Draw stunning images and share them with others using Paper by FiftyThree

Paper by FiftyThree is an app that lets you sketch drawings and diagrams on your iPhone and iPad and share them with others. A free app from iTunes, Paper by FiftyThree installs easily.

There's barely an interface with Paper by FiftyThree. You can touch the screen of your device and draw anything you want, just as if you had a stylus and paper in front of you. There's a selection of tools available, but it pops out of the way when you don't need them. Paper by FiftyThree claims that its engine reacts to touch-screen pressure in … Read more

Build diagrams easily with Nevron Diagram Designer

Nevron Diagram Designer is a sophisticated graphic app optimized for creating diagrams of all kinds. It's a free tool that also demonstrates a premium package, Nevron Diagram. Its download also includes Nevron Pipeline Editor, which lets users create complex pipeline diagrams by dragging and dropping elements from a library, and other apps on the Nevron Application Launcher. We focused on Diagram Designer, which is fully functional but places a watermark on saved diagrams.

Diagram Designer launches via the Nevron Application Launcher, which can be found in a Start menu folder called Nevron Diagram Sample Applications (or an optional desktop … Read more

Poll: Where are your speakers?

Even if it's just an inexpensive iPod or Bluetooth speaker, careful placement can really make a difference in the sound. Specific placement requirements vary with the type of speaker, but it's usually wise to have speakers at least 36 inches off the floor, close to the height of a seated listener's head. If the speakers have to be placed lower or higher, angle them toward the main listening position. Try to place speakers at least a few feet away from corners and large pieces of furniture that reflect sound.

Placing speakers close to boundaries -- walls, corners, … Read more

Chart your course with yEd Graph Editor

Diagrams can often organize information and get your point across in ways that text alone just can't. yEd Graph Editor is an easy-to-use tool that lets you create diagrams, flow charts, and many other visual representations of processes and relationships. It's a fairly sophisticated program and new users might have to spend some time getting acquainted with it, but the payoff -- an endless number of graphic possibilities -- is well worth it.

yEd Graph Editor has an attractive interface, with a tabbed work area that lets you have multiple files open at once. Several aspects of the … Read more

Paper brings your sketches to life (hands-on)

As CNET's Mary Jo Foley reported earlier today, former execs associated with the nixed Courier dual-screen tablet from Microsoft have joined together to make an elegant sketchpad and ideas app.

Paper, by developer FiftyThree, is free and offers only a handful of features initially, but it's just enough to make you want to sample some of the in-app purchases for more tools.

Upon launch you're presented with a welcome screen that outlines the simple set of tools. A tap opens a book, and swiping horizontally lets you turn the 3D pages. The feel of the app is very fluid, and it even accounts for your swipe momentum, so a stronger flick turns several pages until they slow to a stop. Details like these make the simple interface impressive, even without many bells and whistles. From there you simply tap on a page to start editing.… Read more

Diagram it with Diagram Ring

If your first idea is to diagram it (whatever it is), then Farshadoo's Diagram Ring may be for you. This versatile freeware helps you create and edit just about any kind of diagram you can think of: pie charts, flow charts, class diagrams, bar charts, ERDs, DRFs, and many more. Its predefined symbols and unique node-linking methods yield professional-quality diagrams that can be used anywhere a diagram is needed.

Diagram Ring's main interface opened with the program's Startup screen, which let us create a new diagram or open an existing one. A unique, graphic-intensive design gives the … Read more

Quick sketches on the iPad

Adobe Ideas is a free basic sketching program for iOS from the developers behind the hugely popular and standard-setting Adobe Creative Suite.

This simple drawing application lets you sketch, save, and share (via e-mailed PDF) "ideas," drawings that you create with the app's adjustable brush tool on a blank canvas that lets you pan and zoom in and out. The app's hideable touch toolbar gives you a brush, eraser, hand tool (for panning), undo (up to 50 times), and settings to change the size, color, and opacity of the brush. You can also import photos, which … Read more

Bare-bones personal finance

There are a lot of programs (not to mention Web sites) out there these days that make keeping track of your personal finances practically effortless. If software creators are hoping to compete with these extremely effective and well-designed programs, they'd better go big or go home. We wish that the creators of JaHoCa had gone home.

The very first thing we look for in personal finance software is the capability to import transactions that users have downloaded from their banks. JaHoCa does not offer this feature, and we have trouble imagining why anyone would want to manually enter each … Read more

Chart maker

Create diagrams and charts for presentations with Diagram Studio. This program has many of the same capabilities that complicated graphics and engineering programs have, but with an interface that anyone can use. Files created with this application can be saved as JPEGs, PDFs, or HTML documents that you can insert into other programs or share via e-mail or on the Internet.

Diagram Studio is intuitive to use. Anyone familiar with graphics or engineering programs will have no trouble navigating it, but there's a Help file as well as an extensive tutorial for those who need more guidance. The tutorial … Read more

Get back to your roots

Reunion is a popular, long-lived, Mac-only genealogy program that can help you organize, view, and show off your family tree. Of the many genealogy options out there, Reunion tends toward the higher end, but it comes with many extras--and boasts a long, stable track record--to justify its price.

This app comes with much of the functionality you might expect, making it easy to quickly add family members (with predictive text), fill out notes and various data fields, cite source documentation, quickly perform searches, import data from other programs (essentially, from any app that uses GEDCOM files), and even run customized … Read more