InstaViz – Gesture Based Flowcharting on your iPad or iPhone

While I don't do a ton of flowcharting and graphing, I am a sucker for a great user interface (UI) and that's exactly what InstaViz gives me. While this App is a "+" App and it works on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, it really sings on the iPad. I love how I can use simple finger gestures and the App automatically converts them into vector shapes. I can add colors and text and then easily share my ideas in various formats. Rather than tell you about how cool this App is, it's easier to show you. Check out this video:




You can get InstaViz here from the App Store: Instaviz


PaperDesk for iPad – Notes, Sketches and Whiteboarding

The relatively large size of the iPad lends itself to note taking. While I'm not totally hooked on the on screen keyboard for any extensive text input, I do like the flexibility in having an App that allows me to "handwrite" or sketch AND key in text as well. PaperDesk aims to give you more than just simple note taking. One of the first things that blew me away was the built-in Whiteboarding feature that works in conjunction with the iPad VGA Connector. This means that if you were in a meeting you could hook up your iPad to a projector and rough out your ideas for all to see. This kinda replaces those giant Sticky Notes and grease boards that we see in so many conference rooms today. I can't count how many times that someone said, "ok I'll take all of these ideas and type them up and distribute them to everyone here" only never to receive them. With PaperDesk not only could you choose to handwrite those same notes, but you could also choose to type them as well using the Keyboard Dock or a Bluetooth Keyboard. Even if you hand wrote them for speed (as we do today in meetings), you could actually email them out as is to everyone in attendance. Sure, handwriting recognition would be ideal, but I haven't seen an App that does it yet, let alone one that does it well enough to not have to do tons of corrections.

More than just pretty pictures and text

PaperDesk also supports audio notes. The more I think about this App, the more I'm starting to wish I had something like this in school! Think about it. You could type notes, scribble down things quickly AND recording the lecture too! Besides emailing the PaperDesk generated notes you can also "Sync" them with the FREE account that you setup at
Although notes can be multiple pages long and contain text, sketches and audio recordings, they can't contain pictures. I tried copying a picture into a note and rather an paste the image it pasted the name of the image. Oh well, Perhaps this will come in time or perhaps next time around when the iPad gets a camera some day.

You can get PaperDesk here from the App Store



Captain’s Blog for iPad is not quite a PADD

I'm as much of a Star Trek fan as the next guy. So when I saw Captain's Blog on the App store, I had to give it a shot. Captain's Blog is app that allows you to take notes and share them via Twitter and Facebook. While it definitely has a Star Trek feel to it, this App unfortunately is severely lacking in functionality. It's certainly not strong enough to replace any of my existing Apps. While I can post to Twitter I can't see my tweets or people I follow. So it's not a Twitter client. While I can post a status update to Facebook, I can't do anything else Facebook related. When you execute a function, you do get a Star Trek like beep, but you don't get any variety of sounds from the classic show. 

Unless you're a diehard Star Trek fan, you can skip this app

The focus of Best App Site is to concentrate on the "Best" Apps on the App store and while this App certainly does what it claims to do, I wouldn't recommend it for anything beyond its potential entertainment value. If the developer adds more features, this could be a great app. However, in it's current state I wouldn't advise getting it unless you're really a Trekkie and you want to geek out with friends showing them your PADD. If the developer is listening, why not give us some additional things to make it more like a real Star Trek Padd? Weather conditions? Astronomy Star Charts? Build in a Browser with Google search for looking up info. More sound effects. The possibilities are endless

You can get Captain's Blog here from the App Store.


Todo for iPad

If you're an iPad owner it's always great to see one of your favorite iPhone Apps redone for the iPad. My favorite task manager is "Todo" by Appigo. I've used it for years and I just really like the simplcity of it and more importantly the fact that it syncs with my To Do List in iCal. Although I was perfectly happy in the beginning with using it as a standalone app, when they later added direct syncing to iCal over WiFi I was completely sold. 

If I don't write it down it's not going to happen

As much as I'd like to think that I have a good memory, I really don't. The older I get the more out of sight out of mind I become. So I depend on calendar reminders AND my Todo list. I was OK running the iPhone/iPod touch version of Todo on my iPad but I had my fingers crossed that they would introduce an iPad version too and now my wait is over. Todo for iPad is GORGEOUS! The functionality is pretty much the same, but the look and feel is really good on the iPad. Good use of space and design as well as both tall and wide viewing modes. I love having the extra real estate.

What about Things?

I can't ever seem to mention Todo without someone commenting on how much they like "Things" for iPhone (and now iPad). Guys, I actually own Things! Yep, I sure do. Believe it or not I bought it FIRST! The thing (pardon the pun) that made me keep looking for a task manager after I bought Things originally was that Things (a great app for sure) was more complex than I needed. It seemed back then (first version) that it took too many steps to enter a simple To Do. I wanted something quick and easy. When I came across Todo I uninstalled Things and have been using Todo ever since. So if you're a Things user, that's great! However, I prefer Todo for "my" needs. 

You can get Todo for iPad here and Todo for iPhone/iPod touch here.



Camera Plus Pro wants to replace the Camera App on the iPhone

The camera in the iPhone has always been "OK", not horrible, but certainly far from perfect. Chances are if you're a hardcore iPhone user then you have at least 2-3 iPhone Apps for shooting, editing and sharing your photos/video. The built-in camera App is very basic. It lets you take a photo or video (iPhone 3GS only) and share it via email, MMS or MobileMe. If you want to do any kind of editing or sharing beyond what's built-in then you'll need a 3rd party app. It's odd that Apple lets you trim video on the 3GS but doesn't offer any photo editing at all. They leave it all up to 3rd party developers. Also if you want to capture video on a previous generation iPhone you'll need a 3rd party App for sure. Camera Plus Pro attempts to give you everything you'll need in one app.

When you add this many features you also add complexity

Let's start with what you get in this App:

  • Video Recording Modes on the iPhone 2G, 3G, 3GS
  • Live and Smooth Zoom
  • Live Filters: B/W, Sepia, Invert, Sin City Red, Hulk Green, Avatar Blue
  • Upload video to YouTube,  Facebook and Twitter with Title and Description
  • Send video via Email
  • Geotag Videos and share location on YouTube
  • Password Protect your Private videos with the built-in Password Feture
  • Tag videos
  • Tap to focus for 3GS
  • Big Button (tap anywhere on the screen to fire the shutter)
  • Anti-Shake & Grid Overlay
  • Timer – up to 10 seconds
  • Point Zoom to a particular Point
  • Geotag photos and share with Picasa and Facebook
  • Tag your photos
  • Adjust brightness, contrast, sharpness, hue, saturation, temperature, tint
  • Add soft Flash
  • Crop in various shapes like rectangle, circle, oval
  • Rotate photos
  • Add Watermark & Date
  • Edit Geotag
  • Share single or multiple photos to Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Picasa and Email
  • Adjust Photo quality before sharing for faster uploading

Yep, that's a TON of features for the asking price and certainly can eliminate the multiple apps that you may be using. However, like most things with a long feature list there is a learning curve. This App is GREAT and a joy to use. There are four simple buttons at the bottom of the screen to bring up the menu for the mode you're in, show the built-in Fast Camera Roll, Shoot and toggle between still and video. My only issue with the app is that I have to constantly remember what the icons mean in each module (there is no hover state to give you popup help on a touch screen). Again, this will probably become second nature the more you use the App and you probably won't use every feature often anyway. I'm impressed with what you get for the asking price and would definitely recommend this to people looking for one App that does it all. Just be prepared to spend some time getting up to speed. For non 3GS owners this is a no brainer! It gives you all of the above AND the ability to record video. Just get it!

Here on the App Store: Camera Plus Pro: Photo+video record on 3G, 3GS, 2G, effects, live zoom!


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