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Monthly Archives: February 2009

Well I love Evernote on the iPhone, and if you use it on your mac, there is an easy way to extract the OCR text from the files that you make and store.

Go to

~/Library/Caches/Metadata/com.evernote.Evernote/

Find your file, and open in textedit!

Voila

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Many wifi subscription services require the constant input of login and password after each connection to a hotspot.  If your ISP has its own wifi service, like Optimum Wifi, you probably have already noticed how aggravating it is to log in after every random disconnect.

Easy Wifi is here to alleviate the problem. Basically it is able to analyze the hotspot that you are connected to and then input the credentials that you supply in the “My Wifi” tab. The app cannot connect automatically however. You must open the application once after you connect to the wifi. Then it will automatically log in for you; sounds great right!

There are only a few caveats though. First of all, the whole app has a pretty subpar interface. It feels very much like a web application, and the custom tabs can only be accessed with an internet connection. You cannot input passwords unless you can access the net. Also, Easy Wifi cannot log into just any wifi connection. The hotspot has to be on its internal list of providers that it knows how to deal with. Therefore, depending on your situation, it might have limited use to you.

Overall, the application works properly and does what it’s advertised to do.

8/10

Well just for a little fun, I wanna tell everybody my impressions on the PBJTime application. Yea thats right mate, its PBJ on your phone. Its lunch. Its life. Wait what was I saying again?

Anyway there’s nothing better than whipping some PB&J in a friend’s face. Believe me, it gets the laughs. Plus, the newest version even has a TIMER before the music starts playing, especially great if you want to appear inconspicuous when the embarrassing song starts playing. Only negative: why can’t our friendly banana move side to side while dancing?

9 bananananananas / 10

Ahh Emoji. The age old mystery. Just kidding. In a nutshell, Emoji are these emoticons that are all the rage in Japan. The iPhones in Japan have these icons, but unfortunately for some people, they are not available on other iPhones throughout the world. Emoji are only viewable to others if your message receivers have iPhones… but some people still really, really, really, really want them.

And so obviously people have made solutions, some that don’t even require Jailbreaking.

 

So lets discuss Typing Genius, which is actually a great application in its own right that adds the little bonus of unlocking Emoji on stateside iPhones and iPod Touches. This app has a myriad of different typing tests to help you improve your CPM speeds and be a better emailer, texter, IMer, googler, you name it. And the practice tests are actually very intuitive. Each run has options for a portrait, landscape, or portrait without auto correct keyboard. There are options for left hand, right hand, common words, phrases, sentences, and more! And your results (as long as the errors <5%) are even added to a graph showing progress over time – now thats good thinking. Overall, the application is very straightforward, but I can definitely see it helping my typing speed tremendously. One extra feature is a competition mode between two users – but I have not extensively tested that mode yet.

From my experience of the app, there is really only one (and a half?) negative(s) that I can think of. First of all, during one of the typing tests, if your characters become displaced one spot to the right or left due to an extra space lets say, none of the letters will match up and your mistakes will increase in percentage before your eyes. Also, and this is not the apps fault at all but just a general idea, enabling Emoji will diminish your 123 keyboard button to half size due to the new international keyboard button to access Emoji.

 

Overall, the typing skills practice definitely makes this application worth the $.99. At this time there is a free application in the app store for Emoji, but get this application – thank me later when you’re typing at double speed.

9/10

All the AIM-supporting apps in the App Store need some new features to improve the user experience. Here is what I mean.

 

Lets use a fake scenario to show the negatives of other applications that support faux push messaging. Granted, AIM doesn’t have this at all, but its still annoying as you will soon see. Basically, if an application like Beejive is logged in while the application is closed, it acts like a normal desktop client, and sends the messages it receives to your email account if you choose. But heres where it gets ugly… You are logged in at your PC or Mac and strike up a conversation with somebody on AIM… well Beejive or Mobilechat or IM+ will think “Hey, you’ve got a message!” and start sending each response to your email inbox or even worse, your SMS. This can quickly become aggravating, especially after all the new mail buzzes or beeps, or just the clutter that ruins your inbox. Worse, it can cost MONEY since SMS push eats away from your monthly allocation.

 

However, the apps should work in an entirely different way. Lets give an example. Your iPhone is open and unlocked with AIM open in the foreground. AIM should be able to identify which client is involved in the messaging and restrict the sending of IM’s to that device. If I initiate for the iPhone, responses should not go to the computer, and vice versa. Yes, of course if someone IM’s me for the first time it should go to both, but at least only send it to one device once I respond.

 

The official AIM app actually has one feature that is welcome, but is only a minor step to perfection. Logging in on the iPhone will not prompt the multiple user message if another client is logged in. Although this may be a negative for those who do not feel secure about the people who can access their computers, for most people it is helpful and convenient.

 

More reviews on the way…

Background Info

Internet radio is a hot subject these days. Most people love the idea of services like Pandora and Last.fm willing to provide users with customized radio, free of charge. A relative newcomer to the field is Slacker Radio, which just recently launched its own iPhone application.

Preliminary Summary

Slacker is essentially a mix between the Last.fm and Pandora methods of music discovery. Lets be clear, it does not identify similar music with a “sound” algorithm and instead creates matches through related artists of the same time period. The program constantly provided music that I enjoyed provided that I imputed a song or artist that I wanted to hear more of. However, Slacker has another major advantage to many of the other services, professionally programmed stations. Instead of being like the computerized genre stations that Pandora employs, these stations have much more variety and are generally more interesting since real humans choose the tracks in advance. Slacker has a huge variety of these stations, from dance to rap to country… and even two comedy channels (one clean/one explicit)!

Beautiful album art view of the current playing song...

Beautiful album art view of the current playing song...

Sliding a finger over the art will give a "peek" of the next album in the lineup...

Sliding a finger over the art will give a "peek" of the next album in the lineup...

Sliding over the halfway point will automatically switch to the new track and reveal its name.

Sliding over the halfway point will automatically switch to the new track and reveal its name.

First Impressions

Slacker itself has a very clear music interface as illustrated in the screenshots above. It employs a peek system where the album art for the next song is visible, which is a treat for the eyes and fits the application beautifully. The initial menus are slightly slow to load the channel art but is generally responsive and easy to use. However, the most interesting feature in regards to channel selection is the search. This enables the user to choose any artist or specific song to base a custom channel around. Furthermore, by clicking the small arrow next to the channel name, these custom channels can be “fine tuned” in order to change the popularity of songs, the frequency of favorites, and their approximate year of release. This adds a new dimension to music discovery and is a welcome addition compared to Pandora.

In Depth

In simplest terms, Slacker’s performance is very, very good. Although I do not have an iPhone 3G, I was able to test Slacker on my original iPhone on both EDGE and Wifi connections. Wifi, as expected, did not cause any stuttering or stopping at all, and the music quality was very defined and clear. EDGE also performed extremely well, with only occasional drop outs that occurred when my iPhone signal strength deteriorated to about 2 bars. I have not had enough time to make direct comparisons between Wifi and EDGE quality, but there is little to no difference between them, which is a good thing! To add to your enjoyment of these great sounding channels, Slacker regular service allows 6 skips of songs per hour for each channel. This is more than enough if you have made a good channel, however Slacker provides a $3.99 Plus service which adds unlimited skips and “song requests,” which are a way to listen to any song you want within the next few songs on the channel by clicking the heart button. However, as far as I know, requests only work on the web client and not on the iPhone. I am currently testing the Plus service this month and will report back to post my experiences.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Slacker may be the best music discovery, or shall we say music enjoyment, application on the App Store. It is similar to Pandora Radio in many ways, but has a few major benefits. Overall however, it is personal preference which service you prefer more.

9/10