Videos recorded on Riff added to end of long clip chain, shared on Facebook
Facebook has launched an app for collaborative video creation with friends on the social network. Riff, a new app from Facebook's Creative Labs and initially created as an employee side-project, lets users film a video on a topic of their choice, and then allows friends to add their own contribution, with the video extending with each new participant's video clip.
Strong update makes Todoist excellent on iOS
If you're already a Todoist user online, on Mac, iPhone or iPad, then add this task right now: download the new Todoist 10 for iOS. If you're not using it, get it anyway to have a look, because this new version is a pleasure to use -- and even its free version is powerful enough to become your regular To Do app.
One small version increase for man, one giant leap for 1Password
Oh, come on. We like 1Password, we like it a lot, but we reviewed version 5.2 in January -- there cannot seriously be a good reason to revisit for version 5.3. Except that there is: you can argue that the tiny point increase in the version number is fair, because this just builds on something we praised in 5.2, but this one change will make you use 1Password more. Version 5.2 added the ability to use 1Password from within other applications, and it did so by leveraging iOS 8's Sharing Extensions. Now it's back, with a bigger lever.
Hoping for variety, if not plethora, of third-party apps by public launch
With just over three weeks to go until the first wave of countries will begin selling the new Apple Watch (and less than two weeks until curious customers can try one on), Apple has sent out a reminder to developers that they can now submit apps based on WatchKit to the App Store in order to be ready for the public debut on April 24. The email to developers included a link to a submission tutorial.
Get things done with this concentration app
Most of the time, the secret to getting things done is getting on with them, and doing things. The Pomodoro technique is a trick to get yourself going, and keep yourself going, which has been around since the 1980s and is perfect for being turned into an app. Consequently there are many such apps, but the newly-updated Pomodoro Time Pro is a solid, capable and versatile one.
Apple game roundup for March 31, 2015
On Tuesdays and Fridays MacNN takes a few minutes to round up important goings-on in the Mac and iOS gaming world. Today, we're looking the upcoming release of a Star Wars: Rebels table for Zen Pinball 2, the arrival of a Final Fantasy MMORPG on OS X, and the release of RBI Baseball 15 on both of Cupertino's current operating systems.
Take combined photos to get one gorgeous one
You can't make a camera be better than it is, but you can have a good go: Hydra 1.0.2 for iOS aims to create high-resolution images by taking and combining many, many shots in quick succession. The results depend gigantically on what you're photographing, and how steady your hand is, but it can work well and even when it fails, it can be rather pretty.
Unique app offers photography filters not found elsewhere
Photography apps are our bread and butter here, and we've taken a look at quite a few of them -- so we consider ourselves experts in some regard. One of our favorite types of apps are analog photography filter apps, especially those that offer unique effects. We took a look at Lo-Mob, an app that promises to help lend an authentic feel of experimental analog photography to your digital pictures.
Staffers discuss new book, new gaming column, new apps
We're now at episode eight of The MacNN Podcast, which this week welcomes our new Apple Gaming column, as well as reminding listeners about our weekly game news roundup. We also discuss the book Becoming Steve Jobs, and Tim Cook's latest honor from the business world. More confusion about Windows 10 pricing outside China has come to light, and tech companies are asking for changes in the Patriot Act.
Create continuous screenshots of text messages, websites, social media and more!
Taking a screen shot on your iPhone is easy enough to do, right? Well, provided it's not a long document, web page, text conversation or Facebook thread, that is. But what if you do need to take a screenshot of a whole web page, or conversation in Messages? You can always take multiple screenshots and meticulously organize them, or you can just try out Tailor, an app that creates continuous screenshots for you.
Jay-Z, Daft Punk, other musical artists now owners of Tidal
Music streaming service Tidal has relaunched as an artist-owned company. At a star-studded launch event streamed live, the musical artists owning part of the service gathered together for the announcement, with the overall message offered being Tidal's push to benefit musical artists more than its competitors, such as Spotify and its allegedly low royalty payments.
Give your elementary-school engineer a fun project to work on!
It's in a child's nature to be interested about the world around them, and as parents and teachers, there's a certain obligation you have to encourage that. Starting from age two, kids just seem to become more and more inquisitive, and while the "why?" phase is never fun, watching a child develop a genuine interest in the way the world works is one of the best things a parent gets to witness. Finding games that can help foster those interests isn't always easy, but we think that Crazy Gears is a good place to start.
Fun game allows kids to build on the go!
We're quite familiar with Toca Boca apps over here, and we've loved every app we've gotten our hands on. Between the fantastic free-play atmosphere, the well designed graphics, and the fun game play mechanics, we've come to expect greatness from them. When we found out about Toca Builders, we knew we had to check it out immediately.
An iOS clipboard manager you didn't know you needed
If you don't happen to know what a clipboard manager is, you need one. If you do and you've also tried out a couple, you know why you need it and you know just how hard it will be to make you give them up. Not to rub it in if you haven't tried one yet but they have been around for a very long time – or at least they have on Macs. With iPhone and iPads, it's really taken until iOS 8 for them to be possible. Clips is a free clipboard manager for iOS and it is just about as good as Apple allows it to be.
What if Blooper from Super Mario Bros had its own game?
Zoidtrip by Arthur Guibert is a game about a squid-like sentient kite ... or something. It's a simple arcade-style scrolling game of avoiding walls for as long as you possibly can. It's free-to-play with advertisements, though an in-app purchase unlocks all the possible Zoids and removes the ads. Long story short, we found it to be a cheerful time-waster with a boppy soundtrack, and we're really bad at it.
Quickly create affiliate links for your website
There is an argument that Blink is a single-use app for a very specific and therefore limited market: it helps you quickly make App Store links with a code in to get you some money. If you don't happen to know how affiliate links work, you just sat up. If you do, you didn't. It is not a road to making a lot of money but when it's done in a way that benefits your website audience then then it is a good thing all round.
E pluribus shoot'em
Trial of the Clone by Tin Man Games is an iOS-based Gamebook adventure of the book by the same name by Zach Weinersmith of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal fame. Much like the other Gamebook adventure we recently covered, Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be, the story is presented by the app in a choose-your-own-adventure like format. However Trial of the Clone makes better use of the Gamebook engine with inventory items, stats, and random number generators. On top of all that, it's read to you by Wil Wheaton, so if you don't like reading you're covered. Don't like Wil Wheaton? That's okay, you can turn him off in the settings. If you dislike both reading and Wil Wheaton at the same time, turn to page 7.
MacNN and Electronista daily deals for March 27, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, our regular look at the discounts, offers, sales, and other money-saving items for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As usual, we recap the still-active deals from over the last week, as well as introducing new items, including a cheap Disney Infinity entry point, a Microsoft Xbox One to play it on, and 3TB WD Red hard drives.
It's like Tinder for your camera roll!
The app's full name in iTunes is "Flic – Delete & Manage Camera Roll and Easily Delete Photos to Increase Disk Space", but we're just going to call it "Flic" from here on out. Lifehack Labs says it's like Tinder for your camera roll (or Grindr, or whatever "swipe right for yes, left for no" dating app you prefer). In spite of it having a very simple function and interface, the developers -- Lifehack Labs -- put a lot of thought into Flic.
Turn-based strategy war game about winning hearts and minds as well as battle set in the Drang Valle
Vietnam… '65 by Slitherine is a turn-based strategy war game set in, you guessed it, Vietnam in 1965. Specifically the Ia Drang Valley, right near the Cambodian border, where the player is in charge of a counterinsurgency effort. The enemy is sneaking in across the border, and the job gets more difficult when the player visits local villages to win hearts and minds, and constructs bases in the area.
Look out Hypnotoad Look out Glow Cloud ALL HAIL TICKLEFLUFF
Attempting to describe Ticklefluff by Liger Games so as to properly prepare a person for what they're about to experience is a daunting task. It's a game where the player is given commands by an adorable tuft of fur. When we described it as that, and handed off our iPhone 5 or iPad Mini 2 with the game to other people, the reaction was usually the same. It would start with confusion. The chin tucked back, the eyebrows furrowed, and the lips pursed into a thin line. Then, like the sun coming through parting clouds, a smile begins to spread across the face. Then the giggling starts. Finally, they make their first mistake, displeasing Ticklefluff, and they pout.
Periscope for iOS available now, Android version on the way
Twitter has added another video service to its roster, alongside Vine, one which provides live video streaming to the microblogging platform. A rebranding of an app Twitter acquired in January, Periscope lets users instantly stream from their smartphone to their Twitter feed, with viewers able to provide feedback to the broadcaster in real time.
A puzzler with a narrative that's either hilarious or chilling depending on your point of view
TouchTone by Mikengreg is a cloak-and-dagger themed puzzler where the player "hacks" into communication streams to spy on your fellow citizens for an organization that recruited you. Presumably, this organization is part of the government in some way, but they never really say. The data streams are represented by various colored waving lines and corresponding receptors. The player slides shapes around on a grid to redirect the lines and make connections.
Amazon expands Prime Now one-hour deliveries to Dallas
Amazon Prime Now, the retailer's high-speed delivery service, is opening up in Dallas. Just as with its other Prime Now locations, Prime subscribers in the fourth location will be able to use a mobile app on iOS and Android to place orders for groceries and household goods, between 8am and 10pm seven days a week, with TechCrunch reporting it still costs $8 for one-hour deliveries, while two-hour deliveries are free.
Follow a funny retelling of Shakespeare's masterpiece of tragically awkward family conflict or go co
Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be by Tin Man Games is a quirky presentation of William Shakespeare's Hamlet ... or at least that story as presented by Ryan North, and illustrated by a veritable who's who of web comics. The app is one of Tin Man Games' Gamebook Adventures, a platform for stories told in a choose your own adventure style, or "find your own fate" if you had the Indiana Jones versions of those kinds of books. Choices that more-or-less match up with Shakespeare's version of how things shook out are marked with an adorable little Yorrik skull.
Unscramble letters on a beautiful game board and a relaxing soundtrack
Alpha Omega by BorderLeap is a puzzle game where all the letters in a series of intersecting words are mixed up, except for the first and the last -- hence the name. We enjoyed the clean style of the game boards and tiles, as well as the "relaxing soundscapes" vibe of the accompanying music. We tried it out on an iPhone and an iPad Mini, and it looked great on both -- and provided a lot of entertainment.
A single player boardgame with tabletop RPG style flair
Paper Dungeons by Valverde Stephane is a board game in the time-honored fantasy tradition of rolling dice to kill monsters and take their stuff. The app provides adorable art, nice sound design, and lots of board game action using a pay-once-and-play model. The look and feel of the game invokes the graph-paper mapping of table top RPGs. Everything about the art style is ... we're pretty sure the word is "adorkable." It's cute without being cutesy. Well, except for the female warrior death screen, that's pretty cutesy, but we think it's okay in that case.
Your favorite RSS feeds in the iOS Today widget
Breaking by Robocat adds your RSS feeds to the iOS Today widget. The user can have between two and five of the most recent stories from any number of RSS feeds available with a simple downward swipe. There's a bit more to the app than just that actually, and we'll talk about that. The app doesn't give you a full run-down of all the stories in the feeds you have listed; it's only for breaking information, as the name implies. We tested Breaking for iOS on an iPhone 5, and an iPad Mini 2.
Twitter starts testing automatic playing of promoted videos in iOS apps
Twitter is starting to test automatically-playing videos in its apps. According to Ad Age, the service will autoplay promoted video ads to some Twitter users in the United States using the official iOS app. While the videos will play muted, some users will see a looping six-second preview while others will see the the full video in a loop, with both groups able to select the video to view it full screen and with sound turned on.
Adorable game offers casual play, cute art, and relaxing music
Casual gaming gets a bad rap these days, but there's something to be said for a game that allows you to sit back, relax, and experience it as a whole. Ferry Halim could be regarded as one of the grandfathers of casual gaming, as he launched his Flash-based game website, Orisinal, back in 2000 -- and has been hard at work creating games for it ever since. Luckily for us, some of his games, such as Orisinal Rainmaker, have made it to iOS.
Apple launches web page offering free Apple Pay decal kits for businesses
A new webpage is offering merchants who support Apple Pay compatibility free decals and a guide to placement to help them make customers aware that they accept Apple's mobile payment technology. The free kit offers both window and smaller register decals, can now be ordered online for quantities up to five. For larger orders, merchants must call a special toll-free phone number.
Devilish platform promises to challenge
We love games across every genre. We like tactical games, shooters, survival games, and puzzle games. Sandbox games? Sure, we're in! But if there's one game that we love the most, perhaps even more than open-world RPGs, it's probably platformers. Yes, your basic, run-of-the-mill platformer, capable of invoking nostalgic feelings from our childhood. That's why we checked out Mr. Jump, as we were expecting a fun trip down memory lane, but instead we found a surprisingly brutal foray into the world of digital free-running.
Safe alternative to jailbreaking allows for customized icons on iPad, iPhone
The dream of every design enthusiast out there is the idea of having your own, personalized icons. Up until recently, it was a pipe dream if you weren't willing to jailbreak your iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone -- but fortunately, things have changed. Thanks to a handy little app called App Icons by Apalon Apps, you can now have the custom icons you desire, with zero of the risks associated with jailbreaking.
Universal said to be in contract negotiations, wants Spotify to weaken free service
Universal Music Group (UMG) wants Spotify to add more limits to its free streaming service, according to reports. The record label is apparently having issues with the freemium music offering and its apparent lack of revenue, and hopes that restricting the number of listens for songs will push Spotify users to the more lucrative paid subscription service.
Make this nearly brilliant feature work for you
The first time you use this feature of Evernote for iOS, you will go "wow!". Unfortunately, before you finish using it for the first time, you will also go "oh." For Evernote is practically magical in how it will scan a business card, and cull every last detail off it -- and then it's surprisingly bad at what it does with that information.
Disrupting industries is the new black, great apps and fair app prices, bad jokes
The MacNN Podcast episode seven is now available, and this week we looked at the rumor that Apple is preparing to revamp the Apple TV and sweeten the pot with an optional package of channel offerings that don't require a cable subscription; Google's entry into the MVNO space; the recent Microsoft announcements about Windows 10; Facebook getting into inter-site payments; the return of Launcher to the App Store, and the removal of so-called "anti-virus" iOS apps; our latest "Living With" column; and our favorite apps of the week.
Customize your phone to be every bit as unique as you are
Phones are personal, which is probably why we spend such a large amount of time fussing over them. When it comes to personalization, we take our phone cases, our styluses, and our screen protectors very seriously, so it only makes sense that we'd think just as much about our wallpapers. That's where
Pimp Your Screen comes in, an app that offers hundreds of high-quality wallpapers to help you make a statement with your iPhone.
BlackBerry adds BBM Protected mode to iOS, Android apps
BlackBerry is allowing its enterprise users to have highly-secure FIPS 140-2 validated conversations with other mobile users, rather than just between BlackBerry devices. BBM Protected, a mode for the BlackBerry messaging app that encrypts the conversation between two parties, is now available on the iOS and Android versions of the client. BBM Protected requires the use of the paid service BES from BlackBerry in order to set up the secure communications, though the secondary party only needs the free client to receive secure chat requests.
Our favorite robot overlord rises up again in well designed weather app
Ah, Carrot. She's our favorite of a wide array of choices for robot overlords, and the mascot for the Carrot series of apps. If you weren't aware, we had checked out Carrot To-Do a while back, which is a productivity app that keeps you productive with a strange mix of death threats and achievements. Currently, there are quite a few Carrot apps, and they're planning to add more to their collection, but today we'll take a look at Carrot Weather, because maybe your meteorologist should be a murderous robot.
A cute little puzzle-adventure-platformer involving eyeballs and tentacles
Swing Tale by FDG Entertainment is 100 levels of adventure for an unnamed cyclopean creature from whom tentacles suddenly sprout to grab onto things and swing its bouncy spherical body around the world. That may sound terrifying, but it's actually all quite adorable. We enjoyed the personality of the game, and playing around with the physics inherent in the use of tentacles as a means of transportation.
Daily deals for Friday March 20, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the post where we scour the Internet's major retailers to uncover the finest price cuts and discounts on technology and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today's recap of deals from earlier in the week is accompanied by a bunch of new additions, including a heavily discounted gaming laptop, a waterproof HTC digital camera, and a MSI mini-PC!
Easily download, find, manage, and play back podcasts
Devices come and go, generally every two years when your cellular plan comes up for renewal, but a good utility app transcends hardware. Downcast by Jamawkinaw Enterprises is one such app for this reviewer. We first downloaded it back when Apple spun Podcasts off into a separate app, which we didn't find very intuitive at the time. Downcast is very intuitive, and we've never looked back.
Atari offers a new way to get in shape with their personal training app
Video games are great, but they don't exactly get your blood pumping most of the time. Sure, you have your Wii Fit games and your Dance Dance Revolutions, which certainly do get you up and moving, but the genre is still somewhat lacking. Atari, creator of famed titles like Pong and Breakout, is attempting to get you up and moving with its new app, Atari Fit.
One comprehensive app for photo editing on a mobile platform
Enlight by Lightricks wants to be your one-stop-app for editing, manipulating, and applying filters to your photos on iOS devices. We're pretty sure everybody can agree that the application of sweet filters and presets is certainly the easiest way to liven up an image, and Enlight certainly has its share of those. However, the app is also a full-featured image manipulation package with a clean-looking and easy-to-use interface.
A wing-suit game that's free-to-play but also pay-to-play
Yeah, that's right. It's a game called YoloDude. Developed by Roberto Salas and produced by South Rocket Droogs, it's a survive-as-long-as-you-can arcade game. The titular "YoloDude" is a wing-suit flyer, and the player's job is to keep him in the air as long as they can. Each YoloDude, just like all of us, only has one life: hence, the name. The developers acknowledge there are people who believe in reincarnation, but state it doesn't count for the purposes of their game.
This paired down attractive fitness app is perfect for minimalists
Fitness apps are a great invention for anyone interested in keeping an exercise routine. They help us keep track of our endeavors as we strive to accomplish our goals. Some apps are so full of features that they're practically bursting; for a lot of users, that can be intimidating. If you're looking for a streamlined app that isn't going to bog you down, we might have just the app for you: Fitastic.
Notification Centre app launcher returns
When is an app not an app? When it's really there primarily to make a Notification Center widget work. Also, when is an update not really an update? When there are bug fixes, but the only true update is that the app is back in the App Store after a long gap. That's what has happened with Launcher, a widget that gives you quick app-launching direct from the Notification Center on your iOS devices. It's a simple and smart app that should never have been at the center of controversy, and it's good that you can finally get it again.
Fantastical 2 for Mac arriving March 25, only hint is revised Yosemite look
The well-regarded calendaring program, Fantastical for Mac, is about to receive a major upgrade. Version 2.0 will be launched on March 25, and will feature a revised look more in line with the Yosemite aesthetic. The company isn't saying anything about what, if any, new features the update will include, but has indicated that while there will be no upgrade pricing for existing users, a limited-time launch sale price will act to fill that role.
Powerful To Do app gets better with age
Software is personal and when an app is right for you, its impact on your working life -- or even just your life -- can be extraordinary. You don't get that impact very often, though, and unfortunately even when you do, it doesn't tend to last. I've had moments of it with Apple Maps, but my enjoyment of that has grown hand in hand with annoyances. I got quite a bit of it with Evernote, and that is now a staple of my every working day, but somehow it's become too familiar, I no longer see what was so special. You know where this is going, though. It's going to the point where I enthuse at you about OmniFocus.
Learn about the history of the space race, or create your own history
Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager by Slitherine depicts the Cold War space race from the perspective of those on one of the front lines. While populated with soldiers and military, this time, we're talking about NASA and the Soviet Space Agency. This game isn't about artillery barrages or submarines lurking about, but one of managing departments, selecting and training personnel, and balancing budgets.