November 9th was a difficult day for Android users round the world. Adobe announced, in a major turn of events, that they will no longer be developing Flash Player for the Android and Blackberry mobile platforms, instead concentrating on alternative media technology such as HTML 5. Android users had to slink away with their tails between their legs, mainly from the surge of smugness coming from users of Apple devices, who were all bursting to say, “Told you so!”.
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When I got my first phone with a data-plan, about four years ago, I used every online feature I could: watching videos, checking Facebook, reading news, keeping up with RSS and so on. (Amazing how tame that list sounds when you consider what phones do now.) I also had all my email accounts set to check for new messages every thirty minutes, during the daytime, and notify me upon any arrivals.

Since then, instant email notifications have become ubiquitous – no need for the app to manually check the inbox every X minutes – and I’ve gained a couple of new accounts. For a long time, I had all my accounts set to alert me as soon as a new email came in, because it felt like the natural thing to do. But one day, my phone broke, and I was without email notifications for a little while.

Wow, that felt liberating.

I’ve since realised that there’s no need for me to be instantly up-to-date with every single note that hits my inbox. What’s more, the constant dings of notifications are a huge drain on my productivity. Oh sure, it feels like I’m only losing 30 seconds to check what’s been sent, but it so often leads to 30 minutes of writing replies, chasing up old emails, heading over to news sites… and even on the occasions where it does only take a moment, that’s still enough to break me out of flow.

As if those reasons weren’t enough, I found that, being self-employed, having these emails on all day long made me feel like I was at work all day long. That’s perhaps a useful mindset when starting a business, but it’ll drive you crazy after a while.

The only exceptions I’ll allow myself to make are in emergency situations, like when gearing up for a big launch, or attempting to fix a high-priority bug, or waiting for confirmation of something very important. Otherwise, work emails stay on the computer.

How about you?

The life of a student can be very chaotic at times. Luckily, there are some excellent apps that are perfect for keeping track of your daily life. While each app has its own benefit individually, they’re even more powerful when used in combination with each other to achieve seamless organization of events, assignments, notes, and anything else you would like to keep track of.

To do this, I recommend centralizing your organization around a feature-packed note-taking application. In this demonstration, I will be using Springpad.
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We’ve collected the top four reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in September. Whether you’re interested in Mac, iPhone, iPad, Web, Windows, or Android 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!

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When it comes to community-developed custom ROMs on Android, there are two contenders that you will hear people talk about a lot more than any of the rest: CyanogenMod and MIUI. I previously reviewed CyanogenMod stating 10 of its great features and 5 tricks to improve on its shortcomings.

Despite how much I loved CM7, I have decided to give MIUI a go, and have been running v1.09.16 for over seven weeks on my HTC Desire Z. In the following review, I will share with you my findings, stating the reasons I have loved MIUI and those that are making me consider going back to CyanogenMod. (more…)

If you’ve rooted your phone, you’ve been there. You’re deep into your rooting addiction and have flashed yet another meticulously-chosen custom ROM onto your beloved phone – and then have had the pain of trying to set everything you back to the way you had it in the days of yester-ROM. After much dismay and lost data I have often turned to other applications to help me. So have no fear, because I have a few valuable tricks up my sleeve. If you do use custom ROMs and need some help restoring things to the way you like them, these tricks will definitely help. (more…)

Curvy presents you with colorful hexagon shaped tiles covered in squiggly lines that you need to rotate to tie up all your loose ends. It looks like some kind of flying spaghetti monster when you first look at it, but there is some structure behind the randomness that becomes relevant as you play. The app only requests two permissions, neither of which should cause you concern, and is only a measly 92.29KB, making it a very quick download, especially for a game. There is a free version with full functionality and a $1.50 paid version which removes ads and allows you to track your best times.

Let’s have a look at how fun it is to play! (more…)

Over the past few months, Google has been steadily pushing out a major update to the Market, the content management system on Android phones. The update brought not only a brand spanking new interface but also book and movie rentals (in the US only, though) and a greater focus on featured content. (more…)

Whether you follow mobile technology occasionally or you are obsessed with checking the latest news every couple of hours, one fact should be quite obvious to you: premium Android devices come and go as fast as the Formula 1 cars on a straight line.

One day, it’s the HTC Incredible S, the next it’s the LG Optimus 2X, then it’s the Samsung Galaxy S2, HTC Sensation XL, Motorola Droid RAZR, and Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It seems as if every month – sometimes even every couple of weeks – there is a hot new device to feast your eyes on. But is this is a great opportunity for the customer, or a major drawback? (more…)

Skitch is the well-known image annotation and editing app that has long since been a staple on the Mac platform. What makes Skitch so awesome to me is its simplicity: when it comes down to it, all Skitch really does is let you write or draw (optionally on top of an existing image) and then share it. No big deal, right?

Wrong!

Presented in a simple and intuitive interface, Skitch lets you do everything from drawing a stupid mustache on a friend’s photo to quickly doing a mockup of a website. I always wondered when Skitch would be available on platforms besides Mac, but I never dreamed it would show up on Android. (more…)

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