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Productivity

I was never much of a mind mapping person — that is until I stumbled into it a couple of years ago. Since then, its become an essential part of my thought process. I often turn to mind maps to help me flesh out ideas and having an app on my iOS device that allows me to do so, is game changing.

Mention mind mapping on iOS and immediately two names rise to the top: iThoughts and MindNode. When time came to choose one, I opted for MindNode — Despite iThoughts being heralded as the best. It’s minimal, almost playful aesthetics drew me in and it was powerful and versatile enough for my needs while being a joy to use.

It did have it’s shortcomings however, but this update addresses many of them, adds a few new features and a new coat of paint too.

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Tap here, tap there. Sometimes an app is just too many taps away and no home screen fits every app we use. If that’s a common scenario, you need something to save you taps and swipes, turning the whole iPhone experience quicker and appealing. What you’re looking for is Launch Center Pro.

Launch Center Pro lets you create actions to interact with other applications and skip taps on basic functions of your iPhone, such as calling, messaging or opening sites. The application recently delivered its second version with plenty of new features for the automation rookie and the power user.

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There’s a certain risk in taking on the review of a 1.0 todo list. Some of them are incredibly ambitious, but lack too many features to be ready for primetime. Others are simply too novel to really be understood yet, and require a lot of time to get used to and understand. Not to mention the fact that todo list reviews are terribly subjective. My personal favourite todo list on the iPhone, and the only one I’ve been using religiously apart from the built-in Reminders system, is Begin, and app that helps me focus on today’s needs and not tomorrow’s — but I know a lot of people don’t care for it.

That’s why I’m a little nervous about reviewing DashPlus, the latest geeky todo list to hit the App Store market. Based on popular blogger Patrick Rhone’s task management system, the app is something of an enigma right now — it offers a largely new method of organization that requires a little bit of retraining. In other words, there’s a learning curve. I really respect Mr. Rhone’s work and quite like his writing, so I thought I’d give it a shot to see how I’d adapt. Read on for some of my thoughts about DashPlus to find out.

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About a week ago I expressed a sentiment on Twitter regarding iCloud Reminders integration into third-party apps. Having transitioned to Reminders for all my to-dos and lists some months ago, I’ve found myself wanting a bit more from the first-party app. Reminders works well enough, and I mainly use it because it’s accessible almost anywhere and allows me to use Siri. However, being the app enthusiast I am, I can’t help but wonder why more productivity app developers don’t include Reminders integration into their apps.

Those familiar with Fantastical 2 and/or Calendars 5 know that these apps do a spectacular job with Reminders integration, which works hand-in-hand with a calendar app. But what about apps like Clear, Wunderlist and Any.Do? While the developers of these apps may not care to integrate Reminders, developers of similar apps could possibly see the value in doing so. Enter developers Taphive, who saw fit to do this very thing with their highly customizable to-do app,Tick. (more…)

Ember can be many things to many people. The app can function as a private digital scrapbook, collecting images and screenshots on your device and presenting them to you in a custom list. It can be used to organize images for graphic designers — or for reviewers, who take screenshots of apps.

At its most basic level, Ember is a way to collect and store images of any type away from the stock photos app. It makes browsing those photos easy, and it makes sharing those photos seamless. With its Mac client, it also becomes an effective way to manage a library of specific photos and screenshots. But, with competitors like Evernote available, is Ember worth it? (more…)

To-do apps are an App Store favorite. A new one comes around almost every two months or so, and offers some new flashy feature or design motif to entice users to ditch their current app and jump ship. There’s not anything wrong with that — to-do apps have been a playground for developers and enterprising designers for a long time, and experimentation is only ever a fantastic occurrence.

What most apps lack, however, is a new idea. They have the spark and design flair of a modern program ready to allow users to revolutionize their workflow with… the same method and sequence that has been around for years. This Week tries to be different by combining the typical reminders with a hybrid calendar-based workflow, and wrapping the app in an attractive, Fantastical-esque package. (more…)

Squarespace is a great website builder for those of us who don’t have the time to either code our own websites or simply don’t know how. I’ve used it for both my personal blog and my professional site, and I’m largely happy with it. (Once I find time, I’ll be hand coding my own professional site, but that’s not because Squarespace isn’t adequate. It’s because I want to code it when I can find the time, simply for the joy of coding.)

That being said, anybody who uses Squarespace knows that it was a giant pain to post anything to your site from your iPhone or iPad. Unlike CMS like Tumblr or WordPress, Squarespace’s older apps were massively inconvenient. They didn’t allow you to edit any posts that had images, and you couldn’t write in Markdown or do any layout work. With Squarespace Blog, that all changes. Read on to find out more about the conveniences of a Squarespace blog on your iOS device. (more…)

If you own an iPhone, chances are that you spend a lot of time reading emails on it. And there are some pretty great email apps available for the device, like Sparrow. But most of the good ones do cost a pretty penny. So I was curious to check out Molto, a free mail client that promised a “social network-like” experience for emails on my iPhone. Is that just marketing or is there some truth to it?

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There’s been a ton of hubbub in the past year or so about achieving Inbox Zero, which is apparently some sort of Nirvana for the Millenials, as they’re called. Well, I’ve got news for you: it’s not going to happen. There’s no app that will make Inbox Zero work for you because, as a concept, Inbox Zero is idiotic — no intended offence, of course. The problem isn’t that people get too much email. The problem is that our email spends too much time trying to get our attention.

A ton of people, though, have understandably misunderstood this. Instead of trying to make meaningful differences in the way we check, read, and send email, most apps are trying to make differences in the way we categorize it. That’s wrong. The Delete button is my favourite, and if you think there’s any other way to truly get rid of everything in your inbox, you’re cheating.

So I’m excited to say this: myMail is the email app that actually solves the problem. Read on for more about what this app does so well.

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Dropbox, an online file-storage and transfer utility, forms the backbone of many of iOS’ most useful apps and utilities. Dropbox, which at its most fundamental level is just a way to store files in the internet, allows developers and users to take advantage of a file system that is always up-to-date and available as long as a connection to the internet is present.

But while these third-party apps can plug in to the Dropbox API and unlock these features, the first place most users go to use Dropbox is the official client. Boxie is an attempt to usurp the traditional Dropbox app by covering the basics, all while adding new, power-user features and a design that is supposed to make browsing the app and editing its contents even faster. (more…)

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