Appgasm! My Big Happy List of Not Crappy Apps

All revved up for yet another scathingly bitter blog post, I realised I’m so bloody negative. I figured maybe that’s why commenters have called me a “cunt”, or criticised my “knowing superiority” saying “no-one is interested in my pile of shite” (it’s of course entirely possible that they say those things because they’re true)*.

With this in mind, I thought I’d mix it up a bit, drop the grump and share some of the things I encounter daily that aren’t shit (nor NSFW). So here, gorgeous reader, is my entirely affirmative inventory of incredible apps.

Awesomely ace apps

Scrivener (Mac)

With Scrivener, it’s less a question of ‘where have you been all my life?’, and more ‘how did I ever live without you?’ Working on a novel (what twat isn’t?), I was used to fussing over several docs, notebooks, bookmarks and scanned scribblings to keep my thoughts in order. This mess is alleviated by Scrivener’s most obvious feature: the ability to ‘project manage’ your writing via integrated notes, images and character and setting cards. The most useful feature for me, however, has been the ability to structure chapters and sections with synopses, allowing me to delineate my progress (which may not be the most productive approach, but certainly suits my style) without losing track. There are tonnes more professional-level functions I haven’t needed to use, but even at its most basic Scrivener has made the daunting task of producing a novel far less of a ball-ache.

Website | Mac App Store

Coda (Mac)

I’ve been through a few code editors over the years and few have struck the balance between lightness and functionality that has made Coda my current fave. There are few stand-out features, only a simplicity and slickness that makes writing HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP , etc. and editing FTP content pretty effortless. Saying that, I don’t think I’d be able to live without Clips: saved lines of code that can be quickly added to your files using shortcut terms. I do find myself wishing for code clean-up and a way to quickly select between tags, but the latter, at least, can added through the TEA for Coda plugin.

Website | Mac App Store

Google Chrome (Mac)

A similar story to Coda, there is little Chrome offers that other web browsers don’t – even the mighty omnibar (making the search and address bar one) is no longer unique. In fact, Chrome’s bookmarks sync doesn’t seem to work properly between my work Mac and home Macbook and there are still some add-ons that I have to turn to Firefox for. Despite all this, Chrome is still my first choice in browsers because it provides a streamlined, minimalised web experience.


Handbrake (Mac)

The free Handbrake has been my go-to video converter for yeeeeears. And I haven’t found anything that offers more without becoming needlessly complex. It’s perfect for ripping DVDs or converting videos into iTunes- and HTML5-friendly formats (note: it doesn’t do OGG) in the minimum amount of clicks.

Remember: pirating movies is wrong and evil!


ColorSchemer Studio (Mac)

I downloaded ColorSchemer Studio from the Mac App Store on a whim but now use it almost daily. If you want an instant, cohesive colour scheme for your design, ColorSchemer Studio makes it ridiculously easy. Less time fussing about colours means more time to experiment with other aspects of the design. Besides, it’s great simply having an app that saves the colour schemes of my designs for quick reference later.

Website | Mac App Store

Xcode (Mac)

There’s just no better way to create iOS applications. In fact, there’s no other way at all! Ok, so there’s no choice if you want to create apps for Apple devices, but I still find Xcode massively more intutitive, helpful and pleasant than any other IDE I’ve used.

Website | Mac App Store

Flipboard (iPad)

It’s inconceivable to me that any iPad owner would not already have Flipboard, which is, until the day they’re projected onto Kate Beckinsale’s butt, the sexiest way to browse RSS feeds. Flipboard comes preloaded with a selection of sources to browse and the ability to pull in from (and push out to) your Facebook and Twitter feeds, but I barely use these features. I prefer instead to sync it with my Google Reader account and find flicking through Flipboard’s gorgeously simple interface just a pleasant, seamless experience.

Website | App Store

Paper by FiftyThree (iPad)

‘Fucking awesome’, I think is the best way to describe Paper by FiftyThree. Coupled with a capacitive stylus, it’s an incredibly intuitive and addictive way to sketch and (to a lesser extent) take notes. While nowhere near as feature-rich as many of the (also great) drawing apps available for the iPad, its stripped-down nature and tailored palette makes it far more inviting to pick up and create. You’ll want this.

Website | App Store

Instapaper/Pocket (Web, iPad, iPhone, Mac)

There’s a certain amount of sentimental guilt attached to this one. Both Instapaper and Pocket (formerly Read it Later) allow you to save web content for offline reading. In fact, for my uses, there’s very little difference between them. I’ve long been attached to Instapaper, largely due to its gorgeous design. But then, Read it Later reinvented itself to become Pocket and release an equally gorgeous set of apps. Like a shameless hussy, I dumped Instapaper and jumped into bed with Pocket. Out of residual loyalty, I recommend both…

Instapaper: Website | App Store

Pocket: Website | App Store

Tube Deluxe & UK Train Times (iPhone)

I find this killer combo of apps essential. In one click, Tube Deluxe lets me know the status of all London underground tub lines, while my favourite feature for UK Train Times shows me the ‘next train home’ wherever I am. Brill.

Tube Deluxe App Store

UK Train Times App Store

Honourable mentions

iA Writer / Byword (Mac, iPad, iPhone)

I’ve only just started using the Markdown text-to-html conversion, but already I love it. If you blog using tags (H1, LI, EM and so on) I seriously recommend it. There are a fair few Markdown text editors to choose from; I’ve very briefly tried iA Writer and Byword (I’m writing this in Byword on the Mac, my post from earlier was started in iA Writer for Mac and finished in Byword for iPad), and early impressions are mixed. iA Writer for Mac looks incredible and functions brilliantly, but I found the iPad version to be limited. Byword for iPad, on the other hand, is fantastic (with some clever and useful keyboard additions), but I found the Mac version not as good as iA Writer. Unfortunately, with both offering their own kind of iCloud integration, you kind of have to stick to one (note: Byword also syncs with Dropbox).

At the moment, I’m tending towards Byword for its cool ‘copy as HTML’ feature, making blogging a snap.

iA Writer: Website | Mac App Store | App Store

Byword Website | Mac App Store | App Store

Pixelmator 2 (Mac)

I really want to love Pixelmator, and for basic image-editing (like wanky blog pics) it does the job. It’s got a great UI and feels light without lacking too much in features. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced too many crashes when working with PSDs (which the creators claim it’s able to handle), resizing layers takes ages, and I haven’t really pushed its potential in terms of web design, so I can’t really recommend it yet as I’m not sure if it suits my needs. I mention it because it may suit yours…

Website | Mac App Store

That’s it for now. There may be more to add in the future (I’ve just downloaded Photoshop Touch for iPad – I like it!). Until then, I’ll probably be back to my normal miserable self soon. Yay!

*For the record, most of the comments I’ve received have been extraordinarily kind.

Wankathon of the Year: the 10 hottest pics of 2009

Top 10 from Deadlamb's Giblets 2009

Warm your cockles and usher in a new year of what makes the internet great: hotties. For while governments are replaced, climates change and fads come and go, attractive women will always be willing to expose themselves to strangers online.*

From the 2009 archives of Deadlamb’s Giblets, I’ve selected the ten hottest/sexiest/raunchiest pictures of the year and put them below. I know, I’m great. Enjoy…

Continue reading

The Top 5 Rape Scenes in The Bible

The Old Testament has brought us many great things – most of which escape me right now, so I’ll just focus on rape. I thusly present a countdown of the five best rape scenes to feature in the Bible.

5. The Sodomites attempt to sodomise some angels

This is a great story, but I’m forced to rank it only at five as the rape is only threatened and not actually carried out. What’s so great about this scene it’s a duo of angels who are threatened with a good old-fashioned gang-rape. What makes this story even better is the way in which the hero tries to appease the attackers. Let’s just say he shouldn’t be expecting a Father of the Year mug any time soon…

We join our heroes after God has decided to destroy the city of Sodom. A pair of angels have arrived in Sodom to rescue Lot (nephew of Abraham) and his family. As the angels wait in Lot’s house, the men from the city gather outside his home…

(Oh, before reading on try to get your head around some of the language you’ll encounter in these Bible passages. Most notable is the use of ‘know’, though I’m sure you can figure that one out in the extract below. ‘Take for your own/wives’ is also an interesting euphemism I suppose. More interestingly are some of the chilling phrases used, but I’ll try to point these out.)

But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:
and they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,
And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.
(Genesis 19:4-8)

Yep, Lot offered his two virgin daughters to the assemblage of sodomising Sodomites in an attempt to avert the buggery of the angels. I think the plea to “do ye to them as is good in your eyes” is particularly interesting given who he’s talking to. Seriously Lot, do you really need to encourage them? Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on whose side you’re on) this wasn’t enough to satiate the lustful appetite of the horny Sodomites, who were clearly hankerering for some hot angel ass. God came to the rescue however, strking the attackers blind and giving Lot, his family and the angels the chance to escape. For the record, this may be the only documented example of God averting, rather than supporting, rape.

Oh, we’ll be rejoining the dysfunctional family unit that is Lot and his daughters later in this list…

4. Moses pissed at non-raping soldiers

Moses, one of the most famous of the Old Testament prophets, was also a bit of a bastard. Well, if you take into account the extract below, he was a complete bastard. God had instructed Moses and his followers to attack and destroy Midian; which they did, killing all the men, burning all the villages, and capturing all the women and children. This wasn’t quite what Moses had in mind, however…

Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.

“Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the LORD in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the LORD’s people. Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man. (Numbers 31:13-18)

Ahhh, the old carrot and stick approach. That Moses knew how to lead. With one hand he chastised his men and gave them more work, with the other he gave them virgins to rape.

3. “Go and lie in wait in the vineyards”

Murder, pillage and rape seems to be a surprisingly common theme in the Old Testament – you know, the scriptures of the Lord intended to teach us the proper way to behave – but we all know how to do that! What we really need is some guidance for the difficult questions. Like, what if we were not able to capture enough women for our soldiers to have one each to rape, what would we do then? Does the Bible offer any advice? Of course it does…

The soldiers of the Lord invaded Jabesh-Gilead and did the usual thing like we’ve seen with the Midians – killing all the men, boys and women who’ve “known man”, while keeping the virgins for their “wives”. Unfortunately for the Israelites, there were only 400 young virgins in the whole of Jabesh-Gilead (which is still more than what you’ll find in my hometown) meaning some men were without wives. Solution?

Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.
Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards;
And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.
And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, Be favourable unto them for our sakes: because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war: for ye did not give unto them at this time, that ye should be guilty.
And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught: and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them.
(Judges 21:19-23)

Hmmm…the solution seems to be: “There’s an innocent village over there. If you hide out in the vineyard, waiting for the daughters of the villagers to come a-dancing and a-celebrating (at a feast in honour of God, I might add), you can simply take them for your own!”

What I really like about this is the response for when the fathers of the kidnapped daughters complain. It seems to be along the lines of: “Oh come on, give us a break. We promised these guys a virgin each, so just hook us up right? If you don’t, these guys won’t be getting their virgins and it’ll be all your fault. Do you want to explain that to these armed soldiers? No? Thought not…”

2. “Humble ye them”

This is strangely similar to the tale of Lot and the angels I included as number five in this list. For some reason, in this case, God choses not to intervene and the results are far, far nastier. Least of all because of the haunting phrase “humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you”.

A priest and his concubine were travelling in Gibeah where they stopped to spend the night in the house of an hospitable old man. As they were eating, drinking and making their hearts merry, the men of the city surrounded the house, beat at the door and demanded the old man release to them the priest so that they may ‘know’ him (waggle eyebrows knowingly). The hospitable old man doesn’t want anything bad to happen to his guest and so offers a (depressingly familiar) compromise…

Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.
And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly.
Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing.
But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go.
(Judges 19:22-25)

I find the euphemisms used in this passage beyond chilling. The concubine went through that hideous ordeal purely for the sake of saving the priests arse – you’d think he’d be sympathetic and grateful wouldn’t you? Nope. The story gets worse…

Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, till it was light.
And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold.
And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But none answered. Then the man took her up upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place.
And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel.
(Judges 19:26-29)

Fucking hell. This woman was gang-raped to death over a night and then cut up into pieces by the priest. What the fuck is that all about? Why does that story tell us!? Mental. Ok, here’s a lesson you can learn from this: if you see a rape victim lying prostrate on your doorstep, try to say something more sensitive than “Up, and let us be going”.

1. Return of Lot (or: if you thought the last one was fucked-up, you aint seen nothing yet…)

Yes, Biblical rape gets even weirder as we return to Lot and his still-unspoilt daughters (no thanks to him) who are now hiding out together in a mountain. I should probably mention at this point that, shortly after the events in Sodom, God turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt. Just so you know.

And thus it is just Lot and his two daughters hiding out in the mountain with no other man or woman in sight. Now, I know what you’re thinking but this is the Bible – surely, Lot doesn’t rape his own daughters!? Well, actually no he doesn’t…

And Lot went up out of Zo’ar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zo’ar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.
And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth:
come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.
And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.
And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.
And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.
Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.
(Genesis 19:30-36)

And so Lot was raped by his own daughters. Deservedly number one, I think.