Category Archives: Productivity

Notes for iOS receives an updated, expanded role in iOS 9

iOS9-Notes-appApple has an iOS app called Notes–ever hear of it?  No?  I’m not surprised.  For those of you not familiar with this app, it’s one of Apple’s stock apps that comes pre-installed on your iPad.  For many, though it ends up getting relegated to a folder or buried in one of your lesser used home pages–forgotten and unloved.  I’ve tried to use it a few times in the past, but could never manage to stay with it for an extended period of time because it just did’t provide features that many other productivity apps offered for free.  That was until now.

Now, the Notes app will finally have all of its contents saved to iCloud so all of your information can be saved and accessible across all your iOS devices as well as on your Mac.  The new and improved Notes app for your iPad now supports many different ways of saving your quick ideas, in addition to providing you new ways of saving them all in one place. In addition to simple text entries, now you can…

 

Notes-iOS9-iPad

Continue reading

Share This:

Review: Ulysses for iPad


I’ve been an iA Writer and Writer Pro user for a few years now, but recently took a break from those apps to give Ulysses a fair shake. The devs at The Soulmen have put together a very powerful combo of Mac and iPad apps with a very clean approach to empowering plain text. If you write for the web on a regular basis and prefer to use Markdown for formatting, Ulysses could be your new best friend.

Continue reading

Share This:

What are the best cloud storage options available on the iPad?

iCloud-cloud-storage

Yesterday I wrote abut how to upgrade or downgrade the amount of iCloud storage you need for your iPad.  While I suspect that this is the default cloud service used by the majority of iPad owners–it certainly isn’t the only cloud service available to store your data in the cloud.  One of our readers who read my post from yesterday brought up a good point

Why not suggest to open a Hotmail or GMail account and get a free 15 Gig of storage?     –DAN

This got me thinking.  Dan is absolutely right.  There are definitely other viable options out there worth mentioning.  So, after  little research, I thought I’d gather some of the more popular cloud storage  options for iPad owners.  For the sake of this exercise, here are a few basic ground rules I’m applying in my comparison.

  • Only real-time offers available _right now_ are considered
  • No special offers or promotions considered for buying your iPad at any particular retail outlet.
  • No extra incentives to “earn” additional storage (e.g. referring friends, tweeting or sharing on Facebook for additional “free” storage)
  • Personal accounts only–no business or shared accounts
  • New iPad owners only–no bonus deals for having been grand-fathered in to legacy deals.

 

Continue reading

Share This:

Paper for iPad Updated With Think Kit Tools

  
Paper by FiftyThree continues to be on the cutting edge of modern iPad app design. The incredible ink engine and drawing tools were already incredible, but these new shape, fill, and cutting tools really complete the package.

It could easily be argued that “it’s about time” that these features made it to Paper, as they’re readily available in many other popular note-taking apps, like Penultimate and Noteshelf. However, no other app really delivers as great an experience as Fifty Three does with Paper. I haven’t had very long to play with the new tools, but they are exactly what I’ve always wanted out of this app.

The Shape tool makes it easy to create quick, good-looking diagrams with smart shapes that I can move around at will. The fill tool helps me colour-code quick graphs or mock-ups. The cutting tool lets me move any element, as expected, but it also functions as a clone tool as well. That last feature make it so much easier and more fun to use Paper as a design sketchbook. It’s now dead simple for me to duplicate a base design and quickly create small variations, without having to re-draw everything each time.

Finally, Paper has become an even better place to share work from. I don’t use the built-in Mix platform very much, but I’ll definitely use the new export features to create PDFs and PowerPoint files from my drawings.

The only wish at this point would be the ability to embed or import pictures so that I can mark them up within Paper.

Share This:

Evernote Introduces New Plus and Premium Accounts

evernote plus and premium

Evernote recently introduced a new set of pricing tiers. You can still use the services for free across all your devies, but if you become a power user who wants to keep more notes and have more access to your notes (even while offline), you’ll want to invest in Evernote Plus or Evernote Premium.

Continue reading

Share This:

Popular iOS app Todolist to receive major makeover with v.10 later this year

Todolist-update-coming-soon

Todolist the popular universal iOS task-manager app is slated to receive a major update that is described on their Blog site as a Completely new version for iOS.  I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to productivity apps.  I touched upon some of my feelings when highlighting a major update to Wunderlist earlier this month. Updates are good–hell, they’re needed to keep the user base loyal and happy.  Todolist hasn’t received any updates to their app this year.  I suspect they have been focusing their efforts into this new overhaul, and I for one, am excited to see what they have planned.  Their goal was to make Todolist iOS app faster, easier to use, and more beautiful–sounds like a good start!

Notable changes include…

  • Completely revamped task interactions will make it easier and faster to get your ideas out of your head and onto your to-do list, no matter where you are.
  • New organizational features will give you more control over how you view and prioritize your tasks and projects.
  • And much, much more– you may even see a few pops of color incorporated into our characteristically minimalistic design…

Via their Blog they go on to say that the update is coming up fast–which could mean anything, I guess.  Perhaps in the next few weeks?  If you want to hear about the release as soon as it happens you can sign up to have the news delivered to your inbox.  Once the iOS version is released the same features will also be available on the Web, and on your Mac or PC.

While this all sounds great, three bullet points are enough to get my attention, but that’s about it right now. Here’s to hoping we get some additional teaser updates before the final release.

Share This:

Quick Look: Vesper for iPad

Patrick already picked Vesper as last week’s iPad App of the Week, but call me greedy: I wanted to write about it as well. If you look at Vesper bullet point by pullet point, it’s hard to see why you’d use it as an alternative to apps like Drafts or Evernote. Evernote has apps on every platform and its notes can take files, images, and text. Drafts has had is iOS only, but it has all the tools you need to automate your text workflow on an iPad.

In comparison, Vesper was designed to excel as a classier version of the built-in Notes app, with an option to add a single picture to each note.

I spent the past few days playing with Vesper to see whether it would stick for me, and I found all sorts of really delightful details embedded in the UI. If you show Vesper to someone who has never seen it before, they’ll likely comment on how nice the font is. In my experience, even people who aren’t into fonts tend to see the difference. Then there are the animations. Tapping on a note in the list view will cross-fade you into that note, swiping to see the tag list uses a subtle parallax effect, and leaving a note zooms smoothly back out into the list view.

The thing is, as an iPad app, Vesper isn’t really there yet. It’s really just an adapted iPhone version that happens to work on the iPad. This means there can be a lot of blank space on the screen, as most iPhone apps show a single pane of information at a time. There aren’t any obvious modifications to the iPhone design to take advantage of the different ways that people use and hold an iPad, or to take advantage of the extra space on the iPad’s screen. I’m not too nervous about this though. Q Branch is working on the Mac version of Vesper, but I’m pretty sure they’ll circle back to re-imagine the iPad app afterwards.

I really want to integrate Vesper into my everyday workflow, in large part because it’s just so incredibly satisfying to use. It has a better and faster sync engine than Drafts does, so notes are more consistently updated across my iPhone and iPad during the day. However, that custom sync engine is also what keeps me from committing to Vesper. I’m worried about not being able to access notes on my work PC, or having my data stuck in Vesper should I choose to try another app six months from now. You can of course use the iOS 8 share sheet to send notes out of Vesper, but only on an individual basis.

That isn’t a condemnation of Vesper, simply an admission that this magnificent app isn’t for me. As simple as Vesper is to use, keeping it around would actually complicate my setup, so I’ll be sticking with Drafts and Evernote for now.

Here’s an App Store link for Vesper ; it’s priced at a very sustainable $10 with no in-app purchases. You will definitely get what you pay for.

–>

Share This:

Wunderlist for iPad receiving big overhaul in 2015

Wunderlist-for-iPad

I love To-Do lists and Productivity apps in general.  Some may say I love them to a fault.  See if this sounds familiar–you want to find the perfect To-Do / Productivity list app.  You try so hard, and you invest so much time in researching your needs against what is available that you never can decide on just the right one.  This has been a problem form me for years–and I’m sure part of the problem is me and my indecisiveness with regard to this issue.  However, there has to come a time when you decide to either sh@t or get off the pot.

I always enjoyed using Wunderlist, but it never quite fit my needs with regard to how I _wanted_ to use it, and the support and integration it had with other apps was lacking for me.  So, a few month ago I started using Evernote as a task manager/To-Do list/repository of all things important from my work, my writing and my personal life.  Thomas has already written extensively on the merits of such a move.

Now, again, I’m reconsidering my choice.  Wunderlist CEO Christian Reber announced major changes coming to the Wunderlist platform this year–and they all sound great!

Continue reading

Share This:

Review: OmniFocus 2 for iPad

OmniFocus 2 for iPad Review6

After concluding that Evernote wasn’t the task management solution for me, I decided to check out OmniFocus 2 for task and project management. I’d heard a lot about OmniFocus as a productivity suite from other Apple die-hards. In fact, our very own Patrick Jordan used to swear by OmniFocus a few years ago.

I’ve tried a number of systems over the years, including Things, TeuxDeux, 2Do (previewed here), Clear, Wunderlist, Todoist, and even Evernote. These apps are all wonderful, but because I’ve gone from freelance writing to exec assistant work, and now into digital marketing, my needs have changed quite drastically in the past three years, and so the systems have changed with them.

One of the very first barriers to using OmniFocus is its price: it’s positioned as a premium solution for productivity needs. The OmniFocus 2 iPhone app is $20, the iPad app is $30 (with a $20 optional in-app purchase), and the Mac app is $40 (with an optional $40 in-app purchase). If you’re just looking to add grocery items to a list alongside household chores, then you’ll want to something like Clear. However, anything more than that and OmniFocus 2 can become a legitimate candidate for your task-management needs.

Continue reading

Share This:

Koder for iPad: Take the Hell out of HTML

IMG_1313

One of the computing classes that I teach at school is HTML, and being a 1:1 iPad school I wanted to refresh my scheme of work to take advantage of using the iPad. Now, let’s get one thing out of the way, coding on the iPad may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, the fact that I can work on it in class and get the students to take the same software home and continue working is a real bonus for me. I had a good look around for an app which would fit my needs and zeroed in on Koder. My reasons for choosing this were mainly because it offered a browser preview of your code and it also wasn’t rated 17+ (Apple rates pretty much any app with a browser 17+ for unrestricted web access unfortunately). It is worth noting that it offers other coding languages, but for the purposes of this review I’m going to concentrate on HTML. Continue reading

Share This:

Review: Due 2.0 for iPad

IMG_4415.JPG

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.

Continue reading

Share This: