Gyro Stick Doesn’t Quite Hit The Right Note

Price: $0.99    Score: 4/10    By M. Schustermanbadge appstore sm Gyro Stick Doesnt Quite Hit The Right Note

I understand why people like to play with drums. I’m one of them, which is why I ended up getting a music degree as a percussionist. And while no electronic drum will ever replace the real deal for me, I understand their entertainment value.

However, in order to be entertaining, it’s actually got to work. And in this case, that’s…well, not the case.  Gyro Stick, an app designed by Ignasi Artigas Cucurella, uses the gyroscope, so you can basically hold your iPhone like a stick and strike the air. In the video demos, the user successfully “drums” holding the iphone screen up, screen down and screen to the side. For me, screen to the side did not work at all, and the other two were about 20% accurate.

You can choose from “Drums,” “Bongo,” and “Gong.” The “Drums” set up is weird; two toms at the top with a cymbal on either side, then a snare at the bottom. The two sticks waved around randomly as I swung my phone, and every now and then I got a random cymbal crash. The bongos are worse – the stick just swings back in front of them, the sound that comes out doesn’t correspond with where the stick lands, and the sound cuts off way too fast (it doesn’t sound like bongos).

The gong was the most consistent; the mallet moved where and when I moved my phone, and the sound was timed appropriately. Overall, there’s just not much you can do with this one until the response is improved. I’d hold off and see if things improve in later versions.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z6EOnM7h0Q

Gyro Stick [iTunes Link] is compatible with iPhone 4 and iPod touch (4th generation). Requires iPhone OS 4.0 or later. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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Track Your Business – Jobs, Clients, and More – with ServiceM8

Price: Free    Score: 9/10    By A. Papachristosbadge appstore sm Track Your Business – Jobs, Clients, and More – with ServiceM8

For those who run a business, keeping track of just about everything can become quite a hassle if you do not remain organized.  But with ServiceM8 by Ben Ford, users can quickly and easily track their jobs and clients with an easy-to-use interface that saves time and energy.  Track every bit of information, from a job’s start to its finish, allowing solo businessmen and small businesses to track comprehensively.

To begin, users must either login to their account or create a new one by entering their name, email address and desired password.  While users may do this right from the link on the main page, setting up your account via the ServiceM8 site takes mere moments.  The fact that I could not register within the application no matter how many times I tried also detracted from this otherwise convenient feature.  However, no matter which method allows you to successfully register, you will then need to login before you may finally access what ServiceM8 has to offer.  (Where it says login, enter your email address, as it does not require you to create a username.)

When you reach the main page, you will see the page that will soon list various Quotes, Work Orders and Completed Jobs.  Simply tap New in the top right corner to enter all sorts of details.  For instance, begin by entering your clients’ contact information, which can then be added to your address book, helping you appear professional, prepared and personal whenever someone calls.  Enter the job’s description, attaching any necessary notes you may wish to have on hand.  Plus, attach photos to every job for reference and record your client’s signature upon a job’s completion, covering all your bases to ensure everything processes smoothly.

Best of all, ServiceM8 makes coordinating and staying up-to-date with the rest of your staff simple.  Team leaders and business owners can customize their job information, allowing them to view everyone’s schedule, their tasks and their jobs, limiting to staff to only edit their own personal information.  This allows the owner or leader an easy way to oversee all that is going on within the business, allowing them to check in on a regular basis without seeming overbearing.  Staff members may also use the map feature, which allows them to see where their co-workers are at any given moment.  Plus, ServiceM8 combines with the Navigon Navigation application (if users have said application installed) so users may use the app as a GPS that guides them to their next job automatically.  Honestly, the simplicity and usefulness of such an application almost makes me want to start my very own small business just so I can put it to good use daily.

ServiceM8 [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone and iPad. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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Take Your Trading On-the-Go with FXCM Mobile TSII

Price: Free     Score: 8/10     By A. Papachristosbadge appstore sm Take Your Trading On the Go with FXCM Mobile TSII

For traders everywhere, staying on top of the market and your investments can often be the best way to profit in this rollercoaster economy.  With FXCM Mobile TSII by Market Simplified Inc, users can utilize this mobile trading station to trade currency with Forex directly from their device at any time, anywhere.  FXCM Mobile TSII allows users with Standard, Micro and Practice accounts to login on their mobile device in order to track their account, place trades, view real-time interactive charts, watch breaking market news and much more.

When you begin, you will have to either login to your existing account or make a new one.  For those looking to make a new account, perhaps a practice account that allows you to test your trading skills, it seems you will have to actually access the FXCM site in order to enter the pertinent information and receive their User ID and password.  Once you have received your login information, use that to login to the application.  You will then find a menu with numerous icons, providing all the benefits of trading right on your device.

For those who create a Practice account, you can access all the utilities afforded Standard account members, teaching yourself the ins and outs of Forex trading before ever investing any actual funds.  (Micro clients, as the app description says, will be charged $.10 per lot per trade, however.)

From there, users can view quotes, charts, balances, news and summary positions, deposit funds to their MyFXCM accounts, place entry and market orders, and even call the company directly.  And, in a market that has so many crazy ups and downs, an application that lays out its icons so neatly and efficiently shall certainly help you stay ahead of the game.

FXCM Mobile TSII [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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Set Location Alerts and Reminders with GPSMinder

Price: $.99     Score: 7/10     By A. Papachristosbadge appstore sm Set Location Alerts and Reminders with GPSMinder

For those who tend to forget small errands and other important bits of information during their travels, GPSMinder by Burn37.com Inc offers users a unique way to set reminders.  Simply by entering the task and location, GPSMinder will alert users when they are nearing the very place or area marked.  All one must do is create reminders based on your location or schedule using the simple interface that makes entering your information easier than remembering the task yourself.

When you begin, simply tap the ‘+’ icon in the top right corner in order to enter the necessary information.  Whether you are reminding yourself of construction areas to avoid on your daily commute, or simply to pick up a few items at the store on your way home, GPSMinder will recognize when you are approaching one of these areas, sending you a notification as required.  In fact, the To-Dos function allows users to create a list of tasks needing a reminder.  Once the list is complete, users will no longer receive unnecessary reminders.

The only slight flaw that makes GPSMinder a bit of an inconvenience is the fact that it runs in the background, allowing users to forget about it until a notification has been sent to remind them of the given task or location.  While this aspect sounds useful (and don’t get me wrong, it is), it also eats up one’s battery power.  According to the application’s description, the battery life may even decrease dramatically, which makes one wonder how long the application will actually run before leaving your phone nearly entirely useless.  However, GPSMinder claims to utilize some of iOS 4.0’s advanced features, attempting to lower the battery consumption.  You may even adjust your power consumption settings under the Settings tab, choosing when to disable GPSMinder based on battery level and disabling the GPS feature altogether when no movement is detected.  This will save power, but still allow the GPS to kick in again once cell tower movement is detected.

Thankfully, GPSMinder does not try to gloss over the potential flaws, but addresses all issues head on so users will not be disappointed and unaware.  GPSMinder promises to be a useful tool as long as it is used in moderation, for phone battery conservation is always a must in one’s travels, short or long distance.

GPSMinder [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 4.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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Shop Zappos on Your iPhone with ShoesNBags

Price: $0.99    Score: 9/10    By M. Schustermanbadge appstore sm Shop Zappos on Your iPhone with ShoesNBags

The migration of shopping is complete; from in-store, to online, and finally on your iPhone. If you’re a regular customer of Zappos, a website that sells clothing and accessories for women, men and children, you can now browse and buy from their catalog with their app, ShoesNBags.

This was my first time shopping for clothes on an app, and I’ve got to say, it’s a pretty cool experience. ShoesNBags took awhile to load the catalog the first few times I tried, but once I browsed around for awhile it sped up quite a bit. At the bottom of the screen you can navigate to Search, see a Product menu, or check out your Favorites. The Product menu is split into Women, Men, Boy and Girl, and each has shoes and other accessories, as well as clothing, as subcategories.

When you tap a subcategory, you’ll see a list of those items with a picture, the name of the product and make, the price, and (in some cases) a rating. You can sort your results by popularity, newest additions, brand name, and low or high price. Tap on an item to see the product number and description, as well as available colors and sizes. You can also view a slideshow of the item.

Scroll down to either share the item via email, or buy the item. When you tap “Buy Product,” you can choose the size, colors and other options, add it to your account, then login to Zappos within the app to purchase your item.

The interface of the app is basic and easy to use, and I appreciate the catalog-quality images that come with every item you browse. Overall, ShoesNBags is a great option for Zappos customers who want to shop on-the-go.

ShoesNBags [iTunes Link] is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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Life Wisdom: Just Ask Your iPhone

Price: $0.99   Score: 6/10    By M. Schustermanbadge appstore sm Life Wisdom: Just Ask Your iPhone

NOTE: Since this review was published, an update changed the answer-choosing algorithm, meaning your answers are much more randomized, as opposed to what I stated in this review.

As someone who adored playing with Magic 8 balls as a kid, I was pretty excited about the concept of this app. Life Wisdom, designed by Mandy Jane Life Design, asks you to “suspend your logic” – something I’ve got no problem with. Unfortunately, I can’t suspend it enough to allow myself to believe most of my deep, personal questions have the same answer: “Yes, it’s time to move on.”

Because that’s all I get. When you open the app, you’re greeted with the instructions. Think of a yes or no question, touch the screen, and shake your phone. A ying-yang symbol appears and bounces around. When you stop shaking, it settles into one spot on your screen, and the word “Start” appears. Tap it and the answer to your question is revealed.

I made sure to shake my phone in a way that ensured the ying-yang symbol settled in a different location every time, and for literally the first ten question, my answer was “Yes, it’s time to move on.” At last, I received a different answer: “What you should do will become clearer over the next two weeks.”

Call me a non-believer, but that’s not necessarily an answer to a yes or no question. Unsurprisingly, this was the answer for the next dozen or so questions I asked, reminding me strongly of getting “Ask Again Later” repeatedly until I chucked my Magic 8 ball across the room.

I think a little more randomization, and possibly more answers, are necessary for this app to reach its potential as far as entertainment goes.

Life Wisdom [iTunes Link] is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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