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App Review: iPoe Collection: Enhanced eBook in an App
June 19, 2015 | 2:08 pm

ipoe collectionRemember how I said I didn't much like enhanced ebooks? I might have to change my opinion if more publishers offered books like the iPoe Collection. I confess to being dubious when the developers offered me a free review copy, but then I started reading, and I was completely entranced. We'll start with the downside. These are ebooks done as apps, so, no, you're not going to be able to read them in your ereading device of choice, unless that device happens to be an iPad or iPhone. Each app (currently 3) cost between $3.99 and $4.99, and you only get...

App Review: Agent for Android. Silence Your Phone Automatically
June 17, 2015 | 2:25 pm

agent for androidHalf the reason I'm writing this post is because I finally got my HTC One M8 to Bluetooth connect to my Honda Civic. Apparently a recent update the HTC Car app made them compatible with each other. Now that the Bluetooth connection works, I can take full advantage of Agent for Android, the app I will miss the most if I make the switch back to iOS. Agent basically does one thing. It automatically silences your phone based on certain criteria. If you give it access to your calendar, it will silence your phone during meetings. In my other job as a...

E-books on your Windows phone: Try free Freda app—offering text to speech and easy downloads of free books
June 2, 2015 | 6:05 am

fredavideo  A free e-reading app called Freda might be just the ticket for your Windows phone. Freda already shines by Windows Phone e-reading standards. It’s won an average of 4.5 stars out of 5 from 1,384 customers of the Windows Phone Store. Perhaps when a Win 10 update rolls around for the app itself, Freda will be still better. Versions come in English, German, French, Chinese and several other languages. The above video from XDA TV is not up entirely to date but will still help you understand the app’s possibilities. As described by Turnipsoft Limited, here are some goodies: Reads ePub (DRM-free), HTML, and...

The Once and Future of Handwriting Recognition
May 29, 2015 | 1:34 pm

myscript-logo-1135x375With apologies to T. H. White for the title. I was recently approached by MyScript, a company focused on handwriting recognition software, about their latest iOS app, MyScript Stylus for iOS. (Don't worry, Paul, it's also available in beta on Android.) I tried it out and was surprised at how well it recognized my handwriting. Granted, I don't have really bad handwriting (when I work at it), but there was no learning curve at all. Back in my Handspring Visor days, I loved Graffiti and was pretty darned fast. Then I purchased my first Blackberry, a Curve, and I became wicked fast...

App Annie Index suggests Google has an app problem?
April 16, 2015 | 6:25 pm

The latest quarterly mobile app market index from analytics firm App Annie, the App Annie Index: Market Q1 2015, suggests that the Google Play store and the iOS App Store are following "different paths" as the mobile app market evolves. According to App Annie, "Google Play extended its lead over the iOS App Store in downloads, and iOS extended its lead in monetizing apps." App Annie found that "Google Play's worldwide downloads in Q1 2015 were approximately 70 percent higher than the iOS App Store, up from 60 percent in Q3 2014 ... On the other hand, the iOS App Store's worldwide...

Searching for the perfect tablet writing app
January 29, 2015 | 2:32 pm

productivityYou'll note the title says "searching." There's a reason for that. I've found an option that works, after a fashion, and I've found another app I intend to try, but I'm open to suggestions. Let me lay out the situation. I do my best fiction writing in coffee shops, so I've been on a hunt for an iPad app which does the following: 1. Syncs with little to no effort to my desktop 2. Has a clean interface with few distractions 3. Has a word count feature (semi-optional, but preferred) 4. Doesn't add formatting I have to remove when I transfer the text to Word. Word...

Moon+ Reader Pro sporting new Material Design
January 6, 2015 | 4:25 pm

Screenshot_2015-01-06-09-35-43Your Android device might not yet be running Lollipop (and you might be glad of that with recent reports of Lollipop woes), but you've probably noticed that many of your apps are sporting the new Material Design look. (Anyone else amused when an Apple app gets updated to a Material Design look, to match the Android version?) Update: Removed because a reader pointed out my throw-away comment was incorrect. Moon+ Reader Pro is one of the first eReader apps to sport the new design. (Thanks to reader Jon Jermey for pointing it out to me.) Play Books obviously has the new...

Notes on iPhone/iPad
November 18, 2014 | 4:25 pm

notes on iphoneIn today's Morning Links, there was an interesting piece from Mark Crump at GigaOM on his work process for iPad/iPhone note-taking. This is an interesting subject for me as I have at various times tried to run my workflow in this way, and have been unable to. I have never seen an article---Crump's included---that discussed only one product, so that tells me that the field of digital note-taking still has a ways to go. So, what are some of the deficiencies in what is currently available? 1) Most of them require ancillary tools to work at their best. Crump discusses the...

Magazine publishers unhappy with Apple Newsstand
October 16, 2014 | 10:01 pm

newsstandDigital magazines for tablets have long had a number of problems, not the least of which being that it’s considerably easier for people to make their own “magazines” via RSS readers or other content aggregators such as Flipboard. But Digiday reports that magazine publishers are finding Apple’s Newsstand app problematic in new ways as well. In iOS 7, Apple changed the way Newsstand worked so users were no longer notified if there was a new issue of their magazine available. It doesn’t let users put shortcuts to their magazines on their home screens either. Its ability to download issues...

Humble Bundle releases Android App
August 15, 2014 | 1:50 pm

Humble BundleFrom the fine folks at Lifehacker comes this intriguing news (Humble Bundle Releases Android App): the Humble Bundle people have just updated their Android app to allow downloads right from inside. As the article explains, the app used to allow only game downloads. Now, you can download music, books and audiobooks too and send them to an app like Play Books for use and enjoyment. Very slick, Humble Bundle. Now, where is the iOS app?...

Using Evernote as a task management system
August 4, 2014 | 10:38 am

EvernoteLast year Joanna wrote an excellent guide to Evernote, and I've been a fan for years. I recently read Evernote for Dummies, through Scribd, and, although I didn't learn much new from the book, it did inspire me to use Evernote in a new (to me) way. I've been telling clients for years that Evernote can be used as a complete task management system, but I never used it that way myself, preferring my much-loved Pocket Informant app. Well, when I say "much loved," I do mean that in the past tense. I wasn't crazy about the changes in the latest...

Amazon gives away 30 free Android apps June 27, 28
June 27, 2014 | 3:36 pm

If you’ve got an Android tablet and are looking for something fun to put on it, don’t miss this Amazon giveaway. Instead of just one app, today Amazon’s giving away thirty with a combined total value of over $100. And these aren’t some random apps you’ve never heard of, either. Gizmodo has a rundown of some of the better ones.  The list includes the Plex media streamer, AccuWeather Platinum (a great weather app, which I personally used myself already), Notepad+, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and more. Most of them will work with any Android tablet, as long as you’ve...

Portuguese app store Aptoide files anti-trust accusation against Google for bundling Play Store
June 18, 2014 | 5:37 pm

aptoideGigaom (and our sister blog TechnologyTell) reports that a Portuguese Android app store, Aptoide, has filed an anti-trust complaint against Google to the European Commission. This isn’t the first such complaint Google’s gotten in Europe, either. Aptoide complains that Google’s Play store won’t permit fully-functional third-party app stores on board (which is to say, apps that let you download other apps from outside Google), that Google has been making it harder and harder for people to find the setting necessary to allow installation of third-party apps, that the Google Play store is bundled with Google’s services and required to...

Amazon Prime Streaming Music is terrific for Prime subscribers
June 17, 2014 | 3:41 pm

Juli gave her review of Amazon Prime Music yesterday. Now I’ll have my say. First of all, as Slate and the Verge point out in their reviews, Amazon Prime Streaming Music is not a Pandora or Spotify killer, and it’s not meant to be. It really isn’t even a new service at all, so much as an extension of an old one. Amazon has offered cloud music storage since 2011, after all. You can already upload music to Amazon’s cloud and stream it, or stream mp3s you buy from Amazon’s mp3 store. Prime Streaming Music just lets you stream...

App Review: Google Play Books for Android
June 17, 2014 | 12:19 pm

Screenshot_2014-06-17-10-57-52I hadn’t paid much attention to Google Play Books before. I’d installed and even paid for readers like Aldiko and Moon+ (TeleRead review), and snagged a couple freeish ones like UB Reader, but Play Books just sat in my app drawer, unused, like most of the pack-in Google apps. But when I came across this Lifehacker piece calling it “the best e-reader for Android,” I figured it was worth trying out. And darned if I don’t by and large agree. Offering a simple and easy-to-use reading interface and cloud reading-position sync with all books, Google Play Books is...

Feedbooks acquires Aldiko ereading app
May 28, 2014 | 11:25 am

logo_feedbooksFeedbooks announced the acquisition of Aldiko, an Android ereading app that has more than 20 million downloads. Feedbooks began in June 2007 and has added a number of initiatives over the years such as a web e-book creation tool, and offers a distribution channel. Now it will have its own ereading app. Considering Feedbooks offers more than 800,000 titles in its own store and Aldiko works with a number of publishing formats, the match seems like a good one. Feedbooks allows customers to stay within its system from start to finish with its new purchase. “We are thrilled to join Feedbooks with whom...

Review: SwiftKey Note for iOS
May 15, 2014 | 12:31 pm

swiftkey note for iOSOne of the things I love most about the Android platform is the ability to use third-party keyboards, like SwiftKey, which has an uncanny predictive ability. Unfortunately, iOS doesn't allow third-party keyboards. The stock keyboard is okay, but it doesn't have crazy good prediction. The folks at SwiftKey have coded a work around called SwiftKey Note for iOS. It's a separate app, so you can't use it systemwide, but if you can live with the limitations of only using it in the dedicated app, it has utility. The app syncs seamlessly with Evernote, so if you use it, SwiftKey Note might meet...

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