Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Gadget Goodies 3

Whether you’re in business, ministry, have a busy life, or just need a little help keeping it all together, “there’s an app for that”.  One of my favorites is a gem called Pocket Informant.  I discovered it when I was using a Windows Mobile smartphone.  I also used the Blackberry version on OS6 and OS7, and the Android version.  It presently is available for iOS (two versions) and Android.  I’m sure there are some things special to iOS, but I’ve never had an iPhone or iPad, so I can’t say anything about those.
  
Every phone change I’ve made has shown me several things that make PI a “must have”app for me.
  1. The calendar views are for day, week, month, agenda, and tasks.  There’s also a contacts view.
  2. That last should hint at this one.  Calendar and contacts are integrated in one app.  And including any of your contacts in an event is easier than in other calendar apps I’ve tried.
  3. PI will detect all of your calendars, including ones you’ve imported.  You can select which ones display, avoiding redundancy.
  4. The same version works on both tablets and phones.
Pocket Informant isn’t cheap.  It’s $9.99 US for Android, $5 or $14.95 for the iOS versions.  But, for the price, it has great flexibility and a ton of features.  The Android version has a two week free trial, so you can try before you buy.  Even then, I’d suggest downloading the pdf manual and go through it before starting your two week trial.  That way you can see what features you’re likely to want to try out before you start the trial.  Otherwise you may miss some of the features I consider important.  The basics won’t need any reading.

I have to talk about the UI a little.  On the phone, it has the view changes on the bottom bar.  On a tablet, it looks like a tabbed planner, except there’s no paper.  Either way is very usable.  The one UI issue I’ve had is that PI seems to automatically pick the brightest colors for the different calendars and views.  If you import multiple calendars (I have holidays for several different countries, a birthday calendar, plus calendars for several different groups that I import.), you may feel like you and anyone else viewing your calendar will need dark sunglasses.  You can select the colors for everything.  A little experimentation will get exactly the combination that pleases you.

They also have their own sync service ($15 US/year), so you don't lose everything if you have to reset or reinstall.  Both iOS and Android versions are available from the respective app stores.  For more detailed information and dfownloadable manuals for more detail, you can go to http://bit.ly/10vTrnN and follow the product links.  

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As long as we’re roaming around the Android camp, let’s look at a few priceless utilities from the Google Play Store..  These are for your default settings.  If you haven’t set those, you know how frustrating it can get to go through multiple clicks just to choose one.  Or, if you’ve chosen one, suddenly find out you can’t change your mind or fix a wrong selection.  There’s hope.

My first entry is an app called HomeSmack.  HomeSmack  handles only three defaults, but it does it well and it’s free (ad supported). 

The first option is the UI.  If you have multiple launchers installed, you can select or change which one is the default.  The second tab is for default search.  That’s more interesting because you can choose between various forms of onboard searching or web search.  The third option is selecting the default browser.  If you’re like me, you’ll have choices and which you prefer will depend on how good the latest browser versions are.  So, this tab is a necessity.  It also has info about some Motorola specific things.  All good things. 

The UI is understandable by even an Android novice, which is what I was when I found it.  If you’re happy with it and want to get rid of the ads, there’s an in-app link in the menu to purchase the plug-in to eliminate the ads.  That’s $1.00 US and will support the developer.

The other app to handle defaults is Default App Manager.  The Lite version is free and ad supported.  The Pro version is ad free and includes a built in uninstaller for $.99 US.  Default App Manager has 25 different categories it sets or clears defaults for.  That includes six for various office document formats.  Like HomeSmack, it includes launcher and browser defaults.  However, Default App Manager doesn’t handle search option defaults.  Again the UI is easy to use and understand.

I have both on my devices.  For a maximum total of #1.99 US, it’s worth having both.  For me they’re device maintenance essentials, even if I don’t use them often.

That’s it for this week.  More to come, next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment