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Posts Tagged ‘App’

Why PopSci mag on the iPad sucks

April 8th, 2010 No comments

Am I the only one who is profoundly dissatisfied with PopSci on the iPad? I ** love ** PopSci magazine and was so looking forward to the iPad version.

For me it utterly fails in UI design. It is totally unintuitive, has few visual cues and behaves inconsistently. Do I swipe up, down, left or right? Is the missing text below or to the right of what I’m reading? Where did the two finger drag come from?

USA Today and Marvel comics have shown what happens when great UI design is applied to a familiar subject. Why can’t I browse PopSci on iPad like I can with the magazine? Popups? Drill downs? Embedded videos? In app browsing?

Sorry PopSci. Don’t even get me started on the pricing, but without a back to basics rethink of the entire concept behind the iPad version I’ll be sticking with good old fashioned paper version.

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Added to my iPhone: IMDb

January 12th, 2010 No comments

Get the app here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/imdb/id342792525?mt=8

IMDb
iTunes Description: The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is the largest collection of movie, TV and celebrity information anywhere. We aim to list every detail about every movie and TV show ever made, including who was in it, who made it, the plot, user ratings, trailers, photos, reviews, and trivia.

IMDb for iPhone and iPod Touch includes:

  • Over 1.5 million movie and TV titles
  • Over 3.2 million celebrities
  • US Movie showtimes
  • Trailers
  • Photos
  • US TV listings
  • Top ranked movies (MOVIEmeter)
  • Top ranked celebrities (STARmeter)
  • Celebrity birthdays
  • US Box Office results
  • Movies coming soon
  • Top 250 rated films of all time
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Best iPhone Apps – Year End 2009

December 29th, 2009 1 comment

My iPhone is a jailbroken 3GS. Over the last year or so I’ve made some modifications to the look and feel, discovered a few tweaks and shortcuts that make it more usable, and installed (and in some cases deleted) a whole bunch of apps. Below is a snapshot of how my iPhone looks at the end of 2009. Hope you find it useful.

Look and Feel

I use Winterboard to modify the screen with a number of visual key changes (all installed via Cydia):

  • Illumine theme (not active when the screen shots below were taken)
  • Blue Apple Signal Bars
  • Helix Battery
  • RSS WiFi Orange
  • No Docked Icon Labels

And also the following mods:

  • Lock Calendar
  • Five Column Springboard
  • Five Icon Dock

System Tweaks

There are also several system changes that are installed, also via Cydia

  • dRus Strong Bad Email announcement sound
  • Snappy – fast access to camera by holding status bar
  • qTweeter – fast access to tweet by swiping down the screen
  • SBSettings – fast access to toggles by swiping across the status bar
  • Push Notifications SBSettings Toggle
  • Push SBSettings Toggle
  • Rotation Inhibitor SBSettings Toggle
  • Action Menu (with Plus Pack)
  • 3G Unrestrictor – allows various applications to work on 3G (and not just WiFi)

The Apps

Below you’ll find all the apps installed on my phone.  I’ve tagged the apps into four categories:

  1. Use them all the time
  2. Use them occasionally
  3. Installed just in case
  4. Installed but didn’t like/didn’t use and should be deleted

I’ll use this numbering scheme for all the apps below.  Also note that I’m in the middle of reordering a few screens, so a few apps appear in strange places.

First Page apps:

  • 1. Mail (built in)
  • 1. Things – to do lists
  • 1. Consistency – from Sciral – recurring to do lists
  • 1. TWC – The Weather Channel, with the Weathericon mod
  • 1. Calendar (built in)
  • 1. Safari (built in)
  • 1. Facebook
  • 1. Contacts (built in)
  • 1. Camera (built in)
  • 1. Photos (built in)
  • 1. Maps (built in)
  • 1. Messages (built in)
  • 1. Clock (built in)
  • 1. Calculator (built in)
  • 1. SplashID – password keeper
  • 1. TideGraph – tides at any location
  • 1. MyBlog – Safari shortcut to this blog (www.nickjhowe.com)
  • 1. WordPress – to administer this blog
  • 1. Wikipanion – Wikipedia look up
  • 2. iPass – prepaid access to WiFi hotspots

And in the dock:

  • 1. Phone (built in)
  • 1. Reportage – Twitter app by Wherecloud
  • 1. Settings (built in)
  • 1. iPod (built in)
  • 1. AppManager (built in)

Second Page apps:

  • 2. PicSafe – store pictures securely
  • 2. Sonos – controller for my Sonos whole house music system
  • 2. Remote (built in)
  • 2. TimeScroller – Suggests times for multi-timezone conference calls
  • 2. Skype
  • 1. AP Mobile – news from Associated Press
  • 1. NPR News – news from NPR
  • 1. USA Today – news from USA Today
  • 2. BBC Mobile – news from the BBC. Not an official BBC app – still waiting for that.
  • 4. WikiHow – app to show info from the WikiHow website
  • 2. Chase – Chase banking app
  • 2. Wells Fargo – Wells Fargo banking app
  • 2. BofA – Bank of America banking app
  • 4. Drync Wine – wine cellar app
  • 2. Tetris
  • 1. TripIt – shows travel information stored at the TripIt web site – great for frequent travellers
  • 1. FlightCaster – tries to predict whether flights will be on time (US flights only)
  • 1. FlightTracker – detailed flight info.  Can use TripIt data
  • 3. HotelsNearMe – lookup hotel availability and prices near where you are

Third Page apps:

  • 2. AutoStitch – create panoramas
  • 4. iSnapShot – create email postcards with four photos
  • 1. Camera Zoom – zoom the iPhone camera
  • 2. Photogene – Image editing
  • 2. GazoPa – search for images on the internet that look like another image
  • 2. ColorSplash – selectively add or erase color from images
  • 2. NightCamera – use the iPhone accelerometer to capture still images in low light
  • 2. SmugShot – upload images to SmugMug
  • 2. ImagePro – search the internet for images
  • 2. Cooliris – search the internet for images and display on a 3D ‘wall’
  • 2. Dictionary – internet dictionary
  • 2. SoundHound – get the name/artist of a song by ‘listening’ to the song (was Midomi)
  • 4. Bump – exchange contact details by ‘bumping’ iPhones
  • 2. BJ Run Lite – Blackjack game
  • 3. InchCalc – add/divide fractional numbers (useful for carpentry or picture hanging)
  • 2. iTunes (built in)
  • 1. Mint – online money management – (like Microsoft Money)
  • 4. QuickMark – barcode decoder
  • 3. iHandy Level – 2D spirit level

Fourth Page apps:

  • 2. TweetDeck – Twitter app; works just like the desktop version
  • 2. BrightKite – location aware social media app
  • 1. AppMiner – Lists new and on sale AppStore apps
  • 2. USA East – marine navigation
  • 2. LinkedIn
  • 2. Zillow – find home prices/homes for sale
  • 2. AppBox Lite – useful tools (currency converter, etc)
  • 3. Weather (built in)
  • 3. To Do (built in)
  • 2. iDaily – quote of the day
  • 4. HomeFinder – find homes for sale
  • 3. Google
  • 3. Tweetie – Twitter app
  • 1. Timing ’09 – Formula One official app (09 season) live qualifying/race timings
  • 3. What’s On? – TV guide
  • 4. Alarm+Clock – alarm clock!
  • 2. Meet – Webex app
  • 3. TV Listings – TV guide

Fifth Page apps:

  • 2. eBay
  • 3. Stations – UK rail network info
  • 2. Now Playing – Movie listings.  Includes Rotten Tomatoes ratings
  • 2. Boxee – remote for Boxee app
  • 4. Air Sharing – use iPhone as a wireless disk
  • 3. Cricket SC – Cricket scores from Sky TV
  • 3. MotionX GPS – full GPS with tracks, routes, etc.
  • 3. Audio Boo – record/post quick audio ‘tweets’
  • 3. Voice Memos (built in)
  • 2. POTUS – List/details of Presidents of the United States
  • 2. Amazon
  • 2. DocScanner – Save pictures of documents with keystone correction
  • 3. FlashBang – how far away is the lightning?
  • 2. FlashCards – learn info about the 50 states
  • 3. PublicRadio – listen to free radio stations
  • 4. Layar – augmented reality browser
  • 3. i.TV – TV guide
  • 4. TV Forecast – TV guide
  • 3. YouTube (built in)
  • 3. Last.fm – listen to Last.fm radio

Sixth Page apps:

  • 4. Jamd – celebrity news/pictures (interesting multi-touch interface)
  • 2. Pandora – listen to Pandora radio
  • 4. Public Radio – old version of Public radio app
  • 3. Rocket Taxi – find local taxi numbers
  • 3. Big Oven – 100,000 recipies
  • 4. Trapster – show live speed trap/police trap info
  • 3. Check Please – calculate check/bill splits and tips
  • 2. Koi Pond – excellent demo of iPhone grapics
  • 2. Dial Zero – 800 numbers of hundreds of companies, and how to bypass voice prompts
  • 3. iBird Pro – Bird database of US
  • 3. CitySearch – find local restaurants, shops, etc.
  • 2. Google Earth
  • 3. Flashlight
  • 3. G-Park – use GPS to record where you parked your car
  • 2. HJ – Human Japanese – learn to read, speak and write Japanese
  • 3. Drinks Free – thousands of cocktail recipies
  • 4. E*Trade – E*Trade app

Seventh Page apps:

  • 1. Open Table – find restaurant table availability and book
  • 4. IsaDial – Dials using calling card info.  Still broken on iPhone with Sprint
  • 2. iPhunny – jokes
  • 4. Police Scanner – listen to police radio
  • 4. Pocket Whiteboard – scribble on a mini whiteboard
  • 4. Restaurants – keep track of fast food eating
  • 3. Tracker Lite – track packages on UPS, FedEx, USPS
  • 2. Scramble – word game
  • 2. myWireless – view AT&T billing/usage info
  • 3. Spanish Anywhere – offline Spanish/English translator
  • 2. Starwalk – visual star map
  • 4. Stocks (built in)
  • 4. Roambi – Business Intelligence/Dashboard viewer

Eighth Page apps:

  • 4. Land Line – sends tones through the speaker to dial a land line hands free
  • 2. Twitterific – Twitter app
  • 3. Seafood Watch – helps avoid endangered sea food in restaurants
  • 3. iTrans Tube – London Tube maps/timing
  • 3. Compass (built in)
  • 2. Craigs Pro – Craigslist app
  • 3. Factbook 09 – CIA world country factbook
  • 2. Moonlight Lite – Mah Jong game
  • 3. uStream Viewer – viewer for uStream
  • 3. EPCOT Wait Watch – how long are the queues for the rides at EPCOT?
  • 3. Weatherbug – weather app
  • 2. Red Laser – Scan bar codes and find competitive prices on the internet

Nineth Page apps:

  • 1. Urban Spoon – Restaurant suggestions
  • 3. White Pages – residential phone number look up
  • 3. Yellow Pages – business phone number look up
  • 2. Drivers Ed – driving test questions for all US states
  • 2. Flixster – look up movie locations/times/reviews
  • 2. ISSLite – when can the International Space Station be seen at your location?
  • 4. JamBase – find local live music performances
  • 2. Labyrinth LE – game – excellent example of accelerometer
  • 2. Notes (Built in)
  • 3. Repair Pal – find local car repair locations and costs of repairs/service
  • 3. Speedtest – connection speed test
  • 3. Wifi Trak – find WiFi hot spots
  • 2. WildWest – pinball game
  • 3. iBart – routes/times for BART in San Francisco

Tenth Page apps:

  • 2. Word Warp – word game
  • 2. Crog-Mag Racer – racing game
  • 4. Tris – tetris game
  • 2. Toobz-Free – flowing water game
  • 2. Movem free – pattern matching game
  • 2. Hangman – word game
  • 2. Brick Free – blocks game
  • 2. iFighter Lite – arcade WW II fighter game
  • 2. Cross Light – crossword puzzles
  • 4. Place Tagger – GPS/timer app.  Can be used to help geotag photos
  • 4. Searchme – search using multiple search engines
  • 4. SpeedTest – connection speed test
  • 2. Sol Free – solitaire game
  • 2. Wall Street Journal – online news paper
  • 2. Yammer – like Twitter, but secure

Eleventh Page apps:

  • 2.Yelp – find local restaurants/shops, plus social media component
  • 2. Stanza – offline book reader/book database
  • 2. Sudoku – Sudoku game
  • 3. Translator – online multi-language translator
  • 2. Yowza!! – get online coupons for local stores
  • 2. Constitution – US Constitution, with notes
  • 2. qTweeter – settings for qTweeter twitter app
  • 1. Insomnia – keep wireless connection live when iPhone locks
  • 1. 3G Unrestrictor – allows any app to work on 3G, bypassing WiFi-only restrictions
  • 4. Icy – app installer – website just announced this is dead
  • 1. Winterboard – modify look and feel of iPhone
  • 1. Cydia – install non-AppStore applications
  • 4. Finder – iPhone version of Mac finder (crashes constantly)
  • 2. Terminal – terminal access to iPhone (or other computers)
  • 2. AppLinks – creates shortcuts to all installed apps in /var/mobile/AppLinks
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Xobni Rules!

August 20th, 2009 No comments

211 Sutter St, San FranciscoYesterday I managed to grab a couple of hours and headed up to San Francisco to meet the team at Xobni.  Xobni (Inbox spelt backwards) is an add in for Microsoft Outlook and (according to the company web site) is  “revolutionizing the way people manage email relationships.”  Having used the software for nearly a year I have to agree.

I’ve been a user of Xobni since September of 2008 (version 1.4.3) when the software was – how shall we put it? – less than fully functional.  The current version (1.8) is stable and feature rich, and has transformed my Outlook use.

XobniPaneAt this point I have a confession to make.  I’m a bit of a pack rat when it comes to Outlook.  My general motto is “why delete it when you can file it?”  This behaviour has led to a slight bloating of my PST files.  When I say ‘slight’ I mean that I now have 11 PST files totalling 11.8GB containing 3,400 folders and 92,000 messages.  You might think that finding messages had become somewhat of a problem; you’d be right.

Xobni installs into Outlook (2003 or 2007) and adds a new pane to the Outlook window.  It indexes (in the background or at your command) all your messages and presents them instantly based on suggestions it makes or on searches you enter.  It also connects to LinkedIn and Facebook to pull pictures and contact details for people you exchange emails with.

Tyler Newman

Tyler Newman

Over the last year I’ve moved from slight interest, to avid user, to beta tester to alpha tester.  During that time I’ve seen the product mature rapidly, and an email relationship has blossomed with Tyler Newman.  Tyler looks after QA at Xobni and is the mainstay behind the support forum.  Because my usage profile is somewhat towards the outer end of the bell curve I’ve managed to push the software into areas that most people don’t and so have uncovered a few rogue bugs along the way.  Tyler’s done a great job solving the problems and working back through the development team.

I won’t go through all the features and functions of Xobni in this post, but suffice to say I have instant access to all 92,000 emails.  It is now trivially easy to find any message, conversation or file – literally in seconds.  Many of us spend much, if not most, of our working days in Outlook.  Xobni has had a huge positive impact on my productivity, eliminating hours and hours of time spent searching for those long, lost emails.

Thanks to all the folks I met at Xobni for making me welcome. Keep up the great work. Xobni Rules!!

Xobni Team

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Favourite iPhone App #12: TimeScroller

August 12th, 2009 No comments

TimeScrolleris a niche app for those of us that attend conference calls across multiple timezones. It would also be useful if you need to call you granny in Australia or your friend in India and don’t want to wake them in the middle of the night.

Select as many cities as you wish and TimeScroller shows you whether it is a good time to call based on a red, yellow, green scale. You can select any local time and TimeScroller will show you the time in all the other locations.

Finally, TimeScroller can create an email with the times and locations listed. $1.99.

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