Author: Terry White

Terry is the co-author of The Best Selling "The iPhone Book" 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th editions. He has been active in the industry for over 25 years and is the founder and president of MacGroup-Detroit, Inc., Michigan's largest Macintosh Users Group, host of the Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and a technology writer - Terry White Tech Blog.
SeatGeek Tickets - Concerts & Sports

Use the SeatGeek App for the Best Concert/Sporting Event Seats

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If you can remember the days of camping out all night in front of the box office for tickets to your favorite band, you also know that those days are long gone. Buying tickets online has taken over for camping out and while you could sit patiently at your computer waiting for the very second tickets go on sale, you’ll likely be disappointed by the experience. If you’re lucky and if the tickets aren’t in too big of a demand you’ll get tickets and maybe even good seats. However, what I have found is that more often than not the “big guys” buy up all the good seats and then resell them at a premium price. It’s just the way it is and although it should be illegal, it seems to be a practice that not many care about. So you can either fight for the few tickets that are left at the regular prices or you can go with the way it’s done and pay more for really really really good seats. I’m too old to sit in the nose bleed section. I’d rather not go to a concert if I can’t be front and center and only a few rows back. That’s where an app like SeatGeek comes in. This App finds the available tickets (concerts, sports, comedy and Broadway shows) from the various vendors and lets you buy them on the spot. The tickets are either delivered to you electronically or via a courier like FedEx. Now keep in mind that not all tickets are over priced. If the event isn’t wildly popular and doesn’t sell out on day one, then you can still get some good pricing and seat selection via this app. I like it because it shows me all the available seats and which vendor is selling them. I can choose by price or seating section since the app has built-in seating charts. You can create an account in the app and have it track your favorite band/team and alert you as to when they are going to perform in your area. This latest version is now a universal App for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. They even have photo views from your seat.

While I don’t like paying more than the ticket price sometimes, I do like being able to get the seats I want even up to the last minute. I also like that you can find bargains and comparison shop right in the same App. If you like live events then you need to check out SeatGeek

iTunes.

Instagram

Instagram Now Has Advanced Editing and Adjustable Filters

instagram_adjustmentsI’m happy to see Instagram has finally added 10 editing controls right into the app. This will hopefully lead to better pictures being posted to Instagram as users will no longer have to rely on other apps to make their shots look better. In this latest update they’ve added:

  • Brightness
  • Contrast
  • Warmth
  • Saturation
  • Highlights
  • Shadows
  • Vignette
  • Sharpen
  • and you can still do Tilt Shift
  • They’ve also made it so the filters are adjustable with a slider. No longer do you have to chose to have all of a given filter or none of it.

This is great and I welcome it, but I’m still not sure why Instagram still won’t letterbox/pillowbox wide/tall photos taken outside the app to a square. It still forces you to crop them or go to another app like Squaready. Nonetheless, you’ll enjoy the editing abilities in this version:

iTunes.

Over

Easily Add Text To Your Photos with Over

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Believe it or not, one of the most frequently used tools in Adobe Photoshop is the Text tool. People use it all the time to add text to their images and designs. I guess you can say that there times when a picture is worth a thousand words, but you still need to a few more words to drive your point home. However, when it comes to most photo editing apps on iOS they seem to miss this important feature. Sure there are more image editing apps than I can count that will let you adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation and crop your photos, but when it comes to adding text the number of apps goes way down. Luckily there’s an elegant solution that is geared to do one thing and do it very well.

You can easily add text and artwork to your photos with “Over”. This App is very easy to use. Bring up the photo you want to add text to and tap the “Add Text” button. Sample text is placed right in the middle of your photo and from there you double tap to edit it to say what you want and then position it where ever you want on your image. You can change the color, opacity, justification and size very easily too. You also have a choice of fonts to choose from or you do an in-app purchase to buy even more.

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Once you get the text just right on your image you have a variety of sharing options such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Messages, email and more. This app handles my text needs perfectly on iPhone and iPad as it’s a Universal App.

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PDF Expert 5 - Fill forms, annotate PDFs, sign documents

PDF Expert 5 Now Native on iPhone Too

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My favorite all purpose PDF tool on iPad just went Universal and is now on iPhone/iPod touch too. There is no better app for editing and managing PDFs on iPad than PDF Expert 5. It does it all. Annotations, digital signatures. highlights, password protect PDFand even fill-in PDF forms. It syncs with a variety of cloud services such as Dropbox, iCloud and Google Drive. Now all of this wonderful power and updated UI is available on iPhone as well. There was a PDF Expert iPhone version before, but it lagged behind the iPad version. I’m glad that they gave up this two app effort and replaced it with a Universal App that is now the same on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

I primarily use PDF Expert to access my device manuals such as my camera gear manuals that I store on Dropbox. Anytime someone sends me a PDF via email and I need to comment on it I can simply choose Open In: PDF Expert 5 right from Mail and begin the markup process. However, my favorite feature is the ability to sign a document right in PDF expert. Recently someone sent me a contract as an email attachment. However, I wasn’t near my computer. Sure I could have waited til I got home, but being able to sign the form and email it back right on my iPhone meant closing the deal that much sooner. I could use my finger, but I prefer to use my favorite stylus. Once I signed the newly converted PDF I was able to drag it into the iCloud area so that it would be accessible on all my devices. I then emailed the newly signed PDF right out of PDF Expert to the person that sent it to me.

PDF Expert 5 has just everything I need to deal with PDFs on a regular basis, however, there are a few other PDF apps on my devices because there are a couple of features that PDF Expert 5 doesn’t do yet. For one, that contract I received above was sent to me as a MS Word document, not a PDF. So I needed to convert it to PDF first before signing. While PDF Expert 5 can import MS Word documents, you can’t really do much with them in PDF Expert 5 besides reading them, adding bookmarks and emailing them back out. It would be great if it could convert to PDF as well. It would save me the one extra step of sending the MS Word document to another App first. Next up I received a FAX and I was able to get into to PDF Expert 5 as a PDF, but it was upside down (that’s the way I received it). It would be nice to be able to rotate pages in PDF Expert 5. (Actually you can rotate a page. It’s buried a few layers deep in the UI, under the Action button, but it’s there.) Readdle is really good about updating their apps and I have no doubt that PDF Expert will continue to become more and more powerful. If they add the features I want above in addition to everything else they already have, I’d be 100% happy and willing to give it that highly coveted 5th star!

You can get PDF Expert 5 here iTunes.

FlightTrack 5

FlightTrack 5 Offers A Slick Interface for All Your Flight Tracking Needs

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I’ve been a fan of Mobiata’s FlightTrack Pro for a few years now. It’s my goto flight tracker and since I travel for a living I’m using it almost weekly. When I saw that they released a brand new flight tracker FlightTrack 5, I was more than just a little curious. I wondered was this an upgrade of my Pro version or at least a peek at things to come. FlightTrack 5 is a completely new app, built from the ground up with a slicker more animated user interface. The layout is very clean and it’s optimized as a Universal app for your iPhone or iPad. This App gives you just about everything you could possibly want to know not only about your flight, but also where you’re headed. Sure you get the take off and landing times, but you also get details about the plane itself such as the model and seat maps. Flight delayed? Get alternate flights and you’re one tap away from calling the airline without having to look the number up. It can also automatically sync your flights to your calendar as well as share the flight details with anyone you choose via Messages, Mail Twitter or Facebook. flighttrack5-weather

On the iPad the experience gets even more detailed with Airport Details such as a beautiful weather forecast, and terminal maps. Unless I’m missing them I couldn’t find these extras on the iPhone. The seatmap is powered by SeatGuru and will not only show you a layout of the plane you’re going to be on, but also amenities such as WiFi, power, video entertainment, etc. You can input multiple flights and one of my favorite features is the ability enable auto deletion of flights 24 hours after they’ve arrived.

The Bottom Line

It’s hard not to love this flight tracker. However, there are definitely a few things on my wish list. First and probably the biggest reason I’ll stick with FlightTrack Pro for now is that this version doesn’t have integration with TripIt.com. All my travel plans are automatically sent to TripIt.com from my online booking tool. FlightTrack Pro automatically picks them up and populates all my flights in the app without me having to do any manual entry. I can only guess that there must be some contract negotiation going on here as to why they would omit this key feature from their new app. The other thing I’d like to see since it doesn’t support syncing with TripIt right now is at least the ability to sync manually entered flights with iCloud so that they show up on my iPad AND iPhone no matter which device I input the flights into. Lastly it would nice to send flight info to other FlightTrack 5 users so that they don’t have to manually enter my flight info as well. FlightTrack 5 offers the ability to add other contacts to your flights, why not let me send them the flights so that they can have them in their app as well? Other than those few things, this is a very solid app and I’d easily recommend it to any flyer that isn’t using TripIt.

You can get FlightTrack 5 here iTunes.

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