reQall Redux


On August 13, 2008

As I have written previously, I have been going back and forth between Jott and reQall trying to figure out which one better suits my needs.

Both are currently free services. Both offer quick transcription of voice notes. Both offer free iPhone-resident apps. The similarities are numerous and both work quite well. Both integrate with numerous other calendar and task programs in various ways.

There are differences as well. reQall offers 30 seconds of recording time per note- twice the amount of Jott’s 15 seconds. reQall’s system recognizes key words in order to sort whether something is note, a task or part of a shopping list. Similarly, when creating tasks and reminders it can recognize dates and times. Jott doesn’t (it will input specific information but in a more selective way). As a result, Jott is more focused on straight transcription while reQall is a complete task and note system.

I am a big fan of both but, since I really only need the transcription ability, I have been back to using Jott for the past few weeks.

reQall released an updated version of their software the other night, however. Between the new software and an e-mail conversation I had with Wayne Schulz from Gear Diary about the pros and cons of Jott and reQall, I decided to give reQall yet another look the other night.

What’s On (My) iPhone- Entertainment Apps



This is the third installment of my "What’s On (My) iPhone" series looking at the apps I am ACTUALLY using on a daily basis. I have bought many from the App Store but only a few remain on my iPhone and are seeing real use. The four listed below give me a wide range of options and easily provide more content than I could consume in ten lifetimes.

Can’t Sleep? Your iPhone Can Help!



Can’t sleep? Warm milk not working? Ambian not doing its thing?

Why not try some quiet soothing sounds? Two of the most popular applications in the iTunes App Store are waiting to help.

Ambience and aSleep both  to sell for a low price and do pretty much the same thing: they offer various soothing sounds that can help as you try to relax or fall asleep. Both have countdown timers that turn off the sound after a certain period of time.


Do You Want A Windows Mobile-Style Today Screen?


On August 12, 2008

JAMM’s Doug Goldring is in the midst of an exceptionally long in-depth multi-part review of the iPod Touch. Doug is doing an excellent job of looking at the Touch as both an iPod and a PocketPC/Mobile Internet Device (MID) replacement. It is really worth a read.

Doug made a comment in his most recent post that got me thinking. For Doug the lack of a Today Screen is a missed opportunity. Actually, he said much more than that-

I thought the unlock screen itself was, perhaps, the biggest waste of space on any device.  I am about to make a controversial statement here, but one of my favorite features in Windows Mobile is my Today Screen.  Why?  because with a glance at the Today Screen, I can see my agenda, my to-do list, the current status of my device, and any number of other tidbits of information, all without opening a single program.  Its just there, staring me in the face.  This is particularly useful for my daily schedule, as I never remember to open the calendar and look unless I have some kind of a reminder.

This doesn’t come as a surprise since Windows Mobile devices have a long history of having Today Screen that are both customizable and rich with information. Moreover, Doug is also the editor of the website MyToday Screen– a site dedicated to Windows Mobile phone. WM devices have always offered some degree of customizable Today Screen so that you immediately had you calendar, email, calls and SMS available to you. In recent years software such as SPB’s Mobile Shell (a favorite of mine the last months I used a WM device) and OEM-loaded Today screens have taken this accessibility to an entirely new level.  

It got me thinking about whether or not I want a WM-type Today Screen on my iPhone.

Evernote Update 1.2 Is Huge!



I posted a few hours ago about what I thought would turn Evernote into THE productivity app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Well… seems like I didn’t have to wait very long at all. Turns out tonight’s Evernote update is a huge update.

First, the ability to edit notes is huge. No longer is Evernote for iPhone just a passive way to access data. So long as the notes were either created in Evernote or came into Evernote in plain text you can now edit at a later date. It works great! Now you can use Evernote to update lists, edit text and do basic word processing.





Updates Are Good- Part 3



Two of the better productivity apps saw updates tonight.

reQall’s update-

-fixes a few issues to improve stability and reliability under certain network conditions.

Evernote’s update-

-Improved resolution of snapshot notes

-Fixed text note zoom level

-Improved hndling of various tasks

-"Untitled Note" filler is cleared when tapped

Both of these are great apps (I love Evernote and keep going back and forth between Jott and reQall again) and I am happy to see these incremental updates that improve stability and usability. But these are the REAL updates I’m hoping to see from these two amazing service-

1. Evernote needs iPhone/iPod Touch resident notes so that information is always available. Both Jott and reQall have it. I would love it for Evernote.

2. Both reQall and Evernote need the ability to edit notes. Jott does it and it would be awesome on reQall and Evernote.

Give me those updates and the iPhone is truly becomes a mobile office.

UPDATE- My friend Wayne Schulz from Gear Diary pointed out that Evernote now allows you to edit non-formatted text. A BIG step in the right direction. Thanks Wayne!


More App Store Questions…



One of the things I am appreciating most about the creative developers filling the App Store’s shelves is how responsive to questions and feedback so many of them are. Case in point-

As I posted yesterday I was more than a little disappointed that MiGhtyDocs, the new app for viewing and caching Google Docs, gets the viewing part down but totally fails on the caching.

I wrote a post and, right after posting, sent the link to the developer. Earlier today I got a response.

The response achnowledged the issue and offered the following:

MiGhtyDocs- Another Disappointment- At Least For Now


On August 10, 2008

I often use Google documents as my word processor, especially when I’m working in collaboration with someone else. It’s a great way for us to be able to access the same documents and also to see what revisions have been made over time.

One of the things that would make the iPhone or the iPod touch a far better productivity device would be the ability to have my Google documents resident on my device and editable. This morning I saw a new app- MiGhtyDocs– on the App Store that promised to at least achieve part of us. The developers know to read as follows —
With this application you can view your documents from Google talks on your iPhone. You can have your important documents always in your pocket even when you haven’t an Internet connection. Just open your document once on your iPhone then it is cached. It’s a simple and small application they will improve over time.

Okay, so we don’t have the option to edit documents, at least we now have the option to store global documents on our iPod or iPod touch. It is a step in the right direction.

Tip of the Day — Use Note2Self and MacSpeech Dictate To Record and Transcribe On The Run



I tend to do a lot of my writing using voice recognition software. When I used Windows Dragon NaturallySpeaking was my software of choice. It is amazingly accurate and fast. (The last version that I used was version 9.5 and word is that the new version 10 is even faster and more accurate.)

When I made the jump over to Mac the only real choice was iListen. On the whole it was okay, but it definitely wasn’t up to the level of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. This past spring MacSpeech replaced iListen with MacSpeech Dictate- an entirely new software package that licensed the speech recognition engine used by Dragon NaturallySpeaking. The new software remains far behind Dragon NaturallySpeaking in terms of flexibility and capabilities, (for instance Dragon does a far better job of using voice commands to edit text and has more options for input devices such as using a Windows mobile handheld), but for basic voice recognition Dictate works quite well — especially when you use a high quality, noise canceling microphone. (In fact his entire post is being dictated using MacSpeech Dictate.)  As a result, I use MacSpeech Dictate very often and find it to be quite good for basic text input.

The Holy Grail of speech recognition, however, is to be able to be on the road and use my handheld as a speech transcription device.

What’s In The crApp Store? Episode #1


On August 9, 2008

As I am working on the third installment of my "What’s On (My) iPhone" series I have had the opportunity to step back and think about the wide range of applications now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It has led to three conclusions.

a. There are a number of applications available that are tremendously useful, superbly executed, and well priced.

b. There are a number of glaring holes in the type and function of available apps that will (hopefully) get filled sooner rather than later. (More on that in the wrap-up post for the series.)

c. There is some absolute garbage in the App Store. Some is free (bad) and some actually cost real money (worse)

And so it is that we welcome you to the first of what will be a regular feature here on WOiP– "What’s In The crApp Store?"