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Posts tagged app review

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...

App Review: Sunrise Calendar
February 20, 2015 | 2:25 pm

sunrise calendarSomeone I follow on Twitter routinely shares roundup posts of productivity apps and after I'd seen Sunrise Calendar on so many posts, I decided it was time to try it out. I'm glad I did because it has become my new go-to calendar app. It's available on Android, iOS, and there's a browser-based version for a computer. To borrow a phrase, it's everywhere you'd want it to be. I love the interface on my Android phone, with a scrolling display of upcoming events and quick weather forecast items right there on the calendar. The display on the iPhone may be similar,...

App Review: Smart AudioBook Player for Android
January 26, 2015 | 11:11 am

smart audiobook playerIt finally dawned on me late last year that Overdrive MP3 audio books are DRM-free. Yes, I'd known that fact on some level, but I still listened to the books in the Overdrive app, which is okay but not great. Plus it often takes me longer than three weeks to finish an audiobook, so I was only checking out short ones (less than 10 hours). Once I processed the implications of DRM-free audio books (Hooray! I can check out long books!), I started looking for an audiobook player app and found Smart AudioBook Player. It has great reviews and offers a...

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...

App Review: Duolingo
February 22, 2014 | 5:05 pm

duolingoInspired by Joanna's article on reading French, I decided it was time to brush up on my long-neglected college-level French. I was looking for a good book or app when I stumbled across Duolingo. It's free (with no in-app purchases), and more important, it's fun. I like their approach to learning. Unlike my long-ago (and much despised) French classes, the app doesn't start you out with conjugating verbs. Instead, they use an immersive approach and let you dive right in. The exercises are varied and teach reading comprehension, writing and speaking, assuming you're using a device with a microphone. My favorite...

App Review: Lego Friends Story Maker (iOS)
February 21, 2014 | 3:37 pm

Lego Friends Story MakerA very sweet valentine gift from the Beloved has ignited a new obsession with me. I have become a Lego fan! So when I saw this neat-looking app from the Lego people, I was all over it and downloaded it for our school iPads. Lego and literacy skills building all in one app? What a great idea. The app is simple in concept and execution, but cleverly conceived. It allows kids to write their own little ebooks and illustrate them using characters and settings from the Lego Friends series. Once you have the project set up, all you have to do...

Why is the Kobo App Still So Annoying?
January 14, 2014 | 4:30 pm

kobo appI got an email yesterday from my esteemed editor Juli, wondering if I might be interested in commenting on the updated Kobo app, seeing as I am in Canada, aka The Country Where Kindle is Actually Not the Number One Brand. My initial response was 'ugh, do I have to?' I remembered the Kobo app as being clunky, crash-prone and difficult to navigate. But...maybe it had changed? Maybe it wasn't quite so bad anymore, several 'updates' since I last checked it out? Alas, no such luck. Kobo is still a frustrating and annoying app to use. I am not sure what...

App Review: BlogBooks for iOS
September 27, 2013 | 1:50 pm

I received a promo code for an intriguing iOS app yesterday. It said that it would take posts from a WordPress or Blogger blog and turn them into an e-book, readable in iBooks and easily converted to Kindle. Let me say that the description and reality have something in common. But not everything. It's a simple enough interface and easy enough to figure out. You input the URL of the blog in question, add optional Categories and a Max number of posts. There's a Settings tab where you can also specify sort order and a date range. So far so good. I thought...

App Review: Marvin for iPhone-Another Good e-reading app
September 17, 2013 | 12:09 pm

You've probably guessed from some of my previous articles that I'm a fan of Marvin for iPad. I follow their blog, and I knew a version for the iPhone was coming out. I updated the app on my iPad just before I left for the C3 Conference, and was delighted to receive a code while I was at the conference. Yes, a code. Which does mean that Marvin for iPhone isn't free. It's $4.99, which makes it relatively expensive for an iPhone reading app. Is it worth the price? Read on. This app is a complete redesign for the iPhone. They've done...

Double App Review: MegaReader and QuickReader for iOS
August 30, 2013 | 6:41 pm

I'm reviewing both of these apps together because they're so similar; there's just one feature difference between them. The developer was celebrating five million downloads and in honor of the occasion was offering free versions of the apps to bloggers. Lucky me! Anyway, at their heart, they are both e-reading apps. (Both are also available for iOS only.) Let's start with MegaReader. It has more features than most of the store reading apps (Kindle, Kobo, and Nook), but far fewer features than Marvin. That's either a good or bad thing, depending on the user. While I love Marvin, I can see its...

App Review: Duolingo for iOS
July 30, 2013 | 8:41 pm

DuolingoDuolingo is a learning app that promised to 'gamify' language learning. As a language teacher, I was ready to roll! I downloaded the app, picked my desired language, and ... and I lasted about an hour before I was bored and annoyed. Sorry! The App Setup The app is set up with a series of short 'lesson' books, grouped into little branches of a tree. You can start with book one, or 'test out' and move onto the next unit by successfully completing a little mini-lesson. The main control panel also has a little sidebar that offers such useful information as how many...

App Review: Unstuck for iPad
June 20, 2013 | 10:01 am

UnstuckI'm glad that Dan suggested I test out and review the Unstuck app because I used it with a client a couple days ago, and it led to some interesting discoveries. What is Unstuck? It's an app to help you get past those times in your life when you're 'stuck.' Thinking you need to change jobs, and you just can't get motivated to do it? Frustrated about some aspect of a relationship, and you're not sure what to do about it? That's where the app comes in. Now, as a professional coach, I have to add this disclaimer. The app is OK...

App review: Putting SwiftKey through the paces with a timed test
June 11, 2013 | 6:21 pm

SwiftKeyI'd thought that Swype was a pretty good keyboard replacement, and I still think so. Unfortunately, it's not compatible with the Nook HD, so someone recommended I look at SwiftKey. My first impression wasn't positive. It's not nearly as good at swipe entry as Swype, and I'd gotten used to swiping. Beside, it looks totally cool when taking notes in a client meeting, especially if I'm using a stylus. I've gotten lots of raised eyebrows and "What's that?" while using Swype. But Swiftkey has a lot going for it, especially if you're willing to retrain how you perform data entry. Its text...

App Review: Astrid Tasks for iOS and Android
April 25, 2013 | 2:15 pm

As you’ve probably guessed from previous posts, I’m a big fan of Pocket Informant for task and calendar management. But sometimes an app like Informant is just too much. Or perhaps you want to keep track of certain tasks separately. I’ve found Astrid Tasks to be a good option for those times. It has many features of a full-function task manager, but it can also be used for the simple things. Besides, who can resist the cute octopus? I use it for grocery lists, meal lists and packing lists for camping. Sure, there are apps out there for all of those, but I’m comfortable with task...

App Review: Goodreads for iOS and Android
April 22, 2013 | 4:27 pm

GoodreadsNow that Amazon is buying Goodreads, I'm guessing lots more people are going to be using the site, so it seemed to make sense to write a review of the app. Goodreads has an app for both iOS and Android. It's also available in the Amazon Appstore for the Kindle Fire. Oddly, that version is listed as not compatible for my Nexus 7. There doesn't seem to be an app for Windows 8 or Blackberry. Both versions are easy to use and fairly self-explanatory. I have a mild preference for the iOS version, but because I do most of my reading on...

Dictionary.com app now sporting a new look on Android
April 4, 2013 | 3:30 pm

No, dictionary apps aren't sexy. But for the avid reader, they are a useful addition. Sure, most e-reading apps and e-readers have integrated dictionaries, but sometimes it's nice to be able to look up an unfamiliar word anywhere. That's how I use the Dictionary.com app on my Nexus 7. It's always been a functional app, but it looked like a phone app spread out on a tablet screen, not an uncommon occurrence in Android apps. Today, however, Dictionary.com updated its app, optimized for Jelly Bean, and they completely refreshed the user interface. It's now a nice looking as well as functional...

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