Hi all. I am writing this from the library, where I will be spending much of the next week and a half. It is time for finals. It also happens to be my last set of exams because I am graduating soon. *jumps with joy* Because of that I will unfortunately not be writing about any new apps until afterwards. Then I will be back with plenty of updates. Thanks for reading. I can’t wait to review many more free apps. Stay tuned!
Flickr users already taking advantage of the free terabyte of storage, are in for another treat. Flickr has just released an entire revamp of their iOS and Android apps. The interface feels reminiscent of Instagram, but still retains its own unique feel. It makes browsing and adding photos an easy task. Swiping between each view feels snappy, adding photos is easy and there are plenty of filters to choose from. Here is the full list of new features:
– Capture everything: Take stunning photos and videos. We make it easy.
– Save it all: All your pictures in one place. Take them everywhere.
– Advanced editing: Gorgeous filters. Powerful editing tools. All for free.
Today Dropbox (finally) released Mailbox for Android. It has grown wildly popular on iOS for making inbox-zero easy to achieve.
“We redesigned the inbox to make email light, fast, and mobile-friendly. Quickly swipe messages to your archive or trash and scan entire conversations in a chat-like view. It’s a whole new inbox.”
Mailbox for Android looks nearly identically to its iOS counterpart, which is a good thing. The app is easy to navigate and, though it was first created for iOS, it feels at home on Android. The design is a bright white, like many apps, so be aware that it does not yet have a night-view.
After first downloading, the app presents you with a tutorial on how to use the app’s gestures to easily delete email, add as a to-do,put in a list or remind you later. To use these, you just long or short swipe to the right or left.
You can access the emails you saved by swiping from the left. At this menu, you can view your inbox (Mailbox), emails scheduled for later, your lists and your archive. You can also search your entire inbox.
One of my complaints, which is also a problem in the iOS version, is that you cannot view all of your labels from Gmail. This is because Mailbox is designed merely to reach inbox-zero, but it would be nice to be able to view all of my emails in the app, easily.
With Mailbox for Android, a new feature, not yet available for iOS was introduced. The app will learn which types of emails you often swipe to delete or archive, and it will be able to offer suggestions for action when you open the app.
The app crashed twice while I was trying to add my email accounts, but I haven’t had any problems since. I am pleased with the fluidity of the app. The gestures work smoothly, just like in the iOS version. For the app’s first version, it works surprisingly well.
While currently only available for Gmail and iCloud users, Mailbox offers a well-designed alternative to the standard Gmail app on Android.
Mou is called “The missing Markdown editor for web developers.”
I wouldn’t call myself a web developer, but I do enjoy writing in Markdown and always love a good lightweight program. Mou is just that.
The interface is fairly simplistic. You can choose to write with just the editor panel open or both the editor and preview panel. The word count can also be shown. Several themes are included. They can be edited and you can add easily add new themes. These all support adequate syntax highlighting.
Back when I first downloaded Mou, a few months ago, I wasn’t very familiar with Markdown. I understood the idea behind it, but wasn’t sure how to write it. Mou helps with this. In the menus, each style is listed. You can also stick to the shortcuts you are probably already familiar with (CMD-B for **bold**, CMD-I for *italics*). By using keyboard shortcuts Mou inserts asterics for markdown, but also supports __underscores__.
My favorite feature is that I can easily copy the Markdown to HTML and paste into WordPress. No need to export, the text just copies to your clipboard. It is ridiculously convenient.
Mou is a lightweight markdown editor that gets out of your way, so you can write.
Editors Note: This post comes from Tanner Bivens of tannerreviews.com. He reviews movies and games on his site. He also hosts The Nerdiest Talk Show on Earth every week.
Good day everyone. I’m not sure if you have noticed from the title or not, but I am not in fact Free App Maven writer Shaila Meeker. In fact, our dear Shaila has taken a trip to Florida with her fiance Brandon and will be gone this week, effectively leaving me in Ohio hell as she enjoys Disney World. I will try to contain my levels of jealousy to mere quiet resentment. But while she is enjoying the nice weather and fun rides, she asked me if I could guest write on her site while she is away, to which I was more than happy to do. For those of you who have not visited my site tannerreviews.com, I am a film critic and a video game enthusiast. If you do not know of my site you should go and visit it. It is an awesome site! I should know, it is mine after all.
But when Shaila asked me to write a review for her site, I was at first a little out of sorts. I do not use apps very frequently… Or at least not nearly enough as she does. So after given the assignment, I rushed to my phone to go through several apps to see what would be a good one to review and after several possibles, I decided to choose a free game for the iPhone 4s called Pocket Starships. It certainly was an interesting game to say the least. A kind of cream of the crop out of a plethora of boring games and money gauging apps. So I downloaded it and decided to give it a go. After playing it for a bit, I have to say for an iPhone game… Not that bad. I was expecting much much worse when I downloaded it, but instead I found myself pleasantly surprised.
There isn’t a lot in the way of plot when it comes to Pocket Starship. Well okay, there is a little bit of one, but it is one that can quickly be brushed aside as you button mash the text crawl away. Essentially, when you first boot up the game you are given the choice to join one of two factions, the Shard or the Varins. One second in and already you are given a choice that will change your experience forever!… Well not really, I gave both games a go by downloading, uninstalling, and trying again (I’m sure there was an easier way don’t judge me) and both are for the most part the same. After a quick tutorial you are thrust into this new world where you must complete quests for your given alliance all the while battling your arch nemesis faction in various locations marked by a hexagonal map, some owned by one faction, some by the other, and a little area where players can congregate and blow each other to pieces.
When I was first asked to write a game app review, I was groaning. Most app games are notorious for micro-transactions and ‘buy to win’ content. I was expecting to download a ‘free’ game and then immediately be told to shell out a dollar or fifty cents in order to gain cool new weapons and a second level that would be physically impossible to complete unless you shell out said dollar or fifty cents… But no I was very surprised to see that when it comes to the overall game, the micro-transactions are practically invisible. You can play this game comfortably knowing that you will not hit a giant pay wall in between hunting down evil pirates and refining your ore to create new and better gadgets and considering this website is dedicated to free apps, this a huge plus to the game.
For a free to play game app… This game is expansive. The playing area is set up in a grid like system, some owned by the Shard, some owned by the Varins, and then a small area where players can take on each other. Each one of course has a futuristic type of name as to be expected and you can travel from location to location and fight baddies with your group of friends who you are supposed to coerce into playing (we will get to that soon). I was not expecting a tiny app game on a phone to be as expansive as some PS3 games that I have had the misfortune of playing in the past. An excellent and surprising addition.
It’s an MMO
For anyone who follows my site, you will know how I feel about MMOs. Just watch my debate with my friend Jate Nott to understand my dislike of them. This is an MMOG and as such the main way the game gets more people to play is making most missions near impossible to complete on your own. The game even encourages you to create mission forces of multiple people to go on these missions so you don’t get completely annihilated. Now of course you can join complete strangers to compete in missions. But for the most part what the game is saying is, ‘Get your friends to play this game, MORE PEOPLE! MORE PEOPLE!’ I can understand the reason they did this which is why it doesn’t really fit into the ‘Con’ category. But it is something that should be noted if you wish to pick up this game, get a friend to join in or just go with Angry Birds.
I don’t know what I was expecting from a game that I can play on my iPhone. But the majority of this game seems to be nothing but busy work. It is a go to location, aim your laser at the ship and wait until your or it blows up. Either that or mining and refining your ore to create new weapons and objects which both require little other than pushing the touch pad in a given direction until the thing disappears. When you are not doing either of those, you are in the space station button mashing a little bit more. It is a lot of busy work on top of busy work that can wear on a player quick.
Overall, this is one of the better app games that I have seen. The graphics are surprisingly good, the world is expansive, and you get to be the captain of your own damn starship! Granted my dislike for MMOGs is personal so I do not hold that against the game and the busy work game play is a small price to pay for a game that is a refreshing change of pace from play to win games and Angry Bird clones. If you are looking for a fun title to kill some time, download this one. You will not be disappointed.
Final Score 3.5/5
Thank you for reading fans of Free App Maven and if you would like to read more from me, please visit my website tannerreviews.com.
“Presentations That Inspire. Meet Haiku Deck, a completely new kind of presentation software. We make telling your story simple, beautiful, and fun.”
Haiku Deck, a web app still in beta, gives users another option for creating presentations. It tries to keep things minimal, with few, but attractive design options available.
Haiku Deck couldn’t be more user-friendly. They really do stick to the idea of keeping things simple and beautiful. Usually I like options, but it is less of an issue when the few choices I do have are good ones. The creation screen is very easy to understand.
When you create an account, you are presented with a quick description of each tool and that’s really all you need to get started. While I certainly wouldn’t have minded more font choices, I was still left pleased as far as design goes.
Haiku Deck tries to stay away from feature-overload, instead offering the minimum you need to create good-looking slideshows. At the creation screen you can choose from four different types of slides and one of the several layout types for available for each of them.
The image tab allows you to search for a photo to be displayed as the slide’s background. You can also use the photo tab to add charts or a solid background. Being able to search within Haiku Deck for photos is convenient, but I had trouble finding just what I was looking for. It is not clear which search engine they are using. I tried searching for weeping angels and expected to see several stills from Doctor Who but I was underwhelmed by the options.
At this screen you can also add notes to your slides. If you make your slideshow public, these notes are also public, so that is something to keep in mind.
When you have completed your slideshow, you can easily share it on any social network or embed it on a webpage, like the one below. You have the choice to make your presentation private, public or viewable only to those with the link. Presentations, called “decks”, are saved as you go, so returning to your main page allows you to see all of the decks you have worked on.
Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app
You can also browse through many of the public decks on the Haiku Deck homepage. Haiku Deck can also be accessed through the iPad app.
Haiku Deck is a simple web app that, while still in beta, performs flawlessly. If you do not need an extensive feature-set and just what to make sharable, visually appealing presentations, you should certainly give Haiku Deck a shot.
Just last week, Google released a huge update to Google Drive: Add-Ons. When you access a document or spreadsheet in Google Drive, you can now take advantage of this new feature. By clicking the add-on menu, you can choose from gallery.
There aren’t a large amount of choices available like you would find in the Chrome Web Store for browser extensions, but the choices will surely grow quickly. Here are some of the best add-ons available right now:
Instead of going to their website and exporting or copying and pasting your works cited, you can now search for your sources right from Google Docs. After you have collected them, you just click add to document and Easy Bib creates your works cited for you. I tried searching for several books and journals that I have used for research previously. It found my books easily, but I wasn’t able to find all of the journal articles that I needed. This is available for MLA, APA and Chicago Style, so if you use one of those you are in luck, but the rest of you will still have to look for another option.
Also useful for writing papers is the Thesaurus add-on. Oftentimes, I can’t quite think of the right word, so I either open the dictionary app on my Mac or go to dictionary.com. Thesaurus eliminates this lengthy process by having the option available within Google Drive. By highlighting a word and clicking Thesaurus from the add-on menu, you will see a list of synonyms pop up.
The last add-on for Google Docs that I looked at was Lucid Chart. It is the only one of these add-ons that still forces you to leave Google Docs to do your work. What I liked about the others is that it prevented me from having to leave the document I was working on. The Lucid Chart add-on gives you access to any charts you created on lucidchart.com and lets you add them into your document. You can continue to make edits at Lucid Chart and easily update the chart in your document, but you still have to do all of the editing outside Google Docs. If you use Google Docs and Lucid Chart a lot, this could be quite useful.
The Translate add-on uses Google Translate to translate your entire document within Google Docs. You just select the text and click translate. A window pops up to the right with the translation, which is currently only available for English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.
This is easily the add-on I was most impressed with. It allows you to link the sheet to your Google Analytics, Twitter, Facebook, Adwords, Bing Ads or Youtube account and pull data from it. You can then select the time period and metric you want to look at and it will appear in the sheet. If you use a spreadsheet to analyze your social media accounts, you need this add-on.
Delete Blank Rows
This is a very simple add-on. It only does one thing, but is immensely useful. You can highlight the entire document or a section of rows and click delete. The add-on will then delete all of the blank rows in that section. It is very useful to have around, rather than deleting several rows manually.
Messenger allows you to place a chat box on the right side of your document. This is useful for if you do a lot of work collaborating with others. Instead of having to use the built-in comments system or email back and forth, you can keep track of changes, comments and general discussion in one place, right next to your document. It is available for both Google Docs and Google Sheets, but you have to add it to each of them separately.
The new addition of Add-Ons in Google Drive makes it an even more useful for individuals and groups to work on their documents. They allow you streamline your work by spending more time inside your document instead of having to use multiple websites or tools.
“”Type once, search everywhere.”
Phlo is a search box on your Mac’s desktop. It has been recently updated and is now free. It comes with the ability to search over 30 popular sites.