You have probably heard a lot of people swear by their text expansion apps, and go on and on about how it has made them immensely more productive. You probably also haven’t tried one yet because you haven’t felt the pressing need for it.

“I’m doing just fine with my typing. What difference would a couple keystrokes here or there make?” Do I hear you asking? Let me tell you a true story then of a guy like you, and the free Windows app that changed him forever – PhraseExpress!

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I have eight email accounts, plus Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, which means I have many different browsers open at any given time to keep track of everything. What if I told you there is a one-stop shop that collates all of your email and social media accounts into one handy-dandy desktop application?

The app to rule them all is Inbox2, a free, open-source social email application that integrates your email accounts with your social media accounts. Let’s find out how well Inbox2 stacks up as a social email app.

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Apple commanded much of the technology industry’s attention today, as its CEO, Tim Cook, took the stage (naturally, only after Siri welcomed the crowd by video) at Moscone West in San Francisco to talk to an audience of thousands. One of Apple’s main announcements was OS X Mountain Lion, the next version of their desktop operating system that was shown off to a select few earlier in the year.

Even if you’re a diehard Windows user, it’s difficult to argue against the fact that the user base of Mac users is growing. With Microsoft readying to release a pretty different version of Windows, let’s take a recap over the key features of Mountain Lion, and how it stacks up with what Microsoft has on the table.

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Our industry is divided. Whatever you might think, people are aligned to one of the big technology players, whether that be Apple, Google, Microsoft or someone else, and we all come up with a whole host of reasons why our allegiance is better than someone else’s. One reason that’s commonly played for Apple is their user experience, based in a tied-up, seamless ecosystem that’s known to “just work”.

Ultimately, however, when dealing with Apple vs Google or Apple vs Microsoft, this argument is just not valid. Google and Microsoft both have fantastic user experiences built into their product, and some, quite frankly, fantastic user interface design. However, the difference between them and Apple is the customization options give to third parties who use the companies’ software on their own devices. It’s my opinion that these options ultimately taint the reputation of companies who do some superb work; let me explain.

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Laptops provide convenience. Not being tied to one spot to use your computer gives you the freedom to work or play on your schedule. No longer does a vacation leave you disconnected from the world. You can take your computer with you to a coffee shop for a change of scenery while still bringing your files and programs with you.

But just as you can easily take your computer with you, someone else can take your computer with them. A thief can pick up your laptop in a moment and be gone before you notice during a moment’s inattention. Your laptop can be left in a cab, on an airplane, or at a hotel. Most often the thief just wants the hardware to sell, but they also gain access to everything on your laptop. Encryption can protect your data, but can be difficult to use. TrueCrypt can provide a simple and reliable way to protect your data.

Editor’s note: We covered TrueCrype in an earlier article almost 9 months ago here. This article aims to provide an updated perspective.

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We’ve collected the top four reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in May. 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!

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Whether you’re in the business of developing software, building websites or are learning a new coding language for a weekend project, you definitely need a good IDE to code with. There are several available to suit various needs and budgets but if you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to first check out what’s on offer for free.

Notepad++ is a great option for both novice and advanced coders, and everyone in between. The app is open-source, free to download, supports multiple languages, comes with a boatload of functionality out of the box and supports plugins to too. It also allows for fine-grained customization so you can tweak it till you’re comfortable. Let’s build something with it and see how we go, shall we?

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Music playback on the internet has created a huge buzz during this decade and the last with the rise of websites like YouTube and applications such as iTunes dominating the market. Searching through online music players for your favourite songs can be a tedious experience. This is where Spotify comes into play.

Spotify is an immense database of over a million songs from every walk of life. For years, Spotify has been only accessible in Europe but has recently been introduced to the United States of America. I stumbled upon Spotify after struggling through the process of searching through other sites for years for high quality music and a fast service. Is it right for you? That’s what we’re going to find out!

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When you insert a CD or DVD, or even plug in a USB drive, you’ll probably find that Windows’ AutoPlay kicks in and asks what you would like to do with the drive.

If you would like more flexibility so you can choose when you access the drive, you may find TweakNow DriveShortcut is the sort of tool that could help you.

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Gaming has evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry in the recent years and is undergoing a lot of changes. With so many things happening all around, it’s difficult to keep track of all these.

In this series, we’ll rectify this by bringing you all the important news and announcements, new releases and other interesting events from the industry, every month. Join me after the jump.

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