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, 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
We all love our wallpapers, don’t we? Be it on the desktop or on the phone, everyone likes using some nice artwork to customize the screens the way they want. We have covered wallpapers a fair bit here on AppStorm, so I’m not going to bore you with why they are so awesome and why you should get some. Instead, let’s do something different this time.
Ever wished the wallpapers on your phone changed automatically every once in a while? How about if they changed – not randomly – but based on a set of conditions. One wallpaper for the day and another for the evening, maybe? Or a different one based on whether your headphones are plugged in or not? Or maybe based on the weather outside? That would be helpful, wouldn’t it?
It’s no secret to anyone that Android tablets’ major competition is the iPad, which keeps outselling them worldwide. Despite the better specifications, innovative form factors, and recently improved Jelly Bean experience, the one area that seems to hold back Android tablets is the lack of optimised apps – that’s a field where Apple’s ecosystem excels. By comparison, the Play Store still lacks a dedicated tablet section to make it easier for users to find apps tailored for bigger touch screens.
However, due to the openness of Android, a few specific categories of apps exist for it that can’t make it onto the iPad in its regular state. Some would require a jailbreak to work, others wouldn’t even be technically possible. I have picked ten of these to showcase a small, albeit important, advantage of Android tablets.
I like to think that one of our big responsibilities here at AppStorm is to try out new methods of customizing and improving our phone experience, then translating the technical jargon of developers, and delivering to our readers a clear and concise method for that customization.
So, when I had been reading on the forums that a way had been worked out to add Google Now to a lot of ICS phones, I jumped right on it.
The humble infographic has gone from the boardroom projector to online viral fame in the last few years. There’s no easier way to represent data to interest a person than by making it look pretty. Good infographics are simple to interpret and often cross language barriers effortlessly.
InFoto aims to tap into this, by converting the hundreds of photos you undoubtedly have stewing on your SD card into a pretty infographic that’ll probably get more likes on Facebook than your original snaps.
When I first heard the idea I thought it was a college student’s half-baked end of year assignment he decided to throw up on the Google Play Store, but it turns out photos actually have a ton of data stored within them. The question is: does the app make impressive use of it?
Best of iPad.AppStorm
I read a statistic once that said that WordPress powers over 22% of all new websites, worldwide. Wow. That’s a staggering amount of data, and yet the platform that many bloggers know and love is still going strong after years in the business. I’ve been using it on my personal site for years, and we use it here at AppStorm, too. It’s about as solid as you can get.
Problem is, the WordPress app for the iPad has historically not been very good, turning off quite a few users. But now, we have Poster, an app that promises to make the process of writing and publishing blog posts to your WordPress site much easier. Does it hold up, or is it just another flash in the pan? Let’s discover together.
If there is one thing the iPad is good at, it’s gaming. The 9.7-inch screen is the perfect canvas for any developer to make a killer game. Since us writers really love iPad games, we cover them a lot. Heck, it’s even Game Week here at iPad.AppStorm and iPhone.AppStorm.
With the growing market of games for the iPad, it’s quite hard to sort out the good from the bad. Of course, there will always be the classics that we can rely on, but there are tons of other lesser-known games that are just as great. This roundup brings the best of both worlds together. Did your favorite games make it to the top 50? Find out after the break.
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.
At first mention of Halfbrick, the first app that many of us think of is Fruit Ninja. It makes sense — Fruit Ninja was the developer’s first smash game, but its presence somewhat overshadows the existence of their other amazing iOS games.
One of these overshadowed games is possibly one of my favorite games of all time. The app, Jetpack Joyride, features Halfbrick’s flagship character Barry Steakfries as you go on a fun-filled journey through a science lab. Read on to find out why Jetpack Joyride is among my favorites after the break.
Best of Windows.AppStorm
The clipboard might be the most useful thing we take for granted in our computers. The ability to take something in one program and insert it somewhere else using the same process whether dealing with text, an image, or a file makes editing and creating so much easier. The common area means that you donít have to worry about if two programs know how to talk to each other, they both only have to know how to talk to the clipboard.
The biggest drawback to the traditional Windows clipboard is that it can only hold one item at a time. When you cut or copy an item into the clipboard, anything already there is now lost. Much of the time this works well. If youíre only copying or pasting a line of text from one document to another document or another place in the same document, you only need to hold one item. Otherwise, it tends to become a problem. Surely, there must be a way around this!
If youíre anything like me, youíll be quite used to working with more than one computer at the same time. Iím frequently using my main PC to copy encode video, while using my older machine get on with other things like surfing the web and writing ñ sometimes, my laptop even gets in on the mix!
Working with two or more computers simultaneously is great, but it does mean that you need a large desk to accommodate the two keyboards and two mice. You could install a KVM switch that lets you use one keyboard and mouse to control two computers, but if youíre looking for a free solution, Multiplicity could be the tool for you.
Back in the old days of smartphone infancy, your options for some ravenous digital gaming were somewhat limited; anything more than downloading a basic open-source port of Civilization or some game from some site somewhere would require the ownership of one of Nintendo’s coveted Gameboy systems, lest you be relegated to the living room sofa. However most of the handheld consoles of the day were generally regarded as mere child’s play, certainly much too juvenile a pastime for the crisp-suit-toting, HP iPAQ-wielding business elite.
Of course, with the completely game-changing advent of the iPhone, iOS and Android, focus has turned to the viability of the modern-day smartphone as a viable gaming platform to rival dedicated solutions from Nintendo and Sony. So far we’ve seen some rather stellar results, with titles such as the casual hit Angry Birds and the more console-quality titles such as Infinity Blade demonstrating that the phone of the 21st century can entertain you in the gaming space, too. With the welcome introduction of the Unity 3D platform to Windows Phone, things could get a lot more interesting.
How big is your monitor? Big enough? There are very few people who could honestly say that their monitor would not benefit from being a bit larger; who wouldn’t love to have a 32 inch screen in front of them to work with?
But few people invest in such large monitors, with both cost and physical desk space being issues. Another option is to add a second monitor to your computer, but if space is at a premium, this may not be possible. This is where virtual desktops come into their own, and nSpaces is a great free tool that not only gives you more space, but also enables you to group related applications and windows together.
Best of iPhone.AppStorm
Today, it happened. We finally got the word that the iPhone 5 is here, and it’s ready to rock our world. So what’s the news and what do you need to know right now? Get the deets after the jump.
You’ve watched the keynote, seen the unboxing videos and read the reviews. You know everything there is to know about the latest and greatest iPhone — what else could you possibly have to discover?
Well I received my iPhone 5 yesterday via FedEx, and I spent the afternoon testing it in various conditions. How well did LTE work? What is the hardware like in real life? Is it worth the upgrade? This isn’t your typical new iPhone review, it’s a walkthrough of the product with casual and real thoughts as it’s being used. Hit us up after the jump to find out more.
A lot of RPG games boast stunning 3-D graphics and vivid gameplay environments, but Lili sets a new standard. This adventure game features a main character who’s tasked with completing some challenging find-and-retrieve tasks on a very beautiful and mysterious island, one populated with strange beings in possession of a very quirky brand of humor.
In other words, when the game isn’t making you work hard to lock in the next achievement, or making your eyes widen at the sight of detailed characters and lush island scenery, it will have you chuckling to yourself in amusement. Let’s take a look.
If you have an iPhone, had an iPhone, have thought about having an iPhone, known someone who had an iPhone, or even are only vaguely aware of the existence of the iPhone, it’s unlikely that you’ve escaped without some sort of cursory awareness of Angry Birds, the physics-based phenomenon whose popularity has hung around only slightly too long to still be considered a “fad.” Rovio first released Angry Birds in 2009, and has since pushed out all kinds of updates and new chapters, but the premise has more or less always been the same: load a bird into a slingshot, and launch it in an attempt to topple a piggy-inhabited edifice of questionable structural integrity.
Well today, all of that changes. The piggies want the spotlight now, and Rovio has given it to them in a brand new iOS game called Bad Piggies. Bad Piggies is very much set in the same world as Angry Birds, but the game is quite different. Grab a cup of coffee and hit the jump to take a look at this brand new physics-based puzzler.
Best of Web.AppStorm
I hate dealing with banks. In a world where currency has more meaning on screen than it does in hand, you would think that banks would be getting better and not worse. The best bank is typically the one you never have to deal with. I generally have to mentally prepare myself for a few days before I call a bank as I know it is going to raise my blood pressure a few points.
Simple.com aims to change that. They believe that well designed web and mobile applications can improve the overall banking experience. In keeping it simple and beautiful, they believe they can make banking a positive experience.
So far, it’s working.
I’m sure we’ve all heard of a site called iFixit, the site which provides easy repair guides for a wide range of products, including Apple devices, games consoles, digital cameras and so on but I’d hazard a guess at the fact that not as many people have heard of Dozuki, which is the fantastic system that actually powers the website and makes creating and running a “how-to” guide on the Internet a piece of cake.
Let’s take a look and see how it’ll work for your next documentation project.
Apple’s hardware and software releases have become global news events, something even non-techies know about. Practically everyone that is any bit informed about the phone industry at all knows Apple unveiled the iPhone 5 this week, enough so that its already sold out in preorders. Yet it’s a slightly unknown fact that Apple makes some very nice web apps for iCloud, ones that bring many of its well known native apps to any browser.
This past week, right along with unveiling new hardware and iOS software, Apple also upgraded its iCloud web apps. They’ve now finally dropped their beta tag, and gained the new Notes and Reminders apps that have become standard parts of iOS and OS X. Let’s take a look.
The bane of online existence is that our data is invariably scattered in different places. And nothing is affected more by this than photos. In all probability, you have pictures on different services – Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Instagram, and many more. The end result is that when you need to find that one photo you are looking for, you don’t know where to begin searching. Wouldn’t it be better if all your photos were collected in one place, ready to be accessed at any time?
PixelPipe promises to make this easier by letting you migrate images and videos from one web service to another in a dead-simple interface. So whether it’s because you’re running out of space or you simply want to change your image host, this just might be the magic wand you have been looking for.
Best of Mac.AppStorm
Image editing can be fun, but it can also be tedious and frustrating, especially if you want to make changes that require either professional apps that cost a lot or skills that only come from years of experience.
Removing unwanted objects from photos – people, power lines, trash, you name it – can be either very easy, depending on the background and general composition of the image, or a huge a pain. Snapheal can make this a breeze for you. The editing app has received a major update and we’ll take a look at what has changed and how it will affect your workflow.
Always forgetting little things and minor tasks? Do you walk away from your computer, then come back and wonder what you were about to do? The old-school solution is to write a note on a sticky and attach it to your keyboard or monitor. It turns out there’s an app for that.
Sticky Notifications lets you quickly create reminders that sit on your screen until you dismiss them. It does one thing, and it does it well — with several advanced features for power users and an easy-as interface for everyone else. But is it worth the $3 price tag? Let’s take a look.
Ever since Chrome first came out for the Mac, I’ve been happy using it. Throughout all these years, I haven’t even had the curiosity to play around with other browsers, as Chrome has always been simple, pretty and functional enough to keep me satisfied.
However, when Mountain Lion arrived, Safari became a much more integrated part of the OS, with more integrated gestures, iCloud syncing, and the new sharing options. I finally just had to experience for myself. After a little more than a month using it, here are my impressions of the latest version of Apple’s browser.
You’ve probably gotten invited to more than your share of Facebook events, and if you’re like me, you tend to lose track of them fairly quickly. Either you RSVP that you can’t make it, and when you change your mind, you can’t find the event to save your life, or you did let the organizer know you’d be coming but promptly forgot until Facebook reminded you the day of the event.
With seemingly everyone using Facebook events to plan everything from baby showers to beauty pageants, I’ve thought there has to be a better way. So did the developers of Going, a menubar app that keeps track of all your Facebook events for you and even syncs up with Calendar. With the ability to RSVP, create events, and event post to Facebook, is there anything Going can’t do?
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!