Watch Out, Flipboard, Trapit for iPad Raises The Stakes For Newsreader Apps [iOS Tips]

This might well be the future of news content consumption.

Finding stuff on the web is pretty easy. Finding stuff you don’t already know about, surprising stuff, is hard. That’s what the developers behind Trapit are trying to fix.

Trapit for iPad allows you to discover things you’re already interested in as well as stuff you may not even know you’re looking for using algorithms that run in the app behind the scenes. What that means is that once you start using Trapit, it will learn what you’re into, and start finding stuff that might be of interest to you, based on what you’re already checking out as well as new stuff that might be cool for you to see.

The app also curates its own content into a Featured Traps section, which will help you discover even more content for that surprise factor.

Download Trapit for iPad for free, and then launch it with a tap. You’ll be asked to enter some general interest terms, and then you’ll go to the My Traps section. Tap along the top row of buttons to see your personalized Traps, Featured ones, and then the Reading list. In addition to its own “save for later reading” system, Trapit offers the option to send stuff to Instapaper and Evernote.

Tap on a story to highlight it and the associated photo will zoom in. Tap the share button to send to Facebook, Twitter, or email, and tap the little book + icon to save to read later. When browsing subjects in the features section, tap the + symbol to send the topic to your personalized feed.

As you can see, Trapit for iPad does two things well: creates a personal news feed for your own interests, and then allows you to discover new stuff you didn’t even know you wanted to read about. It’s win/win.

From the App Store Description:

Escape with Trapit and hone in on only the subjects that matter to you. Keep up with the topics that don’t always make the headlines, or even the ones that do. Discover new bloggers, online magazines, newspaper features and more among Trapit’s over 100,000 (and growing) hand-picked sources.. Use Trapit to explore and discover, because really, that’s what the Internet was made for.

Got an iOS tip of your own? Need help troubleshooting your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad? (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address) or leave a comment below.

Source: App Store

from Cult of Mac

5 Ways To Learn Code From The Comfort Of Your Own Browser


One of the big trends of the past couple years, spurred the growing demand for programmers, is the rise of in-browser programming tutorials. Gone are the days when you’d have to buy a book and configure a development environment before you could get your hands dirty with a little code.

Maybe you want to start learning on your work computer and don’t have access to install a programming environment. Or maybe you want to get started right away and don’t want to deal with ordering books or installing software. Whatever your motivation, here are five places you can point your browser at right now to get started.

1. Eloquent JavaScript

Eloquent JavaScript is actually a computer science book but it’s available on the web for free. And the web version contains interactive lessons that can be completed from within the browser. You just type your code into a little box and the page runs it. This is a great resource if you’re a beginner wanting an introduction to computer science, but the the lessons aren’t immediately applicable. This could be frustrating if you just want to learn enough JavaScript to get started hacking right away, but it’s better for deeper understanding.

2. Codecademy

We’ve covered Codecademy and its mission to bring code literacy to the masses several times before. For example, here’s our coverage of the company’s addition of Python lessons to its repertoire. It also offers JavaScript, HTML and CSS. Codecademy has also been criticized for presenting conceptual lessons that aren’t immediately applicable to real-world problems, but the team has been taking steps to improve.

3. Khan Academy

Last week the Khan Academy revamped its computer science section to include a set of in-browser JavaScript tutorials. Unlike the other tutorials mentioned here, the Khan Academy lessons are focused on creating graphics and animations. They use the JavaScript implementation of the Processing programming language, which is designed for multimedia artists. The lessons might not be immediately applicable for someone trying to learn business oriented front-end development, but if you’re looking to make art or games this is a good place to start.

4. Code School

Code School‘ offers a mix of free and paid in-browser courses, many of which are aimed at more accomplished programmers. But it also has a free course on the JavaScript library jQuery that claims to include “just enough” JavaScript to get started working with jQuery right away. This might be a good place to start if you’re a web designer looking to expand your skill set.

Other courses cover Git, CSS, Ruby on Rails, Node.js and more.

The courses include videos followed by interactive exercises, along with artwork and themes. “Rails For Zombies,” the intro course on Ruby on Rails is shown above.

5. Code Avengers

Code Avengers reminds me a lot of Code School’s highly stylized in browser lessons, but with less art and no videos. It currently offers three tutorials: JavaScript Level 1, JavaScript Level 2 and HTML/CSS.

Although it’s getting generally positive reviews from computer science education sites, I agree with Rebecca Hyams who writes that the JavaScript lessons don’t seem very practical.

Bonus 1: Programr

Programr, which we’ve covered before, doesn’t offer many in-browser lessons (though there are a few), but it provides a browser based space for learning and experimenting with different languages from within a browser without the need to install a programming language and development environment. It’s not the only browser based development environment – companies like Code9 IDE and Action are also making it possible to develop for the web from the web. But Programr is focused on learning and experimentation.

Bonus 2: Try Ruby

TryRuby is a web based Ruby tutorial created by the famous why a lucky stiff and now maintained by Andrew McElroy. It was one of the first ever in browser coding tutorials. I found it to be a bit buggy when I tried it a couple years ago (though apparently McElroy), and it’s been superseded by the cross-platform desktop app Hackety Hack.

from TechCrunch

Team Coco spoof: Samsung denies that it ripped off Apple

Tagline: “Samsapple. Think Slightly Different.”

FORTUNE — Conan O’Brien is an equal opportunity satirist. He loves to puncture Apple’s (AAPL) hype and pomposity (see here). But on Tuesday night Team Coco lampooned Samsung’s claim — made in all seriousness in court earlier that day — that no consumer could mistake a Galaxy smartphone or tablet for an iPhone or iPad.

Filed under: Apple 2.0

from Fortune Tech: Technology blogs, news and analysis from Fortune Magazine » Apple 2.0

Dan Chung photographs the Olympics using an iPhone, Snapseed and some binoculars

When you think of professional photographers shooting sporting events, you usually visualize huge Canon or Nikon lenses mounted on expensive camera bodies on top of massive tripods. But as The Guardian’s photographer Dan Chung proves, sometimes you can do just as much with a lot less. Throughout the Olympics Chung is photographing the games using only an iPhone, an app, and (occasionally) an add-on iPhone lens or some binoculars.

The stunning image of Michael Phelps shown here was captured by Chung using only the iPhone 4S with its 8 megapixel camera and the excellent iOS photo editor Snapseed (US$4.99 in the App Store). To get other images from the Games using his iPhone, Chung also sometimes chooses to shoot through the Schneider lens iPro Wide Duo Kit or with a pair of Canon binoculars in front of the phone’s camera.

Chung is obviously a photographer with a lot of talent, but it’s still amazing that these photographs were captured through a smartphone. For those interested in photography (or the Olympics) click on over to The Guardian where they are running a photoblog of all Dan Chung’s images throughout the Games.

Special thanks to Dan Chung and The Guardian for permission to reprint the image above.

[Image credit and (C) Dan Chung/The Guardian.]

Dan Chung photographs the Olympics using an iPhone, Snapseed and some binoculars originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 03 Aug 2012 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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from TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

If Your iPhone is Tony Stark, LifeProof’s Case System Is Iron Man [Review]

Wish I had this for my (now broken) MacBook Air last night!  Fluids + MBA = !%$%@

If there were ever a medal for Most Staggering Misnomer, the iPhone would find itself in serious contention for gold; the little glass slab is so stuffed with useful functions it makes the “phone” element of its name ridiculously misleading. Consider the action-packed roles my iPhone has filled over the years: Bicycle computer; running partner; navigator; wilderness scout; survival guide; weather advisor; and visual story-telling tool, not to mention being able to score all these adventures to music. And yeah, it makes calls too.

The iPhone is the most indispensible piece of hardware since man discovered sharp rocks. Problem is, the iPhone is also a fragile weakling, easily damaged by sharp rocks, gravity or water — things that exist in copious amounts around precisely the places you’d want to use the iPhone to adventure with.

The people at LifeProof, however, have recognized this paradox, and they think they have a solution. They’ve come up with a quiver of clever, well-designed, mission-specific exoskeletons that work as a seamless, modular system, all designed around the core armor: a lithe, shock-resistant, fully sealed (yes, waterproof) iPhone 4/s case. And for the most part, it works brilliantly.



Clockwise from left: belt clip, armband, bike mount, case.

Case ($80):

Repeat after me: There is no LifeProof system without the LifeProof case. Once installed around the iPhone, this two-piece core component is designed to interface seamlessly with the various other auxiliary modules — and it did so with the precision of an interlocking wooden jigsaw puzzle.

The case itself is a marvel — almost impossibly light and svelte for the degree of protection it affords, which is considerable: LifeProof claims the case is fully waterproof to a depth of 6.6 feet (two meters), completely dustproof and rated to protect the iPhone from drops “onto all surfaces” from a height of 6.6 feet.

Frankly, our operating budget can’t afford a new iPhone every time a shock test goes amuck, so I was fairly conservative with the drop tests. Happy to report my iPhone survived through three drops onto a flat rock from a height of about three feet (half the rated height), about where it’s be dropped from if it simply slipped out of my hand.

Similarly, I didn’t swim with it. But the case flawlessly passed a shower test and extended submerged movement in about a foot of pool water.

I was also impressed at how easy it was to seal the iPhone in the case. I just popped the phone into one of the bottom of the two halves and snapped the front on, working my fingers around the perimeter to make sure the rubber gasket provided a seal (there was a constant reminder to do this courtesy of a massive yellow sticker with warnings that covered the back of the case) and snapped the clasp that covers the 30-pin port on the bottom into place. A plastic audio jack plug would need to be screwed in to make the case waterproof and fully dustproof. Popping the shell back open was simply a matter of inserting a coin in a slot on the case’s bottom left corner and easily levering the two halves apart.

Once installed around the iPhone, this two-piece core component is designed to interface seamlessly with the auxiliary modules with the satisfying precision of an interlocking wooden jigsaw puzzle.

And how svelte is it? Let’s put it this way: I could easily slide my LifeProof-clad iPhone into a jeans pocket and forget it was armored. The button actuations are designed well too, with the home button remaining extremely easy to work and flanges around the volume/mute cluster to protect against inadvertent movement during extreme maneuvers.

And here’s the kicker: If you pop for the compatible accessories to play with, not only do you never have to take the case off, but because the case is used as a mounting point, using these accessories is quicker and in almost all cases a better experience than if you were using a similar accessory without the LifeProof system.

Now for the caveats. The film covering the screen felt a little distant from the actual screen, and this gap sometimes made activating the screen a bit of a pain. The case’s 30-pin opening was just barely large enough to accomodate an official Apple connector; if you’re using a knock-off or something like a Wahoo Fisica dongle, you may have to file the connector/dongle down (once filed, it should fit). Finally, because the audio-jack port is threaded, the audio-jack cable accessory is required in order to use earphones; on the plus side, this screw-in system also allows you to listen to music while swimming or in the rain (assuming you’re using waterproof earphones).

My iPhone under almost a foot of water.

The threaded, waterproof audio jack cable. Note the spare audio jack plug near the bottom of the image.

Bike Mount ($40):

Next to the case itself, the bicycle mount left me the most impressed. In fact, it’s probably the best iPhone bike mount I’ve encountered — high praise from an ex-bike racer, technician and salesperson. The handlebar mount worked quickly, easily and secured well, thanks in part to rubber spacer options; the ball-and socket connecter allowed for perfect viewing angle (even if the screw-on collar was a pain to tighten); and  the meaty locking tab — a component common to all the accessories — was easy to activate and very secure. I had absolutely no qualms taking the system out on some rough, technical Arizona singletrack, and apart from a little movement of the ball-and-socket joint from not tightening the collar enough (pain), it performed flawlessly. Quite possibly the best bike mount system in the known universe.

Belt Clip ($30):

A great tool when hiking, backpacking, swashbuckling or navigating through the corridors of your office. Again, the system-wide easy-to-activate locking clip makes an appearance. The case came with a choice between two ratcheting clips of different lengths; the long one seemed ridiculously long. Works well with the LifeProof system, but doesn’t additionally offer anything new.

Armband / Swimband ($50):

I was somewhat non-plussed with the armband/swimband, probably because I didn’t try it as a swimband; I imagine the bulk, weight, and uncomfortable feel might be negated in water. I didn’t like jogging with it.

There are also other fun things you can do with your iPhone once wrapped in the core case, like teach it to float or turn it into an action cam with the help of a an inexpensive GoPro mount. For most people though, the case and one or two of the main accessories reviewed here will probably hit the sweet spot.


The new standard for iPhone armor, and an adamantine chassis for the rest of the system

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 

from Cult of Mac