Patchy The Patch Doll

I have to admit, when I first looked at Patchy the Patch Doll, I was very sceptical that it would hold my twins attention. I didn't think that it would interest them for more than a few minutes. It is such a simple App, which looking back may be the reason that it does such a good job of making them come back over and over. Patchy is an interactive book App that tells the story of a Patch Doll and his friendship with a little girl.

What Holds Their Attention

My kids are just like most 5 year old's. They have the attention span of a gnat. Keeping them entertained is a full time job for me. This App has an appeal that really keeps them coming back over and over again. The largest (and most important) draw of this App is the story itself. The story is that of Patchy a patch doll and his journey through building a friendship with a little girl. It's warm, inspiring, and a great lesson for children. The graphics are rather basic, but what it lacks in detailed graphics, it makes up for in character. That's not to say that there aren't a few little things other than the story for the kids to do. There are little activities that pop up on certain pages for the kids to do. When a page offers an activity a small pale and shovel show up in the corner. These activities are simple, yet fun for children to perform and all of them relate to the story. The book is narrated for the children, each word being highlighted as it is read.

The Bottom Line

While the App as a whole is simple, the story is solid, fun to read, and a great life lesson for children. It has become a favorite of my 5 year old's and I'd recommend it to any parent with children around that age.


You can get Patchy the Patch Doll for the iPad from the iTunes store for $1.99 here: iTunes


OmniFocus Adds Siri Support

OmniFocus for iPhoneA couple of days ago OmniFocus was updated to its latest version, adding support for amongst some other things, Siri. Not having an iPhone 4S myself, I can't judge how well it works, but the idea appeals to me a lot.

Being able to through Siri create a new to-do item, on the go, without having to touch my phone really makes Siri become more of my personal assistant.

All Siri-created to-do items are saved to your inbox just like any quick entry items would have been. You can then choose to file them under projects and contexts just like you would any other item.

Additionally, OmniFocus has fixed a few bugs and changed the way items are sorted in Forecast mode, displaying inbox items at the top followed by other due items.

As usual, this version of OmniFocus is available as a free update that can be downloaded from the  iTunes
. If you don't have the app already, it sells for $19.99.



The iPhone, iPod touch and iPad all make great music players. You can sync music to them from your computer as well as download music directly from the iTunes store. You can now even stream music from your iTunes collection via iCloud/iTunes Match. While this is all great for getting music into the devices and listening to it, there really isn't a built-in way of getting music out of the devices. This is where Song2Email comes in. While I certainly don't advocate stealing or sharing music illegally, there are times where you may want to get a song from your iDevice to another system and you don't have access your iTunes library. 

Song2Email let's you email songs from your iDevice

Song2Email performs the basic task of letting you choose any of you songs and email them to any email address you want. You can choose one song or multiples songs and email them via WiFi or 3G (20 MB Limit). The App is Universal so it works on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. This is one of those Apps that has a simple function and it does it very well. I wish that there was more that I could go on and on about, but there isn't. It works!

You can get Song2Email for $0.99 here from the iTunes


Gmail and Push for iPhone


A week or two ago Google made everyone jump for joy when rumors surfaced that a Gmail App was close to being released for the iPhone just to let them down with a bug that made the App unusable from launch. They immediately pulled the App from the App store and have been reworking it to get rid of the bug. a couple of days ago they released the "fixed" version, fulfilling what we've all been asking for since the launch of the iPhone; push for Gmail. I have been using the App non stop with my Gmail account for two days now, and I am happy to report that they have done a pretty good job.


The iOS Gmail App is very similar to the web version of Gmail so it will feel very similar to those of you who use the web version. Opening the App displays the first 20 messages in your inbox, with a "show more messages" button at the bottom to display more. New messages have bold text, while read messages are a light grey.  Just like on the web version of Gmail, there are check boxes next to each message allowing the user to select multiple messages for different actions ( deleting, moving to a folder, etc.).

A left to right swipe, or a tap of the menu button displays familiar folders, filters, and menus. Any folders that you may have created under your Gmail web interface will appear within this menu. Drilling down into the folders and sorting your content is easy and intuitive with this App.

Searching your content is simple with a tap of the hourglass in the top right corner. This icon is directly to the left of the new mail icon in the right corner. One notable function of this App is the attachment of items to mail. Unlike the native mail App on both the iPhone and the iPad, to attach an item to a Gmail email you must click the paperclip icon within a message. This will allow you to email that item (photo, pdf etc.).


If there is one thing that I wanted this App for over anything else, it is PUSH messages. I know that there has been a hack out there using enterprise server to get Push for Gmail on the iPhone, but this is truly an integrated, working package. The Push works really well. I did a few tests and messages seem to come through faster on my iPhone than they do on my web account. Push is the biggest plus side of this App in my opinion

Something I'd Like To See

If there is one thing that I really, really want to see, it's support for multiple accounts. I currently have three Gmail accounts, so I picked the one that I get the most incoming mail on to use with the Gmail App. Google Says that there are improvements and added features on the way, including multiple account support.


The Bottom Line

Besides the initial bug contained within the original release of the App, this is a great first offering. I really hope that they continue to build on this and offer multiple account support in the near future.


You can get Gmail for the iPhone and iPad from the iTunes store for free here: iTunes


Navigon 2.0 is Here for iOS!


My favorite Turn-by-Turn voice GPS Navigation App has just been updated with a slicker, smarter interface. The 1st big change is that App has been cut down significantly in size. The North America version used to weigh in at about 1.7GB. Now the update is about 44MB in size. How can it get so small you ask? The good folks at Navigon took a brilliant approach in letting you selectively download the states/providences that you need. This is AWESOME! If i'm never going to drive through Alabama or Arkansas then why have those maps taking up space on my device? You can pick which states to download whenever you want.  You do have to be in Wi-Fi to download a state, but once it's downloaded you won't need a data connection at all to use the App. I downloaded Michigan (36.9MB) in a matter of just a few minutes over my WiFi/Cable connection. The next thing I noticed was that the new app launches SIGNIFICANTLY faster. Perhaps this is due to the weight loss :) I'm not a fan of GPS apps that require a constant data connection as the maps are in cloud. Navigon's new approach is a perfect blend between the flexibility of only loading what you need AND not requiring a data connection to use the App once the maps are on your device.


Nice and clean UI

I'm a User Interface (UI) freak and have never been blown away by any GPS navigation system. I'm not saying that this new interface blows me away, but it's certainly WAY cleaner than before and probably will send several competitors back to the design boards. The menus are animated, but not in an obnoxious way. I like the little pull downs to quickly access things you need while navigating. Most of all I like not having to dig through several menus to find the things that should be at the top level. Great job!

The same In-App purchases are available and yes it will allow you to restore the ones you've already purchased. In my case I got the Lifetime LIVE Traffic, Panorama 3D view and Radar Info. They've added a new one called FreshMaps XL that gives you a 1 year quarterly Map update with not only new/changed roads, but they promise tons of POI additions/updates. It's only $14.99 but I'll pass on it for now since this update includes the latest maps for free!

There is one gotcha with this update! The 1st and only problem I've run into so far is that you lose all your saved Favorites. That really sucks since there is NO WARNING! When you fire up the new app they're just not there anymore. I'm hoping that this is just a bug and that they can fix it so that anyone else that's upgrading will be able to either keep their Favorites or back them up and restore them. Navigon shame on you for not warning us about this or allow saved Favorites to come into version 2.0. Otherwise, this update rocks!


UPDATE! The Favorites ARE there! They just won't show up unless you download the Maps/States that they are for. Makes sense, thanks goes to David Lumsden for his troubleshooting help in the comments below! Now I'm even happier about this update!


Price drops until November 30th:

Navigon North America is now only $39.99 iTunes

Navigon USA is only $29.99 iTunes

Navigon My Region is now only $19.99

East iTunes

Central iTunes

West iTunes

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