About Thomas

My name is probably Thomas (yes, it is). I'll be able to help you figure out why Evernote isn't syncing, or recommend your favourite new RSS reader to you. That's partly because I am enamoured with the iOS ecosystem and hardware, but mostly because I'm Canadian.

Review: Due 2.0 for iPad

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In the world of increasingly cross-platform services, there are very few apps that really tether me to iOS. If I left for Android land (or perhaps Windows 10? Hah!), I know that my 2000+ Evernote notes would follow me. My photos and videos could go into Dropbox and my calendar and contacts would sync through Google. However, if I left iOS, I’d be leaving Due behind, and that would really suck. A lot.

If you aren’t already familiar with Due, here’s the elevator pitch: it’s a gorgeous system designed to bug the crap out of you until you finish what you said you’d do. One of the awesome things about Due is that it usually gives you a few ways to manipulate its UI.

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Quick Look: Next for iPad — A Surprisingly Powerful Finance Tracker

next finance tracker for ipad

Next is slowly but surely becoming a comprehensive finance tracking platform. I wrote about the app last October, but it has come quite a way in the past few months. Version 1.6, which was released last week, brought with it a surprising number of power features that really bring the app to the next level.

Next now caters beautifully to casual and power users. If all you want to do is record your $4 coffee, it’s still as fast as ever to do so. You tap on the ‘+’ symbol, enter the expenditure amount, tap on the icon that seems most appropriate, and press done. However, if you’re like me and you enjoy taking the time to tag that coffee as “Jimmy’s Coffee”, then the app now rewards you with richer ways to take advantage of that extra effort.

You can filter monthly expenditures by category type with a single tap, so you can drill down to how much money you’ve actually spent on coffee, and on which days you tend to spend that money. Next 1.6 now also provides the ability to search expenditures by their note type, so I can drill down to find out now just how much I spend on coffee — but how often I spend it on “Jimmy’s Coffee” in particular.

I’m also really digging the new note suggestions, which offer to auto-complete what I’m typing, based on what I’ve entered into the app before. This saves me from ever having to type out “Jimmy’s Coffee” at all, since all I need to do is type the first letter, and the app will automatically display suggestions based on previous expenditures.

Next has always been the fastest expense tracker around, but it was a little lighter on the details. The last few updates to the app really feel like the developers at noidentity are upping their game and turning Next into something much more — and I’m really impressed with the progress!

If you’re intrigued, here are links to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac versions (which all sync up over iCloud, naturally).

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Due 2.0 For iPad Is Here (And It’s Really Really Great)

 

Due 2.0 app for iPad

I’ve been using Due for a good three years now, and it has become one of those apps that makes me hesitate ever switching away from iOS devices. Due isn’t a task app, but rather a reminders and timers app, and it really excels in that area. I know that once I’ve put a reminder into Due, I can trust the app to alert the living hell out of me when it’s time to get something done.

Due 2.0 came out yesterday, and after spending one evening with it, I’m happy to report that it’s all I wanted out of an upgrade, and more.

The whole app is now easier to read, thanks to an even more spartan interface. Due 2.0 is a great iOS 8 citizen, with features like a sidebar menu with “sloppy” swiping (i.e. you can swipe right from anywhere to activate the menu), background syncing via Dropbox, and vastly empowered notifications. It used to be that you had to open up Due in order to get a reminder to shut up, but with these new iOS 8 notifications, you can now snooze or complete a reminder right from the banner or alert pop-up.

If you’re a new user to Due 2.0, the app is $5. If you’re upgrading from a copy of Due you already own, there’s an in-app purchase of $2.99 for a few new features — which is a a price I gladly paid for three years of great performance.

Due 2.0 is so good I think it warrants a full review of the app, and so I’ll be working on that in the next week.

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Quick Look: Evernote’s Scannable App

evernote scannable app

As much as I love using Evernote, I’m often a little wary when I try out one of their new apps. Penultimate has never worked well for me, and other apps like Evernote Food and Evernote Hello are good concepts, but their data formats aren’t easily editable, and so I find they run counter to what I love so much about the core Evernote service. That said, Scannable seems like a breath of fresh air.

It just so happens that I had an expense report to do at work, and so I downloaded Scannable to my iPad to try it out. The moment the app was installed, it was pretty much ready to go, without having to enter any logins. The UI in this app is really well optimized. There isn’t any button to enter a “scanning” mode, it just starts that way, and so all you need to do is point it at pieces of paper that you want to scan.

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Notes on iCloud Disappointment And AirDrop Discoveries

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I’ve got an iPad Air 2 and an iPhone 5S with me on this vacation, and I’ve also signed up for a one-week travel pass that provides “unlimited” data (800MB per day). I wanted the data in order to keep in touch with family back home, but it was also supposed to be a way to get files synced between my iPhone and iPad. I’d go out for the day, take photos and notes on my iPhone, and then write up journals in the evening on the iPad. The problem I encountered, however, is that iCloud absolutely sucks when you’ve got spotty connections.

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The iPad Air 2 On Vacation

I’ve written about the iPad as my sole computer before, but I think the story changes enough with each major OS upgrade that this really is a topic worth revisiting. I’m currently on vacation in Asia to visit family, and I’ve brought my iPad Air 2 and Logitech ultrathin keyboard to function as my main […]

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Fleksy 5.0 for iPad: Now With Extensions!

You know the drill: a new update for Fleksy is released and I inevitably give it a shot, despite the unbelievable instability of all third-party keyboards on iOS 8 thus far. I tried it out because the feature list here really is quite amazing: new themes (OK) new keyboard extension for GIFs (cool) new extension […]

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Using iCloud Photo Library for Storing Videos

I’ve now got all of my home videos across all of my devices, accessible via iCloud Photo Library. I’ve done a little bit of testing over the last few weeks and can now report on how iCloud Photo Library performs for on-demand video viewing. First off, videos don’t ever appear to download as optimized versions. […]

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Quick Look: Comic Zeal 8 for iPad

Comic Zeal, which is still my favourite way to read CBR or PDF comics on my iPad, was recently updated to iOS 8. This version flattened out the interface, introduced a few new themes, and vastly improved the ability to get comics into the app. My previous go-to method for transferring files into Comic Zeal […]

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