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My Favourite Apps: Freddie Harrison

Newest addition to the iCreate team, Freddie Harrison talks us through his favourite OS X and iOS apps.

Canabalt on the iPhone

Hello! I’m Freddie and I’m the latest addition to the ‘dream team’ here at iCreate. Hopefully you’ll be hearing a lot more from me on here and in the magazine over the coming weeks. I’ve been asked to introduce myself via the website, but to save from this turning into a cheesy lonely hearts ad, I thought I’d bend the rules and tell you a little about my five favourite apps (three for OS X, two for iOS). That way you find out a little bit more about the stuff I love, and you might discover a few apps you’ve never heard of at the same time. Win-win, eh?

Alfred in action.

1. Alfred (Free, Mac App Store, alfredapp.com)
I’m a bit obsessed when it comes to keyboard shortcuts. Anything that means that I don’t have to take my hands away from the keyboard is good by me, especially when it comes to launching apps. Now, there’s plenty of application launchers to choose from with Quicksilver, Sapiens, and Launchbar all competing for a space in your applications folder, and that’s before we’ve even mentioned Apple’s mighty Spotlight. However, none seem to do the job quite as stylishly and in the simplest way possible as Alfred. As well as having a natty little logo (which always go down will for the inner design-lover in me), its clear and chunky interface means you always know exactly what you’re doing. Besides, Alfred doesn’t just stop at application launching, a quick peek on the Alfred Tips Tumblr shows you that there’s more to this program than just app launching (especially if you fork out £12 for the ‘Powerpack’ to extend its functionality).

Some Epic Pinball courtesy of Boxer

2. Boxer (Free, boxerapp.com)
Whilst I’m not the biggest gamer, I’ve got to admit that Boxer has most definitely meant I’ve spent far too many late nights playing games instead of sleeping. Boxer is a DOS emulator and it’s a damn good one at that. As well as being beautifully designed (there’s a theme emerging here, can you tell?) it’s intuitive and user-friendly interface makes it an absolute breeze to install your old DOS games. It’ll even accept DMGs if you happen to be all digital or make use of one of the many websites that offers older games at a cut price. In terms of the emulation itself, it’s pretty good, there’s a few bugs as far as sound is concerned and I would’ve loved to have seen a re-sizeable window for gameplay, but it’s certainly better than most of the other emulators out there. The only thing you have to lose is many, many hours of retro gameplay.

3. TeuxDeux (Free, teuxdeux.com)
Okay, I’m cheating on this one slightly because technically this is a web app. But we can pass it off as wishful thinking that one day a Mac app will be released for it, right? According to their FAQs there’s a Teux Deux iPad app in the pipeline so I reckon it’s only a matter of time. Anyway, Teux Deux (in case you haven’t guessed by the slightly witty, slightly French name) is a to-do app. It’s for the simplicity-loving design-y types and unlike a lot of other to-do apps out there, it doesn’t suffer from the dreaded feature bloat. There’s a list for each day of the week, you type your to-do into the list and click it to cross it off when you’re done, click the cross next to it to delete it, or drag it to another day if you’re feeling lazy. To-do items that aren’t completed on their allocated day will roll over to the next. There’s even a Someday section for those things you might never get round to.

Calvetica Calendar main screen
Helvetica + Calendar = Calvetica

4. Calvetica Calender (£0.59, App Store, calvetica.com)
I know, I know, another App with a clever name. A portmanteau of calendar and Helvetica, sigh. But Calvetica is so much more than just a pretty calendar. The clever folk at Mysterious Trousers (who build Calvetica) have worked their socks off to simplify the way in which you add events to  your calender in just a few taps – great for adding stuff on the go. The best part of it is that it’s fully intergrated with your regular iPhone Calendar which means it’ll sync with things like MobileMe and GCal and (eventually) iCloud.

5. Canabalt (£1.79, App Store, canabalt.com)
Before you start thinking that great apps have to involve extreme organisation and super-productive to-do lists, I should probably point out that there’s definitely some more room for some mindless fun. Enter, Canabalt. In-keeping with the theme of simplicity this game is so easy even the most uninitiated iOS user could handle it. You’re a little eight-bit man making a daring escape across the city skyline. The man runs, you tap, he jumps. Avoid the the gaps and the crumbling buildings and the low-flying aircraft and you’re safe. It gets harder though, so watch out… Intrigued? You can check out and try Canabalt on the website.

Canabalt on the iPhone
Canabalt - keep running, keep jumping and don't look down

So there’s my five favourite apps – it wasn’t easy picking just five, and I’m pretty sure a lot of you will have a totally different list. So be my guest, what are your top five favourite apps (three Mac-Based, two for iOS)? Leave a comment below or Tweet us @iCreateMagazine.

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