App


ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

With iOS 11 days from being announced, you wouldn't expect a great deal of big updates to apps. But Readdle have implemented a feature, that most iOS users have been waiting for - Drag and Drop.

So on their iPad apps - Documents, PDF Expert, Scanner Pro and Spark, you will be able to drag items from one app to another when using Split View.

I don't want to write thousands of words explaining this new feature, because it just wouldn't do it justice. Instead, you can watch Readdles's demo video.

It's truly impressive, and it's what I expect a native drag and drop feature on iOS would look like. Their own implementation would of took a huge amount of work, and they've really made it look seamless. One point I have to make though, is that if Drag and Drop is announced for iOS 11, would this custom implementation be the best way to do it?

But leaving the pessimistic thoughts alone, this is an incredible feature, and makes me want to try out even more of Readdle's apps.

You can read Readdle's announcement on their blog, but if you want to know more details on these updates, and see some more examples, then Federico Viticci has written a great piece at MacStories.

ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

Apple released Clips yesterday, which is their new app for creating fun videos, with various filters, music, and more. I covered this app before, but as I hadn’t played around with the app at that point, it was literally just explaining the features.

But now I’ve had over a day with the app, and I must say I’m really loving it. It’s even earned it’s place on my Home screen!

The design of the app itself is quite nice, but I’m not sure I feel the same way about the icon. And it just feels easy to use, which I guess is the main focus.

I didn’t think I’d say this, but I also like the filters! The comic book one is by far my favourite, everything looks good in it!

There’s a lot of talk about the usage of private APIs, and how the app itself doesn’t ask for permission to use things like the camera or microphone, but seeing as this is an Apple app, I’m not too worried.

Another thing I like about Clips, is the exporting options. I had wondered how Apple would select social networks that would be included, but using a (completely custom) share sheet, is a good way to avoid any issues. Because this means any app can enable support for Clips, by adding video importing. One option I’m very thankful of, is YouTube, because it’s really fast (and super easy) to upload a Clip, and have it available near instantly.

I had some interesting mail today, and this gave me the opportunity to make use of Clips title features and music. Which I think turned out pretty well!

Finally, there’s something else I must say about Clips, and the type of app/service it could be enabling. And although the app is purely a way to capture, and edit videos, I think the content that people will create in Clips could change the way people watch videos.

We all know the issues with YouTube, there’s advertisement problems, the creators seem to always be annoyed about something, and it generally lacks competition. But one thing we can take from YouTube, is that people love Vlogs. Which are essentially a video version of a blog post, it’s a visual way to understand someone else’s life.

Blogs used to be huge, and while I still really enjoy writing my own, and reading other’s blog posts. But since then, microblogging services have taken over, with Twitter being the main service.

What I’m thinking is, if Twitter took blogging and made it micro, so then more people could take part, and share more content, more often. What if Clips could make vlogging micro? It would need another service of course, but it could just make use of whatever social network they’re on. I personally think that this app, along with competing apps that will no doubt turn up soon, will be the catalyst for upgrading the type of content that is shared.

ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

f you’ve ever been to an arcade, then you’ll know that there are a few classics that you always go back to. In Pocket Arcade, you get to experience the four main ones. They are even managed by coins, so there’s a chance to run out of money just like in real life.

You’ve got UFO Catcher, which is a grabbing style game. It’s not as weak as the ones in real life, but it can still become equally as irritating when you just miss a prize. Then there is Mayan Coin Pusher, which is the coin machine we all have probably left too much money on. Alien Whacker is the class Whack-a-mole game, and this is really fun. And lastly, there is Hoop Hero, which is a mini version of the basketball shooting game, which I find to be really suited to the iPhone.

All the prizes you collect are stored in the Gallery, and there are over 200 different prizes to collect at the moment.

I’ve seen similar games on the iPhone already, but this little collection of games are very well designed, and there’s also chances of more getting added in the future.

You can download Pocket Arcade for iOS for free on the App Store.

ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

If you like to travel, then it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’d be interested in mapping out where you’ve actually been. This is because I’m exactly the same. I’ve come across a few apps in the past that are complex travelling journal type applications, but they never seem to stick with me, because they’re just too much.

Well today I’ve found another app for iOS called “been”, which does the job in a near-perfect way.

With been, you add all the places you’ve travelled to, and it then colours in these on a map. The only choices you have are to add a whole country, or an individual U.S. state. In a perfect world I’d like to specify each city I’ve travelled to, but this is a minor issue.

But once you’ve added your travels, then you get to check the maps out. You can choose to either view a 2D map, or a 3D globe, which can be exported as an image or video respectively. If you want to make your map a bit more specific, then while viewing the 2D map you can select a continent which will show you just that on a map.

Maps

After adding all of my travels, apparently I’ve only been to 4% of the world, which I certainly need to improve on! But I’ve generated both the 2D World map image, and the 3D globe video, which you can check out below as an example.

2D World Map

3D Globe Video


If you want to mark up your travels on a map like I did, then you can download “been” for iOS from the App Store for free! It works on both the iPhone and iPad. 🌍

ON: BY: Christopher Hannah

I’ve been a user of many different task managers over the years, but one I’ve tried before, and what I’ve finally settled on is Todoist.

My main philosophies regarding task managers are that they should be stable, and by that I mean it should be something you can rely on, you should be able to view your upcoming tasks everywhere possible, and the syncing should be very fast. With all of these requirements, Todoist is the choice that makes the most sense, because at a fundamental level it is a web service, not just a collection of apps, which makes it a super stable platform.

Projects

The main way to organise tasks in Todoist is by assigning them to projects, which you can also further organise with sub-projects. I have split my tasks into context relevant projects, so for example I have a University project, and inside this I split up any coursework or big chunks of work into a sub-project. This structure makes it much easier to visualise your tasks, especially when you input a load of small tasks like I do.

As you can see in the screenshot above, I also use emoji in my project names. This is just so I can find the right section at a quick glance. There’s also the added benefit of using an emoji first in the project name, which is that it always puts these at the top of the list. This is because an emoji character will always come before the usual alphabetical characters. Luckily I only have a few top-level projects, so this doesn’t affect my list.

Labels and Filters

Another away to organise and view your tasks is by using labels and filters. Labels offer a separate way to collect tasks together, which can of course be used in conjunction with projects. A common use of this is to have labels such as “admin” or “writing”, or even time-based names such as “quick” so that when you only have a specific amount of time available to get some work done, you can find suitable tasks can be completed.

Filters are ways to view your tasks, by applying some criteria to fine-tune your results. If working in a team, viewing tasks assigned to different users would be quite helpful, but I don’t personally make use of them.

Adding Tasks

The three main ways you can add a task is by using the “Quick Add Task” method, which is accessed pressing the “+” button, or by hitting the “q” key while in Todoist, by pressing the “+” button or by pressing the “A” or “a” key to add a task to the top or bottom of the current list, and also by using the “Quick Add Task” method outside of the app.

With apps such as Fantastical, inputting data has become much easier with the support of real language entry. So if I want to to add a task for university I can simply open up the Add Task view by pressing CMD + SHIFT + A, and then by typing “Finish Lecture Notes #University”, this will add a task with the entered name, and subsequently organise it into the University project. You can take this even further by adding dates and labels, so when I decide I want to write about an app, I can add a task like “Write about App X today #TheAppLife @Writing”. It’s a feature that once you learn how to make use of all the little tricks, you will really love to use.

Overdue Tasks

Something I haven’t seen before in other task managers is a ways to quickly reorganise overdue tasks. It is a feature that Todoist has, and one I have found to be very useful, especially when I plan way too much work for one day and end up leaving a few incomplete.

Todoist’s “Smart Schedule” is an AI powered feature that uses your habits, the urgency of tasks, your upcoming tasks, and even uses learned patterns from the other Todoist users, to help find the the best suited day to fit them in. So far the suggestions have been pretty spot on for me.

Your Productivity

This is a feature that it’s use continues to elude me, by competing tasks, and keeping up streaks, Todoist grants you “Karma”. These are all calculated by configurable goals, and I guess gives you a glance on how well you’ve been performing.

Fortunately for me, it doesn’t affect the usability of the app, because I don’t see myself making use of this in the future.


What I’ve found Todoist to be, is a fully featured, easy to use, and stable task manager to can really adapt to my own needs. I would recommend this to all users that are wanting to start using a task manager, and see if it fits them.

You can download Todoist from the Mac App Store, and find out about the other platforms on the Todoist website.