System Activity Monitor for iOS

There have been a few reports going around lately about people having problems with battery life after upgrading to iOS 5 or to the new iPhone 4s. While I haven't had any real issues myself with the iPhone 4s, it's great to know whether or not if an App has run a muck and is chewing up system resources. One sign of this is if your iPhone or other iDevice is all of a sudden warm to the touch. This usually means that the processor is working overtime. When that happens you can try things like quitting some of the Apps running in the background or a simple reboot of the device. However, I would like to do more than just solve this problem temporarily, I'd like to know which app in particular is causing the problem?

System Activity Monitor shows what's going on in real-time

This App is similar to the Mac OS Activity Monitor in that it shows you in real time which apps or processes are running and more importantly which ones are running with high amounts of processor time. If you're not playing a game or doing something else that would task the processor then your device should be running with the majority of the processor count in "idle." If it's not, you can quickly identify which App or process is causing a problem.

I highly recommend System Activity Monitor as a troubleshooting tool!

You can get System Activity Monitor for $0.99 here from the iTunes


AlphaTots Alphabet Learning App

The alphabet is the core of the English language. Reading and writing start with knowing each and every letter, how they sound, and the words that they're associated with. This is why it is so important to teach the alphabet to our children at an early age. Any App that helps do that, and keeps my 5 year old twins interested at the same time catches my attention. AlpaTots does just that. With the interactive activities attached to each letter, and the alphabet sing along, this is a great App to help in the learning process.


Keep It Interesting

Keeping a child's attention is one of the hardest things to do. My children (they're 5 years old) have the attention span of a gnat. They don't stay tuned in to any one thing very long. Even TV doesn't put them in a trance like it does some other children. AlphaTots manages to keep their attention for a long period of time; sometimes as long as an hour. This may not sound like a big deal, but it is an accomplishment for my children believe me. The way this App does it is by offering so many different "things to do" within it.  Each letter has an activity attached to it. This means that there are 26 different "things" for my children to do which keeps them entertained. Each activity is associated with the particular word that they chose to represent that letter. For example, U is represented by the word "unlock". For this they show a chest and tell the children to unlock the chest. To do this they have to line up the shapes in three separate wheels (similar to a slot machine). This keeps them doing something fun, and also helps with shape identification and matching! This isn't a new concept within children's learning Apps, but the simplicity and effectiveness is second to none.

The ease of use is found throughout the App. The letters are easy to navigate to from the home screen. Advancing to the next letter after completing the activity is intuitive and simple, and there are words of praise throughout the entire process.

The Alphabet Song

When I was a little kid, no one thing helped me learn my letters more than the alphabet song, as I'm sure it has helped millions of others. Knowing this, AlphaTots included the alphabet song into the App. Tapping on the music notes in the lower right hand corner of the screen brings up a new screen that not only plays the alphabet song, but also displays the letters as it sings it to your child. My children can sing the song word for word, but they still enjoy this feature of the App and play the song at least once every time they are using the App.


The Bottom Line

You can't go wrong with a children's App that not only teaches your child the alphabet, but helps them enjoy the learning process while they're doing it. This App will help your child learn their ABC's very, very quickly.


You can get AlphaTots for the iPad from the iTunes store for $1.99 here: iTunes
You can get AlphaTots for the iPhone from the iTunes store for $.99 here: iTunes


Learn the Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White App Update

I'm happy to announce an important update to my Learn the Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White App. Most importantly this update addresses a video playback bug introduced in iOS 5 that prevented you from being able to see the video and only hearing the audio. This update also adds:

  • Retina Display Graphics
  • A new tab bar interface
  • Swiping to the left and right from the episode detail page will go to the next or previous episode
  • UI enhancements
  • Faster show loading
  • Minor bug fixes

Thanks for your patience and support! You can get the App as a free update if you already have it or for $1.99 here from the iTunes


Google Voice is Fixed!

All Is Fixed!

When Apple released iOS 5 a few weeks ago for all iOS devices a lot people reported that Google Voice was broken and crashed. This isn't an uncommon thing when major updates like this are released, however for a major App like Google Voice this is a huge problem. Many, many people including myself use the Google Voice App on a daily basis so this was a huge deal. Google ultimately pulled the App from iTunes leaving many people to turn to Alternatives.   Google just released which fixes the crashing issues.  Normally we wouldn't post an update if there weren't a bunch of improvements or a complete overhaul, but this is such an important App for a lot of people that it merited a post letting everyone know that it was fixed. To see Terry's original review of Google Voice click here. 


Verbs: An Instant Messaging Client

Truth to be told, I haven’t been a very active IM user on my iPhone or iPad. This is partly because the apps have been rather ugly and that it drains battery life a lot and fast. Plus, it just hasn’t been that useful. A while ago I found Verbs, an application that is just gorgeous and since I’m a sucker for beautiful apps, I downloaded it.

The interface is as said really beautiful. It takes the iOS style and uses it all the way but with a different color scheme which looks slick, modern and clean all around. There is really not much more to say about the Verbs UI design. Well done designers.

Functionality-wise, it supports a few types of IM networks, specifically Google Talk, AIM, MobileMe (now iCloud) and Facebook. If you are an MSN user or wants it to support Skype chat, you are out of luck. However, using either of the above networks, you get a nice app. You can easily select contacts from your buddy list, see their status and chat with them. Switching between multiple windows can be done by going to a window overview mode, or by simply swiping back and forth between the screens.

If you get the $0.99 version there are a few things that you will not get. These are available through an in-app purchase and enables Push Notifications, persistent connections (keeping you logged in for 7 days) and also saves battery life by routing accounts through one internet connection. If you use IM a lot, you definitely want to consider getting the Pro version for an additional $4.99, which I still think is an excellent value. Even with just the $0.99 version, you get an app which functions well and is gorgeous.


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