If I was to choose one writing topic that I enjoy, but don’t get to write enough about it would have to be software reviews. Spending the time to fit a new piece of software in to your workflow forces you to analyze the way you’re currently doing things and maybe even find a better way.
Unfortunately there are a number of applications that I just couldn’t work with in a meaningful fashion for a long enough period to write a proper review. Using an app for an hour or even a day typically doesn’t give you the perspective you need to judge the application’s quality. As I stated above, you may dislike an app right away simply because it works different than you’re used to. If you’re not willing to spend a bit of time learning the new workflow then you really can’t judge the application on it’s own merits.
A few apps had what I would consider a ‘show stopping’ bug. Something that made me simply decide that there were multiple invasive surgeries that would be more enjoyable than reworking how I do things in a particular area. A great example of this is Markdown support. If you’re a text writing application and you don’t support my preferred (maybe even ingrained) text formatting I simply don’t have time.
Other applications lasted longer but simply didn’t inspire a proper review. There was nothing wrong with them, but every time I sat down to write about the app it turned in to meaningless drivel that said nothing new. That is not worth publishing.
Today we will have a run down of a bunch of apps I tried to review and just couldn’t because of one thing or another.
While WordPress has a native iPad app, something about it just doesn’t suit for writing so I’ve been looking for an alternative. Blogsy (AppStore) was the leading choice at the time (mid 2012) but had one major issue that made me simply give up on writing the review.
See that, a huge lump of text. That was the blog post I was writing in Blogsy in the HTML editor with markdown. Yeah it’s totally destroyed. I can’t even remember any of the other good features. If its going to destroy the content I just added then its totally useless to me.
Gmail for iOS
The built in iOS email client is only sort of okay, the gmail/Google Apps web interface is simply way better. For a while I used it via Safari, but it was a pain to log back in every few days. I certainly don’t fault Google for getting you to log back in, but it was still a pain.
So I tried Gmail AppStore for iOS. Sure it gave you the web interface but it had no support for multiple accounts. At the very least I need my business account and my personal account. Not having them meant I didn’t even bother trying it for more that 15 minutes.
Really I bought Dialvetica (Appstore) when everyone was talking about it. It’s a neat interface but when everything just pushes you back to the native contact application, it’s hard to really use an app. There was no major bug, it just didn’t solve a problem I really had so I stopped using it and the 2 lines of a review I had written ended at 2 lines.
I suppose I should have guessed from the terrible web interface provided by Training Peaks (all Adobe Flex or something that needs Flash and takes forever to load) that the mobile experience was less than stellar. I actually still use this because it’s the standard for coaching, the standard just sucks.
Interface elements take 3 taps to actually use, it takes forever to load and it’s really really ugly. If you can at all a void using the TrainingPeaks site or software do it. It’s a total hunk of UI and interaction garbage. I hate going to it at all but I want to race and I have a coach so I have to get there.
One day I saw a QR code and thought, lets review some QR code scanners. So I made a quick Twitter post and Scan (AppStore) was the top choice. Then I never saw a QR code again in real life. I have no QR code scanner on my phone and I’m missing nothing.
I did write a short post about Dragon Express (AppStore) where I pointed out some bugs and concluded that I did like speaking my text. Well I gave it 2 more weeks and I don’t like speaking my text. At the very least anytime I tried to dictate text I had to correct so much it was in no way even close to as fast as typing.
I tried to give Flow (AppStore) a fair shake a bunch of time. The icon is sort of pretty, but I just loved the way Transmit worked too much to deal with the ‘issues’ that Flow had. The issues mainly amounted to it not working exactly like Transmit. It’s a really robust FTP client I just couldn’t break out of my ingrained patterns for work.
That’s about it. In many cases I’m not saying don’t try the apps, they just weren’t right for me.