Monday, 30 March 2015

Sharing Weather Conditions: Nothing of the Past

Hello people!!! I know it’s been a slightly longer gap than usual. The last week and a half was like a whirlwind to me and you won’t believe where I had been to, to spend my semester break. A friend of mine, hailing from Auckland New Zealand invited me to come down under and also witness the exclusive spectacle taking place in her country. The country had been gripped by the sensational game of cricket since the mid of February. Having heard so much about the game of Cricket from her, I was definitely intrigued as well. Also, the thought of travelling across the marvelous island of New Zealand further ignited a desire in me to spend the semester break with my friend.

So people, off I went!!! At the airport, the immigration officer, about to stamp my passport asked me which team was going to win the world cup. To be honest, I was caught off-guard but then I remember having muttered the words “New Zealand” and the officer smirked. Since that moment, I felt as if I had been traversing through a very fast paced dream. We made a trip to the idyllic Taupo on the way to Hamilton.Then we had an unforgettable excursion to the Waikato River flowing seamlessly into the Huka falls. “Waikato River is the only waterway in the Southern Hemisphere which flows from the South to the North”, told by my friend. I was also lucky enough to behold the amazing game of Cricket between New Zealand and Australia at Eden Park Auckland. And finally New Zealand prevailed in that ripper of a game after a tantalizing finish.

Amidst all the fun and adventure, the archipelago Vanuatu was struck by the disastrous tropical cyclone Pam. Certain areas of New Zealand were also under threat and I was fortunate to be in possession of the Best Weather App for iPhone and iPad. WeatherMate kept me updated with the latest severe weather alerts, warnings, watchings, statements and advisories. My family members warned me of the approaching storm through the radar imagery simply by giving a couple of taps in the app, to share the on-screen information via email, facebook and twitter.

Finally, I am back among my people after a holiday worth remembering and writing this new post for you guys. It was quite sobering to see the extent havoc wreaked by the ruthless storm in Vanuatu and quite liberating to observe how those people were coping against such hardships. What was also quite uplifting was that despite all the rumours going around about the unpredictable weather, I and my family were thoroughly updated with the latest localized weather forecasts!!!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Save Your Money through Saver 2!!!

People we have been exploring a variety of handy tools for our Apple gadgets that can help us manage our emails, work around with documents and even editing pictures. If you have been looking for a useful tool that can help you keep track of your spendings, manage your income and expenditure and save a few bucks, then Saver 2, the new app for iOS looks to be a good option. The app boasts an attractive and a far from cluttered graphical interface with a darkish background. The icons and tabs are arranged in a structured manner and ease out the complications involved in inputting the transactions. 

The “New Expense” button present in the footer enables the users add new transactions after which the app directs you to the selection of the expense category or an income source. Notes and images can also be added with each transaction as and when required.  The balance tab lets you scan the daily transactions that you have incurred and while the calendar view makes it easier to access to access the day-to-day expenses and incomes with red and green dots.  

The users can also set goals for themselves and assign them relevant photographs which the app will use to continuously remind them regarding their goals (Challenge yourself won’t you?). The monthly graph is another good feature that displays the expenses against relevant categories for a certain month. The app, however, does not cater to the handling of multiple bank accounts and credit cards. The paid version of the app has additional features which can be explored. Overall, it is a decent app and seems a handy proposition if you are not willing to spend much.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Workflow: Key to Unlocking iOS 8’s Automation Potential

There are a number of tasks on our Apple gadgets that we do repetitively, time and again, or sometimes we want a brisk access to certain things without putting in any extra effort at all. Thats where the Automation comes into play: faster results, lesser work! I’ve finally got my hands on this wonderful application. Believe you me, I was sceptical about this app, spooked a bit in fact, since the term workflow rings alarms in minds of bummers such as me. But once I got into it, I would want to keep going.

The app has a phenomenal user interface that syncs well with the iOS 8’s design. Differently colored rectangular shaped workflows are juxtaposed on the main screen along with the Create Workflow button. Tapping on a workflow directs you to the workflow graph which gives an account of the individual actions comprising the workflow. You can also add new workflows (if you like one!) from the Get Workflow button. 

You can also use your creativity to add new workflows by utilizing the numerous actions provided in the app. These actions are categorized into Maps, Music, Photos, Web etc. and can be added using tap and drag gesture or through a handle on the right edge. The user can also choose the workflow type such as Text, URLs, Images etc. The created workflow can then be activated using the Play button at the top of the screen.

You really do not have to be a script wizard to use Workflow. A common user such as me can easily get to the know the app thanks to the drag and drop gestures. You Apple gadget can be transformed into an amazing tool via this cool app. I’m in love with this one and strongly recommend it to you. Believe you me!!! There are millions of reasons for falling in love with this exquisite app!!!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Yet another Photo Editor: Darkroom

Photography has always been my favorite leisure time pursuit ever since I was a little kid. I still remember when my dad used to take me to the creek in the woods for fishing; we would spend a lot of time capturing pictures, using our magnificent Nikon F80/N80, of the idyllic natural views in the surroundings. On our way back home, apart from the innocent anticipation of getting some fish to eat, I always had the overwhelming eagerness to watch my father attach his exquisite camera with his PC, transfer the pictures of the day onto it and then carry out some elementary editing on them. As years passed by and technology got more and more sophisticated; I became older and got possession of my beloved Apple gadgets. But taking photographs and then editing them continues to cast an enchanting spell on me to this day.
But now I have a number of photo editing applications for my iPhone that I can use to play with my pictures anywhere any time. You must be remembering that some time back I did a piece on Pixelmator, a powerful image editing app for iPad. Darkroom-Photo Editor  is one of the latest image editors in the market and I have been quite fascinated with the effectiveness that it promises to supply. In accordance with the app’s name, the interface is full of dark themes. Once in the app, accessing the pictures in your Camera Roll does not remain much of a hard work. The developers have provided a button, tapping onto which you can access your pictures and the different photo albums that you have set up in your iPhone.
Darkroom provides a number of editing options such as Crop, Filter, Adjust, Curves and History. The drawback with cropping is that the app does not allow custom settings for aspect ratios while the filters option in the app does not provide any novel additions, it certainly produces eye-catching results. The user can adjust Saturation, Brightness, Contrast, Hue, Temperature etc. using the sliders. In order to use the Curves feature of the app, you will have to purchase it. But it is an impressive addition which enables the user to select either any of the Red, Green and Blue channels or all of them. The graph contains blacks, shadows, mid-tones, highlights and whites which can be adjusted by touching and dragging the line at multiple points.
Overall, it is an interesting app and has certainly caught my eye. You should also have a go at it. I hope you won’t be disappointed!

Friday, 13 March 2015

An App for the Movie Fans

All of us have been intrigued by movies since our childhood and I have been no exception in this regard. My email inbox has been bombarded with quite a few mails from my friends who expressed their concern over the fact that I had not done any piece on some application designed to keep track of movies. So, I promised that I would definitely come up with a review of an app specifically designed to achieve this purpose. This week I came across Plot-Discover and Track Movies and decided to do a piece on it.
The app boasts a cool user interface with a wine-red colored header and slightly grayish toolbar featuring a red accent button in the middle. The outlook of the app with well proportioned movie icons and stickers is extremely eye-catching and blends in magnificently with the aesthetics of iOS 8. By creating an account, the user gets access to his/her friends already present on Twitter and can thereby keep track of their recommended movies and movie reviews.
The users can search movies using a button in the top right of any screen and can view the trailer of the searched movie through an embedded movie player. The app also allows the user to add the movie to the watch-list or tag it as watched. The app fetched its data from The Movies Database and gives the user access to scores of reviews, casts, celebrity info, pictures, synopsis, genres and much more.
The users can also add their mini-reviews in the app but these reviews have to be short and concise and can also be shared via Facebook or Twitter. The app also gives push notifications to the user for movies included in the watch-list once they have been released. The movies featuring in the Collections by the editorial team are worth seeing and carry with them very fine reviews from a number of authentic sources.
For the movie buffs, this is a very nice app to have in your apple gadget. I am definitely addicted to. Are you?

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Keeping the weather watchers updated right down to the minute!

Right then guys! Here I am yet again! I know you must be curious that I keep on extolling the virtues of WeatherMate in my writings quite often as I did in my last blog but I haven’t yet introduced you to the amazing application. Now I’m wondering why haven’t I done so? Alas! Well instead of ruing that I didn’t, I should get going with the business then!  
WeatherMate is being proclaimed by the developers as a must-have for weather geeks interested in knowing the minutest of weather details. The app offers a serene blend of accurate weather data and aesthetically designed user interface while the accompanying subtle animations add to the simplicity and elegance of the app’s demeanor.
The application makes use of cutting edge technology to portray the current temperature of any location in the WeatherMate’s icon on the device’s Home Screen. The Personal Weather Stations feature of the app utilizes scores of weather monitoring platforms set up in a number of neighborhoods all throughout the US to present hyper-local weather updates.
The app also lets the user see what the temperature actually feels like, with information on Wind Speed and Direction, Chance of Precipitation, Visibility, Humidity, Barometric Pressure, Cloud Cover, UV Index, Wind Chill, Dew Point, Sunrise Time, Sunset Time and much more. Furthermore, the app depicts high resolution animated weather radar maps in bright vivid colors.
The app enables the users to track weather history of any place in the world at any specified time. It allows connectivity with National Weather Service radio for official alerts, watches, forecasts and other pertinent hazard information. Moreover, severe weather alerts keep updated with precise and accurate weather conditions in one’s vicinity. The app’s compatibility with iOS 8 to go with the high quality retina display, makes it all the more fun to use.
The Travel Planner feature makes use of the historical weather data for a certain location and utilizes advanced algorithms to predict for the site’s weather in the distant future. The app fetches weather and map data from the almighty Weather Underground. The developers have recently incorporated additional units of weather measurement such hectopascal, knots, beaufort etc. The app talks as well! WeatherMate can read you out the weather conditions at the tap of your fingers. 
For those on the relentless prowl for the best free weather app for iPhone and iPad, this one is definitely worth having a go at! Double thumbs up to the developers from my end

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Week Weather-Know your Weather Forecast for the Week

Everyone knows WeatherMate is my personal favorite weather app in terms of the phenomenal outlook, super authentic forecast, and many other stunning features. But it does not mean that I stop checking other weather apps out. Doesn’t it? Well this new weather app Week Weather looks at weather from a different perspective. You can have a glimpse at what this week’s weather is going to be like by having a look at the app’s home screen.

The home screen of the app, in its default mode, appears like seven columns representing the seven days of the week spread onto the screen and depicting the forecast for the whole seven days while the hours are scribbled in the left-most column. This view can let you know the weather condition for any specific time of the day. The app further boasts six different weather views including general, temperature, clouds, precipitation, wind and humidity.
For multiple locations, one location at a time has to be selected in order to determine the weather conditions for that location. Settings can be accessed by swiping the app from the right which lets the user change the color scheme and units only. The lack of customization options is certainly a turn-off for the weather fanatics. The app fetches its weather related data from Norwegian Meteorological Institute. However, I discovered the accurateness of the data to be a bit questionable.

Overall, the app looks like a spreadsheet opened in Microsoft Excel’s workbook. While the idea behind the app looks cool, but its implementation has not been great. Week Weather certainly will not be able to make a mark for the weather buffs. Loosely speaking, the app is decent but for those of you who want a comprehensive app encompassing all the unique features, then Week Weather is not the one!

Monday, 2 March 2015

Mail Pilot 2: Get a Structured Email Inbox

I have come across several people who have had serious issues with their emails. Some say that handling loads of emails irks them massively and so they have been looking for a clutter-free email inbox, one that could stack their emails up in as structured a manner as possible. So, I, generally, am on a constant prowl for such iOS apps which can solve their issues with emails. Last week, I happened to get acquainted with a new app “Mail Pilot 2” and thought to do a small piece on it. Enough of talking and let’s get started with the work then!!!

Mail Pilot 2 has come up with a nice, simple and decent user interface; one which is eye-catching because of the subtle combination of colors used in its various themes. The app arranges the emails in the order they are received and gives your inbox a unique outlook of a sort of check list. Swiping gestures are used to navigate around in the app. The user can set up as many standard IMAP email accounts as desired as the app sets no such restriction in this regard.

The main view of the app is your inbox in which the mails are featured in a chronological order. The user can perform tasks such as reply, reply all, forwarding, moving email to another folder, delete, add to archive etc. The app lets you append attachments through iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive and Camera Roll import. My experience while appending attachments with the app was rather disturbing since the app froze or crashed whenever I tapped the attachment button.

New messages can be checked using pull-to-refresh gesture, however, its proximity with pulling the screen down for Notification Centre is a bit vexing. If you happen to set up multiple email accounts in the app, you can have customized signatures, aliases, themes and folders for each email account. Overall, the app needs some fine tuning to be done by the developers. But you can certainly have a look at the app for yourself and decide what suits you the most!