All Posts By Jennifer Allen
Feeling creative and want to write an epic on your iPhone or iPad? We’ve got you covered with our favorite four writing apps. I’ve rounded up some of the best of the bunch, each helping users write all kinds of different texts, from the next bestseller to a formal letter. There’s even a great app for film scripting.
My personal favorite (I’m using the Mac version to write this article), ia Writer is ideal for the minimalist writer. Focused entirely on offering a simple and clear screen to enter text, it’s easy to get wrapped up into the words rather than distracted by status bars. That’s not to say it’s a basic app, though, with iCloud support and Dropbox integration ensuring users can get back to writing, no matter where they are.
Released: 2010-09-21 :: Category: Productivity
A great all-rounder, Pages is a fine word processing tool. It’s a little expensive but it offers plenty of functionality with a choice of 16 different and relevant templates, for projects such as simple letters to posters or reports. iCloud support is here, along with the ability to edit different document types including all the popular formats. There’s even basic functionality for creating pie charts and other diagrams. It’s suitably varied and full of features.
Released: 2010-04-01 :: Category: Productivity
Returning to the minimalist trend, Daedalus Touch is ideal for those who want even more freedom for their words. No folders or file lists are needed here. Instead, users are presented with a virtual paper stack of sheets to navigate through with some very intuitive controls. For those looking to do more free writing and simply throw themselves into the words, Daedalus Touch is quite the delight. Plus, there’s syncing functionality with Mac app, Ulysses III.
Released: 2011-05-21 :: Category: Productivity
It’s quite a specific tool but Contour will prove to be ideal for those who always reckoned they had a great movie idea but didn’t know where to start. It’s a story development system that makes it easy to start small and grow big, with a fill-in-the-blanks style approach. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never had script writing experience, Contour will fix all that. Created by an Emmy Award-nominated writer, it’s got the pedigree to be worth taking note of, too.
Remember when scanners were big, bulky things that plugged into obtuse parallel ports and almost never worked as well as they should have? Long gone are those days, both in terms of the ports they use and being so restricted to bulky equipment. Now, there’s a whole selection of iOS apps out there, keen to make things easier by turning an iPhone or iPad into a portable scanner. We take a look at our four favorite OCR apps.
Image To Text
It might not be the most feature rich of apps here but, crucially, Image To Text is a free app and thereby, an ideal starting place for anyone keen to scan in content. All the user has to do is take a photo of a document that they want to extract text from, then leave the app to do all the work, thereby converting everything to a text file with editable text. It’s not perfect, and it’s restricted to text only, but it’s a handy and reasonably quick tool to try out.
Released: 2011-04-20 :: Category: Business
The most expensive entry here, Prizmo offers plenty of different features. The app can be used to scan and recognize many types of documents, including business cards, bills and whiteboards, making it easy to share via various services. With the business card interface, it’s possible to create contacts through the information gleaned, while receipts and bills can be exported to a spreadsheet. Crucially, it’s often very accurate, especially under a bright light. A text-to-speech facility completes the package.
Released: 2010-08-18 :: Category: Business
It’s easy to forget that Evernote does everything. Ok, maybe not everything, but it does a whole bunch of useful things, including offering a free way to scan in useful pieces of information. It’s possible to create notes with content that has been scanned in, both of the picture and text variety, all for future reference at a later date. Searching functionality is as powerful as one would expect from the Swiss Army Knife of productivity apps.
Released: 2008-07-11 :: Category: Productivity
Providing a high level of accuracy, Scanner Pro works well in its efforts to turn someone’s life paperless. Users can scan receipts, notes, book pages and mostly everything else they can think of with this app, with everything converted into a PDF file. With email and print features, the app is particularly useful for those who need to sign contracts before sending them off via email. Online storage capabilities are also there, meaning it’s possible to securely store many different types of document through this app.
Problems sleeping is a major issue for many, myself included. Not getting a good night’s sleep means one’s productivity the next day plummets, plus you turn grouchy, irritable and no fun to be around. There’s no iOS app yet that will send you to sleep within seconds. There are, however, a few great options for helping wake you up in a more appropriate manner than through an incredibly loud alarm clock. Here’s my (sleep-deprived) look at four highlights of the bunch.
Recently reviewed, Suno offers the delights of a sunrise in order to gradually wake one up, and get the day going just right. It’s not quite as simple to navigate as one would like but, once set up, it provides a great, gradual sunrise, all lined up according to when you want to get up. It works best in a particularly dark room, of course.
Released: 2012-12-17 :: Category: Healthcare & Fitness
Sleep by MotionX
Analyzing everything possible in a bid to wake its users at just the right moment in their sleep cycle, Sleep by MotionX is a useful life aid. It’s just a matter of placing the iOS device on the bed with the app doing the rest. A graph facility makes it simple to see how one’s sleep is progressing over time. Even better, the app comes with daytime activities too, such as a pedometer feature and heart rate monitor.
Released: 2012-03-07 :: Category: Medical
Offering a form of relaxation therapy, Deep Sleep is a different change of pace to the other apps featured here. Through the voice of therapist, Andrew Johnson, users are guided gently to sleep through a series of meditational audio programs. Thanks to the soothing voice, it gradually calms the user, slowing their breathing down, thereby enabling them to relax and fall asleep. It might sound a little gimmicky but it can work impressively well.
Released: 2009-11-05 :: Category: Healthcare & Fitness
It’s been quite the phenomenon since its launch nearly 4 years ago, but Sleep Cycle has remained relevant ever since. Solely an intelligent alarm clock, it does similar things to Sleep by MotionX but at a lower price. Tracking different phases of sleep, from light to deep sleep, the app works out the optimal time to wake you. It’ll even work out which days provide the best form of sleep. It’s both interesting and potentially very useful.
As its latest title comes with the unique proposition of helping a children’s charity, we thought it time to learn more about Polish iOS developer, Shortbreak Studios.
Who is Shortbreak Studios?
Part of Techland, one of the biggest Polish game developers out there thanks to its work on titles such as the Call of Juarez games, Shortbreak Studios is made up of a core team of 9 passionate developers. A mixture of programmers, designers, level designers, artists and a producer, the company benefits from relying on Techland to work out the finances and allowing the team to focus on the creative side of things. As explained by producer, Pawel Rohleder, it means the combination of “the flexibility and creativity of a small independent development studio with the experience and knowledge of an established player in the gaming industry!”
Why should I remember the Shortbreak Studios name?
There are a couple of good reasons, so far. First of all, they made Sugar High, a game that perhaps owed a little too much to Tiny Wings but still proved to be great fun. More importantly, Shortbreak Studios has worked in conjunction with the Cape of Hope Foundation in order to create oncology clinic for children with Cancer.
How did Heal Them All come about?
Pawel Rohleder explains, “We have been supporting Cape of Hope for some time and it was our mutual idea to create a game about defending the organisms for mobile devices. We thought that fighting microbes inside the human body would be [a] very nice setting for a tower defense game as this genre is very popular on mobile patforms. Another idea was the freemium business model as we wanted to reach as many users as possible by offering a part of our game for free.” Notably, Heal Them All is entirely free to try out with the full campaign unlocked for $1.99.
What’s next on the horizon?
The team has lofty plans, with Pawel happily declaring the ambition that many hold, “Our main goal is to conquer the whole world with our mobile games!” At the moment, though, the firm is mostly working on two different projects that they aren’t able to discuss just yet, as well as porting to other devices. Possible updates for their current titles are also in the works and currently being brainstormed.
Anything else I should know about Shortbreak Studios?
Pawel was all too keen to tell us just what he and the rest of the team love about iOS development.
Pawel: Everything! We enjoy every aspect of mobile game development and we put a lot of effort and passion into every step of [the] production process. We believe this is the only way to make high quality games. One of the most important…[parts] in efficient mobile development is rapid prototyping. Each prototype must convince us that this could be a GREAT game. We cancel the project if we do not believe in its playable demo. And the sooner, the better. The development process itself is also very interesting because of tons of small decisions that the team needs to make in [terms] of hard negotiations or just [our] gut feeling . Personally, I love the final stage of the development where all individual assets turn into a working product and our vision materializes into a real game. This…shows us that it was all worth the effort but…it always makes us come up with a lot of new ideas and changes that we could make to improve the final quality.
Heal Them All is available now, for free. But do consider paying towards the full unlock, given where the profits are going.
Having a four legged companion in your life is pretty wonderful for many of us. The unconditional love they offer is heartwarming and it’s great for one’s mental health, as well as exercise levels, to have an awesome pooch to take out for walks every day. We take a look at four apps that go some way to making dog ownership even simpler or more positive.
Positively Dog Training
Dog training is pretty great for all involved. You have a dog that behaves well and doesn’t get into trouble, and the dog knows exactly what’s expected of it. Everyone is generally happier. Positively Dog Training is an interactive ebook app that offers plenty of tips and instructions on how to train your dog to behave well, as well as learn some great tricks. A series of video tutorials and step by step instructions keep things straight forward so you can focus on getting everything right for your dog.
Released: 2012-12-13 :: Category: Books
Pet First Aid
Unfortunately, much like us humans, pets do get ill and injured sometimes. Pet First Aid is a guide to how to deal with various problems from cuts and burns to poisoning, drawing and even giving CPR to your dog. Plenty of videos, articles and instructions ensure that clear advice is easy to find here. it might just make the difference when dealing with a seriously ill or injured loved one.
Released: 2009-05-17 :: Category: Healthcare & Fitness
It’s wise to keep safe plenty of important information relating to your dog, which is exactly what My Dog enables. The app makes it possible to store a photo of them, medical information, vaccination history and their ID details all in one place. At a glance, it’s easy to see when vaccinations are due (with iCal integration) plus anything specialist such as a dietary schedule or training log. It’s all easily emailed to other useful sources, too, such as a vet or boarding facility.
Released: 2010-11-05 :: Category: Lifestyle
Dog Park Finder Plus
Completing our selection is the rather fun Dog Park Finder Plus. The app offers information on more than 6,000 dog friendly parks and beaches across the US, along with over 12,000 dog friendly restaurant details. Directions are offered along with information such as opening hours and park size. It’s simple to use and there are photos and reviews throughout, so dog owners are guaranteed to find somewhere ideal for them and their pooch.