2019 was an exciting year for iOS music apps. Not long after I published my article “Quest for the Best iOS Music Player” early last year, new music players flooded the App Store at breakneck speed. While this was a pleasant suprise, it was certainly unusual; at the end of 2018, the category was more or less stagnant; new music players were exceedingly rare and some of the old guard were wasting away from developer indifference. Not so in 2019! No less than half a dozen brand new apps entered the fray, three of which within the same month of each other1.
With such a breadth of exciting change happening in the iOS music player category, it’s clear a revisit to last year’s article is in order. My personal list of requirements haven’t drastically changed since, but to reiterate, these are the characteristics I value in music players:
Light & dark themes that match iOS 13’s style guides and global theme setting (this is a change from last year’s requirements, reflecting iOS 13’s official dark mode support)
Discovery options that help stimulate music exploration. Examples include but are not limited to views like “Recently Added”, “Added this day X years ago”, etc.
A beautiful or visually engaging “Now Playing” view
Album-focused design, which includes but is not limited to:
The one, true album sorting method (alphabetically by artist then chronologically by release year. Any other sorting method for albums is wrong).
A grid view for improved visual browsing
My “deal-breaker” requirements mostly remained the same as well:
Support for newer iPhone displays (iPhone X & newer). Apps that have not yet been updated to support these display sizes will be immediately disqualified.
Active maintenance (“active” defined as having received a meaningful update within the past year)
A native or native-like app. That means no web apps, lazy Android ports, or apps with badly designed custom components. Apps that are performant and well designed enough to fool me are fair game.
Local-primary focus, so no stream-focused or stream-exclusive players. Apps that support both local and cloud functionality but work just as well in “local-only” mode are fair game.
I'm happy to confirm this process still works in macOS Catalina.
After months of false starts and dead ends, I’m happy to report my Wireguard VPN server is now successfully running on macOS Mojave.
Wireguard is a relatively new VPN protocol, entering the scene just three short years ago in 2016. Compared to the anchient VPN alternatives like IPSec and OpenVPN, Wireguard’s simplicity and speed quickly earned it the attention and praise of various tech communities like Hacker News and Lobste.rs. Everywhere you look are Wireguard threads filled with enthusiastic comments urging others to give Wireguard a try.
The best part is, they’re right! Compared to the existing lineup of VPN protocols, Wireguard’s small codebase, blazingly fast speed, and relatively simple setup put Wireguard in a league of its own as the first truly modern VPN protocol. There’s just one tiny niggle: the protocol is so young there might be no documentation or guides for your platform of choice.
Unfortunately, that’s the situation I found myself in with macOS when attempting to set up my Wireguard server. Despite extensively reading what’s currently the finest Wireguard documentation available and following its relevant example to a tee, Wireguard would simply not function as expected on macOS. The best I could do was establish a direct connection to the server with Wireguard, but all attempts to access the LAN or surf the web timed out and failed.
Despite numerous attempts over the months, my Google-fu yielded no results, either. While there were plenty of help articles from others setting up Wireguard on macOS, every single one of them was for setting up a Wireguard peer on macOS. This peer was always intended to only connect to a Wireguard server on more common platforms like Ubuntu or CentOS, never the other way around.
However, from my on-and-off research over these past few months I’ve finally cobbled together a solution that’s working. Thus, I intend to fill this hole in the community’s growing collection of documentation and setup guides: here’s what you need to do to get a Wireguard server running on macOS Mojave with full traffic routing and LAN access.
It’s no secret I cherish music. That passion seeped not only into my physical library in the form of vinyl records but also into my personal projects with the introduction of the Bad Music Hertz website and podcast. It was only a matter of time until that same passion fueled a desire to find the perfect iOS music player.
By “perfect” player, I do not simply mean the app most appealing to the widest audience, or even the most well-rounded app (if that’s what you’re looking for, The Sweet Setup’s article is fantastic). No, what I wished to find in my quest was a niche app that’s unapologetically for people that love actively listening to and collecting music.
This past year, I’ve had the pleasure of using Fournova’s macOS git client, Tower 2, to version control my professional and personal work. After years of forcing myself to use the inconsistent, cryptic commands required to make version control with git marginally usable, I could finally relax and instead use Tower 2’s intuitive graphical interface to make my versioning tasks as easy as clicking a button.
Tower 2 didn’t just provide a suburb user experience, it also dazzled with a gorgeous, gold-standard macOS app icon. Icon redesigns are a difficult balancing act between the existing brand identity and the needs of the redesign (in this case, macOS’s 2014 redesign). Despite the difficulty, Tower 2’s refreshed icon danced between them with ease.