The holidays are always the most stressful time for me. If I could measure my holiday stress with buckets for my tears, there'd be enough water for a full-functioning well. I learned that the best way to curb my anxiety about getting everything done is to get organized and use tools that help increase efficiency. And fortunately, with the world we live in today where smartphones are our saviors, there are a heaping of apps in the iTunes App Store that can aid in getting it together. In this week's Free App Friday, I try to solve your holiday stress issues -- and, well, mine -- with a list of helpful apps.
The holidays are here and you know what that means: going crazy trying to remember everyone on your Christmas card list. While Apple has made it easy for iOS users to turn their personal photos into holiday cards with the Cards app, it's still got a slim collection of templates that needs a little more polishing. Here are three free apps that basically offer the same services as the Cards app, though bear in mind that these apps do eventually charge you to send off physical greeting cards to your loved ones.
Donna Summer put it best when she said that love is found on the radio. And sure, in this generation we've got stations like Pandora and Last.FM, but those stations ask us to dictate what it plays. The radio's best feature was just that: the way it could spontaneously change our moods based on the next song the DJ'd decide to play. With that, here are three free apps to help take you back to that time before the iPod was permanently tethered to your car stereo and you kicked the good ol' FM radio to the curb.
Ahh, geez. Can someone please give that kid something to play with? All these kids really want these days is a chance to creatively express themselves, right? Give them what they want: an iPad with musical instruments. On the flip side, those free instrument apps aren't just for kids who needs to keep their hands busy. There are a few that help us adults without idle hands actually put together a little tune, or learn to play an instrument. Here's a look at a few free music apps to either keep the kids busy or keep your mind in tune. See what I did there? (Maybe that pun didn't really work. Can't say I didn't try.)
Google's official Gmail iOS app left the App Store as quickly as it arrived. The app had issues with notifications, and Google today released a Twitter statement apologizing for pulling the app, and that the company had "messed up." On top of the redesign to Google Reader, we're left feeling a little more than unsatisfied with Google's latest projects.
Fortunately, there's a thriving world of independent app developers out there that can make good things happen from bad things. Or, just did them right from the start. Here's a look at three free apps that were better than Google's own Gmail for iOS app. And if these free apps seem a little too simple for you, remember that it's not like Google's was any better
As you've probably already noticed, sometimes I like to use my space in Free App Friday to feature a few apps that have really tickled my fancy. There's nothing better than discovering an app that really does something wonderful to either simplify your life or give you a little smile. This week, I'd like to introduce to you three free web services that have helped me increased my productivity and enjoy the internet just a little bit more. Because in the mess of trolls, immature Redditors and salacious headlines, we all need a little refuge from the harshness of the 'net.
I have a confession to make: my first mp3 player was not an iPod, but rather a 256MB Creative Muvo TX FM--it had FM radio! I eventually graduated to a 40GB Sony NW-HD5 Network Walkman. The hardware was great and the player lasted me a few years, but it was an absolute nightmare to get music to sync up with it because of Sony's inability to make proper software. Frustrated, I ditched it for a 60GB Creative Labs Zen Vision: M.
Then came the realization that I was doing it wrong. On my first day on the job here at Mac|Life, Reviews Editor Ray Aguilera made the comment that my mp3 player looked like a garage door opener. When I could no longer get the software to sync music to my device, I threw my hands up in the air, drove out to the Apple Store, and finally succumbed to a 32GB third-generation iPod touch. I haven't looked back since. The touch is my portable gaming and music-listening device, and I also have a hand-me-down 8GB nano that resides in my car. I'm eventually planning on upgrading to one of the recent generations of the touch, especially now that I'm starting to see some slow downs with the recent iOS 5 upgrade.
So, yes, I just took you a walk down memory lane. But what I'm trying to say is this: the iPod is it. It's the portable music playback device that to has done it right from the get-go, much like how the original Sony Walkman and Discman set the precedent before. While I don't exactly have any cake or candles to celebrate the iPod's 10th birthday, I do have some free apps for you for hanging out with your iPod. Give it some love today. Remember that before the iPhone and the iPad, before iOS was even conceived, there was the click-wheel to rule them all.
Nothing is worse in life than when you feel like you don't have any control over your electronic devices. Yeah, when the iPhone is flashing on and off and your MacBook just won't start up, you might be thinking that it's too late to really save it. A great way to prevent this from happening is to monitor your devices with free apps that can tell you what's going on under the hood. And thus...
What do you do on your iPad these days? Do you play games? Keep track of your finances? Surf the web? And does anyone actually use that euphemism anymore? It feels like it's getting pretty dated…
And you know what else is dated? Watching television on your TV. Yes, folks, the cool way to keep track of your favorite shows is to prop up the iPad on your knees while you're in bed and doze off to the sweet sounds of Meredith Grey's constant whining on Grey's Anatomy. And while you might know about ABC, NBC, HBO and TBS's official apps for the iPad, here are a few other free apps that exist just for your entertainment.
Tonight, I'm going to the movies. I'm going to go see 50/50 and I'm hoping that I get a few laughs out of it (and hey, maybe even shed a few tears considering the subject matter). And maybe you feel like going to the movies tonight with a friend or a significant other, or plopping yourself down on the couch with the cat to a rental. Whether you're into mainstream movies, B-movies, Bollywood, or Disney flicks, here's a few apps to help you catch the best of them.