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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

PageStudio - App Review



Creating a website from scratch on an iPad isn't for the faint hearted, especially if you are going to use HTML. There are, however, many times when you need to make an amendment, or insert a similar page on a website; this App enables you to do that with ease.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The default screen is HTML coding down the left of the screen and the resultant output on the opposite side, in landscape mode.

The editor contains very useful undo and redo commands, as well being able to download existing files from Dropbox or directly from a URL. This latter option is extremely useful if you need to make a change or copy/paste in an existing website.

Your amended file can be saved to Dropbox, as well as being emailed. Crucially, your amendments can also be sent directly to your hosted site and your log-in details maintained in a 'Saved FTP Accounts' listing.

There are icons for creating links, inserting pictures, creating style sheets, and (obviously) text.

Cost
If you ever need to make a modest amendment to an existing webpage and only have your iPad, you would willingly part with many times the $2 that the App costs.

Indispensability
Obviously this depends on how much web work you do.

Dependability
This App requires iOS 7.1 or later, as well as an iPad; the smaller screen of other iOS devices just wouldn't cut the mustard.

The App works very well but has a little quirk in that the change of display from code/display to either code or display is effected through the 'Menu' option (you just need to remember this when you want to change it back).

Security
The App is not password protected; you need to be aware of this as you could have entered passwords that will allow anyone to access our websites and alter them.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Great way to edit websites on the move.

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


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


Saturday, 26 April 2014

Magnificent - App Review



A magnifying glass is always useful. Now, I know that you can take a photograph with your iOS device and then zoom it but, this App works differently.

Magnificent works the other way round, in that it allows you to use your device and then take a photograph (if you want to, that is).

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
Initially you have a split screen with the bottom (or right if you are in landscape mode) showing the area being magnified and the other screen the result of the magnification. You can easily toggle to full screen view by flicking left or up (depending on the orientation of your device). Flicking in the opposite direction will restore the split screen view.

You can use either the forward or rear facing camera lens, and easily turn on the flash in poor lighting conditions.

There is also an image stabiliser button when using the rear-facing lens.

Once you have whatever interests you magnified, you can easily tap the camera icon to save a photo.

Cost
Cheaper than a 'real' magnifying glass at $1.

Indispensability
This one of those Apps that will be useful on occasions but won't get used every day.

Dependability
The App works very much like a real magnifying glass, so you will have to adjust the distance between your iOS device and the subject, in accordance with the focal length of the lens.

Security
There are no security issues with the App... unlike a real magnifying glass you can't even accidentally burn yourself when using it in the sun.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Why not?

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


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


Thursday, 24 April 2014

LogMeIn - App Review



Not wishing to reinvent the wheel, here is the promise straight from the horse's (OK, developer's) mouth:

'LogMeIn Pro gives you fast, easy remote access to your PC or Mac from your browser, desktop and mobile devices. Premium features like file transfer, file sharing and remote printing help you stay connected and productive wherever you go. As an added benefit, phone support is available for Pro users 24 hours a day, 5 days a week.'

So, how do they deliver?

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The first thing you need to do is open a free account with LogMeIn. You need only provide an email address and password to open your account. You need to also download the software to your PC which is also a painless install.

Having done this you will see the PC (or more than one) named on the screen of the App. Tapping the icon invites you to enter the user name and password that you use on your PC. Having done this, you will see your PC user screen on your iOS device. It's as simple as that. There are a myriad of settings for you to play with and personalise.

The system is very fast (try it with your iOS device and PC both in front of you), and has a great mouse on the iOS screen.

This service also works from one PC to another, as well as from an Android device (not tested).

Cost
The App is free of charge. After the initial free trail, the service costs $99.00 per year for up to 2 computers, with further packages for larger set-ups.

Indispensability
Having access to your PC remotely is something we have all needed, or wished for, at some time.

Dependability
The system works and frankly, is very impressive.

Security
Whenever you share information, there is a risk. Although no security issues were detected, you need to be aware of what you are doing.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Remote access to your entire PC, easily.

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


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


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Swipy - App Review



There seem to be more note taking Apps than the square of the letters in the alphabet (that's 676 if you check).

Swipy allows you to easily update notes to Evernote, Dropbox, or post to Twitter.

It is this immediate access to a variety of sharing options, together with the ability to swipe (the clue's in the name) to make access to them even quicker.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
There's nothing special about the note entry and editing screen, which is just the way I like it; nothing to distract from the task at hand. There is a small panel on the left with the note titles and then the whole rest of the real estate is left for you to enter notes.

There is the option to set a preference for the task to be accomplished when swiping right (post to email, Dropbox, Evernote, Twitter), in addition you can also post directly to Facebook.

That's pretty much all there is to it, which is just what you want for sharing notes seamlessly.

Cost
This is an inexpensive $1 App.

Indispensability
Note taking is something one just does (doesn't one?). This neat App allows you to use the same interface, regardless of where you want to share it.

Dependability
Keeping the App simple also means that it is bereft of luxuries. This means, for example, that there is no option of which folder to put your note into. The note is also simply titled as a smiley and a clover.

Security
The ease with which one can transfer information to, especially, Facebook and Twitter, means that you need to be careful. You wouldn't want to instantly Tweet a private memo.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Easily share your notes wherever you choose.

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


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


Thursday, 17 April 2014

My Dashboard - App Review



Think of this App as giving you the ability to have lots of information, from different sources, on one screen.

If you ever used the now sadly departed 'Google Desktop' then, think of this App as that, on steroids.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The App comes pre loaded with a default home screen; this gives you a taste for what it can do.

To set things up, just as you like them, go to 'Screen 1' (and rename it on an iPad) to see the options. Pressing any of the '+' buttons will bring up the options of exactly what information can be displayed in any panel. Choose from: RSS Feed, Facebook, Twitter, Calendar, Time, Instagram, Flickr, Photos (from your cameral roll), Youtube, Weather, or Custom (this gives you access to many others, or you could even create your own).

You can easily resize and move panels in layout mode. The content within individual panels can be customising by accessing the 'cog' and setting your preferences.

What you end up with is a screen containing the information you need in a layout that suits you.

Cost
This is a lot of customisation for your $1.

Indispensability
You don't get anything you don't already have, or have easy access to. What changes is that you have one screen with all that information.

It is possibly best on an iPad, with the extra screen size.

Dependability
There seems to be a problem with using Facebook, in that the App needs to be given access to your account through settings (this is standard) but, the App is not listed so cannot be granted access.

Security
This is more a data centre for what you have, rather than an instantaneous posting medium. You need access to each of your accounts to be able to post, thereby avoiding the easy 'oops, didn't mean to post that there syndrome'.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Neat information control centre.

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


You can get My Dashboard here and support for the App here.


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

PaperHelper - App Review



People love their iPads... and many of them wish that you could share a screen with more than one App.

This is especially useful when researching using that gigantic library, the Internet. The problem is that you research in the browser and then need to swap to your note taking system.

PaperHelper effectively enables the screen to be split between notes input and research.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
When you first use the App, it's important to have your iPad in landscape mode; this way you will clearly see the screen split in two with the left-hand side being a text editor, and the right-hand side a browser.

There are 3 controls that you need to get familiar with immediately; this will ensure a more beneficial experience. The first 2 are at the bottom corners of the screen; these are used to make either the text editor, or the browser, into a full screen (there are opposite arrows to reverse this process). The other control is the two way arrow at the top of the screen (just to the left of the line splitting the editor/browser). This control allows you to choose whether the editor is on the left or right (in my view, for right-handed people, it should be on the right).

The editor allows you to format your text with fonts, sizes, colours, alignment; it is very fully featured. In addition you can directly email, print, record voice, draw (using many colours, widths), access your dictionary, set a reminder, add detailed citations (directly from browsed pages), and save your work, including to the ubiquitous Dropbox.

It's probably best to touch the cloud icon and download your free PaperCloud service on your PC or Mac.

Cost
The App is a very inexpensive $1; amazingly good value for all you get.

Indispensability
The App is aimed at students but, is useful to anyone who researches and takes notes; it saves much time, and frustration, at not having to flick between applications.

Until iOS allows the screen to be split between Apps, this is the solution.

Dependability
This App is, not surprisingly, designed for the iPad; the smaller screen of other iOS devices really not being up to the job.

The browser seems slower than Safari but is still much faster and more convenient than using a browser and taking notes in another App.

There is the occasional crash but, the App does not lose data.

Security
There is the possibility to use Dropbox (and saving to any folder), as well as PaperCloud.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Research on an iPad without flicking between Apps.

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


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


Saturday, 12 April 2014

Wanted Poster Pro - App Review



Here's a bit of fun for a change.

Remember those wanted posters in Western movies?

This enables you to create them with ease.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
You start by choosing from one of the 7 templates and then complete the details.

This really is extremely simple as you are just completing the information, as well as either taking a new mug shot, or use a photo from your library. Once you have finished, press preview to check your work and then either edit or save the poster.

You can forward the poster as a message, email, or Twitter, directly from the App.

It's as simple as that.

Cost
The App is free of charge.

Indispensability
Unless you are the local sheriff, you don't need this App but, it is fun.

Dependability
This is a simple App that simply works, just the way we like them.

Security
As the App allows you to share directly via Facebook and Twitter, be careful of what you do.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Create a wanted poster in a minute.

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


You can get Wanted Poster Pro here and support for the App here.


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Able2Extract - App Review



Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a long-standing fan of PDF (Portable Document Format), as it allows file sharing across 'all' platforms.

The one criticism one could have of PDF is that it is not easy to then re-edit the document in its native format. In fairness, this would be a churlish reaction as it is not the intended use for the format.

All this preamble is to bring to your attention the App 'Able2Extract' which allows you to convert a PDF file into various formats.

Now for the ACIDS test:

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To get started (obviously having downloaded the App) simply use your favourite PDF viewer/editor and then choose to 'open in' . This will take you directly to the Able2Extract App.

Having done this you will now see your file on the main screen, together with the PDF icon. Now, press the convert icon (two arrows chasing each other). At the top of the screen will be icons for Word (.docx), Excel (.xlsx), Powerpoint (.pptx), and plain text (.txt). Pick one of those, wait a few seconds, and your screen will now also have this converted file, complete with appropriate icon.

You can now press the icon on the extreme right and (in a similar way to the how you did earlier) and pick the App you want to use for the converted file.

Cost
The App is absolutely free as it is a teaser for the developers' more sophisticated versions for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

In order for the translation to take place, you must have an active Internet connection which could lead to costs.

Indispensability
The ability to edit (as opposed to annotate) a PDF document that has been received may not be a daily occurrence but, I'm sure there have been times when you would have given a lot for this facility.

Dependability
The App appears to work well, although there are some times when paragraphs appear to indent incorrectly.

Security
Your data is sent to the the developers' servers for translation, which is a potential source of a security risk, although none is implied.

ACIDS Test Rating:

A great time saver.

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


You can get Able2Extract here and support for the App here.


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

JotNot Signature+ - App Review



In an age when nearly everything is digital, isn't it irritating when you receive a PDF document and get asked to print and complete it; it drives me nuts.

This neat App sorts this issue out.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
You actually start using this App in another App... which means that whatever App you are in where there is a PDF document that you want to sign, choose the 'Open in...' dialogue.

This will then place the required document in JotNot Signature, where you will see 3 tools:

Settings
Here you can set a password which can be whatever you please (not limited to the 4 numbers of iOS).

Edit
Here you can Sign/Draw, Date, enter Text, enter a tick (check mark), or pick a saved signature. All these items are very easy to use ant totally self-explanatory.

Send
Having placed the signature and/or other marks required on the document, you can now send it by e-mail, open it in another App, print, or fax (this is restricted to a sister App, JotNot Fax).

Cost
The App is absolutely free.

Indispensability
You just have to have a PDF annotator of some sort.

Dependability
The App worked flawlessly but was not tested for faxing.

Security
No issues found within the App during testing.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Simple, but effective, PDF annotator.

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


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


Saturday, 5 April 2014

Mencal:Mental Arithmetic Training - App Review



I thought that my mental arithmetic was pretty good but, just to disprove the adage that you cant teach an old dog new tricks, along comes Mencal.

This points you in the direction of masses of shortcuts for working out arithmetic and mathematical calculations, as well as acting as a trainer.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
The home screen gives you access to addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, squares and fractions, as well as a settings panel.

Each of the operations gives you basic criteria (such as ab x ac where b+c=10); just pick one that interests you, or go through them in sequence. The shortcut is then explained, together with some worked examples.

You can then either keep exploring, or press the pencil icon and get tested using an objective test with 4 possible answers.

The settings allows you to set the timer for entering a response from 15 to 59 seconds.

There is also a display of your achieved level.

Cost
This is a low cost $1 App.

Indispensability
Mind training is excellent, although maths isn't everyone's cup of tea.

Dependability
The App works fine although the 'my level' doesn't seem to update 'right, wrong and skip(ped)' answers.

Security
No issues detected during testing.

ACIDS Test Rating:

An App you can count on (ouch)

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


You can get Mencal:Mental Arithmetic Training here and support for the App here.


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Text Detective - App Review



This is a rather different App to those that we normally review; not an apology, more as a matter of interest.

The developers, The Blindsight Corporation, have a declared mission to "use computer vision to help the visually impaired"; an extremely noble goal.

This App takes text and reads it out loud... but only after it has performed Optical Character Recognition (OCR), which also gives it far wider application.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
In a similar way to scanning Apps, you line up your iPhone, in landscape mode, with the document you want to digitise, and then simply touch the screen, keeping it as steady as possible.

The App then processes the image and carries out OCR.

Touching 'Manage Results' then allows you to save the text to history, send as a text message, post to Twitter, or send as an e-mail.

You now have your document as text which can be handled however you please, with the 'Voice Over' function being of particular use to those who require it.

Cost
The App is absolutely free.

Indispensability
For people whose sight requires it, this App must be an absolute boon. For those who are looking for accurate OCR, this is excellent.

Dependability
OCR for the masses has always been a bit of a hit and miss affair. This App provides a remarkably accurate rendition of the original text; better than I have seen anywhere else.

Security
The ability to post directly to Twitter is the usual double-edged sword.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Wonderful for some and very useful for others.

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


You can get Text Detective here and support for the App here.


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

TopNotes Pro - App Review



If you use the iOS 'Notes' App and find it does everything you need then, this App is not for you. The rest of us want more (always), and TopNotes promises to be a far more comprehensive note taking system than 'Notes'.

Now for the ACIDS test:

Aesthetics
Your first venture into the world of TopNotes already includes a notebook... a user guide. Feel free to go through the well thought out manual, although the App is very intuitive, so you might just want to jump in and then take a peek at the manual if you get stuck.

So, let's get started and create a Notebook by simply touching the +, although we could also just have created a note or imported from Dropbox (or others).

We are now invited to name the Notebook, choose a cover from a wide variety (or even use one of your photos), as well as a default paper type. The Notebook can also be protected with a pass code.

The add function will now enable you to add an image (either from the camera, or your library), text, and pages.

Text is simply entered by double tapping and then the result can be formatted to your heart's content, as well as being moved around the page. The bespoke keyboard includes very neat controls to help with formatting, including the oft missing forward/backward keys.

There are also drawing tools, highlighters, and erasers. A hold on any of the icons will bring up options to set widths and colours.

As an added bonus, you can import PDF documents and comprehensively annotate them.

Cost
The App costs $5.

Indispensability
If you want to do more than just have text in your notes, consider buying this App.

Dependability
The wrist protection isn't perfect, although I haven't seen any implementation that is foolproof. As in others, you will need to turn off multitasking gestures before using the wrist protection option.

Security
You can save your notes to Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, and Box.

The pass code is limited to the standard iOS 4 digits.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Notes on steroids (legally).

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


You can get TopNotes Pro here and support for the App here.