Recent App Reviews
Updated Article 1/25/14:
WOW. I had to update this previously glowing article of what had been a well-made app and service to reflect the poor business decisions made by LogMeIn. First, they had one of the more expensive apps at $20 to $30, and more recently, it was as much as $130. But I still recommended it because it connected to their FREE service, making the up-front investment worthwhile.
Now, the Free service is gone, and the app has been pulled and is useless. Users have seven days to convert to a paid account of $50 to $100 or more. When that happens to a free or even $0.99 app, it's one thing and understandable, but with $30 to $130 app, that's a bad investment and bad policy.
Apple has improved the camera in their iPhone with each iteration, but the microphone hadn't changed much. Sure, there's noise cancelation, but the position of the microphone is problematic, and it certainly doesn't pick up stereo audio.
As new iOS apps flood the App Store every day — recently topping 1,000,000 — we know it’s tough to tell which ones are worth their salt. But thanks to our Weekly Scoop, you can have the best for free! Here you’ll find a weekly roundup of the coolest apps free or at a discount for a limited-time only. Each week features the best and brightest from websites like Free App Report, AppsGoneFree, appsfire, and more.
Hurry! Get 'em while they’re hot!
I feel I should state from the beginning that I am not a fan of “free-to-play” games (F2P) that are driven by in-app purchases (IAP). Some day I might just write an article about that, but for now let’s just say that I don’t really like the concept of continually paying for one game (I’m not a fan of massively multi-player online games [MMOs] for the same reason). Anyway, despite those feelings I decided to spend some time with Pet Zoometery, and while there are some features about the game that I do enjoy, in the end it feels just like any other F2P: it’s fun for a while, but ultimately gets tedious and somewhat stale.
I had the opportunity to preview Nommons: Math Universe before it was released, at a press event in Los Angeles, during the App Developers Conference where I was speaking. I'm glad I got the chance, because as it turned out, my daughter was struggling with math at that very time. I knew an app ought to help her somehow, as it can be much more interactive than flash cards.
What's better than one cool item? Two cool items. And what's better than that? Two-in-one! And that's what you get with the Nomad brush mini 2 ($35). It's a traditional stylus on one end, and on the other, a paintbrush-style tip. You can even retract the paintbrush tip, adjusting the length of the brush for the desired control.
It’s time to get healthy! Isn’t that what the New Year is all about? People often take the time as the New Year rolls around to examine their lives, assess the things they would like to change, and turn over a new leaf. Often, one of the things on the list is health. And one of the best ways to stay healthy is to count your calories and maintain your weight. Your iPhone has your back. The App Store has a plethora of calorie-counting and weight-tracking apps, so manythat it may seem overwhelming. Have no fear, I have your back on this one. I’ve been an avid calorie counter since before electronic devices were invented to count calories. In the early days I used a generic notebook and carried a calorie guide I bought in the diet and fitness section of my local bookstore.
The Tack Mobile team wanted to create an app with effortless note-taking capabilities. The final product is Noted (Free), a straightforward, gesture-based note app that derives inspiration from the simplicity of sticky notes.
You can find several note-taking apps on iTunes, but Noted tries to keep distracting interface elements to a minimum. Instead, gestures are used as shortcuts, with most of the actions only involving a finger swipe or two.
Cloud-based document storage services are a wonderful boon, and I'm a big fan of Dropbox. Any document I'm working on, I put it in my Dropbox folder. As I make changes, the most recent version of the file is automatically uploaded to the web. And because the document is in the cloud, I can access it from my iPads or from any computer connected to the Internet. The Dropbox app on my iPads lets me view most document file types. Box is yet another popular cloud storage service, and whereas Dropbox offers 5GB of storage for free, Box announced on Wednesday that for the next 30 days they're offering 50GB of free storage for life if you download the new Box for iPhone and iPad 3.0 (free).
Two or three times a week, sometimes more often, my iPad would inform me, that despite an apparently strong signal, it couldn’t connect to my Wi-Fi. The distance from my office to the master bedroom is 300 feet or so, as the Wi-Fi crow flies. Downstairs, the family room where my recliner resides, is almost as far. So I figured I should get a Wi-Fi extender. I started with the extender in a central place in the house. I configured it for both 2.4 and 5 GHz. bandwidth networks using WPS—which means I didn’t have to configure it, it configured itself. This particular Wi-fi extender created new networks with the name of the original network, followed by EXT. This set-up was designed to max out at 802.11N.