Friday, June 26, 2009

Upgrades... Galore

Since the release of OS 3.0 many of the applications I use frequently have been upgraded. Below is a quick list:
  • Instapaper Pro 2.0: Upgrade includes folders to increase organization, speed enhancements and a social networking component leveraging "starred" articles.
  • 2.0 (free): This is a major upgrade, providing 15 day forecasts and 15 hours of hourly forecasts (both increased from 5).
  • 1Password Pro ($4.99 special): This is a paid upgrade from 1Password (free), the pro version incorporates copy & paste of passwords - especially handy of you are using secure passwords. One caveat, if you are a 1Password user and you upgrade to the Pro edition, you will need to re-sync your data into the Pro version.
  • Analytics App 1.3 ($5.99 new, free upgrade): Dig deeper... tap on items to see detailed reports. Increased speed, and removed the graph for the Today view.
  • AP Mobile News: added push notifications.. which work on my iPod Touch more consistently than on my iPhone 3GS and added weather by accuweather.
  • And one new FUN application: Check out Sonifi from Sonik Architects ($4.99). Remix a BT track... this is like carrying a pocket version of Ableton Live.
  • New Application: If you are an ATT U-verse subscriber (TV), check out the ATT U-Verse application, you can add & remove shows on your DVR, setup up your favorite channels and use your iPhone as a pocket guide! This application gives you quick access to the U-verse channel guide. I would like to see them add landscape view on the guide.

Upgrades known to be in the pipeline: NetNewsWire, DocsToGo, Pro

Monday, June 22, 2009

Instapaper 2.0 to Add support for Folders

While the iPhone application for Instapaper Pro is being held up by Apple's App reviewers, Marco Arment (developer for Instapaper) has launched the new Instapaper website. Which now supports folders (the number one requested feature), making it easier to organize your offline reading.
When creating a new folder, you can choose an organizational folder that contains "Another Users starred items", thus adding a social networking component to the folder enhancement. For example you can create a fold that contains articles that have been "starred" by Marco.
All of this functionality is now available on the website, and will be available on the new iPhone application as soon as it is approved by Apple. For now, Instapaper Pro 1.3 is available for $4.99 (half price) at the App store (free upgrade to 2.0). As a user of Instapaper - $4.99 is a steal!

Oleophobic Coating - FTW!

Yes the new iPhone 3G S is fast, the camera is improved and the voice control is a welcomed addition. Two days in as a new user of the iPhone 3G S, I must say the enhancement I first noticed is the oleophobic screen. The oleophobic screen is said to be finger print resistant, and it is, it is a definite improvement over the screens from the original iPhone and iPhone 3G.
The feel of the new screen is different from the previous screens, not bad, just different. Bottomline, the new screen is a step forward, showing fewer greasy fingerprints and providing a surface that wipes clean easier than the previous screens.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

AP Mobile News 3.0

A new version of AP's Mobile News hit the App Store last night. The application is a mixed bag, the interface is still extremely busy! But... the new version has a very cool interface with Evernote, meaning you can send any article over to Evernote for safe keeping.
AP Mobile 3.0 also leverages Apple's notification infrastructure, I received my first notification today - it worked as advertised "breaking news."
AP needs to tone down the UI and they will have a solid application on their hands!

Evernote' s New version 3.0 iPhone Application

First off, the landscape notes view in Evernote 3.0 is stunning, you can scroll through icon sized images of all your notes with a few flicks of the screen.

The first thing you will notice when you open Evernote 3.0 the first time is that all of your notes load in a "All Notes" modes, no more loading and scrolling through 25 notes at a time. In portrait view there is an "Index Bar" floating on the right side of the screen (the index bar is along the bottom of the screen in landscape view), the index bar can be configured on the fly to group notes by: created or updated date, title (alphabetically), city or country (assuming your notes are geo-tagged), or by notebook. I have 300+ media rich notes and resorting by the grouping took less than 2 seconds - very impressive. To select the grouping press the "i" icon to the right of the search field. I found the notes grouping to be a good default view for the iPhone - mimicking the desktop view.
Search and advanced search have had their interfaces cleaned up and advanced search now offers an "Other" category that lets you filter by source, such as "Emailed to Evernote" or mobile, etc.
All is not perfect with this upgrade though, you still can not edit notes on the iPhone that contain "stylized text" or images - hopefully Evernote will find a solution for this with the new tools provided in iPhone os 3.0. Also, the voice note functionality has been reworked, the new interface is nice - fewer clicks to begin recording, but the sound quality of the recordings is poor. To compare, I used Apple's new Voice Memo application and emailed the recording to Evernote, the sound quality was superior to the recording from within Evernote - noticeably superior.. so much so, that I plan to use Voice Memo and email the audio file to Evernote, until the quality issue is addressed within the Evernote application.
For your notes that are geo-tagged, such as notes created on your iPhone 3G, you can now view your notes on a map. This feature is acccessible by pressing the push pin left of the search field. I am not sure how useful this will be for me, time will tell.
All in all, Evernote 3.0 is a great upgrade - highly recommended, I look forward to using Evernote 3.0 on the 3G S - the increase in speed should improve productivity, not to mention the improved autofocusing camera!
If you are already an Evernote user, there is no reason to skip this upgrade, if you have not used Evernote, now is the time to jump in! Evernote on the iPhone is like carrying a room full of filing cabinets in your pocket! In a word.. AWESOME!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Evernote for iPhone 3.0 - NEW RELEASE

There is a lot of big news today, Evernote has a new iPhone client that is iPhone OS 3.0 specific. go to Evernote's Blog for more information.
More info as soon as I get my hands on this important productivity update!

Bento Template Exchange

Go to to access the new Bento template exchange. Filemaker has added several new templates that they have developed and there are now a handful of user developed templates as well. I suspect this repository will grow over time and provide some great ideas for use cases.
Once you download a template, you can tweak it to meet your needs (using the Bento desktop application [Macs only]) and then sync it to your iPhone. Again, making the iPhone a very good data capture device for the data centric world!

Documents To Go - Thoughts

After using DTG for a couple of days, here are some random thoughts!
  • Desktop syncing is great, 2 way syncing for documents in progress is a feature missing from other iPhone word processors. This allows you to leverage your iPhone to work on a document that is already in progress on your main computer. allowing you to make use of idle time. Then sync those additions back to your main desktop for completion on a full size system. Desktop syncing will be a big advantage when spreadsheet editing arrives.
  • I miss access to iDisk, at this time DTG provides access to files that are setup for desktop syncing and files that reside on your iPhone (local files), hopefully with a future release Dataviz will add access to files stored in the cloud.
  • Text entry... external keyboard please! OK, this is not an issue specific to DTG. With a foldable stowaway keyboard and DTG or Quickoffice it becomes feasible to leave the laptop at home.
  • I like the ability to zoom in and out while in text entry mode, this is missing in QO. Numbered lists are available in DTG and not in QO. Typing does seem snappier with Quickoffice, especially in widescreen view.
  • Good & Bad, with DTG you have access to the menu bar when the online keyboard is being used, with QO you need to stop text editing with the keyboard (close the keyboard) to launch the formatting toolbar. I like having access to DTG's toolbar all the time, the downside is that it takes up valuable screen space.
  • For a 1.0 release, I am impressed with DTG. I will continue to compare and contrast DTG and QO.. trying to decide which platform to land on... at this point, I am leaning towards the DTG text editor, mainly because of desktop syncing.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Documents To Go for iPhone is Available in the App Store

DTG Is now available (special 2 week introductory pricing $4.99, or $9.99 with Exchange integration). This first release has DOC editing only, xls editing is a promised free upgrade. Powerpoint is veiw only, with no mention of future editing capabilities. Additional info soon.

DTG's word processor edits/creates doc, docx, rtf & txt files. The toolbar and screen layout are user friendly, I am finding the learning curve to be lower than that of QuickOffice.

For A comprehensive review of DTG

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

iPhone 3G S - The perfect Evernote Capture Device?

Yes, the new iPhone 3G S is reportedly twice as fast as the iPhone 3G.. this is good news. But to an Evernote junkie, the real news is the improved camera! Improved light sensitivity, improved auto-white balance, macro focusing to 10 cm (~4 in) and autofocus which is controlled by touching the screen, all of these new features/improvements are great news to Evernote users. You will now be able to use your iPhone as a capture device, think portable scanner - take a picture of any document, anywhere, upload to Evernote for safe storage, OCR and easy retrieval. I can't wait to test the camera, hopefully the improvements are as significant as touted in the keynote.
The camera improvements will also be a boon for "pricing applications" - you will now be able to focus in on pricing barcodes.

To me.. the camera is the big news!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Finally... It's iPhone Day! ... Maybe...

Here are my predictions for the WWDC keynote today... at one point during the keynote.. we all will be wowwed.. and for those of as that have been following all of the rumors for the past several weeks... at the end of the day there will be a little dissappointment as well!

Update.. Still no Dataviz Documents To Go on the app store, there is speculation on Dataviz's Facebook fan page that DTG might be shown/released today as a part of the WWDC keynote... keep in mind this is user speculation.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

iTunes 8.2 - Touch OS 3.0 Very Soon?

Monday 6/1 saw the release of iTunes 8.2 via software update, the release notes state: "iTunes 8.2 now supports iPhone or iPod touch with the iPhone 3.0 Software Update". With this news, I think we will see the release of the 3.0 iPhone OS at WWDC next week.

New hardware is a little harder to predict... maybe an announcement at WWDC, or maybe Apple will wait a couple of weeks and announce at a press event... either way, it should be a fun summer!