This month we’ve been travelling, getting organised, staying medicated, photographing the movement of slow things unfurling, looking at the lunar landscape and learning how to fly with tiny, tiny, wings.
While planning a recent jaunt to mainland Europe, we were grateful for the straightforward services of Itinerary (£1.79), a neat little travelling companion that lets you create ‘tickets’ with start and end dates and then populate them with a day-by-day itinerary that includes the places you’re visiting, notes about them, start and end times and map locations.
The app’s feature set is nothing earth-shattering – but you should never under-estimate the importance of having stuff like this all under one roof where it’s easy to get at so you can check details like where you’re supposed to be and when. Itinerary is clever enough to grab maps from Google based on your destination and then display them as either a map or satellite image. It’ll display your current location too. Easy to use and useful, Itinerary makes a great travelling companion.
If only we had a pound (or a dollar, for that matter) for every task manager and to-do list that’s tickled our fancy, only to fall by the wayside when we discovered that it didn’t do this or it didn’t do that.
Beyond its attractive price tag, Wunderlist (FREE) has a number of other things going for it. For a start, it’s available on the iPhone, Android handsets, iPad, Mac OSX and Windows (with a browser-based version to follow). Each version is free, and they all synchronise with each other so that your tasks are always up to date. List management is straightforward. You can create multiple lists with reminders and due dates, tag the important ones with a ‘star’, display all tasks, overdue ones or only those due today – and then pull-and-release the list with your finger to synch with all your other devices. If only we weren’t so wedded to Google Tasks…
As you get older, remembering to take your medication becomes more challenging – partly because of the way your memory’s turning slowly to Swiss cheese, and partly because the number of pills you need to take regularly is likely to increase.
We’ve turned – as part our of planned preparation for a more medicinal future – to Pillboxie (£1.19), a beautifully visual way to plan the day’s pill-popping. Just tap in the name of the tablet, choose a shape and colour, then drag it into one of the time slots that are arranged along the bottom of the screen like little pill boxes. Pillboxie sounds an alarm – even when it’s not running – to warn you when you’re due to take your medication, and as you take a pill, you can tick it off the list.
It’s easy to drag more than one pill to a timeslot and move pills between boxes with your finger, and although there’s currently no way to schedule things like prescription reminders when you’re running low, as a friendly, visual reminder to keep on top of your tabs, it works really well.
As a kid we were fascinated by those nature films which appeared to show – as if by magic – a flower budding, then opening, then wilting and finally dying in the space of minute or two. As with so many childhood memories, we now realise it was just another trick foisted on us by adults – but that hasn’t stopped us from want to have a go.
Timelapse Pro 3.0 (£1.19) brings this stop-start magic to the iPhone. Create a new timelapse, give it a name and description, select a video format (HD will only play back on a computer, rather than the handset), and then off you go.
You can set the interval at which the camera takes pictures in seconds, together with the image count. Apart from that, it’s a question of keeping the phone steady while the app does its stuff. Finished movies can be played back at different frame rates and then saved together with a soundtrack from your iTunes library – it’s even possible to apply different effects like sepia and inverse colour, though these can’t be previewed, so you’ll have to take pot luck; after that you can export them to your computer or save them out to the camera roll. Our results though, were peculiarly affecting, especially the sepia movies with a bit of Vaughan Williams playing in the background.
Down here, we’re always looking up there. Especially at our closest neightbour the moon – so were delighted to find that Deluxe Moon (£2.99) is such a polished, informative app with an interface that not only shimmers with great visuals but is also packed with astronomical and astrological information. Want to know where the moon is in its current cycle, or if its position relative to a particular sign of the Zodiac will promote calm and harmony? Or maybe you’re curious about how long it is since moonset, or you want to see where the moon is relative to your own position, or if it’s a good time to plant root crops, bulbs, biennials and perennials?
It’s all here, along with stacks of other lunar-related data, all wrapped up in an intriguing interface that encourages exploration and rewards you with some unexpected treats – like the lunar compass and the beautiful three-in-one Zodiac which shows tropical, sidereal and astronomical detail all at once. Oh, and there’s also the ability, almost hidden away, which lets you record how you’re feeling on any day of the year, together with a colour code. You can then analyse the results by month, year, phase of the moon and more.
And finally, what is it with the iPhone and avians? First Angry Birds swept all before it and now, Tiny Wings (0.59p) looks like doing the same – though without the violence or the obnoxious green pigs. It’s essentially the simplest kind of against-the-clock sideways scrolling game – guide your tiny bird-self down hills and up the other side, collecting tokens of various kinds in order to swell your purse or increase your speed.
Touch the screen to fold your wings and speed down the hills, let go to open your wings and fly up the other side and on into the open sky – all the while balancing the joys of flight (and the bonus points for touching a cloud) against all the lovely loot and power-ups that line the hills and valleys.
The visuals are simple but gorgeous, the scenery changes day by day, the game is simple to start but challenging to finish – and for something that has only one control (finger on or finger off) it’s maddeningly difficult at times, especially when you first leave the nest. Gobbles your battery, though… almost as fast as the tiny bird gobbles up those coins.
Company: Apple via the iTunes Store
Contact: not supplied
All apps available via the iTunes Store.