Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Link to Envato Notes

Best of AppStorm in December

Posted: 04 Jan 2011 06:00 AM PST

We’ve collected the top five reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in December. Whether you’re interested in Mac, iPhone, or Web 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’ve had a wonderful holiday period!

Best of iPhone.AppStorm

The Best iPhone and iPad Apps of 2010

We are mere weeks away from the end of the first decade in this new millennium. This year has been a big one for Apple's multi-touch product line with the arrival of the iPad, iPhone 4 and iOS 4. Along with these new technologies has come a seemingly endless barrage of great apps that keep us coming back for more.

Today we'll take a look at some of our favorite apps that were either introduced or popular throughout the year. Some of them made the list as a result of huge sales while others are an important piece of iOS history. A big thanks to all of our Twitter followers who submitted votes for their favorite apps! You'll definitely see many of your submissions included below.

The Google Nexus S Squares Off Against the iPhone 4

When Google's last "iPhone killer," the Nexus One, fell flat on its face, many predicted that Google would get out of the hardware game and focus on developing Android for handsets made by other companies. However, the king of search is back with an impressive attempt to revive the Nexus line.
Below we'll answer the one question iPhone owners really want to know: How does the new Nexus S stack up against the iPhone 4? Does it blow away our beloved Apple device or will it be pale in comparison? Let's take a look!

Gift Plan: Santa's App For Mere Mortals

Christmas time is here again. I am reminded of the holiday's presence by the decorated trees, sparkling lights, Christmas tunes on the radio and that huge pile of festively wrapped gifts. Oh wait! I knew I was forgetting something! It looks like yet another last-minute gift-grabbing spree for me!

But now the real challenge begins. Her favorite color was red, right? Does he worship or despise Manchester United? And after all the effort I went through to secretly sneak into the closet to find her real shirt size, I've already forgotten what it was. And how much was that new iPod Touch going to cost again? If only I could keep track of all of that and more. If only I had known about Gift Plan sooner!

Put Things Off 2: Embrace Procrastination

Way back before iPhone.AppStorm even existed, we did a few iPhone app reviews on Mac.AppStorm. The original Put Things Off application was one of the rare apps that made it in during that time period. It was an attractive and extremely unique task manager that we really enjoyed using.

Recently, we were thrilled to get our hands on the newest iteration of the app, Put Things Off 2. Below we'll take a look at the beautifully upgraded interface and walk you through the apps features. This is one review you won't want to "put off" reading!

How to Break Into Your iPhone Apps

Every app on your iPhone syncs with iTunes, which means it also resides on your Mac. Unlike the iPhone, our wonderful Macs are fairly open and make it easy to dig around in important files. Put these two statements together and you get the realization that you can use your Mac to tear apart your iPhone apps to see what's inside (no jail-breaking required).

Today I'll walk you through the basic process of breaking into an iPhone app in addition to discussing why on Earth you would want to do such a thing.

Best of Web.AppStorm

10 Great Chrome Web Apps Built For Chrome

By now I'm sure you've heard of Google's new Chrome Web Store and some of the great apps you can find there. What you might not have heard or found out for yourself yet is that many of the apps in the Web Store are actually just links to existing web apps. Lots of people were expecting more apps to be optimized to take advantage of Chrome's capabilities, and they're not.

We've dug through the Chrome Web Store to find 10 really great Chrome apps that aren't just links to existing apps, they're either specifically a Chrome app or optimized for Chrome. Take a look and let us know what you've found.

10 Ultra-Lightweight CMSes For Simple Projects

Each and every piece of content created is unique in some way and so are the many Content Management Systems available. Content Management Systems were supposed to be a wrapper that holds the content together in a preset format, however, over time, CMS developers have gotten ambitious and started adding as many features as possible to stay ahead of the competition.

The question is, how many people actually use all these features? A bloated CMS can also slow down a website, aggravating visitors. If you just have a single purpose website or focus is only on content that loads faster, flat file CMSes are a viable alternative. Check out our list of ultra-lightweight CMSes that don't require a database to run.

The Best Web Apps of 2010

2010 has been quite a year for web apps with HTML5 and CSS3 really beginning to catch on, giving web apps more power and capabilities than they've ever had before and bringing them closer to their desktop rivals—or completely redefining the way we do certain things (social media?).

With 2011 right around the corner, the AppStorm team thought it would be a great time to take a look back on 2010 and some of the best applications developers have brought us. So we bring you 20 of the best web apps from 2010.

In preparing this post, I was taken back by the incredible number of fantastic web apps I've seen this year, so it's very possible you'll find something new and amazing yourself. Go on and take a look!

12 Fantastic Finance Tracking & Management Apps

Managing money can be as difficult as earning it. Proverbs like "A dollar save is a dollar earned" are awfully nice to read and quote but can be tough to put into practice. Starting to track the money you spend is one of the simplest first steps one can take. Once you see how much is going where, you will automatically scramble to cut down wasteful expenses.

Since our generation is known for its acute ADD, noting down every expense on a notebook or an iPhone app won't last more than a couple of days. In the aftermath of the personal finance revolution spearheaded by Mint, there are a ton of online apps to help you pinch personal & business pennies and after the jump we've a compiled a few for your financial well being.

The Top 8 Killer Alternatives to Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most well known website analytics around, not to mention being one of the best. Although Google Analytics is a fantastic app to tackle your site's analytics needs, there are actually several other options available that many would argue are better choices. We've pulled together eight of the best alternatives to Google Analytics and some information about each; price, plugins, mobile apps, real-time tracking and requirements.

Which analytics app do you use and why? Read on to see if there's anything more fitting for your needs or if you have something you'd recommend.

Best of Mac.AppStorm

The Best Mac Software of 2010

The software industry is moving ahead at a rapid pace at the moment – particularly on the Mac. We've seen some brilliant new applications released this year, and a few classics updated with an impressive new feature set.

Before we forge ahead into a new year, likely dominated by the onset of the Mac App Store and everything that entails, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the past twelve months to remind ourselves of what happened.

Bringing iOS to the Desktop: Why You Should Get Excited

When Steve Jobs gave a preview of the new version of OS X, he talked at length about the idea of bringing what they'd learned through iOS "Back to the Mac". Unsurprisingly, sweating the details of one of the best mobile interfaces in the industry has given Apple a great deal of insight and experience that can be applied to OS X.

This concept excites some people, and disturbs others. Although I love my iPad, do I want the same experience on the desktop? Or is this platform still better suited for more intricate, complex interface design?

10 Blockbuster Games Available for Mac

It used to be that if you wanted to buy a game for your Mac, you had to dig into the crates at your local CompUSA and find a version of Tetris that might work on OS 7. But now, Mac gamers are starting to be taken seriously, and there's a whole world of to programs to buy.

If that wasn't cool enough, we also have the Steam platform, making it simple to purchase games on the fly. But enough about that, let's get into the good stuff. After the jump, check out some great, blockbuster games that are available to download and play on your Mac right now!

Discover the Hidden Power of TextEdit

Although we recently took a look at some major players in the word-processing world and marveled at their fancy features, if you're into having a minimalistic work environment and making the best of what you've already got, then it will interest you to know that TextEdit, OSX's native text editing application, is a lot more powerful than you might have given it credit for.

If it's actual word processing we're after rather than document design, then what functionality do we actually expect? Text wrangling with fonts, styles, and justification? Check. Tables, charts, and images? Check. Spelling and grammar checking? You bet.

30 Stunning HD Photo Wallpapers for Your Mac

Interested in finding a beautiful new desktop wallpaper for the holiday period? I've collected a selection of thirty vivid photo wallpapers, all available in a huge resolution for your 30″ monitor!

These are bright, bold, and colourful – perfect to chase away those winter blues! I hope you enjoy the collection, and I'd love to see a few of your own suggestions in the comments.

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!

Author Interview: EAMejia

Posted: 04 Jan 2011 01:16 AM PST

Today we meet Eduardo Mejia (EAMejia) from GraphicRiver.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, what do you do for a living?

Hi, my name is Eduardo Mejia. I live in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, located it in Central America. I work at a local advertising agency as a web/graphic designer. I have four years of experience and very proud and happy with my job.

Which marketplaces do you belong to? What types of files do you sell?

I’m very much in love with GraphicRiver and I feel like I’m married to them. In my personal portfolio you can view a variety of items from web buttons, flyers, banners, backgrounds, web elements, and email templates. Through the years we have established a good relationship. ;)

How did you get started? Have you had any formal training?

Since I was a child I have loved and enjoyed drawing and was always involved with different design activities. I studied computer engineering at our local university, and right after finishing my studies I was able to get a job with a local agency without any experience in graphic and web design.

I remember thinking, “What am I doing here?” and was very surprised that I was hired by the owner right away. I have to say that I did not have any knowledge of Photoshop. How did I learn to use it? I was sitting next to my co-worker and watching how he was doing it, asking him questions, and searching for tutorial sites, especially PSD tuts.

Describe your home workspace.

It’s very small, and is not fancy at all. It’s a mess with a bunch of magazines, books and other work supplies. Honestly I’m not very organized – I’m the kind of person that can work in a very small workspace without being bothered.

Describe your creative process. What steps do you normally follow to create your files?

I don’t really have a creative process, but I do the following:

  1. As soon as I get an idea, I start sketching my my way around it until I’m satisfied with the overall draft.
  2. I visit some sites for inspiration.
  3. I get myself ready to work! (It’s a cooking process a.k.a. listening-to-my-favorite-music-while-working time.)
  4. I look at the final results, make some nips and tucks, and it’s ready to go!

If for some reason I feel stuck, come across to any difficulty, or I just go blank, I take a break and step out to get some fresh air, and make a personal call to give my brain a break. Then I go back to work with a whole new persona and with fresh ideas.

What is your advice to other authors regarding how to create a successful portfolio?

First you need to believe in yourself, in the marketplace and in the buyers. Be creative and create unique pieces. Step out of the box – in the end everyone will appreciate the quality of what you’ve done.

Think and plan before you get your hands on the project, and always keep up to date with all the new trends of upcoming designs. And always give very strong feedback to your buyers. In the end is quality and not quantity that matters.

Envato will change your life if you let it. I was able to buy my first car, take my family on vacation, and now I am visiting the US on my own for the first time.

Besides it’s a good way to get extra income to help you pay rent, go shopping, and be able to do things that I wouldn’t be able to do if I only depended on my daytime job – luxuries! It’s very cool to see the balance of my credit card every month.

What do you do to market your files?

Not much. I have a signature in some design forums with an external link to my portfolio. I need to work on marketing.

What are your three favorite files, and why do you like them?

Space Web Backgrounds

BIGIdea Power Point Presentation

Electro Party Flyer

I think these files make a difference in each category and served as a reference to other authors. I’m very glad to see that my work inspired similar and sometimes much better files!!

Apart from yourself, who is your favorite marketplace author, and why do you like them?

I have lots of authors I look up to:

  • Art Bees has amazing items that always have a refresh and special touch.
  • My second favorite author is Fet – his illustrations are incredible and very unique. I promise to buy his archives to decorate my apartment walls.

What do you do in your spare time?

I play soccer, go out with my closer friends to local sport bars, spend quality time with my family, and watch good scary and funny movies. Every once in a while I attend to our local stadium to watch our local soccer team play, and of course travel!

Thank you sincerely for taking the time to read my interview and mostly thank you to the site manager for giving me the opportunity, best wishes to all the members!

Featured Workspace: S_Macdo

Posted: 03 Jan 2011 07:18 PM PST

My (Tidy) Workplace

Here is our first workspace for 2011. Happy new year! S_Macdo called this series of photos “My (Clean) Workspace”. He explains, I “thought I would clean up a little for these pics.” We appreciate that! I like the photos and postcards on the wall.

As is very common here, S’s workspace prominently features Macs – an iMac and MacBook Pro. And the perfect accessory for every MacBook – a Moleskine!

The desk isn’t huge, but there is plenty room for his elbows and graphics tablet – at least when the desk is tidy. With the small table or drawers on the left of the desk, sitting down might be a little bit squeezy!

My (Tidy) Workplace

The view from above. I thought that top book said “PHP”.

My Workplace

And this is his desk “as it normally is.” That still looks quite tidy to me! What did you enjoy about this workspace?

Would you like your workspace featured on Envato Notes? Just upload it to Flickr, add an interesting description, and tag it with #envatonotesworkspaces. Each week we'll choose and publish a new photo. Check out the other entries here.

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