KeepCup Brew

KeepCup Brew

(Photo credit: Alex Bernson, Sprudge.com)

While we’re on the subject of coffee, we should talk about an awesome vessel for consuming the stuff.

The KeepCup Brew—a brand-new glass version of the plastic KeepCup Original—is a reusable coffee cup that aims to do away with wasteful, disposable paper cups and look great doing it. If you frequently stop in for a quick cup at a local coffee shop or ever need to take your home-brewed coffee on-the-go, the KeepCup Brew is your friend.

Made from durable, fully-tempered soda lime glass and sporting a silicone thermal band around the middle, the KeepCup Brew also features a redesigned version of the original’s eco-friendly plastic lid that makes it easier than ever to sip from and clean later. The colors of the lid, band, and plug can all be customized during the ordering process.

It’s available in two sizes:

  • Small ($24): 8oz/227ml – The same size as a standard latte glass.
  • Medium ($26): 12oz/340ml — Comfortably supports an Aeropress.

The glass portion is microwavable (but not the lid, so leave it off!) and can even hold boiling water, although they don’t necessarily recommend it in most cases.

To celebrate the launch of KeepCup Brew, they are offering a limited edition series that sports a cork band instead of silicone. It’s a bit more expensive, costing $30 for the small and $32 for the medium.

Perfect Coffee at Home

Perfect Coffee at Home

Perfect Coffee at Home, written by former U.S. Marines Michael Haft and Harrison Suarez and available only on the iBookstore for iPad, is all about the joys and methods of brewing an awesome cup—you guessed it—at home. They explain all the factors that go into every cup, and how you can tweak them step-by-step to get the best results.

Haft and Suarez have taken full advantage of iBooks’ media capabilities here. The book is loaded with photos (some of which are interactive), audio snippets, nicely shot videos, illustrations by Ben Blake, and a jazzy soundtrack recorded by identical twins (and virtuosos) Peter and Will Anderson. It also covers all sorts of brewing methods: Aeropress, French press, pour over, Siphon pot, Technivorm, cold brew, and more.

These guys have written guest posts for The New York Times and The Atlantic, both of which are modified excerpts from the book. The first chapter of the book is also free to read on the iBookstore, so there are plenty of ways to sample their writing before buying the book.

Get Perfect Coffee at Home from the iBookstore for just $5, and take your first step towards brewing the perfect cup.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Books, Coffee

Icon 1000 Navigator Leather Wallet

Icon 1000 Navigator Leather Wallet

Not a lot needs to be said about the Navigator wallet. It’s made from oiled Nissan leather and waxed canvas, has six internal card slots and a single cash slot, and most importantly, it looks great.

$50 on Amazon.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Wallets

Featured Sponsor: Screens – Control Your Computer From Anywhere

Featured Sponsor: Screens – Control Your Computer From Anywhere

Screens 3 for Mac is a beautiful, yet powerful Screen Sharing and VNC client that lets you connect back to your Mac, Windows or Linux PC from the comfort of your living room, the corner coffee shop or anywhere in the world.

Screens 3 adds many new features and refinements that makes it the best VNC client for the Mac.

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Our thanks to Screens 3 for sponsoring the RSS feed this week. On a personal note, this app truly is stellar. If you ever want to access your Mac from your iPad, or from another Mac, Screens is the way to do it.

Rancilio Silvia V3 Espresso Machine

Rancilio Silvia V3 Espresso Machine

For serious coffee fanatics, having an espresso machine at home can certainly be an expensive affair. Most of us aren’t world champion baristas though, and prefer not to break the bank to get our fix.

The Rancilio Silvia V3 is a commerical-grade machine that, in the right hands, will brew espresso on par with what you’d get at your favorite local coffee shop (emphasis on local; I’m not talking Starbucks here). It’s not a fancy-looking machine, but under its simple, stainless steel exterior is a quality piece of equipment.

The Silvia V3′s boiler is forged from marine-grade brass, and it sports a chrome-plated brass group head and portafilter. The front-panel knob—which controls the steam wand—makes it easy* to create silky micro-foam for cappuccinos and macchiatos. The entire contraption is held together with a sturdy iron frame that won’t fall apart in a year. This is a machine built to last, and is highly regarded in the home brewing community.

The Rancilio Silvia V3 is $690 on Amazon, a far sight cheaper than most home models but with comparable build quality.

* One thing to keep in mind: this is a single-boiler machine, so you won’t be able to brew espresso and steam milk at the same time. I would recommend always steaming your milk before pulling shots. That’s just the cost of having a relatively affordable machine.

Sketch 3 for Mac

Sketch 3 for Mac

If there’s one tool digital designers love to hate, it’s Photoshop. It’s ideal for editing photos and creating complex graphics, but not so much for designing user interfaces. Sketch is a Mac app specifically designed for building UIs, icons, CSS-friendly web elements, and much more.

Today, Sketch updated to version 3, bringing all sorts of new features with it such as “Symbols”, which are reusable objects comprised of multiple layers. You can use them multiple times throughout a single design, and a change made to one automatically syncs to the rest.

Other new features include:

  • Text Styles and Layer Styles, redesigned and unified for a better experience
  • Redesigned inspector, giving you quicker access to everything
  • Automatic Slices, export layers directly, without needing to set up manual slices
  • Export multiple resolutions from a single slice, at any scale
  • Improved PDF, EPS and SVG importing and exporting
  • Speed, bug fixes and polish all around
  • Presentation Mode, go full screen and hide all controls, perfect for showing off designs
  • Improved bitmap editing with Magic Wand, Crop, Invert and Vectorize tools

Designs can be previewed live on your iOS device(s) with Sketch Mirror, a $5 companion app that operates via WiFi. For a limited time, Sketch can be purchased from the Mac App Store for $50. (The normal price is $80.)

The Prompt T-Shirt

The Prompt T-Shirt

Our friends over at The Prompt podcast have just put a t-shirt up for sale. They need to sell 40 of them in the next two weeks for the shirts to get printed, so if you enjoy their show as much as we do, head over to Teespring and help ‘em out. Shirts are about $24 each.

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‘Honestly’ by Gabe Bondoc

‘Honestly’ by Gabe Bondoc

I don’t often write about music albums, but it’s kind of a chill Saturday for me and it feels fitting to mention my soundtrack at the moment, the recently-released Honestly by singer-songwriter Gabe Bondoc.

I’ve been following this guy on Youtube for a while—starting with this video, if memory serves—and I always enjoy his music, which is especially good for driving with the windows down. He’s a wonderful, soulful singer and guitarist influenced by the likes of John Mayer and Jason Mraz. I think you guys will really dig his stuff.

You can buy Honestly on iTunes ($10) or on Amazon ($9). Also be sure to check out his 2012 album Timing, also on iTunes and Amazon.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Music

1Password — Easy Password Management

1Password — Easy Password Management

It’s been over a year since we last mentioned 1Password on T&T. Given the recent discovery of the Heartbleed SSL bug that has people all over the internet changing their passwords, now seems a good time to remind everyone why 1Password is awesome.

Rather than memorizing a bunch of different, complicated passwords, most people opt to use a single login for everything. This is a terrible idea, of course—and I speak as someone who used to be guilty of it myself.

With 1Password, you still only have to remember a single password (hence the name), but it’s only used for logging into your 1Password database, not your online accounts. 1Password stores all of your various logins, credit cards, and other personal information behind a secure wall that only your master password can open. It can also generate long passwords of varying complexity based on a “recipe” of your choosing.

On iOS, each login can be opened and auto-submitted within 1Password’s own browser, or you may copy a specific password for use elsewhere. If you go the “copy” route, 1Password can clear the password from your clipboard after a specified length of time for security purposes (between 30 seconds and 5 minutes). The Mac app has a useful Security Audit feature for seeing which of your passwords are duplicates so you can easily change them.

1Password is $18 on the iOS App Store, while the Mac version is $50 for a single license. I recommend getting at least one version and using it to change all your passwords. There’s simply no better way to manage your online security.

UPDATE: 1Password just announced on Twitter that they’re offering a 50% discount across all platforms. Take advantage of it right now.

Mileage Log+ for iPhone

Mileage Log+ for iPhone

My wife runs her own dance school, which often requires us to leave town for competitions and performances. On those trips, we track our mileage and travel expenses for tax purposes. Nothing a simple notepad can’t handle, but I am a nerd so I enjoy the extra bells and whistles of an app like Mileage Log+ for iPhone.

Made by the same people behind Launch Center Pro, Mileage Log+ lets you track individual trips by inputting various kinds of information: start and end locations (which ML+ will use to estimate the distance traveled), the purpose of the trip, the vehicle used, odometer readings, expense rates per mile, costs, dates and times, categories, and notes.

Trips you make frequently can be saved for quick and easy input later. All trips can be exported in PDF or CSV format, and your data can be synced/backed up via Dropbox. I’d like to see a notebook do that.

Mileage Log+ normally costs $10, but is down to only $3 for the next six days (ending on April 16th, 2014) as part of the StackSocial iOS Bundle sale.

Broken Age, Act 1

Broken Age, Act 1

I’ve been a fan of Tim Schafer’s games since I was a kid, especially Grim Fandango and Psychonauts. The guy is a fantastic storyteller whose games are often charming, humorous, and even a little strange (in the best way). Schafer’s newest point-and-click adventure game for Mac and PC, Broken Age, proves that he hasn’t lost his touch.

There are two teenage protagonists in Broken Age—Vella and and Shay—whom you can switch between at will.

Vella lives in Sugar Bunting, a town that occasionally sacrifices its maidens to appease a gigantic being named Mog Chothra. Just as she’s about to be sacrificed, she wonders why they don’t just solve the problem by eliminating the monster, and works to escape her fate.

Shay lives alone aboard an intergalactic spaceship, where he is coddled by an overbearing AI that forces him to eat the same food and perform the same activities, day after day after day. Bored of this existence, Shay seeks a way out of his colorful prison.

During their adventures, Vella and Shay meet an oddball assortment of characters and solve puzzles in order to progress. Their respective stories don’t seem at all linked at first, but by the game’s end you will see they are surprisingly intertwined. Keep in mind that this is only Act 1 of the game, with Act 2 expected to release later this year.

The writing is sharp, the voice acting is top-notch, the artwork is gorgeous, the soundtrack is lovely…I just can’t find anything I dislike about Broken Age. You can buy the game alone for $25, or pay an extra $5 to include the soundtrack.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Games

Featured Sponsor: Scanbot for iPhone and Android – PDF Scanner

Featured Sponsor: Scanbot for iPhone and Android – PDF Scanner

Scanbot is your premium mobile scanner app for creating high quality PDF or JPG scans of documents (incl. multi-page), receipts, business cards, meeting minutes, whiteboard notes, etc. Scans can be emailed, printed, or automatically uploaded to your favorite cloud drives such as Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, OneDrive and Yandex.Disk. Scanbot features unique document detection technology, which makes high-quality scanning extremely easy and fast. With the integrated PDF editor your can edit your scans on the go.

Scanbot for iPhone and Scanbot for Android are available for an introductory price of $0.99.

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*Our thanks to Scanbot for sponsoring the site this week. *

Comic Neue

Comic Neue

People have mixed feelings about Comic Sans. “Civilians” love the font for its casual handwritten look, while designers just love to hate it. Graphic designer Craig Rozynski decided he’d had enough of this divide, and designed a new typeface intended to make both camps happy: Comic Neue.

In Craig’s own words:

“The squashed, wonky, and weird glyphs of Comic Sans have been beaten into shape while maintaining the honesty that made Comic Sans so popular. It’s perfect as a display face, for marking up comments, and writing passive aggressive office memos.”

If you’d like to give it a shot, Comic Neue is a free download.

Deckset for Mac

Deckset for Mac

Deckset is a Mac app for making slide presentations with Markdown. Compose your thoughts in your favorite text editor, send them to Deckset, and it uses one of several themes to give your words a little flair.

Deckset recognizes Markdown formatting for headers, code (with automatic syntax highlighting!), blockquotes, and more. You can also add photos and videos to your slides. It may not replace Keynote or PowerPoint in terms of sheer power, but it’s plenty enough for most needs.

Get Deckset for $20 on the Mac App Store. Also, be sure to check out the MacStories review.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Apps, Software

Learning to Love Evernote 2.0

Learning to Love Evernote 2.0

Our friend Bradley Chambers updated his iBook and screencast series, Learning to Love Evernote, to version 2.0 today. He has re-recorded every video with new tips, tricks, and workflows to account for updated editions of the Evernote iOS apps. It’s a free update for anyone who already owns the book.

If you didn’t pick up Learning to Love Evernote the last time we mentioned it here on T&T, now is the perfect opportunity. It’s still only $5, whether you get the iBook or the standalone, DRM-free screencasts (.mp4 format).

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Apps, Books

Amazon Dash

Amazon Dash

Another Amazon gadget? This is getting weird.

Amazon Dash is a supplementary device for members of the AmazonFresh delivery service (currently only available in certain zip codes of San Francisco, Southern California, and Seattle). It’s a neat way to shop for groceries and other household items without leaving home.

Out of milk? Scan the empty carton’s barcode. Plan on making cookies soon? Just say “chocolate chips” into Dash’s built-in mic. Whichever way you go, Dash uses your home WiFi to add grocery items to your AmazonFresh shopping list. Checkout on your computer or mobile device, and Amazon delivers your list to you that day (or the next, depending on the time of day you order).

I’ve tried using barcode scanner apps on my iPhone and they get the job done, but having a standalone device like Dash would really take the friction out of the process. I can’t wait for this to hit more U.S. cities.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Gadgets, Home

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV

Fire TV is Amazon’s new $99 media-streaming and gaming box for HDTVs. Like its competitors—such as the Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku—Fire TV can stream from a number of services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Pandora, and more.

One feature that sets it apart is the remote control’s built-in mic, which allows you to hold a button and search for content simply by speaking. This works for TV shows, movies, actors, directors, and even genres, so you won’t have to clumsily navigate by on-screen text input. Also, Fire TV arrives pre-registered to your Amazon account so all you have to do is plug it in and go.

What’s even more interesting about Fire TV is that it supports gaming, to an extent. The available games (like Minecraft—Pocket Edition) are the kind of thing you’d normally find on a mobile app store, so it’s not so much for hardcore gamers as it is for casual players. Still pretty neat, though. You can play games with the included remote or a Fire Game Controller (sold separately for $40).

Here’s the rub: if you already own a Roku, Apple TV, or even a PlayStation/Xbox, you probably won’t have much reason to switch here. The Fire TV is probably best used by people firmly rooted in the Amazon ecosystem.

If that describes you, go check it out and see if it’s a good fit for your home media setup.

StandDesk

StandDesk

Research has shown that sitting at a desk all day is terrible for our health, well-being, productivity, and even life expectancy.

Standing desks—especially those that adjust between sitting and standing positions—are a good way to counteract the negative effects of all that sitting, but they can be pretty expensive. (A fact I’m all too familiar with; my current “standing desk” is a pile of books on the kitchen counter with my iPad+keyboard on top.)

Enter StandDesk. This Kickstarter campaign aims to bring a more affordable automated standing desk to the masses, one that is relatively lightweight and easy to assemble, but still able to hold a lot of stuff comfortably.

Adjusting its height is easy: just hold the up or down button for a couple seconds, let go, and it automatically elevates/lowers until you press the button again. The base model has only the up and down buttons, while the ‘deluxe’ model has the ability to save four different heights as presets.

For more details, I recommend watching their Kickstarter promo video. Backer rewards to get a StandDesk start at $399 (which will go up to $499 once the product goes to market).

Monument Valley for iOS

Monument Valley for iOS

Monument Valley is a new game for iPhone and iPad that was clearly inspired by the art of M.C. Escher. You play as Ida, a silent princess who must navigate and exit a series of seemingly impossible architecture by solving puzzles and avoiding the strange inhabitants of each world.

Each level presents a structure that looks impossible to traverse, but by moving or rotating sections of the environment, you can alter these optical illusions to create a path where none existed before. Watch the official trailer and you’ll see what I mean.

Monument Valley for iOS

As noted in a behind-the-scenes video, every stage is like a different work of art, beautiful enough to be printed out and hung on a wall. As you interact with Ida’s world, you are greeted with pleasant sound effects and music, and I recommend playing with headphones for the best experience.

Monument Valley is one of the most gorgeous and thoughtfully considered games I’ve seen on iOS, one that answers the question, “Are video games art?” with a resounding yes! You’d be remiss not to play it.

It’s only $4, so I don’t want to hear any excuses.

TextExpander Touch 2.5

TextExpander Touch 2.5

Speaking of TextExpander Touch, it’s been updated to version 2.5 and sports a new iOS 7 design along with some new features. They’ve made it much easier to rename and reorder snippet groups, as well as move individual snippets between groups. Groups that are only useful on a Mac can now be disabled for iOS.

They’ve also added some external keyboard shortcuts:

  • ⌘+ and ⌘- increase and decrease the font size of selected text
  • ⌘N creates a new snippet, group, or note
  • ⌘Return functions as Done, or shares snippet or note
  • Escape functions as Cancel
  • ⌘T toggles between Notes and Groups
  • Up and down arrows navigate through the list of snippets or notes on iPad

All in all, a very welcome update to one of my most-used apps. TextExpander Touch is $5 on the iOS App Store.

More tools and toys on the next page →