Category Archives: iOS

Controlling a phone with gestures

With the iPhone X launching this fall without a home button, many iOS users are going to have to get used to controlling their phones with just gestures. For those of us with a history on BlackBerry 10 we know how this works, and we are here to tell you that it is awesome.

Swipe up to home

Honestly this gesture is perfect. A simple swipe up to get back to the home screen is super intuitive, and as much as I enjoy the fingerprint reader, having to use a button on my iPhone still feels like a step backwards.

Swipe down for control center

Again this is straight out of the BlackBerry 10 interface and it works well. Honestly this isn’t much different than the current iOS approach, but moving to the top to have the more reachable swipe sending you home makes sense.

Lift to wake

This was added in BlackBerry 10.3.1 and while conceptually neat, I actually went and turned this off. Just reaching to place the phone in my pocket the screen would flash on and I found this to be too distracting, so I went without this function.

FaceID

BlackBerry didn’t have this one. Apple seems confident in their technology, and honestly it is going to make or break this design. If it can not match the speed of touch id then I probably won’t be getting the iPhone X.

BlackBerry Hub

Apple hasn’t shown off notification on the new phone, so I am going to keep the dream alive. Probably not going to ship with iOS 11. Still I think this is one area where iPhone will remain behind BlackBerry’s ease of use.

5 BlackBerry Storm features that the iPhone still lacks

With a higher resolution screen, a better camera, LTE support, and an OS that has been updated in the past eight years, the iPhone 7 is far superior to the BlackBerry Storm. Still there are a few things that the old phone still does better. With Apple releasing iOS 11 next month, lets hope that some of these features get included.

Unified Inbox

The BlackBerry Storm had a messages app that combined multiple email accounts, SMS, BBM, Twitter, and almost all other messaging platforms into a single feed. While not as complete as BlackBerry 10’s Hub, it was still superior to the siloed experience found on iOS. Attempts to address this issue on iOS with a notification center are not remotely useful.

A default email client that supports push for gmail accounts

The default email client for iOS is bad in many ways. However the lack of push support for the world’s most popular email service is particularly embarrassing. Third party clients support this, and BlackBerry has had this feature since well before the iPhone was ever launched.

Notification LED

One of BlackBerry’s simpler features was a small led that could be configured to blink different colors for different types of notifications. This allows you to know if you have any messages just a glance, and without even touching your phone. I am utterly baffled as to why other phone manufactures have not copied this feature.

An accessible file system

My iPhone has 128 GB of storage, yet I am unable to download email attachments simply because there is no place to just store arbitrary files. This could also be useful for transferring songs and pictures on and off from the phone. Apple’s attempt to hide complexity is actually making simple operations more complex.

A clickable screen that actually clicks

Honestly, neither the BlackBerry Storm’s click screen, nor the iPhone’s 3-D touch are good ideas. An interface that can work with a simple touch screen is a superior experience. But if you are going to have a clickable screen, you may as well commit to having a clickable screen. The 3-D touch feature on iOS is difficult to trigger intentionally, and in practice is more likely to trigger a long press event.

Pixelated released for iPhone

After eight years of requests, Pixelated Plus is finally available for the iPhone. This new version of the game has all the same features as the BlackBerry and Windows releases of Pixelated. A one time in-app purchase can be used to unlock all statistics and features and grid sizes in the game.

The BlackBerry 10 version of Pixelated Plus has also been updated to add make showing the number of remaining moves in a game to be optional.

About Pixelated

Pixelated is an addictive puzzle based strategy game that requires a mixture of skill and luck in order to accomplish. The object of the game is to change the colour of the squares until the entire screen is a single solid colour. Starting with the square in the upper left corner you can change the colour of the blocks in order to match that of the surrounding squares. This is done repeatedly until the entire screen is a single colour. The object of the game is to clear the screen in as few moves as possible. Under the default settings you must do so in under 22 moves in order to win. The game is controlled by the large colored blocks at the bottom of the screen.

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More sites added to First Rule

The First Rule comment blocking app has been updated to version 1.2 for Chrome and iOS. This update adds blocking for additional websites, as well as improving the app’s load time on iOS.

About First Rule

Everyone knows that the first rule of the internet is “Do not read the comments”, yet far too many of us still get suckered into yelling at strangers on the internet. This situation isn’t good for anyone, and it would be better off if comment sections simply did not exist. The First Rule app makes this a reality, by blocking the comments on mobile (iOS) and desktop (Chrome).

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Update for First Rule comment blocker app

The First Rule comment blocking application has been updated to version 1.1 in the Chrome storefront. This update adds comment blocking on an additional 150 domains, bringing the total number of websites with blocked comments to over eighteen-hundred.

About First Rule

Everyone knows that the first rule of the internet is “Do not read the comments”, yet far too many of us still get suckered into yelling at strangers on the internet. This situation isn’t good for anyone, and it would be better off if comment sections simply did not exist. The First Rule app makes this a reality, by blocking the comments on mobile (iOS) and desktop (Chrome).

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Additional Stats added to Hockey Scores app

The Hockey Scores app has been updated to version 4.2 for iOS and BlackBerry. The app now has a ‘Shots Attempted’ stat that shows the total Corsi shots that a team has taken.

Additionally, this update also shows the times of upcoming games in either a 12 hour or 24 hour format based on the settings for the phone. For iOS there is also a new option to adjust the app’s background color from the system settings app.

About Hockey Scores

In addition to showing the scores of each game, the app also shows the game time, shot on goal, shot attempts, hits, faceoff percentages, and a full list of all of the game’s goal scorers.

A one time in-app purchase can be used to remove all advertising from the app.

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Block all web comments with the First Rule browser extension

The first rule of the internet is “Do not read the comments”. Should you ever read the comments at the end of the article, or below a video you never end up smarter, but instead end up irrationally angry because some stranger is saying something dumb.

Yet despite knowing this, not reading the comments is often easier said than done. Scrolling down you see them, just begging you to engage.

Even if you resist replying, just reading through is wasting your time and your sanity. To combat this, First Rule is an extension that removes all comments from the internet.

Available on both the desktop as a Chrome extesnion, and on iOS as an app, First Rule hides the comments on 1700+ websites. This leads you with a cleaner and more peaceful browser experience.

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Weather Beautiful App Updated

The Weather Beautiful App has been updated to version 2.4 for Android, iOS, and BlackBerry 10. This version is quicker to refresh the weather and location when the app is relaunched. Additionally there was a bit of optimization done to the app to make the underlying code quicker and simpler.

About Weather Beautiful

Weather Beautiful is a simple weather app that displays stunning photography of your surrounding area. In addition to the current temperature and weather conditions, the app also allows you to scroll for a full weekly forecast. While temperatures are shown in Fahrenheit by default, there is an option to switch to Celsius.

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Projectile Physics app updated

shapeitappThe Projectile Physics app has been updated for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone. After this update the app now uses the official ISO value for acceleration due to gravity. Additionally iOS and Android users are now given the option to remove all advertising from the calculator with an in-app purchase.

About Projectile Physics

This app is a projectile physics calculator designed to solve for all of the components of a typical projectile motion problem. The app solves for both the vertical and horizontal components of the distance traveled, the constant acceleration, the initial and final velocity, as well as the time. These factors are solved for in real time in order to help you get back the factors of the equation quicker.

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Hockey Scores app now on iOS

shapeitappThe Hockey Scores app is now available on iOS. This app provides a simple and quick way to get the day’s NHL scores.

This new iOS version of Hockey Scores contains all of the same features as the BlackBerry version of the app.

About Hockey Scores

In addition to showing the scores of each game, the app also shows the game time, shot counts, hits, faceoff percentages, and a full list of all of the game’s goal scorers.

A one time in-app purchase can be used to remove all advertising from the app.

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The iOS password field is a mess of bad design

img_0028For such a simple element, Apple has really fallen behind when it comes to password fields in iOS 10.

First of all there is no option to show/hide the password that is being entered. With a virtual keyboard this is important to avoid mistakes in a complex password. This has been implemented by Android, Windows, and BlackBerry but is still lacking in iOS.

Additionally the keyboard ignores the “Character Preview” setting whenever you are entering a password. Furthermore the keyboard does not use the BlackBerry 10 trick of showing an additional row of numerical keys on password fields. Making the number keys easier to access encourages the use of stronger passwords by making it possible to quickly enter more complex passwords.

None of these are major problems by themselves, but overall you would really have hoped that Apple would be able to put to together a better UX by the tenth version of their operating system.

New York State Canal apps released for iOS

shapeitappApps for the Erie Canal, Cayuga-Seneca Canal, Oswego Canal, and Champlain Canal have been released in the iOS app store. These apps give you the ability to see the locations of all locks, boat launches, lift bridges, and guard gates along the canals.

The primary view of the apps shows a list of all the landmarks along the canal, with their distance along the canal along with a phone number that the app can dial in order to contact the marinas, and locks on the route. In addition to this, there is also a map view that precisely shows the location of everything along the canal’s path. An options page allows you to filter out the types of landmarks that the app shows (on both the list and the map).

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Erie Canal

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Cayuga-Seneca Canal

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Oswego Canal

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Champlain Canal

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Buffalo Metro Rail app updated

iphoneThe Buffalo Metro Rail app has been updated to version 1.3. This update makes use of the new data format that is being used by the NFTA, and also adds support for iphones and iPads.

About the Buffalo Metro Rail app

This app shows the departure times for trains along Buffalo’s Metro route. The app automatically selects the proper schedule for the day, allows for sorting options, and also shows a map of the full light rail line. Additionally the app only needs to be synced once a month, and can otherwise be used without an active internet connection.

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Projectile Physics Calculator released for iPhones

img_0012The Projectile Physics app has been released for iOS. This app makes it easy to solve two dimensional projectile motion equations by entering the measurements you do have, and seeing the rest get automatically calculated.

About Projectile Physics

This app is a projectile physics calculator designed to solve for all of the components of a typical projectile motion problem. The app solves for both the vertical and horizontal components of the distance traveled, the constant acceleration, the initial and final velocity, as well as the time. These factors are solved for in real time in order to help you get back the factors of the equation quicker.

Links & Information

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Weather Beautiful app released for iOS

shapeitappThe Weather Beautiful app has been released for iOS in the Apple app store. This release of the weather app is on par with the Android and BlackBerry versions.

About Weather Beautiful

Weather Beautiful is a simple weather app that displays stunning photography of your surrounding area. In addition to the current temperature and weather conditions, the app also allows you to scroll for a full weekly forecast. While temperatures are shown in Fahrenheit by default, there is an option to switch to Celsius.

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