Peer Reviews - the truth is out there...

Hi fellow i-APPreciators

Please note: I have tried to leave these reviews as close as possible to ‘verbatim’, but may have done some editing to remove personal information... or to fix dodgy punctuation, spelling mistakes (apparently lots of my very technical friends have not discovered spellcheck yet - LOL) and poor sentence structure (apparently lots of my very technical friends never learned English in School either!).

Reviews by Joel

Dropbox - Fantastic. Also tops for computers and phones. Basically online storage for your files that then get sync'ed to all your devices. Major beef I have is actually ipad related and that is that it has a max of 1 gig of files for any one app. So dropbox can only store 1 gig of my files on the ipad. Even though I have like 25 gig free and my whole drop box is only 5 gigs.

TeamViewer - Allows you to remote desktop into computers from ipad (or indeed on computers to other computers.) Platform independent. So I can access my PC or my Mac from my ipad anywhere that I am online. And then interact with it normally with my finger as the mouse etc.

Shazam - is tops for ipad/iphone. Tells you what the current track it can hear is. So radio, or random music on bus/supermarket. Can find out what it actually is.

Skype - Enough said.

ABC Iview - Nothing like watching some ABC on the ipad, laying back in bed or whatever. Nice and small screen with headphones - its a win :)

AccuWeather - tops weather app. Apps - Pinyin and Numbers are both really good. As is the regular TrainChinese app. Have all 3. Good for killing some time while learning chinese.

Games - obviously angry birds, but Tiny Wings is really good too. Trainyard is good. Topple is an oldie but a goodie.

Reviews by Jase & Tam

TED (ideas worth spreading):
This little app under the Education banner is a good one.  Access to lots of presentations  with a myriad of topics.  One of the sweet features of this app that I think makes it a great one is the “Inspire Me” tab.  This asks you the question “You want to see something...” and you select from a list of adjectives eg “Jaw-dropping”.  You are then able to select how much time you have available from 5-60 minutes and a selection of presentations are then available for you to view.  Eg “Michael Pritchard’s water filter turns filthy water drinkable”(   You can download these videos for offline viewing, when away from a network.

First Aid: ( St John’s first aid app:  An essential reference to those all important life saving skills.   

Tam’s favourite.  It is the traditional scrabble with the added bonus of being able to play with others either by passing the iPad or using the local network (bonjour).  There is a bit of a helper in the system that allows you to get the best word out of your tiles from help from the computer (ie cheat).  That generally last 5 goes before it is no longer an option. Very addictive – don’t use at Exam time  :-)

Word Scramble Challenge: ( - you get a 4x4 or 5x5 grid of letters.  Object of the game is to create as many words as possible in the time provided.  This can be played by yourself, handing on the phone against others or in an online environment.  It also has links into Facebook etc. 

Reviews by Leonie and Tom

From a games point of view I love Bejeweled and play it while waiting in the car etc. Tom and I were really impressed with Angry Birds as this is the first ever real game that we could pay and get past level one.

I have Onetap, which is an app for checking out the current movies that are showing and their times, I use this a lot.  Another one that I use a lot is the Austar app to check what is showing on TV for that night.  Quicker than checking the paper TV guide.

Reviews by James

Evernote is a note taking and management tool.  For me, this has completely replaced the need for a pen and paper notebook.  I take notes in meetings using the iPad and they're automatically synced to the web.  My notes are available to me wherever I am, regardless of how they were originally created.  This effectively removes a transcription step from my workflow.  If I take notes in a meeting and then need to refer to them/pass them on in an email, there's no need to type them up as they're digital already.  If I take notes at a conference or in a class, I can share them with my colleagues easily.

Twittelator Neue:
There are heaps of different Twitter clients.  The official one "Twitter" is very popular, but there are heaps of others ones that have achieved decent uptake as well.  Some other popular ones are "TweetDeck", "Echofon", "HootSuite" and "TweetBot".  I think "Twittelator Neue" is one of the nicest mobile Twitter clients to be released so far.  Performance on older devices isn't great though; it seems to be optimised for the iPhone 4S.  A few shortcomings aside, it's a delight to use.

I manage almost all of my email through Gmail.  For gmail users, the official Gmail app is a far better way to access email than the default iPhone implementation (which doesn't handle a lot of Google innovations well).  Search is far, far, better in the official app than it is in the default iPhone mail app as well (the default app only seems to search recent emails that are stored locally on the phone).

Instapaper allows you to create "readable" views of web pages and archive them for later reading.  Readable views strip away all advertising and clutter and create a clean view that focuses only on the content of the article.  In most cases, this works really well and leads to a far better reading experience.

I use this all the time.  It's quite common for me to collect links in Instapaper throughout the day (I come across a lot of great reading material on Twitter).  I can then go through and actually read the articles when I have time, usually in the evenings or over breakfast.  My web reading workflow uses my iPhone and iPad equally.

I generally capture links/find interesting material on my phone when I have a few minutes downtime during the day, then save those links to Instapaper.  Later, I'll read the links on my iPad, which I find is a better device for longform content consumption.

Flipboard allows you to organise your web reading using a magazine metaphor.  It's a really cool platform for browsing material from the web and discovering new sites to read.  You can also hook it up to your social networking profiles, so that you can create magazines that include images and articles that your friends have shared on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.  This is a great way to keep up with content on web sites that you frequent.  You can create a magazine for the site and simply flick through their new content every once in a while.  It's basically just an RSS reader, but the slick interface goes well beyond what most desktop RSS readers are capable of.

This is a useful task manager.  It allows you to create lists of tasks, set due dates and just generally keep track of the millions of things you have to do at any given time.  The current version also integrates with Siri on the iPhone 4S, which is a feature I haven't played with yet, but which might have some potential to be useful.

Dropbox & Sugarsync:,
I use these apps to link to my online file storage accounts.  I use Dropbox for miscellaneous file storage and use SugarSync solely to sync my academic reading between my devices.  Because of these services, I have access to all of my important files when I have my iPad handy.  Both incorporate .pdf reading capability as well, which means that they're viable options for syncing and accessing .pdf files, which is very useful for academic reading.

This is a PowerPoint alternative that I really enjoy.  The iPad app is really only a viewer, content creation needs to happen through the web site.  If you're not familiar with it, though, it's worth a look.  I used this (along with the iPad app), when I entered the Trailblazers competition earlier this year.

These guys make great little apps to perform common functions.  They emphasise the beauty and functionality of the interface and successfully create apps for boring everyday tasks that are a delight to use.  All of these apps are worth a look.

This is an iPad version of Richard Dawkins' latest book, The Magic of Reality.  It's a book for children that describes common creation myths and contrasts them with the alternative explanation offered by science.  Comic book illustrator Dave McKean has provided the illustrations, many of which are animated in the iPad version of the text.

Games that James (hey that rhymes – ha ha) loves:
Cut the Rope
Angry Birds
World of Goo
Puzzle Quest
Plants vs Zombies (PvZ)
Whale Trail
League of Evil
Jetpack Joyride
Tiny Wings

Reviews by Matthew

iFitness: Really good fitness app for tracking fitness activities.  There are some fitness apps with features that allow for GPS tracking for jogging and cycling, but iFitness doesn't support that.  However, it is perfect for tracking gym activities - be they cardio or weights.  It also comes with a large range of workouts - from chest workouts to leg workouts, to whole body workouts.  There are also a huge number of exercises built in that allow for new workouts to be created.  You can also create your own exercises if you want - but there are so many built in that you probably won't need to.  Track your weight, calculate BMI and track your calories.  It's a great app for all your in-gym fitness needs.  Buy it before you get fat.

Reviews by Dave

Words with Friends: This is an iOS app (as well as a Facebook app) that is in essence Scrabble. I play it nearly every day, multiple games against relatives (interstate and overseas) and friends.  It has a text chat feature enabling you to also communicate with the people you are playing with.  I find it very relaxing as well as stimulating in attempting to maximize your word score.  It may sound very pedestrian and boring but it's actually quite fun - the graphics are plain but functional and the built-in dictionary means word disputes do not occur.

Angry Birds: Another iOS app - this is one of the top-grossing apps on the Apple app store. It has great, colourful graphics and the simplicity of the idea - launching various birds from a slingshot who have differing abilities at blocks covering pigs, lends itself ideally at casual gameplay.  It's a very well polished (and addictive) game.

Reviews by i-APPrection Girl

Shape Up: Really good food and exercise diary. Allows users to set weight and nutritional goals. Tracks calories, nutrients, fruit and water. Has a huge food database. Includes free membership to ShapeUp Club.

Hamish & Andy: If you love Hamish & Andy, then you can listen to podcasts of their show, watch funny video's and follow their tours.... just hilarious!

Coles Shopmate: The one thing that I absolutely love about this App is the scanner. If you scan the barcode of a product, it will put it on a your shopping list. Just awesome. Whenever I have almost finished something, I just scan the barcode and then it will be on my shopping list next time I go to the supermarket. I even scanned a 'smirnoff black' bottle one night recently when I was out to dinner, and it added a six-pack of smirnies to my shopping list :-)

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