Application Seminar: Learn From Good


After this seminar, I truly understand why Prof Ben arrange this session for us. It is really a good chance to learn, from the success! Learn their strength, and study their weakness, so we can perfect ourselves! Thanks to all friends’ hard work, I enjoyed this night and learnt much. I didn’t know Prof Ben will release all the slides, so I took all the notes. lol. It was painful because I am not good at typing.

1: Square

This is an awesome applications, which ease the way of small business accepting payment. Shop owners will be happy to use it because it is easy to use and the rate is cheaper. Is POS machine or iPad cheaper? lol.

2: inClass

This application sounds promising because more and more students are using iPad as studying tool. The major features it should have are: synchronizes notes with dropbox, synchronizes schedule with Google calendar, supports PDF annotation, UI should be simple but functional.

3: Pulse & Flidboard

I tried both applications after this seminar. Unfortunately neither of them catches my eyes. It is true that both of them hase very good UI, look very beautiful with nice pictures. However, they not meet my need: reading feeds from Google Reader. I don’t want nice pictures, or good animations. There are floods of RSS reader, and I have tried many of them. The one I like is Mr. Reader. One problem I am facing when reading feeds is many feeds just provide a short summary, and if I want read whole articles, I have to open the post in browser. Mr.Reader solves this problem by providing 4 types of reading style: RSS, Wed, Mobilizer, and Readability. However, it is not perfect, the UI in portrait is totally bad: I could not see the categories.

4: Doodle Buddy & Pekay’s Little Author

These two applications are of the same type and similar idea: applications for young children to learn while enjoying. I think for those apps, the UI and simplicity to use are quite important. They need to catch children’s eyes at the first sight. Pink color and cute cartoons should work fine.

5: Night Stand

To my point of view, this application is just a iPad killer, the reason is this app keeps on playing the background videos and synchronizing RSS feeds while users are sleeping! I really suspect iPad will run out of battery before morning and fail to wake users up, an alarm’s basic function. Someone may suggest making it charging. But I do think playing while charging will shorten battery life. There numerous good readers than this all-in-one, but not good at all app.

6: VNC Viewer

I tried this kind of apps before. It was cool at the first sight, because I could remote my laptop. Later, I found it was not good I needed to wait a while for my actions took place. NUS network is the best I ever use, so I was thinking how painful it would be to use that application under other network conditions.

7: SIM Social

It will be a surprise for me if it does not successful. SIM has been a success since it came out, and I think the flash version is really a small piece of cake for EA. Friends presenting this application mentioned many giant game makers are entering Facebook. This is an exciting news for game players, as well as us, future developers, we have better working opportunities. Even EA does not do well for flash game, it is really time entering HTML5 age.

8:Evernote Peek

**It looked like an interesting application which uses Apple’s innovative Smart Cover. I just have some thought about how it uses the Smart Cover (based on guessing): when iPad is waked by Smart Cover, all contents are displayed, aligned perfect so it creates a perception the application wakes iPad screen part by part. (or I am totally wrong.)

*9: PDF Expert

**It is lucky I am assigned to review this application, because I have been looking for a good PDF reader for long time. I used Good Reader on my iPhone, which I think is quite good. It is miserable to read PDF on phone! After getting my Nook Color, an Android based E-Reder, I have been hoped to find a Good Reader-like application on Android platform, but I could not. Good Reader has an good reputation in my heart, so I was wondering how good PDF Expert is when I was listening their presentation.

I do think Prezi is very good for presentation. It provides with an overview of whole presentation, giving audiences clear clue of the presentation. By zooming in, Prezi can navigate audiences’ attention to the important points. Most importantly, it makes the slides vivid not using good match of color, which requires sense of designing, but using simple animation.

Both application can view many format of file, and take annotation of PDF file (this is their core function!). I agree with my friends’ opinion that PDF Expert have simpler UI, especially on home page. While in reading mode, PDF Expert has fewer button than Good Reader. PDF Expert’s hand drawing is really cool, and is a fast way to taking simple notes, but it can be very messy due to low precision. Also, to highlight words is not intuitive in PDF Expert, i need to (1)click the highlight button, (2) select the words I want to highlight, (3) choose what type of highlighting I want; while in Good Reader, I only need to choose the type of highlighting, and select the words.

To synchronize files in both applications are not good. They do not automatically sync, but I need to click to trigger it, and it takes really long time to sync lol. Actually, I do not find an app on either iPhone of iPad  does well in synchronizing. This may because Apple does not allow auto-sync to save battery and internet data; or Dropbox do not provide enough support for third party using their service.

As my friends mentioned, PDF Expert crashes! It crashed on my second time using it! I think this problem may because it preloads data before user turn a page, which makes the loading time shorter, but consumes a lot of memory.

After comparing those two reader, I still keep my love for Good Reader. :=)

Studying exist products is essential for coming out with new products. I do learn much from them, mostly their weakness. All the unpleasant words are about the applications, not at anyone of my fellow friends!