Best of AppStorm in October

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!

Best of Android.AppStorm

Great Apps and Software From XDA-Developers

Great Apps and Software From XDA-Developers

XDA-Developers is a great community, famous for all sorts of mobile hacking and development but with a particular focus on Android and Windows Phone. It provides great resources and information about all things developer-related, with a wiki and a large forum that has over 4,000,000 active users. It is due to those active developers and forum members that XDA is considered a leader among all dev communities. Most of the custom ROMs ever built are made by the experienced developers over at XDA.

13 of the Best Augmented Reality Apps

13 of the Best Augmented Reality Apps

Augmented Reality apps have been available on the Android Market for some time, and I believe they represent one of the best things about smart phones; the ability to overlay the view through your camera with useful and fun information was one of the things that initially wowed me enough to buy my first Android. Now, there are some pitfalls in trying out AR apps. Some – let me tell you – are pretty awful. I’ve weeded these out, and this article lists those apps that I consider the best currently available on the Android Market.

Al Jazeera on Android

Al Jazeera on Android

I doubt there’s a single news organisation in the world that doesn’t receive criticism. It’s part and parcel of the industry; especially today, when everyone can voice opinions online. The butt of many jokes, including their own, is FOX for apparently being biased and sensationalist.

Al Jazeera is flamed quite often as well; some of it just, some of it not. The criticism of Al Jazeera often descends beyond the reasonable and into a ‘dey took ar jobs’ uproar simply because ‘real’ reporting can touch nerves. It’s this realistic reporting that keeps them in my daily news feeds.

As an Android user, their app was one of my most used, but least favoured. It was essentially a skin for their mobile site – and a very old, decrepit skin that should never have seen the light of day in the first place. Their new app however – well, they’ve turned the game around altogether.

How to Make Your Android Self-Aware With Tasker

How to Make Your Android Self-Aware With Tasker

You canít talk about automating your Android without mentioning Tasker, which basically allows you to fully automate your Android device based on your every whim.

Tasker is insanely useful and configurable, but it can get overwhelming. However, I believe that anyone can understand and use Tasker without getting a second degree. We’ve previously covered the basic concepts and features of Tasker, so this post will go into detail on how to make Tasker work for you.

Best of iPad.AppStorm

iOS 5: The Hidden Features

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you’ll know that Apple released the fifth version of their iOS operating system for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad this week. This latest version is, arguably, their biggest update since version two which introduced native apps. So what does this mean for iPad users? Read on to find out the big new features along with five of my top tips for getting the most out of your iPad with iOS 5…

Dragon Dictation: Mythically Good Speech Recognition

Dragon Dictation is an app for the iPad that allows you to speak into the iPad, and have the words automatically transcribed for you into text. It wouldn’t be correct to type this article then, would it?

So what you are reading has been completely and automatically transcribed by this application whilst I sat in cars, cafes, and coffee shops, chatting away to my iPad.

Embarrassing – yes. Enlightening – absolutely! Let me share with you what I found…

The Battle of the iPad Twitter Clients

With the sheer range of Twitter clients out there on the App Store, choosing a Twitter client for your brand shiny-new iPad can be a long-winded process. Your choice of Twitter client really depends, though, on what kind of Twitter user you are, and whether you use Twitter to simply keep up to date with the world or to keep the world up to date with your happenings.

No matter what kind of Twitter user you are, there’s an iPad Twitter client out there for you! Here’s a detailed look at the pros and cons of the 7 best Twitter clients in the App Store at the moment.

Jamie’s Recipes: Anyone Can Cook!

I have long been a fan of Jamie Oliver. There’s something inimitable about his cookery style that gives him fantastically widespread appeal. The unassuming and honest qualities evident in his public persona come across effortlessly in his food; watching him reminds me of Gusteau, the famous chef Remi so admires in Pixer’s Ratatouille.

I can hear them saying in unison:

Anyone can cook!

Jamie’s current iPhone app, called Jamie’s Recipes, has just been heavily updated and now works beautifully on the iPad as well. The question is; does it deserve a place in your life?

Best of Windows.AppStorm

30+ Awesome Utilities to Boost Your Windows PC

30+ Awesome Utilities to Boost Your Windows PC

Despite what fanboys from the rival camp claim, Windows is a self contained operating system in most aspects. It has gotten better with every new version and given the number of legacy hardware and software it supports, it’s no mean feat to make the operating system so user friendly. Yes, there are some shortfalls when it comes security and maintenance.

But since all of us don’t need power user features and there literally are a ton of apps to bridge the gap, I don’t usually understand what the fuss is all about. While not very pretty looking, these apps get the job done and in most cases are available for free too. After the break we have compiled a list of awesome apps that help boost the performance of your PC. Do read on!

How You Can Make Good Use of Your Old Machines

How You Can Make Good Use of Your Old Machines

Almost everyone reading the articles on this site will have spare computers languishing about. The rapid growth and improvements in hardware means that we cycle through a whole machine in only a few years.

If you have spare machines and parts languishing about, you can put them to good use! In this article I have outlined some of the purposes your old hardware can serve.

Total Protection with Microsoft Security Essentials

Total Protection with Microsoft Security Essentials

Finding a pain-free antivirus client is something most only dream of: most of the time, it almost always involves trying out countless different applications one after the other, paying for something you don’t want to pay for, or downloading software only to find out that it hogs system resources and slows your entire system down to a unbearable crawl.

Well, look no longer; Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is an answer to your problems. It’s the best virus protection out there. Why? Let’s find out.

Stereotypes about PCs that Need to Die

Stereotypes about PCs that Need to Die

For decades now, us, PC users, have been tarnished by the Apple crowd for a number of reasons. Not least among them is that Apple hardware is always better than PC hardware.

At the core of their assumptions are a couple of stereotypes. And I assure you, these are stereotypes. Let’s take a good, hard look at the current state of affairs and find out the reality, shall we?

Best of iPhone.AppStorm

Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

It came too soon.

We’ve known for a long time now that Steve Jobs has been in failing health, but in the years since he went public with his illness, we’ve seen the iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air, Mac mini and even more, all coming from his ideas. He never let his medical issues slow him down, even though a lesser man may have given up and decided to live out their days on a beach somewhere, waiting to die.

That wasn’t him, and that’s not the man we’ll remember.

I’ve always admired Steve Jobs and his vision for the world, and always found him to be a fascinating man. It’s no exaggeration to say that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for his contribution to society. It was just August that we said goodbye to him as the CEO of Apple, and I feel it’s appropriate today to link to the post I wrote on that day now. We’ll never get Steve back, but we’ll also never forget his legacy.

The iPhone 4S: First Impressions

After waiting for months for the official announcement from Apple, we now have the iPhone 4S. And as of yesterday, it’s now available for purchase.

In my case, it took until after 4 PM yesterday to receive my preordered iPhone, and although I got it activated almost immediately (no small feat, from what I hear), it still took a little bit to get everything set up to my satisfaction.

So what’s it like to go hands-on with the new iPhone 4S? Here’s what I experienced.

Reminders: Built-in Task Management With iOS 5

It’s true that we review a lot of productivity apps over here on iPhone.AppStorm. There are apps that offer a new form of syncing, apps that keep your to-do lists in different ways or boast a new interface that the developers believe will help you get things done. Wading through the App Store can be hard, and Apple is here to help with your need for a to-do app.

Meet Reminders, the brand new app that is included with every install of iOS 5. With advanced features and a familiar interface, Apple is hoping that Reminders will be simple enough to be used by anyone, but powerful enough to be used by everyone. Have they produced an app worthy of being placed on every install, or did they forget to make Reminders worthwhile? Read on and find out.

43 iPhone Apps That Sync

I prefer applications that provide some sort of syncing service. This is pretty advantageous compared to other apps, since you don’t need to worry about backing anything up in case you restore your iPhone (or if you lose it), and you can use the same information from different devices and even different services. For example, you can use Wunderlist from nearly any device or computer, even a browser, which is a lot more comfortable than just having your tasks on your iPhone.

Considering the advantage of having an app that syncs with any service, here’s a list of approximately 40 apps that have this functionality.

Best of Web.AppStorm

30 Awesome Web Apps for Your iPad

As incredible as it seems, it’s been over a year and a half since the original iPad was released, forever changing what the world thought of tablet computers. The old Tablet PCs were clunky, expensive machines that could run any Windows program, albeit slower and more awkwardly than a full computer. The iPad at first glance looks just like a scaled-up iPhone, but the wide range of apps and number of varied uses it’s found in homes, schools, and businesses has made tablets a permeant part of our computing ecosystem.

One area where the iPad and other tablets have lagged behind is with web apps. While Safari on the iPad is a modern, quite capable browser, many web apps are difficult to use with fingers, and can run very slow on slower processors. Over the past year, though, more and more web apps have been designed or updated to take advantage of the iPad’s features, including multitouch, gestures, and more. Let’s look at some of the best web apps today for the iPad, and if we miss your favorite, be sure to let us know in the comments below!

Smart Bug Management with Bugrocket

Bugs in a project or software can prove to be a developer’s nightmare. If they’re not correctly handled, they can be forgotten about and cause problems in the long-run. This is why bug management systems were created. However, most of these can completely miss the point and bombard their users with features they really don’t need just for the sake of being able to boast the amount of features offered.

Bugrocket is different.

Focusing only on the tools that you need and eliminating the ones you don’t, it provides a nice environment to manage bugs within a development team. Read on to find out more about Bugrocket.

Create Beautiful, Mobile-Ready Forms with Lanbito

If there’s one thing that should be incredibly simple today, it should be making online forms and simple pages. There’s no dearth of survey and form apps: from Wufoo to Google’s free Docs Forms, there are form solutions for every design style and budget. And if you want to take payments, share rich info, or do almost anything else you want with a form, there’s likely an app for that.

And then there’s Lanbito. I’m always on the lookout for new high-quality web apps, and Lanbito caught my eye in our Quick Look post. It’s a simple solution to making mobile forms, and best of all, it’s a touch-ready web app. That’s something you don’t often see, and Lanbito’s implementation is simply brilliant. It’s worth taking a look at, even if you’ve already got a form solution you love.

A Web Whiteboard: Cross-Platform Collaborative Brainstorming

Every once in a while, a tool is developed that is stunning in it’s simplicity. It’s utility is such that the tool itself fades away, and you wonder how you went so long without it. No, I’m not talking about an Apple product–but if you know Johnny Ive, see if he needs a speech writer.

Today, we’re going to try out A Web Whiteboard: a browser-based, collaborative brainstorming tool created by Senko Rašić, a programmer from Croatia. If you have a whiteboard in your office, or have ever used a whiteboard with colleagues, you are likely aware of the benefits. Personally, I’m a big fan of whiteboards because they’re an easy way to organize your thoughts, even when your thoughts and ideas change on a whim.

A Web Whiteboard takes this process and moves it to your computer, and more importantly, to the web, making easy and efficient collaboration possible, even when you’re miles away.

Best of Mac.AppStorm

Going Vintage: How and Why to Start Using Mac OS 9 Software

If you’ve only become familiar with Apple computers since OS X like myself, you may be forgiven for having no idea about this rich software history which is just waiting to be explored, read on below to see how you can get started!

Espresso 2: Create and Edit CSS3 Like Never Before

Web developers rejoice, Espresso 2 has finally been released and it brings tons of improvements that you’ll definitely want to check out.

Join us was we take a refreshed look at what Espresso is, what’s new about it and why it’s officially at the top of our list of awesome apps that web developers should have.

So Long Steve, Thanks for Everything

Steve gave me the tools of my trade. And the tools of some many others. Anyone who uses an Apple product to create knows exactly what I mean when I speak of the emotional bond that develops between a craftsman and the tools he uses to make his craft. For we designers and writers, programmers and film editors, photographers and artists, the products of Apple are our beloved tools. And Steve was their personification.
It only makes sense that we’d make the same emotional connection with the maker as we would with his products. And that we’d mourn the loss of that connection when it’s unceremoniously severed.

Raven: Site-Specific Browsing Like You’ve Never Seen It

A site-specific browser allows you to have the convenience of a dedicated desktop app wrapped around a website. You’ve seen these before and might even have a few Fluid or Prism apps sitting in your dock. Even so, you’ve never seen an app quite like Raven before.

This innovative browser attempts to be an all-in-one hub that turns your favorite sites into custom apps that sit in a sidebar. So what happens when a site-specific browser allows you to browse and save multiple sites? Does it become just a regular browser or something new and amazing? Read on to find out.

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!


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