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Chris Cooper

At one point in his life, Chris thought that AOL was the sole gatekeeper to the Internet. It wasn't until he was thrown into a dorm room with computer engineers that he realized how valuable technology could be. Chris is a tech nomad, always searching for better ways to get things done, and he loves showing others how technology can be used to improve their lives.

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Timelines are core components of many social networking experiences. Facebook rolled out its timeline feature nearly two years ago, displaying major life events and activities in a beautiful chronological layout. Unfortunately, social network timelines are often more about the reader than the creator. Users are forced to broadcast their checkins and life events, because most networks aren’t designed to handle private posts well.

Ohai, created by Mustacheware, is a checkin journaling app, built upon the App.net infrastructure. The app can post user checkins to Twitter and/or App.net, or tuck them away into a private journal. Can an app built on a social network yield a satisfying private journaling experience? Read on to find out. (more…)

App.net developers have produced a wide variety of applications, ranging from simple ports of Twitter apps to innovative apps that support App.net’s file storage API. Apps that support the service’s basic user timeline are plentiful, but the spotlight has shifted to the apps that ditch conventional design and support App.net’s new and innovative features. Chimp is one of the newest App.net clients that does just this, and today we’ll put it under the microscope to see just how well it stands up to the competition.

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Pinboard is a simple bookmarking service that allows users to bookmark webpages and funnel in bookmarks from many other services and browsers. Pinboard is similar to Delicious, except significantly faster and less social. Bookmarks are stored in the cloud, so users can access them anywhere. The service features tag support and a read later queue, and bookmarks can be labelled as public or private. The service is available for a one-time fee, which currently sits around $10. The fee grows with each purchase, which serves as a way to prevent unsustainable growth.

Although Pinboard is an excellent service, there’s a lack of solid Pinboard applications in the App Store. The service has a mobile version, but it’s missing many of the perks that native apps take advantage of. Collin Donnell’s Pinbook is a universal Pinboard client that attempts to bring the best aspects of Pinboard to the iPhone and iPad.

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PDFs are a powerful way to share formatted content without having to worry about file compatibility or conversion errors. Printing a Pages document to PDF ensures that everyone from a Linux nerd to a Windows junkie sees an identical file. While an increasing reliance on PDFs means that all users see an identical document, fixing occasional typos and errors requires that users return to the source file, fix the errors and re-export the document. A PDF-based workflow begs for a more powerful PDF tool, one that doesn’t require users to return to the original file to make one small change. There are plenty of PDF annotation apps in the App Store, but few of these have the power to edit beyond the annotation layer.

PDFpen is a popular PDF editor for the Mac that’s both powerful and affordable. Smile released its iPad version of PDFpen less than a year ago, bringing some of the desktop version’s most powerful features to the iPad. The company recently completed the device trinity with the addition of PDFpen for iPhone.

Does this pint-sized PDF editor hold up to its elder counter parts?

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The concept of a paid social network may seem laughable to some, but thousands of App.net supporters have turned this concept into reality. While the initial topic of conversation on App.net was App.net itself, chatter has shifted to everything from technology to Felix Baumgartner’s epic free fall from the edge of Space. The longterm success of the network is questionable, but it’s clear that the increasing quality of conversations housed within the confines of the network will greatly increase its chances.

Adian, by Phrygian Labs, Inc. was the first paid App.net iOS application to breach the walls of the App Store, and it performed extremely well for such a short development cycle. Several months have passed since Adian’s initial release, and App.net’s once barren app landscape has transformed into a lush playground for App.net geekery. There’s now a client for almost every type of user.

How does Adian stand up to the current competition? Is it still a contender for App.net marketshare or has it grown stagnant? (more…)

It’s Game Week here at iPhone.AppStorm, and all this week we’re going to have tons of reviews, giveaways and other good stuff, all centered around the gaming world!

A little over a year ago, Shaun Inman introduced Flip to the iOS screen. Intergalactic war was drawing to a close, and Flip was the last rocket to roll off of the assembly line. Unfortunately, the ship became trapped in a star’s gravity field, and Flip had to escape before both he and the ship were swallowed by the star.

Flip managed to escape as the ship spiraled into oblivion, but the resulting stellar shockwave leaves little time for celebration. Shaun Inman’s Flip’s Escape reunites players with the star of The Last Rocket and his computer companion as he flees the impending wave, avoiding speeding astroids and collecting their orbital power ups. But does the second chapter of Flip’s adventure hold the same thrills and charm as the first, or is it a cosmic dud? Let’s find out. (more…)

I’ve always looked at Evernote as a service that simply wasn’t for me. Dropbox and Finder have always met my limited needs, but a steady stream of updates and acquisitions has made Evernote harder and harder to ignore. The service can store nearly anything, and features like OCR and tags make content easy to sift through.

Capture is an important part of the Evernote process, but it’s not really something that the iOS versions of the apps do very well. Sure, Evernote has a giant Plus button, but that doesn’t mean that adding items is easy. This Plus button brings up a blank note, which works well for simple notes, but copying and pasting into Evernote can be a pain. On top of that, adding tags or changing a notebook takes several taps. EverClip tries to improve upon the Evernote capture process. The app runs in the background and captures anything that’s copied to the iOS clipboard. Should EverClip be a part of your Evernote arsenal? (more…)

Outlining is a fantastic way to organize ideas for everything from a detailed narrative to an app review. ThinkBook has always been my go-to outlining app, but the lack of robust syncing or export options makes it difficult to edit outlines on anything except the iPad. I would venture to say that no one likes to edit outlines in TextEdit, but I’m sure that there’s at least one text evangelist out there who’s crazy enough.

Cloud Outliner by Denys Yevenko is a basic outliner that trades complex features for easy export and sync. The app supports iCloud and Evernote syncing, and can export to OPML. Is the promise of robust outline syncing too good to be true, or does this little app pack a powerful punch? (more…)

There are several iPhone apps that feature location-based reminders, but most are either overly complicated or underpowered. The native Reminders app is one such example of location-based reminders implemented poorly. The functionality is there, but it’s buried and difficult to access.

Checkmark, by Snowman is based on a simple premise: “Reminders when and where you want them.” The app puts location-based reminders at the forefront, instead of burying them behind settings and preferences. Is there a place for Checkmark somewhere between the complex apps like Omnifocus and basic apps like Clear? Can it hold up against the free Reminders app? (more…)

The App Store celebrated its one billionth app download in 2009, a time when Retina displays were a mere dream and multitasking required two iPhones. Reeder made its debut after the 2009 milestone and was one of the first apps to bring style to iOS RSS readers. In the three years since this milestone, downloads exceeded the 25 billion mark, and Apple finally pushed past the mark of platform parity. Just like the savvy developers at Apple, Rizzi continued to push innovative designs, and the app grew along with the operating system that held it.

Reeder 2 featured major design and performance improvements, and it quickly became a gold standard as well as a dock companion. Rizzi dropped several hints about Reeder 3 over the last few months, but none of these juicy bits prepared users for the dramatically different experience provided by the newest update. Reeder’s new 3D animations and improved picture handling brought quick praise, but critics were just as quick to critique the app on its extensive push of the Readability service.

Does Reeder 3 improve upon its predecessor, or has the update tarnished this app’s excellent reputation?

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