Thursday, September 2, 2010

iHaven't forgotten about you...

oy, where has the time gone? jenn and i really need to buckle down and give this blog some lovins.

to follow up on my last post (from 2.5 months ago) shazam contacted me back pretty quickly but didn't really offer any help to solve my problem. but guess what? it randomly started working again!

now for some actual (old)news, you can watch netflix streaming from your iphone now! did you know that? i think it's pretty much the coolest thing ever. is it an efficient use of battery power? probably not. but is it awesome? you bet your ass. and netflix is constantly adding great titles to their instant play selection so it just gets better and better. but i guess if you don't have a netflix account this is pretty pointless, huh?

i've recently downloaded some new camera apps so expect reviews of those sometime before next century. i'm sorry i don't have more to offer but camera apps are my favorites. hopefully i'll run across some non-camera apps soon!

Monday, June 21, 2010

iHave: a serious complaint, SHAZAM!

alright, you know i be lovin' me some shazam but lately, i hate it. "but stefanie, how could you hate such a wonderful creation?" you might ask. lend me your ear (err, eyes) and i'll tell you.

for the past couple of weeks or so every time i try to launch shazam, it crashes. it never gets past the initial start up screen. over the weekend there was a shazam update which i thought, for sure, would solve my problemo. i didn't do shit. today, there was an operating system update which i thought might solve my problemo. no dice.

now, ordinarily if i was having this kind of problem with an app (which i actually never have) i would probably just delete it and re-download it. however, shazam made some changes in november which make me hesitant to do that. new shazam users can download a free version where they're only allowed to "tag" 5 songs per month, or they can pay $5 for a version with unlimited tags (which is what i have, well, had before it stopped working). soooo now you see my dilemma. on the one hand i can't imagine being limited to 5 tags per month, on the other hand, i've had zero tags in the past 2ish weeks since the damn thing hasn't been working. and you can bet your sweet bippy that i'm not about to pay $5 for an app that might not even work properly. i just don't know what to do!

iLove: what i know about iOS4 so far

don't adjust your google reader, this blog actually has a new post!

so if you live under a rock, like my friend dustin, you might not know that apple released OS4 for the iphone/itouch today. and hoooooly update, batman! obviously if you want real information about the update you should read this on gizmodo but if you want to read what i think of it (so far) stick around!

i'm going to touch on four points in this post: general speed, folders, search, and motherfreaking email threading!

general speed: lard have mercy, this thing is fast! it's so much faster than the last operating system. i'm in love, i'm in love and i don't care who knows it!

folders: awww yeah, i can finally get rid of my 4 pages of apps or whatever the hell i had before. everything is on ONE PAGE. oh, and your wallpaper really is wallpaper now. how fun is that? unless you have a 3G or older, then your wallpaper still isn't really a wallpaper. 

allow me to introduce you to my folders:

yes, since apple won't let me delete the stupid stocks, voice memo, and compass apps i will just file them under shit i wish i could delete. for information on how to actually create said folders, visit that there gizmodo link above the pictures. i'm too lazy to explain it and i'm not just going to copy and paste what they wrote. 

search: now when you use the search function, rather than just searching everything on your phone as well as the web, you can select to search wikipedia

email threading: this is a big one for me. i'm talking HUGE. if you use gmail (and who doesn't use gmail? except for my co-editor of this here blog) you know how wonderful it is that gmail keeps emails stored as a conversation, rather than a separate entry in your inbox for each reply to the same original email. for example, when 6 friends and i were planning a trip to san francisco, we emailed each other constantly, all replying from my original email titled "san fran!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" in gmail, that was just one measly little line in my inbox. but on my phone, each time someone replied it showed up as a totally new email. i eventually had to make a folder to put them all in on my phone because there were 100+ emails in that conversation. now, i wouldn't have to do that! i guess if you don't use gmail, or never have, this might not be that big of a deal to you. well, i don't know, do other email clients use the threading feature? i don't even know because i've been using gmail since it was beta invite only. 

what are you loving, or hating, about the new operating system?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

iReview: iRewardChart

It's a strange story about how I ended up with this app on my phone, but having the app on my phone is completely appropriate.  I know, I would say that about all of my apps.  You're right.

Anyhow, sometime last week Supah emailed me and said that the developer of iRewardChart might be contacting me.  See, he emailed Supah and wanted her to review an app for him, but she doesn't have an iPhone.  If you want to know why that's a good thing, read HERE.

So, a day or so later, Satyajit, the actual developer of the iRewardChart app emailed me!  He told me that he wanted me to review the app for him and the best part?  He was going to give me a redeemer code so I was able to get the app for free!  The cost of the full version of this app is $4.99, and I have to say that from a parent's perspective, it's a great investment.  I often times will pass on an app that is more than a few bucks, but this one is a gem.  

The attitude in our household, and by "our household", I mean my 3 year old daughter, has completely changed! 

Last Friday Satyajit emailed me a redeemer code and gave me instructions on how to use it.  It was simple, go to the iTunes store, click on "Redeem" on the right hand side, enter the code and then sync my phone.  It was so easy!

So after I synced my phone, I swiped my fingers until I got to the iRewardChart app.  I opened it up and right away the set up looked so simple.  I was able to tap the screen to add McKenna and upload her picture from the photo album on my phone.  

Once I had McKenna set up, I tapped on her name and it opens up a calendar for the week.  The days are listed in one direction and a list of tasks are listed in the other.  You can add or remove tasks depending on your child.  Since McKenna is 3, we're really pushing good manners, picking up toys, whining/crying and eating.  All of these items were either on the list or I added them.  At the bottom you can tap "edit tasks" to add or remove tasks according to your needs.

I got this all set up before I got home on Friday evening.  When I got home I sat down with her at the kitchen table and explained to her that I would be giving her stars based on good behavior.  I physically showed her the app and what it sounds like and looks like to get a star.  She was hooked.  I went down the list and told her all of the things she was eligible to get a star for.  

For the remainder of the evening, I could tell that she was trying to behave.  Like, she would start to play with a toy and then stop and look at me.  She would run to the toy she just finished with and put it away and then say "mommy, I put away my baby".  She knew that I would give her a star for her efforts.

There are so many things I like about this app aside from the ease of use.  On top of being able to add and remove tasks, I can also add and remove rewards.  This is great because depending on your child(rens) age, you can change rewards accordingly.  Like, it will be a million years before McKenna will want a video game, so I can remove "Video Game" and add "New Baby".

I know I keep bringing it up, but seriously, this app is so easy to use and it's great for a parent on the go.  I don't have time to mess with a paper chart with stickers!  I love how McKenna has made an attitude adjustment on her own because she knows we're always watching her.  She knows that if she presents bad behavior stars can be taken away.  I can take half a star away, or an entire star and the app keeps track of everything for me.  I don't have to do math and I don't have to keep track of what she gets and what she has.

The Bottom Line:
I love this app and I am so grateful that Satyajit sent it my way!  iRewardCharts gets two huge thumbs up from this busy working mom!  Well done!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

iReview: Words With Friends

It's been a while, right?  Well, I downloaded a new app yesterday on my way home from work [and before you freak out, I spend at least an hour in bumper to bumper and my speedometer never moves past 4ish MPH].  I read about this one somewhere, but I have to admit, it's really just pissing me off more than anything.

Here's the deal:  we all know how much I love to download apps, right?  Well, I also like a good addictive game every now and again.  Prior to this download I was constantly playing Doodle Jump in my spare time {on the pot}.  Anyhow, I downloaded Words with Friends and I was ready to play.  I guess I should have thought about the fact that this game isn't a one person job.  I don't know anyone know one person who has an iPhone AND has this app, so I've been deduced to playing with complete strangers.  This means that when my turn is over and it's theirs, it could be hours before they take their turn so I'm just waiting and waiting.  This does not make me, Mrs. Instant Gratification, happy.

Alright, this game has full potential to be addicting.  I'm currently "playing" 4 games at once and I know one of the people I'm playing against in real life, so it might start getting good.  At least if it takes her 17 hours to play her turn, I pretty much know what she's doing (like working or sitting in the same traffic as I am or eating or drinking).  When it's a stranger I just sit there and try to imagine what Inzan3 or Neslihanb could be doing for so long.

The Gist:
Are you American?  Yes?  So then you know what Scrabble is?  Okay, that's exactly what Words with Friends is

The Pros:
*You can invite friends from facebook and twitter to play.  I sent out a tweet from the app and I think that's how my game with Looch started. 
*There is a chat option
*There's a "Pass & Play" option which means that you can play with a friend who's sitting next to you
*This app is FREE (or you can get the paid version with no ads)

The Cons:
*If you like fast paced games, this isn't going to be your cup of tea
*There is a "resign" option so you can quit a game, but you can only resign if it's your turn.  If it's taking the other person 17 hours to take their turn, you have to wait to resign.
*The ads are ridiculous.  After your every turn there's an ad that you have to wait a few seconds to "skip", but really, you're next turn might not be for another 17 hours so you just hit your home button...

Once I get some actual in real life friends to get this app and play with me, I think I'll enjoy it more.  Its fun to play when its your turn, but let me just tell you, when you get your letters and you start planning your next word, if 17 hours passes and you're like me, you've forgotten what word you were going to use.

Again, this app has full potential to be pretty addicting and I learned from a co-worker (who doesn't have an iPhone) that it's all the rage on facebook.  I've never seen anyone post about it, but she's young and "in the know".

Finally, I leave you with something I haven't done in forever.  My work computer won't allow me to use fun internet tools like picnik, so I had to do some editing the old fashioned way.  My bad...

Don't forget that Stef and I love to hear about new apps, especially the really good ones, so tell us what your favorites are!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

iReview: Photo Booth+

hola, people! remember us? we're still here! today i am going to review yet another photo app (because those are my favorites!) i downloaded photo booth+ ($1.99 made by vurb studio) on saturday night and i love it!

when you launch the app, tap on the clock in the left hand corner to set the timer speed.

i have mine set to 3 seconds because 5 was just too long. 

after you set timer, it instructs you to tap the screen to start. it will count down from 3 seconds, then take a picture. this process is repeated 3 more times until you have taken 4 pictures. 

the pictures are in color by default on this app but if you slide the circle down the blue bar, you can change it to black and white!

after you've decided whether you want color or black and white tab publish and it will bring up a list of options to chose from.

i always just publish mine to my camera roll and then i share them on facebook or twitter later, if i want to.

i think it's very easy to use and it creates a fun, new way to capture memories on your iphone.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

iReview: Twitbird

Most of us know that there about thirtyfivegazillion apps out there for us iPhone junkies.  Well, out of that thirtyfivegazillion, a fair amount are apps for twitter.  If you have no idea what twitter is, please do the following:
1)  Pack your iPhone in a nice box and surround it with bubble wrap.
2)  Ship your iPhone to...

Just kidding!  I'm sure you all know what twitter is, right?

Okay, so when I first got my iPhone, I immediately downloaded the twitter app that is now called Echofon.  I like it.  **Echofon never gave me any issues, but I got bored with it.  I started trying new twitter apps left and right.  I've probably used 3 others, not including Echofon.  None of them fit me or my needs.  I'm not too needy, but for me, sometimes the more an app can do for me, the more I like it.

One day, during my weekly trip to the app store on my phone, I found Twitbird.  I downloaded it because it was FREE and honestly figured that I wouldn't care for it either.  Well, boy was I wrong!  I could gush for at least an hour about all the features this app has, and I will, but not for an hour and to make things easier for y'all, I've got some pictures!

For starters, when you open the app, there is a really good sized menu.  It may be a little much for some people, but like I said, I like options.  What this picture doesn't show you is that there is another page of options if you scroll down!  Other options that aren't listed above are Trends, My Profile, Search, Saved Links, Public Timeline and a few more!

When you click on "Home" it takes you to your activity.  It loads all the tweets in individual bubbles.  Unread tweets are in tan and read tweets are in the gray shade like above.  There's also another menu.  I didn't bother labeling everything there because they're mostly self explanatory when you have the all.  The icon in the middle though, that lets you choose a background (mine is that leafy thing).  You can also use a picture from your photo library.  Fun!

When you want to create a new tweet you can see that there are a lot of things you can do.  When you click on the @ symbol, you can scroll through your "following" list and pick a person, instead of trying to memorize every.single.username.

Some other features that this app has that I didn't get pictures of are:
When you get to the end of a page (25 tweets) you just slide your finger upward and it loads the next set for you.  This app does allow you to have two accounts, which is neat because most of the multi-account twitter apps are not free.

To RT or @ someone as a reply, all you do is tap on the tweet you want to use and click on the leftward arrow.  You'll be able to pick from reply, retweet and direct message.

Overall, this is my favorite twitter app.  This morning I downloaded Tweetery because someone mentioned that it was a free download this week.  I wasn't impressed.  I've already removed it from my phone.

I hope that you've found this review and all of our others helpful!  Don't forget, if you have an app that you would like us to review, or an expensive one that we don't want to pay for that you want to review, contact either of us using the information in our profiles!

**They may have updated and upgraded Echofon since the time I stopped using it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

brief hiatus

hey, readers! i know we don't update this guy a ton but i just wanted to let you know a couple of things...

jenn has carpel tunnel syndrome and since she's in the middle of a "flair up" (her words, not mine) she won't be able to contribute for a little while.

she's been complaining about her wrist brace not helping...i think she just needs this:

i am going out of town on friday and i'm busy busy busy preparing for the trip. so i won't be updating until sometime next week. hopefully when i get back i will be able to post a review of iCommute SF.

thanks for reading :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

iReview: Shazam

shazam describes itself as "an amazing music discovery engine". um, okay? i love using shazam though so i guess maybe it is an amazing music discovery engine. my old, shitty, lg shine actually came with shazam on it so i've been rockin' this technology for about 2 years now. if you live in some sort of hole and haven't heard of shazam, here's the deal: you're driving to work, listening to the radio and you hear a song that really strikes your fancy and you think to yourself, "man, i wish i knew who sang this song!" enter shazam. you launch that bad boy, it listens to your radio, sends the sample to some database, then comes back to you with a song title and artist. holy crap, right? it's genius.

this app is totally free and a must-have for ALL iphone users. be prepared for it to fail every now and then. it doesn't always identify the obscure stuff but i'd say that 90% of the time i use it, it comes back with an answer for me. and another great part is that it saves all the songs you've tagged so you can go back and find a song in case you forgot the title or artist or something.

i even tried to use shazam at sxsw in 2008 and guess what? it worked! it was at jens lekman so i guess his live songs sound almost exactly like his studio songs because shazam identified him immediately. it was crazy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

jazzing up your iphone case

i am very picky when it comes to a case for my iphone. i see a lot of people using those really bulky, rubbery incase cases that look like this:

i'm sure they provide a nice amount of protection but they're way too bulky for me. i can't stand them! for the first few months i had my phone, i used the plum slimshell by dlo:

i loved it! i was pretty rough on it and it eventually cracked in a couple of places. it's still totally usable but i bought a new one anyway. i got the teal one this time. oh, did i mention best buy sells them and they're only about $15? it's a nice deal.

yesterday i decided i wanted to add some flair to my little slimshell so i went to michael's and picked out some stickers that i liked. the sheet came with TONS of stickers for about $1.50 and i picked the ones that best matched the teal case. here is the finished product:

immediately after i finished it i was a little unsure of it but everyone who has seen it has complimented it. it's definitely growing on me.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

iReview: IMDb (or iMDB?)

i've only had my iphone since september but since day -10 (that's 10 days BEFORE i got the thing) i've been wanting an imdb (internet movie database) app. i LOVE imdb. i use it ALL the time. i always think about how much of my life would be wasted sitting around trying to figure out where i know the guy in this movie from. that database is truly a life saver! if you aren't familiar with this site a) i feel sorry for you and b) get your butts over there and check it out!

when i discovered the lack of app-age, i had to bookmark it in safari and just use that all the time. on december 10, 2009 (two days after the app was released) i was on a roadtrip back to austin from san angelo, tx (about a 4 hour drive). without going into too many details, several friends and i had made the trip out there to attend a friend's funeral. anyway, on the way home something came up that caused me to consult my imdb safari page. when i got there, i saw a huge (well, not too huge since i was viewing it on my phone) banner advertising an app for the iphone and ipod touch. i may or may not have gone a little nutso. i was running on no sleep and had experienced the peak of every emotion known to man that day so i can't really be held accountable for the way i reacted. i downloaded that shizz immediately and have used it daily ever since. oh, did i mention the best part? IT'S FREE! i've paid for my fair share of apps already but i get super-duper stoked when i find free apps that i actually like. and i don't just like this app, i love it. i want to marry it.

stay tuned for a possible vlog where i 'splain an app in front of a video camera. scary, huh? nah, i made my vlog debut on my regular blog this weekend and it was fun (even though my hair was a mess).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

iHave a guest blogger!

we have a guest blogger today! this post was written by my iphone so you can get to know it a little bit better.

hi, my name is white light/white heat. isn't that a long, silly name? my mom says she named me that because a) i'm white b) i get a little hot when i'm charing and c) she loves the velvet underground.

i'm 16gb of loveliness! i currently have 11.12 gb of music, 194.2 mb of pictures, 817.8 mb of apps, 78 mb of "other" and 2.10 gb of free space. i'm a 3gs so that means my mom can use me to take videos. i think she mostly uses me to take videos of her silly nephew but he sure is cute!

i have more apps than my mom would like but not as many as lots of other iphones! right now, other than the apps that i was born with, i have:

93.3 kgsr
bank of america
ps mobile
camera bag
toy camera
best camera
paper toss
zytrec allergy cast
weather bug
blog press
baseball fan
cinema fx
dragon dictation
icommute sf
southwest airlines
photo funia

can you tell that my mom likes photo apps? i thinks she's a little out of control! i've had a lot of other apps that my mom didn't seem to like so she deleted them pretty quickly. she's so picky!

every day i can be seen wearing my plum slim shell made by dlo. i love it! it doesn't make me look fat like so many other iphone cases do. i only take it off when i'm charging because i get hot flashes when that little white cord is plugged into me.

i suppose those are just about all the details you could want to know about me. i feel lucky to have been born an iphone and i'm glad stefanie adopted me. she takes great care of me (though sometimes she uses me a little too much)!

Monday, January 4, 2010

iReview: Camera Bag

camera bag made by nevercenter ($1.99) is another app i've had since early on. my friend kerry discovered it and i couldn't wait to download it when i got my phone! this app lets you use a photo from your camera roll or take a new one and apply one of 11 different effects to it. once you have an effect you like, you can save it to your camera roll or email it to one of your contacts.

that is what you will see when you first open this app. then you will either tap the icon to load a photo from your camera roll or take a new one. i'm going to chose a picture from my camera roll and apply every effect to it, one at a time.













for this review, i have chosen the helga one to email to jenn. i simply tap the email icon and it brings this up:

if you're at all familiar with lomography and such photography techniques, then you'll get the that helga=holga, lolo=lomo, and colorcross=cross process.

there are a few things you can change in this app, such as the resolution the picture saves at, whether or not to crop, and whether or not to use borders. i have crop and borders on because i love the square pics and the ones with white borders! obviously, sometimes the crop doesn't work very well for a particular picture (like cinema in this example) but there's always something that does work!

i use this app ALL the time. it's hard to say which effect is my favorite but i think i use colorcross the most. i love to actually cross process film so i think that's why i like that particular effect so much. i would say that this app is definitely $2 well spent if you like to play around with your iphone photos like i do.

iReview: Zyrtec Allgery Forecast

There's not really much to say about this app, except it pretty much determines how my day will pan out.

Hi!  I'm Jenn, and I'm allergic to everything that grows and that is also the color green.  Annnnnnd, I live in Texas, where stuff stays green pretty much all year round.

The first thing I do every morning is open this app.  It's easy to use and easy to understand.  I also love this app because it's tied in with the weather channel, so you can get your life or death allergy forecast at the same time as getting the weather!

Here's a few screen shots:

As you can see, the scale goes from 0 to 12, 12 being:  if I chose to walk out the door and spend even 6 seconds outside, I might will DIE.  Also, I've pointed out how easy it is to read, the colorful scale next to the actual forecast number makes easy to see if you will die a painful allergic death or not.  Also, below you can see the high and low for the day.  This app uses the GPS on your phone to pinpoint the location for which you are requesting the forecast.

This picture shows that I need to move to NYC, where the Predominant Pollen is none, and the score doesn't even really register on the colorful life or death chart.

The other things that I love about this app is that it's FREE, and there aren't ads all over the place.  The only place an ad pops up is if you select the "Get Relief" button on the bottom, then it will give you a list of Zyrtec products.

I give this bad boy 2 thumbs up, because it's faster than waiting for the weather person on the TV to tell you you're going to die!