Category Archives: Application Review

Comments and recommendations regarding iPhone applications.

Apple WATCH Utility face settings

Jason Snell on his six colors blog features the Utility watch face as one of his favourites. I think I will use this face a lot too. My preferences are to have the alarm in the top left corner, timer in the top right corner, analog time in the middle, and full date along the bottom. On second thought I might have the date in the middle too and my next calendar item on the bottom. Good thing these preferences can easily be changed.

Apple WATCH Utility face settings

Almost what I want but with temperature in Celsius or with other time information like an alarm or timer in the top corners.

iPhone Extension Trick

MacSparky, of MacPower Users fame, has a cool trick for being more productive when calling people who have an extension for their telephone number. Instead of entering the phone number in contacts as 866-6790×1567 use the special character (;) for prompting the extension 866-6790;1567 so when you call you will be prompted to add those 4 digits with one tap. You can also use the comma (,) for those cases where you want to automatically enter numbers after a short delay.

You can set the commas and semicolons in the Contacts app on your Mac, which is obvious. Not so obvious is the fact that you can add commas and semicolons on your iPhone too. To do so, press the symbol button on the dialer and then “pause” for a comma or “wait” for a semicolon.

You can use dashes (-) and spaces in the phone number to make them easier to view because these characters are ignored. To find the extensions in Contacts to convert to the ; character just do a search for the character x if that is what you used previously.

IOS 8 Wishes

Frederico Viticci has written a very thorough IOS 8 wish list on improvements needed in IOS. The new and improved Macstories (v4) is a quality Web site with a bit of a misnomer because it includes IOSstories too and is a valuable resource for authoritative knowledge on Apple and related third party software beyond just the Mac. I really like the approach of IOS 8 wishes proposing solutions instead of writing complaints. A similarly effective approach has been done well by David Smith on how the App store could be improved.

Two topics that I particularly liked from Frederico’s IOS 8 proposals are the need for better photo management and inter application communication. These would have a huge impact in dealing with current difficulties with photo management and also empowering third party developers to enrich the platform by simplifying work flows.

IOS Text Editors

There is an incredibly rich selection of text editors for IOS. Federico Viticci does a review on his 4 IOS text editor favourites and also has done a review on Byword which only recently been introduced on IOS (IA Writer also deserves an honourable mention). I agree for the most part with Federico’s selections and this comes from experience of trying all of them (except WriteUp) plus many more.

My go to favourites include Writing Kit when doing long form research papers, Byword for general purpose writing with markdown formatting that eventually gets exported as HTML documents, and Simplenote for short notes in my personal text database. One of the great things are that these apps work on both iPad and iPhone (universal), sync with documents on my Macs and are less than $5 each to own. You can’t beat that as a deal if you are at all interested in beautiful mobile writing tools.

25 Billion Apps downloaded: All Time Top apps listed

Apple celebrated 25 billion IOS apps downloaded by awarding a $10,000 iTunes credit to Chunli Fu of Qingdao, China who downloaded Where’s My Water? which is number 17 on the all-time top iPad apps.

With the low price of apps and music, $10,000 is a lot of downloads.

Also published is a list of the top 25 paid and free apps for iPhone and the same for iPad.

All time top app listings

Most of the top apps are games which shows how popular the iPhone and iPad are as gaming platforms. Interesting that Touch Hockey is in the top 25 given that hockey isn’t exactly the most popular sport in the US.

# Top Paid iPhone Top Free iPhone Top Paid iPad Top Free iPad
1 Angry Birds Facebook Pages Angry Birds HD Free
2 Fruit Ninja Pandora Radio Angry Birds HD The Weather Channel for iPad
3 Doodle Jump Words With Friends Free Angry Birds Seasons HD Netflix
4 Cut The Rope Skype Penultimate Skype for iPad
5 Angry Birds Seasons The Weather Channel Scrabble for iPad Kindle
6 Words With Friends Google Search Fruit Ninja HD ABC Player
7 Tiny Wings Google Earth GarageBand Pandora Radio
8 Angry Birds Rio Angry Birds Free GoodReader Angry Birds HD Free
9 Pocket God Shazam Angry Birds Rio HD CNN App for iPad
10 Camera+ Netflix Cut The Rope HD Words With Friends HD Free
11 The Moron Test Paper Toss Numbers Google Earth
12 Plants vs. Zombies Twitter Keynote Calculator Pro for iPad Free
13 Skee-Ball Movies by Flixster Words With Friends HD Fruit Ninja HD Lite
14 The Game of Life Bump Star Walk for iPad Calculator for iPad Free
15 Scrabble PAC-MAN Lite MONOPOLY for iPad NYTimes for iPad
16 Monopoly Flashlight. Plants vs. Zombies HD USA TODAY for iPad
17 Fat Booth Unblock Me FREE Where’s My Water? Facebook
18 WhatsApp Temple Run Friendly Plus for Facebook MyPad – for Facebook & Twitter
19 UNO Instagram QuickOffice Pro HD Flipboard
20 Color Splash Touch Hockey Notability eBay for iPad
21 The Sims 3 Angry Birds Lite Splashtop Remote Desktop for iPad Angry Birds Seasons HD Free
22 Flight Control ESPN ScoreCenter Pinball HD Dictionary.com
23 MotionX GPS Drive Fruit Ninja Lite MyPad+ – For Facebook & Twitter Twitter
24 Where’s Waldo Groupon Infinity Blade Solitaire
25 I Am T-Pain 2.0 Angry Birds Rio Free Real Racing 2 Friendly for Facebook

Why I Love Simplenote — Still

As surprising as it might sound when the richness and diversity of IOS apps are considered, one of the killer apps for me on my iPad and iPhone is Simplenote (and nvAlt on the Mac). Text notes that are always in sync between your iPad and computer (even Windows with the free Resophnotes application) are really powerful and should be enough to banish little scraps of paper that are prone to getting lost.

Simplenote Web Page

MacDrifter explains why the simplicity, power, and environment of compatible apps makes Simplenote worthy of Love.

Don’t get me wrong, Dropbox is fantastic for syncing all types of files between your computers and mobile devices and there are many apps that can use its capabilities (including Simplenote) but for simple to setup and use unlimited text syncing Simplenote is hard to beat. You can use both, if you want to get geeky, since one of the beauties of text editors is that they all can process with their own interface and features the common compatible format of text. More on that soon.

MakeTechEasier puts creating the ultimate multi-platform writing environment into historical context and provides step by step instructions for Simplenote. For Linux and web browser aficionados of Firefox (you know who you are), MakeTechEasier’s step 4 provides some tips for your environments.

Scrivener on IOS in 2012

Scrivener is an excellent application on Mac (and recently on Windows) for all sorts of long form writing.

Limited syncing with Simplenote and Index Card on iPad are supported but what many users have been craving is full synchronization with an IOS version of Scrivener. Dreams do come true as an IOS version of Scrivener is being targeted for delivery in 2012. It will be a universal app for iPad and iPhone and it will be very interesting what features are provided on the different sized screens with touch interface.

IOS5 New Features

If you managed to get through the traffic and successfully upgraded to IOS5 you are now wanting to use those fancy new features but it is not obvious how to activate them without a few tips.

Notifications have been organized so you can access them just by dragging down from the top of the screen. Push the handle icon back up to hide them again.

To use the quick camera feature you need to know that you tap the home button twice when the ios device is sleeping to display the camera icon that takes you directly to the camera app. You can then use the volume up button to snap the picture.

iMessage, which is a free Apple to Apple device replacement for SMS text messaging offered by the telcos, has lots of promise to communicate with fellow iOS device users but how do you activate it on an iPad which doesn’t have the regular text messaging app? Instead of launching a messaging app you activate iMessage through your address book which has a messaging button for each contact. You need to select either the phone number or email that the person used to register their apple-id. For iMessage to work the person must have an idevice (iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad ) and have upgraded to IOS5.

iPad transition from Consumption to Productivity to Enterprise IT

Remember when the iPad was characterized as a device for media consumption only?

Well those pessimistic analysts have been proven wrong as a wealth of creative and productive apps have been developed and now it is being even starting to be used for enterprise IT purposes.

It shows that analysts who judge computing technology’s potential on what is first shipped before software developers have had a chance to show their innovation aren’t credible. The impact of third party software should not be underestimated and pronouncements based solely on hardware specs miss the concept of what the true value to users derives from. Ease of use and software design polish really do make a difference.