Monday
Aug232010

EpicWin for iPhone: An Adventurous Spin on the To Do App

Our days are filled with tasks and errands that aren't all that much fun to do, but need to get done none the less. If you're a gamer, you know how much easier (and more enjoyable) it is to build a character in an role playing game than it is to do stuff that has to get done.

When you need a little more incentive to complete things on your to do list, EpicWin may be the app to help you. EpicWin is an iPhone to do app with an RPG twist. As you complete tasks, your avatar (there are five to choose from) gains experience points and finds interesting loot (such as the Warped Paperclip of Holding, Hot Blast of Warm Fire and Tatty Wooden Chalice) - just like in a video game adventure. However, there are no monsters to battle, just the quests - your to dos - to vanquish.

A Simple To Do List App
EpicWin gives you all the basics you'd expect from a to do list app: create tasks, assign a due date, view them in a list and mark them complete. You can create repeating events, too.

RPG Elements
Where EpicWin is unique is in how you create tasks and what happens when you complete them. When you enter a to do (considered a quest in EpicWin), you assign it an experience point value based on the to do's epicness: from 50 to 300 points. You can also assign the task one of five attributes: Strength, Stamina, Intellect, Social or Spirit.

When you complete a task, the experience points are applied to your avatar. As you gain enough points you'll find interesting loot and your avatar will advance in level. Advancing in level doesn't gain you anything, really, other than minor bragging rights.

Have fun creating to dos.
Enjoy creating to dos throughout the day and spice them up with adventurous flare. Doing the laundry can become "ridding undergarments of the filthy plague", twenty minutes on the treadmill can become "enduring the trials of the endless Roads of Nautilus". Oh, and don't forget to "feed the dragon" (meow).

EpicWin for the win!
Using EpicWin, we find that we create more tasks for things we may not have chosen to before. We are much less likely to forget to do something, because we entered those somethings into EpicWin. And, we get more done because we want to honestly complete tasks to find more loot.

EpicWin is a clever and creative spin on the often ordinarily done to do app - and fun, too! While the novelty might wear off after a while, we can't help but appreciate how much more we're getting done because of this adventurous take on the classic to do list.

EpicWin is available for $2.99 from the iTunes App Store.

Sunday
Aug222010

How to Lock Your Mac Using Screen Saver

If your Mac is in an open area or you just want to make sure curious eyes don't have easy access to your computer, you can use the built-in Mac OS X Screen Saver with password protection to secure your Mac.

First, pick a Screen Saver
Open System Preferences (in the Apple menu) and then click the Desktop & Screen Saver icon in the top row.

Click on the Screen Saver tab to show its settings. You'll see a list of screen savers in the left column. Pick one.

 

 

 

Next, choose a Hot Corner.
While still in Screen Saver settings, click the button, "Hot Corners..." Hot Corners lets you set an action that will be performed when the mouse pointer is moved into a corner of the Mac screen. For one of the four corners , select "Start Screen Saver" from the pop-up menu and then click OK. In the screenshot below, the top-right corner will start the screen saver.

Finally, require a password.
Before you perform this step, make sure you know your password.

Click the "Show All" button (in the top left corner of the settings window) to show all System Preferences. Then, click the Security icon in the top row.

In the General tab of Security settings, click to check the setting, "Require password immediately after sleep or screen saver begins." In place of "immediately" you can specify a different duration. (Note: the duration setting is available in Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard and later.)

Lock Your Mac
Now, when you move the mouse pointer into the corner you had set, the screen saver will activate. To gain access to your Mac, move the mouse. A login window will open, requiring a password. Enter your password to dismiss the screen saver and gain access to your Mac.

Saturday
Aug212010

Add More Features to Safari with Safari 5 Extensions

Safari 5 is an excellent web browser that you can make even better by installing Extensions to add more features. Safari 5 Extensions can display information in the toolbar such as the weather and news headlines, give you quick access to Twitter and FaceBook, help you shop on the Internet, and much more.

Check out Apple's Safari 5 Extensions Gallery (extensions.apple.com) to learn more about lots of Extensions you'll find useful. Some of the Extensions you'll see there: Twitter for Safari, Bing Highlights, NY Times Updates, Add to Amazon Wish List and Bing Highlights.

Some Extensions have options that you can change. On your Mac, select Preferences from the Safari Settings menu, and then click the Extensions icon.

Thursday
Aug192010

50 Free iPhone and iPad Apps for College Students

College students can use all and help they can get. For college students who have an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, there are lots of free apps that can help in their study and in college life. Here are 50 free apps students in college will find useful.

Free Apps That Can Help You Study

Evernote
Turns an iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad into a digital notebook that can be accessed from the web, too. Instantly synchronizes notes between all the devices and computers you use.

myHomework
Keep track of your homework, classes, projects and tests. You can easily enter your class schedule and use it to organize homework assignments. Will notify you when homework and projects are due.

StudyBlue
When paired with a free StudyBlue.com account, you can take your notes, flashcards and other study materials with you.

BlackBoard
Thousands of colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools, academies and other institutions use the Blackboard online service to help students collaborate, put assignments and tests online, and allow instant access to grades. This is a must-have app for anyone who has to use Blackboard at school.

gFlash+ Flashcards & Tests
Test yourself with flash cards. Create them using any two column Google Spreadsheet or download cardsets from the gWhiz Catalog. Auto-shuffles cards on subsequent passes with a focus on the ones missed and randomly generates multiple choice answers.

Free Equation Genius
Can help you solve many types of complex equations quickly. Supports: 1st degree equations (ax + b = c); Quadratic (2nd degree) equations (ax^2 + bx + c = 0); Cubic (3rd degree) equations (ax^3 + bx^2 + cx + d = 0); System of two unknowns (2 variables); System of three unknowns (3 variables).

Dragon DictationDragon Dictation
Easy-to-use voice recognition application that lets you speak and instantly see your text. It's faster than typing on the keyboard. Copy the text into an email, notes app, text message or chat.

Instapaper Free
Save Web pages for offline reading. Great for long articles and blog posts that you find during the day and would like to read, but don’t have the time when you find them.

iBooks
Use the Apple iBooks app to store and read PDF files - research papers, articles and other curriculum materials.

Dropbox
Sync and share files online and across computers with friends and classmates. Files are accessible with the web, too. Requires a free Dropbox account.

Free References Apps

Wikipedia Mobile
Wikipedia is the free online, community-maintained encyclopedia. Wikipedia Mobile is the official Wikipedia.org app. Access Wikipedia formatted for your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

Dictionary.com - Dictionary and Thesaurus - Free
Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com in one app. Includes nearly 1,000,000 words and definitions and 90,000 synonyms and antonyms. No Internet connection is needed. The app also features audio pronunciations, similarly spelled words and Dictionary.com’s popular Word of the Day.

Science Glossary
A glossary of scientific terms and short biographies that support the science education website, visionlearning.com. Definitions link to related terms and to free, detailed science learning modules.

EZ Read
Browse the literature resources of SparkNotes.com on your iPhone. Get detailed plot overviews, character analysis, chapter summaries, key facts and more for many popular and favorite books and literature.

History : Maps of WorldHistory:Maps of World
A wonderful collection of high-resolution maps from different eras and historical events. You can zoom in (using pinch gestures) to see more details in the maps. Displays the source about each map.

World Book - This Day in History (for iPad)
An interactive multimedia calendar that displays historical events for the current day or any selected day, along with related media such as photos, illustrations, music, and speeches. Background text that appears for each event concentrates on interesting aspects that you might not know. Each event also has at least one picture for every event, so you can experience the people and places making each day in history famous.

The Chemical Touch: Lite Edition
A simple periodic table. Reference elemental information such as masses, densities, melting & boiling points, radii, and electronegativities. For more elemental information, touch the internet button to open the Wikipedia web page for a selected element.

USA Factbook Free
Get information about all 50 US states - facts and descriptions. Get info about the USA - state names, US highways, topographical map, and more.

AllTheCountries
This application gives you detailed information (Flag, Current ruler, Area, Population, Capital, Largest cities, Languages, Ethnicity/race, Religion, Literacy rate, Economy, Government) for all the Countries of the World.

iTranslator
iTranslator is a simple and handy application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that lets you translate any text using either Google Translate, Babel Fish, or Free Translation.This application requires connectivity to the internet to work.

Google Mobile
Use you voice and location to search Google from your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, including search, maps, Gmail and YouTube. Gives you access to Google's online app's, too, such as Google Docs.

Free Apps for News

NPR News
Follow local and national news and listen to your favorite NPR stations wherever you are and whenever you want to. Listen to NPR’s hourly news updates. Read stories while listening to live stations or on demand audio. Listen to popular public radio programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, Fresh Air, Car Talk, and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!

USA Today
USA TodayBrowse and read stories from News, Money, Sports, Life, Tech and Travel. Review the latest sports scores for NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college football and college basketball. Get live weather conditions. Flip through the day’s best photos from news, sports, celebrities, science, travel and weather or play them back as a slideshow.

AP News
Keeps you up-to-date with what's happening anywhere, in your hometown and across the globe. Personalize news to meet your needs. Choose from news categories like entertainment, sports, travel, wacky and finance. Select news from your local newspapers and broadcasters, and view national and international coverage.

BBC News
Get the latest, breaking news from the BBC. View news stories by geographical region. Personalize the app to suit your interests and download content for offline browsing.

The Weather Channel
Get weather information and forecasts straight from the The Weather Channel. View full screen maps, pollen forecasts, and more for your area or other locations. Overlays Google Mobile Maps for accuracy, zooming and panning.

Variety
Enjoy entertainment and media industry news, reviews, photos, and videos about your favorites movies, actors, music artists and more. News and headlines are pulled straight from variety.com.

Huffington Post (for iPad)
Keep up with all the latest news and analysis with the official Huffington Post iPad app. Put up-to-the-minute reports, blogs and analysis at your fingertips, including breaking news from all of the HuffPost sections including tech, business, politics, entertainment, comedy, sports and more.

Free Apps to Help You Shop for Bargains

Book Bargain
Compares prices of books across many online stores, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Once you find a price you like you can make the purchase from within the BookBargain app, too.

eBay Deals
Find the best deals on eBay. Check out the Daily Deals and deals ending soon. You can create, edit, and save your own personalized searches. Use with the eBay Mobile app to bid, pay, and check on eBay auctions on the go.

Yowza!! Mobile Coupons
Yowza!! helps you find deals, discounts and coupons for stores, restaurants and services in your area. Visit the store and show the Yowza!! deal on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad and let them scan the barcode or type in the coupon code. No paper coupons or ads to hassle with.

CraigsPro FREE
Search, browse and post to Craigslist.com with this free app. Reply to the posts. Email a listing to a friend. View the original web page listing in CraigsPro, too.

GasBag
Find the cheapest gas near you. The active GasBag app user community provides pricing and location information. View pricing and gas station locations on a map. Log mileage and gas expenses for your car, too.

Free Apps for Entertainment

Yelp
YelpSearch for businesses, restaurants, pubs, stores and services near you and benefit from community-contributed comments and reviews. Look up addresses and phone numbers, then call or map them from your iPhone.

AroundMe
Based on your current location, AroundMe lists banks, stores, eateries, bars, gas stations, hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters and services around and near you.

Local Concerts
Personalized for you using artists in your music library and gives you information about concerts and live events. Get notified when your favorite artists announce local shows. Browse nearby concerts by date or by favorite venue.

Fandango
Get movie and theater listings with the flick of your finger. Watch trailers. Read fan ratings and reviews. Buy tickets fast and easy, without having to wait in line at the ticket window.

Pandora
Create your own personalized radio station. Enter the name of one of your favorite artists, songs or classical composers and Pandora will create a "station" that plays their music and more music like it.

AOL Radio
Listen to more than 150 radio stations across the U.S., plus stations dedicated to many genres of music, including: jazz, rock, pop, Christian and many others. AOL Radio works over Wi-Fi, 3G and EDGE.

ABC Player (iPad)
Watch your favorite ABC shows for free. Enjoy full-length episodes of LOST, Grey's Anatomy, Modern Family, Desperate Housewives and many more.

Free Apps for Social Networking

FaceBook
Stay connected and share information with friends. Use your iPhone to start a conversation with Facebook Chat, check your friends' latest photos and status updates, look up a phone number, or upload your own mobile photos to Facebook while on the go.

TweetDeck
View Twitter and Facebook updates. Create groups, search Twitter, manage multiple accounts and post away. TweetDeck lets you monitor multiple FaceBook and Twitter accounts, too.

Flipboard (iPad)
Flipboard is a fast, beautiful way to flip through news, photos and updates your friends are sharing on Facebook and Twitter. And it’s an incredible place to discover fresh content from around the Twittersphere.

textPlus Free Text + Unlimited FREE App-to-App Messagin Worldwide
Send text messages for free. Let's you send text messages from an iPod touch or iPad. Also useful if you've used-up your iPhone text message allotment for the month.

Perfect Date
Helps you get ready for that important date. Provides tips, advice and checklists. User contributions help keep the app fresh.

Free Apps for Everyday Life

ShopShop
Makes it easy to create shopping lists for groceries, clothes, books, supplies, etc. Remembers items you've listed in the past and auto-suggests as you type for quick entry of things that are always on your lists.

Cures A-Z
Shows you how to combine the best of natural and prescription therapies to live your life in optimal health. Cures A-Z also teaches you about nutrition - vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, their benefits, and the recommended dose of each needed for optimal health.

Mint.com Personal Finance
Personal finance tools from Mint.com. Track, budget and manage your money on-the-go. Securely add your online banking accounts, and access your personal finances anywhere.

2Do Lite: Tasks Done on Style
Stylelish and practical app to help you track all the things you have to do. Let's you group tasks as projects or checklists. Handles repeating todos. Imports Birthdays from your Contacts and creates recurring tasks for them.

Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner
Offers thousands of oquick and easy recipes. Choose by dish type: Appetizers, drinks, main dishes, side dishes, desserts, etc. Search by ingredients you have on hand. Or, choose by desired prep time: from under 20 minutes to all-day slow cooker dishes.

wikiHow: How to and DIY Survival Kit
Search for how-to articles on any of the over 75,000 topics on wikiHow.com. Read the "how to of day" in our featured articles. Bookmark articles for later reading (bookmarked articles are saved to your phone for offline reading). Watch YouTube videos that accompany selected articles.

Free Wi-Fi Finder
Find free Wi-Fi Internet hotspots wherever you are in the world. Provides "Near me" search based on your current location. Bookmark your favorite locations.

Thursday
Aug192010

Home Button Short Cut to the iPod App or Spotlight Search

The iPad is elegantly designed with a single button, the Home Button. By default, double-clicking the Home Button takes you immediately from any app to the Home Screen. You can change the Home Button's behavior to take you quickly to Spotlight Search instead or to launch the iPod app.

Open Settings and then tap General. Next, tap Home to view Home Button settings.

Select "Search" to have the Home Button take you to Spotlight Search. Select "iPod" to launch the iPod app when the Home Button is double-clicked. If the switch for iPod Controls is ON, iPod controls will be displayed when music is playing (instead of launching the iPod app).