The AppStorm team have been hard at work again. Here is a huge bunch of great free apps and web services they covered.
Save Your Notes to the Cloud with Metanota
Research, writing an article, listing down next week’s groceries, and planning travel itineraries—all these require you to take down notes. How else will you be able to remember what to bring or what aspect of your topic to research?
Thankfully, there are plenty of Mac apps to help you jot down notes. Keeping tabs on ideas, details, and information wherever you go is now easy and worry-free, since you won’t have to worry about misplacing pieces of paper and spending hours trying to locate them.
There are different types of note-taking apps the market, one category being a desktop application that syncs with a note-taking web app like Simplenote. Simplenote is quite popular for its simplicity, clean interface, and seamless integration with other apps such as Notational Velocity and Scrivener.
For today’s review, I’ll be taking a look at Metanota, a note-taking app that creates and syncs all of your notes to the cloud via Simplenote while making sure to maintain a simple and interference-free experience.
Free App Store Deals This Week
As always every Wednesday, here are our weekly picks of the best (and free) deals on the App Store for this week.
5 Great (and Free) Alternatives to QuickTime
I, like quite a few people, am not a huge fan of Apple’s default media software, QuickTime, which comes bundled in with every release of OS X. Although it gets the job done for some things, I find that the range of codecs and built-in features is a little limited and not enough to suit my needs (and videos!). There are plenty of alternatives out there on the Internet, and with Front Row gone from all future releases of OS X starting from Lion, now is really the time to start looking around for an alternative.
So without further ado, here are my 5 top free alternatives to QuickTime.
Free App Store Deals This Week
As always every Wednesday, here are our weekly picks of the best (and free) deals on the App Store for this week.
Set Social Goals With WorkSimple
Goal setting is an incredibly important practice for our lives. We set goals in order to advance in our careers, learn new skills, pursue passions, get fit and much more. Unfortunately, keeping track of all the smaller steps needed to achieve goals is often difficult. Actually achieving all of the steps and thus the goal is even harder, without some form of external motivation.
That’s where the site WorkSimple comes in. WorkSimple is a social goal-setting and tracking application where users set goals and then share the goals with their peers. This creates a sense of accountability, allowing for the achievement of more goals. WorkSimple offers applications for both businesses and individuals, although this review is focused solely on the individual application. Read on to learn more about the capabilities of WorkSimple and what I thought of it.
Spinto: Git and Jekyll Powered Websites Made Simple
Creating websites can be fun, but web development can easily scare beginners away. Last week we reviewed Weebly, a web app that makes developing a web site dead simple even for absolute beginners. Even being the great service that it is, though, most developers frown upon it for one simple reason: it does not speak their language.
More often than not, you’ll find the developers and the rest of your team at loggerheads for the same reason: the devs want geeky tools, and everyone else wants a solution that’s simple to use without touching code. Is there a solution that can be used by both developers and content managers at the same time without frustrating either group? That’s what Spinto is all about: an app that brings developers and the rest of your team together.
Everyme: A Simpler Kind of Social Network
As we all know, social networking has been the buzz word for the past few years with Facebook and Twitter leading the way. But, lately, I have started to see a bigger push to go away from such a public space. As much as I love to use these social networks, there are times when I just want to share something with a few people, and not necessarily all 500 friends that I have on Facebook. There are other times when I want to message a group of people and I don’t want to bother using any of my social networking tools to do that. Does anyone else feel this way?
Everyme is one of those apps that understands this dilemma and wants to help you out in this area. Yes, it is another social network, so to speak, but it cuts out a lot of the clutter and noise. It gives you the opportunity to communicate with people on a smaller scale. Let me show you more about what I am talking about.
Keep Your Users Up to Date with OffsiteStatus
You’ve probably encountered a time when a service you want to use is unavailable, and it’s frustrating. In fact, just the other day I wanted to get in a little bit of Minecraft, but with their login servers down, it was impossible. Similar downtimes have crippled a number of popular services, making the most headlines when it’s something involving email. With generic failure messages, it’s difficult for the end user to diagnose: is it a problem on my end, or is it something I’m unable to solve?
Enter the status website. Lots of services have them, including Twitter, Google and Apple. They act as a destination for troubled users to head to in order to diagnose a problem, or check whether maintenance is in progress. While it’s something you can probably knock off yourself, OffsiteStatus is a simple, but useful, web app that generates a site status page to send your users to. Let’s see how it can make your life simpler by giving you a separate hosted service for letting your users know how your website’s working.
Track Your Work Time with TSheets
Tracking the time you spend working is something many of us need to do, whether we like it or not. For people like freelancers, tracking time is an essential part of the job in order to aptly bill your client later on. And in all different industries, time sheets are used to clock in and out of a job (and if you’ve ever watched The Simpsons, you’ll know how this can be exploited!).
TSheets is essentially a virtual timesheet, allowing you to track your time on the web, whatever the context. If you’re in a position to do so, you can also manage the time of your employees and produce reports that directly integrated into services like QuickBooks and FreshBooks.
The New Bitly: A Refreshing Look at Social Bookmarking
Up until recently, we all knew Bitly as one of the most popular URL shortening services on the web. It was one of the pioneer’s of URL shortening, and I relied on it heavily for this exact reason. I loved how I could customize my URL as well as track stats on it through the service. Back before Twitter automatically shortened links, it was one of the most important services for tweeting links.
But, recently, Bitly did what is commonly know in the tech world as a “pivot.” Yup, they completely changed the direction of their service into something somewhat completely different than their original plan of a URL shortening app. Granted, when a company does something like this, they are bound to take some flack for it and Bitly has been no exception to this. But, after I started to play with it a bit, I found that this new service is a good one and I plan to keep using it.
Get ready to meet the new Bitly: a social bookmarking service that just happens to shorten URLs, too.
Weduary: The Best Way to Share your Wedding
Weddings are a pinnacle moment in anyone’s life. It should be a special day which you can share with friends and family. However, after the wedding is over there is always the dilemma of transferring information and pictures from person to person. Everyone wants to treasure the special memories of the day! This is where Weduary can significantly help you.
Weduary is a web app that helps you to quickly create a wedding website in a short amount of time. Using a simple template which guides users easily through the different steps, you can make a special wedding to celebrate your wedding without spending hours trying to design a site and figure out how a new tool works.
Organize Your Dropbox with SortMyBox
Things are better when they’re organized. That’s why you should keep your toolbox and spice rack organized, why you match your socks and sort your mail. That’s why we have folders and other tools on our computers to keep our content in line, and easy to find in the future. However, it’s generally up to us to manually organize our things, from tools to digital files, into the order we want.
SortMyBox is a simple web app for Dropbox that automatically sorts your folder based on the rules you setup, using a very simple “when this, do that” format. In the app, you specify what in the file’s name or extension to detect, then create a rule to send those files to the folder you want, with the app checking every 15 minutes for new files to sort. It couldn’t be much simpler.
Chrome Remote Desktop: Free VNC, Chrome Powered
One of the things that I hate the most is when I am working on a document for work at home and I forget to put it Dropbox. Then I go to work and realize that I don’t have the document I’d worked half the night on, and now I cannot get the document that I need because it is on my home computer. I am not sure if this happens to you or not, but man, this just frustrates me to no end.
I know there are many ways for me to not forget my document on my home computer, but I stumbled upon something a couple of weeks ago and I had no idea it even existed. This is called the Chrome Remote Desktop, and yes, it is part of Google Chrome (well, with the addition of a small extension). I thought to myself, “Google made a remote desktop app and how did I not know about this?” I just had to try it out to see it for myself.
Twitpic: Worth the Wait
User generated content defined the whole Web 2.0 era. From written word to videotaped recordings, common folks took control of everything and shared it publicly for free. Sharing videos and pictures has exploded exponentially, aided by easy to use mobile apps and social networks. Twitpic is one such web app and it is synonymous with image sharing on Twitter. Millions of folks use it to share their photos everyday.
Consider it the defacto Twitter web app for uploading images and videos along with tweets. Curiously, such a successful, social multimedia sharing platform didn’t bother to come up with a mobile app. Up until now. Recently, this free image sharing network launched its iOS app and after the break, let’s take it for a spin.
The Weather Channel: Your Weather, Redesigned
The Weather Channel first launched in May, 1982 and since has become one of the most prominent sources (if not the most) of weather news. Nowadays, The Weather Channel has become more than just a cable network, providing consumers with multiple methods of weather news, including browser plugins, desktop widgets and even SMS text updates. So when the App Store was first introduced in July, 2008 The Weather Channel app was released four months later to eager iPhone users.
Since its release, The Weather Channel app has maintained a three and a half star rating from nearly 350,000 ratings, which is respectable considering most apps from big name companies usually do not fare well in that system (e.g. Facebook and Twitter). Recently, version 5.0 was released, offering “the first major redesign since [The Weather Channel’s] initial launch in 2008.” So does the redesign mean an approved user experience? Let us find out after the jump.
Frightening Puzzles in Gabrielle’s Monster Match
I have always been a fan of puzzle games and RPGs. These elements are expressed perfectly in this thrilling puzzle experience. Gabrielle’s Monster Match is a new release to the App Store which combines the Connect Four gameplay mechanic with a more complicated scoring system.
This game is a spinoff from the 3DS release of Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove. The iPhone port uses characters from the original as puzzle pieces which you match up to collect points. It’s a very fun game to play with and it’s 100-percent free to download.
Plan Your Next Trip With Ask a Nomad
The internet provides an amazing way to communicate with people all over the world, for any purpose that you’d like. Sometimes that’s easy to forget when you spend so much time doing other stuff like watching cat videos. Take traveling as an example, doing a quick search on the web about a foreign strange place that you’d like to visit will give you a ton of useful information that you otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
The iPad is a particularly amazing device to travel with, because of its portability and all the things it can do, like have worldwide internet connectivity with 3G and give you access to updated maps all over the world. That’s why today we’re bringing you an app that can help you connect with locals from all over the world and get questions answered regarding their area, right on your iPad. It’s called Ask A Nomad. Are you interested?
Word Off: A New Play on Words
Do you obliterate the competition when it comes to word games? Think you’ve conquered every lexicon challenge out there? Do you stay up late at night picturing Words with Friends letter combinations in your mind? Oh, maybe that last one is just me.
If word games are your thing you’ll want to check out Word Off. Read on and I’ll help you determine if you’re up for the challenge of going head-to-head with friends or complete strangers in this vocabulary throw down.
1Weather is the Most Beautiful and Functional Weather App Ever
1Weather is a gorgeous weather app created by OneLouder, the minds behind apps like BaconReader and Tweetcaster. Like the other apps in the OneLouder catalog, 1Weather is full of useful features, all presented in a pretty package that adds a bit of class to any Android home screen. Not only does 1Weather show you the weather, it also provides real-time updates and social integration that helps you stay on top of the ever-changing atmosphere.
There are plenty of weather apps on the market, so what makes 1Weather any different? According to the folks at OneLouder, their weather app brings a “unique animation and graphics to create a more stylish experience.” The app is not just pretty (did I say that already?), it’s also packed with useful features and a gaggle of informative content, topped off with an intuitive user interface that just about anyone can manage. As a matter of fact, 1Weather is only available for higher-end devices due to resolution, resource, and animation requirements.
Uploading Photos is a Snap with the Bu.mp App
Bu.mp has been around for a while and it really is an extraordinary way to share information with other smartphone users (Android and iPhone). Seriously, just as the name implies, all you have to do is bump phones with another Bu.mp user and – presto! – you’re sharing contact info, photos, and app suggestions.
Sail The Web With Boat Browser
Smart phone users usually expect more from their mobile browsers. The way we view websites on desktops is not always the same pleasant experience when we use our phones’ smaller screens. With this demand came a range of browsers for Android, all competing to meet a variety of user expectations.
If you have an Android smart phone, chances are you’ve used (or are still using) Dolphin Browser, Opera, Google Chrome or Firefox Beta. For the longest time, I was pretty happy with having Dolphin as my default browser – until Boat Browser came along. I gravitated towards its simple, clean interface with a resolution slightly larger than Dolphin’s. I was so pleased by its cool original features that I decided to make it my default app for opening websites.
Access and Edit Files with Google Drive
There was a lot of buzz a few weeks ago when Google announced that Docs would become Drive, a general purpose file storage/syncing application with similar functionality to Dropbox. As a matter of fact, I reviewed the web app – the summary being that it’s good, but I will stick with Dropbox. The Android app, on the other hand, offers a completely unique experience that’s worth exploring.
Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) is an app that allows you to store, sync, and edit files between multiple devices. While we’ve seen similar functionality from services like Dropbox, with Drive you can edit certain files natively from within the app. We’ll take a look at that in a bit, but first, let’s look at storing and syncing.
Manage Your Inner Soldier With CoD Elite
When Modern Warfare 3 launched it created a big splash in the world of FPS games. Apart from the usual collection of new weapons and maps, MW3 also bought a completely new service with it called ‘Elite‘, allowing you to manage your load-outs, get map intel and improve your gameplay, all from your Android. Gamers speculated that Elite was going to be like Facebook for CoD fans, but it turned out to be something quite different.
From Elite’s website you can view training videos, map strategies, sniper points and similar things – and it’s hard to deny how fun and easy it is to be able to adjust your loadouts and view map intel on a PC! But does the same sense of fun and simplicity exist in its Android counterpart?
Share Your Ideas Easily With Jing
There may be many times where you or someone you know could use a little help finding or doing something on the computer. Calling or emailing someone text directions can be a big problem. Also, you may want to show something on your screen to customer service or send something funny to a friend. To do these cool things you will need an application that can handle the task and that is where Jing comes in.
Jing is a simple way to capture and share what is going happening on your computer screen. Jing also has cool share functions that integrate with Screencast.com. Interested? Of course you are! Read on to find out what I think of Jing!
Automatic Shortcuts to Drives with DriveShortcut
When you insert a CD or DVD, or even plug in a USB drive, you’ll probably find that Windows’ AutoPlay kicks in and asks what you would like to do with the drive.
If you would like more flexibility so you can choose when you access the drive, you may find TweakNow DriveShortcut is the sort of tool that could help you.
Spotify- The Future of the Music Player?
Music playback on the internet has created a huge buzz during this decade and the last with the rise of websites like YouTube and applications such as iTunes dominating the market. Searching through online music players for your favourite songs can be a tedious experience. This is where Spotify comes into play.
Spotify is an immense database of over a million songs from every walk of life. For years, Spotify has been only accessible in Europe but has recently been introduced to the United States of America. I stumbled upon Spotify after struggling through the process of searching through other sites for years for high quality music and a fast service. Is it right for you? That’s what we’re going to find out!
Code Efficiently With Notepad++
Whether you’re in the business of developing software, building websites or are learning a new coding language for a weekend project, you definitely need a good IDE to code with. There are several available to suit various needs and budgets but if you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to first check out what’s on offer for free.
Notepad++ is a great option for both novice and advanced coders, and everyone in between. The app is open-source, free to download, supports multiple languages, comes with a boatload of functionality out of the box and supports plugins to too. It also allows for fine-grained customization so you can tweak it till you’re comfortable. Let’s build something with it and see how we go, shall we?
Protecting Your Data With TrueCrypt
Laptops provide convenience. Not being tied to one spot to use your computer gives you the freedom to work or play on your schedule. No longer does a vacation leave you disconnected from the world. You can take your computer with you to a coffee shop for a change of scenery while still bringing your files and programs with you.
But just as you can easily take your computer with you, someone else can take your computer with them. A thief can pick up your laptop in a moment and be gone before you notice during a moment’s inattention. Your laptop can be left in a cab, on an airplane, or at a hotel. Most often the thief just wants the hardware to sell, but they also gain access to everything on your laptop. Encryption can protect your data, but can be difficult to use. TrueCrypt can provide a simple and reliable way to protect your data.
Inbox2: A Social Email Application
I have eight email accounts, plus Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, which means I have many different browsers open at any given time to keep track of everything. What if I told you there is a one-stop shop that collates all of your email and social media accounts into one handy-dandy desktop application?
The app to rule them all is Inbox2, a free, open-source social email application that integrates your email accounts with your social media accounts. Let’s find out how well Inbox2 stacks up as a social email app.
PhraseExpress: Text Expansion Done Right
You have probably heard a lot of people swear by their text expansion apps, and go on and on about how it has made them immensely more productive. You probably also haven’t tried one yet because you haven’t felt the pressing need for it.
“I’m doing just fine with my typing. What difference would a couple keystrokes here or there make?” Do I hear you asking? Let me tell you a true story then of a guy like you, and the free Windows app that changed him forever – PhraseExpress!