With the ongoing battle between Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iBooks, e-books have been in the spotlight plenty. But audiobooks are still the easiest way for many readers to get a quick fix on the go. They can be enjoyed hands-free almost anywhere, and--thanks to Audible and iTunes--they’re as easy to buy as their e-book counterparts. Unfortunately, with that convenience comes digital rights management (DRM) that restricts how you can listen to your books. Enter Simply Audiobooks, a would-be Audible-alike website offering downloadable audiobooks--at least some of which are free of meddlesome DRM. Despite that advantage, this upstart bookstore can’t begin to compare to its better, more established competition.
A new entry in Intuit’s venerable line of financial software, Quicken Essentials is all about keeping track of your cash. Load it with your bank accounts, credit cards, assets, and loans, and it’ll show you where the money is going.
For better or worse, personal email is dying. Two decades ago, email was the future--and now it’s beginning to feel like the past. Between Twitter, Facebook, and other sharing tools, my email inbox has become a repository for sales pitches, a few residual mailing lists I can’t seem to get off, Facebook alerts, and spam. Almost all of the personal emails I used to exchange with friends and family have moved onto social networks.
These days, we all have way too much email to cope with. So when RSS readers make my news feeds look like emails, I find something else to do. That’s why Times impresses me so much. Thanks to its cleanly designed, gorgeous presentation and simple interface, it restores the pleasure of reading news in the way that only newspapers could previously provide.
Losing data sucks. Your spreadsheets from work are one thing, but the truly heart-wrenching losses are the things you can’t replace: pictures of your kids at Disneyland, the Great American Novel you’ve been working on since college, or your 300GB iTunes Library that you’ve been lovingly curating for the last decade. Luckily, tools like Prosoft’s Data Rescue can help get your data back whether you lost it to file corruption or simply to being overzealous with the Empty Trash command (we’ve all done that at least once).
Truphone turns your iPad into a (really) big iPhone. The VOIP app offers free voice calls to other TruPhone users, and cheap calls to telephones with a variety of calling plans. Truphone for iPad even lets you IM across AIM, GoogleTalk, and MSN’s instant messaging networks.
This is what we imagine Harry Potter’s Chemistry book looks like. It’s a stunning--but somewhat confusing to use--iPad adaptation of Theodore Grey’s dead-tree book of the same name. The Elements presents you with a periodic table, complete with animated elements. Tapping on one brings up a page with 360-degree animations, as well as all the scientific details of the element in question.
With the announcement of iBooks and its 60,000+ in-app downloads, Apple
set the standard for the iPad as an important reading device, and
luckily, other developers heard the calling. Several worthwhile reading
applications are now available, with many putting their paper
counterparts to shame with vivid artwork, embedded video, and
interactive elements. Still unsure of whether the iPad can kick some of
your traditional print reading habits to the curb? We've already given
iBooks its own full review, but here's a look at some of the other
initial reading offerings on the iPad.
In an ideal world, our Macs would be impeccably organized, not stuffed
with old versions of Word docs and umpteen copies of the Beastie Boys’
“Hey Ladies.” Hyperbolic’s Tidy Up offers powerful tools for
identifying (and dispatching) duplicate files, helping us get closer to
that ideal Mac by sorting and disposing of unneeded bytes.
The last time I dared to dabble in dictation software was about 15
years ago, and even allowing for how that software only ran on a
Windows box, the whole experience was extraordinarily cumbersome. But
after using Dictate for only five minutes, the improvements in the
technology since then are starkly apparent. It’s not perfect, but the
dream of quickly turning spoken words into editable text has certainly