Review: TodoMovies 3 – Manage and discover new movies in a great free app

Taphive GmbH has recently released a major update to their movie management and discovery app, TodoMovies 3. TodoMovies 3 is a to-do app focused on movies. It has a gorgeous layout, and does a superb job managing a movie related to-do list with a robust set of features.

In this article, I will provide some examples of how the app could be used to aggregate a list of movies you want to watch, explore a vast amount of information about those movies, and discover movies you may not know about.

Read more

Review: Blue Microphones’ Spark Digital may be the best USB/Lightning mic for the money (Video)

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 4.26.40 AM

When you think of a USB microphone, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For myself, I tend to picture a subpar microphone that would normally be used for Skype calls or other basic tasks. Of course, these microphones have come a long way in recent years, but nothing makes this more evident than Blue Microphones’ Spark Digital condenser microphone.

Read more

Review: Kensington Keyfolio Exact Plus backlit keyboard case for iPad Air

Having remarked that I don’t generally favor hiding iDevices in cases, I find myself reviewing the second iPad case in a week …

There’s no shortage of Bluetooth keyboards available for the iPad Air, and we previously did a roundup of some of the early contenders from Logitech, Belkin and ZAGG. However, only the ZAGG offered a backlit keyboard for use in the dark, so when Kensington joined the fray, I decided to give it a try …  Read more

Clear for iOS and Mac updated with Reminders feature and new sound packs

Clear with Reminders - iPhone

After previously announcing the feature and showing it off last month in a promotional teaser, Realmac Software is finally bringing the highly requested reminders functionality to the popular Clear to-do list app on both the Mac and iOS platform. The latest version also brings some extra goodies that add even more personality to the app like new sound packs. Check out the details below to see how the latest version of Clear measures up as an alternative to Apple’s own Reminders application and other apps as well. Read more

Review: JBL Pulse portable Bluetooth speaker with LED light show

JBL-Pulse-Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 7.41.41 AM

We’ve taken a look at a vast array of portable Bluetooth speakers and have found that most include similar features but sound quality and reliability can vary greatly. That’s why we eagerly awaited the arrival of our JBL Pulse, because it dares to be unique in a sea of familiarity. A dazzling display of LEDs encompasses the entire unit, bringing your music to life by dancing along with the beat. We put this new speaker to the test to see if this LED-studded speaker is just a novelty or if it has a lasting impact on the way we enjoy our music…

Read more

Review: Otterbox Defender protective case for iPad Air

otterbox-03

I don’t generally like to hide away my iDevices inside cases, but there are some environments where this is at least strongly advisable – and the basket of a hot-air balloon is definitely one of those. In anything but still air, a landing tends to involve the basket being dragged across the ground – and much as you try to secure things, there’s always the risk of loose items taking a fall. Which can get expensive when one of those loose items is an iPad Air.

iPads are the perfect navigation device in a hot-air balloon as you need to simultaneously reference three different types of maps. An airspace map, showing the areas you can’t fly into without risking an A380 bearing down on you (followed shortly afterwards by the aviation licensing authority). A land map to show the ground detail you need for navigation and landing purposes. And finally, a map showing Sensitive Areas (SAs) where landowners request that you either don’t land or overfly above a specified altitude (generally 500 or 1000 feet) to avoid disturbing cattle, dogs and so on.

An iPad provides a moving map combining all three types of data in a single view. But with bumpy landings a fact of life, it would be a braver man than I to risk using a naked iPad. I thus decided to look around at the protective cases available, and having been impressed by the Otterbox Defender iPhone case, tried out the version for the iPad Air …

Read more

Mini review: Elgato Thunderbolt Dock

Elgato_Dock_Device_Perspektive

There are Mac accessories that are exciting or fun, and others that are boring but useful. The Elgato Thunderbolt Dock most definitely falls into the latter category.

As regular readers will know, I’m of the view that wires are evil. Anything that can be wireless should be wireless, and any wires that are unavoidable should be hidden from sight. This is particularly easy if you have an Apple Thunderbolt Display, of course, since all you need in the way of wires from a MacBook is power and Thunderbolt: everything else can be plugged into the back of the monitor.

But if you share my aversion to visible wires and don’t have a Thunderbolt display, or you are frequently connecting and disconnecting your MacBook from a bunch of devices on your desk, the Elgato Thunderbolt Dock may be the answer …

Read more

Review: Satechi’s 4, 7, & 10 port USB hubs compared

DSC_1416

Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to try out a number of Satechi’s USB hubs in my effort to combat my growing need to wire in more stuff to my Mac’s 4 USB ports. While wireless is often more convenient and downright necessary on laptops to have a good experience, I still enjoy the speed and reliability of a wired connection on my desktop setup. To have a completely ergonomic experience and avoid plugging and unplugging things, a USB hub of some sort is definitely needed. The challenge to buying the right hub for your needs is deciphering how each hub differs; it’s not just limited to the number of ports available…

Read more

Review: Fantastical for iPad completes the improved calendar suite… and it’s pretty sweet

Fantastical for iPad

After first debuting on the Mac then joining iOS with the iPhone, Fantastical is finally ready to replace the calendar on your iPad, too. With Fantastical for iPad, Flexibits has brought the same, streamlined design and natural language parsing for quick event and reminder entry to the iPad. I’ve been using Fantastical for iPad for a few weeks now, so let’s take a look at how it compares to Apple’s calendar app… Read more

Review: Dragon Dictate 4.0 for Mac – The best speech recognition app gets even better

Dragon-Dictate-4-01

Using our voice to control computers has never really taken off. For many of us, using voice recognition technology wasn’t even a consideration until features like dictation and Siri arrived on our iPhones and iPads. There’s good reason too: the voice recognition features built into our devices have always had the reputation of being half-baked. They simply aren’t accurate and consistent enough to replace our tried and trusted mouse and keyboard or touchscreen. While half decent dictation features come with every Mac (and are powered by Nuance’s technology), the voice recognition features you get with latest version of Nuance’s Dragon Dictate for Mac go well beyond simply dictating speech to text.  Read more

UpTo calendar app relaunches with a renewed, balanced focus on what matters

When UpTo originally launched, it focused on being what it described as “half-social, half-calendar.” Unfortunately, that didn’t work out so well as the social side and the calendar side fought for dominance, resulting in an app that felt like it didn’t know what it wanted to be when it grew up.

Today the company behind UpTo is re-launching the app with a new design and a new focus: rather than trying to turn calendars into a social network, the app is now focused entirely on being the best calendar app it can be. That being said, the new version of the app is not entirely devoid of social features.

Keep reading to find out how the developers finally figured out how to balance these two sides to the software.

Read more

Review: $90 Kanex SimpleDock is a beautiful USB 3/Gigabit Ethernet Mac dock, without expensive Thunderbolt

kanex-simpledock

We’ve reviewed a fair bit of Thunderbolt docks for Mac here and one thing remains constant: The starting prices range well over $200 (Belkin’s a deal at $150) and that’s before you buy an expensive $30 Thunderbolt cable. The question is: Do you really need Thunderbolt to have a quality/usable dock for your MacBook? Can you get almost all of what you need just from USB 3?

Kanex sent me their $90 USB 3 SimpleDock a few months ago and I’ve put it through its paces ever since.  The first thing you’ll notice out of the box is that it is made extremely well, looks very ‘Apple’ and is substantial in weight. It doesn’t move when you plug in devices because of that weight and a rubberized bottom. On top, all you’ll see is a space that coincidentally fits an iPhone perfectly with a charger cable hole through the bottom. Around back, you’ll find 3 USB 3 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port as well as a 10W high powered ‘Charge-only’ port.

simpledock_top_wired

So you are getting 3 products in one here: An iOS device quick charger, a USB3->Gigabit Ethernet adapter and 3 port USB 3 hub. The question is: Is the SimpleDock worth the $90?

Read more