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Silk's Cool Art App Lets You Swipe the Light Fantastic
May 13, 2013
Wow. I don't think I've ever started any review with a "wow," much less an italicized wow, but here it is: That one word sums up my first impression of Silk -- Interactive Generative Art, an app for the iPad and iPhone. The app lets you create flowing, mirrored strands of silk-like lines of colored light. You do that simply by swiping and dragging your finger.
All Things Appy: Top 5 Ratings Apps for iOS
May 8, 2013
Whatever you think of the controversy that periodically springs up over some ratings websites, they are undoubtedly useful for gathering information about businesses, products and services. Here we take a look at some of the best specialist ratings and search apps for iOS. At the top of the list is Yelp, which provides crowdsourced localized search for businesses close by.
Easy, Elegant Scapple Brightens Mind Maps
May 7, 2013
Scapple isn't a spelling mistake for that Pennsylvania Dutch concoction made with pork scraps, corn meal, flour and spices. In fact, scapple is actually a word meaning to work roughly, or shape without finishing. It's also the name of a dynamite new mind mapping program from Literature and Latte, the folks who brought the Mac world Scrivner.
Twitter #music Tops the Charts for Song Discovery
May 6, 2013
The new Twitter #music app for iOS is the coolest app I want to love forever. However, it still gives me the nagging feeling that its slick graphics and fast play might leave our relationship just an empty shell of glitz and hope. Like those hot-and-heavy relationships that defy explanation, #music is a hard app to truly love -- or let go.
All Things Appy: Top 5 Android Camera Apps
May 1, 2013
As the geek world drools over the first 13-megapixel smartphone camera -- the Android-driven Samsung Galaxy S4 -- we take a look at the current state-of-play in the must-have camera app genre for Android. Ready, set, go. Occasionally an app comes along that blows everything else away.
CallNote Dials Up Clean, Easy Skype Recordings
April 30, 2013
Recording phone calls has always been a gray area of the law. That's because there are both state and federal wiretapping laws that govern the practice. Federal law allows a conversation to be recorded if one party consents to it. Some states use that rule, too, but others require the consent of everyone on the call. Nevertheless, those uncertainties haven't deterred people from recording calls.
Status Board Gives You a Stylish Dashboard for Your Life
April 29, 2013
Executive dashboards are now common in business environments -- graphical interfaces that show managers key metrics about their enterprises like sales activity, inventory or financials. They tick and update in real time, and they require hooks into business data to work. Panic, Inc., has created a simple dashboard for real people. Status Board lets you create a snazzy widget-based iPad screen.
Reeder's a Comfy Refuge for Google's RSS Orphans
April 23, 2013
When Google announced it was killing its Reader app July 1, it not only annoyed hordes of users, it pulled the rug out from under app developers who built their livelihoods on the web software. One of those app makers is Silvio Rizzi, maker of Reeder. a free RSS program for iPhone, iPad and Mac. Like all the developers that plugged into Reader, Rizzi is facing extinction. However, he's not quite ready to go into that good night.
Cloud Drive May Stoke Amazon Fans - for Others It's 'Meh'
April 22, 2013
When Amazon updated its Cloud Drive earlier this month with file syncing built in -- along with its desktop app for the Mac -- the file storage service suddenly got a lot more interesting. Why? For long-term file storage, syncing isn't that big of a deal. However, if you want a place to dump files that you can access from another computer or via a Web browser, the no-brainer need is for automatic syncing.
aText - Your Friendly Keystroke Slasher
April 16, 2013
Few people like typing. Even fewer like typing the same things over and over again. That dislike is at the root of aText, which lets you create your own abbreviations to speed things along. For example, a typing shortcut, or snippet, such as "jpm" could become "by John P. Mello Jr." While simple text can be used to make substitutions, you can do much more than that, too.
The Masters iPad App Is Worthy of the Green Jacket
April 12, 2013
While I'm not a golf fanatic, I get onto local courses just often enough to enjoy the sport, the fresh air, and the skill it takes to send the little white ball home. Fortunately, you don't have to be personally talented to appreciate a great sporting event, and the Masters Tournament is one of the best in the world -- a place where skill and pressure collide on the artistic canvas of a challenging golf course.
Doo Doesn't Quite Do the Trick
April 9, 2013
We have entered the Golden Age of storage. At no time in the past have we had more freedom over where we can stash our digital stuff. We've got internal hard drives with a terabyte or more of storage space. We've got solid state drives that give us quick access to our data. We've got thumb drives with a gigabyte or more space, and we've got free cloud storage from multiple vendors.
CaptureAudio Will Make You Shout Its Praises
April 8, 2013
Sometimes I hang on to using the Apple-bundled iPhone apps with a maniacal fervor. Unfortunately, this means that I get into a rut with an Apple app -- despite its limitations -- and I avoid trying new apps. Yes, this means I can keep better track of what Apple is up to. On the flip side, why should I create extra work, just so I can identify when Apple ditches the skeuomorphic microphone from its solid but utterly lifeless Voice Memos app?
All Things Appy: Top 5 iOS Video Camera Apps
April 3, 2013
Video cameras have been one of the killer hardware features in the smartphone revolution, and Apple's iOS platform for iPads and iPhones has made an important contribution to the video camera app market. Twitter's Vine lets you create arty 6-second looping videos for distribution on social networks including Facebook, Twitter and the Vine network.
Snagit's a Slick Screen Grabber
April 2, 2013
For many Mac users, screen grabbing tools provided by OS X are adequate for their needs. If you need to snatch a full screen, shift + command + 3 will suffice. If you want to carve out a section of your display, there's shift + command + 4. However, some Mac jockeys need to go beyond those simple grabbing techniques. For those users, there's Snagit 2.
pwSafe Cracks the Safe-Password Problem
March 26, 2013
Hardly a day goes by without a data breach making the news or a social media account being hacked. That kind of news can be unsettling to many of us and leave us wondering how we can better protect our online security. One way to address the problem is to beef up your first line of defense against hackers: the passwords to your online accounts.
March Madness App Brings Its 'A' Game
March 25, 2013
I've previously avoided most big sports and event streaming apps for simple reasons -- they tend to bombard you with glitchy ads or make you jump through hoops to view the content, such as proving that you're a cable or satellite subscriber. In March, however, NCAA basketball grabs my attention.
Alfred Offers Bat-tastic Productivity for Mac Owners
March 19, 2013
We can't all have the riches of Bruce Wayne. Mac owners, however, can have a virtual version of his faithful servant, Alfred. Like Wayne's invaluable butler, this free productivity app is also named Alfred. Its latest version (2.0), released this month, is more useful than ever.
Year Walk Is a Creepy Yet Delightful Stroll
March 18, 2013
Year Walk -- an iOS game by Simogo -- is a story-adventure-puzzle that creepily evokes what it might be like to wander the Swedish countryside in the middle of night, in the middle of winter, after spending a full day without food in a very dark room. That is, of course, if you're some dude from 1894 desperately in love with a woman -- and you embark on a Swedish folklore "Year Walk" in the hope of seeing your future.
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.
A Few Quirks Keep Mellel Lite From Being a Heavyweight
March 5, 2013
Word processors can be a matter of taste. Some writers feel that the more the word processor departs from the original word processor -- the typewriter -- the more it interferes with the actual act of writing. For those writers, there are bare bones word processors like Byword and iA Writer.
When It Comes to Mobile Browser Speed, This Puffin Can Soar
March 4, 2013
In order to entice me away from one of Apple's standard built-in apps -- like the Web browser Safari -- I need something faster, more functional or with a slicker design. Usually, I expect a combination of these features before I'll take the leap. Puffin Web Browser by CloudMosa has been doing pretty well in the Utilities section of the iTunes App Store, hanging around as one of the top paid utilities.
All Things Appy: 5 Best Apple Lifestyle Apps
February 27, 2013
The introduction of the smartphone can be credited with inspiring many so-called lifestyle improvements -- not the least of which stems from its ability to multitask. Junk that alarm clock and makeup mirror, and gear up for fashion, shopping and art.
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.
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.
MindNode Makes Mind Mapping a Mind-Blower
February 12, 2013
Mind maps don't have anything to do with identifying the contours of your brain -- although they may give you an inkling about how your mind works. At the heart of a mind map is the idea that we don't think in rigid hierarchies. The old-fashioned tree outline with heads, subheads and so forth can nicely organize a theme, document or white paper, but it isn't how people think or the way the brain works.
This Qwiki Keeps the Smiles Coming
February 11, 2013
When Apple selected Qwiki for iPhone as an Editor's Choice app, I ignored it, then came back to it wondering what the heck it was: The icon has a couple of blocks and maybe a horizontal head shaped like a "Q," which vaguely looks like, well, I'm just not sure. I get more info from most fluffy white clouds.
Napkin Takes Visual Editing to a Higher Level
February 5, 2013
Aside from their intended purposes, napkins have been known to be used for such things as jotting down the next big idea at business lunches. It's that unintended purpose that inspired the folks at Aged and Distilled software to create their markup app called "Napkin." Napkin gives you a set of professional tools for visually editing content.
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