I really tried to branch out this week in the apps. Trying to giver people sick of the iOS rut a few things to look at. First up I have a web app that seeks to make it easier to build an impressive resume. I’ve also got a Mac app that makes it easy to browse for GIFs. I close out the week with a web app that takes classic Mac users down memory lane.
I Need A Resume – Web
One of the worst things in any word processor is making a resume. You can try and format it yourself, finding out that detailed formatting in Word and iWork is a special sort of awful. You can use one of the built in templates, but your resume is then going to look like everyone else’s. I Need A Resume seeks to make all of that much easier, by generating a nicely formatted resume using forms.
You fill out your personal information, including three jobs, three projects, and three educational milestones. If you have less than three of any of these, just don’t title it and it won’t be added to the form. Once you have completed the form, you’re given your completed resume. You can then change the font, spacing, and other formatting options until you get everything the way you want it. Then you can print out your resume, saving it as a PDF on OS X is an option. I do wish there was a straight download option, but it is a free web app.
The reason the app is free is that the software company is promoting this technology to create custom document generation for companies. So if you get hired, pass their name along.
What’s Good: Easy way to create nice looking resumes.
What Sucks: If you have a more complex resume, this won’t cut it.
Buy it?: If you’re looking for a way to generate a nice looking resume without a lot of work, check out I Need A Resume
Read Ruler – Web
If the read it later services were soda, Instapaper and Pocket are Coke and Pepsi. We’re not here to discuss each applications, just a specific feature: reading times. Instapaper can sort by them easily, Pocket cannot. Read Ruler is a web ;app that gets access to your Pocket queue and it will import and analyze all of them by reading time. It bases the calculations on an average reading speed of 250 words per minute. You can take a test to get your actual reading speed to adjust the times.
You can then sort by reading time and read them right in the web app. However, if you prefer reading in the Pocket apps, you can change the settings to that the reading time is added as a tag to all of your Pocket items. You can then search through them within the app. The utility of this app is a bit questionable unless you have a huge cache of articles you need to sort through. However, if you’re dedicated to Pocket and jealous of the reading time features in Instapaper you might want to use this.
What’s Good: Easy to set up and use, advanced features don’t keep you tied to the web app.
What Sucks: Some odd sync issues as you read and archive articles.
Buy it?: If you want the ability to sort your Pocket queue by the amount of time you have to read, check out Read Ruler for free.
GIFs – Mac
GIFs are a part of the lingua franca of the Internet. You can keep a nice array of your own for smart ass responses on Twitter and Facebook However it isn’t always easy to find one that hasn’t been shared a million times before. Enter GIFs for Mac. An app that lets you search both Giphy, Reddit and Tumblr for the right GIF that you need to pad out your collection for your IMs . You can also browse categories if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. You can even add your favorite Tumblr tags and subreddits.
This is a really useful app, but it can be a bit slow. If you give it a bit too much to do, it can freeze up. The app doesn’t have this problem when browsing, it only seems to be an issue when searching and loading. I don’t normally include apps with this many issues crashing, but I really think this app is cool. It’s a real shame, because with a bit of stability this would be pinned to my dock. As long as you close it between searches, the app seems to work fine.
What’s Good: Cool way to browse and search for GIFs in a native app
What Sucks: Stability issues.
Buy it?: If you’re patient with a finicky app and love collecting GIFs, this might be the app for you. Download GIFs on the Mac App Store for free.
Micro Snitch – Mac
I will admit that Micro Snitch is one of those apps that you only need if you’re paranoid, or at least right about someone trying to spy on you. Similar to Little Snitch, the app lives in the menu bar. Instead of looking for network activity, Micro Snitch keeps on eye on your camera and microphone for activity.
Obviously you should always know why your microphone is being used, which is where the paranoia aspect of this app comes in. There are more practical uses, such as leaving a Skype call open in the background or other things that can take up resources you don’t know about.
What’s Good: Easy way to monitor when your Mic and Camera is in use.
What Sucks: In most cases this app is more to comfort your paranoia.
Buy it?: If you want to make are you know when your camera and mic are on, check out Micro Snitch. Download it on The Mac App Store for $1.99.
After Dark CSS – Web
I think that if you weren’t around in the early to mid 90’s, trying to explain the novelty screen saver craze is a lost cause. So if you have no idea why scrolling flying toasters or a Star Trek-esque scrolling star-field is cool you might just want to move on to the next review. As for the rest of you that lived through the CRT dark ages, I found a bit of nostalgia for you. Developer Bryan Braun has faithfully recreated the After Dark series of screen-savers in CSS.
These aren’t anything more than web animations, but if you’re feeling nostalgic they’re pretty cool. The Fadeout option even gives you a look at the old OS 9 desktop. The original Flying Toasters are here as well obviously, but I think that all of these will call back to a much different time in computing. One that will be quite alien if you spend all of your time on laptops or tablets, where the screen just blanks out after a few minutes. I was happy for the brief trip back in time, now to look for my Enhanced CDs to find some Quicktime videos and more screen-savers.
What’s Good: Faithful recreation of the classic screen-savers.
What Sucks: If you’re not nostalgic for the classic Mac OS days, won’t have much appeal to you.
Buy it?: If you’re yearning for a look at the days when Apple was doomed, check out After Dark CSS