Best of AppStorm in December

We’ve collected the top four reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in February. Whether you’re interested in Mac, iPhone, Web, 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

2011 in Android: A Retrospective

2011 in Android: A Retrospective

A lot has happened with Android this year: we’ve gone from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich (via Honeycomb); the Market’s had two big upgrades; Flash Player has been dropped; mobile games have really taken off; and more. On the other hand, Siri put Android Voice Actions to shame; Google withheld Android’s source; and lawsuits have been flung back and forth.

Read on for our overview of everything that happened in 2011!

16 Quintessentially Scintillating Word Games

16 Quintessentially Scintillating Word Games

I don’t know about you, but I love a really good word game. Whether I’m on public transport or just trying to wind down, an immersive and challenging word puzzle is often just the tonic for me. I can’t be the only “wordie” either as there are literally hundreds of word games in the Android Market.

Therefore I have compiled what I believe to be a definitive list of the best. Is your favourite included here? Or have I missed out on an absolute gem? Has a meritorious masterpiece been inexcusably cast asunder? Read on to make absolutely sure…

Create a Minimal Lock Screen With WidgetLocker

Create a Minimal Lock Screen With WidgetLocker

When it comes to design, I am a minimalist. But, more than that, I am a perfectionist. When I work on a new design, I do everything I can to get it exactly right. The same thing happened when I sought to make myself a minimal lockscreen after buying the new version of WidgetLocker. So, this is my attempt at a minimal lockscreen, using a couple of widgets to show the date and time, a SMS/Missed call counter, the current weather, battery percentage remaining, current music track, and of course the actual unlocking slider. Mobile Keeps Your Internet Speed In Check Mobile Keeps Your Internet Speed In Check

In a perfect world, your carrier should deliver the kind of mobile Internet speed they promise: 3G, HSDPA or 4G. If you’re an advanced user, or had a lot of experience with mobile Internet, you should know the difference between these speeds, and can instantly recognize when it is present (or not) in your phone’s Internet connectivity.

In reality, however, this may not be the case. Your browsing experience may slow down at certain hours of the day. If it comes to a point where you simply cannot get anything done, it’s time to check your actual connection speed. That’s when an app like Mobile becomes handy.

Best of iPad.AppStorm

Agenda: The Calendar That Should Ship With Every iPad

You know that you’re the sort of person that reads (and writes for) the AppStorm when you find yourself getting excited about a calendar, of all things. This is the type of thing that people buy every year because they have to, a product that bookstores line their checkout aisles with.

Agenda changes that. Instead of trying to be a traditional calendar (which, to be honest, is boring) Agenda takes advantage of touch and the iPad’s big screen in a – dare I say it? – exciting way.

Hot Favourites: The AppStorm Team’s Top iPad Apps

Looking around the App Store can be good way to find new apps, but more often than not it’s relatively unproductive, and we’ve already discussed how bad Genius is…

Recommendations from friends are a good way to go, as is getting stuck into your favourite app publication (AppStorm, right?). What would you say if I could offer you the best of both worlds?

Well, you’re in luck. Today we have an awesome compilation of iPad app recommendations from AppStorm writers and editors – read on and enjoy!

40 Essential Apps to Download on Christmas Morning

I would imagine that more than a few people will be waking up to the delightful surprise of an iPad waiting under the tree! Unwrapping it is a joy in itself, the wrapping paper and ribbons being only the start – I’d bet on Apple having a whole team employed to design their packaging, making sure each and every device looks at its tantalising best on first opening…

But, what next? The standard apps are all good and well, but it disappoints me when people don’t delve a bit deeper. Here is a guide to the essential apps to download on Christmas morning, the good, the great, and the downright amazing!

15 Apps to Land Your Next Job

When you’re trying to find a job in this market you need to do anything possible to get a leg up on the competition and stand out. With the current economic state the job market has gotten highly competitive and more people are finding themselves “back in the hunt.”

That’s why I’ve compiled a list of 15 apps for utilizing the iPad to make a good first impression, land interviews, and find that next job! Read on!

Best of Windows.AppStorm

Supercharge Windows File Management with Listary

Supercharge Windows File Management with Listary

How often do you come across an idea that seems pretty unnecessary, but quickly becomes such a habit that you can’t imagine having ever lived without it? Remember how we used to communicate before cell phones, for example?

Along those same lines is Listary, an awesome little app that will supercharge your Windows file management operations to the point where you will wonder how you ever survived without it!

Top 20 Free Apps For Your New PC

Top 20 Free Apps For Your New PC

We’ve all bought a new PC in our time only to turn it on and look at two rows of shortcuts for trial software on our desktop. Heck, we see most of these apps on almost every PC we’ve ever worked on. Most of them are incredibly successful applications that have been around for a long time, and most people don’t know that there are alternatives.

In this roundup, I’m going to show you 20 free applications that will knock your socks off in both performance and features. Not only are they better than the full versions of the trial software, some of them are new applications that will extend the functionality of your PC. From here on out you’ll never want to use the old software again, and you’ll be telling all your friends about these free apps!

Why I Will Always Love Windows XP

Why I Will Always Love Windows XP

It’s been over a decade since it first came out, but in my opinion Windows XP is one of the greatest versions of its series to ever be released. A combination of stability and simplicity led to it being adopted quickly wordwide, and it remains amongst the most-used operating systems today, despite the distribution of it’s successors Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Though it becomes officially obselete and unsupported in 2014, I would like to explain why Windows XP remains best for me.

Expectations for the Windows Phone: From an iPhone User

Expectations for the Windows Phone: From an iPhone User

I have been called an Apple fanboy. It might have something to do with the fact that I own an iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air; it might have something to do with my love for Golden Delicious and applesauce; there’s no real way of knowing. Still, despite this apparent bias, I find myself in possession of a Windows Phone 7 device, allowing me to stay current with the rest of the mobile scene and giving me a chance to try out this far-too-neglected operating system.

What do I think coming into this? As an iPhone user, how am I seeing my future with this device playing out? Are you even still reading this, or are you preparing to raid my home and declare me a ‘fanboi’? Read on to find out.

Best of iPhone.AppStorm

The Problem With Social Networks for the iPhone

There have been a ton of new releases for the iPhone recently, and a lot of talk about the latest and greatest social networks to come down the pike. We’ve seen Stamped, Path, With, Instagram and more come down the pike, and all of them are either iPhone only, or start out that way.

Now obviously I think that the iPhone is a great platform to put your developer money, but starting a social network is a big task. And frankly, there are a lot of faults in the plan, particularly when the only platform is the iPhone. Let’s talk about it after the break.

Infinity Blade II: Beauty and Rhythm, Ad Infinitum

Infinity Blade II requires no introduction. Its predecessor was, and remains, one of the best looking games on the iPhone. Originally designed for consoles and then brought to iOS at the last minute, Infinity Blade took advantage of the touch screen and Retina Display in a way that few others have managed, combining simple yet addictive gameplay with excellent visuals.

Now Infinity Blade II is here, and I’m sure that many who enjoyed the first game have already downloaded the app and begun their quest. Does this sequel suffer from the laziness that can occur when something is released on the heels of a blockbuster, or is it as good, or better, than the first game? Read on to find out.

Meet the Developer: Shaun Inman of The Last Rocket

Shaun Inman is a hard man to introduce. From his work on the web he’s become somewhat of an Internet rockstar, pumping out amazing products time after time with what seems to be pinpoint accuracy.

Many will know him as the developer of The Last Rocket, a game that I reviewed and gave a perfect 10/10. Shaun was kind enough to conduct an interview with me over the past month or so, and I’m really happy to say that he’s lifted the curtain a bit, showing us how he works on the amazing things that he does.

Path: A Personal Network

Path has received a lot of press recently with the release of Path V 2.0 and its user interface overhaul. The app started just over a year ago in November of 2010 with a focus on being a personal social network with just 50 of your closest friends. Reviews around the web were mixed, and the limitation of 50 friends was something many people weren’t too happy about, the app didn’t live up to expectations.

After realising that some serious changes were in order, the team spent many months churning out what was to be a vast improvement on the original version. Head past the break to see if the team had a successful relaunch.

Best of Web.AppStorm

Lemon: An Easy Way to Track Your Expenses

For those of you that run a small business, you know that keeping track of your finances is very important. You want to make sure that every penny is accounted for that goes out and that comes in. As someone that does the finances for my wife’s photography business, I am always searching for a way to keep track of receipts.

Over the past couple of years, I have tried to scan them in with a scanner and kept them in an envelope, but have found both methods to be average at best. There is nothing great about them, but something was still missing. I think I found what I was looking for when I started using Lemon, a web app that helps you keep track of receipts.

Asana: Free Project Management for Teams

Project management can be the hardest part of executing on your goals. Sometimes it’s easy to dream up the next big idea, but without the discipline to get things done, you are going to be left sitting around telling everyone that you meet about how you could have created the internet. For many, project management is at once personal (pick up flowers, take out the trash, etc.) and professional (file that invoice, draft new ideas).

Asana, the next big project from one of the team members at Facebook, is a free solution to managing your tasks as a team. Is it worth using, or is it a dud? Read on to find out.

Markdown + Dropbox = Dead Simple Blogging With Calepin

Blogs are supposed to be about writing. Real, authentic, personal, heartfelt writing. The very word blog comes from the words web and log, a log of your thoughts on the web. But by and large, blogs have gotten complicated. 15 million widgets, word clouds, flashing ads, and more drive most people to just use social networks and forget the mess and confusion of blogging.

If installing WordPress on your hosting account or tweaking a Tumblr account to your liking sounds like more trouble than it’s worth just to publish your thoughts on the web, then get ready for a breath of fresh air. How about just saving plain text files with Markdown formatting to a folder in Dropbox, and having them published directly online? That’s what Calepin offers.

Should all Browsers Use WebKit?

Web standards are an ever-evolving entity, with new syntax and functions being added all the time. The buzzwords of the year are HTML5 and CSS3, evolutions of the already-existing languages that most people are familiar with. Unfortunately, getting a function added to the standards is only half the battle; you also need browsers to support the function and the new syntax, or all you’re left with is something that is theoretically awesome.

For a while now, WebKit has been the most standards-compliant browser engine, with Safari and Chrome offering two of the most HTML5 and CSS3 ready browsers. Many other browsers use the WebKit engine, and today I’d like to look at what the benefits might be of a WebKit-dominated Internet.

Best of Mac.AppStorm


The Mac Browser War: Safari vs. the Competition

When you purchased your Mac, you probably wanted the best web browser offered, whether it be Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, or some other worthy candidate. After all, quality hardware should also contain quality software. There has been much controversy on what truly is the best browser available for a Mac. Some say that Chrome is, and always will be, the best ever. Others believe that it’s easier to stay with the default browser because it offers more functionality to the OS. While this is true and I’m not going to attempt to change those believers’ opinions, there is more to the situation than just that. For instance, Chrome does offer more than plugins than Safari does extensions, but this doesn’t necessarily make the latter a weak and functionless application, it just makes it a bit less desirable.

If you’re interested in finding out what browser truly holds the best functionality, speed and other elements then please join in after the break for some information that should fulfill your desires.


30 More Great Apps You Won’t Find On the App Store

Apple recently announced that the Mac App Store has led to over 100 million app downloads, cementing it as the indisputable one stop shop for just about everything Mac users need or want. Today I want to place emphasis on the “just about” part, because despite these impressive numbers, there are still plenty of great Mac applications that you can’t get through this route.

Back in June, we posted an article containing 10 Must-Have Apps You Won’t Find in the Mac App Store, which included great options like the Alfred Power Pack and TotalFinder. This time we really dug deep and come up with thirty more! Some of the developers behind these great apps have simply decided not to pursue the App Store, others aren’t even allowed in due to the nature of the app. All of these apps though are definitely worth downloading and together make up a wealth of functionality and even fun that your Mac may be missing out on. The best part? Almost all of them are free! Let’s take a look.


Sneak Peek of Caffeinated: A Fresh Google Reader App That You’ll Love

Browsing the App Store for a decent RSS app brings you little else than Reeder, which is an amazing app, and its hoard of clones, which tend to be not so amazing. As great as Reeder is, it seems to have given developers a mad case of tunnel vision that they just can’t get over.

For this reason, I’ve been pretty excited about Caffeinated, a soon to be released Google Reader client from Curtis Hard. Though it builds on the advancements of Reeder, it stands on its own as a gorgeous new take on the RSS reader. We recently got our hands on Caffeinated for a review, read on to see it in action.


Gradient: Create Beautiful CSS Gradients

With the multiple common web browsers these days, designing websites that work on all of them can be a strain, especially when they each read CSS in different ways. Even if you’re not someone who creates websites, you’ve no-doubt heard the complaints of many a web coder about the different formats for the multiple web browsers.

JumpZero pounced on the opportunity to create what they call “the missing link between web designers and colors” and at a launch sale of just $4.99, I think they may just have found it. Head past the break to get an in-depth look at Gradient.

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!