Posted: 12 Jan 2012 11:09 PM PST
The AppStorm team have been hard at work again. Here is a huge bunch of great free apps and web services they covered.
SoundCloud: Your Favorite Social Sound Site on Your Mac
There are a bunch of websites to allow you to share and discover new music, especially from artists that aren't as big or popular as they deserve. Perhaps the most widely used of these is one called SoundCloud, which is used by many artists personally.
Take Control of Your iTunes Library with TuneSpan
The latest iteration of the Macbook Air was released this year and it caught my attention immediately. It was such a beautiful device. I found myself going to the Apple Store website over and over to look at pictures and mull over the specs.
I felt like this version of the Air covered almost all of the shortcomings I saw with previous versions. In fact, it was a more powerful machine than my current Macbook. The one factor that kept making me hesitate was the hard drive size. Would it be enough for me and for future growth? Can I work around the limitation? Should I work around that limitation? These were the questions bouncing around in my head. I decided the constraint would be a good thing and I'd figure out ways to work around it as needed. Enter TuneSpan.
Tunesque: Spotlight For The iTunes Store
Let me put you in a situation: you are browsing around, perhaps a music site, and you hear an amazing review of this new up and coming artist that just makes you want to hear it now. Wouldn't it be nice to have a smart app that could help you find that album on the iTunes Store, right from your menu bar, and without having to go into iTunes and accessing the Store?
Well, the app that we are reviewing today is called Tunesque, and it works just like that. I like to refer to it as "Spotlight for the iTunes Store." Let's take a look and see how it can simplify music search.
Where Are All the Awesome Free News Apps for Mac?
Ever since the release of the Mac App Store, I've been waiting for one specific category to take off: News apps. More specifically, innovative and free news apps.
This expectation isn't some fanciful dream but something that arose out of a clear precedent: the iOS App Store. Today we'll briefly discuss what the iOS App Store has in this area that the Mac App Store is desperately lacking and whether or not we can expect this void to continue in the future.
Keep Your Mac Safe from Infections with ClamXav
I remember from when I used a Windows machine how annoying the anti-virus apps used to be. It was kind of a "can't live with them, or without them" relationship. If you ran a Windows machine, you had to have an anti-virus app if you wanted it to remain functional. But it was kind of like trading one thing for another, as most of the anti-virus apps were always annoying and slowed down my computer a lot (it almost felt like installing a virus that would keep away even worse viruses away from my computer).
When I made the switch to Mac, one of the big factors that influenced my decision were all the people telling me that Mac OS is safe out of the box, and that I didn't need an anti-virus. This is kind of a difficult topic, though, and still many people don't feel safe running their Mac without an anti-virus installed. Today we are reviewing a free alternative to the popular paid anti-virus Mac apps. It's called ClamXav, let's take a look!
Winamp: Feel The Power of Music
Choosing a media player – a music player, to be precise – for a Mac is a no brainer. iTunes is the crowd favorite and has the chops to entertain both an audiophile and the casual listener. Despite becoming bloated and unduly heavy over the years, iTunes is more or less the default audio player for the Mac ecosystem. Even folks who are die hard Windows users and those who don't own an iOS device also are fans of iTunes.
But as I just alluded to, iTunes is a tad bulky and lacks the advanced features of a full fledged media player. The choice of full blown music players for Mac are pretty thin when compared to any other vertical. Winamp hardly needs an introduction. For more than a decade, it ruled the roost as the popular media player for Windows.
Winamp for Mac is a free download and promises to offer the same powerful featureset it is known for. Is it awesome enough to replace iTunes? Read on to find out!
Speed Dial 2: Upgrade Your New Tab Page in Chrome
Tablets and smartphones have homescreens filled with apps, while more traditional computers have start menus or docs or search tools to find the apps you need. With web apps, though, it seems the best way for most of us to find apps is with random links in our bookmarks or just by googling the app every time we need it.
Users of Google's excellent browser Chrome know how fundamental the new tab page is for keeping up with web apps, especially as Google's focused more on the Chrome Web Store. However, while the standard new tab page is useable, it is lacking in terms of customization and is missing some pretty basic features. Speed Dial 2 is a free Chrome extension that not only fixes these problems, but makes the new tab page beautiful.
Screenr: Easy Screencasting on the Web
Screencasts have definitely evolved over the years and have many uses for people. I use them all the time as in my classroom as well as to show others how to use different software. One thing that I have always found is that good screencasting software can be very expensive. And even though I own a Mac and I can record with Quicktime, it just isn't the same.
So I set out on my quest to find a good screencasting app that wasn't going to hurt my wallet and at the same time offer some great features. I think I may have found what I have been looking for in Screenr, a web app that records your screen and so much more. Let me show you around.
Kinzaa: Create Infographic Resumes
Simply put, writing a resume is no fun. The first step to getting a job is getting noticed, and your resume is the best way to do that in a traditional job application process. Problem is, there are so many things to keep track of: font sizes, concise descriptions, word and page count, and more. Even when you get everything right, there is no way you can be sure that your resume really has the chance of standing out. You can bet at least half of the resumes mailed in by fellow job seekers are equally thorough.
You might have to think out of the box to stand out. That doesn't mean you will have to hire a video artist to create your resume in Barney Stinson style. Instead of using boring and cliched layout and wordings, you should try something new, but that's still within reach. How about an infographic? Kinzaa works hard to make your resume pop with a unique twist on a traditional resume. Intrigued? Keep reading to see what Kinzaa has to offer.
Finding New Music with The Hype Machine
The Hype Machine is a music blog aggregator app that was launched in 2005. What the service does is pull streaming music from hundreds of different blogs (over 800 at the time of this writing), and compile them all in a single location for visitors to listen to, rate, and ultimately discover.
The great thing about The Hype Machine and the characteristic that keeps users coming back, is that it is always fresh, filled with new content, and has the uncanny ability to find truly great music before it ever even hits the mainstream.
If you enjoy music and like being on the edge of what's currently popular and trending on the web, you should pop open a new tab or window in your browser and start playing with the Hype Machine immediately.
Share Your Presentations With SpeakerDeck
Enterprise software market is a lucrative cash cow. Once you get the professional types start using your apps, you are probably set for life. They don't usually change their course midway and are accustomed to familiarity. But when it comes to presentations, office dwellers always look for ways to make their content pop. That's a potential opening for Web 2.0 companies aspiring to disrupt the enterprise app scene.
I recently discovered SpeakerDeck, which claims to be the best way to share presentations online. Simply upload your slides as a PDF and the web app will turn them into a beautiful online experience. Presentations can be viewed at SpeakerDeck or can be shared on any website with an embed code. Can it beat Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Presentations?
Nurph: Twitter-Connected Chat Rooms
Chat rooms have been around for decades now, fulfilling all types of purposes. The first online chat service was in 1980 (at least, according to Wikipedia) and they've developed significantly since then. However, with the rise in social media that encompass private and/or public group chat, these dedicated services have became somewhat less necessary. With Nurph, the bridge between social networks and dedicated chat rooms has been built.
Nurph takes a Twitter account and build a chat room onto the side. The idea is that Twitter users can create adhoc chat rooms for their followers to discuss matters in real time, while still maintaining their Twitter branding and profile information.
Open Vim: Learn to Use Vim, Online, the Easy Way
The web is a brilliant place for learning new things and finding out information on any topic you wish. If you want to learn something you merely have to search for it online and you'll more than likely find a guide on how to do it, within seconds, never mind minutes. Somethings require practice though. Just for an example lets take riding a bike, yes sure you can read a guide online covering the steps, though to be truly able to say you can ride a bike its recommended to actually get up on a bike and have a go!
Its the same with Vim. Vim is a text editor used most in Unix-based operating systems, and at first glance it looks to be something that should have been forgotten about in the computing world, long ago. Even after some time and effort trying to use Vim, its learning curve may still seem incredibly steep. Reading books or guides on something like this might help you find your way around, or at even give you a glimpse of why Vim is still so useful today, but as with reading about how to ride a bike will only get you so far. You need to jump in and go for a ride with it, so to speak. Today we're going to see how you can do that with Open Vim – a web app with the sole purpose of teaching you how to use Vim.
Quick Look: Touristlink
In this Quick Look, we're highlighting Touristlink. The developer describes Touristlink as a social site for travelers that provides a totally new way to find and book services online.
Kohive: Your Desktop in the Cloud
Many of us work with people located in different parts of the world and services like email, social networks and file sharing have offered us the ability to do so easily. Even here at AppStorm, Matthew Guay, the editor, and I live over 8,000 miles apart, but we are still able to communicate and work together productively thanks to our internet connections. There's a range of project management and collaboration web apps around, but wouldn't it be cool if teams could work in a shared workspace, virtually?
Enter Kohive, an online, virtual desktop for collaboration. Kohive mimics the design of a computer desktop to bring an online collaborative space for your team to work in.
Crunch: a LESS/CSS Editor and Compiler
Sometimes over here at Web.AppStorm we look at apps that are built using Adobe AIR, a cross-platform solution that allows you to easily create and install apps that will work on Windows, OS X, and Linux. Crunch is a CSS editor/compiler built using AIR, and is definitely worth a look.
Built to take advantage of the CSS-supplement LESS (which we'll take a look at in the review), is Crunch a worthwhile program or a worthless novelty? Let's take a look.
SlideMyPics: Create and Share Photo Slideshows for Free
Slideshows are a great way to showcase images on digital displays. Whether it's a collection of old family photos, snapshots from my last vacation, or even my portfolio of professional photography, I always try to put together a picture slideshow for my audience.When the images advance in sequence by themselves, the viewer is less distracted and can take in the message that each picture is conveying, since they don't have to click or flip through them manually.
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.
Create Contacts Quickly With CardMunch
We live in an awesome and exciting world of digital organization and electronic communication. With my phone, I can be contacted through approximately eight different channels and never miss a single message. My entire office is paperless, which allows me to be extraordinarily mobile as well. The one activity, however, that seems to have resisted a nudge into the digital world is the age-old tradition of exchanging business cards.
Some of the more tech-savvy and anti-paper professionals devised their own system for scanning business cards and archiving them digitally. We've also seen a series of attempts to make the process faster, such as the invention of the vCard format, or iPhone apps like Bump that require all parties involved to be using the same technology.
Today I'm going to look at a LinkedIn companion app called CardMunch. CardMunch is designed to streamline the professional networking process and make quick work of archiving contact information for later use. Hit the jump to find out more!
Use the Crowd to Decide if Your Food Is Healthy With the Eatery
Some people believe that the route to a healthy body lies in religiously tracking every calorie consumed and burned, each gram of sodium or fat accounted for and logged. While we've covered the Fitbit app, which allows you to monitor your eating and exercise habits on a micro scale, some take a look at the grander scale of their health.
For them, tracking calories, fat, sodium and carbs is not only a waste of time, but also unnecessary. They want to know if what they're eating is healthy, plain and simple. The Eatery is an app that allows you to do this, effectively crowd-sourcing the fitness of what you're eating.
EyeEm: Take a Tagging Approach to Photos
As we know, more and more people are using their iPhones to take pictures to capture those special moments in their lives. Instagram set the bar pretty high for photo taking apps by giving you a great set of features and an easy way to make your pictures look great. Along the way, there have been many others that have tried to steal their thunder, and not many have succeeded.
EyeEm entered the scene in early August and got some very favorable write ups from some well known tech blogs. It comes with a variety of features, and although it's very similar to Instagram, they do have some things that make them different. But, like always, the big question will be, does it do enough to convert the masses over to use it?
Apple's iPhone App of the Year: Instagram
There are lots of different social networks out there for the iPhone, and although some of them work (and some don't), one has broken through and become a popular app among iPhone users everywhere: Instagram.
It's been over a year since we last looked at the app, and since then it's been through a lot of changes. But what makes this social network for the iPhone work where others have failed? Let's look at the success of Instagram after the break.
Forecast: Pre-Check In Your Check In
Foursquare is great to see where everyone is right now, but the app is next to useless when you want to actually meet up with your friends. By the time you get to your friends' supposed location, it's a crapshoot on whether they will still be there (unless of course you call/text/email them, but who does that?) This is where Forecast comes in. By connecting with Foursquare, Forecast users can essentially share their predetermined destinations and arrival times with their friends. This is perfect if you know the general time and location of where you are going later in the evening and want to send an informal invite out to your friends to join you.
Evernote Food: Remember What You've Eaten
Have you ever been to a restaurant, tried something new and then forgotten what you had to eat the next time you stop by? I know that I have (which is rare, given my standard order) and I've definitely forgotten what my girlfriend's favorite order is, leading to confused stares and a lot of frantic searching as I tear through the menu.
Evernote Food is here to help. A new app that syncs to your Evernote account, Evernote Food wants to be your personal food journal, ensuring that you never forget that excellent meal that you had. Does the app perform as promised, or am I stuck in the same spot as before? Let's find out.
Create the Soundtrack For Your Life With SoundTracking
Recently, I reviewed an niche social networking app called Oink, which let's you share the things you love with friends. Mainly, Oink is used to share a specific item, such as a Big Mac at McDonald's or your favorite cup of coffee at the local diner. While Oink fills this particular niche nicely, other apps are available in the App Store that fill the roll other social niches. Instagram, for example, allows users to share photographs, and a little-known but highly usable app called Peepapp allows you to share the apps you've installed on your iPhone.
While food, photos and apps (especially apps) are great to share with friends, music is often one the most shared topics of discussion. Enter SoundTracking, the nifty little app that helps you "share the soundtrack of your life."
Currents: Google's Version of an iPhone Reader
When it comes to reading on the iPhone, there are no shortage of apps out there that let you catch up on the latest blogs, books, magazine, newspapers, etc. But there are very few that are able to present you with your content on a small screen like the iPhone in a great and visual way.
Recently, Google threw itself into the ring with its own version of a reading app, named Google Currents. Unfortunately, they had a bit of poor planning on the launch as they came out a day or so after Flipboard released its amazing iPhone app. Can Google enter this crowded space and be a dominant force on the iPhone or is this just another reader that will slowly fade away? Let's check it out more and you can see for yourself.
Quora: Ask Questions, Get Answers
Everyone has questions. Whether it's about a favorite television show, the best pizza in New York City or something that they're itching to ask the founder of their favorite company, we all have an urge to inquire about our worlds. In each case, where there's a question there's (probably) an answer locked away in someone else's brain. As much as we love asking questions, we might love answering them even more.
Quora brings the questioners and the answerers together in one place, allowing them to exchange ideas and combine excellent questions with well thought out answers. So, question: is Quora worth a download?
FLUD: A Social Reading Experience
I've mentioned before how there is an abundance of reader apps available on the App Store and here at iPad.AppStorm we just can't get enough of them. So, this month I decided to take a look at the latest version of FLUD.
With the popularity of apps increasing on Facebook we now are able to easily share with others what we're listening to, reading, and watching in realtime. FLUD is a reader that looks to add a social experience to your everyday reading by giving each user the ability to create their own "news personality" based on what they read and share with others.
HowStuffWorks: A Fun, Informative, and Free iPad App
HowStuffWorks was originally established as a website in 1998 by former college professor Marshall Brain. Beginning with a focus on technical topics such as science and engineering, the website eventually expanded and broadened its horizons to encompass other areas such as health, history, and politics, becoming a powerhouse of 'edutainment' in the process.
Here the HowStuffWorks team follow up on their popular iPhone app to venture once again into iOS and offer a version optimised for the iPad. Read on after the break to see how well the HowStuffWorks experience translates to Apple's tablet.
Jetsetter for iPad: Take a Beautiful Vacation
Booking a hotel for your vacation used to be fairly boring. Unless you were rich you would probably end up staying in some Super–8 or Holiday Inn (my apologies if these aren't well known outside of the US) leaving a lack of variety and only the promise of a free 'Continental Breakfast' getting you through the trip.
Jetsetter is going to change that. While the name implies that the app is focused on getting you to your vacation, Jetsetter is actually an app that allows you to view sales for places that you can stay while you're on your vacation.
Mixel: Simple, and Addictive, Collage Creation
If you're an iPad owner you no doubt understand the joy that you get from simply interacting with the device. It's a fun device to use no matter what you're doing. While the iPad was pegged early on as purely a consumption device (I won't dispute it, it's pretty amazing at that), the touch interaction allows for so much more – there's a growing crop of applications exploring just that.
A seemingly logical interaction with the iPad is creating art. There has been mixed reception with applications in this category so far. Some work well, but most can agree that while very cool, it isn't exactly a perfect experience. Mixel carves out a niche in the art application category and allows you to create and share art. It's intentionally extremely simple. On the surface this seems like a good angle, but let's see how it actually works.
Square: The Easiest Way to Get Paid
Accepting payments used to be a pain. If you weren't an authorized business with a way of actually charging a credit or debit card, you were forced to only accept cash. As we continue to grow more reliant on online payments and swiping our plastic cards, this excludes a large number of people – like myself – that would gladly give you some money, if you would let me.
Enter Square. Square is an easy way to get paid, with a full, end-to-end system that will allow you to start accepting payments right away. Is Square worth your time, or is it another 'easy' payment system (ahem, PayPal) that promises the sky but fails to deliver? That's what I'd like to discuss today.
Fuel Your Fascination With Evri
Fancy news reader apps are a dime a dozen in the iOS App Store. The level of innovation going into these apps is mind-blowing and most of the expertise goes towards designing the app. A pixel perfect design, combined with some snazzy effects ensure immediate traction and the developers are leaving no stone unturned to ensure the same.
As an information addict, I consider it my duty to download and test every single news reader app. Equally dutifully, I try my best to review them here at iPad.AppStorm as well. I discovered Evri sometime ago and wasn't until recently I got the time to use it extensively. Curious to know how well the app performs as a news reader taking into account the fierce competition? Do read on.
Identify TV And Movies With IntoNow On Android
Do you remember the first time you saw a Shazam commercial or a SoundHound demo on a mobile phone and thought: "Oh my God! This is fantastic. Now I'll never have to worry about getting stuck for hours trying to remember that song's name!" Well, if you haven't heard of IntoNow, you should prepare to be amazed again, as it does the same level of magic for TV shows and movies.
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.
OnLive: Bringing Console Gaming to the Small Screen
Okay, so I definitely would've believed it could happen in my lifetime… but this early on and this fluently? Console gaming is now available on your PC, TV, and now your smartphone and tablet! It will actually work on anything with a screen, internet access and some kind of controller, by streaming an actual console's gameplay to your Android.
In spring, Connor Turnbull outlined then-recent developments in Android gaming showing us that it was only a matter of time before this service was mass released to Android. An application named OnLive, which has been available for PC and laptops for a while, has been released on Android phones and tablets.
Secure Your Cloud Storage with BoxCryptor
Do you know the feeling you get when you lose critically important data? Yeah, that sinking one. I went through the same ordeal a couple of days back and learned the hard way that not even cloud storage services are safe from unwanted data access and data theft.
Utterly flabbergasted at the loss of data, I set out to look for something which would help me keep my data safe, even over a cloud storage network and found BoxCryptor. Is it any good? Read on to find out…Continue Reading
Chromatic – The Ultimate 2D Shooter For Windows Phone
I'm a video game history junkie, and I say that as the only guy I know that has the original 16-bit Sonic The Hedgehog soundtrack on my Windows Phone. Though I occasionally play some of the newer games, it's always fun to go back to the old days and play a game of Galaxian.
But what would happen if you combine the greatness of a classic arcade game and the graphical superiority of an arcade game released today? You would get Chromatic. Chromatic is a 2D shooter game that has its roots in a classic space war game but with a different twist. Let's take a look.
Take your Media to Go with Freemake Audio and Video Converters
One of the great things about Windows is the abundance of freeware available for just about every function you can think of, and for all kinds of users too. This is, in my opinion, one of the most important factors to take into account when selecting an OS to work with and Windows scores very high here.
However, a large range of apps also poses the problem of users having to choose the right one, particularly in the case of perhaps the most popular categories of apps – media converters.
Power Up Your Desktop with Pokki
We're all familiar with applications that show off websites as native Windows applications, such as Prism and Google Chrome's "Application Shortcuts". However, these apps really don't have much of an advantage over just using a web browser. There isn't a whole lot more you can do with them and the sites look the same in the desktop window as they do in a browser tab.
This is where Pokki comes in. It's a brand new application, currently in beta, that aims to bridge the gap between websites and desktop applications by creating site-specific desktop applications.
Wireshark – Detailed Analysis Of Your Network Traffic
As power users, we love control. More specifically, we love knowing what happens where, when and how. While utilities to monitor your CPU usage and other metrics are fairly easily available, your network is often ignored since it's a lot more, well, nerdy.
Today, I am going to give you a mini-review of Wireshark, an excellent network utility, and a little guide through running the app on your computer.
Is KMPlayer the Answer to All Your Media Needs?
Those of you who used to watch video on your PCs in the 90s will remember the hassles of installing codecs and finding media players that supported them – all just to catch a grainy rerun of Friends.
Thankfully those days are behind us. With the arrival of codec packs, apps like Media Player Classic and eventually Windows 7, we haven't really had to worry about whether a video file will play on our computers or not. But the user experience still left a lot to be desired. Did you ever look at VLC Media Player and think it was just plain ugly? Or think that Windows Media Player was, although better-looking, almost as clunky as iTunes? Thankfully, there is another option…
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