Note: This post hasn't been updated in over 2 years.
The AppStorm team have been hard at work again. Here is a huge bunch of great free apps and web services they covered.
Get Notified Instantly with Boxcar
There is no doubt that the iPhone made push notifications cool and took that idea mainstream for Apple fans. But like most things Apple, at first push notifications weren’t open to all third party apps at launch. When users were clamoring for a way to get notified of things as and when they happen, Boxcar jumped in and filled the void effectively.
Boxcar was an elegant solution and alerted users with instant push notifications for all your social networks, email accounts, RSS feeds and more. As Apple opened up push notifications to third party developers, the influence of Boxcar dropped down a bit, but with 1.2 billion messages delivered to date, it’s an app with no match.
To make the lives of information junkies everywhere easy, Boxcar has released a beta version for Mac making it a breeze to receive super fast notifications when someone comments, updates or messages you. Join me after the break to check out if the app is as good as its iOS counterpart.
Quick Look: Fyels
In this Quick Look, we’re highlighting Fyels. The developer describes Fyels as the world’s simplest file sharing site. The site offers unlimited uploads and downloads, with up to a huge 11GB per file. No waiting, no ads, no premium or paid plans. Share your files with the world at Fyels.com.
The Clipboard, Reinvented For The Web
Have you ever found it difficult to share stuff you find online? Sure, there’s millions of social buttons across the ‘net to like, 1+, Tweet, and do just about anything else you can think of with the pages you read. But what if you want to, say, share a part of a page on Amazon.com with a friend to show them the a price and a picture of the thing you’re talking about? You could take a screenshot, but then you’ll have to still share a link to the site, and the text won’t be searchable. Or you could copy and paste the text, but then you’ll lose the picture, formatting, and more.
Clipboard is a new beta web app that aims to reinvent copy/paste for the web. It’s a surprisingly powerful tool that you can use to share anything you discover, embed stuff from any site on your pages, and save your favorite content safely. Here’s our first look at this innovative new way to clip and share web content.
LiveMinutes: A Better Way to Share and Meet Virtually
Webconferencing is one of the most vital, but less celebrated innovations of the broadband era. The technology in its full glory is mostly used in enterprises, and the mainstream population has become accustomed to basic video chat built into Skype, Gtalk, Google+, and even Facebook today. Yet, if you’re looking for an enterprise solution, there are so many solutions to choose from, ranging from companies like Cisco and Microsoft to no-name startups.
Even with big names backing up their product, there hardly is a web conference that doesn’t get interrupted. Either the bandwidth or the voice support fails its users, frustrating them to no end. Then there are issues with incompatible plugins and cluttered user interfaces. LiveMinutes claims to be a webconferencing app that isn’t boring, and works to streamline your meetings. Let’s go check it out.
Get Feedback and Improve Your Website with BagelHint
When building a website, it’s important to have a different set of eyes take a look and let you know if you’re on the right track, particularly because there are so many moving parts and so many doubts that can arise. Are the buttons on my site easy to find? Is the banner large enough? How about legibility? Is there a logical flow in my registration process? Which of these two header graphics should I use?
While there are some questions you can answer yourself, sometimes you might need an outside opinion. There are a ton of tools available including OpenHallway, Usabilia, and Silverback that do the job and then some, but what if your needs are simpler?
BagelHint is a little app with which you can create easy usability surveys quickly. Developed by a compact UK-based team called EpicBagel, this service is great for designers and developers looking to get started with UX feedback and testing, with projects that need just pointers and not deep analytics. There’s nothing to install and your results are displayed in real-time. All you need to use it are some screenshots and a few minutes of your time. Let’s set up a trial account and see how we go, shall we?
Quick Look: Moably Mobile Website Builder
In this Quick Look, we’re highlighting Moably Mobile Website Builder. The developer describes Moably Mobile Website Builder as Moably’s first product, a mobile website builder, lets anyone create a mobile version of their website and blog with no coding required. For free. Five easy steps using Moably’s Mobile Web App Builder will produce a quality mobile website and blog.
How To Discover New Apps With Wakoopa
Can you imagine what a computer would be without any applications? It’s a bit like imagining a car without wheels. You’ve got the basic shell, but without the wheels you can’t really do anything. It’s a bit like that with a computer and its applications. Yes, you can use the computer, but you can’t really use it to its full potential.
No matter which operating system you run, there’s usually an app out there for everything. I know the feeling that once you’ve bought a new computer (or especially if you are migrating across to another operating system), you’ll want to get downloading as many applications as possible so you can get the best out of your computer. The question is, though, which ones do you download? Do you have to trawl through those endless “The Top 50…” lists to find a couple of applications you want to download?
How about a web app to help you find new apps for your favorite platform?
Pottermore Brings a Whole New Dimension to the World of Harry Potter
I have a confession to make; I am a huge Harry Potter fan. This may not be too surprising if you know I’m a pretty big nerd. What may be more surprising is I just got into it within the last two years, so I had some catching up to do. But once I read all of the books and saw all of the movies, I wanted more. I started reading interviews with JK Rowling and other websites and came to find that the Harry Potter World is a very well thought out and immersive one with endless depth to the characters. Fans (myself included) wanted a resource where we could tap into that world.
Pottermore gives us that.
Cohuman: Project Management Done Differently
When it comes to web-based task and project management apps, the Web is literally overflowing with them. You’ve got the choice between a huge range of different ones all designed to promote greater integration within businesses and generally help towards a more productive workflow. I recently looked at yaM and Podio, which both boast a wide range of features and are pretty impressive tools to help businesses collaborate.
The only problem with these kinds of project managers is that they tend to be geared towards high-end business users and tend to over-complicate themselves with features that are wasted on the average Joe such as your author here. I’m a techie, so the more complicated things are the better they will stand out with me but for most people, these advanced features can be a bit overwhelming. Think of startup companies, who don’t want to blow their IT budget on one program and who want simple collaboration tools that lets everyone in the office know exactly what they are working on.
Enter cohuman. It is, like many others in its category, a web-based task management app but there’s a spark of insight woven into the program that makes it easy to use yet still retaining some mighty features. Cohuman has recently being bought out by Mindjet, a company that develops visualisation solutions such as mind-mapping software for both Windows and Mac. You’d think that this is a marriage made in heaven, wouldn’t you?
Well, let’s take a look at cohuman to see whether this marriage is eternal, or if it is already on the rocks…
Engage Your Students Effectively with Socrative
Students and teachers have either the most simplistic or the most complex systems at their disposal when it comes learning online. Case in point: simplistic video conference solutions and elaborate Learning Management Systems. Given that the subject matter is already hard for many, trying and spending time to understanding a new tool that helps them learn is an extra burden.
They could use a solution that is somewhere in the middle. Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Like always, I’m gonna take it for a test drive, would you like to join me?
AirDropper: Kill FTP and Let Anyone Send Files to Your Dropbox
Cloud-based storage services have made sharing large files easier. In the past, most people had to copy files to Zip disks or burn documents to a DVD or save them to a flash drive. Alternatively, you can send your files via FTP, or attach it to an email message if it’s small enough. These solutions are great, but the average Internet users might not understand FTP and most mail servers reject large files.
Dropbox has become the most popular cloud-based storage service for a number of reasons. We use it to store all sort of files and share folders with others, but not everyone use DropBox. That’s where AirDropper comes in. It’s a simple application that lets you request files using a special link that you can send by email, or a personalized web page. The recipient then hits that link to upload their file using the AirDropper website; the file will be saved in your Dropbox account. It’s a great solution to an age-old problem of sending large files, so let’s take a look and see if this will be a fit for your team’s file sharing needs.
Zinio: Magazines In Your Pocket
The iPhone as we all know, is one of the best smartphones that is out on the market. One of the greatest things about it is its ability to be able to do more than just your standard calling, email, text, etc. Apps and the App Store brought the iPhone from good to absolutely great!
Zinio is one of those apps that contributed to this leap. It is a magazine subscription and reading app for both the iPad and the iPhone. As most people know, who own an iPhone and an iPad, it is definitely a much better reading experience on the iPad. But for the thousands out there that don’t have both, the iPhone is a decent alternative, especially if you have an app like Zinio.
Quick Look: Simply Listed
In this Quick Look, we’re highlighting SimplyListed. The developer describes SimplyListed as a new, easy and free way to sell stuff using your iPhone. We regularly host special one-day sales on simplylisted.com featuring items submitted by users in your city. You simply take photos of items you want to sell, and we take care of the rest. On the day of the sale, buyers are shown your items and we notify you when someone is interested so you can complete the sale.
Houzz: The Ultimate Guide to Design
Whether you are renovating, buying a new home or just redecorating, it is not uncommon to spend dozens, if not hundreds of hours poring over shelter magazines, books, websites and blogs. Not only is interior/exterior design information and photos scattered (and oftentimes costly), it can be utterly overwhelming.
Houzz, which is touted as the “Wikipedia of interior and exterior design” by CNN, consolidates everything from finding home improvement professionals in your area to gathering inspiration into Ideabooks, all in just one app.
Threadless: Help Decide What Designs Are Out on the Streets
Have you ever given much thought to the designs that end up on a T-shirt? No, not the standard T-shirt that everyone and their dog owns but the unique designs that make you think, “Dang, why didn’t I think of that?” If you have, then Threadless is going to be the app for you.
The app, which allows you to vote on designs submitted by the Threadless community, gives you the power to determine which designs get printed, as well as some of the power. You can also browse the online store, order something from the shop and have a bit of fun with the Doodle Pad and the Festasizer. I’ll cover all these features plus some of the less exciting in-between bits after the jump.
Facebook for iPad: Finally
Many of us use Facebook for talking to friends, reconnecting with family, and doing our best to avoid stalking our ex’s profile. Since the day the iPad was launched, Facebook users had three options: use the iPhone app in a horribly pixelated 2x view, visit the site with Safari, or download a third-party application. All were less than ideal, and many users have been clamoring for a native iPad app for some time.
Jamie’s Recipes: Anyone Can Cook!
I have long been a fan of Jamie Oliver. There’s something inimitable about his cookery style that gives him fantastically widespread appeal. The unassuming and honest qualities evident in his public persona come across effortlessly in his food; watching him reminds me of Gusteau, the famous chef Remi so admires in Pixer’s Ratatouille.
Google+ 2.0: The Polishing Has Begun
Unless you live under a rock, or you don’t follow the Android community, Ice Cream Sandwich is at an imminent release! In fact, Samsung was supposed to announce the first smartphone that would run version 4.0. Unfortunately, due to the sad news of the death of Apple Co-Founder, Steve Jobs, Samsung and Google moved the event, to respect the visionary.
Ice Cream Sandwich will bring with it a new version of the Google+ app. Screenshots of this have already been leaked; here, we’ll take a look at what we can expect…
Have a Great Night Out With Poynt!
Picture this situation: you are out with your friends on a Friday night. You have all been to several pubs and are starting to feel hungry, so need a good place to eat. You know you all want to see a film tonight too, but have no idea what is showing or when. Perhaps you want to keep the party moving, and try out some pubs you haven’t been to before. Poynt is a great application that can handle all this for you.
I am reviewing Poynt from the perspective of someone who is having a night out on the town with their mates. Though it would be equally as useful in the daytime to one person, it struck me as a Friday night application. This was probably reinforced by the app’s picture on the Android Market, which is of a woman pouring pancake syrup onto her tongue while a guy takes a photo. The caption was ’24 Hour Diner’. How much more ‘Friday Night’ can you get?
The overall purpose of Poynt seems similar to Yelp’s. It attempts to provide you with information on your surroundings when you need it. There are a few differences though, which you can pick up on throughout this review.
Smart Places Ups Facebook’s Checkin Game
People have fairly strong opinions about Facebook Places and checking in on Facebook. As a college professor that teaches primarily freshmen, I’ve had discussions with my classes about how they feel about it, and it’s received a fairly negative reception from them. I personally feel it’s best used for special events: a baseball game, a concert, cool places you visit on vacation. While I’m not the type of guy who checks in everywhere, there are quite a few people who do, and who use the service frequently. If you’re one of those people, Smart Places might just be the app for you.
Smart Places focuses entirely on the check-in aspect of Facebook. From the app you can see nearby checkins on an embedded Google Map, easily check in to places (in less screens than the Facebook app), and even automatically check in to certain places.
GetJar: App Up Your Mobile!
Google does a lot of great things. But they aren’t good at paying attention to detail, at least when it comes to Android. That’s totally opposite to what Apple does, focusing and polishing the little things. Android Market and iOS App Store are great examples of this conundrum. Google’s shortcomings with the Android Market and the exponential increase in Android adoption has attracted some key players to launch their own app stores. Now, it’s the turn of the crowd favorite GetJar.
GetJar is the world’s largest free app store with over two billion downloads to date. The company distributes more than 150,000 mobile applications across a variety of operating systems including Blackberry, Java, Symbian, Mobile Web and now, Android. Interested to know how great the new app store actually is?
Square: Run Your Mobile Business From Your Phone
Accepting credit card payments in your small business can be a huge hassle. However, with the average customer becoming less and less likely to have enough cash or a check handy, it is a necessary addition to any business. Square makes it easy, by allowing you to take credit card payments directly through your phone. And want to know the best part? The card reader and the app are both free!
Learn how Square will help expand your business, and allow you to reach a wider spectrum of customers, either in your store or on the go.
twicca: The Forgotten Android Twitter Client
When I wrote my roundup of Android Twitter clients, there was a clear trend in the comments that I had neglected twicca, by Japanese developer Tetsuya Aoyama. I wasn’t really aware of twicca beforehand – I had seen it pop up on the Market from time to time but I had never really taken the time to download it and have a look at it for myself.
Since then, I’ve downloaded twicca and given it a good try – and I have to say, the results were pretty impressive, especially for an independent Twitter client. Let’s have a good look at twicca in a bit more detail.
Dropsync: Keep Your Android Synchronized With Dropbox
A few months ago, I wrote a round-up article detailing several utilities to help you make the most out of Dropbox on your Android. At the time the article was written, the only synchronization application I mentioned was Titanium Media Sync, which allowed continuous sync from the device to Dropbox folders, but unfortunately was limited to one-shot sync in the opposite direction. All similar utilities were limited by the same pitfall.
Today, things are different. Enter Dropsync, a client that finally brings a decent solution to this problem.
Does DestroyTwitter Live Up to its Name?
Anyone who has ever used Twitter for Mac and thoroughly enjoyed the experience will feel like they’re missing out when using one of the many clients available for Windows. Step in: DestroyTwitter.
DestroyTwitter has actually been around for quite some time, and is cross platform. It’s an Adobe Air application but has an extremely light memory footprint and, in my opinion, is the best Twitter client available for Windows today. I will walk you through with what are some of its most noteworthy features and also some of its hidden gems in today’s review.
Organize your Desktop with Fences
Most modern operating systems feature similar “desktop” paradigms. Windows is no exception to this. However, as many users notice, the desktop quickly fills up with icons and other shortcuts that you don’t really need. This leads to an organizational nightmare, and the purpose of the desktop, providing quick access to the files, folders, and applications you need, is defeated.
Furthermore, organization is limited to the grid system. There is no way to really “group” certain items together, and no organization beyond making separate sections for your groups. This can lead to confusion and it takes longer to find the things you need. This is where Stardock Fences comes into the picture.
Uninstall an App Completely with Revo Uninstaller
When you uninstall an application inside of Windows, it tends to leave a few files behind. Specifically, registry values and information inside of your AppData directory leading to performance and compatibility issues down the road.
For those who typically find themselves manually deleting these leftover items, Revo Uninstaller markets itself as a viable solution. Is it any good? Let’s take a look…
Total Protection with Microsoft Security Essentials
Finding a pain-free antivirus client is something most only dream of: most of the time, it almost always involves trying out countless different applications one after the other, paying for something you don’t want to pay for, or downloading software only to find out that it hogs system resources and slows your entire system down to a unbearable crawl.
Well, look no longer; Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is an answer to your problems. It’s the best virus protection out there. Why? Let’s find out.
Speed Up your PC with CCleaner
System optimization, security, and maintenance are three of the most important functions of computer support specialists across all areas of personal computing. With that said, there are countless pieces of software and a deluge of services, which claim to beat out the competition in these specific areas. Within this four part series, we take an in depth look at the competitive advantages of Piriform’s quintet of free to use applications.
To begin, we start with Piriform’s flagship product, CCleaner, which was first launched in 2004. It has the primary function of optimizing systems by cleansing their resources of unused, unnecessary, and temporary files, allowing for better performance from Windows, and protecting your privacy by removing traces of online activity and application use. Does it work as intended though? Let’s find out…
Optimize Hard Drives with Defraggler
Hard drive defragmentation has for many years remained an essential component of system optimization, but it has just been in recent history that software developers have truly pushed for the production of more robust defragmentation programs. Within this article, we will take an in depth look at one such application in the form of Piriform’s Defraggler, and demonstrate how it has evolved into a flexible platform bringing increased stability and power to computing maintenance.
This article is the second segment of a four part series in which we are examining the consumer grade products from Piriform Ltd, in CCleaner, Defraggler, Recuva, and Speccy. Read on for an in depth analysis and screenshots of what Defraggler has become, and to judge for yourself if it is worth the free cost of its download.
Get Your Day in Order with Wunderlist
With our lives getting more hectic by the day, it’s becoming harder to keep track of things we plan to do and projects we intend to complete. So what’s one to do to remember everything?
The team at 6Wunderkinder seems to have the answer with Wunderlist. With so many contenders out there looking to handle your tasks, is Wunderlist going to take home the prize? Let’s find out.
Lock Down Your Data with TrueCrypt
People go the extra mile when it comes to protecting their physical assets however worthless and depreciated they might be. In my opinion, there shouldn’t be any difference when it comes to securing digital assets too. A lost hard disk or a thumb drive can have more compromising data than you might expect. That’s why prevention is always better.
The safest and simplest way to secure your data is encrypting it. While it might sound complex, in practice encryption cannot be any more simpler. Just create a sensible master password or a key file and there are a bunch of commercial and open source apps to do all the heavy lifting. Today, let us see how to use the crowd favorite TrueCrypt to lock down all our data.