Best of AppStorm in November

Posted by | December 06, 2011 | Apps | No Comments

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

Sync Your Life: Student Edition

Sync Your Life: Student Edition

The life of a student can be very chaotic at times. Luckily, there are some excellent apps that are perfect for keeping track of your daily life. While each app has its own benefit individually, theyíre even more powerful when used in combination with each other to achieve seamless organization of events, assignments, notes, and anything else you would like to keep track of.

To do this, I recommend centralizing your organization around a feature-packed note-taking application. In this demonstration, I will be using Springpad.

10 of the Best Photo-Sharing Apps for Android

10 of the Best Photo-Sharing Apps for Android

This round-up aims to present an overview of arguably the best photo-sharing platforms available on Android. Now, this includes apps that focus most heavily on pictures, rather than the far larger social networks such as Google+, Facebook and Twitter which serve a wider purpose. These apps are more dedicated to sharing pictures, and make it as easy as possible to do so from your mobile phone. We haven’t included purely photo-editing apps; apps like Pixlr-o-matic and BeFunky are very cool, but there is less focus on sharing and do not provide the same kind of platform to share pictures on.

Here youíll see some big names, some new names, and some names you might not have heard ofÖ until now. Read on for some truly excellent photo-sharing apps youíll want to check out!

The All-in-One Era of Android

The All-in-One Era of Android

Google and Samsung recently released their latest and greatest flagship phone, the Galaxy Nexus, running Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich). I watched a video review of the device and I was very impressed with Googleís latest offering because it represented some big changes to Android that are going to be fantastic.

I took to my own site and penned an article praising the new phone and OS. Being an Apple-focused site, I threw a bit of iPhone discussion in there, looking at Appleís ageing mobile interface compared to Googleís fresh, modern, almost Windows Phone-ish interface.

However, Ice Cream Sandwich is helping Google recognise some big improvements to Android that is going to edge them towards a level of customer satisfaction provided by companies like Apple and Amazon, with fully integrated devices and all-in-one solutions.

The Designerís Android Toolbox

The Designerís Android Toolbox

Weíve reached a point in the evolution of computing technology where one canít deny the impact of mobile devices ñ phones, tablets and everything else to come ñ in our personal and work lives. For designers, this domain is typically governed by Apple products, be it the Mac desktops and laptops, or the range of iOS devices like iPhones, iPads or even iPod Touches. With the huge surge in adoption of the Android platform though, a lot of designers have also come onboard and are probably wondering how they can use these devices in their work context.

Being a designer myself, I went through that struggle and scoured the Android market to find all the tools I could use and benefit from. And this roundup is a culmination of that search. Letís take a look then, shall we?

Best of iPad.AppStorm

The Early Edition 2: RSS Feeds In Your Morning Newspaper

Let’s face it. The app store is overflowing with RSS readers.

On the iPad it began with the highly publicized Flipboard and developers took off from there. While I’m quite an avid blog reader, all the reader apps can begin to blend together after awhile – to a point where I find myself not paying much attention anymore. However, there are a few, like Reeder, that find ways to stand out.

Typically what causes them to stand out is a wealth of features, a beautiful design that has visual appeal, and a twist on the basic concept of reader apps. I quickly found that The Early Edition 2 fits that mold and has quite a bit to offer.

The One and Only

Several weeks ago we run a poll that asked the very simple question; could you use the iPad as your only computer?

It made me wonder about whether I really could, what the toll on my productivity would be, and how it would change the way I did things. Could I truly ditch my MacBook and move over the the iPad permanently?

How to Turn Your iPad Into the Ultimate Writing Tool

Many consider the iPad to be a content-consumption device, with little to no possibility of creating something with the large screen and limited hardware capabilities. I’d like to say that, with all fairness, those people are out of their minds! The iPad makes it easy to do many things, and can replace laptops for a fair number of people.

Aside from the computer-illiterate, the iPad may be best for writers. How can you turn your iPad into the ultimate writing machine? Read on to find out.

Rock Out: 14 iPad Apps for Listening to & Discovering Music

If you are like me, you thrive on music to get you through the day. However, when you need new tunes most of us turn to word of mouth, and get our friends involved! But what if there was a better solution? What if your iPad could help you out! With these awesome apps we can discover, listen, and share these new tunes! In this roundup we have apps to help you discover and listen to new music!

So, if you are ready to rock out with new music, read this roundup and get inspired!

Best of Windows.AppStorm

Turn Your PC Into a Wifi Hot Spot

Turn Your PC Into a Wifi Hot Spot

Ever had to stay at a hotel that only provided a single ethernet port for connectivity? Using a USB modem to connect to the internet maybe? Wouldn’t it be great if you could share you internet connection without having to buy even more fiddly hardware?

Well, you’re in luck because that’s exactly what we’re going to take a look at today!

Tidy Up Your Computer with CleanMyPC

Tidy Up Your Computer with CleanMyPC

While there are tons of PC optimization and file sweeping applications out there on the web, few offer a complete solution that gives you hard drive clean up, registry error fixing, and other ways of speeding up your computer. While programs like CCleaner and Revo Uninstaller can tackle one or a few of these features at a time, CleanMyPC by MacPaw has them all. But does it successfully pull it off? Keep reading to find out!

Sauerbraten: A Fast Paced First-Person Shooter

Sauerbraten: A Fast Paced First-Person Shooter

Today, I would like to go off the beaten path a little and share a little-known first person shooter with you that I have been enjoying for years. Sauerbraten is an arena-based first-person-shooter with many aspects that resemble the all-time classic Quake 3.

Being highly addictive and always impressive to play, Sauerbaten is an ideal combination of fun weapons and fast gameplay. Read on for my full review.

11 Terrific Cloud Backup Solutions for Your PC

11 Terrific Cloud Backup Solutions for Your PC

Backing up files is the smartest thing a computer owner can do. Storing them in the cloud means less investment upfront and unlimited storage that can be accessed from any place. Thanks to the intense competition among the cloud backup services, you can get unlimited storage for just a few bucks.

But, it isn’t like cloud backup services are the silver bullet. Some tend to revise their pricing plans, throttle upload bandwidth and so on. Still, given that the domain is in its infancy, things should improve over time. Follow me after the fold to check out some of the coolest cloud backup solutions available.

Best of iPhone.AppStorm

Great Apps and Software From XDA-Developers

iCloud Is Broken and It Needs to Be Fixed

Many years ago, back before I was a convert to the world of Macs, I wanted to find a way to sync the contacts on my various computers, that way I always had the right phone number on hand. To do that, I used a new online service, which didn’t really work the way I expected it to. I always found myself with doubles or missing contacts, which essentially defeated the purpose.

Today we have iCloud, which is supposed to be an improvement on the problems we had with MobileMe. But with those improvements comes a problem — relying on the system. And when it doesn’t work, then there’s a problem. A big one.

Orchestra: Everybody Plays a Part

There is no shortage of to-do apps in the App Store. There are apps that will sync across platforms, apps that only reside on your phone and apps that live primarily on the web. I would say that behind games and camera applications, to-do apps are the most popular in the store.

They all offer different features, and have their own strengths and weaknesses. Today we’re going to take a look at Orchestra, the app that aims to be home for your own personal to-do list and the tasks that need to get done by, or are assigned by, the other people that you work with. It also has a companion app which we reviewed on our sister site, Web.AppStorm as well.

Meet The Developers: Emmanuel Crouvisier from Tagg

It’s funny how small this world is. Take, for example, Emmanuel Crouvisier, the owner of Emcro and developer of Tagg, a new application that allows you to easily and quickly tag the pictures taken with your iPhone using facial recognition. I worked with him a few years back when we were both at a magazine in Arizona, and then I went my way and he went his, but we kept in touch. Flash to today, and not only has he built quite a few apps for other companies, but now he’s branched out on his own and developed Tagg for the iPhone, and pushing iOS 5 to the max. With the launch of his new app, we figured it might be a good time to sit down and talk about development, what he’s doing with Tagg and the future of app development. Enjoy.

Securely Store Anything With 1Password

I’m not a big fan of applications that store passwords and information like that, and it’s for a very good reason: once you stop with the habit of remembering passwords yourself, you forget them, since you’re relying on an app to do it. Apart from that, there’s the security issue, since your passwords are being stored in a potentially insecure system.

That said, 1Password isn’t any password management software. Like its name doesn’t suggest, it can store almost any kind of information, not just passwords. This comes very handy in case you need to buy something online but don’t carry your credit card around. Plus, it boasts hardware accelerated AES encryption, so even if you lost your device, someone would have to go through a tough time to gain access to your passwords.

Best of Web.AppStorm

6 Ways to Make the Web Easier to Read

Sometimes it seems that writing is more important today than it’s ever been in history. From Facebook status updates to txt messages, we’re all writing and reading almost more than we’re talking and listening. And while the internet has hastened print media’s troubles, many of us still read tons of text online weekly.

Whether you’re reading news articles, a great longform story, or a review of a new app here at the AppStorm network, sometimes the internet just isn’t the best place for thoughtful reading. From small font sizes to cluttered layouts, the web often takes the joy out of reading. Here’s some of the best ways to make your online reading experience better no matter where you’re reading.

Offline Gmail: A Neat HTML5 WebApp

Ever since Google killed off Google Gears, users were left without any way to access their Gmail accounts without internet. Google said they were ending Gears because they wanted to focus on implementing HTML5 to get a newer, more complete, and less plugin-based system for offline email.

Even though it’s been a long time in the making, Google’s finally kept their word: the Offline Gmail app is now available for free in the Chrome Web Store. Keep reading to see our overview of this iPad-inspired offline web app for Chrome.

Otixo: Access All Your Online Files in a Single Place

If you are using the Internet, there is absolutely no chance you aren’t using cloud storage. Knowingly or unknowingly, your data is stored in a remote server waiting to be accessed from any device you choose to use. And if you are someone like me, you likely use a whole bunch of cloud services to do one thing or the other. From invoicing, email to getting things done and composing this very article, I depend on the cloud for a huge portion of my computing life.

It’s a conscious choice, and over the couple of years I have willfully reduced my dependency on local storage. Over the course of the day, I have to open and close a lot of apps to get work done. I’d would love to avoid that. Otixo is a web app that creates a centralized place to access all files stored in the cloud across all of your storage services, letting you move files seamlessly between, say, Google Docs and Dropbox. That sounds like an app that most of us could use today, with a growing number of files saved on dozens of apps across the web.

Web Apps We’re Thankful For in 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! For Americans around the globe (including your editor in Thailand), Thanksgiving a time of family and friends and football and more food. And, of course, it’s the time we’re supposed to take a few moments to think of all the things we’re thankful for. Most of us have life far easier today than the original settlers and native Americans did back in the 1600′s, but there’s still a lot to be thankful for.

Truth be told, almost every device and app we touch today would have seemed magical only a decade or two ago, and the internet itself is almost a modern miracle. Here’s some of the biggest things in the world of web apps the AppStorm team is thankful for this year.

Best of Mac.AppStorm

Return of the King: Will Quicksilver Reign Once More?

Quicksilver. For seasoned Mac users that word instantly draws up fond memories of an app that was once at the top of every list of must have utilities. The beloved launcher has been out of the game for years though, an unceremoniously abandoned project that went before its time.

It seems though that the story doesn’t end there. The open source Quicksilver project, housed at QSApp.com, is alive and kicking and recently released a major update for Lion users. Intrigued? Read on!

Upgrade Your MacBook With A Dual HD/SSD Setup

SSD’s or Solid State Drives are a popular upgrade lately due to the very significant difference they can make to even an older Mac’s performance in real world use. Unfortunately, SSD’s are also still prohibitively expensive for those of us who wish to keep large quantities of media on an internal hard drive.

There are a few workarounds for this, but most rely on an external drive or cloud storage. Alternatively, the following guide will show you how to install an SSD and make use of a larger, standard hard drive in the SuperDrive bay. As far as non-standard upgrades go, it’s not too difficult, but is perhaps not best suited for complete novices and may well void your warranty.

Stop the Presses: Sneak Preview of Alfred 1.0

Big news, our favorite launcher is finally about to hit version one! It’s hard to believe that the app has received so much attention and good press while in a fairly experimental state but the simple truth is that Mac users simply can’t get enough of Alfred’s perfect combination of depth and simplicity.

Read on as we take a renewed look at what Alfred can do along with some awesome new features you can look forward to in the 1.0 release!

30 of the Best Calendar Apps and Utilities for Mac

We’ve scoured the Mac App Store and the web in search of the very best calendar apps for OS X. Some serve as full on iCal replacements while others are must have companion apps that extend iCal far beyond what it currently offers.

We found apps that put calendars on your desktop, in your menu bar, on a screensaver and just about everything else you could want. If you’re in the market for a new calendar utility of any kind, this is the roundup for you. I’ll even help you cut through the clutter by pointing out my favorite app of all!

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!