Pygmy Reviews #35 – iOS Apps

MacHash (Free)

MacHash is a free app for the website of the same name. It aggregates the feeds from many different Apple-related news sites in one place. The app itself is just OK to look at, and features ads at the bottom that can be removed for a one-time free of $2.99. The app features a scrollable list of headlines from various sites and includes a thumbnail from the article, the first few words and how recently it was posted. Unfortunately the space for the headlines is not large enough in most cases and ends up getting truncated which can make it different to determine exactly what the article is about.

It does allow for the use of many “read later” services and one of these can be configured to be quickly access by holding on an article in the main timeline. This is probably the most useful feature as it allows headlines to be quickly scanned saved for later consumption. The reading pane within the app is solid as well though. MacHash contains literally dozens of sites and each one can be enabled/disabled based on the user’s preference which can help keep the feed of news of growing too much. This is a great app for keeping up on Apple news without having to browse multiple sites or fill up an RSS reader, and for me has literally become my primary source of Apple news.

Blur ($0.99)

Blur is one of the most simplistic applications there is, as it serves just one function. It creates a blurred effect on a picture already in an iOS device. There are free alternatives for sure, and while this one looks nice judging by the way most people scoff at paying anything for apps, this probably won’t interest most people. But it has a nice icon, and a nice interface and came recommended from trusted sources so it’s worth it. I took Tools and Toys advice and use it to blur my lock screen wallpaper to use on my home screen.

NOAA Radar Pro ($1.99)

My recent evaluation of iOS weather apps led me to determine that Weather Line was my favorite, but that I needed a companion app that could provide radar. It turns out that there are a plethora of dedicated radar apps out there. One of the most highly rated apps was NOAA Radar Pro1. It features a decent interface and nice looking maps2. More importantly it includes push notifications for severe weather alerts which something missing from Weather Line. One downside with this app is that it focuses on animating the map and it’s very difficult to just see “current state” without having to time hitting the pause button perfectly. Other than that, it has proven to be a solid, fast, reliable radar app.

Weekender (Free)

Another recent evaluation I did focused on iOS calendar apps. From that I determined that all calendar apps lacked a dedicated weekend-only view. It turns out, at that very time, a developer was already working on an app for just that purpose. Weekender almost perfectly captures that need. The app is very simplistic and does almost nothing more than displaying the next few months worth of weekends and the appointments scheduled on those weekends. The only user setting is which calendars to include. It doesn’t allow adding or editing of any events. There is an in-app purchase to remove the ads but that is the only other thing here. It’s hard to complain about a free app. A minor gripe is the inability to at least open events in Apple’s calendar program. A more major gripe is that times for events are displayed in in 24-hour format3 and there is no way to change that. Having this option, even if it was via another in-app purchase, would go a long way towards making this app perfect.

  1. Although there are so many apps with “NOAA” and “radar” in the name it could be easily confused []
  2. Although it seems like almost all of these apps use the exactly same radar and graphics []
  3. I believe the developer is not from the US []