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Chris Cooper

At one point in his life, Chris thought that AOL was the sole gatekeeper to the Internet. It wasn't until he was thrown into a dorm room with computer engineers that he realized how valuable technology could be. Chris is a tech nomad, always searching for better ways to get things done, and he loves showing others how technology can be used to improve their lives.

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App.net developers have produced a wide variety of applications, ranging from simple ports of Twitter apps to innovative apps that support App.net’s file storage API. Apps that support the service’s basic user timeline are plentiful, but the spotlight has shifted to the apps that ditch conventional design and support App.net’s new and innovative features. Chimp is one of the newest App.net clients that does just this. Today we’ll put the app under the microscope to see just how well it stands up to the competition.
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Outlines dominate the teaching and note-taking landscape. Many PowerPoint slides consist of an idea header with organized bullets that go into additional detail. High school teachers often required students to submit paper outlines prior to the first draft. Tony Buzan, the self-proclaimed creator of mind maps, argues that the brain doesn’t develop ideas in this traditional outline format; instead, ideas develop radially, starting with the central point and branching out into detailed topics and subtopics. According to Buzan, mind maps are more efficient and useful for capturing and developing ideas. The increased use of colors and images also helps the creator to retain and express ideas in an enhanced capacity.

Mind maps have several advantages over outlines. They provide a beautiful way to visualize data, especially for presentations and papers. Mind map topics can have complex dependencies and relationships that move far beyond the limits of a hierarchical outline.

Users looking for a mind mapping application will find a slurry of choices, from simple subscription-based solutions, to complex cross-platform behemoths. iThoughtsHD by CMS is a feature-rich mind mapping solution that supports many export and import options.

How well does iThoughtsHD stand up against the competition? Read on to find out.

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Browser bookmarks have long served as a way to keep track of useful sites. Many browsers allow bookmark syncing, but users who switch browsers may lose bookmarks amidst the shuffling. Apps like Instapaper offer archiving for blog posts and articles, but they simply aren’t meant for general bookmarking. Evernote can store HTML copies of websites, but this solution is clumsy, and large collections of bookmarks make the app unwieldy.

Pinboard is a simple bookmarking service that allows users to bookmark webpages and funnel in bookmarks from many other services and browsers. Pinboard is similar to Delicious, except significantly faster and less social. Bookmarks are stored in the cloud, so users can access them anywhere. The service features tag support and a read later queue, and bookmarks can be labelled as public or private. The service is available for a one-time fee, which currently sits around $10. The fee grows with each purchase, which serves as a way to prevent unsustainable growth.

Although Pinboard is an excellent service, there’s a lack of solid Pinboard applications in the App Store. The service has a mobile version, but it’s missing many of the perks that native apps take advantage of. Collin Donnell’s Pinbook is a universal Pinboard client that attempts to bring the best aspects of Pinboard to the iPhone and iPad.

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App.net is rapidly evolving from an ambitious concept into a flourishing reality. User registrations have exceeded the 25,000 mark, and the addition of Netbot, by Tapbots, to the App.net lineup lead to a boom in new user registrations.

AppNet Rhino was the first App.net iOS client to make it into the hands of users, but its lack of features resulted in a less-than-stellar experience. It’s hard to scoff at a free application, but App.net users are a technologically savvy bunch, and other free apps were trumping Rhino in both style and functionality. The AppNet Rhino team acknowledged this feature gap with an impressive update, which also made Rhino one of two App.net iPad clients currently available. Let’s take a look at this new iPad version, and examine just how well it holds up against the Tapbots juggernaut. (more…)

It’s Game Week here at iPad.AppStorm, and all this week we’re going to have tons of reviews, giveaways and other good stuff, all centered around the gaming world!

A little over a year ago, Shaun Inman introduced Flip to the iOS screen. Intergalactic war was drawing to a close, and Flip was the last rocket to roll off of the assembly line. Unfortunately, the ship became trapped in a star’s gravity field, and Flip had to escape before both he and the ship were swallowed by the star.

Flip managed to escape as the ship spiraled into oblivion, but the resulting stellar shockwave leaves little time for celebration. Shaun Inman’s Flip’s Escape reunites players with the star of The Last Rocket and his computer companion as he flees the impending wave, avoiding speeding astroids and collecting their orbital power ups. But does the second chapter of Flip’s adventure hold the same thrills and charm as the first, or is it a cosmic dud? Let’s find out. (more…)

Outlining is a fantastic way to organize ideas for everything from a detailed narrative to an app review. ThinkBook has always been my go-to outlining app, but the lack of robust syncing or export options makes it difficult to edit outlines on anything except the iPad. I would venture to say that no one likes to edit outlines in TextEdit, but I’m sure that there’s at least one text evangelist out there who’s crazy enough.

Cloud Outliner by Denys Yevenko is a basic outliner that trades complex features for easy export and sync. The app supports iCloud and Evernote syncing, and can export to OPML. Is the promise of robust outline syncing too good to be true, or does this little app pack a powerful punch? (more…)

Index cards are an easy and inexpensive way to make sense out of chaos within the writing process. Writers can spread cards out on the floor or pin them to bulletin boards. Each card represents an idea, chapter, or scene, and writers can reorganize cards until the work makes sense. Unfortunately, there’s no computer slot for index cards, and the stack of brilliant ideas must be transcribed into a digital form.

Index Card by DenVog attempts to bring all of the benefits of physical cards to the iPad screen. The app lets users populate a digital bulletin board with index cards, reorganize, and write until they’re satisfied with their creation. Instead of transcribing ideas, Index Card lets the user export them into a text editor of their choice.

Can any simulated experience provide the same thrill as playing a writer’s version of 52 Pickup?

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In 2008 Apple opened the iOS gates to third-party developers, but its strict App Store policies severely limited app creativity. App Store submissions were rejected if the app duplicated core functionality of iOS native apps. This meant that the quality of the web browsing and emailing experience was solely controlled by Apple. Web browsers were some of the first applications to slide past Apple’s restrictive policies, and several excellent notables clawed their way above the rest.

Phillip reviewed Grazing a few months ago, and reading the review left me hungry to try it. Unfortunately, I found myself less concerned with flexibility of browsing and sharing and more concerned with download management, something that both Mobile Safari and Grazing lack. This led me to iCab Mobile, a powerful browser by Alexander Clauss.

How does iCab hold up to the competition? Can it counter Mobile Safari’s native advantage?

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Despite arguments over how to categorize an iPad, it’s undeniable that the device is capable of much more than watching YouTube videos. Apps like Photoshop Touch are crossing out entries on the list of what an iPad can’t do, while the new iPad’s display blows computer displays out of the water.

Today, we’ll be looking at coding on the iPad, specifically Koder Code Editor by iCodeLabs. Koder is a code editor that attempts to turn the iPad into a coding machine. Is it capable of doing the job of a traditional code editor, or is it just another swanky entry in the book of the underpowered? Read on to find out.

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To-do software is somewhat akin to sports teams, in the sense that everyone has their favorite. Users develop strong allegiances, while apps like Omnifocus develop cult followings. Insult a popular to-do app and be ready to feel the wrath of angry power users. Thanks to apps like Clear, even the simplest to-do apps have diehard fans.

Despite vast differences, all to-do apps are rooted in the basic concept of lists, but most bury this basic idea in complicated databases and an abundance of chrome. TaskPaper by Hog Bay Software puts the “list” back into “to-do list” and saves all task lists as plain text files. TaskPaper doesn’t offer a full-fledged GTD experience per se, but it provides many of the key features without the unpleasant complexities.

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