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Jam Messenger Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jennifer Allen on October 23rd, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SIMPLE MESSAGING
Want a very quick way to send push-based messages? Jam Messenger is basic but speedy.
Read The Full Review »

How To: De-Clutter Notification Center

Posted by Carter Dotson on April 29th, 2013

Is Notification Center far too busy? Can you not find what you want at any point, and thus any semblance of usability for the drop-down menu has gone the way of the dodo? Well, we can help you de-clutter Notification Center with these handy tips!

Clear out individual apps:

Most apps' notifications will clear when you enter the app, but some, like Instagram, will not disappear. Thus, just pull down from the top status bar to access Notification Center, scroll to the app that's got too many notifications, tap the X to the right of the app's name, and then tap Clear. All these notifications will disappear and the app won't reappear until new notifications come in.

Disable notifications for an app entirely:

Do you really need to see notifications for that game you barely play? Well, to disable notifications entirely, go to Settings -> Notifications, and scroll down to the app you want to disable. From here, turn Notification Center off, and this will hide notifications from appearing in the drop-down menu, though they will still come in. If you want to disable them entirely, set Alert Style to None, and disable Badge App Icon and Sounds.

Reduce the number of items that appear in Notification Center:

It's also possible to just make an app take up fewer slots in the menu. Go to the app's page in the Notifications setting menu, and tap the Show menu. From here you can only show 1, 5, or 10 recent items. All notifications will still come in, but only that many recent ones will appear.

Use manual notification sorting:

So, you still want notifications to appear in Notification Center but maybe just want to have the important ones appear first? From the main Notifications settings menu, choose Manually under Sort Apps:, and then tap the Edit button in the top-right corner. You can now use the drag selector on the right side of an app's listing to drag it around in the list. Apps will always appear in the order you specify. Note that new apps always get added to the bottom of the list, so you must always sort them to your desired position yourself.

Disable widgets:

If you don't need to check stocks, think social media is for teenagers, or live in Texas and don't need to check the weather ever, you can disable each of the three built-in widgets by tapping on their entries in the Notifications settings and turning Notification Center to off.

Hopefully these tips have made Notification Center a much more useful place for you!

Everyone Needs More Notifications, and Pushover is There to Deliver Them

Posted by Carter Dotson on July 25th, 2012
+ Universal & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch

Pushover is an app for getting all kinds of notifications on an iOS device, trying to make it easy to stay up to date with various services from anywhere. As of launch, there are 9 different services available for users to get notifications about.

Want to get notified of emails? Forward emails to the given email address and notifications will appear when they come in. Use Adium on Mac? Pushover can have notifications sent to the device when they come in, or only when one’s Adium account is away. Use a Fitbit? It’s possible to be notified when the battery is low. Use Findmyshift? Get notifications of staff notices, shift time changes, and if time off requests have been approved. Most importantly, Pushover also supports IFTTT, which makes it pretty much compatible with everything, as it supports 49 different services for triggering notifications. For developers interested in supporting Pushover notifications, an API is available.

These aren’t just for those hoity-toity iPhone owners, either – the app is universal for the iPad. Of course, the downside is that the iPad won’t vibrate when notifications come in. Or at least it shouldn’t. I’d be afraid of an iPad vibrating on its own. Plus, it’s on Android! Notifications for everyone! Except for Windows Phone users. They will get nothing and like it.

Facebook Messenger Brings Text Messaging, Picture Sharing, and Location Alerts to iOS and Android Users

Posted by Carter Dotson on August 10th, 2011
+ Universal & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CHAT FOR FREE :: Read Review »

Facebook has launched a new app dedicated to sending messages to other Facebook users, called Facebook Messenger. The app, available now for iOS and Android, allows for not just standard text messages to be sent to Facebook friends, but picture sending as well, which will appear on whatever platform the message is sent on. The pictures can be sent to and from web users as well as users of the specific apps, but will not be sent to mobile numbers through the service's text message alerts, though. Location can also be appended to messages, and this is also viewable on the web, making it easier for users to organize get-togethers and to notify their friends of where they currently are. This app is a direct result of Facebook's purchase of group messaging service Beluga earlier in the year, as Beluga has confirmed that they worked on the Facebook Messenger app.

Facebook's new Messenger app is designed to be platform agnostic. Messages can be pushed to users in three different ways: through traditional Facebook chat alerts and messages, through SMS alerts, and through push notifications to both the iPhone/iPod touch and Android apps, the latter joining the ranks of apps using Google's C2DM (cloud to device messaging) service. Notifications will be pushed to any devices logged in to Facebook Messenger, even if multiple devices are logged in at one time.

With Facebook accounts being so ubiquitous, and the built-in support for messaging all Facebook friends no matter where they're accessing Facebook or what mobile OS they are using, this app might supplant many people's texting plans. That would be the real threat - if Facebook could find a way to take on and take over one of the most ubiquitous messaging protocols. As well, the ability to bring together users on different platforms could be a threat to Apple's iMessage, with it being limited to iOS users. Facebook Messenger is now available for free from the App Store and Android Market.

Push for Gmail

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jason Fanguy on March 18th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: GOOGLEY GOODNESS
Push for Gmail is a simple, straightforward application providing its users with reliable, visual Gmail push notifications on their iPhone and iPod Touch.
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Facebook 3.1 Arrives for iPhone. Brings Push Notifications and Contact Sync.

Posted by Arron Hirst on January 6th, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: ESSENTIAL SOCIAL NETWORKING :: Read Review »

In August of last year, we saw Facebook for iPhone get a complete overhaul, with the firm introducing us to version 3.0. Courtesy of software developer Joe Hewitt, the update brought an entirely different UI to the table, a user interface which thought more specifically about the user in general, and the actions and features within Facebook. For the most part the update was well received, with the likes of Mashable calling it an "absolutely essential" upgrade for all users of the service. It certainly wasn't 'complete' though. Far from it. In fact, there were many glaring omissions including the likes of built-in support for Apple's Push Notification Service, contact sync with the iPhone OS address book app and the ability to immediately playback Facebook uploaded videos from the app itself.

Today though, Facebook has debuted version 3.1, the next major release to the software. Thankfully, this version adds full support for Apple's Push Notification Service, meaning you can now setup the app to notify you of various types of status alert. Not to add more the in-app interface, (heck - the app is overflowing with functionality!), the guys at Facebook have decided to oust the settings for notifications to iPhone OS Settings. Simply head over to Settings > Facebook. Configurable notification options include the ability to setup push alerts for Messages, Wall posts, Friend requests, Friend confirmations, Photo tags, Events and of course, Comments.

Other changes include the ability to sync your contacts from Contacts.app. Now, navigating to the 'Friends' section, you'll find a 'Sync' button in the top right. Hit it! The app will give you options to both turn syncing on and off and will ask you if you'd like to replace photos of your existing contacts with those of their profile pictures on Facebook. To clarify, this new sync feature allows you to add both profile pictures and link data (which already resides on Facebook) to contacts that already exist on your iPhone. In order to do this the app will take contact information from your iPhone, and upload it to Facebook - and of course, before it does you get the usual "please allow us to do this by tapping below. Oh! .. and tell your friends you're doing it too - so they don't, you know, get angry!" agreement which you'll need to accept. It's pretty quick too, with my own set 74 contacts taking just just a few minutes to sync.

I asked my followers on Twitter to give me a little insight into what they thought of this update. Here's just a hand pick of what they had to say ..

"Push notifications are perfect. Contact photos are horrible quality, and a waste of time!"
- @Digeratii

"It's ok. The matching of friend names to contacts was ok, but annoying that it replaced pics for contacts who already had them." - @StuartRidout

"Contact sync worked, but would prefer some sort of confirmation. No sound for notifs (for me at least)." - @DevinStoker

"I think I'm ready for 3.2." - @JoshuaArnao

So far, overall reaction to this update seems mixed - and it's not a surprise. There have been isolated reports of the app syncing the wrong photos to certain contacts, general inconsistencies .. among other quirks, and sadly 3.1 still leaves us waiting for true video support for Facebook uploaded videos. Facebook 3.1 is available on the App Store now, as a free update.

Update: Wow, that was fast! Today, Facebook for iPhone 3.1.1 is available. According to the App Store description the update includes "bug fixes for address book syncing".



+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Bonnie Eisenman on November 2nd, 2009
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: MUST HAVE
Boxcar is a nearly-flawless notification app for Facebook, email, and Twitter, and I love. What else is there to say?
Read The Full Review »

Scrabble Update: Notifications? Um, sure.

Posted by Bonnie Eisenman on October 7th, 2009
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: RECOMMENDED :: Read Review »

For a long time now, I've been using the Lexulous app exclusively for my online Scrabble games. Why? Well, even if it had less features, Lexulous was just easier to use.

With Scrabble's newest update, I decided to give the official EA app another shot. The menus are vastly improved: though some things still don't make sense, it's a lot easier to jump into a game. The game's speed has apparently been given a small jolt, too, and you can now use your own music. But what had me most excited was the promise of "push notifications."

Okay, EA, for the love of god: are you trying to torment me? These so-called "notifications" don't exist, as far as I can tell. They certainly aren't push notifications. And yet, despite this, I receive occasional "tips" telling me to turn Push Notifications on in the Settings app. I've checked. There's no option to do so. I don't think I'm the only one, either: the current version is being bombarded with angry 1-star reviews in the App Store. I've tried restarting my iPod and reinstalling the app; nothing changes in my Settings menu.

I'm not sure if EA submitted the wrong app version or if maybe there's a bug on certain devices. (I'm running a 2G iPod Touch with 8GB of storage.) But either way, this is strange. Shame on you, EA. I got excited over nothing at all.

Beejive IM Updated With Push Notifications

Posted by Jeff Scott on June 23rd, 2009
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED :: Read Review »

There has been some question if Apple had been holding applications that use push notifications. Well, it looks like they have been, and they have started releasing them. Today we've seen updates to both AIM, and Beejive. Let's take a little closer look at the update to Beejive.

Beejive today released an update to Beejive IM, our favorite IM application. The update includes the greatly anticipated push notification services.

Adding push notification services to an IM application allows you to stay logged into the IM servers even when you are not running the application. Created by Apple as a substitute for allowing third party applications to run in the background and reportedly much less of a battery drain, done properly it allows much of the same functionality.

I've been using the push notification services of Beejive for a few days now and it seems to work pretty well. There have been some outages, times when the notifications didn't work, but we're chalking that up to Apple.

When you first launch the updated application with push notifications, you will be prompted just once to allow Beejive to send you notifications. This dialog is very similar to the "Application X would like to use your location" dialog we are all very familiar with. If you ever want to turn off the notifications, that can be done in the settings app.

Overall, push notifications is a fantastic feature and one of the main reasons I've been looking forward to OS 3.0. I use IM a lot and being able to stay logged in during the (unfortunately few) hours per day I'm not at my computer is fantastic.

Once caveat -- you can't stay logged into forever, there is a 24 hour maximum. To stay logged in longer you just need to make sure that you launch Beejive once a day.

There are some limitations to push notifications though. For one, push notifications don't stack up -- so you'll see only the latest notification from an single app. Other IM messages will only be in the app once you launch it. If your device is locked, you will see the notification, but can't respond or launch Beejive automatically once unlocked. These are all limitations of the push notification service itself and iPhone OS 3. Beejive have done a really good job working within the limitations such as these.

Currently the push notification option for Beejive is free, and there's no indication to think they they plan to charge separately for this feature. But I do expect some applications to use in-app purchasing to let users enable push notifications as there can be a significant cost to the publisher to support this option

The update to Beejive IM has been approved and is available now and will be free to previous owners, $9.99 for new users.

Note: There's something odd going on in the store -- the update is listed in iTunes as, but once installed it will show as version 3.0 in the app.

More screen shots after the jump.