If you’re a coder, you’re spoilt for choice with editors these days. While BBEdit remains the high water mark for coding apps, it suffers somewhat from feature bloat and takes nearly as long as Dreamweaver to open. If you find yourself crowded in by BBEdit’s mass of features and its free stablemate Text Wrangler isn’t doing it for you, then check out Kod a great little open source coding app.
Kod loads up in seconds and utilises a Chrome style tabbed environment and comes with support for more than 65 different languages/syntaxes which can easily be edited or extended. It also enables you to editing remote files accessible over HTTP or HTTPS. It’s a great little app free of bloat and well worth a look if TextEdit’s not doing it for you.
The analog photo craze that was kick-started by Hipstamatic and has since been ripped off honoured by the likes of Lo-Mob, Camera+, Instagram and Pixlr-o-matic has finally made it to the Mac. Sure there have been some fairly flakey analog style photo filter apps around, but this is the first proper treatment we’ve seen and it comes from Mac stalwarts RealMac.
Analog ($7.99 introductory price in the App Store) is designed to bring a bit of retro film-like glamour to your pixel-perfect digital snaps. All the styles pioneered by Hipstamatic are here, including the lomo-with-light-leak filter, bleach, polaroid and golden hour. All you need to do is import your photo, click on one of the built-in filters and viola, your bland photo has been magically transformed into an ironic 60s pastiche.
The venerable Windows notepad hasn’t evolved greatly since it first appeared in Windows decades ago. So if you’d like something that’s a) more contemporary looking and b) includes more featured, then the free FluentNotePad is well worth a look. The app has been designed to fit in perfectly with the latest Microsoft Office suite and features the same ribbon style interface as Word, Excel and Outlook.
The software, which is bound to appeal to coders, includes a syntax highlighting feature and built-in templates for coding languages such as C#, Java, HTML, PHP and ASP. You can tailor the colours and fonts to your personal preferences and choose from one of three themes (black, blue and silver) to complement the rest of your desktop.
Like Grooveshark? Like listening to music offline? If only there was a cool downloader for the great music you heard on Grooveshark. Entrace stage-left – Swingfish, which enables you to save any track you’re listening to on Grooveshark locally. Songs are saved in MP3 format and include all the right tags to enable you to put them in iTunes without re-tagging. If you’re a Windows user then check out the similar Groovedown service.
The Adobe Muse project is a hugely contentious one. For starters, it has been lambasted by the web development community for producing non-standards complaint, bloated code that isn’t SEO friendly. When it gets released some time in 2012 it will also be a subscription based product that relies heavily on embedded code on the Adobe Business Analyst website. And finally, it has been coded using the Adobe Air framework which itself has been criticised for memory bloat. There has been huge resistance to Muse by web developers who see it as undermining skills they have developed over many hard years of sweating the code.
The fact remains however, that there will always be a market for this sort of application. Whether it’s creating small scale websites for personal or small business use or for prototyping purposes, the ability to create a website using visual metaphors is a hugely compelling one. No doubt stung by the volume of criticism that came their way after the first two betas of Muse, Adobe are back with a sizeable updated in Beta 3.
We all know that there’s no love lost between the ardent Windows and Mac fans and the two will never be reconciled, but the fact is that both Microsoft and Apple enjoy the influences of the others operating system in one way or another. For some time now, one of the most popular forms of app for the Mac platform is the menubar app, which can be toggled on or off from an icon. Pokki is a Windows equivalent of those menubar apps, carried off with surprising style.
Pokki itself is the environment within which the custom desktop apps resides. Once installed, you can add your favourite apps, such as Gmail, Facebook and Grooveshark. Whenever you need access to these apps, you simply click on their icons in the taskbar. In testing Pokki we found the apps themselves to be excellent, but the whole environment to be a sizeable memory hog, particularly if you go crazy and install loads of the cute looking apps. If you’ve got a fairly recent PC with lots of memory then go for it, otherwise tread carefully.
There’s a lot to be said for applications that come at traditional desktop related tasks from a new angle. We become so used to the way things work that it doesn’t really cross our minds that there are alternative solutions to everything. Nemo Documents, from Anders Jensen is a file manager that suggests that the age of a file is usually more important than its type or location.
Nemo Documents is aimed at people with lots of documents. After indexing, it maps all those documents in a calendar based view that makes it easier to track down your stuff. You can toggle filetypes on and off to view just images, PDFs or archives amongst other types. It also integrates Windows desktop search so you can use search phrases to track down documents. If you find Explorer lacking, then it’s well worth the [free] download.
The idea of text expanders, if you’re new to the concept, is that you set up abbreviations for commonly used long-form text. So for instance, instead of adding your signature, email address and phone number to the bottom of your documents, you can set up an abbreviation such as #sig and when you type that, it gets replaced with the long-form text. Simple, and very useful.
There are quite a few apps like DashExpander in the App Store, but not many of them are free and not many of them are as flexible. Unlike other text expanders, it enables you to create text-based forms which you can rapidly fill with text. It syncs with Dropbox too, if required and builds up its own tag cloud based on what you type most often. An innovative little app, then, that’s definitely worth a look.
With over a billion monthly pageviews, Reddit has rapidly risen in popularity and is now one of the elite top 100 most viewed websites on the Internet. Its rise coincided with the implosion of Digg and the disappearance of Delicious amongst link spam and chronic apathy. While both Digg and Delicious may yet turn things around, Reddit’s currently sitting pretty amongst the link-sharing sites thanks to a great user-administrated culture, simple link voting tools and, amazingly, popular ‘sub-reddits’ such as science and atheism.
As functional as Reddit is, however, the site is certainly not a thing of beauty. It features a sparse text-based layout that eschews all graphic adornment as needless frippery. This means that the site’s quick and efficient, but also very bland to use. Well now Mac users can have the best of both worlds, thanks to the launch of Envelope – the first full-blown Reddit client.
There’s little doubt that Envelope has been heavily influenced by the look of the new Mail client in Lion and by Reeder the RSS feed client. On the left of the screen you get the topic headings in the Reddit section, on the right you get content and/or comments. To change to a different sub-reddit, you just click on the link at the bottom of the topic pane or alternatively you can hot-key back and forth between them.
The main panel can be configured to show a post’s content, its comments or both in either vertical or horizontal modes. Neither of the hybrid modes is perfect,particularly if you’re viewing a picture posting of some kind, because there’s no way to zoom in or out of any pictures. Also, there’s no reflowing of text in the comments panel, so you usually have to scroll horizontally to view all the text in a comment.
While Envelope borrows many design cues from Reeder, it lacks that app’s brutal attention to detail. Text is not rendered in a very attractive way and while you can configure the font size and choose between either Helvetica Neue or Lucida Grande to display text, neither of them look particularly great in this context. It doesn’t help that there’s no gutter around the text so it tends to set right next to the edges, adding to the cluttered feel of the app.
If a post you’ve clicked on references a web page, then Envelope renders that in the main content window, but again, there’s no text reflow so you have to scroll horizontally to read all the text if you’re in vertical display mode. YouTube and Vimeo videos will play happily in the content window, because it uses the WebKit (Safari) browser engine and so will display anything your browser does. This means you don’t have to keep flicking between browser tabs.
Commenting is probably Envelope’s strongest feature. Comments are rendered clearly and you can up or downvote directly from the window. If you want to reply to a post, you can do that too, but you’ll see none of the formatting tips that you’ll find on the website, so unless you know your Reddit shortcodes off by heart, you’ll need to reference the website.
Amongst the other quirks we noticed while testing the app was the fact that the full-screen button for Lion disappears from the button bar once you use it. Also comments when viewed all conform to the same 640pixel wide column, no matter which view mode your in – it would surely make more sense to have this reflow across the width of the screen? Even worse, there’s no indication in the topics panel of which articles you’ve read – formatting does not change once you’ve read something.
This is a promising application, but it feels unfinished and sloppy for a first release. If the developer was aiming for the look and feel or Reeder, Mail or Sparrow then he fell well short of the mark. There are bugs, display issues, inconsistent navigation and strange formatting errors everywhere. With some time and attention to detail I feel that this app could equal the quality of the afore-mentioned apps and over time I’m sure the developer will take care of the issues mentioned in this review, but at the moment I find it hard to recommend this over simply visiting the website in your browser.
The Wiki format of data storage and retrieval has a huge number of benefits, not least of which is its built-in hierarchical format and the cross-linking that’s possible. Wikis also lend themselves well to note-taking, forcing a sensible, but rigorous classification of content. There are quite a few apps that have taken the format and turned it into an app, but WikidPad for Windows is one of the most comprehensive and best supported.
WikidPad won’t be winning any interface competitions any time soon, but that doesn’t matter, because it’s all about functionality, not form. The interface is split into two windows – an outline view on the left and content on the right. Thanks toWikiWord auto-completion, it’s possible to quickly build up a closely inter-locking text based database of content. You can then use an incremental search facility or standard search and replace to find what you’re looking for quickly.
Amongst the apps other features are text styling, word history, to-do lists, autosave, export to HTML, URL and file linking and keybindings. There are also a number of add-ons including a spell-checker. WikidPad is free and open source and has a solid development team behind it. There’s also a Mac and Linux port of the software.
Hunting for domain names is a pretty depressing task. Normally you have a bit of a think, scribble some word ideas down and then search for those domains on your favourite domain registration site. Occasionally you get lucky, but most of the time you spend an hour or two hunting and then inevitably end up doing for the domain you thought of first.
Well fret no more, because the excellent Domain Name Analyser takes all the pain out of domain hunting. It can search for domains based on keywords and templates and can check for the availability of anything it turns up at the same time. It can search on a huge variety of international domains and you can add to the list if required. It’ll also check domains about to expire, past expiry or even newly registered.
Ah, the never-ending search for the perfect music player. The latest application to throw its hat in the ring and declare its intentions as your go-to music playing application is Instinctiv, which offers a number of compelling features that may just appease the anything-but-iTunes brigade. Apart from being a multi-platform player (Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, Ovi – but not iOS), Instinctiv offers song IDing, a learning engine that “intelligently organizes your music library” and social sharing of tracks to Facebook or Twitter.
However Instinctiv’s most interesting feature is the SyncStream technology which the developers reckon can bring your entire music library to any device using the Instinctiv Music Player. It uses a cloud-based content delivery system to enable you to find all your songs in your library on multiple mobile and desktop devices and to back that up, there’s an offline listening facility too. It’s a free download, available here.
There are some excellent window positioning utilties in the App Store, such as Cinch, Double Pane and Window Magnet, but that doesn’t mean there’s not room for another app – particularly if it does this job better. I have to say, the killer feature of Window Tidy (the floating selection boxes) looks like a much more elegant solution than creating yet another convoluted hotkey. Check out the video below or get Window Tidy here.
After the initial clamour for Google+ invites, things have gone a bit quiet over there. While those of us still active on the service patiently wait for it to reach critical mass, there are some housekeeping tasks to be taken care of. For starters, you can move all those photos you uploaded to Facebook (and which might get used in adverts without your permission) over to the soon-to-be-revamped Google Picassa photo sharing site.
Move2Plus is an iPhone app that makes moving social media houses incredibly easy. The app will copy all your Facebook albums, photos and their accompanying captions over to Google+ while retaining the album structure. Pixite, developers of the app reckon that the process will not harm any of your photos on Facebook and will not create any duplicates in the process. If it sounds like a useful tool, it’s available in the App Store right now, for $0.99.
The YouTube website is, let’s be honest, a dog’s dinner. Google’s refinement of its existing sites doesn’t seem to have extended as far as their world-beating video site and using it is an exercise in anger management. MiniTube aims to remedy that by enabling you to view all those videos within an application. The developers reckon that their aim was to create a “new TV-like experience” rather than simply emulate the website.
The app’s available for Windows, Mac and Linux and sports a very cool interface. To view videos, you simply enter a keyword and the app serves up the goodies in high definition 1080p. Even better, it does not use Flash, so you get a stutter-free experience with a fraction of the memory overheads of the browser based YouTube. Should you want to keep a clip you can click the download link to save it to your hard drive. It’s a very reasonable $12USD and is available here.
HydraCoach; calculates your need for hydration (don't know if I need this but it's a nifty gadget).
This is a hybrid bike with not only exceptional performance but stunning aesthetics as well. The motor power and battery capacity is well over the industry standard and a truly futuristic look will sure attract some eyeballs around you. The Terminus is the ultimate trail-machine for the ones who appreciate the best availa
Camalien LED concept watch changes its colors depending on your surroundings - Designers Peter and Sam have come up with a concept watch they’ve dubbed the Camalien. It’s an LED watch with a sleek design that also comes with a camera built into it that will record your surroundings and will change the watch’s color accordingly. | #Design #Watches |