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Cartoonatic+ App Review

21 Dec

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For fans of FX Photo Studio, Cartoonatic+ is an enhancement to the photo app. You can now record videos in cartoon mode and apply various artistic effects to your videos and photos.

There are various artistic effects to choose from like Pencil Jeff, Lost Strawberry, Cute Harley, Robotron Jr, Robotron Snr, Honey Bee, Line Crusty Jerry Oliver, Spacy Laney. The photo effects are all starting with weird names. But once you decided on the desired photo effect, you can start filming your video.

You will notice that there are less buttons or functions to play with when the application is in camera mode. As this app is catered mostly for video mode, once you switch to video mode, you can see all the functions.

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There is a very cool function that you can choose which kind of music to be embedded into the video. You can choose songs like Jingle Bells, Blissful Jazz, Fee-goo-tone, Extravaganza or Hustle to be embedded inside your video or even your favourite music from your iPhone or iPod.

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In Cartoonatic+, you can switch to camera or video capture mode by tapping the 3rd last icon from the left. I find it hard to recognised which functions belongs to which button or icon at first. But when I played around with the functions, I realised I got used to the functions in no time.

To change the artistic photo effects, you need to swipe your finger across the app like in FX Photo Studio. This feature was not documented in the help instructions though I wish there is a help button somewhere for novice users of the app.

After you have processed your new modified video, you can submit it to youtube, Facebook, email, twitter or even save it to your camera roll.

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I guess for the holiday seasons, Cartoonatic+ will be a great app to use to capture those funny moments this holiday seasons. You can load your previous taken photos or videos from the camera roll and do some post processing with Cartoonatic+.

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I have processed a video I taken some time back and added effects from Cartoonatic+ so that you can see the difference. The music is from Cartoonatic+ as well.

You can download Cartoonatic+ from iTunes now for just 99 cents. It is a fun app to play with though I wish there is more help instructions about each individual functions the buttons on the app are used for.

Download Cartoonatic+ from iTunes now for 99 cents.

My Ratings for this Application:

Functionality: 4.5 /5
Ease of Use: 3.5 /5
Value for Money: Great!! It is 99 cents.

Type of users Catered for: Normal users
Overall: 4 /5

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Citibank Mobile App Review

16 Oct

I was invited to one of the Citibank Mobile App Presentation in Singapore. The application itself allows Citibank customers to bank online in their Citibank accounts online.

You might be worried that online banking is not safe at all. However, the application works on a secure http channel which actually protects your transaction details. Besides that, the application will send a One-time PIN to your mobile phone during the login process.

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The new updated version of this application have improved search capabilities in Gourmet Pleasures and Citi World Privileges.

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The application allows you to search for gourmet pleasures near your GPS location or you can search by the nearby MRT trains stations and by category.

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You may notice on the right hand side of the citi rebates’ list that the alphabets are very small for those who have fat fingers. This will deter them from clicking on the alphabets to search them. There is also an issue with locating the rebate offers via the 3G connection with the latest firmware 4.1.  I have feedback these two issues to the Citibank staff during the demonstration. I hope they can change this for those people who have a hard time tapping and locating them.

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Another great thing about this application is that you can search for mobile treats vouchers and redeem them in the retail outlets on your iPhone. There are 100 pieces of these vouchers and when they are being used up, there will be no more redemptions until the vouchers are refilled in the backend.

You need an active 3G or wireless connection to browse these vouchers though. If you are in a remote place without 3G, it will be better to save them beforehand if you have the intention of redeeming them on that day. I will think saving the rebate vouchers as favorites in the application itself will prevent less searching by users and allow for offline access as well.

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You can also browse shopping privileges for Citibank related discounts for the merchants. If you are worried of finding those sweet shopping spots in Singapore, there is also a feature to find them on your Goggle Map Application on your iPhone. You can share these special discounts treats with your friends via Facebook or Email.

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You can bookmark the shopping privileges for easy referencing or use the map to pin-point the location.

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You can also set a special music tune on your iPhone to play when using this Citibank application.

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Preview of your account details is pretty standard here. You can make your online payments as well as do electronic transfers. You can also see the foreign exchange rates if you are sending money back home or in a foreign country.

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My Ratings for this Application:

Functionality: 4 /5
Ease of Use: 4 /5
Value for Money: Free application (NA)
Type of users Catered for: Normal users
Overall: 4 /5

Check out this Citibank app on SG iTunes!

You can check out the Citibank Singapore Facebook group at here.

Currently, there is a photo submission contest by Citibank. You just need to take a photograph of an interesting place or situation where you can Fuse Citibank mobile application and submit your photo at the Facebook group. Attractive prizes include an air ticket to anywhere you choose and a SONY VAIO X-Series laptop to be won.

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There are few variants of this application for Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand but features may differ based on the countries chosen.

Check out Citibank app for Malaysia.

Check out Citibank app for Thailand.

Check out Citibank app for Hong Kong.

Screen Saver Pro~ App Review

24 Apr

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We usually use screen savers for our desktop PCs or Macs but do we need a screen saver app for our iPhone or iPod Touch? I happen to come across this app called Screen Saver Pro~. It is available for 99 cents on the iTunes App Store.

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The app is very simple and easy to use. Once you tap on the app’s icon, it goes into screen saver mode. I figured this is useful when you are charging your iPhone or iPod Touch. To change the theme or screensaver, you just need to tap on the exclamation button located on the right.

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You can change the background image of the screen saver or add some music from your iPhone or iPod music library.

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There are 24 themes to choose from in the Application. I tested some of the themes and some of my favorites are Fancy Snow, Dreams, Butterfly and Star Shower. There are a few nice themes but I have not tried them all. Each of the themes support multi-touch effects. Once you tap on each surface of your iPhone or iPod Touch, the effects begin from your area of touch. This is one beautiful app that shows you the dazzle of screen savers without burning a hole in your pocket.

You can add the beauty of the screen saver by changing the wallpapers. However, I feel the developer can let users like us add themes ourselves by making a themes editor, so that we can further customize or create our own themes.

Functionality: 4 /5
Ease of Use: 5 /5
Value for Money: 5 / 5
Type of users Catered for: Normal users
Overall: 4.5 /5

Check out Screen Saver Pro~ on iTunes for $0.99!

NavFone MY App Review

24 Mar

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Previously, I did a review on NavFone SG. I recently downloaded NavFone MY (Malaysia) to see whether this application can help me to find my way around Malaysia.The application shows the map of Malaysia on the start-up.

You can pinch out to zoom into the map which will show you the tourist attractions of Malaysia itself. This feature works just like other iPhone apps.

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The search function is probably the most used function. In this search function, you can do a search by layer or if you know what exactly you are searching for, you can just tick the location depending on what it is. For example, if I want to find places that serves me food, I will just tick food in the search. The search function is able to locate places within your vicinity as well. Just tap on the distance button and you are ready to go.

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There is one hidden trick which is when you begin search on layers, the most frequent search result will be saved under the “Recents” tab. If you need to see your recent search result again, this feature lets you do just that.

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Once you found what you are looking for, you can drill down using the “>” arrow sign to view it on the map to find your way there. The viewing of the map does not require an active Internet or 3G data connection.

What I feel this app is missing are the arrow directions that help you to locate which route to take from your location to the destination. Currently, the app only lets you find the location but you have to pinch in and out from the map to search for your location (the starting point) to see how you need to get there.

It will be great if this feature can be improved by plotting the arrow directions using the GPS to location your location and reference it to your destination.

There is no journey planner in this version compared to the NavFone SG version because Malaysia transport is not that convenient as compared to Singapore. But hopefully, there will be a direction map that can advise your taxi driver to take which path from your current location so you will not have to take detours and pay a heavy Taxi bill next time.

Functionality: 4 /5
Ease of Use: 4 /5
Value for Money: 5 / 5
Type of users Catered for: Tourists going to Malaysia
Overall: 4 /5

Currently, NavFone MY is on sale for $2.99 on iTunes. Get it if you need to travel around Malaysia.

Readdle’s Scanner Pro App Review

12 Oct

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I got a chance recently to review Readdle’s new application – Scanner Pro. Scanner Pro is an iPhone application that uses the iPhone camera to scan printed documents into PDF files when there are no scanner located nearby the user. It lets people create multipage PDF documents, send them by email, upload to MobileMe iDisk or other webDAV servers and transfer them to your desktop computer over Wi-Fi. Scanner Pro has already taken 5th position of top in business category in iTunes App Store.

Scanner Pro is designed for individuals and small business customers, who need to scan documents when they are away from the office, view them on the move and share them with other people.

Readdle is a company that is committed to deliver quality apps so this application is not an exception.

Scanner Pro delivers the following advanced scanner features to users:

1.  Ability to compose multi page documents.

2. All results are industry standard PDF files.

3. Optional 40-bit RC4 level PDF encryption

4.  Image quality enhancement algorithms.

5. Uploading files to MobileMe iDisk and other WebDAV enabled web storages

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Like all scanner apps, Scanner Pro allows me to handle any type of document ranging from simple one page letter to multiple pages documents. You can add and remove pages by clicking on the edit button and tapping on the selected page. You can also reorder the pages and even combine pages of different size like A4, and A5 in one document.

The initial startup screen for Scanner Pro shows the functions of each of the icons at the below of the application. Actually, I am impressed by the efforts made by Readdle to make the application user-friendly to the non-IT people.

Some applications don’t even have the explanations for the individual toolbars. They let the user do trial and error on the usage of the function toolbars.

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Scanner Pro first allows the user to take a photograph of the scanned document. Usually taking photos depends on the lighting effects of the environment around you. If the lighting is not good, the clarity of the photo is affected. You can retake the photo if you are not satisfied with the clarity of the picture taken. Next, you can adjust the brightness and contrast of the words so it is more clear. I am using iPhone 2G and it is 2 mega pixels. Perhaps, those people who uses iPhone 3GS will have better results. Sometimes, when you adjusting the quality of the photographs, the application will crash. I suspect this is due to low memory on my iPhone. I hope Readdle can improve on this feature next time.

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After doing the necessary actions, you can save the document as a different filename as per your wish. All scanned documents are saved as PDF files that can be easily shared as PDF files and read on any computer and other mobile phones. You can also protect your document with a password with Scanner Pro. Only people who know the password will be able to open the document. I have tested the password feature on iPhone safari browser but it is showing me a blank page. But on my computer, it will prompt me for the password before I open the PDF file. I have feedback this issue to the Readdle team so hopefully in the next update, they will fix this bug.

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There are some other options that you can play around under the settings page. This page allows you to configure the WebDAV server settings. You need to key in the WebDAV urls and your credentials for the WebDAV provider. I am using Box.net with free 1 gig storage space. You can use Apple MobileMe iDisk or Humyo if you got accounts with them. For other WebDAV server, please refer to my previous link here. The WebDAV function is fast, reliable and easy to use. It is basically suitable for people who like to share files with their friend or colleagues while on the move.

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boxnetsharing You can set grayscale by default if you are scanning black and white documents using Scanner Pro. If you notice at the bottom of the screen, there is an IP Address – http://192.168.0.5:8080. This is the IP Address of the sharing folder of Scanner Pro on your iPhone. You can type this address on any Mac OS X, Windows XP or Window Vista computer and connect to your iPhone and transfer the scanned PDF Files from iPhone. No additional software is required to make it work.

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I tested sending scanned documents to my email by tapping the send button. Even you are disconnected from the Internet, the documents will be send the next time, you connect to the Internet. Scanner Pro just tells me the document is sent even when I am offline but I tested it does send the documents to my email when I set my Wi-Fi to on. I can preview the documents with the built-in PDF viewer exactly the same as anyone who is reading the document. Thus, I am able to know how the document look like before sending the document to the other party.

I have compared the features with Scanner Pro and other similar products and tabulated the below differences between them. From the table, Scanner Pro is a clear winner.

Functionality: 4.8 /5
Ease of Use: 4.8 /5
Value for Money: 5 / 5
Type of users Catered for: Individuals and Small Business customers.
Overall: 4.8 /5

Check out Scanner Pro on iTunes now for $6.99!

Scanner Pro JotNot DocScanner
Work with docs

Saves documents as PDF files

Yes

Yes

Yes

Support multipage documents

Yes

No

Yes

Allows document management on iPhone

Yes

No

Yes

Has document preview

Yes

No

Yes

Can reorder document pages

Yes

No

No

Creates password protected PDF files

Yes

No

No

Supports documents in landscape orientation

Yes

No

No

Sharing features

Emails documents as attachments

Yes

Yes

Yes

Provides access to PDFs from a computer

Yes

Partially

No

Uploads documents to MobileMe iDisk or other WebDAV
storage

Yes

No

Partially

Image processing

Imports images from the Photo Library

Yes

Yes

Yes

Has automatic edge detection

Yes

Yes

Yes

Has automatic perspective correction

Yes

Yes

Yes

Has automatic light & contrast correction

Yes

Yes

Yes

Does all image processing on the iPhone, e.g. offline

Yes

Yes

Yes

Allows manual light & contrast correction

Yes

No

Yes

Supports paper sizing: Letter, Legal, or A4

Yes

Yes

Yes

Price

Regular

$6.99

$4.99

$9.99

Current

$6.99

$2.99

$8.99

MyReef 3D Aquarium App Review

16 Aug

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MyReef 3D Aquarium reminds me of my Aquazone Desktop Garden screensaver I have on my Desktop PC. The whole idea of having a fish aquarium on your iPhone is kind of cool as you can watch various 3D fishes finding their way through a beautiful reef tank.

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You can add different numbers and types of fishes in the fish tank. You can also increase the sound effects so that you can hear the water rushing through your ears like you are actually near a real fish tank.

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This application does one thing well to help people relax by watching the fishes swim in the tank. Tapping on the lower corner of the screen reveals the configuration menu.

You can follow the movements of one fish by tapping on the video camera with a fish icon or just watch all the fishes swim by tapping on the second video camera icon which is known as the Auto-camera. The auto-camera helps to zoom in to different points of interest in your aquarium.

The basic pinch in and pinch out iPhone gestures work here in this application which allows you to zoom in onto the fishes even if you don’t use the video camera features.

You can feed the fishes in this application. Once you drop the food in the water, you can see a lot of fishes vying for the food. It looks like a real fish tank. There is a count-down timer for feeding fish, which means you have to wait before you can feed them again. I guess this control is to prevent the fish tank from being flooded with fish food which will obstruct the view of the fishes.

The great thing about this app is that you don’t need to clean your fish tank to maintain the fishes. It is a sight to behold to get a fish tank in your iPhone or iPod Touch but probably you can show off to your friends and relatives for the thrill of it.

Functionality: 4 /5
Ease of Use: 4 /5
Value for Money: 4 / 5
Type of users Catered for: More for relaxation and Fish Hobbyists
Overall: 4 /5

Check out MyReef 3D Aquarium on iTunes for $1.99.

NAVFone SG D100 App Review

16 Aug

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NavFone SG D100 is an iPhone app that is suitable for tourists coming to Singapore and people who are currently staying in Singapore. When you execute the application on your iPhone, the map will show you the tourist hotspots like the Chinese garden and Jurong Bird Park.

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All these features are available for you without any data usage. However, if you want to turn on the locate me feature in NavFone, you need to turn on your 3G on your iPhone. If you are using iPhone 2G or iPod Touch, you need Internet access to enable the location service as these devices are not 3G enabled.

This application is only suitable for people walking on the streets not by car. If you need car driving directions from point A to point B, this app does not serve the purpose as it has no voice direction mechanism and the journey planner only caters for public transport.

Tapping on the Search button below allows you to search by keyword or by the location’s postal code.

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If you like the map to show for one of your search results, you just need to drill down further by tapping on the “>” sign. It will show you the location on the map with a red pin on the specified location. You can also add bookmarks to your search results so that you can come back to them later when you need it again.

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The app also allows you to search by layers on the map. For instance, if you want to find the nearest ATM money vending machine, you can click on the book icon in the search box to show all the layers. You can also browse your recent search results too besides the Layers button.

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The app features a journey planner that allows you to specify your starting point and ending destination and it will suggest a few options for you to choose from. First, you have to specify the location you are currently in and the destination location which you want to go to. Once you are done, tap on “Public Transport Route” button.

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The application will suggest a few alternatives to get to your destination and will show the estimate bus fare and train fare which you need to spend in order to reach to your location.

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If you drill down further by tapping on the “>” sign again, you can see the details of how to walk there as well as where to take the public transport.

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In each instruction, you can drill down further to see the map and the path drawn out nicely for you to see on how to reach to your final destination.

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Finally, if you want to clear all your settings and bookmarks, just tap on the settings page. There is a “Reset to Default Setting” button in case you screw up your maps.

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One thing I will wish to have is to send to my friends the location map on their iPhones. Currently, the direction arrows in the map for journey planner only catered for my eyes only. If my friends are lost, I can send them the map so they can see how to get to the same destination as myself. Chances are they will like the maps so well that they can purchase this NavFone SG D100 software too. Probably AGIS can make a lite version that shows only maps received from NavFone SG D100 users.

This application is designed by AGIS and is using a drill-down approach for its user interface. Using the application is easy and hassle-free. The maps can be seen as pretty small as the footprint of the app is only 10.4 megabytes.

I remember my Omnia mobile phone has the AGIS maps software for 3 months trial. Now this application is designed only for Singapore only. I look forward to other countries navigation apps by AGIS as they provided me a very useful app on my iPhone. Now, I can never get lost in Singapore again when I go there for tours!

Functionality: 5 /5
Ease of Use: 4.9 /5
Value for Money: 5 / 5
Type of users Catered for: Tourists going to Singapore and locals.
Overall: 4.9 /5

Check out NavFone SG D100 on iTunes for $9.99.