I love e-books. I love them so much that I’m considering buying a double-sided, sheet-feed scanner, chopping the spines of all my dead-treeware books and having an OCR frenzy on their asses.
What I don’t like is DRM. Not for any idealistic reasons (well, maybe a few) but for practical ones. My bookseller of choice is Amazon, as it has the best range and Kindle books work on any device. But the Kindle app for the iPad sucks, and with an update this week it is almost unusable. If only I could read my Kindle books in the beautiful iBooks app. Well, it turns out that I can. And what’s more, I can keep all of my books in a DRM-free format in the cloud, ready to be downloaded to any device, whenever I like. Here’s how.
If you own an iPad and like to get out of bed on time, then you probably own a copy of Due, the super-simple alarm and timer app for iOS. It’s probably the easiest and best designed alarm app around, and now it is available on the Mac.
If you want a great Simplenote-compatible, note taking app for your Mac, then you should download the free and excellent Notational Velocity. If you want a harder to use, bigger and — some might say — uglier app to do the same thing, then Metanota is just the thing for you.
Penultimate, one of the two best pen-and-paper apps for the iPad, has gotten a Retina upgrade. This is a pretty big deal, as the feel and look of the ink, plus the responsiveness of the app, are what make it so great. Now, with super-smooth, hi-res graphics, can it keep its crown?
Screenshot Journal was created “with iOS designers and developers in mind,” but it is useful for anyone who takes a lot of screenshots. For instance — and I’ll pick a completely random example here — tech bloggers.
The (universal) app does one thing: gather all the screenshots from your camera roll and organize them for your viewing pleasure.
Do you yearn for the time when your music required a hulking great box to play it? When that music came not in convenient playlists but separated out onto various discs and mechanical cartridges (aka “tapes”)? Do you wish to relive those wonderful days of the Midi System, the Mini System and even, back in the depths of the 1970s, the Music Center?
Then you’re in luck. By applying the latest in touch-screen technology and cutting edge software design, you can now have all the inconvenience of old-school recorded music rendered with the convenience of multi-touch. Behold: The BeatBlaster.
Arqball Spin is a curious mix of hardware and software, with a very niche but very cool purpose: to create interactive 3-D photos. By combining an iOS app with a hardware turntable, Arqball is able to “film” a spinning object and then render it as a touchable 3-D model which can be spun using your fingers.
For a few people, Dark Sky is going to be the most useful weather app ever
As an Englishman, I know all about rain. I’m intimate with sleet, drizzle, and driving rain both horizontal and vertical. I know about rain that slowly soaks you even though it seems that none is falling, about freezing rain that stings as hard as hail, about the rain that seems to ignore your umbrella and creep into even the best-sealed seams of your clothes.
Other countries might have spectacular monsoons, or driving rainstorms that flow for days, but for variety and ubiquity of precipitation, it’s hard to beat the British Isles. Which is why I’m sad that Dark Sky — an app that predicts the rain forecast for the next hour only — currently only works in the continental United States.
PicPlayPost makes diptycs from your photos and movies
PicPlayPost is supposedly a way to make video diptychs of your precious moments, and then share them via the usual social networks. But if you grew up in (or otherwise managed to live through) the 1980s, you’ll know exactly what this app is for: remaking the cheesy title sequences of 1980s TV shows like Dallas.