Wake N’ Shake Alarm App – Quickest Uninstall Ever

Wake N’ Shake

App Name: Wake N’ Shake

Cost: Regularly $1.99. Free for a limited time via AppsGoneFree
Available on the iTunes App Store or for Android on Google Play.

Rating: 1 of 5 stars

Summary: Deeply flawed design for alarm setting, poor fundamental functionality = quickest download-delete time ever.

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Makers of popular Twitter client Tweetbot take their skills to App.net with Netbot

I’ve always loved Tapbots. Now that they’re working with Dalton Caldwell’s App.net, I’m pleased to see how things progress.

Gigaom

App.net, Dalton Caldwell’s proposal for a open developer infrastructure based on a paid model of users, won yet another note of approval Wednesday with the news that the makers of Tweetbot have developed an app for the network called Netbot. While App.net hasn’t hit anything close to mainstream popularity yet — and isn’t necessarily aiming for it right now — the fact that the Tweetbot makers have turned their talents to an App.net client just serves as further validation that Caldwell’s efforts could have staying power.

The developers behind Tapbots have created one of the most critically-acclaimed Twitter clients, Tweetbot, that users have praised for its clean design and useful tools. However, the popular app’s days are probably limited, with Twitter cracking down on third-party clients and limiting just how many new users will be able to register with Tweetbot going forward. Netbot for App.net looks much like the…

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The Apps List

Many of my friends have been jumping on the iPhone bandwagon, but many more are often in disbelief about the amount of apps I harbor (and use regularly) on my iPhone 2G 4G (and 2G to a lesser extent). So here’s the list, broken down from essential to “kind of nice to have”.

The Essentials List

  1. Pocket Informant– The definitive replacement for the simple (yet elegant) iPhone calendar application, Pocket Informant combines to-do list capabilities with a calendar with robust support for recurring appointments, meeting invitations via email to participants, Google calendar, Outlook, and Microsoft Exchange support, and many more features. It’s a little pricey at $12.99, but pays for itself many times over!
  2. Momento– I used to keep a journal of activities, but stopped doing so and got out of the practice until I found this awesome application. It syncs with your Facebook and Twitter accounts to grab your status updates automatically. It supports pictures (up to 8), providing visual reminders to accompany your written entries. Your entries can also be tagged for quick reference and referral later. There isn’t a Google docs sync, but your entries can be exported. It’s a beautiful interface to work with.
  3. Ambiance– I go to sleep every night listening to the calming sounds of rain falling, wind chimes clinking together in a light wind, or waves lapping hungrily at a distance shore and awaken to the sound of seagulls flying overhead. Supporting playlists, mixes between sounds (and your iTunes library), and alarms, Ambiance is the perfect application for any time you feel stressed. Once you’ve purchased the sounds, you can access high quality, newly uploaded sounds and download them for free. A must-have for frequent travelers desiring familiar sounds or folks who just want another way to relax.
  4. Holy Bible– Simply titled, but powerful. It supports multiple fonts, multiple translations, note-taking, quick find, search, and auto-scrolling in addition to a variety of other features- all for free!
  5. ConvertBot– Need to change units? ConvertBot is part of the Bots family and elegantly allows conversions between units of measure for: distance, area, volume, time, temperature, speed, mass, length, data size, and currency (needs to be updated to sync with most current rates). A great little tool.
  6. mSecure– If you’re not averse to storing passwords or membership numbers on your iPhone, this application is for you. mSecure features encrypted storage with customizable icons and entries for any kind of data you would want to store. A desktop tool is also available.
  7. Stanza – Free eBook reader with a large library of public domain works which are available for free and a growing library of paid books.
  8. Classics – Not free, but used to be during a special. This was the original app Apple “borrowed” liberally from for page turning, display, and interface. Beautiful presentation and automatic bookmarking make this app a joy to use.
  9. Plants vs. Zombies
  10. Facebook
  11. Mint.com
  12. Twitter
  13. GoodReader
  14. Google
  15. Accounts
  16. Fring
  17. Space Miner
  18. Dungeon Hunter
  19. Hero of Sparta
  20. Tower Madness
  21. Samurai
  22. Sentinel
  23. MGSTouch
  24. Robocalypse
  25. Ps Mobile
  26. Pandora
  27. Last.fm
  28. ProChords
  29. Appbox Pro
  30. Bloomberg
  31. NumberKey Free
  32. Marquee
  33. PuzzleQuest
  34. GameBox
  35. Koi Pond
  36. 2360: Cydonia
  37. FreeAppaDay

When Art Imitates Life

I don’t write about advertising all that much, but I wanted to share about a brilliant, moving, touching, and ultimately realistic ad campaign that HTC is running about their new phone. The male narrator’s voice might be droll or unenthusiastic in any other setting, but it seems to fit just right amidst the driving yet unobtrusive background music and highly personal visual imagery. This ad is showing life, not as marketing people might see it, but as its target – “you” and I – see it.

Good ads sell the product, great ads sell the lifestyle. HTC’s ads blend the product and the lifestyle seamlessly, in a more emotionally appealing way than Apple’s direct, plain-spoken method.
Good ads help you visualize someone using the product, great ads help you see yourself using the product.
Good ads deliver the goods, great ads make the goods sell out.

Nowhere does HTC even tell us one shred of technical information about their phone. Does it have wireless internet (wifi)? What networks will it be available on, and in which region? How is its battery life? Can it play movies, music, and games? Does it have an application store?

For one minute, my mind didn’t even ask any of these benchmarking questions. The actors- actors – in the HTC ad shared a moment with me, pregnant with possibilities, because I was experiencing vignettes of their lives with them. And oh yeah, this is an ad about a phone. Amazingly, my technophile mind ceased its endless inquiry and my cynical “let’s not expect too much” attitude was halted; in their places was a human being who was captivated by the humanity of the ad.

HTC seems serious about its motto for the HTC Sense: “Make it mine. Stay close. Discover the unexpected.” HTC is marketing the user as the center of the experience, and thereby pursues a line of thinking in which technology serves the user, and not the other way around. Perhaps HTC is trying to make a device which minimizes the prominence of the technology separating the people communicating, and instead serves the purpose of communication more directly, bringing those individuals closer together. Not only that, but the location awareness of the Sense means the device keeps pace with its owner, without the owner having to have a second thought. When traveling to a new time zone, the clock automatically displays the local time, displays the weather forecast, and automatically ensures all appointment times are corrected to account for the time zone change (if any). Wow. That’s smart, practical, and another one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” functionalities.

Furthermore, HTC’s strategy of going to great lengths to personalize the phone through the use of “scenes” is one of those “Why didn’t Apple/Microsoft/Sony/Samsung think of this before?” “Scenes” are essentially profiles which are user-driven customizable environments for distinguishing between the different environments in which human beings live: work, play, and everything in between,

This is shrewd thinking, since HTC is not trying to compete with the numerous apps on the iPhone’s App Store. Rather, it focuses on “less is more” and implicitly asking, “Seriously, do you really need that many apps?” Funny question, because while I have more than 50 apps on my iPhone, at the end of the day I can sincerely say I have not used the majority of them more than 10 times since installing them.

I think the iPhone apps I use the most are: Phone (ok, not really an app, but I thought it does have an icon!), Contacts (see previous answer), Pocket Informant (slower than I’d like but essential for task management and calendaring), Notes (for writing down song lyrics as they come to me), Voice Memo (for song ideas and remembering where I parked), Mail, Safari, Bible, Facebook, TweetDeck, Pandora/Lastfm, and iPod (I don’t listen to music much on my phone since it drains the battery like crazy). As you can see, each app covers a different function, and there is no overlap. The other apps (like games, toys, etc.) are just icing on the cake.

Anyway, lest I sound way too disproportionately favorable to HTC in my heaping praise on a video filled with quick cuts and perfectly rendered people in perfectly captured environments, I daresay that this is not the most compelling ad I have ever seen. Far from it. However, when something unexpectedly compelling stops me in my tracks, I find it irresistible to keep quiet about it.

Watch it. And watch it again.

Here’s the technology presentation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kax24GN1458&feature=player_embedded

Critiques
– While I like the marketing director’s reference to people wearing different watches to express their individual tastes, I often wonder how apps which use iconic looks (like the Bell & Ross lookalike) can get away with what amounts to trademark infringement. Microsoft’s clock gadgets in Vista are vulnerable to the same critique.

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