We’ve collected the top four reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in February. Whether you’re interested in Mac, iPhone, Web, Android, Windows, or iPad apps, there’s bound to be something you didn’t spot over the course of the month. Now would be a good time to explore a part of the AppStorm Network you’ve never seen before!
Thanks for reading AppStorm, and I hope you enjoy looking over some of our favourite posts from last month!
Best of Web.AppStorm
You’ve likely already listed your favorite movies, music, and more on Facebook. You tweet and like new sites you come across online, and if anyone kept up with your online ramblings at all, surely they’d know your preferences in everything from software to soap.
Then comes Pinterest, the latest social network that everyone’s talking about. You may have already seen your friends sharing links to it, but unless you’re interested in dresses, crafts, and cooking, you likely didn’t give the site a second try. Then, the whole world started using it, and even the President is sharing his favorite things on it.
So what is Pinterest, and why in the world should it interest you at all? Could it really be the next big social network?
There are way too many project managements apps in the market. In fact, project management web apps are one of the proud inventions of the Web 2.0 era. These apps come in all shapes and sizes, with most of them having almost identical featuresets. I often wonder if they all use the same code and use just a custom CSS!
That’s why it isn’t surprising to see that developers these days are coming up with innovative names for their apps dropping the word “project” from the description. Gantt charts are part and parcel of managing projects. These charts offer a bird’s eye view of how well the project is planned and how exactly the tasks are coming along.
Most modern day project management apps give this mission critical feature a miss. But not TeamGantt. TeamGantt is the fresh new easy way to use gantt chart software online. Is it simple enough to use?
It has been a long time rumor that Google was going to release some kind of cloud stoage product akin to the likes of Dropbox or iCloud. It does make sense, after all; Google was the company that changed email by offering an unprecidented 1GB of storage for email all the way back in 2004- storage that they’ve been increasing steadily ever since. With Google Music, you get a crazy 20GB of space for your music. You can upload documents to Google Docs and store them forever. What about all files? Well, last Monday Google officially launched Google Drive.
Before we get started, I’ve got to say that while I am a Google fanboy, I absolutely love Dropbox. I’ve been using it for a long time and have told lots of people about it as it’s definitely the best way to share files and folders. Let’s see how Google Drive stacks up against it.
WordPress may just be the most versatile web app ever. You could use it to power your site or blog (as we do here at AppStorm), or you could turn it into an eCommerce store, discussion board, photo gallery, or almost anything else with the wide range of plugins and themes you can add to your WordPress install.
But what if you want to use WordPress to do something totally new? You could always code your own theme or plugin, but that can be rather daunting to new users. Even if you’re already familiar with web programming, you’d have to learn the ins-and-outs out WordPress before you could get started.
Best of Android.AppStorm
Many people are spending around $100 on brand new low end Android phones. While these phones are good value for money, and run Android along with most apps and games and everything else great about Android, I’d like to put forward an alternative: buy an older high-end Android, second hand.
Instead of spending the cash on a brand new low-spec phone, why not spend roughly the same amount of money on a great phone with much higher specs?
It’s obvious that nostalgia gaming is massively popular. Furthermore, people are willing to pay for the pleasure. Developers like Kairosoft charge almost top dollar for their full titles, despite the fact they are made of the blocky retro graphics of the 80′s and 90′s. It was thought high time therefore to group some of these together into a comprehensive round up. From Asteroid clones and RPGs to vertical scrolling shooters and addictive platformers… they’re all here. So, put down that Rubix cube and cast your mind back to dusty arcade cabinets, pockets full of loose change and blistered thumbs – here’s a bumper roundup of retro games available on Android.
XBMC is an insanely popular piece of software commonly installed on media PCs. Apart from having an extremely customisable UI, it also is very easy to expand its functionality because of its hackable nature. Read on to find out how to control your XBMC media centre using just your Android phone.
I find myself in a bit of a pickle. I really love iOS as a mobile operating system and there are some things about it that I’ve always preferred over Android (the lack of fragmentation and the polished interface, for example) but after using it for a while now there are some features from Android that I just wish it had.
Best of iPad.AppStorm
A long time ago (nearly two years, to be precise), when iPad.AppStorm wasn’t even born, we looked at OmniFocus for the iPad over at iPhone.AppStorm and we liked it very much – giving it a prestigious 8 out of 10 rating. Since then, however, lots has changed with OmniFocus (including, unfortunately, the price) so let’s take a look at the latest version and see how it stacks up.
You love scouring the web for reading material, but you just can’t find the time to read everything on the spot. Perhaps you’ve already run into popular “read later” apps such as Instapaper, Readability, and Safari’s own “Reader” feature.
One could certainly be perfectly satisfied with what those apps have to offer, but just how much would you be missing out on if you pass on Pocket (formerly Read It Later)?
Oh, how we have adapted!
Humankind is almost unique in nature: we are one of the rare species that is adept at using tools to fashion a liveable environment around us rather than being a species that has no choice but to adapt through evolution (For example, certain moth species evolved into butterflies in order to avoid nocturnal predators such as the bat). Man, as a species, fashions an environment to suit his needs. From sea-level to the highest peaks, from the desert areas to the extreme cold of the poles, humankind has adapted his environment in order to survive.
Photography, with the advent of digital cameras, is a rapidly growing occupation, hobby, and passion. While having the best tools won’t necessarily make you a better photographer, it’s certainly true that the best photographers are constantly looking for the best possible tools.
The iPad is quickly becoming a superb tool for a whole host of different professionals, with new apps and developments improving its capacity every month. Apple has pushed hard to make the new iPad even more appealing to photographers, the gorgeous display an absurdly tempting proposition.
Here I’ve collected together some of the best apps available for photographers, in a whole host of different categories. I’ve tried to be creative and look at the great possibilities there are with the iPad, hopefully you’ll find something you’d never thought of before!
Best of Windows.AppStorm
Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8, has caused a lot of dissent since the release of the Consumer Preview. After all, the ambitious new UI, loosely called Metro, isn’t exactly standard fare from Redmond. Still, Metro has been seen before in the Zune, Xbox, and Windows Phone 7, so it’s to be expected that Windows would eventually don Metro’s look and feel as well.
But Metro is far more than just a fancy new look, it’s an entire paradigm shift in the way Windows itself functions. Unfortunately, it has some rough edges. Below are eight of the most crucial applications that the Metro half of the computer needs to succeed at real work.
It is a boring day and you are at home with nothing to do and you just want to mess with someone. You could do a lot of things. You could take the Fight Night option (find the largest guy out on the streets, go up to him and punch him).
Or if you are a Windows enthusiast, you could try one of these pranks on your friend’s computer.
One of the great things about the Windows platform is the vast range of free software available for the OS, enabling you to do just about anything with a PC at no cost.
Here are some tips on how to achieve some common computing tasks using the simplest apps available.
Microsoft created ripples all across the globe when they launched their new campaign last week. Love it or hate it, IE is the world’s most popular browser, even today. The very fact that more than 56% of the world uses it speaks volumes for and with IE10 all set to hit the shelves, I can only expect these numbers to grow.
Best of iPhone.AppStorm
When Sparrow first appeared last year it almost immediately became a runaway success. Email is such a vital part of many people’s life and its no secret that many people, including yours truly, are getting fed up with the rather archaic nature of the system. What Sparrow for Mac did was create a clean and simple way to work with emails with great functionality. This made emails, dare I say it, more fun. No longer was it such a laborious task.
I’m not suggesting that Sparrow have single handedly ‘cured’ emails, but it certainly eases the pain. Naturally, there was swiftly a cry for the wonders of Sparrow to be brought to the iPhone, and now it’s here. Head on past the break to learn more.
Nintendo fans still yearn for the day when their favorite titles will finally grace the screens of their phones. Until then, Nintendo-loving developers have created many clones to titles like Mario Kart, Super Mario Bros or The Legend of Zelda. Of course, some of these clones are somewhat decent, and some quite are bad.
But then there is Pizza Boy.
We all loved Tetris growing up, right? Maybe it was just me, but I could lose hours playing that classic game, dropping brick upon brick or waiting endlessly for that one super long one to complete a big block all at once. It sure was addictive, and I guess that’s why I haven’t been able to put down SpellTower since I bought it a few days ago.
Is the game reminiscent of Tetris? Definitely. But even better, it uses words to create your own blocks of varying sizes. Of course, there’s more to it than just that, so let’s get into everything after the jump.
Congratulations and welcome to the club – you’re now the proud owner of a new iPhone. And right after your figure out how to add your contacts, make phone calls, set up your email and send text messages, you’re going to wonder, “Which apps should I download?”
That’s where I come in. I’m here to save you from embarrassment. That’s right, because all your already-have-an-iPhone friends are going to bombard you with “Haven’t you downloaded that app yet?” until you’re fully dialed in. So here are 50 common yet useful and well-known apps to get you started covering many of the bases you’ll likely use your iPhone for: social networking, entertainment, news, productivity and more. And the best part? They’re all free.
Click through to take a look at your starter kit.
Best of Mac.AppStorm
When OS X Lion was released last year, Apple put a lot of emphasis on how speedy it was on their MacBook Air line of ultra-thin notebooks or “ultrabooks”, if you will. An example of this can be seen all over the operating system’s main webpage as Apple seems to be giving attention to mainly the MacBook Air in their slideshow of the key features included with OS X Lion. It’s quite apparent that Apple is trying to say something with all of this, but what exactly is that message?
I believe the corporation is hoping to move towards the MacBook Air and oust the Pro from the picture almost entirely. It was obvious that they were going to do this when they discontinued the original MacBook last year; this in turn made the Air their entry-level notebook, which is what they wanted since it sported an SSD that was ten times faster than the white MacBook – regardless of the task. But what is their master plan for all of this? Let’s explore some potential scenarios.
An open source application is a piece of software for which the source code is available and in the public domain. Developers are able to download the code and modify, contribute and change it to suit their needs. This means businesses can “tweak” software according to their needs and individuals can play around with code, add new features and explore how software works. Open source software is also the foundation to many of today’s largest, most renowned software packages – without open source software we might not have the amazing, mind-blowing applications and software packages we use everyday.
In light of this, I have compiled a list of 30 of the best open source applications for Mac. I encourage you to download and have a play with each and, where possible, replace over-priced commercial software.
There has been some heated debate over the extent to which iOS and OS X will merge in the coming years. Whatever Apple has up its sleeves for the future, it is undeniable that the company is at least trying to make its apps and branding more unified across both systems.
With Lion, Apple brought FaceTime to the Mac, and remodeled Mail, Address Book, and iCal after their iOS counterparts. With the upcoming release of Mountain Lion, Apple has made nearly identical ports of Game Center, Reminders, and Notes for the Mac. It has also changed the names of several Mac apps to match the iOS offerings, rebranding iCal, Address Book, and iChat with the more generic names Calendar, Contacts, and Messages.
So if Apple’s intention is to completely unify the app experience across operating systems, what apps, names, or interfaces have not yet crossed over?
For decades now, voice control over any type of hardware has been the epitome of immersive user interface. From Star Trek to Iron Man, you have seen the benefits of vocal commands used over and over in many forms of science fiction. To date, technology still tries to mimic the essence of voice control from its sci-fi roots.
Like 3D, voice control has been a fun gimmick for computers, video game peripherals like Kinect and even televisions. More often than not, the software fails to capture the greatness that voice control could one day be. Recently however, Apple introduced the iPhone-4S-exclusive voice control behemoth known as Siri – which soon became the most popular feature of the handset. Why hasn’t this extremely helpful and rather cool piece of software made it to OS X yet? Better yet, why should it?
Share Your Ideas
Is there something in particular you’d like to see on the site next month? We’d absolutely love to hear your suggestions for articles, topics and giveaways. Just let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading AppStorm!