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Saturday, 31 August 2013

kanvas - App Review



Take a picture, borrow a background, annotate and publish.

This seems an App for extroverts who need feedback, and nosey people who want to 'help'; it's great fun.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
In order to access kanvas, one needs to log in, either through a Facebook account, or set up an email and password access.

To compose your first kanvas, all you need do is touch the writing button and use the tools:

Photo
This is where you choose a background which can either be one from your camera roll, or select one from the included standard backgrounds. This includes 'Keep Calm and...'.

Emoticon
Choose one from the list and place it wherever you want on your kanvas and then resize as required.

Text
Pick a font, type your message, place, and resize.

Drawing tool
Choose a colour and a brush type and add a little something to your kanvas.

Microphone
You can even add a one minute recording to your masterpiece.

Once you are finished with these easy steps, add tags and then share on Facebook, Twitter, tumblr.

Your published kanvas now enters the 'other side' and is there for all to see and leave a reaction.

Cost
The App is free and additional backgrounds are available as in App purchases.

Indispensability
Depending on your personality, this might well become an absolute 'must have'.

Dependability
kanvas is an iPhone App which works in 1x and 2x modes on an iPad. It is extremely simple to use and reliable.

Security
Logging in with Facebook involves giving access to your basic profile and list of friends. Access to your photos is also required (obviously).

ACIDS Test Rating:

It may become addictive!

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


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


Thursday, 29 August 2013

Glide - App Review



Glide is a video messaging App which allows for storage (hence later retrieval), as well as setting up groups.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
A rather nice touch is that, when you start the App, any of your contacts who use Glide are already listed, as is a a lady called 'Sarah GlideBot'. Sarah will show you how to use Glide, as well as sending you an automated message... just to prove the system works.

Sending a message or video is just about as simple as it could be, due to the uncluttered interface. Just tap a contact, tap on the camera icon to record a video, or tap on the 'T' to send a text message, complete with emoticons.

The detail menu covers various functions:

Get Friends
Send an SMS to anyone/everyone in your contact list, inviting them to join Glide.

Tell a Friend
This is similar to 'Get Friends' but is also available on email and Twitter, and is better for more personalised and targeted inviting.

Like on Facebook
No comment.

Follow on Twitter
No comment.

Report a Bug
Nice to see a developer that is not so big headed that they don't think they are human. Another very helpful touch is that the draft email from you clearly has 'when I do the following...', 'the App does...', 'but should do...'.

Feedback
Fairly obvious really but, note that you will be sending information about the version App and iOS device, as well as various other settings.

Ask (the ubiquitous) Sarah
Send a video or text question to support services.

Cost
The App is free, as is its use but, be aware of data transmission charges where these apply.

Indispensability
If you want to share videos, this is an excellent service.

Dependability
No problems to report.

Security
When logging in with Facebook, Glide will have access to your public profile, friend list, email address and date of birth.

You also need to let the App have access to your contacts so as to be able to share videos. You must have this option set to 'on', in order to be able to send invites.

ACIDS Test Rating:

If people use it, it will catch on.

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


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


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Tips & Tricks - iPhone Secrets - App Review



The App reviewed here is iPhone Secrets Lite, the free taster version.

This could be the place to find some real gems...

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The home screen is split into a number of areas, which give you access to various information, or information from a variety of access points.

iPhone Secrets Lite
This is the information that you have been looking for. Each topic is illustrated and well explained, as well as being conveniently grouped into sections.

News
This is basically a selection of 'Apps of the week' .

Favorites (sic)
This is an excellent place for you to shortcut those little tricks that you have either found particularly helpful, or that you need to revisit.

Introduction et al
This is the whole of the information from this limited edition of Tips and Tricks, but accessed by subject heading.

Search box
Find the information you want without the need to trawl through the whole lot.

Cost
The basic App is free and sponsored by advertising. This includes a splash screen every time one opens the App, as well as a two line text advertisement at the top of every screen. There is also an opportunity to upgrade to get more 'secrets'.

Indispensability
This depends on how you like to get your information. The App is undoubtedly particularly useful when you do not have Internet access and are looking for a shortcut.

Dependability
There's not really anything to go wrong.

Security
There are no major concerns, although any individual tip can be shared of Facebook, Twitter, or via email.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Do you really know everything about the iPhone?

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


You can get Tips & Tricks - iPhone Secrets here and support for the App here.


Saturday, 24 August 2013

Snapguide - App Review



Snapguide... "share what you love doing", in the words of the developer.

Perhaps it's easier to call it a 'how to' (as nearly all boards are names) guide, where you can be a purveyor of information, a consumer, or both.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
In order to publish or comment on a guide, you need to be signed in (email, Facebook, or Twitter). You can, however, consult existing boards without signing in.

The home screen gives you immediate access to featured (currently includes 'How to make an air conditioner in 5 mins for $20' and 'How to make SP30 sunscreen', as well as lots of recipes and a myriad of other guides.

The 'explore' function allows you to find a topic of particular interest to you, or to check that no one has beaten you to it. Having found something, you can then also jump to any given step.

If you intend sharing your knowledge, as well as benefiting from that of others, then the 'Create' tab will soon become your home ground. Here's how it works.

First up is the tittle, which seems to have a compulsory introduction of "How to", after which you are free to enter your own text, or pick from predefined verbs. You have 50 characters in which to complete this step.

You now find yourself in the editor. Here you add items to your guide, which could be photos, videos, or text.

There is also a 'supplies' pull down tab, which is a very neat way to add the ingredients that may be necessary for your 'how to' guide.

You choose a cover image which can be a photograph you are about to take, something from your library, or even one chosen from the guide (having first chosen a topic, so as to limit the available images).

Cost
The App, as well as registration are free.

Indispensability
Although you could, probably, get the same (or at least similar) information directly through Internet searches, this is very clean, and does add an element of contact with the author.

Dependability
You can create guides without a network connection but cannot consult existing information. There does also seem to be a quirk that, if you loose network connection then, the 'featured' function will not work until you quit the App and relaunch.

Security
As ever, the usual precautions when signing in with Facebook or Twitter apply. This is also, potentially, another social network, and again sensible caution is advised.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Easy to share instructions, and more.

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


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


Thursday, 22 August 2013

PressReader - App Review



If you read newspapers and magazines then, this might just be an App that will change your habits.

PressReader gives you access to over 2,300 newspapers and magazines (I haven't actually counted them, this information is from the publisher).

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The App opens to a page where you can view various settings:

Top Stories
This is a digest of current hot topics. You do not need to be subscribed to view not only the headline and teaser but, the whole article. You can also get to the front page of the publication, a table of contents, and choose which device should receive the publication.

Sources
This allows you to find a publication, either by country, or by language (interestingly, there is not a single Swiss edition in French... at least at the moment). There is also a standard search box which allows you to find a publication by title.

Some of the publications also include a speaker icon, denoting that these are also available as audio. The quality of the audio is about the same as the first text to speech utility on a Mac, and there seems no way to change the voice.

Cost
The App itself is free, as are a limited number of downloads (7). Thereafter, you can choose to be a so-called 'casual' subscriber and pay a small amount (less that the paper edition) for each edition downloaded, or go the whole hog and subscribe to the whole lot for about $30 per month (price varies, as with all iTunes purchases, by country).

Either way, this seems amazing value for money.

Indispensability
If you are addicted to publications but not to the feel of paper, then PressReader is an obvious choice.

Dependability
The App actually worked even better than some dedicated Apps!

Security
There is no sharing of information, so no issue (pun not intended).

ACIDS Test Rating:

Stop getting ink on your fingers.

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


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


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Ribbon - App Review



This is an App for checking out where your 'friends' are, as well as planning for meeting up in the future.

This all revolves around you and your friends Facebook accounts.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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After authorising Facebook access (see security for further information), you need to enter a home town (unless you already have that information on your Facebook account). The next step is allowing Ribbon to have access to your current location.

Once this is done, you are ready to explore.

The map shows you how many people are in any given location; tapping the pin will bring up their names.

You can add a trip or event. Entering the town name will also, automatically, bring up a list of potential events. Add one of these, give it a name, and also join your friends on their trip.

The feed shows you recent activity, the first of which is that you joined Ribbon.

You can also search your friends and invite them to join Ribbon.

Cost
There is no charge for the App or the service.

Indispensability
It's a very tidy way to aggregate location information from Facebook, although the information needs to be available in the first place.

Dependability
The accuracy of the information depends on you and your friends.

Security
Ribbon needs to access your public Facebook profile, as well as friend list, email address, birthday, home town, current location, photos, as well as the hometowns and current locations for your friends. Ribbon also asks for permission (which you are free to refuse), to post to your friends on your behalf.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Neat way to stumble upon a friend.

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


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


Saturday, 17 August 2013

The Premiership Table

... as it stands at the moment:


Postagram - App Review



There are many card sending Apps you could choose. The difference with Postagram is that the photograph (of your choice, of course) can be popped out of the card. In this way the recipient has the choice of keeping the card, the photograph, or the unforgivable... neither.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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The process starts with you picking a photograph, from your photo library, Facebook, Dropbox, or Instagram. You then crop and scale, remembering that the photograph that will be used is printed as a square.

The next thing to do is press 'continue' and enter your message, followed by simply pressing 'continue' again.

You now need to log-in, either with Facebook, or with a Sincerely account (or set one up, of course).

The message 'looks good, send it' appears and then you are about to make someone happy.

It's really as simple as that.

Cost
The App is free and cards are a mere $0.99 in the USA and can be sent pretty well anywhere. You can buy Sincerely credits and save on the total cost.

Indispensability
I hadn't sent a postcard in years and then used an App to send one... funny how things change.

Dependability
The App is extremely easy to use and works as expected.

Security
One of the ways of signing in is with Facebook, where you will need to give the App access to some of your information, as well as that of your friends.

Obviously the App will need access to your photos and contacts, otherwise there will be nothing to send to nobody! You can also manually enter names and addresses (better for security but much more work).


ACIDS Test Rating:

Holiday postcards that don't mysteriously get lost in the (hotel) post.

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


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


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Day One (Journal/Diary) - App Review



Have you ever wanted to keep a diary But didn't know where to start (pen and paper might be one place), or lacked motivation (the usual killer)?

This App could be just up your street, as it contains some nice touches and helps you stay on track.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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The home screen gives you access to a number of options, as well as giving you statistical feedback on where you are with your diary.

+
This is where it all happens. Press the large plus sign and start entering information for your diary. This can be text, as well as a photograph (either from your photo library, the shot you are going to take, or the last photo taken (this is an excellent idea)).

You can also add the weather, your location (nearby place, current location, or even search on a map), as well as adding tags and favourites.

Timeline
This displays a summary of your entries in time order and is searchable.

Photos
Only entries with photographs are listed in date order.

Tags
Quickly find any entries either in alphabetical order, or by frequency of tag.

Calendar
This displays a monthly calendar (complete with the ever-useful 'Today' button). Pick a date and see your entries for that day.

Starred
Only your entries that are starred (favourites) are listed. this can be extremely useful for entries that are incomplete, so that you can easily find them later to add the missing information.

Settings
Here you choose whether or not to sync with iCloud and/or Dropbox, and whether or not to use a pass code for your diary.

One of the features that will make a difference to the novice diarist is the reminders function; you can't ignore it.

This is also the place where you can choose entries to be exported as PDF, the font and size, as well as detailed defaults for your posts.

Cost
The App is completely free.

Indispensability
If you're interested in keeping a diary and haven't yet managed to organise and motivate yourself, this is the solution.

Dependability
The App works, allowing you to concentrate on your diary.

Security
In order to make your life as easy as possible, the App needs access to your photographs but, these are not shred anywhere (a good thing); location services are also potentially made available. Sharing via Twitter and Foursquare is also directly enabled.

If you use Dropbox and/or iCloud then, the usual precautions should be observed.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Be the next Samuel Pepys.

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


You can get Day One (Journal/Diary) here and support for the App here.


Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Find My iPhone - App Review



This is (already) the one hundredth App review written on this blog. As a birthday celebration, here is an unmissable free offering from Apple.

I've been using this excellent App literally for years. As it is a standard Apple App, it seems to have missed the net for review (and I thought I said it was unmissable); apologies.

The name of the App says it all, except that it works for any Internet enabled iOS device.

If you ever need to find your iOS device, you will thank your lucky stars that you have this App installed.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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You start out by signing in to your iCloud account and then confirm that you want to allow access to 'Find my iPhone'.

If you're really lucky, that is the first and last time you will have anything to do with the App... and if your life is full of the trials and tribulations, as experienced by the rest of us then, you have just installed the best life raft imaginable.

Some of you will be thinking 'hey, who needs this App? If I lose my iPhone, I just call it from another phone and either hear the ring, or someone picks it up'... if only life were really that simple.

Murphy's first iPhone law states that if you mislay your iPhone, you will have it muted. This means that you can call it but, if you're very lucky, you will hear the vibration but, nothing else. Enter (drum roll, please) 'Find My iPhone'... the App will have the iPhone/iPad/iPod emit a loud sound, even with the volume off or muted. As an extra security measure, you will receive a message informing you of the date and time that the sound was played. This gives you another level of security if someone hacks in to your account.

To find your device just launch the App (there is also a web version at www.icloud.com). Touch the 'Devices' button and all the devices registered under your account are listed. Pick any one of these and it is not only displayed on a map (with amazing accuracy) but, you can play a sound on it, enter lost mode (where you can remotely lock the device), or even remotely erase the device. In addition to this the current (ouch) battery level is shown graphically.

Setting up and use is simple but, if you require detailed instructions, these are available here.

Cost
The App is free, not to say priceless.

Indispensability
This App is an absolute 'must'... just don't understand why it isn't part of the basic iOS.

Dependability
The App works on iOS 5 or later, and most importantly, it does exactly what you would hope; it helps you locate your iOS device.

Security
The 'cost' of making your location visible is far outweighed by the security (in this instance), afforded to you as a result.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Should be compulsory.

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


You can get Find My iPhone here and support for the App here.


Saturday, 10 August 2013

Tracks - App Review



The developer describes the App as a way of tracking fashion, food, art, or sports. In fact it's rather more than that as it enables you to make stories (based on pictures) of your own, ably helped by your friends.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
You can start off by either viewing existing tracks which are listed on the left of the home screen. Pick one to see what's in it and then you can share it, see who is a 'member', and jump straight to their tracks.

You can also start your own Track by touching the camera icon (top right). If you haven't given the App access to your photos, the 'Making Magic' message just keeps attempting to access them (unsuccessfully, of course). You can also take a photograph using various effects (some are free and some require an in-App purchase). There is the ability to manually set focus, as well as exposure.

The 'Add' button at the top right of the screen is used to name your Track, add tags, and set whether the Track is discoverable by the community, and whether or not members can add to your track (excellent when you are maybe creating a wedding album, or a memento of an event with friends). You are now free to share your track on Facebook, Twitter, or invite contacts by email (they will then need to sign up in order to be able to see your Track).

Cost
The App is free but there is a charge for effects such as oil painting, LED, and contour.

Indispensability
The indispensable part is that, in order to view a Track, a user must be a member. This reduces the universal appeal.

Dependability
The App works as expected... just remember that access to photographs.

Security
Tracks asks to use your current location. You need to either log-in with Facebook (which means giving access to your basic profile information, list of friends, photos (yours and those of your friends), as well as relationships.

The alternative is to sign up with an email address. In this instance the App will ask for permission to access your contacts and photographs but, these can be refused.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Great if your friends have the App.

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


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


Thursday, 8 August 2013

Rockmelt - App Review



From the developer: "Rockmelt brings the best of the internet to you. When you open the app, you'll find an infinite, image-rich stream of great content - personalised exactly how you want it. You can login to customise your stream, react to the best stories, and share the latest and greatest with friends on your social networks".

This is a very fair summary of what Rockmelt is about.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
An excellent idea from the publisher is that you can 'explore as (a) Guest', without the need to fully sign-up.

The home screen provides, initially at least, some random news items. You can tap on any of these to show your appreciation (aww, hmm, like, lol, want, wtf), as well as forwarding (for which Rockmelt asks for access to your Twitter account). You can equally email, message, or Facebook any of these items. Should you log in, you will also be able to follow any of the articles.

Finding appropriate content is simple, either by going through a broad category, or searching for your specific topic of interest.

The App is very graphical and fast; a pleasant combination.

Cost
The App is absolutely free and there is no overt advertising. Publishers who sign up get some benefits, which include being more likely to get their pages under your nose.

Indispensability
Content is indispensable to 21st century life; how it is delivered is up to you.

Dependability
The App requires an Internet connection to grab content (obviously), but you can 'swipe right' to store a story to read later.

Security
You can share information through Facebook, Twitter, and Google+; the usual discretion is advised.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Nice presentation and speed but, plenty of competition too.

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


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


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

PONS Online Dictionary - App Review



Translating from your native language to another is full of pitfalls. The only way that you can be sure is if each word is fully explained, in context. PONS goes very much in this direction.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The basic screen contains just four basic options, which you access after entering whatever you are attempting to translate in the search box, as well as the from and to languages:

Search
Having entered the search term, you have listed the various definitions in the native language, and then the individual translations. This is very useful... as in a dog collar; wouldn't want to confuse a canine friend with a priest, would we?

Text
Here you enter far more text, such as a sentence or paragraph, and then press 'translate'. No alternatives are offered but there is a 'result satisfactory' button. This reminds you to be very careful when translating. As an example, 'My vicar sports a dog collar' translates as 'my vicar wears a dog's collar'.

Favourites
this enables you to have immediate access to your important translations.

Settings
This has various statutory information, as well as login access to PONS (not mandatory)

Cost
The App is free and supported by advertising.

Indispensability
A dictionary is indispensable. The single word translations are very comprehensive.

Dependability
The App requires an Internet connection... hardly a surprise, given the App's name.

Security
There are no particular issues.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Single word translations are excellent.

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


You can get PONS Online Dictionary here and support for the App here.


Saturday, 3 August 2013

Thermo by Robocat - App Review



A neat App to display just the current temperature at your location; seems a good idea.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
There are additional App specified settings, including units (Celsius or Fahrenheit), perceived temperature, yesterday's temperature, history, and sounds.

the basic screen has a thermometer displaying the current temperature, in accordance with the settings above. the 'mercury' rises and falls with the varying temperature.

The bottom of the screen contains an advertisement, complete with what appears to be a 'go-away' box. touching the box brings up a 'confirm your in-App purchase' dialogue, referring to the removal of advertisements; not very friendly.

Additional themes can be individually purchased.

Cost
The basic App is free, complete with the aforementioned advertisement.

Indispensability
The App does display the temperature in a pleasing manner... but see 'Dependability'.

Dependability
The iPhone/iPad hasn't actually got a built-in temperature sensor (at least not an external one, unlike the warning you get when the iOS product becomes too hot itself), so the information you get is provided from a weather centre. this means that whether you are in the sun or the shade, the displayed temperature will remain the same.

Security
There are no issues with the App.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Looks good but...

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


You can get Thermo by Robocat here and support for the App here.


Thursday, 1 August 2013

Swisscom iO - App Review



Oh no! Not another App that promises free phone calls... you can't be blamed for your reaction but, this one has a USP.

Have you ever thought that you called someone and gave them a message then, couldn't find the evidence on your phone? You know you did it but you can't 'prove' it. And then you accidentally realise that you didn't actually speak with them, you sent them a text message.

Swisscom iO keeps your calls and text messages in the same place; this is an enormous plus.

You do not need to have a Swisscom subscription to use the service.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The basic screen gives you access to four areas;

Contacts
This lists your contacts from your address book. It is a neat listing with photographs, where available, and colour graduated boxes in other cases. As expected, there is a search box to quickly find a contact, or an alphabetical tab. Existing contacts who are using iO also have the iO logo on their details.

You can directly dial contacts from here, as well as inviting them to join iO.

History
This is what really distinguishes this App. It lists all the people with whom you have recently interacted. Picking any of these brings up a listing of all calls (in and out) as well as the duration, as well as the details of all text messages.

Keypad
This doesn't really need explaining. Again though there is a very useful feature of entering a number (whether or not you actually dial it), and then saving the number either to an existing or a new contact; very useful.

MyiO
This is where you add your picture, get a password, and check on the ts & cs. Your phone number is also automatically stored here so, for those who can't remember their own number, a useful place to be able to easily find it.

Cost
The App is free, as are all calls, texts and photos to other Swisscom iO users. Texts can be sent anywhere in the world free, even if the recipient does not have iO.

You can purchase additional subscriptions to enable you to call non-iO users who are not in Switzerland.

Indispensability
Today, a mobile phone is well-nigh indispensable, and the ability to send/receive text messages is nearly as much of an imperative. What this App does so well is to combine the two.

Dependability
The quality of call when tested was good. Many thanks to Rachael fro helping test this on an international basis!

Security
Swisscom state that they do not store your address book, and that all date (presumably except the address book) is stored securely in Switzerland, in accordance with Swisscom standards.

ACIDS Test Rating:

The only downside is the unfortunate name!

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


You can get Swisscom iO here and support for the App here.