iOS apps roundup Vol.1

For a while I've been posting on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ about the iOS apps that I personally use on a regular basis. Some of them are useful for the business, some are informative, some are just fun... but they all have one thing in common, I think they're worth a look if you own an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

Posting a short sentence about these apps is fine to make people aware of their existence but I thought it would be nice to write something a little longer about each of the apps that I have recommended, to give everyone a better idea of what I like about them. Of course if you ever needed a hand with any of the apps mentioned, or any other technology, you can book in for a training session with TMS from Here. So without further ado, let's talk apps!

 

1. Waze social GPS - recommended 2/7/2014

There are so many GPS apps around for iOS, it makes it tricky to decide which one is the most suitable. The first plus point for Waze is that it's free so you can try it out without having to think too much! The concept here is fairly simple, everybody who is using Waze is being tracked as they travel, which means that Waze knows how fast everybody is moving. This alone means that Waze can direct you around bad traffic, but users can also help each other out by telling the community when they're in traffic, when there's roadworks, accidents etc... It's clever stuff and something that I've not seen in other GPS apps, especially not free ones! I have paid for GPS apps before and had bad results, Waze however has yet to steer me wrong. Waze got popular enough and good enough to be purchased by Google in June 2013, thankfully they don't seem to have ruined it (yet)

Waze Web site: https://www.waze.com

Waze on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/waze-social-gps-maps-traffic/id323229106?mt=8

Price at time of writing - Free

 

2. Zite - recommended 9/7/2014

Zite is billed as an 'intelligent' magazine that helps you to discover things to read. And I agree entirely. Since starting to use Zite a while back I have ended up coming back to it on an almost daily basis. The genius behind Zite is in the simplicity of its 'thumbs up, thumbs down' preferences gathering which is so immediately accessible to anybody. Start off by giving Zite a range of topics that interest you and it will scour a wide selection of online content to bring you articles on those topics. See something you don't like? Give it a thumbs down and you won't see articles like that in the future, see something you love...thumbs up to see more of the same. It's amazing but has one down side, once you get into it you may find time being drained away by it!

Zite Web site: http://zite.com

Zite on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/zite/id419752338?mt=8

Price at time of writing - Free

 

3. Rowmote Pro remote control - recommended 16/7/2014

There are a vast amount of remote control apps for the iOS user and I can't say that I've tried them all, mainly because this one has always done the job for me just fine. Once you have downloaded the app you will need to also install the free Rowmote helper application for your mac to get it working (this isn't one for Windows users I'm afraid!). The initial interface for Rowmote is designed around the Apple remote, a control so simple to use that Apple has stuck with the (pretty much) same basic layout since its original inception in 2005, but get a little further and you have a trackpad, keyboard and all the essentials for controlling your mac with little effort. I use my mac as a media server with an Apple TV and one thing I love Rowmote for is being able to turn on iTunes on my mac without even needing to see the screen, great time saver!

Rowmote Pro Web site: http://regularrateandrhythm.com/apps/rowmote-pro/

Rowmote Pro on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/rowmote-pro-remote-control/id315316036?mt=8

Price at time of writing - £2.99

 

4. One Password - recommended 23/7/2014

From all my time training in technology, there is one problem that clients have which is almost universal and that's keeping track of passwords. Whether you have 10 passwords or 1,000 they always seem to cause us trouble. The human mind is just not streamlined to recall this type of information. You could have the same password for everything... which is easier to remember but not secure. You could have a different password for everything which is secure but not memory-friendly! You could write them all down and risk losing the written record... it's a minefield, and as internet security becomes more and more important over time the issues just get harder to resolve. Enter 1Password for iOS and Mac - it keeps track of your passwords for you and when used on the Mac it even enters those passwords for you. Since using 1Password I have changed the vast majority of my passwords to random collections of numbers and letters which would be almost impossible for a hacker to crack, but simple for me to get into automatically using the 1Password button in Safari (or Chroms, Firefox or Opera if you're that way inclined). If you have the iOS version of 1Password too you can get them to sync together so you always have your passwords with you, along with bank account details, credit card information, software licences and all sorts of other personal information. It's all securely encrypted with a password of your choice so you only have to remember one password to unlock all your other information.

1Password Web site: https://agilebits.com/onepassword

1Password on the iOS App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/1password-password-manager/id568903335?mt=8

Price at time of writing - £6.99

1Password on the Mac App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/1password-password-manager/id443987910?mt=12

Price at time of writing - £24.49

 

5. My Measures - recommended 30/7/2014

I'm not the best at DIY but sometimes there's no choice but to get it done! And one of the things that annoys me about DIY is getting to the hardware shop and realising that you forgot the measurements for the job that needs to be done. Or maybe you're browsing a shop, see a nice bit of furniture and have no idea whether it will fit in the room you have in mind for it. This is where my measures comes in handy... take a photo of the area you're working on and annotate the shot with all the pertinent measurements, angles dimensions and so on. Save all these pictures in My Measures, and you always have the measurements for your home right there in your pocket.

My Measures Web site: http://www.sis.si/my-measures

My Measures on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/my-measures-dimensions-best/id325962257?mt=8

Price at time of writing - £1.99

 

6. Road Trip - recommended 6/8/2014

As a kid I remember my dad filling up the car with petrol and always making a note of the current mileage of the car, how many litres were going in and how much it cost. He would manually work out the mpg of each car he owned and keep track of how much that car was costing to run. Road trip does a similar thing but a load easier than doing it all manually! When you fill up the car just put some information into Road Trip - odometer reading, how much fuel is going in, the pence per litre etc... Road trip will then tell you about the fuel efficiency of your car. But it does more than this, it gives you a notebook for all sorts of useful information about your vehicle like insurance information, service records and so on. I've found it really useful to see exactly what a vehicle costs me when things like servicing and purchase price are taken into account.

Road Trip web site: http://darrensoft.ca/roadtrip/

Road Trip on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/road-trip-mpg-mileage-fuel/id298398207?mt=8

Price at time of writing - £2.99

 

7. iTV Shows 3 - recommended 13/8/2014

Here's one that my Sister recommended to me. Not to be confused with the ITV television channel in the UK, iTV shows is for keeping track of your favourite TV shows including when they come on, which episodes you have seen and short descriptions. Sometimes I like to binge watch a whole season of a TV show using Netflix or similar streaming service and iTV shows helps me keep track of how far through I am. For the few programmes that I watch live iTV shows keeps me aware of when they're coming on so I don't miss them. It's really simple, syncs across my iPad and iPhone (with the creation of a free online account) and reminds me how many hundreds of episodes of the Simpsons I still haven't seen.

iTV Shows web site: http://www.itvshowsapp.com

iTV Shows on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/itv-shows-3/id741292427?mt=8

Price at time of writing: £1.99

 

8. Brainscape - recommended 20/8/2014

I have recently been studying (In my line of work you're always learning something new) and have found myself with a fair amount of facts to memorise (all the network interfaces and protocols supported by OSX anyone?). Brainscape has been amazing in helping me to absorb all this information. It's based around flashcards with questions and answers on them. Read a question, answer it to yourself and then read the answer, then on a scale of 1-5 rate how well you remembered the answer to that question. If you knew the answer perfectly you'll find that question rarely comes up again as you study, if you didn't know the answer at all you can expect that question to be coming back regularly as you go through the flashcards. It's an ingenious system and scientifically proven to work. With a free Brainscape account you can access your flashcards on iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and the Brainscape web site, with everything syncing between them. The app is free and it's free to create and study your own flash cards which can also be shared with other people (great for teachers). The only thing they charge for is pre-made flash cards on a variety of topics, so if I wanted to learn German Verbs for example, I could buy a pre-made pack of 2200 flashcards for £5.99. It can take a bit of time to create your own flashcards like I did but once they're created, Brainscape make memorising them as easy as possible.

Brainscape Web site: https://www.brainscape.com

Brainscape on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/brainscape-smart-flashcards/id442415567?mt=8

Price at time of writing - Free