Archive for the ‘Apps’ Category

Review: Rxmind Me

Posted: January 14, 2011 in Apps
Tags: , , ,

Maybe you’ll never have to be in a situation to use this app, but if you do, you’ll be SO glad that it’s developers have created it! RxmindMe is a wonderful solution for managing all of your prescriptions, OTC medications, vitamins, and supplements. Most importantly, if you are managing several meds (especially those that leave you a little loopy), this little free app will prove to be amazingly handy. Essentially, RxmindMe takes all of the guesswork out of what pills to take when, how many, which ones are getting low, and who to call to reorder.

Last year I had a nasty bout with kidney stones and was on about 4 different medications while being treated. Some of those meds were narcotics, and if you’ve had to endure that stuff, you know it can mess with your memory and sense of time. Unfortunately, RxmindMe hadn’t been developed yet and I was left with trying to create numerous alarms in the iPhone’s default Clock app. It wasn’t perfect nor efficient, but it got the job done.

Today I returned home from back surgery and I found myself once again in the “meds maze”. Out of desperation, I scanned the app store again and, viola, I found Rxmind Me…one of the easiest to use and practical apps in the app store.

According the developer’s website:

“RxmindMe allows you to create nine types of reminders – daily, our new every “x” days, hourly, weekly, on specific dates, on a specific day of a month, and on a specific week of the month. RxmindMe allows for unlimited prescription entry. Track all your meds

using secure iOS 4!”

So, you begin by entering in everything that you need to take, one by one. If you want, you can even specify which Dr. prescribed it, which pharmacy filled it, and the phone number to call for refills. Next you set the dosage, frequency, and schedule for each one. Then, you turn on notifications, go the the “Todays” screen, and go about your day until you’re told it’s time for some pills. What could top all of that? Well, if you put in the starting quantity of pills right from the start, you’ll be prompted to call the stored Pharmacy number to order your refill when the app sees that you’re about to run out. Bravo!

The interface is quite intuitive, although it would have seemed more logical to arrange the buttons in chronological order: “RX” button first, then “Reminders”, then “More” (other settings), and end with “Today” (which is the daily calendar/checkbox view). Even so, the app remains very easy to use and navigate.

Don’t be fooled! This handy little app isn’t just for those getting up there in years, but for all of us who need a little help keeping track of all those pesky pills. My wife was extremely grateful that I found RxmindMe and am using it…it frees her up to manage all of the other tasks and responsibilities of the day, especially the ones that I cannot tend to while on the mend.  You can download the app for free by clicking here.

iPhone911 Rating: 4.5 of 5

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Comprehensive Password App Review

Posted: September 18, 2010 in Apps, Uncategorized

Well, the results are in.  Many were invited, some joined the race, but few survived the guantlet.  In the end, only a couple of these password and data managers merited our recommendation.  Here is the summary chart, followed by some detailed comments at the bottom of the review.

Click below to view the results

== >Password-Manager-Review-2010-09-18 (9/18/10)

It may come as no surprise, but

Agile Software’s 1Password emerged as the clear winner.

That is, if you’re like me and want a one-stop shop for all of your secure-data storage needs, want quick wifi syncing, the option for using the app on multiple devices, and the option for dropbox synchronization (which is the wave of the future).  Yes, it’s pricey, but you get what you pay for.  It was the ONLY solution that accurately captured new website login information, retrieved it at login, flawlessly synchronized with multiple devices, and gave enough custom options in the iPhone menu to layout the buttons to our liking.  It’s clear that the Agile team is listening to their customers, have dedicated considerable resources/personnel, and time to making this a “best in class” solution.  Our top award goes to 1Password with 5 stars.

Next is Ascendo’s Datavault.

While it doesn’t have the breadth and refinement of 1Password, it does pack a serious punch in getting the job done.  While we actually prefer the look and feel of SplashID’s desktop interface to all of the others (including 1Password’s) Datavault beat out SplashID in the bug-free syntonization category. What good is a program if it looks good but can’t deliver the goods…right?  With a little more work, especially in the area of login id/password management and UI refinement, Ascendo could certainly give Agile a run for their money.  Maybe give the same multiple viewing options (such as SplashID’s desktop approach) if you want to gain the edge.  We give Datavault 4 stars.

Rounding out the top three is Zetetic’s Strip Sync

Even without a true desktop companion, Strip does offer the dedicated mobile user a rock-solid solution that is safe, secure, and extremely reliable.  In this case, less was more.  Their approach layout and methodology is intuitive, beautiful, and offers much promise for future releases.  We give Strip 4 stars (not for outshining the desktop competition) but for doing what it does the best!

Thanks to all of the vendors who supplied demo copies of their software and to all of you who are expressing a growing interest in these types of reviews.  If we could offer one bit of advice to you, the developers, it would be this:  Zero in on one or two products that you can really refine, test, and polish…and then release them when you are ready and staffed to support them fully.  Find your niche, stick to it, and ultimately that will serve your customers the best.  Trying to be all things to all platforms/people will result in frustration, lower ratings, and an ultimate tarnishing of your brand.  Agile, Ascendo, and Zetetic are onto something!

Please feel free to subscribe to our feed and request any apps or accessories that you’d like to see reviewed on iphone911!  Thanks for stopping by!

Update 9/19/10:

We have just spoken with SplashData regarding the trouble we encountered during testing.  There were some bug fixes what were available that we did not know about.  We will be reinstalling their software and sample data to do a full desktop/iPhone sync test again.  Results will be forthcoming in the next few days.  It’s possible that these fixes might resolve our issues, greatly help their ranking, and alter our “conclusive” results!

Most likely you’re here because you’re a little like me…a gadget geek.  If you’re in denial, or just an aspiring device connoisseur, I have some good news:  there really is a solution to help you manage all of your devices when you need to have your equipment at hand, but not in your hand.  Introducing the ProClip family of device mounting solutions!

As discussed on their website,

ProClip USA, Inc., headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, is the exclusive North American distributor of ProClip vehicle communication accessories. ProClip products are manufactured in Karlsborg, Sweden by Brodit AB, a company that was established in 1983 to provide communication device mounting solutions for vehicle interiors.

Before we get into the details of this review, we want to answer a couple of key questions that you may be pondering:

Q:  What sets the ProClip product line apart?
A:  It’s the only product line that makes custom-designed mounts for nearly every vehicle make & model.  It’s also the only company that makes specifically molded device holders for nearly every device made.  Additionally, all of the parts are interchangeable, leaving you with an infinite number of custom configurations to meet your varied and changing needs.  Oh, and if that weren’t enough, every product we tested was of the highest quality and easy to install.

Q:  Who is likely to need ProClip products?
A:  Anybody who: 1) has been sorely disappointed with with quality of other mounting products, 2) is unwilling to settle for cheaply-made products, 3) is the owner of one or more devices that require hands-free use,  4) anyone living in Minnesota and/or California who drives a car (MN and CA law forbids the use of window-mounted device holders), and 5) anyone who might utilize these products in a variety of vehicles or settings.

The ProClip site is very useful in helping you identify which mounts and holders you need.  It is truly mind-boggling to realize that you can outfit all of your vehicles and devices in about 10 minutes of shopping.  If you decide to place an order, you’ll want to do a little prep ahead of time.  Make a list of all your device model numbers, vehicles (make/model/year) and also think through other places where you envision using your devices in a hands-free manner.  In addition to offering table-top stands and other non-vehicle mounts (to be reviewed in part 2 of this review), ProClip offers convenient vehicle mounts for:

  • The dash area to the left of the steering wheel
  • The main dash/vent area
  • A second dash area (in some vehicles)
  • The console area between the front seats

With that said, here is a look at my devices, vehicles, and the ProClip products that I ordered to meet my needs:

Devices:

  • iPhone 3G
  • Samsung cell phone
  • Garmin Nuvi GPS
  • iPod Nano

Locations:

  • 2001 Ford Windstar
  • Honda Civic
  • Home & office work areas
  • Church worship team (using my iPhone & the ThumbJam app)

ProClip parts:

  • Vehicle dashboard mounts (for the Ford & Honda)
  • One extension plate (for the Ford vent area)
  • Male “move clips” for the device holders
  • Female “move clips” for the mounts
  • Device-specific holders (I opted for the swivel models)

Before installation I had to decide if I wanted to screw the mounting plates to the “Move Clips” or affix them with the supplied two-sided tape.  I’m big on “undo” options, so I opted for using the supplied screws.  This added a little bit of time, but the the following configuration only took me about 30 minutes to install in our van:

The phone and iPod Nano are connected using the “Move Clip” system (ProClip’s quick-release solution, allowing you to securely and quickly store and/or move your devices.  Here is a close-up of the vent-mount which attached into the seams on my dash area:

The lower mount (holding the iPod Nano) has a nice gap underneath that makes for a nice cord channel or storage area for a wound-up cord (in this picture I was using a tape deck adapter which allows you to listen to audio out of a headphone jack via the cord).  Notice that each of these items features an adjustable ball joint for easy adjustment for achieving the perfect viewing angle.

With just a quick adjustment, I can swap the iPod and the phone after rerouting the cord.  The mounting brackets also allow you to to wind the cord around them, thus keeping cords out of the way and de-cluttering the dash.  Here is the iPod Nano in the horizontal position (a.k.a. “Cover Flow” mode).

My wife drives this vehicle most of the time, but when I’m driving I’ll attach my iPhone holder so I can use my iPhone for calls and audio.

Here I’m using the adjustable iPhone holder which is made for an iPhone when it’s in a case.  In the above photo I don’t have a case on it, so it fits a little loose.  More pictures of the padded holder (for a “naked” iPhone) and the adjustable holder (when in a case) will be shown below.

Before going to my Honda, notice that the iPod Nano holder is padded with a flocked fabric material:

Although it appears that the holder (shown above) is mounted directly to the vehicle’s surface, it’s actually a rotated picture of the holder resting on my Honda’s dash.  I simply took this picture to show the detail of the padded holder.  Since the iPod Nano has a matte painted surface, I felt most comfortable using the padded holder instead of the standard unpadded model.

If you needed to mount a holder in a place where a mount is not available (or in a less conspicuous place), you could do so using the double sided tape, or you might opt for velcro (not supplied) if you so desire.

Now for the Honda.  My setup is a little simpler here since I use my iPhone for phone, GPS, and iPod functions.  So, I only had to decide which kind of holder(s) to use for the iPhone.  Since I always want to be charging my iPhone in the car, I opted for the “Pass-thru” model which features a dock connector at the bottom of the holder, allowing me to keep my cord connected to the holder at all times.  This eliminates unnecessary wear on my phone’s dock connector and makes for easy one-handed storage and removal.

Here are two close-ups of the pass-through model that’s adjustable for use with an iPhone in a case:

After using the pass-through models for several months, I don’t think I’d ever opt for a model without this feature.  Besides the one-handed operation benefits discussed above, the pass-through connector serves as a bottom “stop”, preventing me from accidentally pushing the device too hard and through the holder (and onto the floor).  To adjust the holder width and tension, you loosen the four hand screws on the back, insert the cased iPhone into the holder, squeeze the sides of the holder, then tighten the screws.

ProClip offers the padded and standard models.  I chose the padded one (for use with my iPhone when it’s without a case) and the adjustable non-padded one (for use with my iPhone when it’s in my Contour Case).

Here are some pictures of the entire setup (connected to a “Soundfly BT Ultimate” bluetooth/FM transmitter by Satechi).

The shortcomings are/were few and far between:

  • The more I use the ball-joint swivels, the more they swivel holders loosen and require slight tightening with a screwdriver.  I now keep a  screwdriver in the car for such adjustments.
  • I also noticed that the Contour Case for my iPhone is shaped in a way that makes the front-to-back alignment on the dock a little tricky.  I have to pull back on the top of my iPhone as I push it down over the dock connector.  This isn’t a big deal now that I know what to do.  When I use the padded iPhone holder (with the naked iPhone) it’s not an issue since the shape and thickness of the case doesn’t affect the connector alignment.
  • One of my “Move Clip” packages came with the wrong size screw, so I decided to use the adhesive instead of calling customer service for replacement screws.
  • While you get what you pay for, the cost for this entire system might be prohibitive for some people.  Not everybody shares my purchase philosophy: “Buy top quality products if you want top-quality experiences.”

Conclusion:
If you have a variety of devices and need to use them in a hands-free manner…and you want them to last as long as you have your devices, you should strongly consider buying the ProClip products.  As a long-time user of tech gadgets, and having spent too much money on cheap, poorly-designed, and unattractive mounts, the ProClip website and products are a gold-mine for me.

  • PROS:
    • Quality design and construction
    • Versatility and adaptability, especially with “Move Clips”
    • Easy-to-use website for ordering
    • Easy and quick to install
    • Extremely sturdy mounting
    • No permanent damage to your car’s interior
    • Extremely sturdy and secure mounting (unlike wobbly goose-neck products)
    • Attractive appearance
  • CONS:
    • Needs occasional adjustments
    • Slight mis-alignment on adjustable pass-thru iPhone holder when using a Contour Case
    • Price (one of the more expensive options out there)

iPhone911 Rating:

COMING SOON:
“Review: ProClip Mounting Solutions – Pt. 2” which will focus on ProClip’s table stands and other holders