Michael McConnell, December 21, 2012
If you’re reading this, the world hasn’t ended, and you’ll need some apps. We’ve got you covered this week with a pretty alarm clock app, a blogging app, some extra automation for you Mac scripts, flash conversion for web designers, and a game for gamers by gamers.
iPhone/iPod Touch: Rise
The built-in Alarm for iPhone may be rather functional, beyond some occasional issues with daylight savings changes, but it isn’t exactly pretty. Simplebots’ Rise is to the iOS clock what Clear is to Reminders. You could argue that the app’s minimal interface is over-designed but the gestures are pretty simple. You simply drag your finger to set an alarm time, and then flick to the right to turn the alarm on. There’s an array of different sounds, many of which are much better than the sounds built in to iOS. You can then create a playlist of music for a sleep timer, double check the volume of the alarm, or make the alarm repeating. When the alarm is off you slide up to access the settings. The app doesn’t allow other audio apps to play, so falling asleep to Spotify or Podcasts isn’t allowed, which is a big drawback. The app is $1.99 and can be downloaded here.
Tumblr is a hard nut to crack. For some people it’s a photo sharing service, and for others it’s a simple blogging platform. Up until now Tumblr has only offered an iPhone app for browsing and posting to the service, but this week they’ve created an iPad app that has a great interface for both browsing and creating content on the site. It’s a free app that can be downloaded here.
There comes a time in every Mac users’ life where they face the true power-users’ right of passage: scripting. There are people like David Sparks that script everything that comes on to their PC, but you can script more benign tasks, like emptying the trash, or clearing out your downloads folder of disk images. These scripts may end up in a convoluted workflow, or buried in your Documents folder. Fastscripts allows you to put your scripts into a menu option, or you can bind them to a key combination. Red Sweater allows users to try the app for free, but it is limited to 10 shortcuts. It is $14.95 for the full version. You can download it here.
Flash is dying. Google tried to give it a second chance, but it never changed its memory hogging ways. There is a lot of web content out there still in .SWF that needs to be updated for HTML5, and converting all of that can be a big chore. Pixelplant is a simple site that allows you to drag an SWF into your browser window to create HTML5 code that you can use. They offer a more robust service to fully convert your sites. You can check out the demo and some example sites here.
Game of the Week: Penny Arcade: Gamers vs. Evil
For all you gamers out there, I’m fairly certain that Penny Arcade should have been enough for you to skip straight to the download link below. It’s not an easy game to pick up, so this is definitely for serious gamers. Up to four players take the role of one of the characters from the comic, each of which has their own abilities. You then use a set of currency cards to buy cards from a pile in the center. These cards build to allow you to get more expensive cards, as well as attack other players. After the cards run out, the player with the best deck wins. There are options for local and online multiplayer, as well as AI. The game is $4.99 and you can buy it here.Follow @macgasm