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Mind-Mapping Roundup: 3 Apps to Map Your Thoughts

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I naturally mind map as a way to organize my thoughts; but over the years, I've become accustomed to just taking notes on my computer, which goes with me to every client meeting and planning session. I've recently been in pursuit of the perfect mind-mapping software. My search has been frustrated by unintuitive and unwieldy designs, or simple systems that just don't allow me to do all I would hope to do with the software.

As the owner of a busy PR agency, it's often very late at night or quite a few days after a meeting before I have a chance to sit down with my thoughts and get them organized. So I wondered if mobile mind mapping apps might be the better solution. In fact, it struck me that I should just mind map as I took my noteson the fly, in a system I could show my clients while we brainstorm, and easily send to them when we finish.



Sky Force is Back!

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Some retro (that funny word) games are just too awesome to stop getting updates and everyone knows that Sky Force is one of them! And now the inimitable top-down blasting game that seemed to go on for infinity is back in 2014, and looking just plain gorgeous (don't know how it plays yet, but some app reviews look positive)! 



Five Apps to Help Bored Travelers

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My family will soon be headed for vacation. We are flying to our destination with several connecting flights, so there will be plenty of sitting around in airports and on the planes.

I'm happy to be going on vacation, but I have to admit I absolutely hate to travel. I am not crazy about flying (which is unfortunate because I'm married to an airline pilot).

I get bored sitting for long periods of time and I'm not much of a people watcher.

My kids are now teenagers, so it's not necessary for me to entertain them anymore.

So what's a traveler, who dislikes traveling, to do?



Tip of the Day: Take Easy Silhouette Shots with Your iPhone Camera

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One of my favorite things about my iPhone is the way even a decidedly untalented photographer like me can easily take and share decent photos and videos using the built-in Camera, and I'm always on the lookout for iphoneography tips to help me improve my skills. Here's one on how to take easy silhouette shots with your iPhone, generously shared with me by iPhone Life magazine's newest editor Rheanne Schlee. This really easy trick can result in amazing photos:



Unleash Your Inner App Developer Part 7: The Big Picture

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Do you have an idea for an app but lack the programming knowledge to begin building it? In this weekly blog series, How To Unleash Your Inner App Developer, I will take you, the non-programmer, step by step through the process of creating apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Join me each week on this adventure, and you will experience how fun turning your ideas into reality can be! This is Part 7 of the series. If you're just getting started now, check out the beginning of the series here (this post has been updated to  iOS 7.1.)

In my last several posts, we have created a prototype app called iAppsReview that allows users to rate apps on their iOS devices. Whenever you build an app, it's a best practice to first create a prototype that you can give to your client or potential user base for feedback. Once you get feedback, you often need to make changes to the prototype based on the feedback you receive. However, once the dust has settled, you have to take the prototype and turn it into a real app. That requires writing code. Since this blog series is specifically designed for non-programmers, we need to take a step back and look at the big picture of app development and learn the basics of writing code.



Game Centered Special Edition: Top 9 iOS Games of E3 2014

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The video game convention that is E3 has come and gone, and despite a relatively scant showing of iOS games, at least compared to the deluge of console titles, there were still some great and noteworthy iOS games announced at this year's game conference. We've rounded up some of the best iOS titles unveiled during this years huge show, so read on after the break to find out what's in store for iOS gamers in the months to come.



Augment Kickstarter Charge Case - Power and Protection in Your Pocket!

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I just bought a mophie charge case that turned my slim, light iPhone into a river rock that pulls my pants down and barely fits in my back pocket (I have loose pants)! No slap at mophie, as I love their chargers (the space pack case is insanely cool)! You could say I'm looking for something a bit less bulky that doesn't heat my phone up hot enough to fry an egg (I exaggerate). 



How iOS 8 Paves the Way for an iWatch

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An interesting article on 9To5Mac outlines how many of the new features in iOS 8 are well suited to the small display of an iWatch or other wearable device that Apple is expected to announce in October. The article says that the small app-associated widgets that developers will be able to create for the new Notification Center are just the sort of applets that would work well on an iWatch. The app could push the same content to both the Notification Center widget and to the wearable. In addition, the quick interactive notifications in iOS 8, without your having to go to the respective app, is just the sort of feature you'd expect in an iWatch. When a text message arrives, you'd like to be able to respond right from your wrist. And features such as QuickType and audio and voice messaging will make quick responses easy.



Top 3 App Deals of the Week

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As new iOS apps flood the App Store every day — recently topping 1,000,000 — we know it’s tough to tell which ones are worth their salt. But thanks to our Weekly Scoop, you can have the best for free! Here you’ll find a weekly roundup of the coolest apps free or at a discount for a limited-time only. Each week features the best and brightest from websites like FreeAppReport, AppsGoneFreeAppieDayAppShopper and more.

Hurry! Get 'em while they’re hot!



Apple News: Beats Music gets some Amazonian Competition

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The dust hasn't even settled on Apple's mega-acquisition of Beats by Dre and Beats Music. The subscription service has been regarded as a better interface than iTunes Radio, Apple's internally developed answer to Pandora and Spotify. Now, Amazon wants to get into the act.  Not satisfied selling music, books and movies, they now offer a streaming service called Prime Music. The service has over one million songs, including popular Grammy winners, so this is not a rehash of your father's old playlist.



Apple Launches European iPhone Power Adapter Recall

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Apple has launched an exchange program in 37 countries for certain models of it 5 watt European USB iPhone power adapter. The company says that in “rare cases” the power adapter may overheat and “pose a safety risk.”
 
The power adapter, which Apple identified as Model A1300, was packaged with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4s shipped between October 2009 and September 2012. It also was sold as a standalone product.


Tip of the Day: How to Get an iTunes Refund

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Apple vets everything sold on iTunes very carefully and is pretty clear that all iTunes purchases are final. But what happens if you purchase an app that just didn't work or has problems downloading or some other significant issue? Then your purchase may not be as final as Apple's terms and conditions make it sound.



From iPad at Check-in to Free Wi-Fi, This Hotel Gets Tech Right

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Charming. Eclectic. Fanciful. And oh yes, very technology-enabled. Such is Hyatt’s Andaz boutique hotel in Amsterdam. As visitors enter the hotel they are met by giant bells sporting ornate chandeliers cascading from the bell's great white lips like crystal clappers. Proceed further and see a simple desk with a laptop, but the laptop remains fixed. Rather than standing in a queue at a desk, a greeter meets you at the door with an iPad, already querying you about your stay and readying your keys, which eventually accept their RFID programming from a nondescript circle in the middle of the round table that sits precisely centered beneath the cavernous bells.



Skype 5.0 for iPhone Released, with New Interface and Speed That's 5 Times Faster

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Skype for iPhone 5.0 (free) was released Wednesday, and according to the Skype website, it has a new look and much faster speed. New features include the ability to send messages to people who are offline. The redesign gives in an appearance smilar to that on Windows Phone and Android devices. The app has been rewritten from the ground up. Here's how Skype describes this new version:



Swift 101 - New, Powerful Enumerations

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In this post, I'm going to demonstrate some of the powerful new features of enumerations in Swift.

Declaring Swift Enumerations

Just about every programming language has the concept of enumerations. An enumeration allows you to group a set of related constants together. It contains a complete list of all the possible values for a given type. 



Report: Production of Next-Generation iPad Air Set to Begin, with 8-Megapixel Camera, A8 Chip

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While we've had a lot of iPhone 6 rumors, not much has been said about forthcoming iPads. Likely that's because the new models coming this year will have the same design, but with some feature upgrades. According to a report on 9To5Mac, production of components for the next iPad Air is set to begin this month. The new model is expected to have an 8-megapixel, up from 5 megapixels, and could possibly sport a 1.5-megapixel front camera, compared to the current 1.2 megapixels. It's also expected to come with the new A8 processor, which is said to greatly enhance performance and efficiency, thereby extending battery life. Which is remarkable, given that the current A7 is already miles ahead of other smartphones and tablets.



Tip of the Day: How to Customize the Background on Your Home and Lock Screens

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Are you one of those people who takes so many photos with your iPhone camera that you're starting to feel like your iPhone is really a camera with a phone, rather than a phone with a camera? Why not enjoy your favorite photos by setting them as the background images on your Home and Lock Screens? Or if you are one of those people who actually forgets that their phone even has a camera, why not play around with some of Apple's stock background images?



Apple News: iOS 8 on the Big Screen... and Small Screen?

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Apple's WWDC 2014 brought a new version of iOS 8 but no new hardware. However, developers are talking about resizeable iPhone screens in the simulator. But that could refer to a "split-screen" feature, as seen on some Microsoft Windows 8 and Android devices. This feature would make it easier to copy and paste from one app to another, or just to view multiple apps simultaneously. Still, all signs point to larger screens (4.7-inch and even 5.5-inch) in the works, if only to keep up with the Android "phablet" trend.



E3 for iOS Gamers: Why it Matters, and Why it Doesn't

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As I sit here twiddling my thumbs waiting for some kind of last minute, major iOS game announcements from the giant video game convention that is E3, I've had a lot of time to reflect on what this biggest of video game showcases means to dedicated and enthusiastic iOS gamers. E3 has yet to become the primary forum for iOS games to make their grand debuts, though I anticipate this changing as more hardcore games make their way to iOS. But will iOS games ever carry enough hype to steal the show at major gaming events like the annual Game Developers Conference or E3.



Analyst Sees Apple Selling 21M iWatches in First Year

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Apple’s so-called iWatch is still just a rumor, but at least one analyst thinks such a device would be a best-seller when released, with 21 million units expected to sell in the first year alone.



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