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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

GoToMeeting - App Review



This App is the iOS version of the Citrix' excellent meeting system.

People can have meetings where and when they want, regardless of geographical location.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The home page has three options:

My Meetings
Here you have the option to either meet now or schedule a meeting. The latter will bring up a new window where you enter the meeting subject, choose whether or not it is a recurring meeting, enter a start and end time, set the audio to Phone and/or VOIP, and optionally set a password for the meeting. Having set these parameters, you then simply send your invitations, via calendar, email, or message. The App automatically generates the message, complete with all the content your attendees will need. The Access Code is also generated so there is additional security to stop eavesdroppers. All you need do is choose the circulation list.

Join a Meeting
This is where you have received a meeting ID and wish to join a meeting.

Settings
Apart from setting your personal information you can also set muting on starting and/or joining, and automatic log-in.

It really is extremely straightforward.

Cost
The App is free but, in order to be able to host meetings, you need a service agreement. There is a very useful, and totally free, 30 day trial for you to test it out. Thereafter you need to pay to access the service, as an organiser; 'mere' attendees are free.

The organiser of business meetings pays $39 per month.

Be aware that in order to obtain the 30 day trial you will need to submit payment information... unless you show a bit of patience.

There is also a free 'lite' version for non-commercial use.

Indispensability
This depends on how much time and money you spend on meetings but, the charges involved would be very quickly recovered.

Dependability
No problems. In order to run GoToMeeting on your iOS device you will need an iPad, iPhone 3GS or newer, iPod touch (3rd generation) or newer running iOS 5 or newer.

Security
Citrix Systems Inc. is a $2.5 Billion company... so it is no back street operation. All your meetings feature SSL (Secure Socket Layer) and 128-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) security, so your meetings should remain private. In addition, Citrix confirm that no unencrypted data is ever stored on their systems. Many large companies use Citrix Solutions... Apple for one host webinars using this system. I guess that what I'm attempting to say is that all these enterprises with huge IT departments can't be wrong. Conclusion: GoToMeeting is secure.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Simple to set-up and use, as well as reliable.

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


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


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Action Movie FX - App Review



Add action movie effects (FX) to your own movies.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
Start by selecting a screen from:

Avalanche
Car smash (my personal favourite)
Claw
Demolition rock
Dragonfire drones
Emp
Enterprise flyby
Hellstorm missiles
Missile attack
Phaser fight
Rough terrain

... and now film your 'target' for at least 5 seconds. You are invited to film where you want the effects to hit. You have a target on the centre of the screen, now hit the red recording button to start and then stop filming, followed by OK. Your first action movie will now be processed and as soon as that is finished, you can admire your handiwork and share it via Facebook, email, or save it to your camera roll.

Now, if you fancy, adjust the starting moment for your latest blockbuster, and also zoom (by pinching).

Your efforts will also be saved to the gallery for later viewing.

Very simple to use and fun.

Cost
The App is free and there are plenty of opportunities for adding additional effects by means of in-App purchases.

Indispensability
You decide.

Dependability
The App works fine and the timings are down to your skill.

Security
On the basis that the publisher has cleared copyright issues, the only concern for you is what exactly you are sharing.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Great fun.

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


You can get Action Movie FX here and support for the App here.


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Barefoot World Atlas - App Review



The Barefoot world atlas is not a global guide to walking without footwear. It is an App provided by the eponymous publishers to showcase their wares.

It is probably aimed at a fairly young audience but, don't let that in any way put you off.

If you are looking for a traditional geopolitical atlas, this won't be exactly your cup of tea.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The home screen contains five basic icons, which are your entry points to the globe:

Globe
Here you are presented with a list of major regions/continents. Pick one and start your voyage of discovery. From here you can touch a flag and get information on any given country (land mass, population, capital city and distance from where you are), currency, highest point, cars per 1,000 population, average CO2 emissions, and temperatures. Picking an icon which is not a flag brings up interesting facts about a place, animal. Some are animated and have high quality photographs to give you an even better feel for the item.

Flag
This gives you access to a list of countries. Picking one then zooms in to that Region and subsequently behaves in the same way as the 'Globe' icon.

Eye
This gives you direct access to all the non-country icons. Explore such diverse topics as Edmund Hillary, Eiffel Tower, or Elks. The narrative can also be spoken to you. Sounds a great idea for long journeys with children who cannot yet read... although the voice is a tad mechanical.

Star
This is for setting your favourites.

Forward arrow
This is no promote the App by email, or offer it as a present, or review, or provide feedback. 

Cost
The App is absolutely free. The advertising contained is discrete and is only to promote other products from the publisher.

Indispensability
This App won't replace a 'real' atlas but, it definitely has a place in a family's digital library,


Dependability
The App works very well, although it is fairly greedy on memory. Those quality pictures, together with the App, will take up 1.2 GB of your iOS device's memory. This is roughly 20 times as much as most run of the mill Apps. 

Security
You are invited to share your current location, so that the distance to you calculation is possible.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Great source of geographical (and more) knowledge for families.

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


You can get Barefoot World Atlas here and support for the App here.


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Penultimate - App Review



Use your iPad as you would a sheet of paper (OK, it is limited to writing on), and link it to your Evernote account.

It's easy to use and even better than paper.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
Even the logo makes you want to use the App. The first thing to do is either sign in or sign up to Evernote (don't worry, it's free).

Pressing the '+' at the bottom right of the screen allows you to Enable Evernote to provide smart information, including your location. This is useful to you as it helps when retrieving information.

You now have a notebook in front of you. The pen icon allows you to choose a width and colour for your first foray into the App. There is also a rubber/eraser that does exactly what you think it will, as well as a pair of scissors that enable you to cut or copy anything from your page.

Tapping the '1' of the page number brings up a second page, and so on.

The default paper is graph but the icon across the top row allows you to change that to lined or plain. You can also spend some pennies and buy other types of paper.

The handwriting recognition in Evernote means that an attempt will be made at deciphering your handwriting, so that you can even search for a note, based on actual content.

You can add photos, either from the camera, or from your stored pictures. These can easily be resized and moved.

Should you wish to share any note with others then this can be emailed, either as a page or as an entire notebook. You can also share a note with a public url, which is viewable in any browser, without the need for Evernote. This is set through the Evernote App and not Penultimate.

Your notebooks, are automatically uploaded to your Evernote account (a new folder named 'Penultimate' is automatically created), so are available in all the other places that you already use (assuming you were using Evernote before getting the Penultimate App).

Your notes are

Cost
The App is absolutely free. It does require an Evernote account to be operative but, there is a free version of this as well.

Indispensability
If you already use Evernote and you are into notes that are freehand, what are you waiting for?

Dependability
The App only works on an iPad running iOS 5.1 or later.

Like everything from Evernote, Penultimate works.

Security
Your data is Evernote safe, which is good. There are further details on the Evernote review here

If you choose to share a note through a public url then, obviously, the information will be available to anybody.

ACIDS Test Rating:

The KISS principle applied to notes.

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


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


Saturday, 20 July 2013

Nutrino - App Review



The App website gives the following 'appetiser':

Nutrino is the first food recommendation platform that learns your habits and preferences, to provide you with a personalised healthy meal plan for you and your family. Eat healthy anywhere and at anytime!

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
You start off by entering some information about yourself:

Sex
Date of birth
Height (imperial or metric)
Weight (imperial or metric)
Waist size (imperial or metric); for some reason the displayed size is 1" less than chosen, although accurate in centimetres.
Fat Percent (optional)
Activity level (choose from: couch potato, lightly active, exercising regularly, exercising machine, energy bomb)

After this you set your goal of Target weight (it could be your existing weight), and the intensity of weight loss achievable (or how much you are prepared to suffer); this is in kilograms per week, from 0.1 to 0.5. The App will then calculate your target date for achieving your new weight goal. It will also give you a daily calorie intake, as well as a split of protein, carbohydrates, fibre and fat.

You then set how much you eat at each meal (including snacks), and whether these are eaten out, takeaway, ready meal, or cooked.

Next up are your preferences; this is currently limited to being a vegetarian, or not.

Now you get to pick food types you like, and when you care to eat them. This is beautifully done by dragging pictures into shopping bags.

Neutrino now prepares your individual daily meal menus for as far ahead as you want. Adding the groceries required to your shopping list is as easy as touching the shopping cart trolley icon on the screen.

This shopping list can then be emailed or even bought directly via the interface with an online store.

Cost
The App is absolutely free; you'll need to pay for the groceries though.

Indispensability
Surely one of the challenges facing dieters is chiding on a menu that is not boring or repetitive. This App takes care of that dilemma.

Dependability
The App works fine. It might be worth noting that if you want to change the settings you originally set for yourself, these need to be individually accessed, as the original entry route is only available on first use; this is not a problem, just might save you some time.

Security
There is an option to share information with Facebook, Withings and Heart Age; the usual caution should be observed.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Personalised dieting.

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


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


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Pinterest - App Review



Pinterest describes itself as a tool for collecting and organising things you love.

Share your interesting pictures with others, as well as reciprocating. At its simplest, this is exactly what Pinterest promises.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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The easiest way to start is to set up an account (there is no charge) on your PC. You can do this with an email address or the almost customary Facebook/Twitter account access.

The home screen shows you the Pins that you originally subscribed to (minimum of 5) when you set up your account. You can scroll through these and any particularly interesting one(s) can be Pinned and shared on Facebook/Twitter, or sent to one of your contacts, as well as sending a 'like'.

There is a search function which allows you to search by popularity, all, as well as within the 33 listed categories.

You can add your own Pins either from a web site, or from your camera. This is very much a visual App, so there need to be some decent photographs, especially if you are snapping it from a web site.

You will be kept informed of notifications to which you have subscribed, including 'likes'.

Finally, the portrait silhouette option allows you to see your followers and those following you. It is also the place to create a board, as well as secret boards.

Cost
The App is free.

Indispensability
It's an excellent way to get very good images for your particular interests.

Dependability
There are no problems with the App.

Security
Obviously, you should be careful of the images you share, and the usual caveat about Facebook/Twitter account access apply.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Excellent Pics.

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


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


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Seesaw for iPhone - App Review



Do you ever need help with taking decisions? Seesaw could be just what you have been looking for. The App enables you to get help from your friends via Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
Having downloaded the App, you need to register with Seesaw. This can be done in a variety of ways: Facebook being one, although you can also do it with Twitter, or your mobile phone number.

To start a Seesaw, you add a photo This can then be shared on Facebook and/or Twitter. You now choose 'advisors', who will be notified that you want an opinion. These could be people you follow, or people from your contacts.

You can easily find friends from Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and invite people to join.

They then see your picture (you could be creative and take a picture of text, of course). The option is to vote 'yes' or 'no' and then add an optional comment. Your percentage for and against scores are kept updated.

In a nutshell, that's all there is to setting it up.

Cost
The App is free.

Indispensability
This really depends on how you take decisions.

Dependability
The App works fine but is only available for the iPhone.

Security
You are potentially sharing access to your other social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), as well as your contacts.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Nice idea and also enables you to help others.

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


You can get Seesaw for iPhone here and support for the App here.


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Vine - App Review



Vine enables you to create and post short video clips (6 seconds). these can easily be shared (not surprising as Vine is now owned by Twitter).

The people who brought us the 140 character maximum Tweet are trying to do it again with the 6 second looping video.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
You first need to open an account, either through Twitter, or via email.

There are two ways to use Vine, as a 'reader' or as a publisher, and obviously you can do both.

Reader
You can check out published Vines directly from the home screen, where there is a selection of random (and some quite amusing).
you can explore either by topic (comedy, art & experimental, cats, dogs, family, beauty & fashion, food, health & fitness, nature, music, news & politics, special fx, sports, urban, weird), trending tabs, or use the search box for people or tags.

You can also set your profile including email, password, connecting Facebook and/or Twitter. This also the place to find people, either from your contacts, or Twitter.

Publisher
First press the camera icon (fairly obvious really), then point to whatever it is you want to record by keeping your finger on the screen, and repeat this up to a few times(6 seconds worth, that is).

You're nearly finished (already). you can name your post, add a location, add to a channel, and once you have done this, you have then option to post to Vine, and/or Twitter, and/or Facebook.

Cost
There is no charge for the App or usage. Especially if you are roaming, you need to be aware of data transmission charges.

Indispensability
Time will tell but, if it's only fractionally as widespread as Twitter, it will soon become a standard.

Dependability
The App works with an iPhone 3GS (or newer), iPod 3rd generation (or newer), or an iPad, all running iOS 5.0 as a minimum.

The iPad version display is either iPhone screen size or you can use the 2X button to fill the screen.

Security
Your videos are in the public domain, although the latest version of the App also caters for protected accounts, where you can limit followers to people you approve.

ACIDS Test Rating:

If it catches on like Twitter...

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


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

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Read.it! - App Review



According to the developer "Read.it is your personalised and curated media experience".

The first thing that stuck me is that I hadn't thought of 'curate' as a verb... and hadn't immediately made the rapprochement with the noun 'curator'. My curiosity was aroused, and made further investigation an absolute must.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The home screen allows you to pick from a variety of topics:

Technology
Design
Social Media
Art & Culture
Travel & Tourism
Green & Sustainability
Health
Food & Lifestyle
Education

Picking any of the above topics then brings you subsections below, and a selection of articles on the right of the screen. You can choose to 'follow' any of these sub topics and/or look at a detailed article and then 'follow' just that item.

You are then free to edit your interests and followed topics, as and when you like.

The whole thing is uncluttered so you can concentrate on the content.

Cost
The App is free, as is usage. You just need to remember data charges from your ISP, where these apply, especially when roaming.

Indispensability
It's an easy way to access topics but, the information is out there anyway.

Dependability
The App requires an Internet connection.

Security
No issues, except the usual Facebook and Twitter reservations if logging in with these services.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Elegant information retrieval.

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


You can get Read.it! here and support for the App here.


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Roambi Analytics - App Review



As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words... but a decent presentation can be worth millions. Roambi lets (indeed encourages) you to take raw data and build representations.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
There is some sample data, as well as introductory video. It is worth your while to play with these and get a better idea of how Roambi works.

The video will probably have you going 'wow', although everything happens so fast, and is not full screen size on an iPad, that you will find it difficult to follow; nevertheless, very impressive.

As an example, take the world population data. You can flick through actual and projected pie charts but, best is that you can spin them and get more detailed information on any given country.

Somewhat oddly, if you go to email a sheet, it does not work, you have to choose to take a screenshot and this is then emailed.

If you want a better idea of how Roambi works from a data input point of view, there is an excellent manual here.

Cost
The App is free, as is a 30 day trial to Roambi.com, thereafter, you need to subscribe, and there is even a free 'lite' version available for personal use. Business users pay $39 per month per named user.

Indispensability
This is just a teaser so, it's your decision.

Dependability
At the end of the day it's your data you are handling so it's GIGO (reminds me, I haven't heard that expression in years - Garbage In Garbage Out). The data needs to be entered in the first place; Roambi will not do that for you.

Security
Your data will be stored in the Amazon S3 cloud. this is the infrastructure that the mighty Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. Although it is no doubt very secure, you do run a new risk as the data is no longer in your hands.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Excel pivot tables on steroids.

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


You can get Roambi Analytics duplicate here and support for the App here.


Saturday, 6 July 2013

Appetito - App Review



All you want to do is book a table...

So there you are, in a foreign country, wishing to book a table in a restaurant that has been recommended to you. Now, if you speak English, you will probably get by as a result of the number of anglophones on the planet. If you can only make yourself understood in another language then, you may well have difficulty in getting your message across.

Another scenario is that it is silly o'clock and you want to book a table; a telephone call is useless and many restaurants pay little heed to emails (unless you are already a regular customer).

The App Appetito aims to resolve these issues.

It is currently available in Switzerland (possibly the most polyglot country on earth) and should be rolled out in many other countries over the coming months.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
If you are in need of inspiration, you can explore restaurants in your vicinity (needs access to your location), by name, or by city. You will need an open Internet connection to be able to achieve this.

What happens next is very much as you would expect.

Name
Start typing in the name of a restaurant and the listing will be updated to include those that you seek.

City
Similarly, start typing the name of a city and you will soon find the one for which you are searching.

Location
This shows the restaurants in your vicinity.

Reserved
... shows a list of reservations you have made.

Favorites (sic)
Here you can easily add restaurants that may be of interest.

Cost
The App is free and there is no charge for booking (and data usage charges are between you and your ISP); it is the establishments that pay for the use of the system.

Indispensability
Not all restaurants are in the network, so you may not be able to find the one you require. This App is in its infancy, and will only improve with time.

Dependability
The App works without hiccup but requires an Internet connection.

Security
You need to sign up with an email address or via Facebook.

ACIDS Test Rating:

It's better to wait for a good meal than have a good meal kept waiting for you.

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


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


Thursday, 4 July 2013

coloc - App Review



Upon first seeing coloc, I thought it was a French site for finding a flat share. Noting that it was classified as entertainment had me even more intrigued.

In fact coloc is a unique take on a clock. It constantly changes colour and has a very peaceful, but nevertheless intriguing, feel about it.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
Launch the App and you see an apparently randomly coloured background with various numbers, circles and bars.

This is not a piece of abstract art but a very imaginative timepiece.

The first set of three numbers represent the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) colour code of the background. The changes are very gradual, thereby making them, in an odd way, somewhat soothing. A by-product of this approach (I have no idea if it was intentional or not) is that, should you happen upon a background colour that particularly takes your fancy, make a note of the RGB values and then use them for whatever you wish.

The second set of three numbers are simply the hour, minute and second of the current time.

The three circles beneath are a graphical representation of the time. The larger the value of HMS, the larger the circle. Touching a circle gives you access to a road map, font picker, and random background.

The next line shows the full date.

The final part of the screen has three horizontal bars that represent the HMS in reverse order, and on a reducing basis. For example, 0 seconds will be represented by a full bar in the first position, and will then reduce until 59 seconds, and then return to a full bar.

It really is different and quite intriguing.

Cost
The App is absolutely free and carries no advertising whatsoever.

Indispensability
The App could not be said to be indispensable but, if you'd rather look at something useful (time), and very different then, coloc could be right up your street.

Dependability
You need an iPad running iOS 6.0, or later. The App works fine but only in landscape mode.

Security
No issues.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Take the time to have a look.

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


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


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Cards by Apple - App Review



There are plenty of excellent greeting card companies; I'm sure you have already had occasion to send, or receive, some excellent cards from one of these services. They all seem to have one important drawback; you need to be online to create your card. Cards by Apple differentiates itself by being able to be used without an Internet connection.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The bottom of the screen allows you to choose from a variety of basic layouts. These include thank you, travel, birthday, baby, love, get well, Mother's day, Christmas, as well as an 'any' where you have less included graphics.

Having chosen your basic greeting you can now customise various areas:

Outside
Tapping on the photograph will allow you to either pick a background picture from your existing library, or take a photograph. You also get to personalise the text but not the font or layout, nor can you alter the graphics. This is of course both a benefit (it will look good) and a drawback (lack of creativity). Once your are happy with this, just press 'apply'.

Inside
This is actually just an area for text, again the graphics being fixed.

Envelope
The 'Add recipients' box allows you to pick someone from your contacts and the address is neatly entered. You can edit this address. Then you can (and indeed must) enter a return address, which will be added to the top left of the envelope.

All that remains now is to press the value box at the top right of the screen to process your card and have it sent. This part of the operation needs to be done with an open Internet connection.

Cost
The App is free and does not carry advertising. You are however charged for the card being printed and posted, at a similar price to other such services.

Indispensability
It really is a good way to prepare your card off-line, a real boon to frequent travellers.

Dependability
No problems during testing.


Security
You need to be aware about information, such as photos and contacts, that you share through the App.

ACIDS Test Rating:

If only the card could be sent my email...

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


You can get Cards by Apple here and support for the App here.