Tag Archives: apps

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How to keep an eye out for unwanted App Store subscriptions

App Store subscriptions can add up financially if you are not careful. They are also easier to sign up for than you might think. It can be especially bad if your kids have the ability to download apps on iPhones or iPads; kids will not even be aware they are signing up for subscriptions. (Heck, that is also true of adults.)

To check on and cancel subscriptions, follow this guide: How to Cancel App Store Subscriptions – MacRumors

If this saves you any money, let me know! ūüôā

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Truly great MacOS apps for working remotely

I’m often disappointed by lists of software that supposedly help me work better. This is not one of those lists. I think the tools here are really great, and anyone with a Mac that works remotely should definitely check out this:¬†¬†These Are the 8 Best MacOS Apps for Working Remotely | Inc.com

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It’s Monday. You need to do great things. Here’s some great tools to help you.


This is a really good list of apps that will make you life and your work more productive:¬†17 Great Apps That’ll Make Your Life Easier.

I’ve used a number of them and have found them helpful. You may not use them all, but even adding 2 or 3 to your toolbox will make you better.

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Some thoughts on the 10th Anniversary of the App Store

  1. I remember what a big deal it was that Apple was going to support third party software developers. That was by no means a given: Apple could have restricted the iPhone to only their apps and a handful of third party software vendors. By being much more open, they made the iPhone so much more than it could have been if they had not.
  2. I believe iTunes had a big influence on this. It was a model, in a sense, for what the App Store could be. And as iTunes helped make the iPod a success, so would the App Store help make the iPhone (and the iPod Touch) a success.
  3. One influence iTunes had on the App Store was software pricing. Before the App Store software was either free or pricey. Suddenly the App Store came along and software was the price of a song. The few vendors that wanted to charge more could not compete with those who were fine with the low cost. The App Store changed the way people thought about what they should pay for software.
  4. Another effect the App Store had on software was time to market. With mobile apps, people expected updates regularly and bugs to be fixed right away. Companies that used to ship annually now were shipping weekly or daily. This had a huge effect on how software teams developed software. Everyone had to have a mobile app, and every mobile app had to keep up with the new pace. This effect rippled through companies. Software developers adopted the pace for mobile apps to other software being created and released that frequently as well.
  5. The App Store also improved software quality. If you released bad software, you would hear from users immediately via the ratings. There was no hiding bad apps. As well, if your app sucked, other people would come out with better apps and steal whatever market share you had.  Software development teams were on tighter leashes because of the App Store.
  6. The App Store allowed software developers to make money in ways they could not before. You had a direct channel to consumers of software via the App Store. And lots of developers made a good amount of money as a result.
  7. Apps  became part of our culture. Games like Angry Birds found an audience because of the App Store.
  8. We downloaded so many apps we lost track of them. And some of them turned out not to be good for us. Speaking of that, if you want to do a bit of spring cleaning on your apps and make sure that the ones remain are good, I recommend you read this: On the 10th anniversary of the App store, it’s time to delete most of your apps (Popular Science)

A primer for Pokemon Go

It’s only been out for a very short time, but already there’s at least one primer for it, here: Ten Things I Wish I Knew When I Started ‘Pok√©mon GO’ – Forbes. If you want to leapfrog others playing it, read this and then get going.

More thoughts on Waze

I have thought a lot about Waze since I started using it. Without a doubt, it has improved my life substantially. Here are some other thoughts I had as I used it.

  1. Waze is an example of how software will eat the world. In this case, the world of gPS devices. Waze is a GPS on steroids. Not only will Waze do all the things that a GPS will do, but it does so much more, as you can see from this other Waze post I wrote.¬†If you have a GPS, after you use Waze for a bit, you’ll likely stop using it.
  2. Waze will change the way cities work. Cities are inefficient when it comes to transportation. Our work habits contribute to that, in that so many people commute at the same time, in the same direction, on the same routes, each work day. Waze and other new forms of adding intelligence to commuting will shape our work habits over time. Drivers being¬†able to take advantage of unbusy streets to¬†reduce congestion on major thoroughfares is just the start. City planners could¬†work with Waze to better understand travel patterns and travel behaviour and incorporate changes into the city ¬†so that traffic flows better. It’s not that city planners don’t have such data, it’s that Waze likely has more data and better data than they currently have.
  3. Waze is a great example of how A.I. could work. I have no idea how much A.I. is built into Waze. It could be none, it could be alot. It does make intelligent recommendations to me, and that is all I care about. How it makes those intelligent recommendations is a black box. Developers of A.I. technologies should look at Waze as an example of how best to deploy A.I. Those A.I. developers should look at how best A.I. can solve a problem for the user and spend less time trying to make the A.I. seem human or overly intelligent. People don’t care about that. They care about practical applications of A.I. that make their lives better. Waze does that.

Why I love Waze. 13 good reasons why it is my favourite app


Inspired, in a way, by this article,¬†Why I hate Waze in LA Times, I’d like to share some of the ways that Waze has made my life a lot better. 13¬†ways, in fact. There are more, but if this doesn’t convince drivers to use Waze, I don’t know what will.

  1. It saves me a lot of time: I used to take my son to hockey practice every week on a trip that took me 50 minutes. After talking to some other parents, I downloaded Waze. The result: my hockey commute went from 50 minutes to 25 minutes! Before Waze, I was stuck taking the major roads that were severely congested because I didn’t know what else to do. Waze recommended roads close to¬†the roads I was on but that had no traffic problems.¬†Over one year, I have saved hours of unnecessary commuting and saved on gas as well.
  2. It gets me to places on time: not only will Waze give you a fast route to travel, but it will tell you to the minute when you will get there. At first I didn’t think this was possible, but I was and continue to be amazed at how accurate it is. Now, before I am going somewhere, I will put the destination in Waze and know when I will arrive. No more being too early or late.
  3. It gives me options on how to get to a place: What I love about Waze is that it gives me 3 different routes to get to a place. It always recommends the fastest, but I like having the options. Sometimes it will recommend a road or a highway and I will think: I prefer to spend a bit more time and go a more scenic route.
  4. It gives me better times to travel if that is an option: Waze will also show me how long over the course of a day the route I want will take.  a 40 minute route at 4 p.m. might be a 24 minute route at 7:30 p.m. If you can shift your travel time, you can save yourself some time on the commute, according to Waze. This is a great feature.
  5. It has made me a calmer driver: I used to get anxious when I would get stuck in traffic. I’d think: God! I am never getting out of this jam! With Waze, not only do I know how long it will take to get to a place, traffic jam or not, but Waze will tell me things like: you will be stuck in traffic for 6 minutes. Now I feel much more in control of my commutes. Plus, I always know the route I am going is the best way to get to a place.
  6. It’s made me a more confident driver: one thing I didn’t like about Waze at first but now I do is that it often tells you to make left turns. Sometimes on busy streets. I used to avoid this on my own and I would go and turn at an intersection with lights. However, left hand turns save time, and the more I do them, even on busy streets, the more I realize they are no big deal. You just have to be patient and wait for an opening in traffic. It will come, often in a few seconds.
  7. It has helped me know the city better: when traffic is busy, Waze will have you going down streets you might normally skip. As I have done this, I have been amazed at how many new streets in the city I have discovered. Now, even when I don’t use Waze, I know about these streets and that knowledge helps me get around my city better.
  8. It helps you with cities you have no clue in: if you are driving into a city that you don’t know well, Waze is essential. I was driving into Montreal which has busy streets that go all different ways. With Waze I could just type in my hotel’s name and it gave me the route to get there.¬†I had done this before Waze and it was a nightmare for me. With Waze it was easy.
  9. You don’t need to know addresses: that’s the other great thing about Waze. You can type in a name of a place and it will do a search and give you a list you can choose from. It’s perfect for when you are out with people and they say: let’s meet up at restaurant XYZ. You can enter that in Waze and off you go.
  10. It is the perfect navigator for solo drivers: I used to write down maps to help me get to places. It was ok, but not easy. It was especially difficult in new cities or driving on highways. Waze is constantly telling you how long you have to travel on a road, when you can expect to turn, and then telling you exactly where to turn. And if you miss a turn, it will recalibrate on the fly and tell you have to get back to where you need to go.
  11. It is great at night: I travel to a lot of rinks at night in the winter. Many of them are down small roads and poorly marked. I would have a heck of a time without Waze. With Waze, it is dead simple to get to the rinks. Can’t see a road sign? Can’t see the rink set far away frm the street? No problem: just follow the directions that Waze is giving you and you’ll get there.
  12. It gives you lots of time to turn: with Waze, you get lots of warning about when you have to turn. It will say: “in 1.2 kilometers, turn left….in 300 kilometers turn left….turn left at street X. ” You never have to worry about being told to turn left at the last minute.
  13. You can be flexible: Waze will suggest the fastest route. However, sometimes I will be tired or not in a rush and I will stick to a road I prefer driving down. Waze will quickly recalibrate and make additional recommendations, right to the point I arrive at my destination.

Are you getting charged for monthly subscriptions from Apple apps? If so, read this

This is for a particular app (MLB At Bat monthly subsciption charge will continue until you turn it off), but it should work for any app you have that is billing you monthly.

It may not seem much a month, but like any slow leak, the cost adds up. Best to seal it right away.

You got a new iPhone for Christmas. What you want to do next is….

What you want to do next is head over to Mashable.com and read this: The 100 best iPhone apps of all time. Apps make your iPhone much better. While you likely have heard of a certain percentage of them, but most you have not. Get them and make your phone better.

Why Apple TV will be the Next Big Thing from Apple


Why do I think that? Because according to this, Apple TV apps are coming (Business Insider). There are a limited set of apps now, but if Apple steps back and lets other develop apps, the Apple TV device could get really exciting.

If you think it is alarming that Facebook also collects what you decide not to post, then I have some news for you

If you think this is alarming: Facebook also collects what you decide not to post, tech consultant warns РTechnology & Science РCBC News, then I have more news for you.

Not only can Facebook do this, but they can do other things.¬†For example, if they wanted to, they could track where you move your mouse, even if you don’t click on something, using technology like the kind mentioned here:¬†web page mouse tracking – Google Search.

In fact, you don’t even have to go to Facebook to have them track you:¬†Facebook Is Tracking Your Every Move on the Web; Here’s How to Stop It.

And if you use Facebook on your mobile phone, there’s potentially even more information they can track about you.

So, lots of reasons to be concerned. I all but avoid Facebook, but it is not an easy thing to do. In addition, I don’t think Facebook is the only one that does this. They seem to be just the most notorious.

 

 

Periscope, Meerkat, and the future of virtual tourism

If you haven’t heard, Meerkat and Periscope are two apps that allow one person to stream an event and have others watch it. For example, here is an artist streaming her¬†work on a painting while others watch and ¬†interact: Wendy MacNaughton paints live on Periscope My… – Austin Kleon.

It’s an interesting idea. Once people get creative, there will be all types of events that people stream, from the obvious (porn, music concerts) to things no one thought of before.

I think one of these not so obvious ones will be virtual tourism. Essentially someone will visit a place like Japan and stream the cherry blossom festival or go to Pamplona for the running of the bulls and others will watch in real time. Maybe people will sponsor the person ahead of time, or the person will wear a shirt with ads on it, or find some way to make revenue. In return, lots of people can see something they might not be able to see otherwise.

People will use Periscope and Meerkat in all kinds of ways. Expect this to be one of them.

(Image via techcrunch)

Want to start a startup? All you need for that is here

And by here, I mean this site: Startup Stash РCurated resources and tools for startups. It is an amazing collection of tools you likely will need, for one thing. Plus, it has a superb user interface that not only groups the tools well, but gives you a sense of all the things you need to think about if you are going to go forward and create your own startup.

If you aren’t seriously thinking about startups, but would like to know about new tools to make you more productive at work, then I recommend you check out this site too.

Kudos to the creator of the site. Well worth a visit.

If you are thinking of writing apps for a living, this is still worth reading

This came out awhile ago (As Boom Lures App Creators, Tough Part Is Making a Living – NYTimes.com) but if you are thinking about writing apps for a living, then you should read it.

If you have a great idea for an app and a passion to develop it, you should. Just finish the above piece in the Times and keep it in mind.

Having trouble sleeping? Have an iPhone? Try this.

It’s free and it’s from Muji. It’s the¬†MUJI to Sleep App, available at¬†the App Store on iTunes.

My new favourite app for beating procrastination and getting things done (GTD) is 30/30

My new favourite app for beating procrastination is the 30/30 app from the good folks at  binary hammer. I often find I get distracted from the list of things I have to do. With the 30/30 app, I can create a simple list of tasks, each with an amount of time to do them in. Once I start the list, the app shows me how much time I have to complete each item on the list. I can add if I want, or if I finish early, I can check it off (and the task moves down to the Completed section below the line). The result: I am better able to focus on the task list I have to do.

The app works on the iPad and the iPhone. The interface is superb. And it’s free! I highly recommend it.

For more on the app, you can go to the binary hammer web site (link above) or you can go here: 30/30 on the App Store on iTunes

‘Notability’ is App of the Week and is free this week. You should get it.

I just started using Notability in the last few weeks on my iPad and I love it. It allows me to quickly and easily capture notes while I am interviewing clients or jotting down ideas during work. I can type in text or I can use a stylus and draw/scribble my notes and drawings. I can also take photos of things and then scribble on them. I can capture audio if I want too. There’s alot of ways to capture information.

Once I capture the info, I can either leave it on my iPad, email it to myself, or use any number of cloud services (e.g., Dropbox) to save the output. The output can be PDF, RTF or other formats.

It’s a great app, and I didn’t hesitate to pay the $2.99 for it. But now it is free, there is no reason for you not to download a copy and try it.¬† I bet you will love it.

For more info, check out the iPad App Store or read more about it here: ‘Notability’ Named App of the Week, Available for Free – Mac Rumors