Archive for July, 2011

Best app you’ve never tried: Cozi Family Organizer

July 26th, 2011

The Cozy Family Organizer is one of the best apps you've never tried. And it's free!

The Cozy Family Organizer is one of the best apps you've never tried. And it's free!

Cozi Group Inc.)

There are two apps I can’t stop recommending to people. The first is Square, but I usually reserve that one for people who run small businesses. It’s a free and dirt-cheap system for processing credit cards.

The other is Cozi Family Organizer (available for Android and iPhone), which, true to its name, keeps your family life in sync.

Literally. The app provides a shared calendar that’s color-coded for each member of your family. Thus, you can see at-a-glance who’s going where, and when. (This is especially helpful for parents who need to know, say, what time soccer practice is being held and who’s supposed to pick up the kids.)

When you add an appointment, you can designate which family members are involved. The calendar gets synced not only with the other members of your Cozi circle, but also with Cozi on the Web (which is where you can manage settings, add users to your account, and so on).

In addition to the calendar, Cozi provides a to-do list, a shopping list, and even a family journal that can include both text and photos (a great way to chronicle a family vacation).

The ad-supported versions of the app are free (as is the Web-based version of Cozi), or you can pay $5.99 for ad-free Cozi Family Organizer Premium. Best of all, everything works cross-platform: Cozi runs on my iPhone, my wife’s Android phone, my daughter’s iPod Touch, and so on.

My one and only complain is with the calendar, which offers only a scrolling day-by-day view. It works well enough, but I’d really like some list-view options that would show only upcoming events–and allow me to filter them by person. A month view would be nice, too.

Still, this is without question one of my favorite apps, and I can’t recommend it highly enough for busy families.

(Here’s another “best app you’ve never tried”: Gravitarium2 for iPad.)

Originally posted at iPhone Atlas

Microsoft finally shows some love to raw shooters

July 26th, 2011

This is what you see unless you make Windows Live Photo Gallery the default program association for the raw file type.

Screenshot by Lori Grunin/CNET)

Updated at 5 p.m. ET with correction about how this feature works.

Microsoft finally shows some love to camera raw shooters, but it feels like more of a hug than a big, sloppy wet kiss. The company now offers a free download of Microsoft Camera Codec Pack for Windows 7 and Vista users that will render thumbnails and display previews of most popular raw camera formats. (A complete list is available at the download site.)

About mid-Vista vintage, Microsoft introduced its own “open” raw format that it hoped camera manufacturers would adopt for better integration with Windows, but the major camera companies tend to be notoriously proprietary about their raw formats and no one really raced to adopt it. The only notable cameras supporting it are/were the Nikon P6000 and P7000 with the NRW format. So I suppose we can take this as Microsoft giving in to the inevitable.

It didn’t give in terribly gracefully, though. When you download the codec pack, you can immediately preview the images in Windows Live Photo Gallery. But in order to get the OS to display rendered thumbnails in Windows Explorer, you have to load them into the Gallery to force the OS to first create the thumbnails. This is a really clunky way to operate, and really annoying if you have images on removable media, since you have to import them to display them in the Gallery.

(Via @lanceulanoff)

Originally posted at Crave

Captain America brings his shield to Android

July 26th, 2011

Marvel Entertainment)

To coincide with its blockbuster movie opening, Marvel Entertainment released two Captain America-related apps for Android this past weekend. First is the Captain America Live Wallpaper, which adorns your Android home screen with the Cap’s shimmery shield over an appropriately dramatic sepia backdrop. A quick tap on your screen sprays a few bullets and demonstrates that the shield’s Vibranium resilience is in full effect. It’s available for free in the Android Market.

And for the gamers, there’s Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty, an action-adventure game that puts you in the Cap’s fittingly patriotic shoes. With trusty shield in hand, you battle your way through 24 stages, fight off Hydra henchmen, and eventually engage in supercharged fisticuffs with Mr. Anti-freedom himself, Red Skull. Plus, there are plenty of unlockable costumes and comic covers to keep you coming back for more. Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty is available now for a mere 99 cents in the Android Market. However, considering the game’s supersharp graphics, we can’t say we’re confident it’ll stay that cheap, so download it now.

Marvel Entertainment)

NASA releases iPad app for science research

July 26th, 2011
NASA's Visualization Explorer in action.

NASA's Visualization Explorer in action.


NASA has launched an iPad application for those interested in Earth science.

Dubbed the NASA Visualization Explorer, the application delivers real-satellite data, including movies and stills, of Earth, that enable users to learn a bit more about the “natural world.” Short stories accompany the videos and stills to explain what users are seeing and why it’s important.

“The app will explore stories of climate change, Earth’s dynamic systems, plant life on land and in the oceans–all of the small and large stories captured in data by NASA satellites and then visualized,” Michael Starobin, a senior producer at the Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement.

“Science should be accessible to everyone, and visualization reveals the meaning and value of the often intangible, but essential, data delivered by NASA’s research efforts,” Starobin continued. “Data visualization makes information immediately visual and understandable when it otherwise might go unnoticed.”

In addition to visualizations, the app also comes with six editorial features related to Earth science. According to NASA, two new editorials will be added each week. The organization also said it might include stories about the sun and solar system at some point.

Last September, the space agency launched its NASA App HD, which features thousands of images from its image bank, as well as video documentaries. NASA also offers an iPhone app with the same features.

The free NASA Visualization Explorer is available now in Apple’s App Store.

Originally posted at The Digital Home

YouSendIt hits Windows and iOS, adds Dropbox-like functionality

July 26th, 2011


Popular file-sending utility YouSendIt has just added a few more tools to its belt. Apparently taking a page out of Dropbox’s book, YouSendIt now gives its users the ability to share and sync folders, all from within a single product suite. But that’s not all. It has also integrated a nifty signature tool, which enables you to digitally sign documents using your mouse or touch-screen device. All in all, it appears to be a streamlined solution for many of your most common workflows.

To accompany its new feature set, YouSendIt is also launching a couple of new ways to access its services. In addition to the YouSendIt Web site, you can now manage and manipulate your files with the YouSendIt iPhone app and a brandnew Windows application (currently in beta). Downloading either application installs a Dropbox-like folder on your system, where you can drag and drop files to sync to the cloud. The Windows app lets you share any of your synced folders with others, while the iOS app offers something a bit closer to the Web experience, letting you share folders, send files, and even sign files using your device’s touch screen.

YouSendIt offers three account tiers. A Free (Lite) account gives you 2GB of storage and five signatures for the life of the account. A Pro account gives you 5GB and 10 lifetime signatures for $9.99 per month. And Pro Plus account comes with unlimited storage and unlimited signatures for $14.99 per month.

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