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Posts tagged app

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...

Faber iPad app brings Scots via Irish with Seamus Heaney Henryson versions
May 26, 2014 | 12:47 pm

One of the most interesting posthumous Seamus Heaney publications to appear since the great Irish poet's death has just debuted in the shape of Seamus Heaney: Five Fables, an iPad app "based on Seamus Heaney’s translations of Scottish poet Robert Henryson’s fables, recently adapted and animated for the BBC," according to the app's introduction from Northern Ireland Screen. "A partnership between Touch Press, Faber and Flickerpix, funded by Northern Ireland Screen's Ulster–Scots Broadcast Fund, the app presents an immersive, interactive experience." The app even has its own website, here. Robert Henryson was a late 15th-century Scottish poet, part of the extraordinary...

Android versus Apple apps: The time factor
March 7, 2014 | 12:32 pm

appsThe vexed question of Android versus Apple apps has surfaced again, but this time it's not money: it's time. And those nice people at Crispy Codes have shared an infographic that helps make sense of this issue and map out project timelines. According to Crispy Codes, "Android devices vary. It takes longer to build an Android app vs. iOS or Windows." But issues such as UI design (whether out-of-the-box or custom made),  level of complexity, and integration with a backend server, obviously make more of a difference. See below for the whole story. ...

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...

Does Apple’s rejection of political games constitute a monopoly?
June 24, 2013 | 3:55 am

rottenE-books are one form of new media commonly associated with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, but another—arguably, one more unique to them—is video games. But politically topical games have always been a hot button issue with Apple’s iOS app store, which is prone to reject them on the slightest flimsy excuse. Polygon has an interesting feature covering the difficulties of some such studios to get their games approved. While I would quibble a bit with Polygon’s terminology referring to politically-topical games as “serious” games—as if non-political games can’t have serious stories—I would tend to agree with its point...

Feedly wants Google Reader’s throne; can it be RSS king?
June 9, 2013 | 11:00 am

FeedlyIt’s unfortunate news, but it’s inevitable—and worthless to sulk about any longer. Let’s face it: Google Reader will be no more in less than a month from now—on July 1, to be exact. Will this effect you too? I’ve used and continue to regularly use Reader for years, so for me this is the ‘not good’ kind of change. Starting while I was in college, Google’s RSS feed app was the first and only service of its kind that mattered to me. I loved what it did for me, helping to redefine how I handled research academically and, of course, leisurely. So,...

Flipboard 2.0 Comes to Android with Curated Magazines
May 9, 2013 | 3:59 pm

Flipboard Flipboard for Android finally received an update to version 2.0. The biggest new feature of this update is the ability to create and share personalized magazines. This feature was first introduced for iOS a couple months ago. Flipboard 2.0 also utilizes Android’s native sharing functionality. You’ll be able to save content to a Flipboard magazine from other applications such as the photo gallery or Web browser.  Once you create a magazine, you can choose to share it on social networks, through email or text message. One downside to the magazines is that some articles can’t be read in full from the Flipboard application. You’ll...

Productivity App Astrid Acquired By Yahoo!
May 4, 2013 | 7:00 pm

Astrid TasksRemember my review of the task management app known as Astrid last week? Well, my timing may have been lousy. Astrid announced on their blog today that they’ve been acquired by Yahoo!, and it’s an ominous announcement. Here are the two ominous parts: Over the next 90 days, Astrid will continue to work as is, and we will no longer be accepting new premium subscriptions. To make future changes as easy as possible, we’ll be in touch with users shortly to share how to download data. And: *Note: Yahoo! will be administering refunds to eligible users who have paid for annual subscriptions, Power-Pack and Locale Plugins. I...

ComiXology’s Marvel #1 Promotion Works Like a Charm
April 13, 2013 | 12:14 pm

comiXology As promised, ComiXology began sending out emails with personalized links to individuals who asked to be notified about the continuation of the Marvel #1 promotion. The email contains a link that can only be accessed from the email address it was sent to. The recipient has 48 hours to claim their free comics (over 700 in all) before the link becomes inactive. I just got my invitation, and can tell you the process worked flawlessly. All of the eligible comics are displayed on a single page. The are separated by specific categories. The categories include Marvel Now! Avengers, Marvel Events, Marvel Zombies, Punisher, Ultimate...

A conversation with Amanda Close about BookScout, Random House’s new discoverability app
February 1, 2013 | 1:00 pm

  By Brian Howard Last week, following a soft-launch the week prior, Random House marched out BookScout, a Facebook app designed to link readers with books they'll like but might not have discovered on their own. The recommendation engine draws on a user's "likes"—both on one's Facebook timeline and then directly through the app. Intriguingly, BookScout is not purely a Random House recommendation engine—it'll tip readers to any book in print, regardless of whether it was published by its own imprint Knopf, Big Six rival HarperCollins, indie McSweeney's or even Amazon Publishing. Though the app's early reviews have been mixed (I've found its recommendations to...

Why publishers are ditching their iOS apps for the web
July 9, 2012 | 9:58 am

Images  1 That's the title of an article in the Cult of Mac: ... Since then, however, a handful of publications have decided to abandon their presence on iOS devices. Some are planning to build a web app as their only iOS or mobile presence. Others are looking to create deals with various news aggregators. Regardless of their plans, Apple’s terms are one of the key reasons that publishers are getting out of the App Store. Mobile industry research firm VisionMobile looked at some of the reasons that publishers, including theFinancial Times felt that abandoning a native app strategy was in their best interests. They identified three core reasons that publishers...