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For most people, science classes were a memorable part of their education, but the reasons for this differ from person to person. Some individuals found the talk of nuclei and cell structures to be some of the most engaging and relevant information they had ever encountered. Others simply appreciated it as a good background to some of their most engrossing and creative daydreams.

Both camps could, in general, agree on one point, however — science is better seen than read. Obviously, practical considerations prevent the classroom dissection of a whale, or the physical inspection of lava. Modern technology can provide the next best thing, though, in the form of interactive on-screen experiences.

A shining light in this field has been an iPad app, named, quite simply, The Elements, which provides detailed descriptions, interactive 360º imagery and high quality videos of the periodic table’s constituent parts. Now, it has arrived in the OSX App Store, priced at $19.99. Given that a major part of the original iOS app’s appeal was the ability to “touch” elements on a display, can the desktop environment really provide the same, insightful experience?

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If you have been a reader of Mac.Appstorm for any considerable length of time or you consider yourself fairly up to date with the Mac software world, chances are that you are familiar with Realmac Software. The team that brought you Analog and Clear have been working hard for several months to bring you the sequel to their LittleSnapper app, and it’s called Ember.

LittleSnapper, which is no longer available from either their website or the App Store, was a digital scrapbook and screenshot tool for your Mac, and Ember is here as a revamped and exciting update to replace its older brother. Let’s take a look and see how it holds up in the competitive screenshot app market.

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Do you think you are already set on an app for viewing your pictures? Well, I can almost guarantee that app is slow and full of stuff you don’t need, as most of these are bundled as image viewers, image editors, and social network apps all at once. But what if we were to show you the simplest app for viewing your images without any hassle, just perfect for that occasion when you are trying to show your latest trip pictures to your family? One that, even, aims to be faster and simpler than OS X’s Quick View.

The app we are reviewing today — LilyView, from the team that brought us Unclutter and DaisyDisk — tries to remove any kind of complexity from an image viewer app. It provides a super simple way to view your pictures, and that’s about it. The concept sounds a bit lackluster, but maybe that’s good thing. Let’s see?
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Facebook means many things to people—a platform to grow your brand, a place to do business, or a tool to spread advocacy campaigns. To me, it’s where I house portions of my personal life, and so I share hilarious videos of my tot singing Grace Potter’s “Something That I Want” or photos of my kids’ milestones to family and friends.

But because I use Facebook for completely non-professional networking, I don’t always log in and “connect” with these people. If I have a photo or a video worth sharing, I just pull up Facebook, upload it to an album, tag people, and make my exit as soon as it’s done. Call me antisocial, but the busy newsfeed, crowded profile page, overly stacked up sidebar, and noisy (sometimes dumbing) content being shared left and right makes me want to run for the hills.

That is, until I gave Moment a try. It’s a menu bar app that aims to “reinvent the way you post to Facebook” through easy drag and drop. I’ve used it for a while now and I’m impressed with the app so far. It certainly went over and above my expectations of a Facebook-related application with features that I’m very excited to share with you in this review. (more…)

If you’re an avid traveler, and especially if you’ve ever been in charge of planning a trip for multiple persons — your family’s summer vacation, perhaps — you know how important it is to have all the related information, such as your planned itinerary, handy at all times and neatly organized.

Today we’re going to be reviewing an app that can help you do just that. Keep your itinerary, contact information, documents, packing list, budget, expenses, photos, and anything else you might need, all in one place. It’s called YourtTrip. Let’s get to it!
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It would be fair to say that only one photography app can even claim to be king of them all – Instagram. Despite its daft requirement for images to be square, and its quirky filters – to give them a sympathetic description – it has revolutionized the way we share images, and has rapidly risen to be one of the most popular social networks in the world.

What makes these achievements even more remarkable is that this is a mobile-only platform, and for some time, it was an iOS exclusive too. Until Instagram’s surge in popularity, no other network creators had the bare-faced effrontery, let alone the skill and nous, to go mobile only. Facebook‘s recent $1bn acquisition of Instagram only highlights the brilliance of the people behind the app.

Whilst all this mobile stuff is very forward thinking, many of us have wished, over the years, for the ability to play with Instagram on a larger screen – on a computer, in other words. The current web-friendly version of Instagram’s website is the closest we’ve ever got to an official desktop environment, so it is little wonder that independent developers have stood up to fill the gap.

One such developer, FIPLAB, has created InstaReel for Instagram, a $2.99 native Mac Instagram browser. Without image uploading – the critical part of the Instagram experience – though, can InstaReel truly be better than just using your phone? Time to find out…

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Japanese is notorious for being one of the hardest foreign languages to learn as an English speaker (alongside Arabic, Chinese and Korean). Not only it is radically different to English, with very little similarities to our own mother tongue, but the entirely different writing system can make it a real nightmare to learn. Yet the question, “how do I learn a foreign language?”, has, unfortunately, a multitude of different answers and there isn’t one simple way of learning a tongue from far-away lands. You could, of course, by just a textbook and learn it yourself, but in this day and age, with our modern technology, there must surely be a more effective and exciting way of learning some conversational Spanish before your trip to the Costa del Sol or, in this case, some Japanese before that big business trip to Japan.

Human Japanese, which has been featured on the front of the App Store, believes that it can help you learn Japanese in a new and intuitive way. At a mere $9.99, it’s certainly less expensive than the options out there (such as Rosetta Stone, which starts at $179 a level) but does a bargain price equate to quality?

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Ever been surprised by the arrival of something you ordered or have you found a package waiting for you after several days in some weird hiding spot created by the delivery person? Sure would have been nice to have known ahead of time that you had a delivery due so you could be on the lookout.

If you get a lot of things shipped to you or send a lot of stuff to others and are always trying to keep track of all of those tracking numbers, you could probably use a little assistance. Let’s take a look at Parcel and see if it can deliver on its promises to help you manage package tracking better. (more…)

If you love reading online articles, but don’t usually have time to read them in full when you’re using your browser, then you’re like a heavy user of a reading later service. There’s three popular web apps to help you save articles to read anytime: Pocket, Readability, and Instapaper. While all these services have native apps for your iPhone and more, only Pocket has a native Mac app (one that used to be the best Instapaper app for the Mac).

So what’s an Instapaper or Readability user to do, if they want to read their articles on the Mac? There’s two new apps that are great options: ReadKit and Words App. We’d looked at Words before, but found its interface rather lacking for a full reading app. Their dev team went back to the drawing board, though, and their newly released Words 2 is easily one of the nicest ways to read longform articles on your Mac. If you didn’t try it out the first time around, you should definitely take a look at Words 2.

Here’s why.

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News started on paper, then it went to the television, and now we have digital print. People still read the daily local newspaper and some even request a print edition of The New York Times or Wall Street Journal. It seems to be only a matter of time until print newspapers are completely discontinued. When it is, we’ll all be reading digital articles. So you may as well start finding a nice RSS reader, because it gets awfully tiring visiting all your favorite publications when you wake up.

I was looking around in the news section of the Mac App Store the other day and stumbled upon Leaf, a straightforward approach to news reading. After a bit of usage, I’ve gathered my thoughts on the app.

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