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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Blogsy - App Review

There are three ways to use Blogsy:
  • Create great blog posts including pictures and totally customisable text
  • Use html to directly create blog posts
  • Send customised e-mails.... like choose font, colour, and size.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
It's worth noting that Blogsy is only available on the iPad.
There are a large number of 'how to' videos provided with/within the App; 19 to be precise, as well as a very comprehensive how-to guide, and a FAQ section. Before you start using Blogsy in earnest, I would suggest you tackle either the How-To Videos, or How-To Guide. This is not to say that Blogsy isn't intuitive, it's just that there is so much of it that you could well miss out on some great features. Just as an example (and it is one of many), you will find out how to embed Tweets in your blog; I've been doing that for a long time but wish I'd seen an easy explanation like the one provided in Blogsy; that would have saved me hours of work and frustration.
This includes providing a video when there is an update to notify and demonstrate the salient points; very neat.
At its simplest, Blogsy provides you with a blank canvas with tools at the top (bold, italic, underline, alignment, bulleting, font (colour, size and background)), augmented by links down the right hand side to pictures, Facebook, YouTube, and many more, as well as email. This last one (email) is magic as you can finally send emails with everything formatted just how you want, including links that look good and work.
If you are into html then, a simple three finger swipe brings up your work in html, complete with appropriate keyboard.
Blogsy really needs much more than a few hundred words for a proper review. The attention to detail is truly amazing… just as an example, look at the logo (you might need a magnifying glass); truly amazing.
If you are into blogging then I suggest you give Blogsy a try; you won't be disappointed.

Cost
This is a modestly priced App, and very well worth the money. There is also 'à la Apple' advertising on your posts (unless you change the option); they will include "Posted with Blogsy".

Indispensability
It's really a question of how sophisticated your blog posts are. If they include lots of fonts and styles and photographs and pictures then Blogsy is indispensable. It could also be that you are currently limited, and Blogsy will open the world up to you. Additionally, if you need to be able to format emails as you choose, and use an iPad then, Blogsy is the solution.

Dependability
Absolutely no problems reported during testing.

Security
You need to give Blogsy access to your blog(s), so ensure that your iPad is secured by password, as a bare minimum.

ACIDS Test Rating:
Worth it just for e-mails!

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.
                                                         
You can get Blogsy here and support for the App here.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Beesy App - Updated to 1.61


The developers of this 5 Star ACIDS Test rated application (here for full review) have recently issued an update to version 1.61; this update included a number of significant enhancements.

I am a great fan of Dropbox and Beesy now allows you to export your data seamlessly to Dropbox and then keep everything in sync. Part of the beauty of this is that it is not simply a dump of your data but is carefully organised in directories within your Dropbox and, of course, on your PC Dropbox directory.


Most meetings start with reviewing action (or lack of it) from the previous meeting. Beesy has added a nifty little device to allow you to easily add a note from a previous note. This means that incomplete actions do not need to be entered each time. If you are the note taker (and if you are reading this, there’s a fair chance you are), you might like to keep this little timesaver to yourself… so as not to encourage the ‘we’ll look at it next time’ syndrome from your meeting colleagues.


You now have the possibility to send your notes (obviously, fully structured and complete) by another of my personal favourite formats, PDF. This is a modest cost in-App purchase but saves you paper by the (waste)bucketful.
It goes without saying that Beesy, with this latest release, keeps its top rating.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

ViaMichelin Mobile - App Review

Viamichelin.com has been around for quite some time, as a source of travel information, in particular road maps. ViaMichelin Mobile is the iOS App version.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
You can browse maps to your heart's content; the really good part is in establishing routes, and that could hardly be simpler or more comprehensive.
You start by choosing your mode of transport (car, motorbike, bicycle, or foot). The next step is to pick your starting point. If it is where you are then this can be set with one tap otherwise, start entering the destination and the App produces an ever decreasing list of alternatives; choose the one you want. After this, simply do exactly the same to establish the finishing point. Additional 'via' points can be added, as required.
Pressing 'Confirm' at this stage will bring you the required answer of the Michelin recommended route.
You can optionally choose various other parameters, which are all very easily set. These include types of route, such as fast, short, economy, or even scenic (discovery). Furthermore, you can favour motorways (or not), avoid tolls, sea crossings, as well as choosing distance units, currency, and fuel type.
Your chosen route is available (and readily switchable) as a scrollable and pinchable map, as well as step by step text instructions which are augmented by accurate representations of road signposts.

Cost
The App is free and supported by advertising. You could incur data transmission (especially roaming) costs when using the App when not connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Indispensability
If you travel and don't have a fully-fledged navigation system and have a co-driver then, this is extremely useful while on the road. It is also excellent for quickly establishing distances and times between places.

Dependability
The App works without hiccup, just remember it needs to be connected to the Internet to make changes.

Security
There are no obvious security issues with the App but do not use it while driving yourself.

ACIDS Test Rating:
An excellent route planner.

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.
                                                         
You can get ViaMichelin Mobile here and support for the App here.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Animal sounds HD : Moo box (Free) ! - App Review

A good way to keep little children amused and to learn the sounds made by various animals.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
Choose form nearly 80 animals in tiled pictures and you get an enlarged photograph. Touch this representation of the animal and get the animal's noise repeated twice.
The pleasant part is that the noise is only repeated twice (although you can keep touching the image for more).

Cost
The App is free and funded partly by advertising at the foot of the screen, as well as in-App purchases for additional animals.

Indispensability
For appropriately aged children, this is a good distraction, as well as a learning tool.

Dependability
There is no problem, unless you abort an in-App purchase and then you have to cancel a publicity window a couple of times.

Security
The App is entirely downloaded so there are no concerns from that point of view. Be careful with in App purchases (especially as you might be lending your iOS device to a child. See Restrict In-App Purchases.

ACIDS Test Rating:
Great distraction and learning tool.

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.
                                                         
You can get Animal sounds HD here and support for the App here.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Pocket Informant Pro - App Review

Do you remember carrying around your ever more bulging Filofax? If you ever mislaid your trusted Filofax, the panic instantly set in (don't pretend otherwise)... not only did you no longer have a clue where you should be, or what you should be doing but, all your notes and ancillary information were also missing, and what was worse (unless you're a doctor), anyone finding it could read everything you had written.
Well, this is a modern equivalent, and goes further than other PIM (Personal Information Managers). You can sleep at night knowing that not only is your information backed up (try doing that with a Filofax) but it is protected with one or more passwords.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
There are three ways to look at this App:
First way:
If you learn by using and if you've never used a PIM, or even a Calendar (not even the iOS native one?), or a reminder/task system then, you're about to enter Ali Baba's cave. The best way to start is to download the App and enter some information, be it an appointment, to-do, note (even a voice note). Now start playing "I wonder if I could..." and experiment to your heart's content.
Second way:
You've never used a PIM before and like to learn by having things neatly explained (aren't you the sensible one). In this instance, download the App, go to 'Settings' and towards the bottom of the listing you will see 'Download iBook Manual'. Pick this optional and you will now have 100 pages of reading. Enjoy, digest and then come back to the App.
Third way:
Your electronic gadgets (whether iPhone, iPad, PC...) contain everything that allows you to operate on a day to day basis (exactly like your Filofax did) then, you are in for a treat (although you will need to invest a little time first). If you use MS Outlook, I would suggest downloading WebIS Desktop Sync and following the straightforward instructions to port across your data from your PC to your iOS device. Although this is provided 'as is', it works perfectly well. There is also an additional product, Pocket Informant Online that synchronises all your data in the cloud.
Whichever way you have started using the App, you will have a full- featured diary, reminder system and note taker. Everything is so customisable that it is only with use (unless you really are going to trawl through the 100pp of the manual) that you appreciate the App .Think of Pocket Informant as Outlook with pictorial categories; if that whets your appetite, dive in.

Cost
There are a number of different variations of Pocket Informant; the version tested here is the 'Pro' version, which is a modest cost App (less than one year's diary sheets for a Filofax).

Indispensability
If you start using Pocket Informant, it will rapidly become part of your dock (the Apps at the bottom of your home screen).

Dependability
Everything works as expected... if one really wants to nit-pick then the synchronising with Outlook can take a little while but, so what.

Security
If you do not use Pocket Informant Online then, all your data is on your devices, and nowhere else. As usual, you should protect your valuable data using passwords and the App allows you to assign a four character lock code.

ACIDS Test Rating:
Stay organised, everywhere.

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.
                                                         
You can get Pocket Informant Pro here and support for the App here.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

LowRx - Discount Prescription Card V2 - App Review

In deference to you, as well as the hardworking developer, this is a review of the just-released version 2 of LowRx. This is sufficiently different to the original to warrant another visit; don't worry; you are not suffering from déjà vu when you read this.
Here's an App that not only uses Passbook but saves you money. This is the little brother of MedMory that was reviewed a little while back, so also enables you to save on prescriptions but without the reminders.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The App is extremely straightforward.
At first use, you are invited to allow LowRx to use your current location. It is a good idea to allow this (although you can always go to 'Settings' later to review your choice), as (especially of you are not at home), the information will help find local pharmacies. You are now prompted to enter your name and 10 digit telephone number
Following on from this you have a choice of three options:

1. Add to Passbook with location
This is the recommended option as not only are your details entered onto Passbook but, additionally, you will receive an alert when you are getting near to a pharmacy.

2. Add to Passbook no location
This is identical to the first option but you will not receive any alerts.

3. Add to Home Screen only
This merely provided a shortcut to your Rx Card via the App, so no use of Passbook, and no alerts.

From within the App you have access, at any time, to pharmacies either in your immediate vicinity, or you can search for other dispensaries at specific addresses. This information is viewable either on a map or as a list, complete with links to a detailed, step by step, route, and even the ability to directly dial the number by pressing the telephone icon (very neat).
In addition there is a prescription estimator enter the name of your prescription drug and the quantity; you are then presented with a target price for the selected drug, together with generic versions (if available), as well as alternatives within the therapeutic class. This has the additional use of your being able to discuss with your prescriber if a less expensive alternative could be substituted. It is important to pick a drug that appears on the list as you enter the name. You can save further money by taking advantage of coupons, as and where these are available.
You might also get lucky and win the $200 sweepstakes which looks like it is going to get started next month. The detailed rules are in the App.
All you need do is present the 'Event Ticket' from passbook, or from within the App to the pharmacist to benefit from low-priced medication.

Cost
The App is not only free but also devoid of advertising.

Indispensability
If you are in the USA, it would seem churlish to refuse low-priced prescriptions. If you are outside the USA, the pharmacy locator works (although you will need a USA iTunes account to download the App).

Dependability
The App is straightforward; just remember that 'available' medications are listed as you type your choice, and pick them, rather than typing more.

Security
The only interaction is if you allow location services, as well as potentially accessing Passbook.

ACIDS Test Rating:
Help push down your Rx prices.

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.
                                                         
You can get LowRx - Discount Prescription Card V2 here and support for the App here.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

LowRx - Discount Prescription Card - App Review

Here's an App that not only uses Passbook but saves you money. This is the little brother of MedMory that was reviewed a little while back, so also enables you to save on prescriptions but without the reminders.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The App is extremely straightforward. The home screen is split into four:
Information, which basically describes the three other options.
Membership Card, where you merely enter your name and telephone number, in order to create your account.
Pharmacy locator (fairly self-explanatory)... the easiest way to use this is to turn location services on for LowRx and let the App find all pharmacies near your current location.
Drug Estimator: enter the name of your prescription drug and the quantity; you are then presented with a target price for the selected drug, together with generic versions (if available), as well as alternatives within the therapeutic class. This has the additional use of your being able to discuss with your prescriber if a less expensive alternative could be substituted.
All you need do is present the 'Event Ticket' from passbook to the pharmacist to benefit from low-priced medication.

Cost
The App is Free.

Indispensability
If you are in the USA, it would seem churlish to refuse low-priced prescriptions. If you are outside the USA, the pharmacy locator works (although you will need a USA iTunes account to download the App).

Dependability
The App is straightforward and stable.

Security
The only interaction is if you allow location services.

ACIDS Test Rating:
Help push down Rx prices.

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.
                                                         
You can get LowRx here and support for the App here.

Friday, 19 April 2013

iTunes Surprises

Have you ever taken your eyes off your iPad/iPhone, having lent it to a child? The temporary peace and quiet is then found to have been at a price because the little darling/big monster has chosen to avail themselves of in App purchases. 

Here’s a simple way to make sure it doesn’t happen again:

Go to Settings and then choose General and Restrictions. Now enable restrictions; you will be required to enter and repeat a four digit passcode (probably a good idea to use a different passcode to that used on your device).  Towards the bottom of the screen you will see ‘In-App Purchases’ set this to ‘OFF’. This will have the desired effect at this level, although you could additionally set ‘Require Password’ to ‘Immediately’.

This should ensure fewer surprises in your iTunes account

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Montreux Jazz Festival - App Review

It seems appropriate that this review is posted on the day that the programme for the 2013 Montreux Jazz Festival is released (scheduled for 12:30 CET); the first one that will take place without its founder, the late and much missed Claude Nobs. The version under review is 4.6.3, which was updated yesterday.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
This is an iPhone App and works on an iPad in 1X or 2X mode.
There are a number of buttons which allow you to choose:
Videos: a selection of videos from recent festivals.
Gallery: 54 photographs from past concerts that can be enlarged to full screen.
Fan Wall: choose between recent messages and those posted near you (if you have allowed notifications).
Shop: fairly obvious really.
Links: equally obvious.
Locations: A map showing you the various potential locations of performances.
Favorites (sic): any previous page you have chosen to make a favourite.
To call this an App is a misnomer. It is no more than a series of links and most are not even optimised for iOS.

Cost
It's free, any more and I'd be asking for my money back. If you aren't using the 'App' through wi-fi, beware of data usage costs.

Indispensability
Totally, dispensable, that is. You'd be better off having a folder called ' Montreux Jazz Festival ' in your browser and bookmark anything on the main site that interests you.

Dependability
Not much to go wrong really.

Security
If you enable location services, you might just meet someone you did/did not want to see.

ACIDS Test Rating:
Not a patch on the festival.

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.
                                                         
You can get Montreux Jazz Festival here and support for the App here.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Refuel Memo - App Review

Are you in the habit of keeping (accurate) records of car fuel usage? I've been doing it for years with an Excel spreadsheet; Refuel Memo is a far easier and more elegant way to achieve a similar result.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
You start off by entering your vehicle's current mileage, together with the amount spent, the volume of fuel purchased gallons/litres, as well as whether you fully filled the tank. The date is entered by the traditional iOS wheel.
At its simplest, this is all the information that needs to be entered but, you can also log the type of tyre, driving style, type of road and even to mention that you forgot to enter the last lot of information. You can optionally also make copious notes that are kept with individual top ups; your imagination is the limit here but, brand and octane seem two fairly obvious contenders for a mention.
You've now done your part and the App will now deliver a whole host of information such as average consumption or cost to date, or on individual tankfuls. You are also presented with graphs for monthly and annual usage, again by quantity or value.
The online help section is, usefully, very comprehensive.
Just one small word of caution for people used to imperial measurements; consumption is measured in gallons per 100 miles and not miles per gallon. This means that a low figure is better for your pocket!

Cost
This is a low-cost App.

Indispensability
Keeping accurate mileage and fuel records is part of driving, and might even forward you of problems ahead.

Dependability
This is one of those Apps that simply works.

Security
The data is not shared so there is no data risk. Just to remember to enter the amount of fuel purchased when you are stationary!

ACIDS Test Rating:
A must for petrol heads.

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.
                                                         
You can get Refuel Memo here and support for the App here.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Braingle HD - Brain Teasers & Riddles - App Review

Sometimes, when things get to be a bit too much for you, there is a need to get away from it all. You can go for a walk, practice a sport or, occupy your mind with something else. Braingle is the ideal solution to make you concentrate on 'something else'

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
You can choose from a list of topics (cryptography, group, language, letter equations, logic, math, mystery, optical illusions, probability, rebus, riddles, science, series, situation, trick, trivia, or even other), or take pot lock on any general subject matter.
You are then presented with a list of titles, which have been rated for difficulty and popularity. Pick whichever one takes your fancy and you are then faced with your brain teasing question.
The presentation of the puzzle itself is very plain vanilla. This should be seen as a positive thing as there is nothing to distract you from getting your brain into gear and attempting to find a solution. Some individual items even have a "hint" which you can display if you are stumped or lazy.

Cost
The App is free with no advertising.

Indispensability
If you need to get your grey cells active, this really is an excellent way to do it.

Dependability
There were absolutely no problems with the App.

Security
There is no interchange of data between your iOS device and the developer, so there are no security issues.

ACIDS Test Rating:
A great distraction

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.
                                                         
You can get Braingle here and support for the App here.

Friday, 12 April 2013

MedMory - Pill Reminder & Medication Reminder - App Review

If you are in the unfortunate position of having to take medication, especially more than one variety and more than once a day, this could just be the App that you have been looking for. This could also be useful for people having to look after a number of patients.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
You can choose from a list of topics (cryptography, group, language, letter equations, logic, math, This App has not simply been thrown together; a lot of detailed user customisation has been catered for, and the graphics are exceptional. The clock interface is so good that I'm thinking of going back to my doctor for an extra prescription (just kidding).
The App starts by suggesting that you take the 'App Walk Through'. Although I am not a fan of RTM (Read The Manual), in this instance, it is a small investment of your time that you probably won't regret.
If you are like most of us and just want to get stuck in then, start by adding a pill. This is easily achieved by going to Pills and pressing '+', then entering the medication details, such as name, dosage amount, type (pill, liquid, injection), together with the user name (if you are not just looking after yourself) and the instructions (such as let dissolve in mouth, take only after food...).
After this you can enter the prescription and packaging amounts: repeat prescription number (optional), pharmacy contact number, the total doses of this medication in a full prescription, and the doses remaining at the moment.
Next up are the timing details such as at what time the medication should be taken (this is set with the superb clock interface), and then the frequency which can be set to pretty well any interval you can imagine. All that you need do now is set the chosen alert tone (including 'Feeling Good'), whether you want audio and/or visual reminders, when you want the reminder to repeat if you have forgotten to take the medication and (very important), the level at which you want to be reminded that you are running low and need to reorder.
That's all there is to it, at least to get going. You will now be reminded whenever medication is due.
It's after this that MedMory really differentiates itself from a simple alarm. Acknowledge the alarm and choose taken, skip dose (in which case the number of doses left will not reduce), or details (which will give you all the information about the specific medication). You can also assign individual pictures to medications and email full histories of usage.


Cost
Unbelievably, for as well-engineered an App as this, there is no charge. There is the option to create an RxCard and potentially save on your prescriptions, but this only works in the USA.

Indispensability
If your medications are indispensable then, remembering to take them must be just as important. If you already have a foolproof system... congratulations. For everyone else, there's now MedMory.

Dependability
MedMory works well although there are a couple of quirks that are possibly worth noting. One is that he alarm only sounds if you are not in the App (even if you have sounds 'on' in settings), so remember to press the centre button to exit after each intervention. The other is that you no longer receive a reminder if you have 'theoretically' run out of the particular medication; it is of course possible that you have omitted to acknowledge that you have replenished your stock, or indeed that you have access to a buffer.

Security
In addition to not sharing data, there is the possibility of protecting your data with a 4 digit pass code. Be careful not to lose this as there is no way of retrieving it.

ACIDS Test Rating:
If you take tabs, get the App... and if you're in the US, you might even save money.

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.
                                                         
You can get MedMory here and support for the App here.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

easyJet mobile - App Review

Easyjet was one of the pioneers of low-cost air travel in Europe, as well as Internet bookings. Things have changed over the years and booking flights over the Internet has become the norm. This App is easyjet's iOS access to their booking system.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The home screen very neatly consists of only four main options: book flight, my flights, flight status, and log in/out. This is supplemented by a very neat clock that starts at noon/midnight, and moves forward to the current time; it's perhaps not the most useful appendage (after all, you do have the time at the top of your screen) but, it is very pleasing.
The 'Book Flight' option allows you to very simply do exactly what it says. Choose your departure and arrival points, together with whether this is a one way or return ticket. Then pick your date(s) and number of passengers (adult, child, or infant), and finally whether you intend paying by credit or debit card. Now press 'Search' and you will see the flights available for your outward journey. You can scroll left for earlier flights and right for later flights; this is very intuitive. Once you have found the flight that suits you, simply choose standard or flexi. This then takes you to the 'Almost Done' screen, where you can add luggage and sports equipment. You are now taken to a screen where you enter passenger details, and the following screen allows you to choose your seat, for which the is a small additional charge, even if you do not have a premium seat. You now enter your contact details (which automatically default to your account details), followed by payment.
The separate settings option allows you to set your preferred language (choice of 7, and currency).
The main colour is Easy corporate orange, as one could reasonably expect.

Cost
Not surprisingly, the App is free but, equally obviously, it only gives you access to easyjet's flights and ancillary services.

Indispensability
You can only choose your seat from the App at the time of booking. This means, especially if you are an Easyjet Plus customer, that you need to use the Easyjet website to reserve your seat, if you do not do it at the time of booking.

Dependability
The App is stable, so there are no issues.

Security
You need to manually log out of the App so, although this is very convenient, it does leave you open to the risk of someone picking up your device and messing about with your bookings.

ACIDS Test Rating:
Simpler to use than the website

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.
                                                         
You can get Braingle here and support for the App here.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Scroll 'n Roll - Text Marquee - App Review

You know those displays that scroll at the bottom of your television screen during news programmes, or on public transport, or in shop windows... well here you can use your iOS device to generate a similar effect.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The interface is very straight forward.
Enter the following information, in any order that suits you:

1. The text that you want to scroll
2. Choose a font from the 10 available
3. Choose the speed at which you want the scrolling to operate, from a leisurely right to left display to demonic speed.
4. Choose the text colour from the 7 options
5. Choose the background colour from the 7 options (obviously these latter two options cannot be the same, and the App even takes care to remind you of the fact)
6. Press Scroll

It really is as simple as that. You can also post to Facebook or Tweet your message directly from the App with a simple copy and paste.

Cost
The App is free. The only advertising is that the default Tweet or Facebook post is promotion for the App... but as stated earlier, you can also publish your own post, and for a free App, there are no complaints.

Indispensability
If you want to brighten up your shop display and have a spare iPad why not use it? You might also have a message scrolling across to keep you focused/motivated... although you won’t be using your iOS device at the same time.

Dependability
The App is simple and works every time, just like all Apps should.

Security
The App is self-contained so there are no issues. Just be careful if you enter a message while messing around that you do not then post it accidentally on a social network. The default promotional message could well save YOUR blushes here.

ACIDS Test Rating:
At this price (free) you should try it.

To find out how the ACIDS Test works, click here.
                                                         
You can get Scroll 'n Roll here and support for the App here.