Pygmy Reviews #47 – iOS Apps

Velocity ($2.99)

One Line Description: Speed reading app.

Velocity is not the first speed reading app I have tried1, but it might be the best. These apps are designed to show just one word at a time, and because it just keeps firing words, articles can (theoretically) be read faster. There are downsides to this method since it doesn’t include formatting or images, and it also doesn’t allow a person to skip around2. Velocity offers some nice customization options. There are dark and light themes, and different fonts (something ReadQuick did not offer). Of course the speed is adjustable. It can pull articles from different services like Pocket and Instapaper as well as have articles manually added. Anytime the “playback” is paused, a display shows how much reading time is left, allows the speed to be adjusted, and most importantly provides a scrubber to easily move forward and backward3. Overall it seems like a solid app, but it really comes down to whether speed reading makes sense or not. Some people will not find it all that comfortable.

Diptic PDQ ($0.99)

One Line Description: A simple photo collage maker

There is absolutely not shortage of photo collage making apps out there. In fact, Diptic PDQ itself is just a slimmed down version of the regular version of Diptic which just seems to have more features4. The PDQ version gets the job done though. It is indeed fast and super easy to use. Without a basis for comparison, it’s hard to say whether this app is better or worse than other options. And most people will certainly balk at paying even $1 for something so many free alternatives, but Diptic PDQ is a great ad-free option for quickly making the photo collages that are all the rage.

Transit (Free)

One Line Description: Public transportation finder/tracker.

This review is written after using the app for a couple days in Chicago.

Public transportation app experiences will vary greatly depending on whether a person is a full-time public transportation user, a visitor to a city or just an occasional rider. But Transit seems to be incredibly solid. It can find nearby busses and trains5, and supports train tracking so that the actual trains show up on the map. The app has a very pretty map overlay, and is easy enough to use once a person figures out what the buttons w/o text labels mean and where swiping is used to navigate.

The app is so heavily driven by the map that it is almost a perfect application for occasional riders, or visitors to a city who need an easy way to get from one place to another. The ability to move the map around and find the nearest lines is great for planning ahead as well. The only real downside to the app is the swipe heavy navigation that might be hard to figure out for some people. Also, many of the buttons don’t have text labels, just symbols, so figuring out exactly what those do requires just some trial and error. It’s hard to imagine a transit app being better than Transit, so if nothing else this is probably in line with the best public transportation apps out there.

My NBA 2K15 (Free)

One Line Description: Companion app for NBA 2K15 that also provides opportunities to earn extra VC points.

Anyone that plays MyTeam or MyPlayer in NBA 2K15 knows that VC points are needed for upgrades. The are earned by playing the game or paying for them, but it turns out there is a third way to earn them, and it doesn’t take much time. The My NBA 2K15 app offers a couple of different ways to earn VC points, and they are somewhat effortless. First is the Daily VC Bonus which is just a draw of three cards from the board. Six cards can be held at once and any three cards can be combined for a reward of VC points (and other stuff). Matching three cards results in double the bonus. Three cards can be drawn every 24 hours and this activity takes about 1 minute once the app is open. There is also the opportunity to pick the winner of each NBA game every game. Each correct pick nets 50 VC points. Knowing much about the current NBA is not that big of a deal since each game only has two games to pick from. Even with zero knowledge a person could earn points a little at a time.

Last is the card game itself, which is the point of the app. It’s very similar to MyTeam in the sense that a player picks cards and randomly gets players, then puts those players in a line up and plays games against other people’s teams. The game’s aren’t live, it’s just a game against someone else’s active team. The game isn’t complicated, but that doesn’t matter. For each “quick game” played in a day, 50 VC points are added up to 500 total, regardless of winning or losing the card game matchup.

When it is all said and done, on most days a person could earn about 1,000 VC points with about 10 minutes of effort. On a great day it could be 1,500–2000. Either way, it’s worth 10 minutes for people playing MyTeam or MyPlayer.

  1. I thought I had reviewed ReadQuick at some point but now I can’t find the review []
  2. Some might argue those are upsides I suppose []
  3. Something that was annoying to figure out in ReadQuick []
  4. I have no recollection of why I bought the slimmed down version vs. the full one. I am positive that this was recommended by someone somewhere []
  5. Including Metra in Chicago []