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Saturday, 22 December 2012

12 Days... The App

This is not a normal App review... it is a reminder to ensure you download the free '12 Days' App from iTunes. You then need to make sure that you check the App or your email to find out what freebies Apple is offering us for the 12 days from Boxing Day.
It's not often you get something for nothing so go ahead and enjoy, without moderation.

Monday, 17 December 2012

mydlink + - App Review

 

This App is to be used in conjunction with D-Link cameras. It enables you to see (and depending on the model) hear what is going on wherever you have placed the camera. Obvious applications are home security and baby monitoring. You can set up your camera(s) to send you either periodic emails of photos, or whenever movement is detected.


Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
You choose which camera to monitor down the left hand side of the screen and then view it on the right hand side. It really is as simple, and basic, as that. You can double tap the screen to zoom to full size, as well as magnifying two, three, or four times. The magnification is of relatively limited use as it merely magnifies the centre of the image; there is no pan function. In addition you can choose whether or not to mute the sound and also take a snapshot at any moment. This picture is saved directly to your photo album. If you are using multiple cameras, there is also a multiple camera view screen showing up to four camera sources at a time. Setting up the email notification is somewhat cumbersome but well worth the effort.

Cost
The App is free and the essential (it is a prerequisite for the App to work) subscription to mydlink is also without cost. It goes without saying that the cameras are not without cost but, they are inexpensive and available here.

Indispensability
If you're using a d-link camera already then, it would be foolish not to have the App. If you are looking for a highly sophisticated security system then, this does not quite cut it but is at least a start.

Dependability
I haven't encountered any problems; long may it continue. The quality of the image is excellent, considering the cost of the cameras.


Security
When opening your mydlink account, make sure (as I'm sure you always do) to use a strong and unique password. If anyone hacks into your account then, not only will they have access to the live streaming from your camera(s) but they could also stop the service.


ACIDS Test Rating:

A good start to home security.

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.

 

You can get mylink + here and support for the App here.

 

Let's get it to Christmas No.1

The aim is simple - to get the song to Christmas No.1 in tribute to the 96 fans who died at Hillsborough and the fight for justice which has never ceased since that fateful day in 1989.

 

 

 

Get it now on iTunes.

Monday, 10 December 2012

FlightTrack - App Review

 

This is a sister App for FlightBoard which we have previously reviewed. With this App you can track the progress of a flight. Not only do you have actual departure and arrival times but the actual current position. It enables you to annotate your flight details and also (but only with certain carriers), see the seating plan for the aircraft, so that you can select the most 'comfortable' seat... regardless of the information the airline might provide.


Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
It's a cinch to add a flight, even with only partial information; you can easily search for the actual exact flight you are looking for. The direct route path is then displayed on a map of the world which can be zoomed however you want. If you have a lot of flights (and some are in the past), it is useful to delete some, as the display could become a bit like an intricate knitting pattern. Any flight entered will display the time it actually left the gate, as well as the actual arrival time.

Cost
This is a low cost App.

Indispensability
If you already have FlightBoard then you need to consider how the modest cost compares to the additional features. It also very much depends on how much scheduled air travel you are involved with.

Dependability
The App works perfectly but obviously the data is subject to the information provided by airports.


Security
No issues.

ACIDS Test Rating:

A neat App for travellers.

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.

 

You can get FlightTrack here and support for the App here.

 

Monday, 3 December 2012

MyStrom - App Review


If you live in a house or apartment where everything can be remotely controlled and timed, this App will not interest you. If you're still reading, you are very much in the majority. myStrom is a true game changer; I've been waiting for something like this for years. The App itself is designed to control three types of switch. The 'Red' switch connects directly to your Internet router and is the control centre for your installation; it should always be 'on', otherwise you lose the ability to remotely control. The ‘White’ switch, of which you can have up to 25, is the foot soldier; these are used to control any electrical appliance that is plugged into the mains and also to monitor electricity usage. The ‘Blue’ adaptor extends your network with an Ethernet socket, as well as acting as a switch.
The solution is marketed as a way of monitoring electrical consumption and switching off any device remotely. Obviously, it will reduce your electricity consumption (hence costs) by switching off unnecessary appliances. Moreover, there are massive savings to be made in addition to the electrical ones. I am using one switch to control an oil-fired boiler and the savings are substantial in reduced heating oil consumption. There are however applications where it will increase (!) consumption, and you will be only too pleased. I am, partially, using the system to control many different light switches which act as a burglar deterrent. Not only is each device individually programmed but it can also be overridden at any time with the App.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The main screen allows you to choose to display your individual switches in either matrix or line view. It cannot be ordered which is a bit of a shame but, there are plenty of positives. In matrix view you can easily switch any appliance on/off, and the background changes from grey (off) to green (on). Additionally, in list view, you are also clearly informed of the state of any timer(s). Any switching you do overrides the timer, until the preprogramed timer takes the switch to the opposite state (in exactly the same way as a mechanical timer).
It’s worth noting that you can only adjust a timer using the web interface.
You can easily also have access to overall usage and individual switch consumption, analysed by day, week, month, or year, and all this either in electrical units (Watt or KWh) or hard cash (you choose your electrical tariff by provider).
If you manually change the state of a switch, this is immediately reflected in the App; neat.

Cost
The App is free... the switches that are controlled are obviously not! In order to have access to your switches via the App you need to open an account with myStrom. There are two levels: the Basic account is absolutely free but limited to turning appliances on and off; the Premium account also allows the use of unlimited timers on each individual switch, as well as detailed consumption monitoring, and the ability to receive e-mail or SMS alerts if there is ‘excessive’0 consumption (you decide what this is per node). You might want to try the Basic one to convince yourself but, I’d be very surprised if you don’t upgrade to Premium; it’s well worth the small cost.

Indispensability
If you try it, you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

Dependability
Once everything is properly set up, it has worked flawlessly. A word of caution though if you are installing many switches. You have the option of either following the manual and pairing every switch individually, running from sender to receiver and back again to your PC (which will almost certainly be at the sender end) for every switch; you could view this as an additional saving and cancel your gym membership. The alternative is to ignore the manual and use an extension lead to pair each additional receiver from the comfort of your desk, and then simply take your time to plug each one into whatever socket you wish to use. If you do encounter a problem, the customer support is extremely responsive.

Security
As far as the App is concerned, I think one can be fairly relaxed… in the sense that all you are doing is checking the information on myStrom’s servers and possibly altering the state of switches.

ACIDS Test Rating:
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Shangri-La... maybe not quite but certainly well on the way there.

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.

You can get myStrom here and support for the App here.