The competition is now closed — congratulations to the winners, @marcblog, @bebii_4 and @erickstephen!

This Monday, Pedro Lobo looked at Actions, an absolutely fantastic automation app for your iPad. You can control virtually everything about your Mac or Windows computer (separate versions are available) right from your tablet and you can also create some pretty nifty shortcuts that will not only save you time but also make you a lot more productive in whatever you do.

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The competition has now closed — congratulations to our winners, @marcoutsider, @CharlesTreece, @prudyleaf, @Speed2024 and @MT36000!

This week’s weekly sponsor is PDF Max Pro, an advanced PDF reader with support for annotations, note-taking and form-filling.

I personally am not a fan of the default PDF reader on the iPad, Preview, as it’s simply a very watered down version of the Mac version, with almost every single useful feature stripped out. There’s no support for annotations and all you can do is read PDFs in it – there’s no iCloud sync (like in iWork on iOS) with your Mac and, unless you succumb to iBooks, you can’t store PDFs natively on your iPad. Hence, most iPad users turn to third-party PDF readers which provide far more features, often at a tiny price.

Read on to find out how to win 1 of 5 free promotional codes for PDF Max Pro!

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The Snugg Ultra Slim Bluetooth Keyboard Case

Back in March, we had a little debate concerning keyboard cases for the iPad and whether they were a productive accessory or just an unnecessary burden. Jonathan Kizer argued that typing on an external keyboard is much easier than on the iPad’s software keyboard, whereas Pedro Lobo mentioned that they were more of a hindrance than a tool to speed up your productivity, citing the useful shortcuts built into many apps such as WriteUp.

Soon after this, we were contacted by The Snugg, a popular manufacturer of a wide range of iPad and iPhone accessories and I thought in keeping to our theme, we would review their Bluetooth keyboard and case offering. Here are my thoughts.

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Versu Puts the Reader Right Into the Story

Imagine a book in which you could become one of the main characters, choosing how to interact with other characters and even affect the plot. This is how stories in Versu work — you can determine your character’s objectives, actions, attitude and more as you explore the interactive stories.

Disclaimer: The stories fall into the Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice realm of literature. So if you’re a fan of those, you’ll be a fan of the currently available stories. And if you’re not, you might want to pass on this one.

Ready to read on? Click “more” to take a look at the future of story-telling. (more…)

iPad Game Thursday: New Releases

This week’s game roundup ranges from the simplistic — hurling bottle caps at ice cubes — to the very complicated: storming the beaches at Normandy. And in between there’s a round of golf, a murder mystery in the town of Little Riddle, and a redneck trying to save his bar from some very rude would-be patrons (well I guess they can’t help it; they’re zombies, after all).

But these games still have a few things in common: They will certainly challenge you and provide a bit of fun. Click through to take a look.

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A Virtual Visit to Your Library with Overdrive Media Console

If you have a local library, you may well be used to visiting and borrowing books from it. But, did you know that there are many titles available to borrow as digital works? All you need is your library card, and a little app called Overdrive Media Console.

As well as borrowing written works, you can also borrow audiobooks, just as you would in person. The main difference is that with digital borrowing the digital title will check itself back in automatically and there are never any late fees.

So, grab your library card and follow us through a little walk-through of Overdrive Media Console.

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In truth, the iPad was really made with one thing in mind, wasn’t it? That’s right – recipes.

I suspect that wasn’t the first thing that sprang into your mind, but it would be fair to say that, as a device, the iPad is perfect for culinary education. You can access as many recipes as you like, get information on ingredients, and browse suggestions for recipes to try.

Or, at least, that should be the case. Unfortunately, many food apps feel like cash-ins, simply providing a vaguely more interactive version of the over-priced hardback books already available.

It would seem that legendary restaurateur Alain Ducasse and his team have set out to do something different with their app, My Culinary Encyclopedia. But does this particular entrant to the food App Store charts cut the mustard?

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Mastering the Art of French Cooking Brings Julia Child to Life

When I set out to review Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I took it for granted that this would be just another foodie app review. Several hours later I was still wading through the story of Julia’s life, immersed in her world and fascinated by the stories told by her long-time editor, Judith Jones. This is the second app I’ve reviewed from Random House, Inc. (the first was Giada) and they seem to have a knack for using the mobile environment to truly capture the essence of their chosen author. Mastering the Art of French Cooking tells the story of Julia’s life through a multi-media experience including audio anecdotes, rare photographs of Julia Child, original typed and handwritten letters plus vintage instructional videos by the cook herself.

This app is for Francophiles, die-hard fans of the legendary Julia Child, serious foodies and even (especially) freshman cooks. Random House, Inc. has masterfully packaged Julia’s wisdom in an app that’s everything to everyone – fresh and modern food photography paired with timeless techniques and the most popular of Julia’s recipes.

Keep reading to lose yourself in the mouth-watering world of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
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iPads look stunning thanks to their aluminum back and glass façade. Nevertheless, these materials can easily be scratched and dented either after a drop or after a few months of strained usage. Protecting your iPad from these unwanted rubs and itches is important — not only to preserve its original appearance, but also to make it easier to resell in the future.

However, choosing the right cover and case can be overwhelming, given the number of options available on the market. To make it even more complicated, some products only cover part of your iPad, others won’t let you use it while it’s in the case and many aren’t compatible with Apple’s Smart Cover functionality. In order to make this selection process easier for you, we’ve picked an all-in-one case that many consider to be one of the best iPad cases available, and also one of the most affordable on the market: The KHOMO Super Slim Dual.
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My Dashboard: Take Control of Your Content

Every morning when I get up, I have a whole range of apps to check in with. I need to look at my calendar and my email first, but I also want to see what’s happening with my friends on social media. There are articles to read and to do lists to create. It’s a lot to manage at any time of the day.

My Dashboard is trying to make that process a lot less labor-intensive and a lot better looking. With slick panes for each service you use and an easy to customize interface, it’s looking to make your day go a whole lot more smoothly. Does My Dashboard pack the productivity punch it claims? Let’s check it out! (more…)

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