Now that we know that Marco Arment is a baller, Panic makes better money on the Mac, and Monument Valley was a really, really popular game, we can get back to what the users care about most: new Apps. First up, we look at a new network tool for your iPhone, followed by a roundup of some new iPhone news apps. Finally, we close out with a cool way to create and share panoramas.
Fing – iPhone
Fing is a network utility for your iPhone, and it’s an app that you may want to check out, even if you aren’t a network admin. It lets you view which devices are on your Wi-Fi network, and see various details about those devices, making it useful for troubleshooting network issues. It isn’t often that you want to look at which devices are on your network until something isn’t working, which is why I think that the name of this app is “effing.”
If you’re planning ahead you can name each device, especially if it isn’t clearly named already (this is usually an issue for cable boxes and other non-standard networkable equipment). You can ping each device and see what network services it offers, as well as view which port its services are offered on. You can even send Wake On LAN messages, which may help you deal with a stubborn media server that refuses to respond.
If you sign up for the Fingbox service, you can track logs on your devices, sync your devices, and monitor your networks remotely. I signed up for a trial membership through the app, but I wasn’t able to find out how much it costs. The membership fee payment system doesn’t go through Apple, so I think Fing’s makers need to be careful about how they ask you for cash and when.)
What’s Good: Excellent way to monitor devices on your network. Lots of options.
What Sucks: Unclear pricing and setup for premium features.
Buy it? If you’re looking for a way to troubleshoot your home network without going to grab your laptop, use Fing. Download it for free on the App Store.
Economist Espresso – iPhone
William Gibson once called The Economist the magazine that’s only read on airplanes. I’m not sure if that’s true, but if it is, it’s because the magazine has some seriously dense articles. If you’re looking for a lighter approach, though the magazine has created a daily app it calls Espresso.
Espresso gives you a daily selection of seven articles, one of which is a news brief with a run-down of the day’s headlines. If you are not a digital subscriber to The Economist, however, you can only read a single article per day.
I really like to use this app to get a quick rundown of world news headlines, and I skip some of the more detailed articles. The app has a simple look, but everything loads really quickly.
What’s Good: Bite-sized installments of The Economist’s coverage.
What Sucks: You need a subscription to read more than one article per day.
Buy it? If you’re an existing Economist subscriber, or are just looking for a good news app, check out Espresso. Download it on the App Store for free.
Timeline News – iPhone
News stories often lack anything that resembles context—news instead gets framed as two opposing viewpoints often talking past each other. Timeline News is app that ensures every headline has its proper history attached to it–even if that history nearly two hundred years of the US Secret Service.
The articles seem to go out of their way to remove any of the usual trappings of modern online news—think of this as the comedown room for people who’ve had entirely too much BuzzFeed in their lives. The writing is steady and classically styled, and the app itself is well designed. You can save articles to read later, but you will need an account in order to do so (you can sign up via your Twitter or Facebook account, however).
What’s Good: Clean interface and good writing.
What Sucks: All about depth and not breadth. If you’re looking for a lot of stories, this isn’t the app for you.
Buy it? If you’re looking for a more nuanced approach to news, check out Timeline News. Grab it on the App Store for free.
Ocean Audio – Mac
I will admit to a certain amount of pretension when it comes to music. I still buy a lot of vinyl and occasionally I still find albums that don’t have a download card—or some sort of weird punk seven-inch that came out when “cyberspace” was still a sci-fi thing. Up until now, ripping those to my Mac required pulling out Audacity. Audacity is a powerful tool, but it isn’t the most accessible.
Ocean Audio strips out most of the complexity that makes Audacity a bit of a mess. You can create regions and break them up into different tracks. You can mute channels and add effects. If you’re really into audio processing you can use VST plugins to add further effects to your recording. It even has a spectrogram view if you want to do further processing.
What’s Good: Easy interface. Bevy of audio-processing options.
What Sucks: Not a lot of documentation for advanced features.
Buy it? If you’re looking for something less feature-packed than Audacity for your recording process, check out Ocean Audio. Download it for free from the developer’s website.
Round Me – iPhone
Round Me is app that lets you create panoramas of locations that show the entire area. You can view famous locations like the Taj Mahal, and not-so-famous locations like some guy’s house in Seattle. If an entry has several panoramas, you’ll actually see the location where the next picture was taken. So you can virtually navigate through an area.
All of Round Me‘s panoramas come from its users, but when you open the app, it presents you with a curated list of some of the better vistas published via the service. You can browse by location, but unless you live in an area with a lot of users, it’s mostly blank. The app also takes awhile to load when trying to browse panoramas for more heavily photographed areas.
To create and share your own panoramas, you will need to sign up for an account. You can do so using your Facebook or Twitter account, or using a more traditional email/password combo.
What’s Good: Lots of cool locations. Stitched-together panoramas give cool effect of a virtual tour.
What Sucks: Lots of locations are missing. Slow load times.
Buy it? Looking for virtual tours or to share interesting panoramas? Check out Round Me. Download it for Free on the App Store.