Recent App Reviews
I can call this a CES mini game review, because I was able to enjoy a bit of a gaming break here at the show while at the Venetian at CES (which I desperately needed). The FlipSquare concept at first look seems way too simple and easy, but after I blasted through a few levels, it became apparent I needed to put on the old thinking cap. Starting position is key, but basically this block connection style game requires clever thinking and pattern visualization skills to master. Once you select a block direction to fill, you have to fill the entire row before going in another direction. The developers are offering the first 75 levels for free (unlock 100 with a $0.99 IAP, and 4 extra hints also cost $0.99). It looks boring, but I stayed through at least 14 levels and still wanted to keep going (later levels add new block types and conditions)... Ah, back to the show, darnnit! Grab the already popular FlipSquare at the link above.
I like news apps, and Yahoo has just recently released Yahoo News Digest (free), which is one I'm definitely going to be using. There's already a plethora of news apps, but this one has two distinguishing characteristics. First, there are just two daily editions, one in the morning and one in the evening—unlike other news apps that tend to be updated throughout the day with random bits of news. The advantage of just having two editions is that it's a true summary of the most important news, not simply the latest news across the wire. A second distinguishing characteristic is that the news is curated. An algorithm helps assemble the news, but the news summary is also curated by hand. I like that. One reason I still enjoy newspapers and magazines is that they present curated content: I feel confidant my time will be used more efficiently, since someone has organized the content beforehand. It's not as frenetic as the stream of news items that come across a typical web-based news service.
I like things that are simple. No wires, no fussy setup and updates. Just plug it in and press play. Korus is producing speaker technology to go head to head with other boutique wireless speaker products, and doing so without annoying lag or cumbersome setup. The V600 ($449.99), and V400 ($349) speakers were both on display at the show, and we got an up-close look and listen of these attractive new speakers. The sound of course was as superb as touted (as much as listening to them on the show floor is possible), but the cool thing is that they use neither Bluetooth nor WiFi to stream, but a frequency-hopping algorithm patented by their engineering team.
The Force ($129.95) is the latest sleek wristband from Fitbit sporting an attractive OLED status screen, and on display here at CES 2014 in force (pun intended). Not only does the latest wearable activity tracker keep tabs on your health stats including sleep quality, and waking motion, but also tracks calories burned, motivates you to stay active, compete with friends, monitors incoming calls, and leverages Bluetooth 4.0 to keep everything in sync (wow, what a mouthful)!
In many of my older articles (like this one), I've praised BUZZ Player. ($3.99) and BUZZ Player HD. ($3.99). Up until 4.0.2, which royally messed up the player's MKV playback capabilities, making it one of the worst choices for MKV playback.
(A quick note: note the full stop after the name of both the iPhone and the iPad-specific apps. I've explained the cause for this seemingly amusing name HERE.)
In the meantime, newcomers to the iOS multimedia player scene, nPlayer ($4.99; read my latest review) have become the most important “go to” player for everyone looking for MKV playback and not wanting to play back DTS audio.
My two big resolutions for this year were 1. to read more books, and 2. to write more creatively. While I've been on break from school it's been easy to carve out some time for reading and writing, but I know once classes start up again next semester I will have to be more diligent with my time. So I’ve been on the hunt for apps that will make both endeavors easier. Here are the two I found to be most exciting and helpful.
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 love the time between Christmas and the New Year. My business is slowing down, which gives me time to think and reflect about the past and dream about the future. And to make some New Year's resolutions. Do New Year's resolutions give you a a smile because they remind you of goals achieved, or a bad taste of broken promises?
For many, I suspect it is the second. Sometimes I think having a fitness center must be the best business ever. In January half the country signs up for a one-year membership and in February the place is empty. Having clients paying for something that they do not use must be very profitable.
What is the difference between someone setting a New Year's resolution and failing to follow through and an elite athlete setting and achieving the goal to be in the 2016 Olympics? Many times a clear roadmap is missing.
In this post I want to show how you can turn your New Year's resolutions into concrete results so that 2014 will be your best year ever! As always we have the help of our iPhone.
If any industry needs to be more efficient, it's the restaurant and bar business. Profit margins are tight, employee turnover is a problem, and customers can be fickle. That's why I love shows like Bar Rescue which feature new technological solutions for one of the oldest industries.
David Mandell created Errands To-Do List (free), and it’s a winner! He also developed my favorite app, Alarmed - Reminders and Timers (free). I really liked that app, so I felt I would like Errands. I do. Everything I wrote about Alarmed applies to Errands also: It's simple to use, efficient in carrying out its purpose, and filled with just the right features. It is the simplest and most user-friendly task manager I have used. It may lack some of the glitz and glitter of other task managers, but it compensates by being very inclusive and surprisingly sophisticated.