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4
Apr

OmniFocus 2 for iPad goes universal, shrinks down to size for the iPhone


OmniFocus for iPad has hit version 2.1, and is now available as a universal app on the iPhone.

OmniFocus 2.1 not only brings iPhone compatibility, but also a host of new enhancements. Pro users get several new features, including a customizable Notification Center widget, a tiled home screen in the app, and perspective creation on the iPhone.

The iPhone version of OmniFocus 2.1 gains several new features, not previously available in the standalone iPhone app. Check out the full list below:

  • Landscape Support — Landscape orientation is now supported on iPhone.
  • Review — The Review perspective is now available on iPhone.
  • Perspective Creation (Pro) — Create perspectives on your iPhone
  • Project Perspectives — Perspectives which use project hierarchy are now supported on iPhone
  • Grouping and Sorting — Grouping and sorting are now available on the iPHone.
  • Platform Parity — In general, all of the features of OmniFocus for iPad are now available on the iPhone in this Universal app. If you can’t find something, let us know!

The update is free for existing OmniFocus 2 for iPad owners, and is rolling out through the App Store right now.

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4
Apr

Save 50 percent on Pixelmator for Mac! One week only


Right now you can save 50 percent off the price of the Mac app, lowering it to $14.99.

Pixelmator is fantastic Mac image editing software (it’s also made for iOS). The deal is only for one week, so get yourself over to the Mac App Store and buy it.

Whether you use your Mac to draw and illustrate or edit existing imagery, Pixelmator is an essential app. It’s one of my favorites — I picked it for Best Mac apps for photo editing. Don’t take my word for it, though. Apple put it on their Mac App Store “Essentials” list and also gave the software a coveted Apple Design Award (an annual award given at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference).

The software sports an impressive list of features: Drawing and retouching tools, 160 effects, color-correction tools, painting and selection tools, layer styles, compatibility with Photoshop, 16-bit per channel support, and much more.

Last November Pixelmator went to version 3.3, adding a new Yosemite-inspired redesign, support for iCloud Drive, Handoff and other new features.

Even at $30, Pixelmator is a heck of a value, especially compared to the cost of other image editing software (cough Photoshop cough). But at $15? It’s a steal.

4
Apr

Drexel University brings tablet rentals to Philadelphia residents with ‘iPad vending machine’


Drexel University and the Free Library of Philadelphia have teamed up to introduce an ‘iPad vending machine’ that lets residents to rent the tablets for up to four hours at a time.

From the Drexel News Blog:

Residents of Philadelphia’s Mantua and Powelton Village neighborhoods bordering Drexel’s campus will be able to use their Free Library of Philadelphia card to sign out an iPad and use it for a maximum of four hours. With a swipe of their Drexel ID, students will also be able to check out an iPad. Users won’t have to worry about personal data being stored on the iPad as all information entered will be removed once the iPad is returned to its slot in the kiosk.

The introduction of the iPad kiosk follows up a previous laptop-lending program that proved to be quite successful:

“Based on the success of the laptop lending kiosk in our library, self-service technology has proven to serve as an easy, attractive option for access to items we know our library users want,” said Danuta A. Nitecki, PhD, dean of Drexel Libraries. “We are exploring more opportunities to share technology via kiosks as well as new options for enriching the learning spaces where our Drexel community engages with information. It has been exciting to work with colleagues at the Free Library to think how tools might help our neighbors gain access to self-help training and practice discovery of information sources.”

The iPads will come pre-loaded with select educational apps, as well as those for photo and video editing. Some of the pre-loaded apps include BrowZine, an app that allows users to browse scholarly articles, and language-learning app Mango Languages.

Source: Drexel News Blog

4
Apr

Protect your BlackBerry Passport without hiding its beauty with the Ringke Fusion Case


The BlackBerry Passport is a beautiful and unique device. That’s what I think, anyway. I have a tried a few cases already and use them on and off because sometimes you just want to show the Passport off in all its glory. However, I have dropped my Passport a few times so I do want a case to protect it. That’s when I came across the Ringke Fusion case. The case is see-through, so it doesn’t cover up the logo on the back and you can still protect your device from bumps. 

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4
Apr

Best streaming music apps for iPhone


Picking a music streaming app on your iPhone isn’t an easy job, and there isn’t a one size fits all option.

Since most music streaming apps all require a paid subscription, it makes the choice even more stressful. What music streaming service you ultimately choose depends on what your musical tastes are, whether you prefer radio style streaming or on-demand, and lots of other factors. While we can’t tell you what service is best for you, we can help you narrow down your choices. These are currently the music streaming services that we think offer a superior listening experience on the iPhone!

Pandora

Radio style listening with great curation

I keep Pandora around because I can type in an artist, hit play, and be done. If I thumbs down a track, Pandora is the best at weeding out artists from that playlist. I wish there weren’t as many repeats but I’ll deal with them for the expert curation Pandora offers. Pandora is completely free with ads or you can opt for a premium subscription of $4.99 per month or a little over $40 per year to eliminate ads.

Rdio

Over 30 million songs, beautifully packaged, on demand

Rdio has one of the most beautiful interfaces you’ll find when it comes to music streaming apps. Rdio features over 32 million songs, offline playback options, lots of ways to discover new music and edit stations, and more. Rdio may not have all the exclusive content Spotify has, but if you don’t care about that, Rdio still offers up a better overall experience. You can Rdio for free as a radio service, premium starts at $9.99 a month and offers unlimited listening and zero ads.

Spotify

For exclusive content, reliability, and decent free options

Spotify has more exclusive deals with different music artists than any other service around. It also offers over 30 million songs, offline playback options, and more. It may not be as pretty but Spotify typically has new music before any other service. When it comes to free, Spotify offers a little more flexibility and lets you play albums, artists, and playlists on shuffle on demand, something Rdio and others don’t. Spotify premium subscriptions currently run $9.99 per month.

Songza

For excellent party playlists, from every decade

Songza is the app I turn to whenever we have a large group of people to entertain. It’s the only app I’ve found that lets me sort by genres such as decades and specific subsets of music. Not to mention the concierge service is great and offers up great playlists in just a few taps. You can enjoy Songza free with zero listening limits.

SoundCloud

For music discovery with a community behind it

SoundCloud is completely free for listeners. You can find amazing remixes by indie artists, DJs, and regular people as well as live and unheard tracks by popular artists. It’s more than just an on-demand streaming service, it’s an entire music community. I’ve found more great indie artists on SoundCloud in the past year than I have with any other service. What you’ll find is pretty much limitless, especially if you’re into electronic.

Slacker

Sports, comedy, and indie artists aplenty

Slacker may boast less tracks than its competition but it does radio stations great. From ESPN to comedy, you’ll find it on Slacker. The UI has also received quite the overhaul in the past year, making it a much more pleasant experience this time around. Premium ad free subscriptions start at only $3.99 too, making it a lot more affordable than some of the other options.

iTunes Radio

For built-in radio style streaming at zero cost

iTunes Radio is built right into the Music app of your iPhone and iPad. You can create your own stations, listen to ones iTunes has already curated, and even mix artists to create unique blends. If you subscribe to iTunes Match, you’ll hear no ads. If you don’t, iTunes Radio is still free, just ad supported. If your streaming needs are basic, it gets the job done.

  • Free – Built into the iOS Music app

Beats Music

For excellent playlist curation

Out of all the streaming music services available, Beats Music does the best job of playlist curation. New ones are featured and added constantly and there’s literally something for everyone. There is no free tier and paid subscriptions start at $10 a month or $100 a year. With offline playback, and unique playback options such as the sentence, there’s a lot to like about Beats, particularly when it comes to music discovery.

Amazon Music

If you have Amazon Prime, it’s free

Amazon Music still needs some work, but if you’re a Prime member, it’s 100% free to use. That includes listening to anything in Amazon’s collection of over a million songs. You can also save them for offline playback. Sure, it’s much smaller than some of the other options, but again, if you have Prime, it’s free and worth checking out. The app itself isn’t bad either.

TuneIn Radio Pro

Record live radio, enjoy hundreds of thousands of stations

TuneIn Radio Pro does one thing exceptionally well, and that’s live radio. Record anything you hear and play it back later. You can find everything from sports, news, talk shows, and music. My favorite feature of TuneIn is that it ties into online stations too. I use it regularly as a way to play Digitally Imported radio through my Sonos system. If you’re looking for obscure radio stations, you’re almost sure to find them on TuneIn.

Rhapsody

For a great value and decent experience

Rhapsody has come a long way in the past year. It offers great sound quality, unlimited skips, offline playback, and lots more. I’m also a fan of the playlist views which are less cluttered than others. It’s a great combination of music and radio, so those that find themselves somewhere in the middle will enjoy what Rhapsody has to offer. Rhapsody subscriptions currently start at $4.99 per month.

Google Play Music

Combine streaming and your real library in one app

Google Play Music not only offers millions of on-demand songs at your fingertips, it lets you add up to 50,000 of your own songs to the service. If you’re looking to save some storage and none of your music was purchased from iTunes, Google Play Music is your best bet. For an all-access pass, you’ll pay $9.99 per month, but can start off with a free trial to test the service.

Deezer

If you’re outside the US

I’m giving Deezer an honorable mention for my international friends. I’ve heard great things about it but can’t yet fully use it on iPhone in the States. Those of you that have Sonos may have access to it now. But if you live outside of the United States, the full version may already be available to you.

Your picks?

If you depend on your iPhone as your daily driver for streaming music, what service do you use and why? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

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4
Apr

NSFW: For the love of old things


I like to surround myself with old Apple gear. There’s something to be said for having a sense of history.

I like to surround myself with older computer parts. The keyboard I’m writing these words on was manufactured 20 years ago. My last mouse lasted me nigh on a decade. When I have a few free moments I like to play with an eMate 300, an Apple product from an earlier time. None of these objects really has much of a purpose for the modern Apple user, but they give me a sense of history.

This probably also explains my ongoing fascination with Chris Phin’s excellent Think Retro column over at Macworld.com. If you haven’t checked it out, please do: Each week he features old gear he, too, has kept, and it’s a great walk down memory lane.

My 2008 Mac Pro used to be the very centerpiece of my home office, but now it’s relegated mainly just to podcasting duties. Octocore — it’s named for its two four-core processors — spends most of our day together asleep. Dormant. Like a bear hibernating for winter.

My ursine 2008 Mac Pro is a sputtering, clicking engine.

It’s the most animate Mac I’ve ever used: Occasional network pings and miscellaneous timed processes force it to awaken, sleepily. A very clockworky computer, it’s full of wheezes and groans as various parts sputter to life; fans whirr and hard disk drives spin up to speed with a turbine whine. Audible clicks and clacks abound, the computer chittering away to itself as it comes to life.

The Mac Pro howls with a stiff waking roar as all system fans blast full speed, then subside as they find an optimal rate of flow for the ambient temperature inside the case. Within a few moments the computer settles back into its hibernation, sleeping until the next time it’s roused.

My ursine 2008 Mac Pro is a sputtering, clicking engine. In 2015, the positively antiquarian Mac Pro feels like old world craftsmanship somehow, clad in an aluminum case dreamt of by a Bauhaus designer in 1920’s Weimar.

We have a new Mac Pro on display at the store I work, connected to an Apple Thunderbolt Display. It couldn’t be any more different from my Mac Pro. Sleek. Round. Quiet. Clad in an almost chitinous silvery shell. With the exception of the fan, there are no moving parts inside, unlike my beloved podcasting machine. Storage is solid-state, and there is no optical drive bay that whirrs and complains when it’s opened.

I admit that the new Mac Pro is an object of desire for me: I’d love to be able to justify its purchase as the centerpiece of a new digital workstation. But I can’t, because my cranky old Octocore still works.

In my office I have two beige original-era Macs, along with an equally beige Commodore Amiga. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff in the intervening years, but those have stuck with me.

Old gear helps to give a sense of how far we’ve come.

But enough about my hoarding characteristics. If there’s a point to all this, it’s that after all these years, these devices are still very relevant. Okay, maybe I’m overstating that for the museum pieces like the Amiga and the old Mac, but the Mac Pro, for example, gets use regularly as my podcasting workstation, for media ingestion and also for some light file sharing for other devices, like my kids’ PlayStation 3.

They’re relevant because they still work, because old gear helps to give a sense of how far we’ve come: How far Apple has come, both in terms of design and engineering; how far the industry has come, in terms of evolution; and how far users have come, in expectation for how things should work.

It helps to put in perspective for me some of the complaints we have about the gear we use. Sometimes when I complain about Continuity features in OS X Yosemite not working right, I have to stop myself: It’s true that things might not work 100 percent of the time, but what does happen is magic compared to what we would have expected just a few years ago.

How about you? Do you keep old gear around to remind you of what we’ve used and what we now expect? Or is best to let the past stay in the past? Let me know what you think in the comments.

4
Apr

UniShare lets users unlock all premium features from now until Monday


UniShare, the Windows Phone app that lets users post to multiple social networks, is celebrating the Easter weekend by letting users access the “Unlock all features” premium package for free from now until Monday, April 6.

4
Apr

Microsoft won’t enable ‘Do Not Track’ as the default for ‘Project Spartan’


Microsoft will no longer have “Do No Track” as the default setting for its future web browsers, including “Project Spartan“. The company says it is making this change in order to avoid conflicting with the latest “Do Not Track” standard as created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

4
Apr

DuckTales: Remastered lands on Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone (Update)


Updated: Story updated with Windows Phone Store link below

Disney has brought DuckTales: Remastered to Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone. Just like the original 1989 game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Disney’s DuckTales puts you in the role of Scrooge McDuck, traveling your way around the world, defending the McDuck fortune from Magic De Spell and the Beagle Boys.

4
Apr

You can now upload videos from your camera roll to Vine


Vine did more than just fix some bugs in the latest Windows Phone update, they have finally added the ability to upload videos from your camera roll. Previously the only way to upload a video from the app would be to record a new one, but that has changed.

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