Browsing through back issues of PopSci in the early 2000’s in a musty garage, I spotted the first cellphone I really wanted to own: a Nokia 3600. With its crazy circular keypad and a rudimentary smartphone OS, it for whatever reason captured my imagination like no tech gadget had yet. I never managed to get one, instead relying on the seemingly indestructible Nokia dumbphones that made their way through our family before getting my first quasi-smartphone: an HTC Windows Phone with a BlackBerry-style keyboard.
Once Apple launched the iPhone, it was only a matter of time before I got one — opting first for a cheaper iPod Touch to compliment my rapidly aging Windows Phone, and finally buying my own off-contract iPhone. There was never any question in my mind about which phone to get; I’d never even consider anything other than an iPhone since the App Store opened.
Only one other line of phones has caught my attention in recent years: Nokia’s Lumia phones. I’d stop by Nokia stores in the mall to try them out and see how they felt and worked, and jumped on the opportunity a couple months to get press loaner Lumia 520 to review.
But then, I never had the heart to write the review.
Several weeks ago, tired of waiting for iBooks for the Mac, I put together a roundup of the best eBook apps for the Mac. I tested over a dozen apps, discovered more bugs and weird rendering than I ever had in one session, and came to the conclusion that Adobe Digital Editions was the best app for reading ePub eBooks on a Mac, non-native UI aside.
Then, in the comments, Igor let me know about Clearview, an eBook reading app I’d somehow missed. Clearview, it turned out, was the missing eBook reading app for the Mac that I’d managed to not discover. Here’s why it’s the best alternate to Apple’s iBooks on the Mac today.
It was 2007, and the nearly 4 year old HP laptop I used at the time for on-the-go work was all-but dead. Its internal hard drive interface had died, rendering the laptop little more than a plastic box. But with no funds for an alternate, it’d have to make do somehow.
There was little else to do other than find a way to install Windows XP on an external HDD, and convince the laptop to boot from that drive. A few hours of hacking together a custom XP install disk that would load USB drivers early enough to make booting from an external drive possible, and we had a working laptop again. Wonder of all wonders, it actually was passably usable, all the more surprising seeing as it was running its OS off an external HDD via a USB 2 connection. The final contraption was far from a real laptop — its battery was long-since dead, so you had to plug it in and have an external drive connected to get it running at all — but it kept me connected for the crucial months that I really needed it in college.
I was reminded of this story this week when, of all things, I was reading a story about making a hackintosh Mac Pro along with a reader’s comment about how he’s continued to upgrade his original Mac Pro to be Mavericks comparable. I never did make a real hackintosh, but did have OS X running in VMware and VirtualBox on PCs in college before I could afford a Mac.
This week, instead of a poll, it’s story time. What extremes have you gone to in trying to keep a computer — Mac or PC — alive? Or how far have you gone to get OS X running on any computer when you didn’t have a Mac? We’ll be looking forward to hearing your stories in the comments below!
Got an iMac that stays home when you’re away, or an old MacBook that stays chained to your desk? There’s the whole App Store full of great things for them to do when you’re there, but there’s also an app just for when you’re away: Periscope Pro.
Periscope Pro turns your Mac’s camera and microphone — or a remote camera you have attached to your Mac — into a surveillance system, letting your Mac keep tabs on your home or office while you’re away. It can continuously record, take pictures or short videos every so often so you can check on your house at intervals, or detect motion and start recording whenever there’s motion near your Mac. Then, every time it records a photo or video clip, it can upload it to Dropbox or save to the folder of your choice so you can see what’s going on at your house from anywhere.
The very best thing about Periscope Pro is the brand-new motion detection algorithm in the new v1.4 release. With its extremely high precision combined with significantly reduced CPU usage, you can say goodbye to false alarms and never even need to consider using continuous recording again. Instead, you’ll be able to rest assured that Periscope Pro will catch any motion without overtaxing your Mac.
It’ll take you less than a minute to setup, and will give you peace of mind when you’re away, all for a fraction of the price of a security system. You’ll be able to see exactly what was going on at your house or office anytime of the day with a click.
Try Periscope Pro Today!
Ready to put your Mac to use to make your home safer? Just download a free Periscope Pro trial today and take it for a spin. You can then get your own copy of Periscope Pro from the App Store for just $19.99.
Droplr‘s been a crowd-favorite way to quickly share files from your Mac’s menubar for years, one that’s one many over including myself. Its basic file-sharing service is fast and customizable with a pro account, and its apps are far more powerful while staying as simple to use as its competition. And now, it’s taking steps to take its pro accounts beyond basic file sharing.
The brand-new Droplr Draw is the first step towards that new future. With the latest v3.5 update to Droplr’s app, you’ll find an included basic annotation app to quickly markup and share images on Droplr. Either select the new Capture & Draw Screenshot option in the menubar app, or press Alt+Shift+4 to directly select an area of the screen (or additionally press your spacebar and select a window) and capture a screenshot that’ll then be opened directly in the Droplr Draw app. (more…)
It’d be hard to be a creative professional and not have heard the drama around Adobe’s move to subscriptions with Creative Cloud‘s release. We’ve covered the good and bad of the move to subscriptions, and even wrote an Open Letter to Adobe about the changes. Creative Cloud has many good things — it’s even cheaper than buying Master Collection and upgrading every time — and the upgraded apps have a lot of nice new features. There’s even the value-add of font and file sync. But, if you want to own your apps, or not have to pay for upgrades and new features you don’t want, though, it’s hard to see the upside to Adobe’s new move to a subscription-only system.
The good thing is, Adobe’s got more competition for its apps than ever before, especially on the Mac. There’s an embarrassment of riches on the App Store and beyond for everything from photo editing to web design to animation. We’ve rounded up the best alternate apps to everything Adobe sells, from Acrobat to Premiere and everything in-between, so if you’re not so excited about shelling out $50/month to Adobe, here’s your chance to jump ship with great new apps.
The App Store’s arrival on the Mac is hard to classify as anything other than a good thing. It’s made great indie Mac apps more discoverable for new Mac users, helped spur the transition of many apps from the iPad back to the Mac, lowered the price of Apple’s pro apps, and even made installing updates for OS X and apps a simple process — one that gets even simpler in Mavericks. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on Mac App Store apps, and there’s every indicator that I’ll spend hundreds more over the coming decades.
And yet, it’s not perfect. Its sandbox restrictions have prevented apps like TextExpander from releasing their newest versions in the App Store, and the review process is slow enough that you’ll have to wait days after updates are ready to get them in your apps. But worst of all, there’s no way to offer upgrade pricing for new versions of apps. Instead, developers have to either release new versions as a free update for those who have purchased their apps already, or just make a “new” app for the new version, perhaps with a launch-day special price as an overture to those who owned the previous version.
For developers like the Omni Group, that just wouldn’t work out. (more…)
We’ve just closed our BusyCal giveaway, and would like to say Congrats to our winners: Nuri, Trevor, and allenshull!
You’re busy, and you need a calendar. That much is apparent. What’s a bit tricker to figure out is what calendar app you should use to make your busy life more manageable. You could just stick with Calendar.app, corinthian leather and all, or get by with your calendar service’s barebones web app.
Or, you could get the calendar that has been the leading full-featured calendar app on the Mac for years: BusyCal. With a legacy dating back 4 years, it’s been the pro calendar alternate of choice ever since Apple decided to rebrand iCal. It’s easy to use, with a UI similar to the older iCal, but packed with extra features like customizable calendar views, built-in weather and moon phases, alarms and to-dos right alongside your calendar events, and more. It’s just been updated to support Exchange calendars, so it can help you keep track of your work events right alongside your personal calendars and todo lists.
All of that power normally comes at a cost — $29.99 to be precise — but this week we’ve got 3 copies of BusyCal to giveaway to our readers. All you have to do is leave a comment below letting us know what calendar app you currently use and why you want to switch to BusyCal, and you’ll be entered in the giveaway. Then, share the giveaway on your favorite social networks and share a link to the post in a second comment below for an extra entry in the giveaway.
Hurry and get your entries in; we’ll close the giveaway on Tuesday, September 3rd.
Envato staff or those who have written more than two articles or tutorials for AppStorm are ineligible to enter.
You won’t believe it but it’s true: Snapheal, the award-winning image-healing photo editor, is absolutely FREE this week for Mac.AppStorm readers!
Snapheal is the fastest, easiest software available to help pro and amateur photographers remove unwanted objects, heal skin blemishes, and fix common imperfections such as scratches in photos. Just mark what you want removed, and then click one button — Snapheal will do the rest.
Restore old photos, heal skin blemishes and remove wires, people, pets, signs, watermarks and more – anything that distracts from your favorite photos. Finish your images before sharing them on your favorite social networks by adjusting exposure, toning, sharpening or blurring details. With 20 handy tools in all, it’s got everything you need to make your photos pop. And this week, you can get all of that for free!
Go Get Your Free Copy of Snapheal Today!
Even if you’re not an imaging editing guru, Snapheal is an ideal tool for anyone who wants an uncomplicated way to quickly improve photos. Normally $24.99, you can get Snapheal absolutely free this week until September 3, 2013. Make sure you download it here and try it on your favorite photos!
The RSS reader market was fully dominated by Google Reader for years, and the best native apps for RSS were all designed to sync with Google Reader. There just wasn’t any other way to compete. In that market, Reeder quickly won most of us over with its beautiful UI, something that other apps rushed to copy.
Then, Google announced that it was closing down Google Reader, and we all rushed to find another way to read our feeds. There’s great Mac-only RSS apps, like the new NetNewsWire 4 beta and the just-released Leaf 2, but that’s going to keep you from reading your feeds on the go. You’ll still get your feeds, but will have lost the ability to read your feeds from anywhere that you had with Google Reader.
Syncing’s tough, of course, and there’s so many popular services now you’d need to support. To that challenge, one unlikely app has risen to be the best-in-class app that’s the one app any serious RSS user on the Mac should buy: ReadKit. Now with the customizable sharing options you’d have expected from Reeder, it’s the one RSS reader to beat.