Best of AppStorm in February

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 Android.AppStorm

40+ Tips and Tricks to Get the Most Out of Android

40+ Tips and Tricks to Get the Most Out of Android

For the past few months, we here at Android.AppStorm have been collating our best tips, tricks, features, and shortcuts. Some are useful, some are geeky, some are just for fun.

As with all such lists, you’re probably aware of some of these tips already – but I bet you don’t know all of them! Did you know that you can search your text messages, Kindle books, and tweets all at once? Or that CyanogenMod 7 lets you disable two-thirds of the LEDs in your display, to save battery? Or that you can force websites to show you the full version of their site, even though you’re on a mobile browser? Read on to find out more…

How to Recreate the “One Goal” Custom Home Screen Layout

How to Recreate the “One Goal” Custom Home Screen Layout

In this guide, I’ll show you how to replicate my custom Android home screen layout, “One Goal”, using just ADW Launcher EX, Minimalistic Text, and a custom background.

Pocket Frogs: Collect, Farm, Breed, and Race Virtual Pets

Pocket Frogs: Collect, Farm, Breed, and Race Virtual Pets

Pocket Frogs is an absorbing and multi-faceted game from Mobage. The aim of the game is to breed frogs, create unique habitats for them, tame them, catalogue them, and even race them against other frogs! There are several elements to the game that make Pocket Frogs a distinct and engrossing title that is as refreshing and original as it is addictive. So, for details as to how to collect a diverse range of colourful froggies, leap on!

Looking at the Language and Intent in the Android Design Guidelines

Looking at the Language and Intent in the Android Design Guidelines

While every operating system has an over-arching look that developers will strive to adhere to, Android’s look and feel has evolved throughout the years without giving third-party developers the chance to catch up. With all of the different apps’ user interface styles, trying to corral everyone into an easy-to-understand place UI-wise can be difficult.

To combat this, Google recently released the Android Design guides for Ice Cream Sandwich. Today I’m going to take a look at the language used in these guidelines to see where Google’s intention lies.

Best of iPad.AppStorm

40+ Super Secret iPad Features and Shortcuts

We all want to get the very best out of our devices! Who doesn’t love finding out a new trick or shortcut?

This roundup aims to enlighten those new to the iPad, and guide old hands to a few new tricks – the heading might be laced with hyperbole, but you’re going to have a look anyway…

What Is the Best Way to Read It Later?

Three services dominate the read later category. They are Instapaper, Read It Later, and Readability. Instapaper and Read It Later have been around the longest but Readability has been gaining a lot of transaction ever since the service was released last year and re-branded with a free service this year.

I have mostly been an Instapaper user over the last couple of years but have looked at Read It Later every so often, and I wanted to take a look at all three services to determine if I still am happy with Instapaper as my read it later app of choice!

When Will Apple Loosen Its Grip on iOS?

As much as I love my iPad, there are a few things about it that feel like a blast from the past. I’ve harked on about the iOS interface before, but right now I’m talking about the inability to set a default application for a certain task. We’ve been looking at alternative browsers lately, and there are plenty of other applications that I’m sure everyone wished they could set as a default to avoid Apple’s offering.

Will Apple ever loosen up? Here’s how they should, and whether they will.

Tweetbot for iPad: It’s Landed!

Yesterday, Tapbots introduced Tweetbot for iPad and brought the entire experience to Apple’s tablet. Now you’re probably wondering, is it as revolutionary as the original iPhone app was? Keep reading to find out!

Best of Windows.AppStorm

The Windows Features You're Actually Looking Forward To

The Windows Features You’re Actually Looking Forward To

“What’s that?” you say. “You know what I’m looking forward to?” Yes. Yes I do. I am many things, but most of them can be lumped into the over-arching group of “geek.”

And chances are pretty good that if you’re reading about Windows 8 before the beta, you’re a geek to. So while shorter boot times, Metro UI, and an updated Windows Explorer certainly features you may be looking forward to, let’s look at the real reasons we should care about Windows 8.

Metro on the PC: Utter Bliss or Absolute Insanity?

Metro on the PC: Utter Bliss or Absolute Insanity?

I’m a huge fan of the Metro interface that Microsoft has used with the Xbox Dashboard and Windows Phone 7. It’s stylish, modern, and functional when it’s used for these two purposes, and now Microsoft is bringing the Metro interface over to the PC with Windows 8.

I’ve got some mixed feelings about this, and I’d like to share them with you today.

Deck Out Your Desktop With Rainmeter

Deck Out Your Desktop With Rainmeter

Some people are blissfully content with the default Windows desktop interface. And then there are people like me – I absolutely needs to customize the living heck out of everything I use. While various parts of Windows are quite customizable, the desktop itself is a monolith that doesn’t want to be customized. Switching wallpapers and moving around your icons is all you’ve been able to do so far…

Rainmeter is an application that aims to give your desktop a complete overhaul replete with eye candy. Does it do its job and do it well? Let’s find out!

HTC Titan – A Review of HTC's New Mammoth

HTC Titan – A Review of HTC’s New Mammoth

It has been well over a year since the very first crop of Windows Phone 7 devices were let loose upon the smartphone world; featuring models from HTC, Samsung and Dell, amongst others. Whilst these devices made a good first impression, I could not help but feel that they were lacking in any distinctions that would truly do the platform justice. Instead, they seemed to give the image of being Android devices in disguise.

Thankfully, a new brigade of handsets has come charging over the hill to set the record straight, with the HTC Titan being undoubtedly the most head-turning of these. I dare say head-turning would be an understatement, as the Titan is certainly not a device to be taken lightly.

Best of iPhone.AppStorm

The Top 100 iPhone Apps

There are thousands of iPhone apps out there, and for someone who’s new to the scene, it can be a little daunting to pick out a few that will help them out. What’s a newbie to do?

Start here, that’s what. The team at iPhone.AppStorm has come up with 100 of our favorite apps and put them in one convenient location for everyone to use as reference. These are the best, brightest and coolest apps that we personally use, and would recommend to anyone who asks. What’s that? You just asked what our top 100 iPhone apps are? Hit the jump and find out in convenient alphabetical order.

Pinterest: A Social Network With Legs

There are so many new social networks out there that it gets daunting just to keep up. Between Facebook, Twitter, Path, Oink, Tumblr and everything else, who has time to actually get anything done? That’s why, for me, it takes an awful lot to decide to come onboard a new system.

But then Pinterest happened. At first, I wasn’t really sure if I liked it – it did seem a bit girly for my taste – and I wasn’t quite sure how it would fit into my life. But then I got the iPhone app, and a new perspective came up that I hadn’t really considered before: could I be social while still being unsocial?

Clear: A Revolution in To-Do Apps?

Smartphones have become an invaluable part of life for many, and, thanks to many productivity apps, we’ve been able to invest our entire life onto our iPhone, Android handset or Windows Phone. I’ve personally owed a lot of my organisation to Wunderlist thanks to it’s cross platform syncing, but a new to-do list app caught my eye as it become much hyped on Twitter.

For the past few days, I’ve seen a lot of people talking about Realmac Software’s app Clear, a to-do app that’s already spawned an imitation days before it’s own official release. Clear is all about simplicity, with a simple list of tasks organised visually by priority that are manipulated by some fun gestures. Let’s get into the details after the break.

In-App Purchases and the Freemium Business Model

Any time I see a free app, I automatically look for the Top In-App Purchases bar to appear across the top of the app’s page. I’ve been trained to do this by the so-called freemium model that has taken the App Store by storm.

My feelings on this model are mixed. Is it a lie that is used to convince people that an application can be enjoyed for free, only to find out that you have to pay for the most features, or is it an innocent business model that capitalizes on a feature of the App Store?

Best of Web.AppStorm


The End of “Don’t be Evil”

It sounds simple: don’t be evil. How hard can it be, really? Don’t kill kittens. Don’t perform illegal acts involving chainsaws, guns, or exotic fruits. Easy.

For such a simple motto – slogan, really – Google seems to have been having difficulties with this lately. Has the omnipresent company grown from its don’t be evil roots, or are they as good-hearted as they’ve ever been?


111 Web Apps to Rule Them All

Our original roundup of 100 Web Apps to Rule Them All was published in May, 2011. Nearly a year later, we’re back with over a dozen new apps … and sadly with a few of our original favorites removed since they hit the deadpool. We’ve added the newest apps to the top of this roundup article, so you can quickly see our new favorites.

Today, more than ever before, you can get much of your work done right from your browser. There’s web apps for almost everything, and increasingly they work from mobile devices, have beautifully designed interfaces that rival native apps, and work together to make your online life easier. Some have stayed the same for years, veteran standbys of the online world, while others have rapidly iterated, quickly becoming must-have apps that set the standard for the next generation of web apps.

Whether you’re just getting started using web apps, or are a longtime fan of web apps and would like to find more exciting apps, you’ll be sure to find something interesting here. There’s no way to include every web app, but we’ve included 100 111 of the apps that we think are the very best in their categories. If you’ve got a favorite app that’s not included, feel free to add it in the comments below.



Typerighter: Typing in your Browser, the Righter Way

Writing from your browser doesn’t have to be difficult, confusing, or cluttered. Actually, writing online should be much simpler, since all you need is a browser and Internet connection, and your writing isn’t tied down to an app or device. If you’re writing in a native app, you’d better remember to sync your files, or otherwise you won’t have your writings anytime you need them.

There’s no need for that trouble, when you could use a writing app that just worked everywhere without fiddling with files. That’s where Typerighter comes in. It’s an elegantly designed clean writing app that can work from any platform and keep your text ready for you when you need it. Let’s take a look.

CheckThis: Getting Creative With a Single Web Page

Creating a website and a blog can be a lot of fun, and also a lot of work at times. There are some great resources out there to help you make quick blogs and websites, but the one thing that is wrong with them, is that you are expected to have a lot of posts or pictures which take up more than one page. What if you just want to post one thing and that is it? To go through all of the hassle of creating a website or blog is too much work for just one post.

This is where CheckThis can come in very handy. It takes blogging and creating a website and strips it down to its simplest form. CheckThis puts a whole new spin on making a web page and after playing with it for a bit, I can see how useful this web app can really be.

Best of Mac.AppStorm

An In-Depth Look at OS X Mountain Lion

Last Thursday, Apple caught us all a bit off guard with the announcement of OS X Mountain Lion, the next major version of OS X. Now that I’ve had a few days to sit down and take a look at it, I can confidently say that this is no small upgrade. Mountain Lion is a huge leap forward in the unification of iOS and OS X (Apple has officially dropped “Mac” from the name), bringing over many much-loved features including iMessages, Notification Center, AirPlay Mirror, and a whole host of new applications.

Follow along as we dive in and take a look at all of the great new features, updates and tweaks of your next operating system.

Wunderkit Finally Hits the Mac

If you spend any time at all with your nose in the realm of productivity software (and you know we do), then you’re probably aware of the splash that 6Wunderkinder made when they finally opened their super-secret new web app, Wunderkit, to public beta just a mere few weeks ago. By building on the success of Wunderlist (which many would agree is one of the most refined task-list managers on the market thus far), 6Wunderkinder designed a highly anticipated platform that has the potential to change the way we organize our life.

Little Snitch vs. Hands Off: Which Monitoring Utility is Better?

Our computers hold abundant amounts of personal data that most of us would rather not let get into the wrong hands. You might be surprised to see just how many applications are constantly sending data out of your computer, and it is important to be sure that all that stuff is going to places you trust. Fortunately, there are apps that help us monitor what our computers are sending out, and allow us to selectively block transmissions. Here we are going to look at two excellent apps called Little Snitch and Hands Off that aim to do just that.

Five Slick Menu Bar Apps For Controlling iTunes

So you want to control iTunes from your menu bar? It’s a simple enough task, but which app is right for you? Are there any free options? Can you also control other apps like Spotify and Rdio?

There are a million of these apps on the market but we’ll save the research and present five of the best options around for controlling your music from the menu bar.

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!