ListPro for iPhone

What can you say about this, it sort of appeared very suddenly more or less a  few months after I had completly given up hope of ever seeing it on the iPhone platform and my initial reaction has been one of disappointment, if I am going to be honest. Firstly, and I know it is a bit trivial, but what happened to the classic ListPro icon that we all knew and loved on our Palm and Windows Mobile devices? That wishy washy new one just doesn’t look right, it doesn’t stand out and it just doesn’t scream “ListPro”. It’s a bit bland in my view.

The UI too is not ListPro, I find it a bit tricky to use and it’s a heck of a lot different to how it looks and behaves on Palm devices, the font is too small in most of the list views and when you touch on an item in a list it gets highlighted blue but does not take you to the actual item, you have to touch the arrow to the right instead which seems a bit odd.

It’s great that it is finally available and it is great that it is free and the fact that you can sync your existing ListPro files via the Windows PC application is another whopping great advantage but I’d just like it to look and act a bit more like the Palm and WM version. This is obviously an early version so alterations/improvements may come but until then I’ll probably just stick with Tap Forms which has a bit more eye candy and a wide range of settings and customisations. I’d be interested though to see what others, who used ListPro on Palm, think of the new version as it could well be just me. Initial reviews for ListPro have been very positive on the App Store, which is good.

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Nokia N8 almost out and about

Nokia always manages to make phones that look very enticing, well to me anyway. The E71 and E72 being great examples of smart looking devices, beautifully built and solid with that really feel good in the hand feeling. The rest of the product often fails to hit the mark bang on though but this may well change at last with the launch of the N8. Not only does this thing have really up to date specs, great screen (on paper) and a camera that will spank the bottom off every other smartphone in the market place but it looks good and arrives with Symbian 3 which, if we are to believe Nokia, will make the device a breeze to use with less hidden settings and a much more manageable UI with more uniformity than  their previous touch screened phones. Could be a goodie methinks.

Users of the N97 complained about the inconsistency of the UI and how it would vary between different applications, amongst other gripes. Hopefully the N8 launches as a device that is actually ready to be launched. I’d like Nokia to become important again in the smartphone area as at the moment it is being dominated by Apple and HTC with a bit of Samsung thrown in. Personally I still see RIM as more business orientated and don’t feel that their phones are really optimised for consumer/media/gaming based users which is where all the action currently is. The developers who seem to be making all the big cash on the Apple Store are those making good games, Android could well be the same and that is where the money is at the moment.This shows where people who buy apps priorities are based.

Shortly, we will be able to add in Microsoft too again when W7 phones start to appear. It could be the big dark horse here with that big button/finger friendly UI and if they get HTC on board again with a variety of phones styles (which HTC have not produced for Android to date) then there could be a great range of phones too. Remember how many new WM phones in different form factors used to appear from HTC, Samsung, Asus, Motorola and the likes? That variety seems to have dried up with Apple and Android as it is all slab styled.  I wonder if they will get the same level of 3rd party software developers onboard again as it wasn’t so very long ago that the biggest range of 3rd party titles was for Apple & WM phones.

BlackBerry CopyBook

Oh no…a Blackberry iPad, another gadget to want until it actually comes out and then you realise how average it is. This thing is not appearing until 2011 by which time its competitors, who already have tablets out, will have probably issued revised and improved versions of the existing tablets. They are saying that it will offer all the advantages of the BlackBerry business stuff but have called it the PlayBook. I wonder if you will need to take out one of those restrictive BlackBerry BIS/BES contracts in order to be able to use the email as you do on their smartphones. You can get and use an iPad, all the functions, without a phone contract and if this thing is going to compete then it needs to offer the same.

Not unsurprisingly, the BB sites are beside themselves with joy, probably more surprised than anything at the thought of RIM finally bringing out a nice looking device with a screen, at last, bigger than Keira Knightley’s boobs. All the bloggers (BB fanboys), gasp, seem to love it. Shaun at pda247, a well renowned BB fanboy, is getting himself worked up into a frightful state too stating that it “does look very good”. That could turn out to be the problem, it might look very good but what will it be like to use I wonder? The Pre looked very good for a while until it came to launch date and remember how they wouldn’t let anyone touch one until then, a bit like the PlayBook scenario yesterday when it was locked behind glass.

Pricing will be interesting as I’ll wager the next gen iPad will be cheaper or at least have better specs for the same price and they had better lose that silly BB data contract malarkay. Thing is, if you don’t have a BIS/BES contract how will you get your email as I doubt you could access it with just wifi? RIM are also going to have to get an awful lot of the good games people onboard if they wish to compete in the “PlayBook” sector, existing BB’s are not exactly renowned for the depth or breadth of quality gaming titles for their smartphones but of course a few golden dollars issued here and there may change all that. Can you see a whole lot of Android or iPad owners, already well immersed in their respective eco-systems, suddenly wanting to shift to a new platform, with a limited amount of 3rd party software, once it launches? Tough one that for RIM to break into methinks although of course there are plenty of BB users out there who may take a shine to it. Mind you, existing BB users haven’t exactly flocked to RIM’s other current big touchscreen equipped phone, the Storm, have they?

I’m not trying to diss this thing before it comes out, if I wasn’t already entrenched in the Apple/Mac/iPhone thing I’d be quite interested in this thing but I am and that effectively rules it out. I’ve already spent pots on software for the latter and another thing causes concern, how well or not the PlayBook would be able to access all my iTunes stuff out of the box. I suspect not well at all. Still, it could turn out to be amazing and if so, great.

iPhone Calendars

I’ve been  trying out a few of these 3rd party Calendar type apps in the last week or so although for a long time I was quite happy with the stock Apple one. The two things that annoy me about though are the inability to add a quick appointment by just tapping on a free space and the inability to be able to swipe left and right to go to the next day or month or whatever. Seems odd that bearing in mind how much store Apple puts in interacting, by touch, with their own software on the iPhone.

Calvetica was briefly reviewed on here before, it’s a promising app but is too basic at the moment and the font size cannot be changed, for specs wearers like me it is a bit on the small size as you have the big single day page view and then this tiny font with your event listings. I also don’t like the fact that it doesn’t block out the full time of the meeting but instead just states the finishing time of the event. I like, if I put in a meeting from 2-4pm to see that whole time blanked out.

Anyway, I made two purchases at the end of last week. The first was “Week Cal”. This offers, unsurprisingly, the week view that many like as well as a normal day view. It is better than the Apple stock app in the following areas:

  • you can swipe left and right to move between days/weeks
  • you can hold a free time to start adding a new meeting/event but then go into a very Apple like Calendar menu to add in the details
  • you can double tap the screen quickly to change between the day and week view
  • you can pick which hours of the day to show, I have it set only to show from 7am to 10pm which means less scrolling
  • the week view is good, it has a very GCal like appearance so those who use that will feel at home
  • you can change the font size and various other setting allow for some limited customisation
  • you can set default values for new events such as length and whether an alarm is needed
  • you can tap and hold an event and then move it to another time or use the built in cut and paste to move it to another day/week

I don’t think it syncs with GCal though unless you have your GCal syncing with the default Apple Calendar application, mine just seems to transfer info in from the latter automatically although if you were using this app you’d be adding events to it rather than the former anyway. Overall, quite cheap and better than the Apple app.

Next up was TapCal. This definately syncs with GCal out of the box and offers a day, week and month view. The week view is very a la PocketInformant and there are 5 different week view layouts to choose from. The day and month views are fairly typical looking. The app offers a lot, and I mean a lot, of customisation options but oddly none to change the font size which again, I find too small. Plenty to change font colours though……

Again, there are the nice swiping options to move between days/weeks/months but unfortunately no “tap to hold” quick entry system at the moment. You can however, if it matters to you, decide under which Calendar a new entry should go and pick which hours to show. Neither app provides icon support which is a pity, you get that with PI and it would be nice to have it here.  I actually prefer the look of this app to Week Calendar, it looks a bit more substantial with a chunky black and white UI but the huge amount of options in terms of settings and look seem to be at the expense of useablity features. Week Calendar is just a bit easier too use if you don’t need to manage more than one calendar.

TweetList for iPhone

Got me a new favourite iPhone Twitter application in the shape of TweetList. The title gives the impression that it may be focused on the Twitter list scene, which I have never really bothered to investigate, but it is just like any other Twitter client in terms of look and feel and features. The only slight difference being that along the bottom of the screen, next to your main timeline  button is a button for “lists” ahead of “mentions” and “messages”. I’ve got used to it already.

What I really like about it is that it is easy to access the important features, for example pressing down and holding a tweet brings up the “reply/retweet” option whilst double tapping a tweet brings up the “translate/favourite/copy’ menu. The display is clean, I can change the font size to make it more readable and tweets where people reply to me or my own tweets are highlighted in a discrete light blue colour and not the awful shades that other Twitter clients seem to think are nice. I’m really pleased with this one and have been using it ahead of Osfoora the past couple of weeks.

KEY FEATURES
– Innovative list navigation: swipe left and right to scroll between your lists and subscriptions.
– Rearrange your lists in ANY order.
– Automatic full conversation threading: see the whole conversation at once.
– Full set of search tools: search Twitter, find users, view local trends, save searches, and real-time conversation search.
– Drafts manager with auto-saving.
– Background tweet sending / photo uploading.
– Unlimited number of Twitter accounts.
– Compose page shows the entire conversation as you reply.
– Timeline, member, and direct message caching with pull and auto-refresh.
– Direct messages grouped by individual with full conversation threading.
– Unread counts and badges for @replies and direct messages.
– Tweet translations.
– TwitLonger support for tweets > 140 characters.
– InstaPaper, ReadItLater, and Google mobilizer support.
– Customizable: font size, name and date formats.
– xAuth authentication and secure HTTPS communication.
– …and much more.

Paperless…

Finally started using my Canon scanner/printer/faxer combo unit thingy the other night. I had dug it out a year ago and it has sat rather forlornly under the table next to my laptop seat in the front room with previous total useage amounting to about 2 minutes. I really wanted to start using the scanner function as I have a stack of photos from early 90’s up to 2001/02 which have been just lying in a drawer, rarely looked at. I just thought it would be nice to get them onto my laptop via iPhoto and at the same time get rid of a horde of paper receipts & stuff by importing them into Paperless, which I acquired via one of those cheap Mac software bundles a while back and which I have also barely used. As it transpires, it was easy to scan photos into Paperless but I can’t unfortunately at the moment find a way to get them out to iPhoto, looks like I need to do that via the Canon Mac app itself which is a pity as it is horribly clunky.

Anyway, Paperless is good for storing paper receipts and documents and whatever. A good thing about it is that you can access your scanner straight from the software itself. Just put the document in the scanner, open Paperless and hit the “add scan” button. You can then preview the document, crop it, choose what dpi you want it import it in at and then choose the type of document it is. There are plenty of options for categorizing stuff too.

Paperless has the ability to keep up and maintain the task of not only reducing your need for paper but managing the paper you use. Simply scan your receipts, warranty cards, deposit slips and other paperwork and Paperless will recognize and help to categorize them for you. Already have your documents as PDFs or other file formats? No problem. Simply drag and drop them into Paperless. By taking your paper receipts, product manuals and other documents and creating an electronic record you’ve already reduced your need for paper.

BBC News – Chris Moyles launches on-air tirade over pay

BBC News – Chris Moyles launches on-air tirade over pay.

What is it with this guy? Read the article and marvel at his sheer arrogance…

“I was texting my agent last night,” he said, “and I am so angry that they’ve put me in this position where now I have to choose whether or not I go to work.”

“Fix it, just get it fixed. It’s a huge lack of respect.”

If this guys talent was as big as his ego he’d be well placed. Lack of respect my bottom….this is the problem with the whole DJ culture these days, everyone thinks they are a DJ and the amount of times you read or hear about people who slip in the moniker “DJ” when they talk about themselves.

I saw a programme about him a while back, he was touring round the UK on a mission to speak to every one who had been a Radio 1 Breakfast Show DJ since it started. He was treating the whole thing as if he was speaking to the Nobel Peace Price winners, each one being accorded some grossly over-inflated degree of importance as they recounted tedious tales of their wacky japes, battles with the then Radio 1 Head Controller and various other tales. You just have to read through the list of previous incumbents to get a feel for the size of collective ego’s involved…Tony Blackburn, Steve (I think I’m funny) Wright, Chris Evans and the like. These people were above music, the show was all about them and their tediously dull entourage who served no purpose other than to fawn at their self perceived greatness. Rather ironically, it was followed by a Smashey & Nicey retrospective, which clowns like Moyes probably interpret as a tribute.