Thursday, February 23, 2012

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Link to Envato Notes

Freebie Friday: Freebies on AppStorm

Posted: 23 Feb 2012 03:19 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.


Mixxx: A Serious Open-Source Contender to Traktor and Virtual DJ?Mixxx: A Serious Open-Source Contender to Traktor and Virtual DJ?

The market for DJ software has never been bigger, as more and more bedroom DJs shun purchasing traditional equipment such as turntables and CDJs in favour of the more accessible and cheaper software option. As a DJ who got into the hobby through the use of software, I'm always on the lookout for new programs that boast an impressive range of tools, while still remaining affordable for newcomers to DJing.

Mixxx, an open source digital DJ app that started life way back in 2001 as a university project has recently become a hot topic among computer DJs following the 1.10.0 release in December, which added a number of features that until recently were only found on more expensive DJ software such as Traktor and Virtual DJ.

I decided to download Mixxx for myself and thoroughly test it out to see if it truly was a replacement for my current favourites, Traktor and Virtual DJ. Read on for my thoughts.
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ServeToMe: Streaming Your Ripped Videos Has Never Been So EasyServeToMe: Streaming Your Ripped Videos Has Never Been So Easy

As smartphones have advanced over the last few years, their storage capacities have grown by leaps and bounds. All that space means more apps, music, and movies to use while on the go. However, transferring large amounts of media files can be a tedious and time-consuming task, (particularly if you sync over WiFi).

Fortunately, a simple solution exists that allow us to stream our media to phones, tablets and laptops, thus eliminating the need to sync to our various devices. But does the convenience of personal streaming outweigh the limitations inherent to such a solution?
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Scrible: Marking Up the WebScrible: Marking Up the Web

I am a huge fan of moving more toward the web and away from native software. There are a variety of reasons for this, and I have realized the more we start to move away from software and to the web, the more we are going to need tools to edit on the web. I can think of two recent examples of this, where a friend of mine sent me a link to a new blog he is trying to write as well as students sending me essays online. Having tools to edit these pages online would be so helpful.

This is where a tool like Scrible comes in very handy. It is a toolbar that gives you a variety of options to edit webpages, save them, and then send them off. Scrible opens up a lot of possibilities for the web and it gives us the chance to give instant feedback.
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Capsule: Organize Your Next Group EventCapsule: Organize Your Next Group Event

Everybody knows what it's like to be the one in charge of organizing that group event. Whether it's a party, business weekend trip, or a trip up to your favorite camping spot with a couple of buddies, it can be a pain to administrate everything and get all the details down correctly so the event goes smoothly. And if anything goes wrong, guess who everyone blames?

Various tools have been developed to try to make the process easier, but most of them are either far too complicated or not powerful enough to make organizing group events as easy as pie. Capsule attempts to find the proper balance between bloated and overly simple, to make planning group events as easy as it can be. Let's see if it hits the mark, and can help organizing your next group event easier.
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Simple Social Event Planning with PlangrSimple Social Event Planning with Plangr

Online event planning is as old as the Internet itself. Spend a few bucks (or not) and a web app will do most of the heavy lifting, making you the perfect host. People are very much accustomed to receive evites and RSVPing online as the entire process makes lives easier for the event planner and attendees alike.

But what if you are looking to break the tradition of inviting only friends and acquaintances for a get together or a soft ball game? How to invite people in your locale who happen to enjoy dunking hoops or pitching a ball but aren't in your contact list? That's where Plangr fits the bill perfectly. Follow me after the fold to find exactly how novel the app is.
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CheckThis: Getting Creative With a Single Web PageCheckThis: Getting Creative With a Single Web Page

Creating a website and a blog can be a lot of fun, and also a lot of work at times. There are some great resources out there to help you make quick blogs and websites, but the one thing that is wrong with them, is that you are expected to have a lot of posts or pictures which take up more than one page. What if you just want to post one thing and that is it? To go through all of the hassle of creating a website or blog is too much work for just one post.

This is where CheckThis can come in very handy. It takes blogging and creating a website and strips it down to its simplest form. CheckThis puts a whole new spin on making a web page and after playing with it for a bit, I can see how useful this web app can really be.
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Create Clickable Designs and Test Interface Ideas with SolidifyCreate Clickable Designs and Test Interface Ideas with Solidify

So you've got a great idea for a new app. You pull out some napkins or open a drawing app on your phone, and sketch out some rough ideas. Your next hit app is already taking shape, and in your mind's eye, you can see it running in action. You can see yourself looking over people's shoulders at coffee shops and smiling, knowing they're using your app. But first, you've got to make sure you're not the only one thinking your design makes sense. And shuffling through random pictures or napkin drawings isn't the best way for people to get a feel for how an app will work.

What you need is a simple way to turn your images into a clickable demo that feels like using a real app, without you needing to write a single line of code. Solidify is a new private release app from ZURB that makes this as easy as uploading your images, adding clickable areas, and sharing a link. Now, even snapshots of your napkin-drawn app ideas could become live demos!
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Quick Look: MailjetQuick Look: Mailjet

In this Quick Look, we're highlighting Mailjet. The developer describes Mailjet as a service for cheaper, better and faster emailing

Mailjet is a real-time Cloud Emailing platform that provides you full scalability and better deliverability for all your emails, whether it's marketing / bulk or transactional.

Mailjet optimizes your deliverability. It's easy-to-use, via the online platform and easy to integrate via SMTP or API. At any moment, you can scale your volumes up or down.
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Pintrest + Ping = This Is My JamPintrest + Ping = This Is My Jam

As we all, know social sharing is huge and is becoming more and more popular. We have sites like Pintrest and Gentlemint, which I reviewed a while back, that have grown in popularity due to people loving to share the things that they like and want others to know about. So I guess, it would be only natural that people would also want to share the music they are listening to as well.

I know there have been times when I have just wanted to share with others a song that is inspiring me for that day or a song that was stuck in my head. This Is My Jam could very well be that site that fulfills this need for me. It is kind of like what you would get if Pinterest and Ping for iTunes decided to combine one day.
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Simple And Nice To Dos With LaterSimple And Nice To Dos With Later

If you've read any of my previous articles here at AppStorm, you might have noticed that I review a lot of task management apps, and this one's no exception! Later is one of those apps that combine simplicity with function and a beautiful interface. It let's you manage your tasks with ease, and set reminders quickly. It boasts quite a beautiful interface and includes achievements to make the experience more fun and game-like.

They advertise the app as a task management utility for busy and lazy people, so join me to take a look at this app and see if what they claim holds true.
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Sleipnir: Gesture-driven Browsing on the iPhoneSleipnir: Gesture-driven Browsing on the iPhone

For the longest time, I didn't feel the need to play around with alternative iOS browsers. Why would I, when Mobile Safari fulfilled just about every need that I had? I was content with Apple's default offering, and would skim through browser reviews just to say I had checked out the competition.

This changed with a review that I read on our sister site, Mac.AppStorm. Joshua Johnson reviewed Sleipnir, a browser that combined WebKit rendering with a powerful, gesture-based navigation system. I immediately downloaded the app on the iPhone and began to play with it. Here are my thoughts.
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Wordy: The Logophile's Primer Reference DictionaryWordy: The Logophile's Primer Reference Dictionary

In the app store there are plenty of dictionaries to choose from. Some of these apps may cost a pretty penny, others are offered for free. But rarely do you find an app that has the functionality of a dictionary which backs up from multiple data sources.

Wordy is branded as "The Logophile's Primer" for good reason. The app lets you browse through a large collection of dictionary definitions, synonyms and antonyms, and behaves as a powerful reference tool. And the best part is that it's entirely free to download for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users.
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Smartr: Smarter Contacts For Your iPhoneSmartr: Smarter Contacts For Your iPhone

With the advent of social media and the amount of people that we are coming in contact with on a daily or weekly basis, the basic address book is no longer cutting it. The days of knowing only someone's phone number and email are no longer acceptable because there is so much more information on that person.

Up until now, Apple never has done anything spectacular with their Address Book on either the Mac or iOS, so you know that this space was ripe for the picking. I believe that Smartr Contacts may have come at a good time. Let's find out after the jump.
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Pinterest: A Social Network With LegsPinterest: A Social Network With Legs

There are so many new social networks out there that it gets daunting just to keep up. Between Facebook, Twitter, Path, Oink, Tumblr and everything else, who has time to actually get anything done? That's why, for me, it takes an awful lot to decide to come onboard a new system.

But then Pinterest happened. At first, I wasn't really sure if I liked it — it did seem a bit girly for my taste — and I wasn't quite sure how it would fit into my life. But then I got the iPhone app, and a new perspective came up that I hadn't really considered before: could I be social while still being unsocial?
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Rid Yourself of Junk Mail With PaperKarmaRid Yourself of Junk Mail With PaperKarma

Junk mail. For some of you, these two words may bring about a feeling of unease or outright aggression. In the digital age, spam email is simple enough to get rid of, but junk paper mail remains an elusive arch nemesis, continually plaguing your mailbox. It's simple enough to throw away mail that you don't need or want, but wouldn't it be nice if you didn't receive that mail at all?

To rid yourself of such junk mail, you'd need to contact the supplier of said mail and request that they refrain for sending additional junk. That is until the release of PaperKarma, an extremely simple-to-use tool that does this dirty work for you. Find out how after the jump.
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Unstuck: Find Your Motivation and Be InspiredUnstuck: Find Your Motivation and Be Inspired

We've all been there. Writer's block, designer's block, whatever sort of mental block, we've all experienced it. Perhaps you're feeling unmotivated. You might be afraid to take the next step, or maybe you're just not sure what the right decision is and so you're not moving forward.

Whatever the reason, we've all had a moment where we're just feeling very stuck. For those moments, Unstuck is the app for you. Unstuck aims to help you uncover the reason that you're feeling stuck in that moment through a series of questions and decisions. After discovering the reason you're stuck, it takes you through one of several exercises to help you find whatever it is that you need to move past that moment.

Unstuck is an incredible and free application. Whatever the reason is that you're feeling stuck, Unstuck will be able to help you out. Read on for a more detailed description, a sample exercise and some thoughts on the app.
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Color Uncovered: Color to Dye ForColor Uncovered: Color to Dye For

Forgive me, the pun in the title isn't even my own. It's merely the given name of one of the intriguing chapters in Color Uncovered, one of the most visually engaging apps I've ever reviewed – but not in the way you might be thinking!

Whether you're a curious child, a fascinated adult, or a desperate science teacher who needs some inspiration for teaching the theory behind colours to students, Color Uncovered is an experience to behold.
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Finally, Chrome Has Come to AndroidFinally, Chrome Has Come to Android

When it comes to my mobile browser, I'm but a simple man. I don't use Opera Mini or Dolphin or Firefox. The stock browser is fine for me because I don't use gestures and Chrome is my primary desktop browser so I wouldn't benefit from the syncing capabilities of Firefox. In my experience, the stock browser was always the fastest and least intrusive as far as taking up screen real estate. Then Google released Chrome Beta for Android, and all of that changed. Let's take a look at what Google's first crack at a mobile version of Chrome is like.

Let's get this out of the way first: the beta is only available for those of us lucky enough to have Ice Cream Sandwich on our phones; further, it's only available in certain countries. Finally, there is no Flash support. Keep that in mind as we go forward.
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Release Your Inner Chef With PepperplateRelease Your Inner Chef With Pepperplate

While I love looking up recipes and cooking for my family, I hadn't been doing either as often as I would've liked to over the previous year. Now, armed with a new freelancer's flexible work schedule, I started to hunger for a way to put my recipes in order, buy the right ingredients (and the right quantities), and get productive in the kitchen. Thankfully, I found a helping hand in the form of Pepperplate.

There are plenty of apps on the Android Market to help you with collecting recipes, buying groceries and planning your menus, but I haven't been able to stick to using them. Pepperplate does all these things, and looks good at the same time. It's also dead simple to use, and free. So whip out those smartphones and let's whip up some grub!
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Pocket Frogs: Collect, Farm, Breed, and Race Virtual PetsPocket Frogs: Collect, Farm, Breed, and Race Virtual Pets

Pocket Frogs is an absorbing and multi-faceted game from Mobage. The aim of the game is to breed frogs, create unique habitats for them, tame them, catalogue them, and even race them against other frogs! There are several elements to the game that make Pocket Frogs a distinct and engrossing title that is as refreshing and original as it is addictive. So, for details as to how to collect a diverse range of colourful froggies, leap on!
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Simple, Universal Image Editing With Aviary Photo Editor PluginSimple, Universal Image Editing With Aviary Photo Editor Plugin

With the cameras on mobile phones getting better by the hour, smartphone users on all mobile OS platforms are spoilt for choice when it comes to photo editing apps. But if you have tried a few, you probably already know that not all of them are worth the precious space on your phone. Even Adobe Photoshop – the king of the hill in the desktop image editing arena and something I was excited to no end to see on Android – has been quite a disappointment as far as editing prowess and flexibility goes.

So when Aviary, Adobe's counterpart as far as web apps go, decided to come out with an Android version of their photo editor, I knew better than to hike up my expectations.
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Get Social With RockMeltGet Social With RockMelt

I remember first hearing about RockMelt a couple of years ago when I wasn't quite as active on social networks. Google Chrome with some Facebook extensions baked in? That's supposed to get me to switch?

I scoffed, tried it out and scoffed some more. But now that I manage multiple accounts on various social networks, every little time-saver helps. And that's why I'm glad I checked out the latest version.
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Watermarked Previews in Item Previews

Posted: 22 Feb 2012 10:35 PM PST

Recently on Envato Notes we have had a couple of posts discussing the correct way to license and use someone else’s images and assets in preview items. You can catch up on both posts here: Envato Content Policy and Portfolio Review and Use of Assets in Previews on the Envato Marketplaces.

I know that many authors are looking for ways in which they can maintain a high standard of quality for their item previews on the Marketplaces while at the same time ensuring that they are complying with our content policy. With this in mind, today we would like to bring to your attention that our terms of usage grant the right to use any watermarked preview from the Marketplaces in your own item previews so long as it includes a link back to the original item, and so long as the item preview is used only on for Envato Marketplace items.

Similarly as an author you are granting other Envato Marketplace authors the same preview usage right with the same requirement to link back to your item. This part of the agreement was introduced in 2010 with the aim of encouraging cross promotion amongst authors, effectively upselling our buyers to purchase items from more than one author at a time.

Using Watermarked Images in Your Item Preview

Images are the most common usage scenario for authors looking to use watermarked items in their previews. Since the launch of PhotoDune last year, our authors now have access to a large pool of watermarked photos. In fact we hope that this usage will gradually replace our rather old Asset Library, in favour of both a larger and better selection, and a usage that actually promotes other authors!

Example of a watermarked image from PhotoDune

Human brain and colorful question mark by Lawren on PhotoDune.

So again, you can use a watermarked image from PhotoDune without asking permission, so long as it only shows in the item preview, and so long as you credit the author of the image and link back to the original item page clearly in your description.

If you wish to use an unwatermarked image from PhotoDune in your item preview then you will need to purchase a regular license. If you wish to distribute an unwatermarked image from PhotoDune in the download file, you will need to purchase an extended license.  

Although the most common usage of this policy is to use images from PhotoDune, the same concept applies to using music loops from AudioJungle, preview images from GraphicRiver and so on.

How to Credit and Link Back

When you use a watermarked preview in your own item preview, you must provide a credit to the author and a linkback. The simplest form of this would be in your item description to write:

The image shown is not included with the item. However you can purchase it from AuthorName by going to [link]

Some authors get even more creative, check out how Ex7Reme has linked back to Tim McMorris’ audio track from a top selling After Effects project:

I personally encourage authors to be generous in their linkage and help showcase our amazingly talented author community. It’s good karma, and I think the more our authors do this, the more everyone benefits.

FAQ on Image Use in Previews

If you have questions about what images you can and cannot use in item previews, please feel free to ask in the comments. Here are a few question/answer combos you might find helpful.

Q. If I buy an image from PhotoDune via the Regular or Extended license, can I use the same image for multiple projects or multiple marketplace files that I create/sell?

Yes! You may re-use the image you purchase multiple times, for example in multiple item previews.

Q. Can I use watermarked images from the Envato Marketplaces in my live previews hosted off-site?

Yes! So long as you are using the watermarked content exclusively for an item preview of an Envato Marketplace file.

So to be clear if you are a non-exclusive author and selling the same item elsewhere, you should not use watermarked Envato Marketplace previews in your item preview.

Q.  Can I use watermarked images from the Envato Marketplaces in my previews on other marketplaces?

No.  You can only use watermarked content in item previews on Envato Marketplaces. If your item is sold on other marketplaces, you’ll need to consider how to best source content for item previews (eg by purchasing a regular licence).

Q. Can I use unlicensed (watermarked or otherwise) content from other sites in my item previews?
No, not unless you are getting it from a service which specifically grants this right. To be clear most stock photo services do not give you this right. You are responsible for ensuring you have the correct license for all uses on the Marketplaces.

Q. Can I use anything I want in my live preview (because it is not hosted on the Envato Marketplaces)?
No. You must ensure that your live preview complies with the Marketplace content policy.

We hope that this helps to clarify some of the rules surrounding what content you can use to help spruce up your items on the Marketplaces!

Happy Selling!

5 Ways to use ReplyPantry

Posted: 22 Feb 2012 10:03 PM PST

5 Ways to Use ReplyPantry

If you know me, you know I’m all about doing the most amount of work with the least amount of effort :P If you ever come across a guy at the beach with a tattoo that says I Heart the Pareto Principle, that may well be me. Of course, you’d probably never find me at a beach and since I live in Canada I’m covered in a fine polar bear-like fur so you probably wouldn’t be able to see the tattoo anyway.

But you get the idea…

One of my jobs at Envato is taking care of the submission for our Envato Extras site. Envato Extras is a collection of awesome tools that our community has come up with. While searching for and adding new items, I come across a ton of helpful tools that save me time and make my life a whole lot easier. Today we’re going to take a look at one of those tools – ReplyPantry.

What is ReplyPantry defines the word pantry as – a room or closet in which food, groceries, and other provisions, or silverware, dishes, etc., are kept. In a pantry you are likely to find row after row of canned pickles interspersed with the occasional bread pudding that has been around since the first moon landing. Think of it as the dusty food collection that we’ll probably only eat if we’re trying to survive a nuclear winter.

Fortunately, ReplyPantry is nothing like that.

While ReplyPantry does store items, what it collects is neither dusty nor pickled. Here’s how creator Sevenspark describes it:

I've been working on a Google Chrome Extension that allows you to store canned text for use in the Envato marketplace forums and on product comments. I find myself posting the same responses over and over again in my item comments as well as here in the forums. Rather than type the same message out all the time, I thought it'd be nice to have those messages readily accessible as canned text. It even comes preloaded with some popular text snippets.

In a nutshell, ReplyPantry ads a little bucket of text snippets of your making that you can quickly add to your Marketplace posts. It saves both time and effort! I think I’m in love.

But if you need more incentive to give ReplyPantry a try, here’s a list of…

5 Ways to use ReplyPantry?

  1. Support – I’m always using this tool to paste in text snippets on how to get support. Whether it’s support from an author or Envato’s Support Team, it saves a bunch of time having the basic directions stored in ReplyPantry.
  2. Favorite Links – If you find some helpful links for Marketplace authors and users, why not store them in ReplyPantry for future use. Who knows when an opportunity will arise where you need to pull one out.
  3. Helpful Information – There’s plenty of times when a question will be asked several times on the forum. If you have a helpful response to previously asked questions, store it in ReplyPanty for when the question comes up again.
  4. Staff Replys – The Envato staff like to help out by answering questions on the forums. If there is a particularly helpful Staff reply on a forum question, keep a copy of it in ReplyPantry so you can reference it when needed.
  5. Posting a picture of Chuck Norris – Every so often on the forums there may be a need to post a picture of Chuck Norris. Should that need arise, storing the link in ReplyPantry will make the job a whole lot easier. For example…
  6. You’re welcome.

What do you use ReplyPantry For?

Surly there are a ton of more useful ways to use ReplyPantry. If you have an ingenious way of using it, we’d love to hear about it in your comments. And if you haven’t used it yet, get over to Envato Extras and download it now!

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