AM/PM/a/p. Fantastical also understands date ranges, such as "Nov 13-17" or "from 12/4 for six days", and date repetition formats, such as "on Wednesdays", "every other Thursday", "the 2nd Friday of every month", "every third Thursday", and even complex ones such as "on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays".

Fantastical allows you to define which calendar you want your new event to be created. You can define it using a clear sentence, such as "calendar Church", or using a shorthand version, such as /w for Work and /h for Home. The rule for calendar shorthand is quite straightforward. Fantastical will use the characters following the slash and match them with the first characters of your Calendar names. For example, if I have two calendars named iPhone and IFTTT, I can use /ip to refer to the iPhone calendar, and /if to refer to the IFTTT calendar.

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8 Reasons to Love Launch Center Pro 2.0

It's been a while since the team at Contrast, formerly known as AppCubby, released an update to its flagship app, Launch Center Pro. Today, they finally release the long-awaited 2.0 version of Launch Center Pro with plenty of great features and a complete iOS 7 redesign.

I was lucky to be a part of the beta tester team. It gave me enough time to play around with the new features and improve my existing actions. In this post, I'd like to highlight eight things that I love about the new Launch Center Pro 2.0.

Launch Center Pro 2.0 allows you to easily share your custom actions.

1. Easy to Share and Import Custom Actions

Previously, any custom actions that you create in Launch Center Pro are private to your iPhone. If you want to share the action, you need to paste the URL in an iMessage, an email, or somewhere in your blog post. Today, it's easy to share actions with others.

Simply tap on the Share Action button at the bottom of the Action Composer window. It will take you to the Launch Center Pro 2.0 share page in Safari. The web form will automatically be filled with the action URL, alongside the action's name. You can add a brief description of what the action is trying to do.

Once published, you will get a unique URL that you can linked to in your iMessage, email, or blog post. The readers/recipients can load the URL from their iPhone's browser, and tap the Install Action button to have the new action be automatically installed on their iPhones.

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Linked Post: One-Button Travel Packing List Creation with Launch Center Pro, Drafts, TextExpander and Reminders

Timothy Rosenberg created a nice upgrade to my TextExpander list template workflow by encapsulating the entire workflow in Launch Center Pro, thus enabling the creation of a new list with the tap of a single button. To keep things simple, Tim used the built-in Reminders app, kept as many formatting inside the TextExpander snippets as possible, and did not add any new items defined at runtime.

Check out his workflow here.