Showing posts with label lifestyle killer apps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lifestyle killer apps. Show all posts

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

iPhone Killer Apps - Pulse, now Linkedin Pulse

Pulse
I do like pulse, for many reasons: 1) its elevated the RSS feed to where it should be, 2) its eliminated RSS feed dross apps, 3) its works equally well on big and small screens, 4) its simplicity and intuitiveness in itself, 5) it saves me time. again, originally £0.59p very, very well spent.  now free as part of a LinkedIn purchase. Unfortunately it shows up the feeds 1.0 as not being good enough, the on-screen instructions at first and with new features are app UE master classes in themselves.
Early iPhone 4 Pulse screenshot

iPhone killer apps - Autostitch


Updated Autostitch

Autostitch had a major upgrade recently and was worth the wait, with the ability to shoot in app (but oddly with no volume up on iPhone 4 to capture?) stitch and browse with. The full original description can be seen below in the archive of 2006-2008



Original 2006+ posts below

I cannot fault Apple on the app front - I had been pushing apps since about 2002 as the way forward, we did major apps projects in 2006, and still they dragged their feet, as did mobile internet, despite all the resources of the mobile operators and even Nokia that was thrown at it, and even phones like the N95, which kicked off apps, like sportstracker in a big way with the early adopters. It was not until apple came along, and the early adopters who paid through the nose for the first iPhone, then went on to be the me-too's of the second generation iPhone, and that was it - apps hit the big time!
It took the 3GS before I was convinced, and I got quickly frustrated between getting it and not being able to upgrade within a few months. It was a long year(ish) since the 3GS came out and the 4G, in which time I had to put up with an inferior camera and terrible battery life, but it was quite clear that there was a hook that kept me engaged beyond the usual 2-3 month window. Apple may think its the glass and the hoo-ha - it isn't, its the apps! With the 3GS came a compass and augmented reality already on Nokia and Android and suddenly the iPhone not only had the quantity, but the quality. With the iPhone 4, we finally have a camera that is of a tolerable level and a flash that means we can use it, and we are there. But so is the competition. It has never been more interesting in appland!

Autostitch
This has to be my favourite app, not as the most used, but as the one that has solved a problem I had been looking for a solution for, and it always brings great results. I have tried many, many photo stitching software over the years, and none of them have done what they said on the tin. It uses a new set of algorithms that a couple of desktop programs use as well, and just could not be simpler. The usual rules apply: try and have something key and solid in each and the next frame to make life easier, only put humans in one frame, or they will come out blurred, and forget about complex macro photography, this is for landscapes. It is also a favourite app as it is simple, intuitive and well designed. Its £0.59p well spent in the UK store.



iPhone Killer Apps - Met Office Weather

Met Office

I am obsessed with the weather, I live in London, try to Boris bike or walk to most meetings and train for triathlons when I can, and have done some showcase apps for big product launches around weather apps, and so take my weather very seriously. I am not alone. I also take the met office very seriously, which more people should do, as there are even parts of the US military and other armies around the world who trust the Met office more than they do their own systems... it is now my favourite iPhone weather app.


iphone Killer apps - Intelligentsia Coffee

Intelligentsia

Despite the highbrow name, actually no, the highbrow name gives you a hint of what to expect.. this is highbrow coffee making: everything you wanted to know when you were a student and had loads of time for making coffee, or are in the industry or an industry that allows you this kind of time, or what the hell, you are your own man or woman, which may well vary by time of day, week, etc... whatever, I wish I had enough time to indulge in these coffee making processes. I do not, alas, but as a technologist I am predisposed to loving coffee, and I do, and I learned a thing or two about making the drink i love so much via this app: firstly, I do not have time to weigh my coffee, but have learned that measuring is important, and so use a scoop (that came with my aeropress) and the same cup to the same level, as well as the described process and my pourover coffee is now at a new level. It may seem silly, but it is, specially now I ordered a fantastic steel mesh filter from these guys. Download it now and pretend you have enough time to source, let alone use a chemex coffee maker :)


iPhone Killer Apps - Path

Path 

Path is a User Experience showcase in itself, as well as a breath of fresh air. Its no secret that part of Google+ and foursquare success has been people outgrowing facebook, or just unable or unwilling to sit down and grapple with the privacy and the changes, etc, so just start again. Where facebook is general everybody, google plus has become general wider but business or recent, foursquare is usually a tighter social circle, well path closes this loop by having people you want to interact with at an even smaller level with. So back to the UX, the images, the sign-up process... amazing! iOS and Android



iPhone Killer app - skitracks

Ski Tracks

Ski Tracks was the only app I could see that I liked that was not another "map my... insert sport name here" with a ski twist but is obviously a run or cycle app that does not get better for diversification. What I liked as well is that the other day I was showing it to a once apple now android fan who lamented "apps like these are why I still love Apple". Now this comment will divide many, and send others on a rant, but as two impartial technologists, we get it - Somebody who makes a unique app, that is worth downloading and keeping for this year's ski season - tends to do it on iPhone first as of today. This is changing, and innovative apps (that is innovative tech) will tend to launch first on android or both, but my point is that Ski tracks is a well conceived, well thought out effort with a strong emphasis on the user experience and it launched first on as still only on iPhone. To quote Oscar Wilde on those who are ranting now, the cynic is the person who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. This is one great, well thought out app. I added the stats view, there are also other graphical views for those of you like myself who respond to pretty graphs...

What I like as well, as this is one of the few sports I will prefer to use a phone rather than a dedicated Garmin for other device to track (this changed in 2014 with the Garmin Fenix 2).


iPhone Killer App - Instragram

Instagram

Instagram has been a killer app from the start and has just got better through the years, to the point now where its filters tool is one of the best out there and better than many dedicated photography apps, which some could say instagram has become (it was previously a social imaging network, but was then bought by a bigger social network, but is still an important social tool, don't get me wrong).

Instagram killer app reason 1 - controlling light

You can clearly see in these shots what makes Instagarm such a good photography app, firstly the way it handles light and editing tricky shots like this backlit subject with no flash. In previous incarnations of instagram we just had filters that would mix the filters and we would choose one that illuminated our subject the best. Some apps, like even the native iPhone photo edit controls, make editing balance, saturation, contracts, etc. a bit of a chore, but instragram actually make it enjoyable and the results are very impressive.
Instagram makes brining detail back into backlit subjects a breeze

Instagram killer app reason 2 - social

Instagram is an unsung hero of social media, allowing you to post to foursquare, which as of about 2014 has swarmed off into tangents but still has a base of people you may want to update, into facebook, where the photos filter is woeful but hey that's why they bought insta, and twitter which is equally 'not that great' when attaching photos. You can also browse keywords and reach an audience with a short sharp message and image, which can be pretty powerful, as well as fun to browse.
post and browse #hashtags to see what is current in brandworld and peopleworld in one app

Insta killer app reason 3 - filters and tilt shift

There never has been a better tool to bring images to life and make an amateur tilt shift like a pro
simple drag about tilt shift - one click

One filter to bring out the colour of the uniforms, early morning light and smoke - nice


Monday, 28 January 2013

killer apps - vivino iPhone & android app, snooth iphone

Wine mobile apps

Lifestyle apps do not come more fun than wine apps; while wine can be an exquisite and esoteric affair, there is such a variety and quality of wines available now at all price ranges that, at least here in the UK, where the market is very competitive, and a huge amount of economies of scale in terms of shipping, there is no excuse to not get involved.

Wine Mobile App history

Until recently, the main apps have been the high end likes of Vertu's Berry Brothers and Rudd app and for the rest of us, snooth and a handful of others, however they have not grabbed me for one key reason: the social aspect! Yep, you got it, wine is a social affair, and as such I have just resorted to posting labels on Facebook  emailing certain friends and storing the photos of labels for my own recollection in a folder called, well what else: wines...
The social aspect of lifestyle apps is key: we seldom enjoy life's pleasure alone!
So I then found Vivino for Android, and Vivino for iPhone, yes, via someone posting on Facebook; just like the world found Doodle Jump, Angry Birds, Foursquare (I sense a trend!) and was instantly hooked, scanned 5 or 6 bottles in my store (I cannot call it a cellar, as, well, it is not a cellar!) of wines and invited others to join.

Community & Social key for killer apps

Even more important were two things throughout the experience so far (the weekend); firstly; I did not get the feeling I had to go pro immediately, which I did with Snooth (only to be then slightly disappointed) ; secondly I added a label, could not find it and had to go pro to search the database. This I understand. However a day or so later, I have an update and somebody has manually added my wine to the database - nice! This community sense is key to the mobile app model.
Building a profile is simple with Vivino, unfound bottles get updated by the community!
Having my collective virtual "cellar" with notes is quite handy, while to date, searching other people's cellar has been frustrating to annoying (long story, but involved a dodgy merlot...) but then I do only have one friend so far (you know who you are!).

The only downsides to this app, that have held back other wine apps for me are the fact that wine seems to moving quicker than many of the:
  1. not being able to edit some of the wider elements community style, even if after approval; like for example, I have a strong steer to big, bold full bodied wines that lend themselves to red meat, which can be seen above, yet the food pairing recommendation still had the very outdated recommendation of "suited to pork". Just as well I am not a Rioja and Ribera drinking person of 2 certain faiths that do not eat pork!
  2. having a list of grapes in the bottle is good, but not having a % is not - the subtle additions of Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano to the main Tempranillo base can have a huge impact on how well a Rioja will age and/or be ready for drinking!
  3. The old temperature issue - while thank god we have moved away from the "room temperature" model to the fridge, whether its 15 mins or not will depend on the fridge, the previous room temperature and other points. Moreover
I think the best way out of this is moderated community additions? I will be upgrading to pro and will update, but in the meantime, these are the next issues that need to be tackled with these apps.
Grape % would be useful, at the moment all Spanish wines appear to be paired with pork!
These are small gripes, with an otherwise great app, and will now substitute my random posting of pictures of bottles on social networks...

Antisocial drinking apps

When will people learn that creating a community on just one OS does not work! Facebook and twitter check-in is the other key feature that has made Pintererst to Foursquare via Instagram before it was bought (...and did the whole T&Cs debacle). I do not want to create another account on another app!
Snooth: another apps that thinks people need yet another login!
Another key for Vivino is that it is on Android as well; more and more people have a mixed OS tablet/smartphone mix and even a dual smartphone mix and the market has seen iPhoners switch to Android and vice versa: you need to be on both platforms at least to succeed. Any premium app, especially one at the £2.99 end that has not yet adapted to the iPhone5 screen size  six months on almost demands a refund!

Social drinking apps on the other hand, could become the next foursquare????