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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.
Little Inferno Gleefully Ignites the Deep Dark Pyro Within
February 4, 2013
From what I've seen of humanity, there's a little pyro locked inside most of us. Maybe it's a universal longing to chase away the darkness with warmth and light, or maybe it's just a genetic quirk coded into our DNA from the days of the Ice Age when cooking up a wooly mammoth meant survival. Or maybe we just really like to see things burn.
PopClip and Unclutter: Big Utility Comes in Small Packages
January 29, 2013
Size isn't always a measure of an app's usefulness. Sometimes you can get more utility from a small app than you'd get from larger one that you use only occasionally. Two such useful programs are PopClip and Unclutter. While PopClip can help you cut down your keystrokes during the day, Unclutter can keep you from losing your mind trying to rifle through the mess on a chaotic desktop.
All Things Appy: 5 Best iOS Health and Fitness Apps
January 23, 2013
Many of us have got health and fitness on the mind as the new year gets under way, and the smartphone is proving itself to be a remarkable little healthcare provider. Among the useful apps in this vein is MyFitnessPal, which stores more than 2 million types of food in its database and provides a free barcode scanner to look up foods you've eaten -- or are about to.
Soulver Takes the Problem Out of Problem Solving
January 22, 2013
It's nigh impossible to avoid numbers in our daily lives. Whether it's preparing a household budget, doing a tax return, calculating travel expenses or divvying up a dinner tab, dealing with digits is inescapable. Necessity, however, doesn't make numbers any more interesting to many of us, especially those of us more comfortable with words.
The Room Holds One Maddeningly Fun Puzzle After Another
January 21, 2013
Sometimes thousands of user reviewers really get it right: The Room has nearly 100,000 reviews in the App Store with an average ranking of 5 out of 5 stars, which is a feat that grabbed my attention. Hence, I promptly downloaded The Room. But what is The Room? It's a moody, atmospheric mystery puzzle game set inside of a room, set inside of a safe, set inside of a pointy box inside the safe, and so on and so forth.
Pixelmator Delivers Powerful Image Editing at a Bargain Price
January 15, 2013
Many amateur shutterbugs can't afford professional-caliber image editing programs like Photoshop and Aperture, so they're always on the prowl for economical alternatives to those Adobe and Apple offerings. Pixelmator is such an alternative. For a fraction of the price of the big-name image editors, the software is loaded with features that will open the spigot for many a shooter's creative juices.
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.
Calendar App Is a Fantastic Time Manager
January 8, 2013
In a game of word association, it's unlikely that "fantastical" will produce "calendar" in most players' minds -- unless they've used the dandy time management program for Mac OS X of that name. Apple includes calendar software with OS X. It gets the job done. It's nicely integrated with other calendar programs that use the CalDAV protocol, notably Google Calendar.
Hundreds Uses Basic Physics to Grow Puzzling Circles of Delight
January 7, 2013
It's not so often that I notice a newly released game or app rocket to a high-profile position in the iTunes App Store, but Hundreds, a puzzle game, seemingly debuted in the App Store as an Editor's Choice for the iPad version. Supposedly, the game is designed for people ages 2 to 222, so I figured it ought to work for a guy whose fingers are slow and mind only incrementally faster.
The Coolest Cartoon Video App You've Never Noticed: ToonCamera
January 2, 2013
ToonCamera is an app that's been flirting with stardom in the iTunes App Store: I've seen it rise as high as the No. 8 paid app in the Photo & Video category, as well as claw into the Top 100 paid apps in the store. Along the way, it's boasted a high 4 or 4.5 star user review rating. ToonCamera is an iPhone or iPad app that applies a real-time cartoonish filter to photos and videos.
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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.