Hey, look—it’s an article that’s on time and under budget! Take that, Francis Ford Coppola! I’ve for some cool apps for you this week, starting off with the newest of the CARROT apps. I’ll also take you through the native Mac app for my favorite password manager. Finally, we close out with the newest version of the best audio recorder for the Mac.
CARROT Hunger – iPhone
CARROT started life as a to-do list with attitude (which, sadly, seems to have been abandoned in favor of the plan for lifestyle domination). Then there was an Alarm, a fitness app, and now, with CARROT Hunger, a calorie counter.
Like with all of the CARROT apps, you turn in a lot of features in exchange for personality. In the case of CARROT Hunger, you’re not going to be able to create custom recipes like you can with My Fitness Pal, nor will you have the same level of sharing capabilities. What you do get, though, is a coach that chides you for everything you eat, and reminds you with an obese avatar that you need to eat a bit less.
If you want to scan your foods or add more than one serving at a time, you will need to pay $1.99 via in-app purchases. You can also remove all of the ads for $3.99. Additional platforms for your avatar run up to $9.99. I assume these are just set up to be tips for the developer.
What’s Good: Fun app. Further develops CARROT’s complete domination of your life.
What Sucks: Missing a lot of features.
Buy it? If you are looking for a simplified calorie counter that can act as motivational coach/dangerous robot, check out CARROT Hunger. Download it on the App Store for free.
Kahn Academy – iOS(Universal)
Kahn Academy is the sort of company that seeks to keep the egalitarian idealism of Silicon Valley alive. It has managed to make its free education classes available on many platforms, but until recently, the iPad app only let you watch the Academy’s lectures. But thanks to a recent update, you can now take quizzes and complete courses all on the iPad.
The math courses are the best part of this upgrade: You can now answer with regular handwriting, and use scratch areas to work out the answers. While handwriting recognition can always be a bit sketchy, Kahn Academy‘s works pretty well. Not all of the tracks have made their way to the iPad yet, though: The computer science/programming courses are not yet available. Other than that, this update for Kahn Academy makes for a more comprehensive education experience.
What’s Good: New interaction makes courses more engaging.
What Sucks: Still missing some courses.
Buy it? If you’re looking for a way to prepare for tests or just brush up on some classes, check out Kahn Academy. Download it for free on the App Store.
LastPass – Mac
If there’s one password manager I recommend above all others, it’s LastPass, thanks in large part to its well-made browser plugin that is available across a bunch of different platforms. But LastPass has since added an additional method to access your passwords—a native Mac app.
And the app is very well made. Once you log in, you can get at few different options, your accounts, your secure notes, and a security check feature. The security check is particularly useful: checks for weak passwords and any instance in which you use the same password for multiple sites, and can automatically change them to something more secure.
My only complaint is that it doesn’t seem to hook into the Safari plugin the way it is supposed to. I was never able to just sign into LassPass once then have it automatically log me into my online accounts. It could be that I just didn’t configure something correctly, but this never seemed to work right.
What’s Good: A single place to manage all of your passwords locally.
What Sucks: Some issues with Safari plugin integration.
Buy it?: If you don’t use LastPass, you should be. The app is free on the Mac App Store, but it requires a premium LastPass membership. The $12 annual fee is worth it, though.
Funny or Die Weather – iPhone
I am not sure if Funny or Die’s weather app is a meta joke about the state of apps, or if it’s the product of an intern with some free time to burn. Regardless of its intent, Funny or Die Weather is a passable weather app. In addition to the basic weather info, you get a daily quip for each location you set up.
The background changes based on the current weather, but it doesn’t do much more than iOS’s built-in Weather app. If you’ve moved on to something like Dark Sky, or even just The Weather Channel’s app, you’ll find this app to be lacking. On the other hand, you might just want an at-a-glance forecast with a stupid joke.
What’s Good: Clean design. Funny jokes.
What Sucks: Not very detailed.
Buy it? If you’re looking for the temperature and a chuckle, Funny or Die Weather is for you. Download it for free on the App Store.
Audio Hijack 3 – Mac
I have to apologize: A few weeks back I recommended Ocean Audio, a good recording and editing app, and I thought it was a great way to record Vinyl or anything else on your Mac. Ocean Audio is still solid, but Audio Hijack 3 makes it even simpler to create MP3s or ALACs from your records.
Sure, I know Audio Hijack 3 can record podcasts, live audio from any app, and a host of other things, but I was super excited to be able to split tracks in recordings in real time when importing weird records that I’ve found. If manually splitting tracks and setting up noise filters bugs you, Audio Hijack 3 has a preset that makes it so all you have to do is listen along and hit Split every time a song ends. You can’t do precise editing, so you will want to keep Audacity, Ocean Audio, or Rouge Amoeba’s own Fission around for more complex editing tasks.
Audio Hijack 3 comes with plenty of presets designed for all kinds of recording. And assuming you know which app or input you want to record, it’s dead simple to drag and drop everything you need into the process. You can record multiple streams, or even put a bed of music into your tracks to make it sound like the local morning zoo.
What’s Good: Plenty of options to record and save audio.
What Sucks: Might be overkill for most casual uses.
Buy it? If you’re looking for a simple way to record a variety of audio, check out Audio Hijack 3. It’s free to try: A single license costs $49 and existing Audio Hijack users can upgrade for $25.