iMotion HD

iMotion HD is a Universal app which was just released a few days ago allows you to create movies using stop-motion technique.

Book Club Mobile for iPhone and Book Club Leader for iPad

Book Club Mobile is an excellent iPhone app that will help you maximize your book club meetings by suggesting questions and topics which are based on characters in the book, themes, plots, cultural/historical settings and how these different dynamics of the books relate to your personal experience in life

Decks for Apps (iPad)

Decks for Apps is an iPad app made beautifully by the guys at Cooliris with a single purpose of allowing its users a simple and easy access to the top apps on the App Store.

Angry Birds Rio - Upcoming Update Next Week

Great news to all Angry Birds fans out there. The Finnish publisher, Rovio, is planning to launch an update to the Angry Birds Rio next week.

Blurb Mobile for iPhone

Blurb Mobile is a very easy to use iPhone app that will help you create stories and share them with the ones you care most.

iPhone App Review: Debt Snowball Pro

Debt Snowball Pro
iPhone/iPod Touch
Category: Finance
Version: 4.3
Tested on: iPod Touch 4G (iOS 4.3.1)
Rating: 4 of 5

Debt Snowball Pro ✔ - Matthew King

Debt Snowball Pro is an application that will help you to simulate how you could manage and eliminate your debts using the "Debt Snowball" method that is taught and endorsed by many financial advisors. The application allows you to enter in every debts that you may have, along with their detail information, such as annual interest rate and minimum monthly payment. Then, on top of it, you can enter in your additional money that you would want to put in (as the snowball) to help speed up the debt payments. With three different simulations you can choose which method suits you best. 

I have to be honest and say, at first, I don't understand what Debt Snowball method is. But after a quick study on the Wikipedia, I learn that it's a very good method to help you manage and eliminate multiple debts. This application is very successful in illustrating the different snowball alternatives and surprisingly quite easy to use. All you need to do is enter in your debts in the first tab, and then select which method you'll like to simulate on the second tab. Immediately you'll see when you'll be debt free from all of your debts and how many interest you've saved using the selected method. I think there may have been some bugs related to the amount of interest you've saved, because after many attempts selecting different snowball methods I don't see any changes in the amount of savings I make.

The application also allows you to set up password to protect your data/simulation and send an e-mail with your Snowball simulation. The problem that I encountered is that I don't see the impact of setting the password on your data. I've tried to set the password, but it seems I can still access them easily. And the e-mail feature turns the nicely table-formatted data into a text-based comma separated information. I assume that the developer expects the users to turn that into an Excel or Number document by themselves. Another thing that I can suggest as a possible improvement in the future is to create a graphical representation to help illustrate the snowball effect, in addition to the current table display. Since the total amount of money that have to be paid are constant throughout the period, it would be great to see how that money is being allocated differently throughout the period.

Check out the following video presentation from the developer on YouTube.

Check out my other iPhone app/game reviews here.

Mac App Review: Travel Weather

Travel Weather
Mac only
Version: 1.0
Tested on: Mac OS X 10.6.7
Rating: 2 of 5

Travel Weather - iLifeTouch & Co.

Don't be confused with another app having the same name on the iTunes Store. This is a Mac only application available on the Mac App Store. Travel Weather for Mac is an application which tries to become an informative travel companion when you have a MacBook with you. The application can display the current local time and temperature for up to four different cities. The application also allows you to extend the weather forecast for the next three days. 

I think the application needs a lot of improvements. I tried to set the cities to replicate my previous travel from Surabaya (Indonesia) to Kansas City, which also required me to stop by Taipei and Los Angeles. Whenever I need to change the city name, I always (mis-) click the city name written on the body of the plane image (instead of the green Settings icon). Then, I noticed that Kansas City is on the wrong time zone (This is a misleading bug for people who are not familiar with the US time zones). If you look closer, you'll also notice that some of the weather images are missing from the main application screen.

I did a comparison with the existing widgets available on the Mac. I think this application needs to become a better solution over the currently available Mac OS X widgets. Also if you think about it, there will be a lot more people traveling with iPhone or iPad than MacBook. So, I think there is a great opportunity if the developer wants to build a better solution for the iOS. While the developer seems to have better apps created for Mac and iOS, currently the developer website doesn't even have a section on this app yet (which is a bit disappointing if you want to learn more about how to maximize the usage of this app). I also note that MacBook users tend to be tech-savvier than the iPhone/iPad users.  

Several improvements that can be implemented for the next version:

  1. Save the user settings when the user closes the application.
  2. Fix the incorrect time zones for some cities.
  3. Fix the missing/incorrect images for some weather conditions, e.g. night time, cloudy, raining, etc.
  4. Make the user interface more intuitive because I keep on clicking the city name on the body of the plane, instead of the green Settings icon. I guess it's either the city name is clickable or the green icon needs to stand out more.
  5. Try to make it as a better solution over the currently available Mac OS X widgets. 

Check out my other Mac app/game reviews here.

UPDATE: The developer seems to have released a new version (1.1) today (Mar 30, 2011), which has some fixes to the weather images, and new features involving boats, cars and buses. And, they now have a specific section on the app.

Universal App Review: Download Meter for Wi-Fi, 3G, EDGE, GPRS

Download Meter for Wi-Fi/3G/EDGE/GPRS
Reduce Spending on Mobile Internet
Universal (iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad)
Category: Utilities
Version: 5.0
Tested on: iPod Touch 4G (iOS 4.3.1)
Rating: 5 of 5

Download Meter for Wi-Fi/ 3G/ EDGE/ GPRS - reduce spending on mobile internet - HedonicSoft

Download Meter is a very good utility application which allows you to monitor the amount of data you're using (download and upload) through various channels supported by your device, i.e. Wi-Fi, 3G, EDGE/GPRS. The application also allows you to set a limit for your usage, e.g. daily limit, weekly limit or monthly limit. So if you are traveling (and using data roaming) or if you are on a specific data plan which has a certain limit on your daily/monthly usage, this is the right application for you. 

I install the application today on my iPod Touch 4G which has Wi-Fi connection only, and I test the most interesting feature of the application, i.e. the channels. I use it to monitor the amount of data being used by different popular application on my iPod, such as The Weather Channel, Twitter, Dropbox, YouTube and Foursquare. Through different channels, you can monitor how each different application is using your bandwidth, thus allowing you to make wiser decision when you're on a tight data plan budget. For example, Twitter uses 300KB of data just to load your main stream (before you even tweet a single message). Compare that to Foursquare which uses 100KB of data to scan the nearby places before you can check-in and update your Facebook and Twitter status.

Here is some data which I collected and a little bit of insight:

  1. Twitter uses 3x bandwidth compares to Foursquare just to tweet/check-in
  2. The Weather Channel uses 15x bandwidth compares to the built-in Weather app just to check the current local weather
  3. Did you know that Pulse downloads 0.8 MB of data just to load the initial page of standard settings (which include Huffington Post and GOOD), before you even read anything?
  4. Even though free apps cost nothing, the fact that they include iAd actually would burden the tight data plan budget users, because iAd uses the bandwidth as well.

This is an application that's very useful for any iOS developer, because it helps you to understand how your application behaves. Sometimes if your application loads 300KB of data just to allow the user to perform a very basic task, then you may have a hard time convincing users with tight data plan usage to use your app. And since the application is able to measure Wi-Fi connection, I think it might be best for these users to test how the applications installed on their devices behave (whether they consume a lot of bandwidth unconsciously) before using them in a 3G (or other more budget-aware) setting.

This application has a lot of potential, and what I'm doing here is just the beginning. The developer website have more information about how you might use the application. You can also check the tutorial video and any latest update that they have. What do you think? Do you think we should be more aware of how much data we use? How many users in the world have concern about their data usages? Do you have better tools/ways which can help you to be a wiser data user?

Check out my other iPhone app/game reviews here.