Best of AppStorm in June

by posted in News
Jul 5
2012

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, Android, Windows, or iPadapps, 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

Google I/O 2012 Keynote: Jelly Bean and the Nexus 7

Google I/O 2012 Keynote: Jelly Bean and the Nexus 7

The keynote speech of Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O 2012, saw the company unveil Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), the Nexus 7 (an official Android tablet), new apps for Maps, Currents, and Google+, Android’s own search assistant, and more.

In case you missed the presentation, here’s a quick overview.

7 Windows Phone Features I Want In Android

7 Windows Phone Features I Want In Android

Having used Symbian, Windows Mobile, Meego and iOS in the past, and settled on Android for the past 18 months, I have been quite excited to check out Windows Phone’s current offer in terms of ecosystem, OS, and devices. Thus, for the past couple of months, I have been using a Nokia Lumia 800 (running WP 7.5) as my secondary device, along with my primary HTC Desire Z (running ICS). After a series of ups and downs, I have found a lovely cocoon with both platforms, although the back and forth between them is highlighting all the exclusive features in each that I wish existed on the other.

Here, I will tackle the Windows Phone features that I really hope make it to Android. These points are based on the out of the box options of each, neglecting what could possibly be done with rooting, unlocking, custom ROMs, homebrews, and so on.

Where’s My Water? – A Disney Puzzle Game for All Ages

Where’s My Water? – A Disney Puzzle Game for All Ages

I’ve never really understood how the urban legend of alligators living in sewers ever came to be, but Disney found a way to put a cute spin on it in their super-fun puzzle game Where’s My Water?

Although it features cartoonish graphics that kids will enjoy, the levels are suitable for players of all ages. And to puzzle fans who think this looks like a piece of cake, be warned – this game has bite!

Not Just Helicopters: Gadgets You Can Control With Android

Not Just Helicopters: Gadgets You Can Control With Android

From universal remote controls and dogfighting helicopters, to gadgetry like car key finders, your Android’s screen is a blank canvas – a metaphor for how it makes an awesome control panel for, well, everything!

All the toys and gadgetry in this list ship with accompanying Android apps which part the veil on a future where “there’s an app for that” will be a valid response to every question. The modern smartphone is barely half a decade old with an even younger app ecosystem. Projects like the Kickstarter-funded Laser Tag gun and mainstream approaches from automakers like Viper with their smartphone car remote offer a glimpse into the future of appified everything.

Best of iPad.AppStorm

Your Company’s Database on the Road With FileMaker Go 12

Ask anyone in the office what the best database software for the Mac or PC is and you will hear FileMaker Pro. FileMaker inc’s top of the line database app has been winning awards and praises for years and now the power of your entire company’s database can be on your iPad.

FileMaker Go 12 for the iPad does exactly what you think it does – takes exactly what you see on your desktop’s screen, and makes it available on your iPad. Your company is about to get extremely mobile. Read more to find out how.

10 Unique Apps That Inspire Creativity

Creativity is a wonderful thing. A part of what makes it fun is through finding daily inspiration in almost everything we do. Whether you’re making music, creating great new digital illustrations, or trying to think of new ideas for your next photo project, there will always come a time when you need that little extra push. Fortunately, the sky’s the limit when it comes to pushing your creative boundaries on the iPad, thanks to these unique apps.

Though today’s list may consist of a few content creation apps, it will also contain entertainment and reference apps that simply aim to light that spark from within. We hope you find something new! Read on for more.

50 People You Should Follow on Twitter

Today I thought I’d take a different approach to the trusty Roundup and share some awesome people to follow on Twitter for iOS, Apple, and technology insight! It can feel pretty daunting trying to find good people to to follow, like shopping for Oyster Sauce in the supermarket (I’m still recovering from that expedition), but have no fear, I’m here to help.

Twitter is an awesome place to find people who are really switched on and engage with them in a meaningful way, getting snippets of revelation, humour, and the daily trivia of people’s lives has never been so easy!

I enlisted the enthusiastic help of the AppStorm team to hone and refine this expansive list, we all hope you like it. My only word of advice: be ruthlessly selective, or prepare to be swallowed by a deluge of carefully chosen characters.

What the New Microsoft Surface Means for the iPad

Throughout history, as long as there have been market leaders there have been competitors, that’s just how it goes – Coca Cola has Pepsi, Ferrari has Lamborghini, and Apple has Microsoft and Google. With regard to the tablet market the recently announced Microsoft Surface tablets (Surface and Surface Pro) could be the first truely serious contenders from Microsoft who are looking for a slice of the extremely lucrative market practically created by Apple’s ever-dominant iPad.

So what does the new Microsoft Surface announcement mean for the iPad?

Best of Windows.AppStorm

Windows 8 Release Preview – What’s New?

Windows 8 Release Preview – What’s New?

There is no doubt Windows 8 is going to be the star attraction amongst the software lineup of the current year. All Windows releases get a lion’s share of the spotlight and customer attention, but this time the effect is going to be amplified many times over. This buzz is largely due to the Metro interface that’s making a transition from Windows Phone 7 to millions of desktop computers.

At this juncture, each and every tech enthusiast out there has witnessed and appreciated the awesomeness of Metro and people can’t wait to have the same goodness on tablets and desktops. With the Windows 8 Release Preview launch from a few days ago, we are inching closer to the final launch date.

After the break we have covered in detail what’s new and what has changed in Windows 8 since the consumer preview. Hit jump to learn more!

Nokia Lumia 800 Review – Windows Phone Never Looked Better

Nokia Lumia 800 Review – Windows Phone Never Looked Better

October 2011. Nokia was ready to showcase its first effort in Windows Phone with the Lumia 800, only ten months after announcing the switch from Symbian to Microsoft’s operating system as its main smartphone platform. Touted as the “first real Windows Phone”, the Lumia 800 was received with big fanfare from the Nokia fans, and a few shrugs from the Android and iOS crowd, as well as Samsung and HTC who had already released several Windows Phone devices.

Now, eight months after the announcement, the Lumia 800 has been out-spec’ed by the Lumia 900, and out-bargained by the Lumia 710 and Lumia 610, yet it still holds a good place in the Windows Phone ecosystem, with frequent updates and many operator contracts worldwide. Here is my personal review of it, focusing on the specific Lumia experience compared to other Windows Phone devices, outlining the reasons of its success as well as the shortcomings that I’ve noticed over a couple of months of regular use.

A Computer Builders Guide: Which is the Best Case for You?

A Computer Builders Guide: Which is the Best Case for You?

Over the forthcoming months at Windows Appstorm, we will be looking at each integral part of your computer: from the minor parts to the most important pieces of your machine. We will be reviewing the best choices available to help you make the best choice when building your next PC.

In our first edition, we will be looking at the best on offer in terms of computer cases. An important part of your computer, it needs to be suited towards your certain needs to control and stabilize the other hardware. In this article, I will be looking at four different price bands, choosing my favourite case from each.

Hopefully some of them will appeal to you! Read on to find out!

Code Efficiently With Notepad++

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?

Best of iPhone.AppStorm

Bumpy Road: An Arcade Game With a Love Story

The best arcade games aren’t just challenging or visually stimulating — they tell a story. Bumpy Road is an arcade game that harnesses the arcade game trifecta: It’s challenging; it’s (very) visually appealing; and it has a story element with charming characters.

In the game, you guide an older couple (the game creators describe the pair as “a couple in their autumn years”) as they take a drive, and it’s your job to safely maneuver them through each course, helping them to collect memoriesto tell the story of their past. Ready to turn back time? Click “more” to put the pedal to the metal.

Monsters Ate My Condo: The Craziest App You’ll Ever Love

I guess I’ll start off this post by saying that [adult swim] has never resorted to normalcy with their applications. I mean, with titles like Robot Unicorn Attack and Snoticles, it’s safe to say that their applications won’t be like the rest.

The same holds true with one of their lesser known applications, Monsters Ate My Condo. In this game, you will go on a quest to keep your condo conquest from falling into the monsters’ hands. Can you undertake this crazy challenge? Find out after the break.

50 Fantastic Wallpapers for Your iPhone

Every few months, I like to look for new wallpapers to put on my devices, whether it be a Mac, iPad or iPhone. There are far too many wallpaper sites on the Internet to keep up with all the time, but I know a few good artists and photographers who have some very well-done content and I typically check their latest releases for an interesting new way to show off my device’s screen.

You could look for hours trying to find different types of wallpapers that suit you since there are so many options, but I’m going to help you out. Instead of having to look for all those great backgrounds, I’ve compiled a list featuring 50 of the best photos, Photoshop pieces and anything else that will look beautiful on your iPhone’s Retina display. Keep reading to check them out.

iOS 6 and the iPhone

On Monday, Apple announced many new features that will be coming to the iPhone in the fall of this year with iOS 6. Even though there are a lot of new features to look at, I’d like to delve into some of the notable differences in this recent alteration of Apple’s mobile operating system. After the break, I’ll take a deep look into new features like navigation, Passbook, the beautiful UI changes throughout the OS, a few of the bugs that you should watch out for when testing the beta and more.

Best of Web.AppStorm

Squarespace: The True WordPress Killer?

People love WordPress for a good reason: it’s so user friendly that basically anyone can use it. Making a new blog post is as easy as logging in and pressing ‘Add new’. With such a wide variety of free and premium plug-ins, most users wouldn’t see a reason to not go with WordPress when starting a new blog. I too thought this, and was really happy running my personal blog on a self-hosted WordPress install. But this all changed a few months ago when I was given an opportunity to test Squarespace.

If you don’t already know, Squarespace is a relatively new service which we’ve reviewed before. And while a lot of things remain the same, many improvements have been made to the service over the years, including better pricing and added features. In this review, I will be going over what I think of Squarespace, and the features that stand out the most to me and that matter to most users.

Pocket: The All-New Read it Later

Read it Later was a one of the original services for saving articles to read later offline, on your smartphone, tablet, or even from your browser. But, I never really liked it, and thought the service was just okay. That is, until they rebranded themselves and came out with a great new look and design. Read it Later was reborn as Pocket, a new way to read stuff later that was much more interesting than the old service.

There were many things that intrigued me about the revamped service, and I had to give it a try. The focus of this article will not be to compare what Read it Later was like to what Pocket is now, nor will it be about comparing it to other similar services like Instapaper. Instead, I want to soley focus on Pocket and what it has to offer. If you’ve never used a read later service, you might first want to check out our article about how they can boost your productivity by letting you read anytime, anywhere.

The New Bit.ly: 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.

Every Business Needs the Cloud, Period.

Computers are everywhere. Just look around: you’ll see full PCs in everything from info kiosks to the seating system at restaurants, and smaller networked devices in barcode scanners, fuel pumps, and more. Everything’s computerized, networked, which makes our world insanely great, more efficient, and cost effective.

Well, not exactly. The world is computerized, but so many companies aren’t taking advantage of the simplicity and efficiency gains that web apps could bring. They’ve got the equipment to do it, but simply aren’t taking advantage of it.

Why is this a problem? It all starts with a pizza order…

Best of Mac.AppStorm

Why I Use Fluid for Twitter Insted of Apps

If you’ve been a Mac user for a while, then you’ve probably heard of Fluid. It’s a simple tool that lets you make websites feel like actual apps, with their own webkit-powered window and dock icon. You can customize icons, save userscripts for individual sites, and more. It’s quite the useful app if you use web apps often.

I’ve been using it more frequently lately to replace the Twitter clients I used to have on my Mac. Why, you ask? Well, there are a few reasons. Join me after the break for an example of how you can use Fluid to make your experience with Twitter and other apps on the Internet more up-to-date and smooth.

TextExpander 4: Worth the Upgrade?

If you use TextExpander much, chances are you don’t actually think about the app itself that much. You’ve added your own shortcuts to it over the years, and now you type them in and they’re automatically expanded without you even thinking. It just becomes another part of your Mac.

This week, Smile Software released the first full new version of TextExpander since 2010. It adds several new features, but if you’re already using TextExpander 3, a quick glance at their new features list might not even make it seem like its worth your time to upgrade. After all, when’s the last time you opened the TextExpander window, anyhow?

Turns out, there’s more than meets the eye in TextExpander 4.

CheatSheet – Learn Keyboard Shortcuts the Easy Way

Have you ever admired how professionals get stuff done so incredibly fast on their Macs? It’s often hard to follow what they’re doing because they never stop to grab their mouse or use their tablet. They keep hammering away on their keyboard, controlling apps via shortcuts in a way that makes us wonder how they ever memorized them all.
If you want to take your skills on the Mac to the next level as well, a tiny utility will now help you find you all the shortcuts you need to be a pro. Readers, meet CheatSheet.

Productivity Smackdown: Producteev vs Wunderkit

There was a time when my desk was perpetually covered in Post-It notes. I used to have to write down every little task I needed to complete for a project, and then keep track of them in an admittedly chaotic manner. Fortunately for people like me, various methods such as Getting Things Done have inspired fantastic productivity apps that make our lives more organized.

Such productivity apps are a dime a dozen, but today we are going to be looking at two task managers that set themselves apart. Producteev and Wunderkit are two powerful task managers that offer a similar set of features. I’ve spent the last few weeks playing around with each of these apps, and we are going to look at how their features stack up against each other.

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!

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Joel Bankhead is a writer and musician based in Manchester, UK. He is currently the manager of AppStorm, and the assistant manager of Tuts+.
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