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Thursday, 27 February 2014

Ita - App Review



There are two sorts of people on the planet: those that don't use lists (and drive the others nuts because they are always forgetting things), and those who are list maniacs (and drive the others crazy because they are always ticking off, or adding to their lists).

There is also a mutant of the species, the one who writes lists and then forgets it; this App could help them.

If you belong to the latter camp, this is for you; if you belong to the former, it just might convert you, and if you are a mutant, you are made.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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When starting the App for the first time, you will be invited to choose where you want to store your lists; locally or on iCloud. You can always change this later. Although I'm not a fan of iCloud, this is probably a better choice than locally, especially if you use more than one iOS device, and especially if you accidentally 'lose' something.

To start your first list just press the + and then enter a name for your list and press 'done'. You can reorder items in your list by dragging.

Now just enter items into your list, pressing 'next' to add another and 'done' when you are finished.

To complete an item, tap it and it becomes pale and drops to the bottom, thereby leaving the 'to-dos' clearly at the top.

All lists can be edited, reordered and shared (as a message, Twitter, copied (for pasting into another App), or emailed.

Provided you are saving your lists to iCloud, you can access them from other iOS devices; this is extremely useful.

Cost
The App costs $3.

Indispensability
To me, lists are an critical part of survival... so an App for lists is essential, and this one is beautifully simple.

Dependability
The App is simple and very pleasing to the eye and works perfectly.

Security
There are no issues with the App itself. You just need to be careful about e-mailing your lists to the wrong person and the fact that you can have your lists stored in iCloud.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Lists for everyone.

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


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


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

myPhoneDesktop - App Review



If, like me and millions of others, you send yourself emails between your desktop and iOS device, so as to ensure that you don't forget things, or mistype then, this is an App that could be right up your street.

Just as one tiny example, how many times have you received an email with a telephone number that you have then diligently (and possibly incorrectly) dialled on your iPhone; there was an easier way... read on.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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In addition to the App, you also need to set up the 'other end' on your PC, either as downloadable software, or as a web client.

The important thing to remember is that the real business end is on your PC, and that is why it makes your life so much easier; no limited screen real estate, and a proper keyboard.

The aesthetics here concern the App, which are consist of a simple blank page (think of it as your PC driven notebook), on which there are a number of icons. depending on the type of information (see below), the options available to you vary dynamically.

Phone
This lists the number transferred from your PC. Your options are to add to contact, call with FaceTime, call with Skype, copy, create a new contact, map with Google, search with Google, send by email, share, SMS, SMS with Skype.

URL
Again, the same principle applies except this time, the various calling options are absent but there is an 'Open' command that will open the page directly in Safari; no mistyping.

Text
The principle holds here too, and could be a short note but, it could also be a whole article.

File
Browse to a file on your PC, transfer it to your iOS device, view it immediately and then forward it, as required.

Settings
Here you can personalise your experience with a number of detailed options.

Cost
The App is a premium priced $5 but there is no charge for the desktop version.

Indispensability
If you spend any amount of time in front of a PC and use an iOS device, this is a must.

Dependability
The App works! When creating your account, it is worthwhile using the syntax "iDevice type+email" when creating an account. For example: iphone+user@domain.com and/or ipad+user@domain.com; this ensures unique accounts; somewhat essential if you are using more than one iOS device. This information is given on the support website, and very useful.

Security
As previously mentioned, you need to create an account in order for this service to function; this obviously has security issues.

The system is so easy to use that, perversely, it makes it easier for one to accidentally share information.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Why didn't Apple think of this?

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


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



Saturday, 22 February 2014

Taxi Finder by TaxiFareFinder.com - App Review



If you are a frequent taxi user in any given area, you will know how roughly much the fare will cost you, and the best place to call. If you are in unfamiliar territory, you could be entering a minefield. This App makes life much more predictable... taxi-wise, that is.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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Either use your current location, or enter one, and then enter a destination. The App will instantly calculate the distance, as well as an estimate of the fare, and a map of the journey. This is useful in checking that you haven't entered an incorrect location, and later to keep the taxi driver 'honest'.

Touching the fare calculation box gives you details of how the estimate was calculated.

Pressing Taxi Finder at the bottom of the screen will give you suggested companies, together with their contact details and reviews.

Basically, that's all there is to it, and all there needs to be.

Cost
The App is absolutely free. It could save you a lot of money, particularly in negotiating flat rates for fares.

Indispensability
This is an excellent tool for the traveller, or occasional taxi hirer.

Dependability
The App seems to work perfectly well. There are however two significant drawbacks. The first is that any suggested taxi company is suggested, based on your current location, so that you cannot plan ahead. The other is that the choice of taxi companies is very limited.

Security
There were no issues detected during testing.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Avoid getting ripped off by taxi drivers.

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


You can get Taxi Finder by TaxiFareFinder.com here and support for the App here.


Thursday, 20 February 2014

Prompts - For Writers - App Review



Maybe some of you can always find inspiration somewhere for your writing... some of us aren't so lucky.

This App helps kick-start you with helpful (or even not but, could generate a spark) prompts.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The interface is uncluttered, so you can concentrate on the job in hand; writing.

Once you have pressed the '+' to open a new document and, basically you have a clean blank page with 4 icons:

Lightning bolt
This is the business end of the App. Press this to get something to get you started. This can be something like 'not a day goes by that I don't think of', or 'use all five senses'. These are meant as triggers to get you started (and can also be turned off in settings).

Share
This enables you to copy, email, Twitter, Facebook and, very usefully, upload to Evernote.

Bookmark
This will simply bookmark the current note for easier location on the list of notes.

Save (Tick)
Saves the current note for future editing.

There is a Refresh button which is only available on unsaved notes. this needs to be used with care as, if used, will delete your current work; there is also a warning to this effect within the App.

The settings allow you to set fonts, review stats, and (again a great plus), link your notes to Dropbox.

Cost
This is a $2 App with no in-App purchases.

Indispensability
I guess it's a question of how important writing is to you.

Dependability
The App works without hitch, although there's no guarantee for your inspiration.

Security
The App has the advantage of synchronising with Dropbox and Evernote which, as ever, has a remote risk attached. There is also the simplified sharing through Facebook and Twitter; be careful of what you share.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Great for writers, great for notes.

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


You can get Prompts - For Writers here and support for the App here.


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Weblock - Adblock for iOS - App Review



Do ads irritate you?

Would you like to be able to block them?

This App claims to allow you to choose exactly what gets blocked.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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The opening/set-up page for the App seems a bit daunting at first site.

The thing to do first and foremost is to to hit the 'Set-up' button (half way down the left of the screen).

There is a link that needs to be copied (just touch it to do that). From here open your 'Settings' App and Wi-Fi, then pick your active Wi-Fi connection. At the bottom of the screen you will see 'HTTP PROXY', set this to 'Auto' and then paste the url that you copied in the previous step.

Now, just to be sure, shut down all your Apps and reopen Weblock - Adblock for iOS. If everything has gone as intended, the Status will now contain 3 green bars; you're good to go.

The right-hand side of the screen contains many filters, that can be turned on/off by touching them; it's as easy as that.

You can now experiment to see what you want blocked, or not.

Cost
There is a charge of $2 for this App.

This needs to be weighed against any savings you will save on not upgrading Apps where the charge is merely to remove ads.

Indispensability
This really depends on how distracting you find random adverts.

Dependability
If you think Weblock - Adblock for iOS is not working, try shutting down the 'offending' App again; some seem to keep a little 'stock' of adverts in memory.

Advertisers are desperate for your eyeballs (or at least their clients' money), so will try many ways to snare you; this is an ongoing battle.

Security
No issues detected during testing.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Less distraction... can only be a good thing.

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

You can get Weblock - Adblock for iOS here and support for the App here.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Breathing Zone - App Review



Any App that promises to reduce your stress and anxiety, as well as improving mood has to be worth a look.

Acting as an intrepid (all right, curious) explorer, I set out to put it through its paces.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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Just so we are clear about this; I'm no doctor so my views are very much those of a layman.

After 'playing' around with the App and convincing oneself that there may well be something to this, it is necessary to visit the settings.
Here you will find the 'Breathing Analyser', which will establish your current rate, and then suggest a lower rate. You can then set the length of the exercise (default is 2 minutes), the target breathing rate (in this context bpm is 'breaths per minute', and not 'beats per minute'), as well as a weekly target to encourage you to 'stay with it'.

You can be guided in your breathing by a male, or female voice, or just rely on the pulsations of the multicoloured dahlia on the screen.

There is also a choice of background music; pick from: celestial choir, classical strings, flowing water, Indian Bansuri, metronome, or singing bowls; optionally 'silent' isn't a bad choice either.

Having set that up, you are ready to use the App seriously, and it is extremely easy; just hit 'play'.

Cost
This is a premium priced App at $4 but, then again, what price good/better health?

Indispensability
Obviously, you don't need an App to breathe but, it is a great id to tranquility.

Dependability
In the short term, as long as you have the time, the App will undoubtedly help. As to whether it can change your habits, that's another question... and the jury's still out on that one.

Security
Nothing shared, which is a pleasant change. Be careful of drowsiness when using the App; this is very much a compliment, as it shows just how relaxed you can feel.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Make the time to use this

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


You can get Breathing Zone here and support for the App here.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Voice Translator - App Review



There are plenty of good dictionaries out there; the difference with this one is the ability to speak to and be spoken to.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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Use settings in the App to choose between voice and text entry. If you choose 'text to text', you can still hear the translation by pressing the microphone icon, and if you choose 'voice to voice', the text is still shown.

The interface is extremely uncluttered, leaving you with just the necessities.

At the bottom left of the screen you pick the source language from:

Afrikaans, Arabic, Catalon (sic), Czech, Danish, German, English (Australian, Canadian, US, and UK), Spanish Iberic, Mexican), French (Gallic and Canadian), Indonesian, Italian, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Malaysian, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Iberic and Brazilian), Russian, Swedish, Turkish, as well as two forms of Chinese.

There is the identical interface at the bottom right to choose the target language. A very minor criticism would be that the titles of the languages are vertically equidistant to their flags which can be a little confusing; it would be better if the names were more obviously associated with the language.

If you have opted for voice entry, speak the word or phrase and then press done, and if using text entry, simply type and press enter.

It really is as easy as that!.

You can additionally send a text message, or an email with the source and destination translations.

Cost
This is a low cost $1 App.

Please be aware that Internet connection charges may apply, which could imply roaming charges (see dependability).

Indispensability
If you travel at all, a dictionary is essential. The additional ability to be able to capture (or speak) in a foreign language is a definite advantage.

Dependability
An Internet connection is required in order to use the App. Some of the translated voices are very realistic; others are somewhat robotic.

Security
There are no issues with the App.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Excellent travel companion

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


You can get Voice Translator here and support for the App here.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Suitcases - App Review



Do you carefully make a packing list before going away... and hen dutifully destroy it.

What you need to pack for a short business trip, or sun/ski holiday are hardly the same (barring a few essentials). This neat App has it all covered.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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There are a few default lists that have been prepared for you as starting points or, if you would prefer, just start a completely new list by pressing the '+'. You are now about to create your first packing list.

Let's use the 'Business Trip' as our template.

Tapping the pencil icon allows you to change the name of any item, as well as add quantities.

Pressing the '+' again will allow you to create new items... how about trying that and adding iPad to 'Essentials'.

Any item you do not require, just scroll left and 'put aside'.

You very rapidly end up with a list that makes your packing much easier.

Once that's done, simply touch to the left of the item you have actually packed.

The great thing is that the list can be made to reappear just by pressing the refresh icon.


Cost
The App is a low cost $1.

Indispensability
How much time to you spend writing the same (or very similar) packing lists. Surely not doing that is worth the $1.

Dependability
The App works fine on both iPhone and iPad.

Security
No issues.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Beautifully simple.

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


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


Saturday, 8 February 2014

Pic-a-Phrase - App Review



Do you remember the television game show hosted by Roy Walker (subsequently by Nick Weir)? In it 'Mr. Chips' appears in an animation and contestants have to guess the catch phrase.

Pic a Phrase is an App which is very similar, except that you are playing against your iOS device.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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Press the Play button and then pick from a set of 'questions'.

You are presented with a picture, together with some letters at the bottom of the screen. The answer to the phrase to be guessed is contained within the letters, although there could be some extra ones as well.

You use the keyboard to write the answer, which must start with the first letter and subsequent letters, in order.

You can buy clues from your earned balance (or In-App purchases). This can be the first letter, removal of extraneous letters, hint, or, if you're really stuck, solving the puzzle.

You can also seek help from others using Facebook or Twitter.

Cost
The App itself is absolutely free.

You can purchase additional coins as In-App purchases.

Indispensability
This is a game, so indispensability doesn't really come into it.

Dependability
The App works absolutely fine... the frustration in solving is for you!

Security
There are no issues with the App but, beware of your social network sharing.

ACIDS Test Rating:

A very pleasant distraction.

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


You can get Pic-a-Phrase here and support for the App here.


Thursday, 6 February 2014

One Touch Dial - App Review



So, you use 'E-mail' to send an E-mail, 'Messages' to send an SMS or iMessage, 'Phone- to make a call... you get the picture.

One Touch Dial allows you to do all these things within one App, with a very intuitive interface.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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Although it isn't necessarily the obvious place to start, you might want to take a look at Settings, as it will give you additional information on just how comprehensive this App really is.

The layout allows you to pick a default layout of 6 (2x3), 12 (3x4), or 20 (4x5) contacts to have on your home screen. Of course, these can be resized and altered later.

The Start Screen has the option to choose whether you return to the last used, recent calls, or first contacts screen (very useful).

You can also set a second language, have sound on/off (including forwarding this to other devices through AirPlay), and even hide names.

The 'communications channels' include phone (including multiple numbers), message, E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Facetime, Skype (voice and message), WhatsApp, Instagram, Pinterest... you should find plenty to keep you in contact by pretty well any means.

Having looked at these options, you can also check the useful instructions on how to add and edit contacts.

The truth is that the process is very intuitive to add and edit contacts (with or without a picture).

You end up with a screen with very simple direct access to your contacts, by whatever means you wish.

Cost
This is a low cost $1 App.

Indispensability
You can already carry out all the actions on your iOS device but, this App gives you an easier and more elegant way of achieving it.

It could also be useful for children of a young age.

Dependability
Presumably the App will be more used on an iPhone than an iPad, hence it works in 1x and 2x modes on the larger screen.

Security
It's a tribute to the App that the only real 'danger' is that it's too easy to contact people!

ACIDS Test Rating:

A real timesaver, and it looks good.

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


You can get One Touch Dial here and support for the App here.


Tuesday, 4 February 2014

System UTIL Dashboard - App Review



Are you interested in knowing a bit more about what your iOS device is doing?

This is a neat App that does exactly that, in an easy to use and understand format.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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The main screen has 6 areas which offer various items of information; just touch any one to be taken to the appropriate screen,

Battery
This shows you the current status, as well as how long it will take to fully recharge, and how long until it expires, given various types of usage.

Memory
This display shows memory allocation between wired, active, inactive, and free. There is also a reminder of how to close Apps.

CPU & Processes
This displays running applications, as well as an updating graph of running processes, and a list. This is purely for information as you cannot effect any changes directly from this screen.

Disk
This splits 'Disk Space' between used and free

Network
Apart from confirming an Internet connection (Wi-Fi or cellular), together with usage information, there is a very handy dial to quickly check your Internet speed.

General
A plethora of information awaits you here, including the device type (can get a bit confusing, especially with iPads), details of installed hardware, and detailed CPU information.

Cost
The App is a reasonable $2 but also has advertising.

Indispensability
In fairness, this is all useful information but not really indispensable. The battery monitor (and reminder) will however attempt to instil some discipline into you for maintaining battery life.

Dependability
The App is designed for the smaller iOS screen size and supports 2x mode on an iPad.

Security
There are no external connection issues with this App.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Useful information + battery saver.

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


You can get System UTIL Dashboard here and support for the App here.


Saturday, 1 February 2014

Phases of the Moon - App Review



The moon is responsible for a lot of cycles on earth, and too many of us know too little about it (yours truly included).

Here is a great App for keeping you in touch of past, current, and future phases, anywhere.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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The Settings give you access to various on/off options (background display, lunar atlas, zodiac signs), as well as allowing for automatic location selection (based on your current location), or you can select where you would like data for, as well as picking a measurement system (International or Imperial).

The main part of the screen is taken up with a display of the moon, as it is, at the moment, in your chosen location; if the date and time at the top of the screen is not current, just press Now. In addition to his you are given information on the phase, percentage illuminated, distance, age, rise and set times, as well as sign of the Zodiac (provided you chose this option in Settings.

The bottom of the screen allows you to 'play' the moon forward so you can see its evolution of the coming days (very therapeutic). There are also icons for New, Full, First and Last quarters, which will allow you to skip directly to these phases.

Finally, there is a Monthly icon which shows you details over 6 weeks.

Cost
The App is a reasonable $2.

Indispensability
This really depends on your interest in the moon.

Dependability
The App worked without problem, both on iPhone and iPad (where, unsurprisingly, it looks even better).

Security
There are no real issues, even by sharing the information via Facebook or Twitter.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Interesting stuff.

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


You can get Phases of the Moon here and support for the App here.