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Monday 28 July 2014

Prowl - App Review

Do you use Growl (no, that isn't a spelling mistake). If you do, just get Prowl to have your notifications on your iOS device and stop being frustrated at another App no longer working under Windows.

For those of you still reading, and puzzled as to what is going on, let me explain. Wouldn't it be great to be notified of things (in fact changes) when you want, how you want, and most importantly, where you want (on your iOS device). Prowl makes this possible and Growl is the desktop component to make it happen from there.

Now for the ACIDS test:

This review is about The Prowl App; the 'business end' is very much on your PC running Growl.

The first thing you need to do is register an account with Prowl, so that you can then pair your iOS device(s) with it.

As soon as that is do e, you can start receiving notifications.

The App allows you to set various parameters:

Do Not Disturb: use this to temporarily disable audible notifications.
Quiet Hours: this allows you to sleep! You can set the hours during which you will not receive audible notifications, as well as whether or not to allow emergency notifications to override this setting.
Absolute Time stamps: rather than have the notification read "x hours/minutes ago", have the exact time at which the alert was sent.
Collapse Notifications: instead of having notifications that show the original source, as well as a message, You can reduce this to just the source.
Text Display: choose from 8 font sizes
Notification Style: plain or stripes (I can't tell the difference)
Ask Before Redirect: decide what happens when you choose any given alert.
Open Links in Safari: should links be opened in Safari, rather than (potentially) another App.
Various sound settings: these include various sounds that can (if you wish) be applied to different levels of alarms.

You can either leave alerts that have been notified, or delete them individually (Edit button), or delete them all in one hit (Clear All button).

The App costs $3.

If you use Growl, and have one, or more, iOS devices, this App is essential.

There has been a 100% success rate in forwarding Growl Alerts to Prowl during testing; you can't ask for better than that.

Your alerts are sent from your PC, via Growl, to your Prowl account, and then to your iPhone/iPad.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Growl + iOS = Prowl

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

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

Tuesday 22 July 2014

IconMemo - App Review

Do you still use Post-it notes, or are you totally digital?

This App appears to allow you to have a foot in both camps.

Now for the ACIDS test:

You start by having a large choice of colours for your first Post-It; pick one of these and you are taken, via Safari, to add it to your home screen. Having done that, tapping your home screen will take you directly to the site, where you can input the text that you want. At the same time you can change font, line spacing, pen colour, background colour (as well as personalising a gradient); you can even e-mail the text to whoever you want.

You can choose to synchronise your note with Evernote. It appears that you need to set this when you initially create a note; it cannot be set later.

You will now see an icon which looks like a Post-it on a page of your home screen.

Tapping on the icon allows you to go back and edit it.

It's as simple as that.

The App costs $2.

The greatest (IMHO) aspect of this App is the The greatest (IMHO) aspect of this App is the Evernote synchronisation; you can effectively edit the text on your iOS device home screen, directly from any device that is connected to your Evernote account; this is amazingly powerful and slightly hidden under a bushel.

If you rely on your iOS device, and you love Post-its then, this could be right up your street. If you are an Evernote fan as well then, you almost have to try it.

You need an Internet connection to be able to create a memo in the first place but can view and edit it thereafter, regardless of connection.

To make the App extra useful, I would suggest that if you only need one Post-it then, place it at one of the corners of your first home screen, or even in the bottom tray, so that it is accessible from all home screens. If you use lots of Post-its then, consider reserving a whole home screen for them.

The updating to Evernote involves sending some information to enable this to happen.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Editable Post-its.

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

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

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Sally Park Pro - App Review

Have you ever parked and gone over the allotted time?

Have you ever parked and had difficulty finding your vehicle?

This App sets out to be a cure to both those ailments.

Now for the ACIDS test:

The App basically has four graphical buttons which cover the following:

This allows you to save the parking spot (see Location)

This allows you to enter some text (parking bay number, floor), and add a photo of where you are parked

This is a really lovely graphical interface, very much like an old style parking meter. You scroll the disc to the number of minutes, as well as being able to tap to add 5, 10, or 30 minutes.

This indicates the geographical location of where you are parked (set when you hit the Park button), so that you can guide yourself back.

The settings allow you to set sounds and reminders (5, 10, 15, 20 minutes) of when your time will be up, as well as metric or imperial measurements. There is also the option to remove notes and photos when you save a new location.

The App is supported by advertising, on the form of a splash screen that appears when you open the App; there is no charge for the App itself.

If you have problems remembering when and where you parked, try it.

The accuracy is variable but, you will be guided to (at least) the parking lot, and potentially far better, especially if it is in an open space (and hence on one floor). The taking of a photograph and entering a note will make your life easier in other circumstances.

Your information is not shared.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Never get another parking fine (maybe).

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

You can get Sally Park Pro here and support for the App here.

Thursday 10 July 2014

Scanner with OCR - App Review

Sometimes, you see some text that you would rather have as text, rather than simply save it as a photograph. This App uses OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to do just that.

Now for the ACIDS test:

It starts off with you either taking a photo of some text, or using one from your library.

The editor offers you three tools:

Crop, so that you can just 'translate' the area that you want (obviously not necessary if your photo covers all the text)
Flag, pick the language that you are scanning. There is a truckload (sorry, no lorry) from which to choose.
Tick, to confirm that you have made your choice

Having touched the 'tick', the engine will use OCR to render your photograph into text.

You can now share your text using different Apps, including Mail, Message, Facebook, Twitter, Word...

OCR for $2 has got to be good value. Just be careful of data usage in a metered situation.

Being able to take text and treat it later is great, as is the ability to photograph something in small text, OCR it, and then have it in larger text. This is not the same as simply blowing up a photograph of text.

Although the OCR is not 100% accurate it is excellent. The one consistent 'error' seems to be when a word is hyphenated at the end of a line, it appears hyphenated within the OCRed text.

An Internet connection is required to be able to carry out the OCR, although you can obviously take a photograph without and carry out that step later.

Be careful if you Facebook, or Twitter material that is subject to copyright.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Almost perfect OCR for $2

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

You can get Scanner with OCR here and support for the App here.

Friday 4 July 2014

Data Monitor - App Review

So just how much data do you use, or to be more precise, download.

This becomes more of a pertinent question when you have a limited data plan... perhaps especially when you are roaming.

This App gives you the information to manage the situation.

Now for the ACIDS test:

In order to get the best out of the App, it starts by guiding you through a 'First Run Set-up'. This includes your billing day (which is usually, but not always, especially with pay as you go plans) the 1st, your current data usage and your plan limit. There is a helpful reminder that entering *3282# can get you the information, but only from certain carriers.

As soon as you have completed this simple process, you're up and running. The very clear display shows both cellular and wi-fi usage, both as absolute values, as a bar and also the projected value for the billing cycle.

You can quite happily leave things at that but, the settings menu allows you to set other parameters:

Background monitoring (best left on otherwise you need to have the App running)
Data display units; MegaBytes, KiloBytes, GigaBytes
Icon Badge: None, cellular or wi-fi percent of quota
Cellular and/or wi-fi data settings: you can change the billing cycle, quota and alerts

The basic App (as tested here) is free and supported by advertising which is in the form of a fairly discrete line at the bottom of the screen. There is an in-App purchase $3.

If you are concerned that you might go over a predetermined data allowance, this App could be just what you have been looking for.

The App seems to work fine and the good graphics make you even more aware of your data usage. It would be worthwhile to initially check that the usage is similar to that being suggested by your provider; you never know but you may be being overcharged.

There is no information sharing, thereby not opening up that particular can of worms.

ACIDS Test Rating:

Better than constantly checking your usage on your provider's website.

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

You can get Data Monitor here and support for the App here.