Contrast Software (formerly App Cubby), the company that brought iOS users Launch Center Pro, Trip Cubby, @Timer, and Mirror have released Perfect Weather - NOAA Radar and Forecast for the iPhone. Perfect Weather might not exactly be perfect, but it sure is one hell of an app for the iPhone and feels right at home on iOS 7.
The main screen of Perfect Weather displays locations that you add (including your current location) in tabs similar to Apple's Passbook application. Adding new locations is extremely easy, just press the Edit button and you are presented with a search screen that accepts both city or zip code. Once your city or location is selected, it is added as a colored tab in the location list. The tab colors seem to be random and there currently is no way to customize them. When a tab is selected, the information for that location is brought to the forefront and that's when the app magic begins.
Once the location tab is selected, a weather card is displayed which contains current conditions and tempurature, a 6 day forecast with high and low temperatures , percentage of precipitation for the day, and an interactive radar image of the surrounding area customizable to show clouds or rain patterns. However, what is first shown by default is not all the information offered by the app. A quick horizontal swipe on the forecast area reveals a temperature line graph and another swipe shows information such as sunrise/sunset, humidity, wind speed, and barometric pressure. It is amazing how much information is packed into a card. Kudos to the Perfect Weather design and development team for making the information readable and very accessible in a small amount of screen real estate. My only complaint, and one that might be prevalent in many iOS 7 apps, is the use of a light and thin font which against a white background can be a bit difficult to see at times. From my interaction with the Perfect Weather team, subsequent updates to the app might include changes to these fonts for better readability.
The information displayed on each card can also be customized by a press and hold on the tab "carat" which when dragged with your finger will collapse and expand the data sections accordion style to show as much information you care to see.
Overall, Perfect Weather is a slick weather application that deserves a look from those who appreciate finely crafted (and certainly accurate) applications. The application is certainly not perfect (is any app?), and I have only minor complaints. In addition to the font changes for readability, I would like to see the city name displayed in the current (Your Location) tab,
Also, as its full name suggests, Perfect Weather pulls weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). which means that it is only for use in the United States. Aside from these minor quibbless, the application is a wonderful balance of design and functionality.
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I haven't posted one of these types of articles in awhile so I thought I'd throw one up. There's been a couple of significant changes in some of the primary apps I am using on my main iPhone home screen:
If you use the Facebook app on your iOS device and happen to leave it open, it may be draining your battery. While iOS does have built in safeguards to prevent multitasking apps from running amok, the current version of Facebook may be circumventing the 10 minute processing time limit imposed by iOS.
The following article was posted by a German developer and shows how the Facebook app consumes CPU time by running processes at regular intervals, going into and out of sleep modes. Since these processes do not take longer than 10 minutes, the app is not constrained by the iOS multitasking governor.
In summary, the only way to prevent the app from using CPU cycles while open is to close the app via the multitasking switcher. Since reading this article, I have been diligent to close the Facebook app after each use. I have been keeping an eye on the battery life but will need some more time to see how much of a difference it makes on battery life not having the app open.
Check out this very informative (and technical) article here.
Passbook is gaining momentum. Now that the Dunkin Donuts app has been updated to support Passbook, the Passbook app has now found its way on to my main home screen. In addition to the Dunkin app, I have American Express, several local rewards cards, and Valuepak coupons for restaurants and other products and services that I use often. While there are more and more apps coming on board with Passbook support, there are some businesses that do either do not have an iOS app or do not yet support Passbook. For those businesses that do have rewards cards but no app, there might be a solution: PassSource.
PassSource is a website that allows you to create a Passbook card without the need for an app. The site currently has template inputs for around 50 vendors and the list is growing. The list includes businesses such as Subway, RIteAid, Best Buy, Amtrak, AAA, Gamestop, Costco, and many more. To create a new Passbook card fIrst point your iOS browser to http://www.passsource.com. Once there, select "Create", and you are on your way to creating new Passbook cards. The templates for vendors who have store locations have the ability to search and enter in a local (favorite) store. After selecting a store (not required) you then input the rewards card barcode information and/or identification number. Below is a sample of the Rite Aid Wellness+ card.
Once you press the Create button, a image of the store reward card is displayed with the proper bar code created with your information. All that's left is to press and Add button on the upper right hand corner and your card will be added to the passbook application.
The ability to add cards using this method really makes Passbook more useful and allows people to take advantage of the functionality without having to wait for the vendor or business to code an app and support electronic cards. The PassSource site mentions that it is currently in beta, but the functionality works well and support is growing.
If you want to try out Passbook and you are a patron of a particular business that is currently supported by PassSource, I would highly recommend going over to http://www.passsource.com and give it a whirl. I know I have and it's made Passbook that much more useful to me.
Just figured I'd post an update considering there's been some movement of several home screen apps on both my iPhone and iPad since my last home screen post back in the beginning of the winter.
New iPhone home screen apps:
New iPad home screen apps:
I love weather apps. Even going back to my Palm and Pocket PC days I was a sucker for a good weather app. Today, a new weather app called Weather Neue by Switch Soft Technologies was released in the Apple App Store. It's clean, extremely simple to use, and does not bombard you with tons of information and maps that other, more complex apps provide.
Upon launching the app, you are presented with a slight animation of the weather UI "sliding" into place. The app uses location based services to obtain your current location. I prefer this type of GPS use as opposed to some of the other apps that force you to select given locations as part of a set-up process. Those type of weather apps definately have a purpose, allowing you to select locations other than your current to see what's going on in a particular location. However, Weather Neue is a "right here" type of app which I prefer to use as a quick look at what the weather is like.
There's not much to the UI. The main screen is a simple current conditions with the today, and 3 additional day forecast at the bottom of the screen. The app uses the very clean Helvetica motif and I must say works really nicely. The weather can be refreshed at any time by shaking the device.
A simple settings screen transitions in nicely by tapping the location at the top of the screen. Temperature measurements (fahrenheit and celcius) are toggled by an on/off switch. I did find a bit of an annoying bug of the setting being reset each time the app is launched from scratch. The app developer tweeted that the next update submitted to Apple will correct this problem.
The app currently only works on the iPhone and is not universal. Attempting to install it on the iPad gives a message that "The App is Incompatible with the iPad - This app requires GPS". From what I have heard from the dev, the next update should also address at least being able to install on an iPad.
Overall, I am really enjoying Weather Neue and I think it will make a fine addition to my primary iPhone home screen. Oh, did I mention? This app is FREE. What are you waiting for? Go Download.
App Store Link
Technology is moving at the speed of light. Well, maybe at the speed of business. Moments after my manager's approval via the company procurement system, I received instructions and authentifcation information to install and use the Good Client software for iOS.
Installation was quick and easy. I downloaded the client app from the iTunes app store (link). On first launching, the application asked me for my login information and the private key sent to me via email. Before I knew it all of my corporate Exchange emails, contacts, and calendar events were synced to my device. In all, it took less than a five minutes to get all of the information on to my device. At the current time, Good limits the number of emails downloadable to the device at 1,400.
The Good application supports push notifications and application badges, but has very limited notification and lock screen support. This means that you will get a notification that a new email has arrived or calendar event is due to occur, but unlike the native email or calendar, the information details contained in each are not visible via banners, alerts, or lock screen notifications. In addition, it is important to note that all PIM information as well as email is contained within the application. There is no integration with the standard iOS contacts, calendar and email functions. Good does provide an option for IT admins to allow contact sharing from the device to the Good app, but that feature has been turned off by my company's IT admin. Information security policies make it evidently clear as to why many organizations are implementing this type of "walled garden" of corporate data. On a personal level, I actually prefer this implementation as I like to keep my corporate separate from my personal information.
When you open the Good app, you are presented with a password screen (if your session has timed out), and a typical iOS-type bottom action menu consisting of Mail, Day (agenda), Contacts, Month view, and preferences.
The full complement of event management features are offered such as accepting/declining meeting requests and creating meetings with invitees. Adding invitees supports corporate Exchange server searching as well as determining availability so adding people that are not on the local database is not an issue.
Email attachents are also viewable within the application using a built-in document viewer. The document viewer can handle standard office documents (Excel, Powerpoint, Word), text files, as well as PDFs.
The preferences section is pretty extensive allowing for:
Bye Bye Blackberry.
Update: As of Feb 2013, Good has still not updated the application to take advantage of the iPhone 5 screen!
As an avid tech fan I look forward to sharing my tech experiences both personally and professionally with those that have similar interests and passion for technology.