NASA launches Apple TV app →


The agency released on Tuesday its popular NASA app for a new platform, the fourth-generation Apple TV. This version joins the app’s other versions available for iOS in iPhone and iPad versions, Android and Fire OS. The NASA app has been downloaded more than 17 million times across all platforms.

“The NASA app has been a fantastic way for the public to experience the excitement of space exploration from their mobile devices,” said David Weaver, NASA associate administrator for Communications. “Now, users with the latest Apple TV can explore and enjoy our remarkable images, videos, mission information, NASA Television and more on the big screen with the whole family.”

The app is a little clunky in places but includes a ton of great content, including access to NASA TV, live video from the International Space Station, mission information and access to over 15,000 agency images. If you’re into space, you should go check it out.

Associate →

John Vorhees has released Associate, an incredibly clever and useful iOS app for creating Amazon affiliate links:

Associate’s search functionality means the entire Amazon store is at the tips of your fingers, literally. Run a search and tap the result you want. Associate does all the hard work of generating an affiliate link that includes your Amazon Associates credentials. Once you have your link, you can share it with one person or a thousand, its just as easy either way.

If I review hardware or link to a book on Amazon, I do it with affiliate links.1 It’s not a huge part of the income 512 Pixels generates, but it helps. On the Mac, I’ve used a bookmarklet in Chrome to create affiliate links, and now, thanks to John, I can do it easily on my iOS devices.

Finding items to link to is done in a very clever way: Associate simply passes the search query to an in-app browser that loads up the Amazon website. Tap the item, and a link (or Markdown-formatted link) is generated automatically.

Associate is $4.99 on the iOS App Store. Go check it out!

  1. I know some people don’t like this, but oh well. HEY LOOK GO BUY A DRONE. 

How to search Giphy from Alfred 

Search Giphy from Alred

I’ve spent way too much time today searching for GIFs, and realized I’ve never shared my workflow to search Giphy from Alfred.

It’s an easy little workflow to put together. I set the keyword to be gif and the workflow activates this little bash script:

search=$(echo "{query}" | sed 's/ /-/g')
open "${search}"

Once it’s set up, you can hit the keyword in Alfred and start typing your search query. Hit enter and Giphy will open in your browser with its results.

If you don’t want to set that up, you can download the workflow here.

Quitter →

Marco Arment has a new app:

Quitter automatically hides or quits distracting apps after periods of inactivity. I’ve found it tremendously helpful to my work efficiency to hide Slack and quit Tweetbot after 10 minutes.

It’s free and works as advertised. I dig it.

Fixing an endless ‘The Messages database is being upgraded’ dialog box 

After a rocky day, I rebooted my MacBook Pro last night, and when I went to open Messages, I was greeted with this error message:

Messages is updating…
The Messages database is bring upgraded, please wait while it finishes or Quit Messages and relaunch it later.

Comma splice aside, I let it this sit overnight, with no change this morning. Clearly something had happened to my database, but it didn’t seem like it was going to fix itself. Here’s what I did to get the app going again:

  1. Quit Messages
  2. Kill the IMDPersistenceAgent process via Terminal with killall IMDPersistenceAgent
  3. Searched my user Library > Messages folder for anything with Messages, iMessage, or iChat in the name and deleted it.
  4. Emptied the Trash.
  5. Cleared the preferences cache by running killall cfprefsd in Terminal
  6. Restarted the Mac.

After this, opening Messages brought it to the setup screen. I logged back in with my accounts and am now off to the races. While I don’t like that Messages imploded, at least it was fixable without major surgery.