Best of AppStorm in January

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

Turning Mail.app Into the Best Mac Email App

In 2012, the Mac community lost one of the Mac OS X mail clients that many considered to be the best on the market: Sparrow. Development has stopped (which doesn’t mean you can’t still use this app, though, at least for now) since the team has been acquired by Google.

Some claim that the whole email concept needs a refresh and solutions are offered, and the previously reviewed Mail Pilot and its upcoming Mac client, or the upcoming .Mail app are proof of that. Others still prefer to use web-based apps like the popular Gmail.

I, for one, still think that Mail.app, since its OS X Lion revision, is the best. It’s built-in, offered at no cost, and is completely integrated with OS X. I’ve customized it to fit my needs and developed my own workflow to deal with emails.

In my humble opinion, you should be able to jump into your emails, process them quickly, and then get back to work. A mail client, for me, is just a way to send and receive emails, not a big messy, clunky, filing cabinet with hundreds of manually created and sorted folders. Read on to find out why, in that case, Mail.app is the best for me, even when processing hundreds of incoming messages per day.

30+ Apps That Use Your Mac Hardware in Unique Ways

Did you know your MacBook Pro has a motion sensor? The hardware in your Mac – no matter which Mac you own – has some great features that you might have not even ever realized. We keep coming across fun apps that show some of the more unique ways you can use your Mac’s hardware, so we decided to put them together in a roundup.

Before we start though, we would like to point out that there are a couple handy articles throughout this roundup. These articles will help you enhance and customize the way you use some hardware features on your Mac. The rest of the roundup is filled with fun and useful apps that can make your Mac even more useful. With that, let’s begin!

ReadKit: The Best Way To Use Instapaper, Pocket, and Readability On A Mac

When Pocket hired the developer of Read Later — my favorite ‘save for later’ client for Mac — in October 2012, support for Michael Schneider’s brainchild was dropped in favour of developing Pocket’s own app. As a user of both Pocket and Instapaper this left me in quite the predicament as the latter is unsurprisingly not supported by Pocket. That was until I heard about ReadKit.

ReadKit provides the same offline reading function as the Instapaper, Pocket, and Readability mobile apps; however, if you use multiple services, it also allows you to combine all of your accounts right in one app. Join me after the break to find out how it sets itself apart from the crowd.

Napkin: The Simplest Way to Sketch Your Thoughts On Your Mac

What’s the best way to quickly annotate a picture or sketch out an idea graphically on your Mac? A couple years ago, most of us would have quickly responded “Skitch“, but after Evernote bought out the popular image annotating app and redesigned it last year, it’s not quite the exciting and useful app it used to be. There’s always Preview, but it’s a bit too structured (and limited) for free-form idea sketching.

Aged & Distilled has entered the fray with their new app Napkin. It’s a totally new way to communicate visually on your Mac – using the old metaphor of sketching an idea on a napkin – that’s good enough to already be listed as the Editor’s Choice in the App Store.

Best of Android.AppStorm

Telly vs. Viddy: The Battle for the Instagram of Video

It’s well known that visual media is extremely popular online and this is especially true when it comes to social media. While it’s cool to read about what someone is doing, it’s even cooler to see a picture of it. This is why photo sharing has been such a huge hit recently. Instagram was already the hot topic in social before it was even acquired by Facebook. So where can you go next?

Many believe the next logical step after pictures is moving pictures and there are a few Android apps vying to make that market pop such as Telly and Viddy. There are a number of other contenders, but these two are almost blatantly trying to give their users that Instagram appeal. From the layout of the interface to the availability of fancy video filters, Telly and Viddy are definitely going head-to-head, and we’ll be following them with a thorough comparison.

The Best Galleries and Photo Browsers for Tablets

I was really excited to get a tablet because I was finally able to show off my photography portfolio to clients in a sophisticated manner — no clunky laptops or slow-to-load websites and galleries to worry about. It’s also a great way to accompany your vacation stories when you meet friends and family, discuss a mood board with colleagues, and enjoy pictures from your social networks.

So what’s the best app to view images with? Today, we’re taking a look at the cream of the crop of galleries and photo browsers available in the Play Store that are designed with tablets in mind, in the hopes of finding the ultimate photo viewer, taking into consideration performance, features and UI.

Paper Monsters: An Adorable Platformer

I’m always suspicious of traditional platform games on a touch screen, because it’s one of the genres most dependent on a physical joystick and buttons. However, Paper Monsters is one of the rare platformers that not only works with a touch screen, but also thrives on it.

It puts you in control of a cardboard crusader, on a mission to save the paper kingdom from an evil tyrant. In the process, you stomp and jump and run your way through four worlds, collecting buttons and traversing platforms. Paper Monsters is adorable and fun, and I’m rather besotted with it.

What Are NFC Tags and How Do You Use Them?

Near Field Communication, or NFC, has been mentioned a few times here on Android.Appstorm, including a few articles by yours truly. The topic really fascinates and excites me because of the endless possibilities it affords us. About a year ago I wrote an article entitled Near Field Communication and the Future of Mobile, where I outlined what’s in store for NFC-enabled cell phones, of which Android has a few.

However, NFC isn’t only for phones. There are devices called NFC tags, and they can really shake up the way we do things.

Best of iPad.AppStorm

Foldify: Draw, Print, Fold and Repeat

To be honest, I typically only use my iPad for Reeder, streaming videos and my email, but every once in a while an app comes around that I get a little obsessed over; Foldify is such an app. Foldify is a really clever (and addicting) combination of Papercraft (it’s a real thing!), your iPad and Apple’s AirPrint. I seriously spent hours doodling on this thing over the holidays … hours!

Ready to get hooked?

1Password: The Best Password Manager Just Got Better

Passwords are a giant pain in the behind (pardon my language). First and foremost, passwords need need to be secure, and in order for them to be secure they have to be a long string of letters (random mix of uppercase and lowercase), numbers and symbols (for good measure). When you create a strong password they’re nearly impossible to remember, the theory being that if you can’t remember it how will anyone trying to hack your account crack the barrage of characters you created.

So, when you create these 15+ character passwords, how are you to keep track of them? There are certainly a number of options available (I know some opt for a good old-fashioned spreadsheet), but if you want a secure, user friendly experience 1Password has been to the go-to choice for quite some time. In December 2012, AgileBit released version 4 of 1Password, which includes an impressive list of new features. Hit the jump to take a peek at what the new 1Password has to offer.

Karateka: Resurrecting a Classic

Jordan Mechner, later responsible for the Prince of Persia game franchise, released his first game in 1984 for the Apple II. This game was Karateka. It’s a side-scrolling game featuring industry changing one-on-one combat about a lover trying to save the Princess Mariko from Akuma’s castle fortress. It’s a simple, classic video game story.

Mechner returned to his independent roots earlier this year to remake the game in HD. First appearing on consoles, the remake has an all-star developer team: Screenwriter John August (who is listed as a producer), Grammy-winning composer Christopher Tin, and artist Jeff Matsuda were all involved in the production. I never played the original, so I’m walking into this with fresh eyes. And I was not disappointed.

What’s on our iPads? – Appstorm’s Favorites

Well, 2012 has come and gone, and we at AppStorm have seen and used many great apps on iOS. Though we surely couldn’t ever go through each and every quality app recently released, we’ve put together a list of a few of our most treasured titles that have earned a permanent spot on our iPads.

If you were one of the lucky ones that received a shiny new iPad this holiday season, you’ll find many gems worth downloading here. Some are free, some are not, but they’re all guaranteed to be worth your time. Take a look!

Best of Windows.AppStorm

Tips to Get You Started With Office 2013

Tips to Get You Started With Office 2013

Microsoft plans to roll out Office 2013 in the early part of the year. In the meantime you can try it out by grabbing the beta or the 60 day trial of the RTM (release to manufacturer) or by shelling out the money to buy the Windows Surface RT tablet. Regardless of how you get it, or if you wait for the public release, there are a few tips that can make your experience with the app suite a little smoother and easier to deal with.

In many ways, Office 2013 has not changed much from its predecessor, the 2010 version. The ribbon interface, once loathed by many users, is here to stay and has grown on most of us. In fact, Microsoft likes it so much that the company incorporated it into the Explorer in Windows 8.

Spyglass: A Stunningly Good-Looking Way To Visualize Your Data

Spyglass: A Stunningly Good-Looking Way To Visualize Your Data

Windows Explorer is a ñ mostly ñ functional, if slightly, dull way of viewing the data you have stored on your hard drive. If you are looking for a particular file or folder, Explorer is a practical, non-nonsense tool that lets you get the job done.

But if you yearn for something more attractive, if youíre looking for something a little out of the ordinary, if beauty is what you crave from your utilities, Spyglass is the sort of tool for you.

Cord Cutters Part 1: Media Center and Alternatives

Cord Cutters Part 1: Media Center and Alternatives

This is the first in a series of posts to show you ways to cut the cord from your cable or satellite TV provider and save yourself that monthly fee. To start off this little series, we are going to look at Microsoftís Media Center software and some of the alternatives for it that are available.

Of course, a simple set top box is really all you need to get started, but to really get into this it becomes a bit more complicated. The best thing to have, in my opinion, is a home theater PC (HTPC). For the majority of users this will mean running Windows Media Center ó preferably with Windows 7 since Windows 8 has mostly kicked this software to the curb.

Track Work and Bill with Time Cockpit

Track Work and Bill with Time Cockpit

Billing by the hour can be both a blessing and a curse for freelancers and contractors. Although not so common in publishing professions such as web development and consulting live and breath this method.

Long term contracts in particular where the freelancer is basically an employee prefer hour-by-hour billing. Thereís many different programs to keep track of the time. The most basic offer little more than a jazzed up calendar while other go the whole hog with automatic tracking and analytics.

Time Cockpit offers individual users and teams a middle-of-the-road solution with their new combination of desktop app and web portal. Letís check it out.

Best of iPhone.AppStorm

Hundreds: Touchy Feely Numbers

I have mixed feelings about most games that I play on my iPhone. Sure, they’re fun, particularly for quick spells here and there, but put me in front of something that takes more time and I just lose interest.

But then there are games that go above and beyond the normal. They’re easy to pick up and play, yet addictive enough to lose yourself in for hours. They’re puzzlers, yet there’s something still beneath the surface. That, in essence, is Hundreds.

Noble Nutlings: Get Nutty

Ever walk into a mall and see some kid wearing an Angry Birds T-shirt? Maybe there’s a friend of yours who has a stuffed animal shaped like the red bird in the game. Possibly your dad is hooked on the app like crack — you get the picture.

That game was developed by Rovio, and recently a few of their developers spun off to create their own company, Boomlagoon. Their first release is called Noble Nutlings, and it’s the tale of three squirrels, a car and a bunch of acorns. Did they create the next Angry Birds or will these rodents go feral? Let’s find out after the jump.

The Best iOS Apps, Reviews and Roundups of 2012

We’re right on the cusp of February, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve spent our 2013 sitting down. No, we’ve been sifting, combing and hunting through our archives to find you the very best posts from 2012 throughout the iOS ecosystem. Like games? We’ve got ’em. Roundups? Yup. Opinion pieces and editorials? Check and check. It’s all here, right now.

So what are you waiting for? See what the best iOS apps of 2012 are all about!

Learning a New Language is Fun and Easy with Duolingo

Looking for a fun and effective tool to teach you a new language for free? Duolingo is a little app with big goals: teach users a new language and use this data to translate the web. The interface is a game with levels to pass, points to earn and other users to compete against. Currently the app offers courses in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian and English, with more to come.

Learn a new language while standing in line, riding the bus or during your lunch break with an app that uses pictures, audio and text delivered in short lessons. Keep reading to find out more about the most unique language tool in the app store today.

Best of Web.AppStorm

WorkFlowy – How it Improves my Productivity

As a web developer, I have to keep track of an awful lot of things at work, not to mention my life and projects outside of work as well. With a wife and small child thrown into the mix I really have to make the most of my time! I need a way to ensure that the tasks that I have to do get done at the right time and in the right order and somehow still leave me time to enjoy being with my family.

I’ve tried a lot of different web apps for organisation and task management, and WorkFlowy is how I choose to organise a lot of my life, both inside and outside of work. I want to give you an insight into how I use it for everything from keeping up to date with my personal projects to keepings tabs on who has asked for what for Christmas. I’m not dictating how you should use it, as the beauty of it is that it is what you want it to be, I’m merely sharing my techniques for keeping track of things, hopefully there will be a few things that you haven’t thought of doing.

Facebook Graph Search: Search Just Got Personal

If you use Facebook, chances are you’ve written about what’s going on in your life, RSVP’ed for events, liked your favorite groups, posted photos, and more. You might have your education, employment, relationships, religion, and favorite quirky quotes listed for all the world to see. If you’ve tagged photos with location and people, you’ll have quite a clear record online of the people you spend time with and the places you’ve been. Or, you might just have a history full of spamming your friends for help growing carrots on your flourishing fake farm.

Either way, there’s a ton you can find out about yourself from your Facebook profile, data that’s sitting there ready to be mined. It used to take going to each of your friends’ profiles to find out this info, but with Facebook’s new Graph Search, it’s just a click away. We’ve just gotten access to it, so here’s a quick look at the newest iteration of the world’s most popular social network, and how it might affect the way you use it.

Cloudship: The App To Help You Never Be Disorganised Again

Most of us have a lot we need to do each day. We need a way to record everything that needs to be done, and be reminded with our tasks are due. In the past, people would have used a diary or a notepad, but nowadays we need something more sophisticated to keep up with our bustling lives.

For a while now, I have been looking for the best app for this, and while there’s many nice ones, I never could find the perfect app for me. That is, until a few weeks ago I discovered Cloudship, an app which looked as good as it performed — for me this was the perfect application.

Two weeks on and I’m using Cloudship everyday to manage and organize my everyday life. Read on to find out where Cloudship can fit into your everyday life.

Livestream: The Video Streaming Service Your Events Need

Ever wanted to let your family, friends, colleagues, or anyone else join you in an event that they can’t make it to? Or perhaps you want to start a liveblog for the next Apple keynote event. Either way, you need a way to stream video, text, and pictures in real-time. Suddenly YouTube just doesn’t quite cut it.

There’s several web apps out there for live video streaming, but the new Livestream is the one you should check out. With a free account, you can stream unlimited video, text, and images, and with a paid account, your visitors can see the livestream without even logging in. Plus, it’s simple to use. Let’s take a look.

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!


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