We’ve collected the top four reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in October. 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
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’ve heard of reddit - a social news site that thrives on user generated content and conversations. “redditors” submit links, images or simply text messages on subsets of the site called sub-reddits, and earn points based on how many up or down votes the story gets. The conversations on reddit are probably some of the best on the web and are the reason the site has millions of users completely hooked.
Although reddit clients were a little slow coming to Android – I struggled to find a few good ones just last year – the scenario is quite the opposite now and one is spoilt for choice when it comes to getting the reddit dose on an Android phone or tablet. Here’s my list of some of the best reddit clients on Android, and although all of these apps are free and mostly ad-supported, I’ve included links to their pro versions whenever available.
Earlier today, my colleague Abhimanyu Ghoshal reviewed Thumb Keyboard and explained how it’s helping him write on-the-go with nothing but Nexus 7. I, on the other hand, have bought and use a bluetooth hardware keyboard. As a matter of fact, I’m typing this on my Nexus 7 using it.
In this article I’m going to explain the benefits of using wireless keyboards with your Android device and show how much easier you can make your everyday life.
One of any Android users’ purest joys is the ability to customise their experience with homescreen widgets. It’s also fair to say such modding has become somewhat of an art form, with websites like mycolorscreen.com becoming spaces where design-savvy Android users can showcase their artistic flair.
For any users keen on beautifying their Android interface, the first port of call has to be the Google Play Store, where a multitude of apps and widgets can help you do just that. So enjoy this huge round-up of great minimalist and highly customisable homescreen applications that will let you inject your own style into your Android homescreen!
Space Invaders gets re-imagined and remade all the time, and nobody bats an eyelid. But every so often one of these games does something interesting or different. Voxel Invaders mixes Space Invaders with the Galaxian/Galaga formula of wraparound screens and kamikaze dives, throws in a little modern space shoot-‘em-up, and wraps it all in voxel-based graphics — voxels are three-dimensional pixels.
When it’s not destroying you with overbearing difficulty, Voxel Invaders is a fun game and a cool twist on an arcade classic. There are a number of minor issues, but it’s definitely worth a look.
Best of iPad.AppStorm
It’s not all too often that we get to review some amazing iOS applications years after they come out. Today we will be taking a look at Flight Control HD, which is by no means a new game, but it is most definitely one of the best to ever reach iOS. Even two and a half years after it was first released, it manages to top the iTunes charts. Learn what makes Flight Control HD a chart-topper after the break.
After what seemed like months of rumors and waiting, it’s here: the iPad mini exists, and you can hold it in your hot little hands. Well, you can come November 2 anyways, and preorders start this friday, October 26. What else do you need to know?
App.net is rapidly evolving from an ambitious concept into a flourishing reality. User registrations have exceeded the 25,000 mark, and the addition of Netbot, by Tapbots, to the App.net lineup lead to a boom in new user registrations.
AppNet Rhino was the first App.net iOS client to make it into the hands of users, but its lack of features resulted in a less-than-stellar experience. It’s hard to scoff at a free application, but App.net users are a technologically savvy bunch, and other free apps were trumping Rhino in both style and functionality. The AppNet Rhino team acknowledged this feature gap with an impressive update, which also made Rhino one of two App.net iPad clients currently available. Let’s take a look at this new iPad version, and examine just how well it holds up against the Tapbots juggernaut.
Whatever it takes to get an edge.
In professional sports, as in business, people are always looking for those extra little advantages; the details that make a difference. Tweaks to practicing regimes, personalised changes to helmets and even adapting meal times to change players’ biorhythms for games in different time zones could be the difference between winning and losing. So when a revolutionary piece of technology comes along there can be no hesitation by teams in the NFL, not when a special shiny ring is at stake …
Best of Windows.AppStorm
I’m an Apple user in every sense of the word. My computer’s a MacBook. My tablet’s an iPad. My phone’s an iPhone. I’m as immersed in Apple’s ecosystem as much as one could be but the recent launch of Windows 8 still very much piqued my attention. As I’m sure you’ve read, Windows 8 is a massive detour from the traditional desktop computer experience but this very example of innovation encouraged me to hand over my £25 and give Windows 8 a try.
This article isn’t actually a review, but rather my impressions with Windows 8 as someone who’s not properly used Windows in nearly two years and a comparison to my experiences with Windows 8. Let’s go Metro!
Windows 8 is coming, but the sky isn’t falling in spite of much of the coverage of the release. You’ve read articles describing how terrible it is. You’ve listened to tech writers describing it as the disaster that will kill Microsoft. You’ve heard that no company will adopt it and everyone will either move to another platform or stay on Windows 7 forever instead of enduring Windows 8.
Of course all this has been written about every recent version of Windows. Those same tech departments that refuse to give up Windows XP today once said they’d never go to Windows XP. The people saying they’ll never leave Windows 7, once said they’d never install Windows 7. Every version of Windows brings changes that range from minor to extensive.
It has been well over two years now since Microsoft’s bold new square-centric foray into the world of smartphones was unveiled in the form of Windows Phone 7, and the accompanying Metro UI. Both operating system and UI were well-received, but their long term success was met with scepticism in the face of the titans of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android.
Today, we’ve seen the rough start for Windows Phone blossom into a serious mobile competitor for iOS and Android, one that is continuing to thrive and grow as the two tech titans thrash and brawl; We’ve seen the quadratic-laden Metro UI sneak its way onto the Xbox 360, Microsoft’s own Zune MP3 player software for Windows PC’s, and now onto the next iteration of Microsoft’s Windows PC operating system.
Friday marked the launch of the latest version of Microsoft’s eponymous Office lineup, and to celebrate we are going to be releasing a series of Office 2013 posts, including Reviews and How-Tos, to find out what Microsoft have brought to the table in this shiny new suite of Productivity software.
Let’s start with the ubiquitous Word today!
Best of iPhone.AppStorm
Developer Loren Brichter is perhaps best known for his work with Twitter. He’s the man behind Tweetie, an app that was purchased by Twitter and eventually morphed into an official offering from the social network. Brichter left Twitter and, until recently, has been teasing a new app.
That new app is not a Twitter client. It’s actually a game named Letterpress. A mixture of Scrabble, Boggle and real estate-style gameplay, Letterpress is an addictive, very competitive game. Let’s take a look after the jump.
An increasing number of apps are focused on making it easier for users to share their photos across social networks. Enter Typic, the latest one to enter the ring. Not only does it let you apply a filter to your image and share it with friends, you can also add your own caption in a gorgeous script.
So how does the app stack up compared to the rest of the crowd? Click “more” to check out the walk-through.
Living where I do, we have two seasons: summer and slightly less summer. Still, I like to be prepared for the two weeks a year it gets cold enough to put on a coat and ear muffs, while the rest of the country calls us pansies and says it’s only “sweater weather.” My foul weather preparations include not one but three weather apps, and that’s on top of the iOS default.
I’ve got to have one for radar and all that fancy stuff, and because I live in New Orleans, I also need a hurricane weather app. My third app is always something that can give me a quick glance at the weather right now, while looking a lot better than the other two. That’s where the good looking Solar : Weather comes in — but is it all beauty and no brains?
On September 21st, Apple released its latest generation iPhone to the public. Most customers and journalists gave much acclaim to the device, but there were some who saw the new 4-inch display as an issue. Developers and their designers, for example, must stretch or restructure elements of their apps for the extra 176 pixels the new display embraces. This can also affect the end user: apps that are not optimized for the new display have 88-pixel black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.
Given time, all developers, both active and passive, will work with their designers to amend their apps. Right now, however, there are only a few well-developed apps available that make use of the new iPhone’s display. Scouring through various sources, I’ve assembled a roundup of 15 essential apps that take advantage of Apple’s latest iOS device.
Best of Web.AppStorm
In the middle of last month, Google and Samsung announced the Chromebook “for everyone”, a $249 device running Google’s Chrome OS. The Chromebook is nothing new, and it’s a project that I’ve always been fond of in concept.
The new Chromebook has already launched online and in retail stores, and is quite possibly set to see some success as the holiday season nears. Let’s take a look at the state of the Chromebook as we reach the end of the year.
Photo editors are something which we all need from time to time. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a casual blogger, editing tools are necessary for most of our jobs. However, choosing the right one for you is a difficult task, and the majority of us don’t have spare money to invest in some of the high end software. This means it’s pretty slim pickings if you want a capable program will a relatively low price tag.
Recently, I’ve came across Photo Raster, a web app that fit the bill perfectly, something I never expected to happen. Read on to find out how Photo Raster fits into my workflow.
It’s one thing to write, code, paint or create. It’s another thing to pay the bills. I guess thats why many people abandon projects in favour of a steady, nine to five job.
That might all seem a bit dramatic, and maybe it is, but beneath the main economy of white collar workers flows an undercurrent of online enterprise desperate to find its feet. Individuals and groups, creating and sharing.
Sellbox, by way of its simplistic features caters to this underworld yet keeps the style and professionalism of the main market. By enabling users to sell their Dropbox files, they’ve created an ingenious marketplace with no start-up overheads for the creators. But how is it really any different from other online file markets? And, in business terms, is it worth your while?
Ever find you’d like to share a bit more than your Facebook status update or Tweet will let you? Perhaps you’d be interested in writing more long-form content, or sharing more context with your images, but you don’t want to go to the trouble of setting up a blog. You have a story to tell, and you don’t want to have to figure out 50 thousand settings to just write and share what you wrote with your social network friends. And if you discover other great stories from other people in the process, that’s great.
Sounds like you need Storylane. It’s the latest twist on an almost-blog app that feels more like a social network. Similar to Tumblr, but even simpler, it lets you have the space to tell your full story, not just 140 characters of it. And it’s rather fun to use, too.
Best of Mac.AppStorm
With our always-busy, always-committed-to-something lifestyle, it might be hard to keep track of all your duties. That’s where todo list and project management apps enter the stage. I’ve tried four of the most popular Mac apps in this category: OmniFocus, Things, The Hit List, and Wunderlist. But because I’m really bad at being organized, all of these apps were all too much of a hassle for me, despite being relatively simple to use.
My way of adding things to my todo list must be absolutely frictionless. Only plain text and the awesome plain text todo list app TaskPaper can satisfy my needs. If you’re like me, stay after the break to read in details about a workflow I developed to actually do things instead of just spending time fiddling with my tasks.
Back in April of this year, the popular service Read It Later was revamped and completely renewed, completely with a brand new name, Pocket. Pocket continues to be one of the popular mobile apps that is always featured on roundups of must-have apps for your iPhone or Android device.
Today, the developers of the hit bookmarking service released Pocket for Mac, an official client for the service on OS X, to work alongside and in sync with other platforms. If you’ve been using Read Later on your Mac, the release of Pocket for Mac replaces that too with developer Michael Schneider having worked on the official client. Shall we take a look?
Alfred is awesome. Over the last couple of years this app launcher has garnered a substantial and loyal following, and its easy to see why. It’s an awesome app launcher in its own right, but as we have noted elsewhere, with the Alfred Powerpack, this app becomes much more awesome. It turns into a clipboard manager, iTunes player, file browser, and with a bit of tweaking, the ultimate notes manager.
Whether you prefer to manage notes with Mountain Lion’s native Notes app, or would rather keep notes in plain text files, Alfred has you covered. Read on to find out how to turn Alfred into the ultimate notes manager.
There is no shortage of so-called ‘distraction free writing’ apps for our beloved Mac platform, a trend that started with the excellent WriteRoom from Jesse Grosjean’s Hog Bay Software in 2008. WriteRoom was the original full-screen minimalist text editor that inspired many similar writing apps that fill the App Store today. The company later followed up with a plain text to-do list app, TaskPaper, and also released QuickCursor, a simple app to edit text from any text field in your favorite text editor. Hog Bay Software not only made it nice to write plain text, but made it simple to do so whenever you want for whatever you want.
After creating the genre, the little company now re-invents it with FoldingText, an incredibly easy-to-use combination of plain text based tools. Geeks, nerds, writers, productivity gurus, rejoice: a new plain text productivity platform is born.
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!