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Mac Planet: More NZ app developments for iOS and Mac

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Emily and Rex, founders of Click Suite, have created an app for delicious week-night meal ideas using fresh local ingredients. Photo / Thinkstock
Emily and Rex, founders of Click Suite, have created an app for delicious week-night meal ideas using fresh local ingredients. Photo / Thinkstock

Kanban for 1
Kanban for 1 is a productivity app based on personal Kanban, a way of managing people's personal productivity, reducing the stress of doing too many things at once and generally approaching the day in an organised and effective manner. Since multitasking is usually inefficient, to say the least, personal Kanban is designed to help people tackle one thing at a time, while visually tracking their progress of work, or through tasks, from start to finish.

Sandy Mamoli introduced the Kanban concept at Snapper in Wellington and more and more physical Kanban for 1 boards popped up around the office. "People loved them, raved about how much more focused and productive they were and we realised that they also wanted to bring their task list when traveling or working from home. Therefore, my company Nomad8 teamed up with Starter4Ten for the technical side of things and we released our iOS Kanbanfor1 app last September."

You can find out more on the website.

Fast, Fresh & Tasty
Sounds good, right? Emily and Rex, founders of Click Suite, have created an app for delicious week-night meal ideas using fresh local ingredients. Emily Loughnan says "It's unashamedly for Kiwis and is used by our users [on average] 13 times a month to decide what's for dinner tonight. We also put out free seasonal updates to keep the ideas fresh and relevant to the current season."

The multi award-winning app, internationally at the W3 awards and the Communicator Awards plus a three-times finalist in the TVNZ Marketing Awards, is often in the top food apps in the app store along with Jamie and Nigella.

It features a shopping list function that can sort ingredients by recipe or department, and you can send the shopping list to someone else via text or email.

Sticking it in the cloud with Quicksand
A 15-year-old Kiwi developer's free Mac app, Quicksand, aims to make forgetting an important file, or accidentally deleting it, a thing of the past.

Sebastian Hallum Clarke taught himself simple programming at the age of 10, and has already developed several critically acclaimed free Mac apps, already boasting thousands of users in over 80 countries.

Install his tiny app on your computer, and every time you open or save a file, a copy is automatically synced to your chosen cloud storage solution. Running in the background, Quicksand invisibly ensures that the 50 files you've most recently used stay available online, wherever you go, whenever you need them.

The idea behind Quicksand is powerfully simple: "With traditional cloud storage solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive, only the files you put in a special folder get synced. Add Quicksand into the mix, and you don't ever have to think about what gets synced: if you've used a file recently, you know it'll be there, safe in your cloud, and accessible from any internet connection. If you're running Quicksand, and accidentally delete or mess up a file you've been working on, it's no longer a problem. The file will be there in your cloud, and you can just go back in time and resurrect an earlier version."

To achieve the goal of doing his idea justice, he taught himself new programming skills, then wrote the app during his summer holidays to be very simple to use.

It was only released last weekend on his website www.zibity.com, but Quicksand has already been downloaded by users in 27 countries. Initial feedback includes "What a great idea. Wonderful app by a talented developer", and " First off: absolutely bloody brilliant app. Really great stuff."

Sebastian is a year 12 student at Wellington's Scots College. He's hoping donations from satisfied users of his free apps will help him save for his university education. His other apps include MacDropAny (used an impressive 165,000 times by users) which lets users sync any folder on their computer to the cloud, iClouDrive, an app that lets you use your otherwise unused iCloud storage space for syncing files between your Macs, and Broomstick, an app that tidies up your desktop.

All Sebastian's apps are available free from his website.

eMagazines
I am constantly interested in magazines, the industry I worked in for 20 years, specifically how they're adapting to the electronic and connected world. Inside History, a Sydney-based history and genealogy magazine for New Zealand and Australia, recently stopped shipping print versions of the magazine to New Zealand, concentrating on electronic sales for iPad and other devices.

You'd think it would be relatively easy to convert a magazine file (a PDF is the most common starting point, and all publishing software supports the format) to a good eMag. Indeed, you can do this yourself, to a limited extent: just drag a PDF to the iTunes icon in your Mac's Dock. iTunes converts it into an 'ibook' and makes it available, after your next sync, on your iDevice.

But great eMags have interactivity: little animations, actual voice recordings from interviews and more (Inside History does).

I recently had a look at a company, based in London, that offers to convert your PDF magazine file into a digital format; actually into an app. You get a free test, so I did that, and I suppose you're to be impressed enough with the result you then pay for the service, which has by-fee conversion and vending of your magazine.

All the magazines are listed in iTunes.

In my case, I release a free monthly PDF 'magazine', via email, to a free (but guarded) subscriber list, as I have mentioned before, and I often wonder if I should make this a direct publication for eReader devices.

ExactEditions has free readers for iOS or Android device; the one for Apple is called Exactly, to access the library of available magazines.

Logging into EE's publisher portal at publisher.exacteditions.com lets you browse the range of features available to you, including sales statistics, marketing tools and ABC reports.

For my MagBytes, it would work out at £1.5k per annum and £100 per issue - roughly NZ$2.8k and NZ$186 per issue. Since I give this out free, it's not exactly economic for me, but might suit others, which is why I bring it to your attention. Adam Hodgkin of Exactly Editions is happy to discuss your requirements and taylor the service to suit - he recommended selling mine for 99¢ per issue in the iTunes Store for Newsstand, for example.

With the app loaded, touch Titles and you'll see MagBytes (issue 38) listed alphabetically amongst many others. On an iPhone if you put the orientation in landscape, you get a flip-book of the loaded magazine. Upright you get a readable magazine. On an iPad in landscape, you get a readable magazine with the flip-book below, for fast navigation. But I find it takes any page a while to load; the resolution is correspondingly high, though.

Feedback, suggestions and alternatives greatly welcome in the comments, and I'm always lookout for news of NZ Mac/iOS developers, so please keep it coming.

- NZ Herald

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