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Category Archives for Software

How To: Recover Data on OS X

My thanks to the team over at CleverFiles the makers of the premier data recovery app DiskDrill for making this content possible. DiskDrill is a data recovery application for both OS X & Windows. Allowing you to recover deleted files be it videos, documents, photos, etc. An essential tool when it comes to protecting & saving the data that means most to you.

Data is a big part of our lives nowadays. We store our lives pretty much digitally be it our photos, videos, or documents. Our digital media is apart of our precious memories & thats why its important for us not only to protect it but have a solution in case we need to recover them. So in the event you ever have a drive that is corrupted, data that is accidentally deleted, or partitions that missing here’s how you can recover that data on the mac.

DiskDrill offers two versions of it’s software. A free basic version that allows you to recover data that is lost only while the app is protecting your drive. In order to recover data that has already been lost on a drive you need to upgrade to the pro version.

The application works in a very simple method.

Video Overview:

1-Scan

DiskDrill scans your drives be it a local one, external, or any drive that can be detected by your mac. Simply select the drive/partition you want scanned for recovery & let DiskDrill do the rest. It’s recommended you let the app run it’s initial recovery scan as it runs all of its methods to best recover any data. You also have the option to run advanced scan techniques such as looking for lost partitions, rebuild them, run quick or deep scans & so on. Allowing you to rebuild, rescue, or remount any drive of your choosing. The bigger the drive is & more data you need to recover the longer the scan will take. Sessions can be saved & pause at any time.

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2-Recover

The app after a scanning sessions allows you to recover the data that it finds be it corrupted files it reconstructed or just outright deleted files. DiskDrill supports a wide arrange of file systems such as:

  • HFS & HFS+
  • FAT/FAT32/exFAT
  • NTFS
  • EXT3/EXT4

As far as files that the app can recover:

  • Photo files like JPG, PNG and TIFF
  • Graphic files like AI, PSD and INDD
  • RAW camera files like CR2, NEF and DNG
  • Video files like AVI, DV and MP4
  • Music files like AIF, MP3 and WAV
  • Document files like DOCX, PPTX and XLSX

 

So it covers a wide arrange of formats & file types that will almost assure you recovery of the important files you’ve lost. The app will display all of these files to you while giving you the ability to filter out through these files. You can sort by type, date since deletion, etc. DiskDrill also offers you the ability to preview files before even recovering them. Once you’ve done this you set your recovery destination and let the app process the rest.

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3-Protect

The last step is optional however highly recommended. After you’ve recovered the data you want its important to do your part in preventing it from happening again. You can use DiskDrill’s built in protection features to help secure your drive. When enabled it helps by keeping extra invisible copies of your data in the case that you accidentally delete or lose something. Keep in mind this requires extra hard drive space.

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Mac OS X users also have a built in backup tool called “Time Machine” which does something similar with an external drive. This allows you to backup your data & have it exist in two places rather than one which significantly improves your protection of your data.

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Your data is an important part of your mac & it should be protected with the same relevance that the files themselves mean to you. Whether its professional or personal documents that you store its worth investing in a recovery solution in preparation for the worst case scenario.

Parental Control Tips for iOS

My thanks to Curbi the makers of an amazing parental control app for iOS for sponsoring the web safety series of content. Curbi allows you to monitor, block, and curb your children’s iOS devices easily and safely. Ensuring the most priceless of things peace of mind with your kids on the internet. Try out Curbi today!

Nowadays kids everywhere have iOS devices be it their parents, siblings, or even their own. So its important to ensure their safety on the device to prevent any trouble, wrongful spending, or just general safety. Here’s a rundown of some iOS tips you can use on any current iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

Video Overview:

 

1. Restrictions

iOS allows you to actually restrict you kids access to the device. This is highly useful in that you can tailor specifically what they can or can’t access. A great example of this being app-store purchases this prevents them from spending on your iTunes account and can save you countless dollars from kids who are purchasing things without knowing any better.

This is achieved by going to Setting-General-Restrictions

 2-Guided Access Mode

GAM or Guided Access Mode allows you to actually lock the iOS device to one app. Normally this is used on devices within the apple store or presentation devices. However using this to lock kids to one app can be highly beneficial. It has the ability to prevent tapping in defined areas of apps or even set a time limit usage.

This can be enabled by going into Settings-General-Accessibility-Guided Access 

3-App Solution

Overall these built in iOS tips are great tips packed into the OS that most parents may be unaware of. They’re great ways to control the experience of your child and limit or prevent harmful usage on the iOS devices. However all of this can be achieved even easier within an app solution. Curbi for example does all of the above from restrictions, time limits and even more but a simpler package. Furthermore the benefits of Curbi extend in that it monitors your children’s usage tracking information and reporting it to you even when your away.

You can’t always monitor your kids usage and actions on a device let Curbi handle that for you. Check out our overview post we did on the service for more info on setup. Overall these tips provide a safer experience for you and your young kids be it on their own device or yours.

Best Writing Tools for Mac OS X

My thanks to the folks at Literature & Latte makers of the amazing content generation tool Scrivener for sponsoring the series of content we’ll be running on improving your writing workflow filled with tips & tools we recommend. Scrivener has been one of my go to apps for outlining, editing, and writing on either OS X or Windows and we’re proud to have them as a sponsor. Try out Scrivener today! 

I wanted to round up of some of the best writing tools available for Mac OS X. Looking at apps, sites, and tools you can use to help improve your writing workflow on your mac whether it’s for a website, book, schoolwork and so on. These tools help you stay focused & provide the utilities to get the jobs done in their own unique interface & feature sets.

The team at Literature & Latte themselves put together an amazing post on references for writers thats worth checking out. As they state

There is a lot of good writing software out there for the Mac. Most of the programs linked to below are direct competition forScrivener. I provide links because the writing process is different for everyone. Scrivener suits the way I write, and hopefully some others too, but if it doesn’t suit the way that you write, then you may want to check out some of the excellent software below to see if any of it fits the way you work.

All of the following tools are writing apps/services that I use or have tested on my own mac for various use cases. Some of them are free while others are paid. In my opinion when it comes to tools that I use everyday to get my work done its definitely worth the investment.

Quick & Free

TextEdit (FREE)

TextEdit is built into OS X & is basically a great notepad for mac users. If your looking to quickly take notes down & do some very basic writing then TextEdit is the tool for you. Something I constantly use for quick notes before shooting a video as its simple to open & use.

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Notes.app (FREE)

On that note…OS X also offers a dedicated notes app thats even simpler. Again great for quick to-do lists or things you need to write down to remember. Something I constantly use for quick reminders that I want synced back via my iOS devices as it integrates perfectly with iCloud & your other iOS devices.

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Office Related

Pages  ($20)

Apple’s pages is the OS X equivalent to office & works well regarding basic documents. I typically use this to interact with .doc files & or to type up essays as it’s a familiar interface & offers all the basic tools to get things done. Being an Apple product it syncs together with iCloud and has a series of apps that interact well with it from Keynote to Numbers. Pages interacts with OS X in general seamlessly & provides a great basic word processing experience for users.

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Office for Mac ($7.00 monthly)

For those of you who can’t escape the .doc files & windows based office environment than Office for Mac is for you.  Word 2011 is the most current version for OS X and ties in with Office 365 program. For former windows users this may be the most comfortable interface.

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Focused

WriteRoom ($10)

WriteRoom provides a clean and simple approach to writing. Just focus on writing & thats it. An app that offers virtually no interface & allows you create the content you want to write. Just words on the screen nothing more nothing less. A great app to use when you don’t want to be distracted by outside apps, toolbars, and formatting tools. I use WriteRoom now and again to compile first drafts of posts for my personal blog. Focusing on the writing first then working with other tools to worry about the formatting/editing afterwards.

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Programming Editors

TextMate (FREE)

This app is geared toward developers & programmers. It’s massive support for syntax & code snippets makes it convenient to use for coders & best of all is completely free. Of course you can code in any basic text editor however this makes 10x more easier & more structured for whatever language your coding in. With the ability to manage multiple projects in tabs TextMate keeps your coding simple & organized.

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Sublime Text ($70)

On a more advanced level Sublime Text offers a sophisticated approach to a programming text editor. Packed with features from distraction free mode, split editing, cross platform and more. Definitely the premium programming editor for OS X.

Personal/Journaling

DayOne ($10)

One of my favorite apps for journaling has been DayOne. I’ve found myself recently recording thoughts & writing small blurbs for my own personal archive. Things that don’t get published to the web just privately cataloged for me. Gathering my thoughts in a beautiful interface that displays your life logged over time in a brilliant way. Whether its a quick post or full on essay DayOne can support it. The great thing about DayOne is aside from the desktop app it has support for both iPad & iPhone.

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All in One/Essential for Writers

Scrivener ($45 USD)

Aside from making this content possible the folks at Literature & Latte have developed an amazing all in one editor that is Scrivener.

Scrivener provides an amazing interface that’s useful for just about anything. Be it script writing, writing a book, or what have you. The great thing about Scrivener is that it has a whole organizational set of features for writers allowing you to structure, revise, and organize your thoughts in one application. What I find best about Scrivener is its studio based interface that makes it easy to access everything I need without constantly having to switch from one app to another. Simply the best and most advanced software for writers.

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All that said keep in mind while there are a ton of text editors out there you don’t have to just settle for one. Rather you can use each to your advantage depending on your usage & needs. Be sure to keep up with the series of content we’ll be publishing regarding writing & other tips to improving your writing experience & workflow.

 

Curbi Overview: Parental Controls for iOS Devices

My thanks to Curbi for sponsoring the series of content we’re running on web safety. Curbi provides a great application/service to manage your kids iPhone, iPad, or iPod easily. Allowing parents to Curb, Block, and Monitor your kids activities. Use it to make sure that they’re safe & more importantly give yourself peace of mind knowing Curbi has you covered in the complex world that is the internet.

Video Overview:

 

I often get asked about tips on parental control on iOS. Parents/viewers asking how they can manage certain sites, filter material, or overall monitor their children’s usage. There’s some solutions built in but not to easy to find & most services out there just make it to complicated. That is until I found out about Curbi & now its easily the best parental control app for iOS that I can recommend.

Curbi is all about providing parents the ability to manage & control their kids iOS device usage & safety. It does this a seamless & easy way that anyone can set it up. The service focuses on 3 areas Curb, Block and Watch.

  • Curb: Your child’s use of social media & time wasting apps
  • Block: Adult & inappropriate content
  • Watch: Your child’s internet access with detailed reporting from Cubi

Setup:

Setup is super simple. That’s one of the best things about Curbi, parents can easily set this up without any complex installs to jump through. There’s a simple 2 step process to go through after setting up your account that involves installing 2 profiles on the iOS device you want to monitor. This takes literally a couple of minutes & then from there on out you can monitor the activity via the web or their Curbi app.

From there you hop into the dashboard & get detailed reports in multiple areas & can setup rules dependent on your kids and what you want blocked/curbed.

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There are 3 elements to Curbi worth breaking down. The rules, restrictions, and monitoring.

Rules:

Curbi allows parents to do define rules for their children. This means you can setup content filtering & time based restrictions for your kids. A good example would be if they had a bedtime you can define a rule blocking internet access at a given time on setup on schedule. So cuts out earlier on weekdays & later on the weekends. You can easily filter out specific content on that can be browsed on the device as well. Things like social media sites, sex related sites, and or gambling sites. Giving you complete control on how you want to define the rules for your children.

Restrictions:

Restriction wise you can easily define restrictions for your kids devices. This is very useful for young children in which you can deactivate In-App purchases off the app-store saving you any future issues or unwanted charges.

Monitoring: 

Another aspect is monitoring the device in general. Get detailed reports of your kids usage as far as where, when, and how long they’ve been accessing certain media. This provides a great breakdown of your kids activities on a day to day basis & you can see what they may be wasting time on.

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Pricing:

Curbi offers a free 14-day free trial for users to test out & see if its right for them. Beyond that it’s only $7.00 a month to provide full protection for your kids. Really at the end of the day what your paying for here is peace of mind which in itself is priceless.

With the subscription you get access to the following:

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Sign up here

 

At the end of the day Curbi answers the many questions & concerns parents have about the internet & their children’s activities on it. Looking at where they’re spending most of their time, how much time exactly are they on their iOS devices, productive usage vs non productive and so on. All while offering a service that is super simple to use & setup. No hassles or loop holes to jump through just straightforward technology that works. Allowing parents all the controls & access with the ability to access it on their mobile devices or on the web.

Check out Curbi today & start providing a better and safer environment for your kids today.

 

5 Free Apps to Help you Get Fit

I’ve recently made a commitment to running again. I used to love running regularly & always challenged myself to improve. The only problem was I got caught up in excuses too tired, not the right shoes, no running case and so on. Until I just started running again & dropped all excuses. That said I thought I’d compile a list of apps that can help you get fit. Keyword is help as at the end of the day these apps are here to motivate, inspire, assist, and log your physical fitness activities. You still got to pick in the leg work.

All the apps mentioned are completely free to use in some cases may have a paid subscription or upgrade option. Additionally most apps on the list are available across Android & iOS If not some alternatives will be linked out to.

 

1- RunKeeper (iOS/Android)

IMG_5743   RunKeeper takes the first spot as its been the app I’ve always used to track all my running related workouts since I discovered it in 2009. RunKeeper is cross platform & offers a great way to track your workouts & set goals to help motivate you. Additionally it has a great feature that lets you track your friends & use them as sense of motivation. Never underestimate the art of competition. You can log all sorts of activities with RunKeeper. Use it as a log tracker or let it actually record your events, with GPS tracking the app creates great workout summaries with maps, diagnostics, and other information all included.

 

 

2-Momentum (iOS)

momentum-habit-tracker1   Now this app is a simple yet effective one & while it doesn’t limit itself to fitness its still very useful. Cause at the end of the day fitness really comes down to forming habits. Momentum allows you simply set a habit & tap every day/interval when you’ve accomplished said habit. The idea here is to not break the chain. So whether its a small workout, run, or what have you. You get visual feedback of habits your forming & the idea being this will help you keep the momentum going forward. However feel free to use it for all sorts of things. Days since you’ve quit smoking, Read for an hour every day, etc. Alternative for you Android users is “HabitBull

 

 

 3-CalorieCounter (iOS/Android)

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 3.16.55 PM   For those of you who are watching your diet & want to count your calories easily this is the app to get. CalorieCounter is tied with the MyFitnessPal network & is one of the fastest and easiest counters. Literally taking a lot of the manual work out with the ability to scan your foods barcodes to automatically import nutritional info with 5 million+ food already in their database. Another great addition to the app is its support for HealthKit on iOS so it interacts well with other apps as well.

 

 

 

4-Fitness Buddy (iOS/Android/Windows Phone)

IMG_5745   Fitness Buddy offers a ton of different exercises & routines for novices to advanced users. There is a free version with over 400+ workouts while it also features a subscription service for $4.99 a month or $30.00 for the whole year you get access to premium programs, playpen freeplay workouts, and HD video material. With over 1,700+ exercises in its library you’re bound to find something that fits your needs and skill level. Aside from the exercises themselves the app is packed with many other features like the Sonicast system which allows you to easily share workout/routines with friends and other app users.

 

 

 5- 7 Minute Workout (iOS)

IMG_5746The Wahoo Fitness acquired app 7 minute workout is great for those who may just be getting started or just feel they don’t have much time to workout. Everyone has 7 minutes in their day to spare & this app gives you a intense workout all of which can be done at home in an open space in 7 minutes. A super simple user interface & fully guided workout built with information on proper form to carry out the workout. Take a little time out of your day to ultimately contribute a lot of health benefits & stay in shape with this short but effective workout.
A great Android Alternative can be found here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That wraps up the five free fitness apps that you can use alone or in conjunction with one another to contribute to a healthier & overall better lifestyle. However at the end of the day you can have all the apps in the world what it comes down to is the drive & first step to getting fit. Be it a walk or run, small workout here & there, or starting with those small habits & improving over time. Shoot for progress not perfection.

Overview: Hearthstone for iPhone

Blizzard’s popular digital collectible card game Hearthstone has made its way to mobile phones. You can now play Hearthstone on both Android & iOS phones. Previously it was available for tablet devices with a bigger screen size.

Nowadays with smartphones growing in screen size this makes playing the card game much more convenient on the go.

Video Overview:

 

You can download the smartphone versions here

Android & iOS

 

The mobile hearthstone game works ideally on bigger devices however still is very intuitive on the touch screen devices. Players can log in with their standard battle.net address or create an all new login for new players. Your cards, decks, and ranks will all be available in the mobile app. You have the ability to play all game modes be it standard, arena, or deck customizations.  Overall the game runs fluidly & feels all to familiar for traditional players. Surely updates will improve the performance & bugs as time goes on.

Grab Hearthstone today & enjoy it on the go and on your smartphone!

Periscope Overview: Twitter’s Live Streaming App

Video Overview:

Periscope was purchased by Twitter several months ago for $100 mllion & was going to be their entry into the livestreaming space. The company officially released the mobile app yesterday to the public for iOS users. This comes at a time where live streaming & social network integration has become a big thing with competing services like Meerkat.

The idea behind Periscope is to see the world through someone else’s eyes. The application is a mixture of livestreaming & the social network Twitter integration. Combining socializing & sharing to the world whatever it is your seeing.

Periscope’s app has a very polished & clean look to it. Compared to its counterpart Meerkat the app features a much more complete & native experience. From streaming to viewing other streams Periscope offers a great UI.

The app features the ability to:

  • Live Stream to your followers (private stream) or public stream w/external or front facing camera
  • Chat with your stream viewers/streamer (Built into the app) Unlike Meerkat which carries the conversation through Twitter
  • Tap to “Heart” the stream
  • Save your stream as a “Replay” feature for others to watch later

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Your account is based off your Twitter account so you automatically have the option to follow your exisitng followers who have Periscope acconts. Live streaming has been around for quite a few years now & is nothing new. However the integration on the mobile end allows users to share their moments live with their own social following. Creating an interactive experience thats easy to turn on/off. Apps like Periscope or Meerkat are paving the way to make live streaming a social norm.

That said we’ll have to wait to see how Twitter continues to integrate Periscope within their already popular social network & how it’ll stack up to Meerkat overtime.

 

Download Persicope for iOS (Coming for Android soon)

Review: Layout from Instagram

Instagram has released yet another app in the photo/video tool space to acommpany their social network. Previously they released Hyperlapse their stop motion tool & today they’ve released Layout. As the name entails its a photo collage based app, making it easy to upload multiple photos in one to your Instagram or across the web.

 

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Focusing on simplicity & ease of use controls.

Download Layout for iOS (Coming for Android soon)

You can view our full video review down below:

The app in itself features a very simple interface thats easy to use & navigate. Compared to other layout based apps I’ve used it has the most inuitive design from swapping photos, adjusting sizes, and more. However it is lacking in some areas as well. To break down here are the pros/cons

 

PROS:

  • Simple Interface
  • Instagram Friendly Resolutions
  • Supports up to 9 Photos
  • Built in Photo Booth

Cons:

  • Lack of “Undo” button

 

These line of apps have been something Instagram/Facebook has been focusing on to keep the tools & experience in-house. Rather than incorporating these features into Instagram they’ve made completley dedicated apps to solve these solutions then tie back into Instagram. As of now this will replace my default collage app based on the UI experience alone. Grab your copy for iOS today for free!

Review: AnyTrans (All-in-One iOS Content Manager)

Video Review:

 

AnyTrans by iMobie is an all-in-one content manager for your iOS devices be it iPhone, iPods, or an iPad. Allowing you full control over your device & the ability to manage the media from the device to your computer and or vice versa. This is useful in a variety of situations from backing up data, importing content, and or bypassing traditional iTunes sync methods. The app handles all sorts of media from photos, video, contacts and more. Simply plug in the device & get a visual representation of the device & everything on it.

Features:

AnyTrans really spans across so many use cases. Let’s say your upgrading from an older device to a new one & want to migrate specific content or all of it over well AnyTrans can do just that. Have a device that iTunes won’t allow access to or allow import/export of media AnyTrans can handle that and the list goes on. It’s a great way to bypass & completely take over iTunes as a content manager and does so in a easy to use fashion.

The features covered include the following:

  • Entertainment (Music, Podcasts, Photos, Videos, etc)
  • iCloud Content
  • Apps & Docs
  • Personal Info ( SMS, Contacts, etc)
  • File System (Disk Mode)

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Interface:

The best part about the content manager built into AnyTrans is that the interface is clean & simple. Plugging in the device shows you a overview of everything on it & from there you can sort through the media you want to control then choose the method of export. You have the option to move content to iTunes, your mac/pc, and  even another device. Everything is visually showcased & easy to navigate and use depending on your needs. Additionally you have the ability to add in content & as well.

 

Use Cases:

Getting back to the overview of the app & who’d exactly would want this covers a wide range of users.

If your looking to replace iTunes completely with something that skips the permissions & common syncing issues than this is for you. While on vacation I use the app to transfer music to my new iPhone that was previously synced with an old library & in order to achieve the same thing through iTunes I’d have to sync with my Macbook Air’s library essentially erasing all my data.

Extracting data, transferring between devices, backing up data and so on are all ways to use this as a content manager. The power really lies in what you want done with your iOS devices. Giving you back complete control & transfer rights to your devices.

Pros/Cons:

Pros

Easy to use UI

Full System Control

Video Optimization Tool

Various Usecases

Cons

N/A in my usage

 

Rating/Conclusion:

 

Worth the Download 

It gets my seal of approval & is certainly one of the best iOS content managers available. Allowing the user full control over their devices & the capability to manage the content as they see fit. At this price, its worth having ever in case you’ll need it down the road.

Purchase: 

Download & purchase the app via the links below for either OS X or Windows. Each copy runs for about $40 USD with family licenses available for more.

OS X (aff)

Windows (aff):