Controversial math apps won’t help kids cheat


The girl at work. Photo: Rob LeFebvre, Cult of Mac
My daughter wishes these math apps worked better. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

My math-averse daughter wanted to cheat on her algebra homework. So we downloaded PhotoMath, a free app that lets you take a picture of your mathematical and algebraic equations, solving them for you and showing the steps to the solution.

PhotoMath has been at the top of the App Store charts for a couple of weeks, hitting number one on the Education, Kids Games and Top Apps lists. Small wonder, as it seems like a great way to get out of doing homework.

However, despite the concerns of some parents and teachers, apps like PhotoMath just won’t help when it comes to cheating — they’re far too limited. Still, it’s a promising technology that, once it matures, might actually turn into the type of wonder tool for education we’ve long been promised, turning our iOS devices into useful educational tools that will help kids actually learn math, rather than simply giving them a shortcut to homework answers.

How To Use Spotlight Search As A Calculator [OS X Tips]


Spotlight as Calculator

When I’m sitting at my Mac and need to do a quick bit of calculation, I typically launch the Calculator app with my app launcher of choice, Alfred.

If you don’t want to launch the app, click on the numbers, or enter in the calculations via that graphical interface, you can just use Spotlight.

First off, activate Spotlight by hitting the Command and Space keys on your keyboard, or by clicking on the little magnifying glass in the upper right of your Mac’s screen.

Soulver For iPad Gets iOS 7 Overhaul, As Soulver For iPhone Goes Universal



Although a graceful crystal ballet danced in the world of symbols, for those of us who aren’t particularly math minded, all those plus signs, minus signs, dividers and parentheses can get confusing when we’re trying to figure out a problem.

For us, iOS app Soulver is a godsend, allowing you to perform various mathematical captions and functions by just typing them out on real text. Today, the plain text math app has received a beefy update, not only updating its look for iOS 7 on iPad, but also making it universal.

How To Estimate How Long You’ll Have To Wait To Get Into Orchestra’s Mailbox App



We’re huge fans of Orchestra’s email inbox management app, Mailbox, here at Cult of Mac. Less popular around here? The extraordinary queue that Orchestra forces you to sit in before they’ll let you into the app.

The reason Orchestra has set it up this way is to prevent demand from crushing their servers, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying (for more info on Orchestra’s rationale, see this article). When we download apps, we expect to be able to use them right away, not sit in a queue for an indeterminate amount of time.

We can’t help you get to the head of the Mailbox queue, but we can tell you roughly how long you’ll have to wait based on how fast Mailbox has let people into the app in the past. Here’s how.