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Tree Is a Cool Tool for Creating Outlines That Branch Everywhere
March 12, 2013
Outlines can be valuable tools for writers or just about anyone else who needs to organize ideas into a coherent whole. A problem with them, though, is they can be too rigid. A traditional outline is a vertical list. As much as many of us love lists of things, they can be stifling when a structure of ideas is forced into them.
123D Creature Is an Awesome Exercise in Facing Your Monsters
March 11, 2013
When I saw Autodesk's 123D Creature, an iPad app that lets you build three-dimensional monsters, I filed it away in the back of my mind as an app to try out on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I finally tried it, and I wish I would have done so sooner -- and that's not because I'm awesome at creating creatures. I wish I would have tried it sooner because 123D Creature has revitalized my faith in humanity.
Apple Offers Cash and Vouchers to Calm Irate Parents, Settle Suit
February 27, 2013
Apple has proposed a settlement of a lawsuit stemming from children making purchases within iOS applications without their parents' permission. The settlement, expected to be approved by a federal judge Friday, could cost Apple tens of millions of dollars. The class action litigation was filed in April 2011 in a federal district court in California.
Chronicle Bill-Pay App Puts Time on Your Side
February 26, 2013
Paying bills isn't at the top of anyone's bucket list, but as long as we remain tethered to our mortal coil, they are inescapable. Those bills can be less of a chore, however, if we can remove some of the uncertainty surrounding them. I don't mean the uncertainty about having the money to pay the bills.
Mokriya Turns Ugly Craigslist Into the Very Picture of Beauty
February 25, 2013
Mokriya has transformed the stale, flat, and sometimes sordid experience of browsing Craigslist's vast online classifieds site on a computer into a handheld experience more like flipping through a dynamic, photo-rich catalog. It took me all of a minute to become a serious fan of the app.
Why Free Apps Turn Me Off
February 21, 2013
Of the 300 million-plus people using iOS 6 in one form or another -- and millions more using iOS 5 -- I get the feeling I'm a dying breed. Why? I generally dislike and distrust free apps. I can blame some of this on the overwhelming influence of games, kids, and the psychology of the masses.
BizVizz Brand Transparency App: Great Promise, Ho-Hum Delivery
February 19, 2013
Behind every big name brand is a big company. These companies might do good for the world or they might not. Or like most people, they could be inconsistent, doing good in some ways but snatching more than their fair share in others. A new app called BizVizz seeks to share information about these big companies while you are shopping.
Nearly a Million iOS Apps and Discovery Still Sucks
February 7, 2013
There are well over 800,000 iOS apps in the App Store, 300,000 of which are native to the iPad, and I'm constantly surprised and irritated at Apple's inability to help its customers discover great apps. Of course, maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm the only one who actively goes into Apple's various App Store points of entry -- iTunes, iPad and iPhone -- only to walk away without downloading anything.
Apple Going After Alleged iOS Abuser
February 4, 2013
Apple reportedly has launched an investigation into Qihoo, a giant Chinese software company and search engine, based on concerns the app maker is violating terms of service. Apple is also concerned that Qihoo is encouraging jailbreaking iPhones by delivering apps as single file downloads compatible with unlocked Apple products.
Snapguide Makes Creating a How-To a Snap
January 14, 2013
In late December, Snapguide updated its iOS app to include iPad optimization, joining the previous iPhone and website versions that somehow slipped my notice. Or maybe I did notice them months ago but walked away disinterested, which happens. I don't remember -- but now I'm interested. Apple highlighted Snapguide as a "What's Hot" selection in the iPad section of the App Store.
Judge Knocks Some Wind Out of Apple's App Store Sails
January 4, 2013
A federal judge this week granted Amazon's request to throw out one claim in Apple's lawsuit against it -- namely the allegation that Amazon engaged in false advertising by using the term "Appstore" for its slew of Android-based online offerings. Other claims Apple is alleging against Amazon, including one for trademark infringement, are going forward in the trial.
Frequency Tunes Out the Noise When Tuning In to Videos
December 27, 2012
One of the most irritating things about enjoying videos, movies and TV shows online is the sheer number of places you must navigate to in order to get the content. Each of the major television networks has its own channel, some of which serve up some full episodes some of the time, while others just serve up teaser clips and ongoing snippets, like the opening monologues for "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson."
Fans Willing to Pony Up for M&M's Tasty Advergame
December 17, 2012
Those delectable M&M's characters seen in commercials are making their way to the iPhone. An advergame app titled "M&M's Brand Chocolate Factory" recently became available on iTunes for $0.99. While many M&M's commercials involve the six characters in social situations trying to avoid being eaten, the new game has the group -- and all M&M's -- in peril of being dropped into hot milk chocolate.
A Tale of Two Ecosystems: Amazon Instant Video for iPhone Marks Best of Times
December 17, 2012
Back in August, Amazon released Amazon Instant Video, an app for the iPad that lets you stream or watch downloaded movies and TV shows you access via an account with Amazon. Now the company has extended that app to the iPhone and the iPod touch, which is fantastic for iPhone-packing, Amazon-using customers like me.
Echograph Gives Photos a Beautiful Touch of Life
December 10, 2012
Some of the apps that I enjoy most are those that help me rethink my world, particularly when it comes to photography. By luck more than anything else, I've stumbled upon a new one: Echograph, an app that lets you shoot or take video -- then create a photo with just a bit of motion left within it. Does it sound complicated? It is and it isn't.
All Things Appy: 5 Best iOS Transportation Apps
December 7, 2012
The travel experience has been enhanced by the portability of the iPhone and its apps. Travel planning, making reservations, and getting information while on the road are all easier with the top five free transportation-oriented apps available for the iOS platform.
MonoPhix Creates Monochrome Effects on the Cheap
December 4, 2012
For many digital shutterbugs, the simple black-and-white filter included with most cameras these days meets their needs for dabbling with monochrome photography. For those who find that a tepid option, there are always the more sophisticated offerings found in high-end post-capture programs like Photoshop and Aperture. MonoPhix offers an alternative to those extremes, though.
iTunes 11 Introduces Powered-Up MiniPlayer
November 30, 2012
Apple released a new version of iTunes for Windows and OS X on Thursday, revamping the software's interface, refreshing the look of its store, and enhancing integration with cloud services. It was the software's first major overhaul since September 2010. In user libraries, Apple has abandoned the spreadsheet look in favor of a graphical layout consisting of thumbnails of all media content in the collection.
Social Mag Flipboard Takes Readers on an iBookstore Tour
November 16, 2012
Flipboard, an iOS app that turns social media feeds into personalized magazine-like pages, added books to its repertoire Thursday by integrating with Apple's iBookstore. Users of the app for the iPhone and iPad will find a new books section on the software's content page. The section is organized into 24 categories, such as arts and entertainment, comics and graphic novels, history, and mysteries and thrillers.
iCloud Revisited: My Mind's Somewhat at Ease
November 12, 2012
Last week I railed on iCloud and claimed that it was breaking my mind. I'm still sane, and iCloud isn't all bad. I've learned quite a few things as I've gone in, messed with settings, and tested the results. iCloud is sort of an invisible mishmash of services from Apple, and depending on what you own and what you care about, some, none, or maybe all of it might be valuable to you personally.
How Is Tim Cook Not Livid When Apple Steals From Children?
November 8, 2012
I cannot believe that Apple, my favorite company in the whole world, still has its head stuck in the sand over deceptive in-app purchases in games targeted at small children. Sure, I heard the horror stories about Smurfs and zoo animals and buying food and supplies with children tap, tap, tapping their way to hundreds or thousands of dollars of in-app purchases.
Pocket Stretches to the Mac
October 29, 2012
The single feature I like most about Pocket, an app and online service that lets you snag articles online and save them for reading later, is speed. I've been using Pocket for iOS on my iPhone and iPad for months, and the interface is clean and the action is all fast. Idea Shower has created a native Mac OS X version of Pocket, thereby extending the Pocket-accessible universe.
Rockmelt for iPad Lets Pictures Do the Browsing
October 12, 2012
Rockmelt brought social browsing to the desktop in 2010 with an innovative Web browser, and now it hopes to do the same for the iPad with a new browser introduced on Thursday. Unlike traditional browsers, Rockmelt for iPad presents a user with two columns of floating tiles containing information that the user may be interested in based on past browsing. It chooses what to display based on an analysis of a user's Internet activity, social networking interactions, manual choices and other factors.
The Best Baby Monitor App Isn't Just for Babies
September 17, 2012
This Friday I know right where I'll be: waiting in my home office for my iPhone 5 to show up at my door. The problem? I might not hear the delivery driver knock knock knocking on my door. The last time I ordered a big product directly from Apple -- I think it was my iPad -- I was happily working away in my office. Maybe I was on the phone.
KickStarter Gallery: Look but Don't Touch
September 10, 2012
Kickstarter is one of the coolest web sites in the world because it's all about spawning awesomeness in others. In short, Kickstarter is the promotion and money collection engine that lets regular creative people with great ideas turn their ideas -- or outright inventions -- into reality through the power of crowd-sourced funding.
The Wildest Thing About Amazon's iPad App Is That Apple Lets It Exist
August 6, 2012
A plain-Jane video-playing app just hit the iOS App Store: Amazon's Instant Video iPad app. While it doesn't do much more than let you browse and play videos, it could be the most important app to come to Apple this summer. Hyperbole? Maybe, but hang on. Amazon Instant Video extends your iPad to an ecosystem that competes with Apple, and at the same time may signal a shift in Apple strategy.
The Shameful, Shabby, Sorry State of the iOS App Store
August 2, 2012
It seems to me that there is a sort of constant, low hum going on about app developers complaining about the challenges of getting their apps visible on the Apple App Store. In the past, there have even been illicit services and bots designed to constantly download free apps and game Apple's ranking system, running up numbers and putting wares into the store's Top 10 list.
Make Room for Mini: Will a 7-Inch iPad Make App Devs Sweat?
July 16, 2012
Some iOS app developers may need to take a long, hard look at their apps, as rumors about a forthcoming iPad mini continue to gain strength. "Apps custom-coded with Objective C and the Apple SDKs will need to be recompiled and rewritten," said George Adams, cofounder and CEO of ViziApps.
Hacker Exploits a Loophole to Score Free App Goodies
July 14, 2012
A Russian hacker has worked out a way to make in-app purchases from iOS apps without paying. The hacker, who goes by the handle "ZonD," has set up a website explaining the exploit and has urged Apple to contact him. ZonD asks visitors to his site to donate money through PayPal and other means.
Devs Claim App Store Updates Are Coated in Crash Sauce
July 6, 2012
More than 70 iOS apps that were updated on or after July 3 are apparently crashing once they're launched, according to a few angry developers. Customers swamped Marco Arment, the creator of Instapaper, on July 4 with complaints that update 4.2.3 of his app had crashed immediately on launch, minutes after it had been approved by Apple.
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What effect is social media having on the current discussion of sexual misconduct?
It's enabling many more people to engage in serious discussions.
It's functioning mostly as an echo chamber.
It's giving everyone a voice.
It's creating much more divisiveness.
It's enabling a cultural re-education.
It's making my news feed so unpleasant I'm staying away.
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