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Saturday, 29 March 2014

Diana Photo - App Review



Are you old enough to remember the days when cameras had films that you got developed (unless you had your own darkroom)? Do you remember picking up your snaps and being surprised at some double exposures, where you had forgotten (or creatively) to wind the film to the next shot.

This App allows you to recreate those effects but, so much more creatively... and there's no need to wait for the film to get developed.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
Your screen is split into a large square, and two smaller ones underneath. Start by tapping one of the ones underneath to pick a photo, either from your camera roll, or to take a new one. Now do the same thing with the lower right box. The larger square will now contain a double exposure of the two photos you chose.

You can flick left and right to add various effects to your composition.

If you want to take pot luck, you can either shake your iPhone, or roll the dice at the top of the screen.

Your masterpiece can be shared via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as copying it or opening in another application.

Cost
The App is free and bereft of advertising... you can't count a button you have to touch to get information on other Apps by the developer.

Indispensability
This is one of those Apps that you are unlikely to use every day but, for a bit of fun, it is great.

Dependability
The App is designed for the smaller screen of the iPhone but also works in 1x and 2x modes on an iPad.

Security
With all those sharing options, be careful what you share with who!

ACIDS Test Rating:

Double exposure for the 21st century.

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


You can get Diana Photo here and support for the App here.


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Battery Life Magic Pro - App Review



As you no doubt already know (perhaps having found out to your cost), rechargeable batteries do not last forever.

Your Apple iPhone/iPad/iPod is not an exception to this rule. Battery replacement is fairly expensive so, the longer you can put it off, the better.

This App aims to help you put off the dreaded day, as long as possible.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The main screen is uncluttered and contains the following tools, all accessible at the bottom of the display.

Maintain
This is the screen you will use most frequently. it reminds you to run a full cycle charge at least once per month. it is easy enough to make a note of this in your task manager.

Performance
This gives you an estimate of how long your battery, in its current (ouch) state of charge, will last doing various tasks from recording videos to audio playback, via taking photos.

Tips
these are divided into battery saving tips (including keeping your device out of the sun) and tips on maintaining your screen in top condition.

Log
Here you will find how conscientious you have been with monthly cyclical charges.

Help
No explanation needed.

Cost
This App is currently free but, this may not continue.

Indispensability
You owe it to yourself to preserve your iOS device; this is a useful tool.

Dependability
The App should increase the dependability of your device, or at least the battery.

Security
There are no issues with this App.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Invest in your battery.

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


You can get Battery Life Magic Pro here and support for the App here.


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Fleksy Keyboard - App Review



This is an alternative to the standard iOS keyboard. Although this might not sound too exciting, the App provides some great improvements over the standard offering. This includes making the keyboard invisible so that you are really touch typing. The greatest asset is possibly the vastly improved predictive spelling.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
Opening the App for the first time brings up the Fleksy keyboard, together with the instructions that make it easier to use than the original iOS offering:

Space: flick right →
Delete: flick left ←
Punctuation: → after Space
Mini & invisible: ↓ 2 fingers ↓

There are also options to have various audio feedback (keyboard clicks, typing sounds, and voice feedback), as well as making the keyboard one row shorter by removing the spacebar row (this leaves more real estate for the rest of your screen).

But this App really comes into its own in the predictive text stakes. You can try this experiment:

Using a QWERTY keyboard, type "rjia". The standard iOS will merely type "rjia" and underline it as incorrect. Now try the same with the Fleksy keyboard and it will guess you really meant to type "this" and merely hit neighbouring keys; impressive.

The keyboard can be used in 3 different ways:

Direct entry
Simply use Fleksy and then touch the blue button and chose email, message, Twitter, or Facebook; your typing will then be directly transferred to the appropriate App.

Cut and Paste
For Apps that do not directly support Fleksy, simply select the text and paste into the App that you choose.

Supported Apps
This brilliant keyboard (or rather the people who developed it) is convincing more and more other developers to add support from within their application. This means that you can use Fleksy instead of the standard iOS keyboard.

Cost
Unbelievably, this App is absolutely free.

Indispensability
You obviously need a keyboard on your iOS device; this one makes some things much easier and more accurate.

Dependability
As previously mentioned, the predictive text is truly awesome. The one thing which is worth noting is that 'installing' Fleksy onto a supported App is a bit unusual. Here's how to do it (and save yourself a lot of time): in the destination App (not Fleksy), highlight some text to copy; you will notice that you have Select, Select All and Fleksy. Choose the last option and the keyboard will install within your App. If you wish to reverse the process, do the same thing again and Fleksy will have been replaced with System.

Security
You just need to be aware of the ease with which one can go from text entry to Twitter and Facebook.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Definitely a better mousetrap (or in this case, keyboard).

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


You can get Fleksy Keyboard here and support for the App here.


Saturday, 22 March 2014

Turnplay - App Review



This is one of those Apps that doesn't offer anything particularly spectacular but, what it does is beautifully done.

For those of you old enough to remember vinyl records, you're in for a treat; play your music and enjoy the graphics.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
You need to start off by 'loading' music onto the App. this is either music that is already on your iPad, or tracks which you are adding via the cloud. Merely press the + button to achieve this.

You now hit start and hear your record being played, as well as view a beautiful turntable, complete with very sophisticated arm.

You can change the speed from 33 rpm to 45 rpm (that'll bring back distant memories), as well as being able to 'scratch' records. There are also controls for speed adjustment and you can lift and lower the arm.

As a bonus, the record plays with the graphics on the label (where available).

Cost
The App costs $5.

Indispensability
From the point of view of playing music, the App is not indispensable but, it's a great way to play vinyl tracks (to show the younger generation), and there's absolutely no chance of scratching your valuable record collection.

Dependability
The App works perfectly but, only on an iPad (the graphics would be wasted on a smaller screen).

Security
No issues.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Looks great.

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


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


Thursday, 20 March 2014

Oflow - App Review



Dead ends are frustrating... I write from experience. It doesn't matter why but sometimes, a solution doesn't appear because it's you reflecting on your problem/impasse.

This App offers you 156 methods for unlocking the situation.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
There are 5 options on the main screen:

Random
Touch this to receive a, potentially, helpful bit of advice. Once in it you can refresh for another random thought, mark it as a favourite, or make a note. This feature is extremely useful as it enables you to potentially deal with more than one issue at a time, as well as allowing you to get the creative juices flowing, without having to leave the App.

Methods
This lists the 156 cues for inspiration to get you moving forward. You can then pick any one and see if it helps. In fairness, these don't really seem to be in any order so, short of scrolling through 156, you might be best advised to use 'Random' in the first place.

Favourites
These are the methods you highlighted in the random section. If they prove helpful once, you might well want to revisit them in the future.

Notes
Her you will find the notes you made earlier, with the first line being the title.

Reminder
If you are in need of a daily reminder to be creative, you can set a reminder here.


Cost
The App costs $2.

Indispensability
If you can solve all your problems with no outside help whatsoever, this App is not for you... nor are friends, white boards, notepads, coloured pens...

Dependability
The App is simple and it works.

Security
There are no issues with the App but you can share your notes via email, Evernote, Facebook, and Twitter.

ACIDS Test Rating:

It's only a real friend that will tell you the truth.

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


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


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Star Rover - App Review



The sky at night can be very beautiful but, do you know what it what?

The Start Rover App enables you to be far more knowledgeable.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
Use the settings to decide how much detail you want shown from markers, planets, bright stars, nebulae, as well as how you want constellations displayed as well as various lines and grids.

Th. absence of colours from the on/off switches makes them less obvious than they might otherwise be,

All you need do now is point your iOS device at the sky and be informed of what you are actually looking at.

Cost
The App costs $2.

Indispensability
I guess that if you are already an avid stargazer, you will have other tools... for the rest of us, this is very easy to use.

Dependability
The App matches up to various points so, I can only assume that it is accurate.

It is designed for the smaller screen of an iPhone but works in 1x and 2x modes on an iPad.

Security
No issues.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Interesting to look at the sky differently.

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


You can get Star Rover here and support for the App here.


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Miniature Cam - App Review



Oh no, not yet another camera App... well, this one is sufficiently different to make it worthwhile having a look.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The first thing you'll notice is that the basic screen is beautiful; I absolutely love it. Not to put too fine a point on it, this is one of those Apps that looks so good that you just have to try it.

There are a number of controls, and again they are so 'tactile' (obviously they are not as you are using the iOS screen) that you just want to experiment.

You can choose still or video mode, as well as stop motion and 0.5, 2, 4, and 8 times speed. Your recording can be done using either the front or rear facing camera.

There are also three view finder modes; plain, horizontal lines and concentric circles (the knob to choose which looks great).

There are then four settings which are altered with a slider control: blur, contrast, brightness, and saturation.

The settings allow you to set video quality, toy effect (great fun), and whether or not to use sound (you can also add a music track later).

Once you have finished your video you can, obviously, save it, as well


Cost
This is a low cost App at $1.

Indispensability
This is one of those Apps that you will enjoy using but might not become part of your daily routine.

Dependability
The App works as expected. The choice of speed is set by long pressing the 'x2 speed' button, not flicking up, as might be expected by the sign on the button.

Security
No issues.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Good clean fun.

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


You can get Miniature Cam here and support for the App here.


Thursday, 13 March 2014

Tango Remote - App Review



Here's the scenario: you've connected your iOS device to your hi-fi, so as to get a fuller sound. In practice, your device will no longer be to hand; for one thing, you don't want to be next to your speakers, that would be negating the object of the exercise.

You can of course purchase an Apple dock and remote control that will allow you to use basic controls on your iOS device from a few metres away.

Tango Remote is an alternative solution to this dilemma.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
When you open the App you are invited to choose whether the iOS device is to be a Media Player (the one that s playing music or video), or a Remote Control. This is in no way a permanent choice, and can very easily be swapped/deleted later.

The Media Player device will synchronise contents with the App when you first start up. This is very quick from personal experience of over 7,000 songs.

The Remote Control allows you to enter an, optional, password, as well as choose the device that you wish to control (obviously, if you have only set one up then, it will be the only one on the list).

The absolute bonus (when compared to an Apple remote) is that you have details of the playlists and songs so that you can play anything you want.

Cost
The App costs $5, which is considerably less that an Apple remote control, let alone the dock that you will need to go with it.

Indispensability
If you are in scenario of needing to remotely control an iOS device and (like most people), already have another one then, this really is useful.

Dependability
The App works fine, although it does seem to occasionally list some songs twice.

As the remote also controls the volume, there isn't a way to mute the device itself.

Security
No issues.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Affordable and highly usable remote control.

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


You can get Tango Remote here and support for the App here.


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Nice Trace - App Review



Are you interested in finding out the route your data takes from you to... wherever?

And, possibly more importantly, the location of any bottlenecks?

Then, check out this App.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The entry screen is very uncluttered, being limited to an information (help) icon, a settings icon (where you can set thresholds, or just leave to the defaults), and the all-important address.

Enter a Host name or IP address in the bar and let the App do its thing.

The App now displays all the hops required to get from your device to the address, together with plenty of information on speed and loss.

Touching any of the hops brings up a screen which displays the Host name, IP Address, Network range, Country, Statistics (sent, received, lost, RTT, loss as percentage).

Further touching any of the first three parameters brings up detailed Whois information.

There is a useful 'getting started' video at http://j.mp/nicetrace_vids

Cost
The App costs $2.

Indispensability
This could be useful in tracing why accessing certain sites is slow, otherwise, it will interest those who are nosey.

Dependability
The App is designed for the smaller screen of the iPhone but works fine in 1x and 2x modes on an iPad.

Security
This is much more a case of getting information, rather than giving it.

ACIDS Test Rating:

More info than you can shake a stick at.

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


You can get Nice Trace here and support for the App here.


Saturday, 8 March 2014

Burst Mode - High Speed Camera - App Review



First, there was the standard iOS camera App, to which was subsequently added panorama. Since then, quite a few camera Apps have sprung up, each with their little speciality.

Burst Mode - High Speed Camera is no exception. When you don't really want a stills camera, nor do you want a video camera, this App comes into its own; it allows you to take bursts of action.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The interface is uncluttered, having only 5 buttons, and they are all do just what you would expect:

Flash
Turn the flash on your iOS device on or off for greater lighting. The App detects whether or not your type of iOS device has this function and only displays the icon if it is usable; nice touch.

Camera
Choose whether you are using the forward or rear facing camera.

File Access
Access recorded bursts. You then have a frame by frame sequence where you can save or delete individual images.

Settings
Here you can set a self-timer
Select the resolution (4 settings from 640x480 to 3264x2448)
Set the number of pictures in a burst (5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, or 1,000)
Define a delay between frames (various from none to 5 minutes)
Auto-Lock AF/AE, or leave it unlocked
Choose whether or not to display a grid
Pick whether or not to have s shutter sound

Shoot
This is the business end of the App. Simply press the 'Camera' icon to start shooting, and press again to stop.

Cost
The App costs $2.

Indispensability
If you're looking for that great still of a fast moving object, this is for you.

Dependability
The App works beautifully, although you are obviously limited to the quality of the iOS camera.

Security
There are no issues with this App.

ACIDS Test Rating:

A great asset to your photography toolkit.

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


You can get Burst Mode - High Speed Camera here and support for the App here.


Thursday, 6 March 2014

Phlo - App Review



Information may well be king but, getting it and squeezing every last ounce out of it is a bit of an art... or a science, depends on your take on things.

Although 'Google' has morphed into a verb, synonymous with searching the web, it is definitively not the only place you might want to look.

Phlo enables you to look in many places, without having to start afresh (or copy and paste your search criteria).

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The left-hand two thirds of the screen is devoted to your search history (which will, of course, be empty when you start), and the right-hand third contains the search 'engines'.

The great thing is that the App comes pre loaded with 30 tools, from Amazon to Youtube, via Bing, Digg, Ebay, Facebook, Flicr, Pinterest, Ted, and many more.

All you need do is type your search criteria in the top box and choose your weapon. To get back to a listing of searches, simply press the X to the right of the search being currently viewed. Your search will be kept in the listing.

Cost
The App itself is free. For $2 you can have a Phlo Sync account which allows you to synchronise your search history across devices, as well as allowing you to add more search engines.

Indispensability
This really depends on the amount of searching you do, and of course if you are satisfied. Trying it could open your eyes to a whole new world.

Dependability
In testing, the App worked without crashing and found some information which would otherwise have been missed.

Security
Individual searches can be shared via Facebook and Twitter, as well as a text message.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Spend less time searching and find more.

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


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


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

A+ Signature - App Review



This App allows you to easily annotate photographs, whether it's to draw attention, amuse, copyright, or protect.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
You can either use an existing photograph from your photo album, or take a new one from within the App.

Having your photo on the screen you are ready to start editing; there are basically three 'tools':

Text
Simply enter your text, and choose alignment, opacity, colour, font (a vast choice), as well as details such as edge colour and size.

Sign
This is much more than merely useful for signing, it is also great for creating speech bubbles!

Catalogue
This has some pre supplied shapes, special texts (such as date and time), cartoons, and stock texts. These all help the creative process.

Your completed work can then be saved to your camera roll, as well as shared via E-mail (including as a PDF), Facebook, or Twitter.

The App displays details on how to edit your annotations; very useful.

There are four videos which will help you get started with A+ Signature, including instructions on watermarking (very useful for protecting your work from being copied), as well as signing.

Cost
The full App costs $2 but there is also a less featured, 'lite' version which is absolutely free.

Indispensability
It's one of those Apps that you wish you had but, not necessarily one you would use on a daily basis.

Dependability
The helpful instructions make the App even more reliable... as the user doesn't need to make mistakes.

Security
There are no issues within the App but, the ease with which one can share on Facebook or Twitter might lead to temptation.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Really easy photo annotation.

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


You can get A+ Signature here and support for the App here.


Saturday, 1 March 2014

Stocard - Loyalty Card App - App Review



Do you have masses of loyalty cards?

Is your wallet bulging with them?

This App allows you to replace them all and never forget one.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
Like all good Apps, this one is very simple. Press the + to enter a card.

The App includes masses of graphics for existing loyalty crds, so, assuming yours is one of these, simply choose it from the alphabetical scrolling list. All you then need to do is scan the barcode (from within the App), and add an optional description.

There is also the facility to enter the details of cards that do not have bar codes.

If your card is not one from the built-in list then, just use the App to scan an appropriate graphic.

Your cards are then ready to use as a very neat list where you just tap the required card.

Cost
The App is absolutely free.

Indispensability
The App is a replacement for your loyalty cards. A great 'plus' is the fact that, provided you've remembered your iPhone, your cards are always with you (even the one that you only use occasionally... and often leave behind).

Dependability
The App works flawlessly, although you cannot get the additional information from cards that contain a magnetic strip or chip.

Security
There are no issues with the App. You do need to be aware though that there is no password protection. This therefore poses a potential risk if you mislay your iPhone.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Never forget a loyalty card again.

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


You can get Stocard - Loyalty Card App here and support for the App here.