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The AppStorm team have been hard at work again. Here is a huge bunch of great free apps and web services they covered.
Smart Converter: A Simple Solution To Video Conversion
Our Macs are capable of so much: we can play games, design graphics, record music, the list is near endless. So why is it still so awkward and time consuming to convert video and audio file formats? The answer lies with both the various proprietary licenses which each format brings to the table and the significant processing power needed to perform such tasks.
As a musician I know all too well how difficult it can be to convert your AIFF files to lossy formats such as MP3, and videos are a whole headache in of themselves, requiring the correct encoding per device. What I need is to be able to bounce my media into whichever format I desire, whether a song from the studio, an audiobook on my iPod, or a movie for iPad, and I want all of this without worrying about codecs, DRM, or screen resolution settings.
Smart Converter promises to help out with all the above, read on after the break to see if it delivers.
Jing: Create and Share Screenshots and Screencasts
An explanation for a task in an online world can be a tricky thing to pull off. It’s just difficult to explain how to do something on your computer without actually showing how to do it. Wouldn’t a screenshot with some notes be helpful? Or maybe a screencast to really offer a complete explanation? Jing is a piece of software that is able to accomplish the basics of these tasks in an elegant and completely functional way.
Jing takes screencast recording and screenshot taking down to its nuts and bolts. There are certainly more robust options out there (in fact, the company that develops Jing is also the developer of the insanely robust Camtasia), but Jing has found a sweet spot in my regular workflow and has been my go to tool for snapping a quick screenshot or recording a short screencast for a couple years now and I’m not sure I could do without it.
Make Meetings Matter With yaM
For as long as I can remember, technology has really influenced the way we do things, such as the way we communicate, receive news and generally look at the world. This influence has also spread to the world of work. Nowadays, technology has meant that companies can reach out globally, not just locally, and has enabled them to spread their influence all over the world.
Look at business meetings nowadays. It used to be that meetings meant you had to spend an hour cooped in a hot, sweaty conference room with a cup of lukewarm dishwater posing as coffee. And not to forget the time it takes to get to said conference room. Nowadays, a lot more meetings are conducted over the Net, for example via teleconferencing. This not only keeps costs down but is also a lot more practical – meetings can be conducted straight from your desk.
Of course, there are plenty of ways to conduct meetings remotely. But these tend to be expensive to both set up and maintain. How does a free, Net-based meeting manager sound? Well, this is exactly what yaM (Yet Another Meeting) is. There’s no complicated software to install or monthly subscription fees to pay. You simply sign up, invite your colleagues and get to work.
I think we’re onto something here! Let’s delve deeper…
Strawberryj.am: Trends Based on Friends
Even before the social media revolution, we have always linked to popular things things we find online, usually the latest trends and things that popular people are using. I like Will Smith and might be willing to check out the gadgets or apps he is using. However, not everyone likes Will Smith (outrageous, I know). But we all like our friends (at least we hope so!).
Usually, there is a very good reason we’re friends with the people we are – we have a lot in common. So, if they liked something, there is a very good chance you might like it too. Strawberryj.am, wants to show you what is popular, right now. The web app does this by analyzing what links your friends are sharing the most. Let’s take it for a spin to find out more about this social app.
Quick Look: Tjeklist
In this Quick Look, we’re highlighting Tjeklist. The developer describes APP Tjeklist as an app for all your tasks, to-dos, projects, goals, lists and things-you-need-to-remember. From the fun to the serious, and everything in between, you can put it all in your Tjeklist. Tjeklist’s clean and uncluttered design will allow you to add, organize and search with ease. Tjeklist will help you get organized without bother so that you can focus on doing the things that you need to do.
FlowTorch: Free Finance Management With an Envato Marketplace Twist
If there’s one thing that everyone, office workers and freelancers alike, dread, it’s tax time. No one likes parting with their hard earned money, but worst of all, you’ve got to have your finances organized too. That can be worse than writing a check to the government.
It’s not uncommon to struggle with keeping up with your finances, especially if you’re working multiple jobs or doing freelance work on the side. You need an easy way to keep up with everything without costing you more precious time. Problem is, most accounting apps are rather pricey, even more so if you need to do more than standard personal finance tracking.
That’s why I was excited to hear about FlowTorch on our Envato Notes blog. FlowTorch is a new free finance management app made by someone who was tired of expensive finance apps or apps that bombard you with offers from banks. So, he set out to make a simple and free finance app using tons of resources from the Envato Marketplaces.
Intrest piqued yet? Keep reading to see if this tool has what you need to make accounting a little less trying.
Simplified Emails with Shortmail
Despite being one of the earliest forms of electronic communication, today email is probably the most disrespected formats. Be it the unscrupulous marketing mailers, mountain of spam or an overloaded inbox, everything works against the underlying platform – email. Even being a free, simple and relatively unintrusive modes of communication isn’t helping enough.
Every attempt made by technology companies, large and small, to improve the condition of email has either failed miserably or ended up just as a cosmetic addition. The need to being formal and elaborate is touted as one of the setbacks preventing email from becoming an effective communication tool. Shortmail is here is to change just that.
Use Social Media More Effectively with Crowdbooster
Anyone who’s anyone in the social media game these days is familiar with Klout. It’s a service that measures your social media influence across multiple platforms by determining who you engage with and how effectively you engage with them. It’s a great metric for determining who you influence, how much you influence them, and what you’re influential about. But what if you want to take it a step further, and make your social media engagement more effective? Crowdbooster is a (relatively) new service designed to do just that.
Crowdbooster gives you “tweet-level” metrics on how your message fares on its journey toward reaching as many people as possible. Then, it gives you actionable suggestions of how to utilize that information to increase your influence. Crowdbooster is presently in closed beta, and while anyone can sign up for an invite, you can never be sure of how long the waiting list is. I was fortunate enough to score an invite through Klout, and here is what I’ve found.
Reel in Your Audience With Reel Presentations
Of all the files we need to share, it seems that presentations often are the most frustrating. PowerPoint 2007 can open a PowerPoint 2010 presentation, but it’ll lose many of the graphics effects and transitions. Keynote presentations look beautiful, but they can only be opened in Keynote on a Mac or iOS device. And online presentation sharing tools, such as Slideshare, are often ugly, slow, and require legacy plugins that won’t work (or work poorly at best) on modern smartphones and tablets.
That’s why I was excited to hear about Reel, a new way to share presentations simply and elegantly. Reel is a new web app from the awesome team at Zurb that’s so great at making unique and useful simple apps. Let’s dive in (perhaps literally) and see if this is the solution to the pain of sharing presentations.
Quick Look: TabJuice
In this Quick Look, we’re highlighting TabJuice. The developer describes TabJuice as a FREE social commerce application that allows businesses to offer their fans an all-in-tab shopping experience directly on their Facebook business page. Its easy sign up process, customizable branding features, superior admin panel functionality and design, product marketing features and robust reporting and analytics tools are an ideal solution for the social commerce marketplace.
Schedule Your Social Life with feedCal
Getting things scheduled isn’t productivity. Getting them all done at the right time is. I do have a scheduling system to keep up with all of my blogging assignments for a couple weeks at a stretch. I rarely get them all done on time, but at least the schedule and the bleeding number of things that rollover to the next day everytime I miss working pushes me to put some more effort.
So a demanding boss, a nagging secretary, or a paycheck forces us to maintain a schedule for our professional life. But what happens to your personal and social commitments? Usually they get pushed aside to make way for the sake of a career. Of late, I have been trying to find work-life balance and I found feedCal. The web app automatically takes your social feeds and puts them in your calendar. Join me as I evaluate if the web app can help me be more social.
Podio: A Social And Online Work Network In One
Since the explosion of cloud computing, small businesses are now turning to Internet-based software to help collaborate internet processes and help with the daily grind of tasks, meetings and memos. Internet-based software is much more appealing to businesses as it avoids the needs for expensive software licence fees and complicated computer systems. Internet-based systems also make the process of working from home a far easier and much more cost-effective solution for businesses.
I recently looked at Pivotal Tracker and yaM, two internet-based utilities that can help businesses collaborate easier (in the case of Pivotal Tracker) or organize meetings easier (in the case of yaM). But, what happens if you want to collaborate every aspect of your business, yet want to avoid spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on an ERM system such as SAP?
Well, this is where Podio comes in, which is the brainchild of Danish developers Anders Pollas, Jon Froda and Andreas Haugstrup Pedersen. It promises to be not only a internal social network for businesses but allows you to shape the actual way you work, without any kind of dependency on IT or vast technical knowledge. Podio is highly customizable as there is a vast app store packed full of useful (and free) add-ons.
Could this be the software answer that small businesses have been waiting for? Let’s find out…
Collaborate On Concepts, Anywhere, With ConceptBoard
Sharing feedback is one of the most important aspects of teamwork. It’s what gets (and keeps) everyone on the same page and helps to ensure everyone is working together properly towards a common goal. This is easily achieved in face-to-face meetings… But it’s 2011, so how does one get comprehensive, coherent and usable feedback via the web?
The team behind ConceptBoard seems to have an answer: their web app provides a space to display and discuss files and ideas and get everyone’s points of view into focus. Is this the meeting-killer miracle you’ve been waiting for?
Talk on the Go With Facebook Messenger
For Facebook users it’s easy as pie to keep in touch with your friends. Their official iPhone app was released a little while ago and included support for major bits of functionality. However, chatting wasn’t very easily possible, even in mobile Safari. It seems iPhone users have been stuck without a good Facebook mobile messaging solution.
The new Facebook Messenger app includes everything you would expect in a Facebook messaging client. There is a lot of functionality designed specifically for mobile users which ties into your Facebook account, and it helps keep you in touch with your friends wherever you are! To get started all you’ll need is a Facebook account, some free time and to hit that little More button to read our review.
How To Stay In Shape With RunKeeper
I hate going to the gym. I think it’s boring and expensive. I don’t really question its effectiveness, because it actually is, I just don’t like it.
Now, we all need to stay in shape one way or another, and being an iPhone user, I prefer the more technological approach. The App Store has lots of apps made for jogging, tracking calories and so on, but RunKeeper may just be the perfect solution. It used to be a paid application (and rather expensive I should add), but has recently gone free. After the jump, we’ll be learning how to use RunKeeper’s features to our advantage.
iHome+Sleep: A Feature Packed Alarm Clock
Can I just be honest about something? Alarm clocks are so way behind the times and I wish they would catch up with the technology that is out there. Thus, the reason why I started the search for a good alarm clock app to use on my iPhone. I really didn’t know what exactly I was looking for, but I wanted something that was a heck of a lot better than the digital alarm clock that I had in my room.
I decided to give out the iHome+Sleep app a try to see if it could actually work as my regular alarm clock. It has a ton of features, some of which that I felt were useful, and the best part of it all was that it was free. And to make it even better it’s a universal app, meaning that it was optimized for both my iPhone and iPad. Want more? Hit the jump to find out.
Getaround: Social Car Sharing
Living in a big city has many perks, but parking is certainly not one of them. While many urbanites rent a parking space that has a monthly cost rivaling a 3-bedroom house rental in many mid-western states, there are other city dwellers that opt for the commuter route. But, how does the latter deal with the bi-annual IKEA shopping extravaganza, holiday weekend getaway or even just late night travel? While there are taxis, Zipcar, City Car Share and various rental companies offering their services, they are often expensive and inconvenient.
Enter Getaround, a free “peer-to-peer car sharing service and local car rental.” Getaround offers a social car sharing solution for both owners and renters. Interested? Learn more after the jump.
Track Time, Money and Tasks Easily With Weave
Weave is an unusual and cool task management app. It appeared on the App Store recently, and being free, there’s no excuse not to try it. It combines tasks, projects, money and time tracking all in a single application, making it easy to manage tasks and keep up with the time you use and money you spend (or earn). Let’s get into it after the break.
Quick Look: Rundotodo
In this Quick Look, we’re highlighting Rundotodo. The developer describes Rundotodo as the funniest way to complete your tasks. From now on, tasks are nothing more than a game!
Don’t know what to do first? Is your to-do list enormously long and you don’t know where to start? Or maybe you just don’t have a clue what to do today? Connect Rundotodo to your to-do list and let it choose which task should come first. As a bonus, we’ve added some “funny tasks.”
Tweed: Recommended Reading From Your Twitter Friends
Sharing in 140 characters or less is the name of the Twitter game. The platform simply exists and the users make it whatever they want it to be. We’ve seen a wide variety of uses as Twitter’s popularity has increased, from breaking news to sharing pictures of your dog (and everything in between). It’s safe to say that we are still discovering ways to utilize Twitter.
I’ve been a Twitter user for couple years and I’ll admit that I’ve had moments in the past were I wasn’t sure I really understood what Twitter should be used for. I was always looking for what it should be used for. I just went with it and continued on in my semi-active, mostly observational state. After a while I began to notice how much less I was using my RSS reader and instead going to Twitter for some Web reading. I was following people that interested me and they shared a lot of links to things I found interesting as well.
You may have heard the argument that Twitter is going to kill the RSS reader. Now, while I don’t think that is necessarily true, I do think that it can fill a need for a lot of people. Tweed is an iPad application that brings us a step closer and attempts to cut out the fluff and just deliver those links. Can it replace my RSS reader? Let’s find out!
Impressive iPad Sketching With Bamboo Paper
As a device that begs to be touched, it’s little surprise that there are plenty of tablet-style “drawing” applications available on the App Store. Some focus on a sketching and artistic approach, where others strive for accuracy and precision. Although you’ll never get the same level of accuracy that you’d have with a dedicated graphics tablet, some of these apps manage to pull off a great experience.
Today, I’m going to be taking a look at Bamboo Paper, developed by the tablet manufacturer Wacom. It’s encouraging to see the company moving into this market, expanding from their traditional tablet line-up. They do, unsurprisingly, produce a pen accessory to go with the app, but we’ll get to that in due course…
15 of the Best Freemium iPad Games
Recent times have seen an explosion in the number of iOS games released which fall into the ’freemium’ category. This type of game is free to play, but will often tempt you to purchase extra, ‘luxury’ currency from within the app. You can spend this luxury currency to obtain better or rare items, advance through levels with quicker progress or just make the game a whole lot easier.
Typical freemium gameplay consists of performing ‘farming’ actions, these are actions where the player must return to the game a set time later to receive their reward. Generally, this reward will consist of experience points to increase the players level and/or some form of currency. Examples of such actions include; collecting rent, tending to animals, or even the literal farming of crops such as in the widely popular ‘FarmVille’. Completing these actions will allow the player to level up, unlocking new content and keeping the player interested in the game.
Read on to discover 15 of the best freemium games for the iPad…
Crackle: Feature Films and TV on Your iPad
For a while now we’ve been able to watch movies and TV shows on the go with smartphones, but the experience can be less than enjoyable. When the iPad was released it seemed like the perfect combination of size and portability for easily watching media while traveling.
The Crackle app brings feature films and television offerings to the iPad for free, but how does it stack up against other free and paid apps in this category?
Bouncy Mouse, a Fresh Alternative to Angry Birds
We’ve all heard about Angry Birds. It’s available on every major platform (Android, iOS, web). The only place you wont find it is on consoles. Quite frankly I’m tired of seeing those birds everywhere. After browsing the Android Market, I found a new, refreshing Angry Birds styled game.
It’s called Bouncy Mouse and it’s a new take on a slingshot platformer. Read on to find out whether this really is a good alternative to Angry Birds.
Become a Pro Tweeter With Buffer
I, like 200 million other people, am a keen Twitter user. I use it to disclose my daily thoughts and opinions (and, from time to time, to have a good rant) as well as to keep up with current affairs. Twitter has become one of the fastest growing social networks of our time, with people signing up to it then discovering just how useful it is.
Buffer, from British developer Joel Gascoigne and Austrian developer Leo Widrich, is a great way to space out your tweets whilst you’re not online. This way, you avoid bombarding your followers with 20 tweets in a row.
tTorrent: Torrenting on the Go!
Invented by the brilliant Bram Cohen, BitTorrent is one of the ground breaking technological advancements of this century. The Nobel Prize does not include computer science as a category, otherwise BitTorrent would surely have been awarded one. Sadly, it is forever linked to piracy as many among us overlook the other possibilities for a protocol which distributes large files with such ease.
For one reason or another, lots of us use a BitTorrent client to download and distribute files online. Now that mobile phones (particularly Android powered ones) are rivalling computers with their processing power, it’s only natural to carry a P2P client in your pocket. tTorrent is one such torrent client, but how does it stack up?
Create Your Own Custom Homescreen Clock Widget
There’s no shortage of clock and calendar widgets in the Android Market. You can find everything from the super-sleek MIUI clocks to the highly functional Simi Clock Widget and a whole bunch of them that come with launchers and widget sets. But in my experience though, not one of those fits my requirements to a T. There is always some customization I have to have, but is not possible with the widget I choose.
There were no bounds to my happiness last week then, when I finally bumped into one that was so customizable, I’m now lost for ideas on what to do with it! The widget is called Minimalistic Text, and I’m going to take this opportunity to introduce you to the basic concept behind it, discuss the interface and try and walk through the creation of my own customized home screen clock widget.
Chat Better With Facebook Messages
With three major social networks out there now (Google+, Facebook, and Twitter), I find myself explaining the difference between Facebook and the others more often than ever. How Twitter is best for real time sharing en masse; how Facebook focuses on personal relationships; and how Google+ allows you to create small communities out of the people you know for “know your audience”-style sharing.
Since Google+ entered the ring, Facebook has been feeling the pressure to step its game up. They launched video chat with Skype from within Facebook, no extras needed. Most recently, they’ve launched Facebook Messenger, an app that makes it easy to communicate with Facebook (and non-Facebook) friends to really build those personal relationships.
TuneWiki: Music Made Social
Have you ever listened to a song, and found yourself singing words understandable only by you, as if written in some strange dead language? Can you speak Spanish but have immense difficulty hearing the individual words of a Latin song? Do you still think the Beatles sang Chicken to Ride?
It has always been possible to go online and look for the lyrics of a song, but this involves the tedious steps of loading a browser and entering the exact names of the song and artist. With TuneWiki, this problem is solved, because when you are listening to a song on your phone, the app gets the lyrics through the internet and displays them in a fun karaoke mode. Furthermore, if you wish, it can translate them into over 40 languages.
But the app is not only a bridge to a complete database of lyrics and songs; it has a few more features that make it very attractive, besides being a powerful media player.
Elixir 2: Android’s Swiss Army Knife
Elixir 2 is a massively powerful ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of an application that can tell you a great deal about your Android. It gives you quick access to just about every setting, detail and function your device has, in addition to providing you with a set of fully configurable and customisable widgets. If you want to take control of your device like never before, read on for my comprehensive review…