App Reviews Archives

Autodesk SketchBook Pro 7 First Impressions

If you’ve read my previous article then you know that I’m a big fan of Autodesk SketchBook Pro and its many variations. This summer a new version has appeared which introduces new features and a new licensing scheme which cleans up the jungle of SketchBook versions – at least on your desktop. Or so you’d think. …

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The many faces of SketchBook Pro

It occurred to me the other day that I now own every single version of Autodesk’s SketchBook Pro family that is currently available. They’re all a little different, and they’re all for different platforms. At the same time, I hardly ever use SketchBook Pro – but knowing that it’s available on every device I work …

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Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription Woes: does it really matter?

Adobe_CS5.5_Product_LogosYou can’t buy any of the Adobe Creative Suite products anymore. From now on you can only “license” any of Adobe’s products for a monthly or annual fee. This includes Photoshop, Premiere, Dreamweaver and all the other CS products we know and love. That’s old news.

What isn’t so old is the bitching and bickering from everybody (including myself) about the idea of being “forced” to shill out small regular payments and pay for “access and incremental upgrades”, rather than “invest big” once and own the software.

While this is certainly a departure from the old licensing model, I wonder: is it really worth losing sleep over it? Let’s examine the options and see if perhaps a monthly subscription is actually cheaper than purchasing a product the old fashioned way.

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Agent Dash 2.0: Should you really upgrade just yet?

Photo 10-04-2013 17 29 34
Meet Agent Dash, full time spy

I’m a huge fan of Agent Dash. It’s a “Temple Run” type game in which all you ever do is swipe left, right, up or down. The graphics are insanely good and it’s a very addictive little time killer.

As Agent Dash (or any of the other characters) you run through tricky levels, collect diamonds, shoot at enemy technology and avoid obstacles. That’s it.

When the new update came along a couple of weeks ago it promised many good things. But what I’ve found is that many of the changes have an impact on the game dynamic that we have come to love.
Currently players are heavily coerced into upgrading – but before you do, let me tell you what has changed in Agent Dash. If you don’t like it, you can always restore your game from a backup and wait until these little niggles have been fixed (if they ever will).

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Brushes 3: It’s like New Coke all over again

After an extremely long hiatus Steve Sprang and his team at Taptrix have released a new version of Brushes, the painting programme that took iPhone and iPad art creators by storm.

Serious artists such as David Hockney and David Cassan, who have contributed to the easy and cool things to draw collection in many a children’s book, have given this app much momentum over the years, and even gave Steve the centre stage alongside Steve Jobs when the iPad was released.

Many have waited for years for an update for Brushes to take advantage of the new iPad’s retina screen and perhaps introduce new features. Now it has finally arrived and everyone seems to hate the new version.

Steve doesn’t understand it – and neither do many users who are ecstatic about the new offering. Let’s explore why and how such a strong negative welcome could have been avoided.

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Discovering Storyist for iPad and Mac

I’ve just discovers a new software called Storyist. It’s a tool for writers that lets you outline ideas on index cards, then shift them around using drag and drop. Full written sections follow along in the manuscript.

For me as a lifelong Word user, discovering Storyist is like discovering plutonium!

I’m writing several how-to manuals for clients and I’d like to expand them into larger editions for sale on Amazon. Writing these longer-than-5000-word articles proves to be a pain in Word and Pages because even though these are very great text processors, they not support creative brainstorming.

So I was looking for an iPad app that behaves like index cards. I heard that writers often use them, and I can understand the benefits of such a workflow. My original idea was to use index cards to jot down loose ideas, bringing together what I want to write in principle but not worry about the correct order. I would then move them into something that makes more sense to the reader, adding chapter marks as appropriate and then start writing accordingly.

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Paper gets support for PDF export and DropBox integration

This morning my beloved iPad app Paper by FiftyThree received a long awaited update: they’ve just added an option to export an entire book as PDF. Hurray! This turns an extremely good doodling app into a solid professional graphics tool.

Now I can share an entire book rather than a single sketch either via email or to any iPad app that supports the “Open In” option. This means that there’s no limit on what other apps can receive your work: DropBox, iBooks, EverNote. Rather than Paper dealing with each API, Paper lets the iPad deal with all that techie stuff. Genius!

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