Proctele apps in the App Store

Proctele apps in the App Store
Click the picture to see Proctele apps in Apple's App Store

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Listen to the Radio

I'm working away from home in the lovely country of Ireland. What a beautiful country and friendly natives. Ask the Irish directions and they'll happily walk a long distance with you to make sure you find it. Visit Ireland! You won't regret it.

I left my radio home, well I left every apparatus you would normally call a radio back home. What is a radio these days anyway, or perhaps, what is the medium of radio. What is TV? 

Things have changed. Radio and TV used to mean something like entertainment, news, etc brought to you over radio waves. Now R&T comes over Cable or the Internet, if not over both (I mean Internet over Cable). Defining something by the way it is transmitted is not a good idea anymore. Technology turns transmission names into something fickle. R&T might have been called playlists if they were invented recently.

Anyway, I came to think of this again, when I realized I missed my radio. What are my options then? Obviously Internet radio on my iPhone. There's an excellent app called TuneIn Radio. I use it a lot, like when going to sleep I tune into an American country station. My iPhone provides the sleep function through its built-in timer (the one in the Clock app). I could also buy an alarm-clock radio for about 10€ in the supermarket. I could tune into radio on the TV-set and use its timer. Indeed I could buy a simple radio for just 5€, but without timer. I could use my Sony Ericsson phone with built-in radio, if I had brought the custom headphones or the custom speaker, which I didn't.

Not all the solutions are equal in functionality and the programmes available, but they would all suffice.

Finally, make sure you visit Ireland once. Don't forget Blarney and don't forget to kiss the Blarney stone, and don't forget to talk to the Irish. They're nice.

And ... Proctele's app HabitXplore has been updated. I use it every day. Yes I do!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Proctele's Workout App: ExerLog

Proctele's new app costs $0.99 and has no ads. Proctele apps aren't free, but AD-FREE. 
ExerLog is for happy sporty people. Are you one of them? Then read further.

We all know it: these days all you need is your iPhone!
Leave your paper and pen at home: here are your workout sheets, as many as you like.

Here's the icon:

To keep track of your workouts, it's necessary to take notes of what exercises you performed, the repetition count and the weights used. You need a workout sheet.

With this app you create blueprints for workout sheets that you use on your iPhone. When you start working out, you select one of the blueprints. A workout sheet is created on your iPhone, which you use to take notes during the workout.

This app keeps track of your exercises and helps you determine if you're making progress. It does the same as a workout sheet and a bit more, because it's digital. A blueprint/workout-sheet can contain for example:
-your name
-workout duration
-your body weight
-your starting mood
-workout location

and most importantly:
-exercises and the weights and repetitions you use when you perform them.

Here are screen shots from an iPhone6:


Update: Price has been doubled to $1.99, two-thirds the price of a latte.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

3D-touch for iPhone?

Rumour has it that the next iPhone will have pressure-sensitive display. That means an item high up on my wishlist is coming to iPhone. I've blogged about this before.

3D-touch is not new. There are already pressure sensitive displays. One example is the company FlatFrog (, which has displays in sizes 15-110 inch.

All the way from the start, iPhones have had a multi-touch-sensitive display. It was one of the reasons for iPhone's success, because it gave iPhone the famous pinch gesture. I still remember when I tried it out for the first time. At that time the iPhone was not for sale in Europe. A colleague had been to the US and bought an iPhone, and I was allowed to try it out. I was impressed. 

Multi-touch is two-dimensional, 2D, i.e. when the user taps or swipes or pinches, an app receives information about it in terms of x and y, horizontal and vertical coordinates. With pressure sensitivity the app will receive a third parameter, which tells how hard the user pressed. That means we can call it 3D-touch. 

For me the most obvious use of this feature is a scale app for weighing small and light items. But that's not what Apple has in mind. A new touch-type will probably be introduced: the force-touch, i.e. pressing harder. One good use for force-touch is to use it in a similar way the second button of a mouse is used (on Mac's one-button mouse it's done with Ctrl+click), and that is putting up a meny. Force-touch will be used for speeding up the user's interaction by reducing the number of presses he/she must do to accomplish something. Force-touch can also be used to reduce the number of user interface items on the screen, like buttons.

A possible use for 3D-touch is in games. Some games will benefit by testing the user's ability to use the right amount of pressure. The touch keyboard can most certainly be improved by 3D-touch, and thereby putting yet another nail in the coffin of hardware keyboards for mobile phones.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

I'm one in a million!

Well actually I'm one in 14 million, no less! I'm talking about all those who installed Win10 in the first 24 hours after release, of whom I'm but one.

Can I recommend Win10? Yes, I can. It works perfectly on my recently made PC, with hardware parameters AMD Quad-Core A8-5550M, 2.1 GHz, 8GB, 1 TB. Performance is a common worry when installing a new Windows version: "is my PC strong enough for the new Windows?". My PC's performance feels like before the install. Booting takes about the same time as for Win8, i.e. 18 seconds instead of 15. I noted that it took a number of boot-ups before reaching 18 seconds. One of the first boot-ups took over a minute, and subsequent ones went ever faster.

I think the Win10 user interface is a good mix of Win8 and Win7. The Win8 start screen has been demoted to the start menu, which appears when you press the Windows start button. It adds some life and finesse to the start menu - quite nice. Thank you Microsoft!

Although I liked Win8.1, it took the touch experience too far - it felt overdone. I imagine that was the main reason why so many users rejected it.

I'll admit I'm not a heavy user of Windows. I don't use a lot of Windows apps. One (free) clock app I used on Win8 didn't work as well on Win10, so I removed it. Hence I suspect many Windows apps will have to be updated in order to work properly on Win10.

So I say, Do it! Well, at least if you have a recently made PC.

Friday, July 31, 2015

HabitXplore Got New Clothes!

HabitXplore has been given new graphics, with new brighter colors. Here's a screen-shot of the new version:

HabitXplore is of use for different things. I know because I've tried it. I'm tracking some pattens I have. How much coffee do I drink? Well, since March 19 I've had 264 cups, the breakfast cups uncounted. In the last 7 days I've had 15 (not counting breakfast). I have a short daily workout routine due to a bad knee. I can see I've done that every day since I started. Sometimes I've forgotten to mow the lawn. Not since using HabitXplore of course.

Keeping track of habits is a good thing, but I don't overdo it. I'm going to stop tracking the coffee, because I know now I'm not overdoing it. 

You might also want to use the app for exploring weather patterns. Record if it rained today or if there was any sun, or if there were thunderstorms.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

How Big is a PC?

A PC's size isn't just determined by the processor or the memory on it, but by the connectors on it. The Intel Compute Stick has a number of connectors on it, like the HDMI providing the TV connection and power and a USB, which you might use for connecting extra storage to it. But it's still small. Here is the Compute Stick connected to a TV:
The picture shows that it's quite small and also that it contains Windows 8.1. Isn't that amazing? The CPU is a quad-core Intel Atom. The Windows version of the device has 2GB RAM and 32 GB persistent storage. There's a Linux (Ubuntu) version and it has 1 GB RAM and 8GB persistent storage. 

What this means is that you can turn your large screen TV into a Windows PC by connecting a 170$ stick to it and of course a wireless keyboard and mouse. The Compute Stick comes with USB, WiFi, Bluetooth, a micro-SD slot and an on/off button. That'll give you a PC with a huge screen. I don't think it's good enough for serious gaming, but sufficiently powerful for most other things, including Youtube watching. Through the WiFi and a browser you'll have access to your Google Docs of course, so what more do you need.

Most PC monitors now have HDMI too, so even if you're not a TV-fan you might still have a suitable screen for the Intel Compute Stick.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Xplore Thy Habits

HabitXplore is a new app by Proctele and it's for recording habits, or just to record events in general.

To find out more about your habits you need to register them. However the procedure of recording a habit has to be simple and fast. HabitXplore lets you do that.

Do the following to record a habit-event:
-Start the app
-Select a habit from the habit-list (table)
-Press the OK button

With HabitXplore you can find out more about your habits. 

Examples of habits are: Drinking a cup of coffee, Phoning your parents, Training, Mowing the lawn, Buy food, Refuel the car.

To find out more about your habits, you must register them. You can do that quickly with HabitXplore. The app can also show your habit in a time chart, which gives you a good overview. Of course everything you record is stored safely in your iPhone for as long as you want.

You can also use HabitXplore to remember when you last performed some task.

HabitXplore is one of those apps you need fast access to. You're likely to put in the Dock at the bottom, along with the mail and browser apps.

With HabitXplore you can:
-Register any number of habits so you can study them
-Quickly record that you performed a habit
-Immediately see when you last performed the habit and how often you've done it in total
-View a chart of how often a habit was carried out over a period of time
-Remove a record you registered by mistake

Suppose you have added a few habits in the table. Then do the following to record that you did a habit:
-Start the app
-Select a habit from the habit-list (table)
-Press the OK button

Ready! That's how fast it is.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Windows 8, I'm in

It's been a while since I bought a Windows PC, but last week it was time for a laptop. HP Envy 15" screen, AMD-A8-5550 4 core CPU, 8GB RAM, 4MB Cache, 1 TB Harddisk, 2GB dedicated Graphics RAM, 4 x USB 3.0, Card reader, no CD/DVD, Windows 8.1. It's fairly light and quite slim. Price: 475$.

A couple of years ago, when Win8 was new, I was asked to do a backup of an All-in-One PC. It was a beautiful machine with a fantastic screen, maybe 24", but behind the outer beauty lurked a sinister or perhaps just playful ghost. I tapped or dragged here and there on the screen and random things seemed to happen. I was quite confused, even slightly humiliated. After a while I accepted that I would need help, if only to make sure I didn't erase any data by mistake. I read an instructions booklet, which was enclosed in the package. It helped me understand the basics and I went on to do a successful backup. Win8 really was different from Win7.

Win8.1 is much better. My trusted friend when dealing with Win8.1 is the Windows-button. It's marked with the Windows flag and it's beside the left Alt-button. I use it to go from anywhere to the beautiful Start-screen, you know the one with all the rectangular app-icons, and back again. I like the Start-screen.

The key combination Alt-Tab is another old chum I can't be without when using Win8.1. As you may remember it switches between currently running apps, and it can take you to the desktop. Once at the desktop, a Win7 user should feel comfortable, because it works the same as in older Win versions.

The PC performs very well. It's lightning fast! Great screen too. Only one thing sometimes irritates me and that's the multi-touch pad. It does work well, except when scrolling a browser page, using two fingers, the browser often thinks I want to zoom the page and I have to ask it to go back to standard zoom-level. It could be a bug in the touch-pad driver and will go away after some software update. Still I think this is a minor error and really I'm a satisfied HP and Windows customer. I surely recommend this PC and Win8.1.

And now comes the Wow: when in a dark room, the beauty of the backlit keyboard is astounding! Thank you and well done HP!

The above-mentioned beautiful beast:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

HabitXplore is a New App

Proctele has released a new app to the App Store. It's called HabitXplore.

HabitXplore is for those who want to study their habits. You might want to know if you're doing too much of something, or too little of something. This app can also help you remember when you last did something. Here's the icon:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Get Yosemite

I've moved on from OSX Mavericks to OSX Yosemite.

I started off with Snow Leopard in 2010 and been through both Lion and Mountain Lion, and Mavericks. With Lion I had to put another 2GB RAM into my white MacBook to speed it up, but Yosemite is so quick I might as well go back to 2 GB RAM and give the rest to the poor.

It seems Apple has worked on speed this time and I like that. The dashboard first load happens so fast you hardly notice it. Returning from power-saving mode with WiFi turned off takes only a few seconds, a huge improvement. With Mavericks, I sometimes had to turn off WiFi and then turn it back on to get it working. The Dock, with all the app-icons, looks like the one on iPhone. All my favorite programs start up, except Gimp the graphics program. After downloading a new version (2.8) it worked too. Some programs I've tried that are clearly better are Gimp, Mail, iPhoto and Maps and probably a whole lot more I haven't tried yet. 

Put shortly: Yosemite is great! If you're running OSX Mavericks, it's time to switch.

Anyway I need to keep up with Apple's relentless improvements or else I'll soon be stuck with a programming environment, which can't make apps for Apple's new devices. I studied their new programming language this winter, called Swift. I like it. It's going to improve the life expectancy of keyboards: it's laconic, hence great for northern, ehum ..., viking types like me. The encounter resulted in the birth of an app, which I hope to see in the App Store next week. I'll send out a ping when it happens.

Took the lawnmower for a spin yesterday. Looked at it for several seconds before I could find the starter cord - must have been a long winter. It started on second crank, which is not bad. It's going to be a long hot summer I hope. We got them sparely in the last couple decades, but there must be a blip on the curve coming.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

1958 Volkswagen and Battery Time

Battery time for smartphones needs improvement. It's been said before, even on this blog.

There are a few reasons for this continuing problem:

  • Power-demanding functions:
    • GPS
    • Bigger & brighter screens
    • High-speed mobile network
    • Vibration notification
    • WiFi & Bluetooth
  • More use
  • Ever thinner smartphones

The latest iPhone is always thinner than the previous version. Users like it that way. It's elegant and it's a proof that the device does indeed contain the best technology possible. It's prestige. It would be a bold step for Apple to decide it's not going to continue the race to razor blade thin devices. Someone will continue the race though, so Apple wants to keep up.

iPhone6 Plus has much better battery time than iPhone6. The reason is size. iPhone6 Plus is slightly thicker, but also higher and wider. That increases the volume considerably and that's one thing needed for improved battery time: more volume for the battery.

I came to think of my father's old Volkswagen from 1958. It had no fuel indicator. That meant you never knew for sure if you had enough fuel. It didn't even have a trip-meter, but it did have a mileage indicator, so if you knew the fuel consumption and you took note of the mileage indicator, you had a rough estimate of the fuel level. You could also shake the car and listen. And now comes the reason for this paragraph: the extra-tank-switch. You won't find it in modern cars. Say you run out of fuel. No problem: throw the switch and suddenly you had an extra couple of liters in the tank. It's almost like magic isn't it. I suppose there were really two fuel tanks in the car separated by a valve and at every fill-up both tanks got filled. The magical switch simply opened the valve so that what was in the small bi-tank quickly flowed into the main-tank.

Perhaps the extra-tank-switch idea could help getting better (perceived) battery time. It could work like in that old Volkswagen: "you completely run out of battery, no problem, throw a switch". It could also be a switch for quickly turning off/on a number of functions in a user configurable way.

There will always be parallels between old and new technology that can be of use. 


Monday, January 19, 2015

Windows 7 Support & Selfie-sticks

Microsoft has announced that Windows 7 mainstream support ends this month, and that support finally ends on January 14th 2020. Windows 7 was born on July 22 2009 and it has done good service. Windows 7 became popular in the working place as well as at home. I suppose some would call it the last proper version of Windows, second only to Windows XP.

The Selfie-stick is a popular product. I would never have guessed. With most people born with two selfie-sticks, there's still need for a man-made one? I've been taking selfies with me and my wife for years and never felt the need for a selfie-stick. I see selfies as pictures taken spontaneously or when there's no one around to take it for you. Carrying around a stick for the purpose defeats the whole idea of a selfie, I think. Please let me know if I missed something about selfie-sticks.

I've mentioned protective cases a few times on this blog. My stance is that they're necessary. After I bought an iPhone6, but before I bought a protective case, I managed to let it slip out of my breast-pocket three times. The period of time was 1-2 weeks. I was lucky that it wasn't damaged, because I skipped insurance. Here's what can happen if you don't buy insurance. I bought a book cover type of case in leather. I told my youngest kid, a boy of 9, that it's an Indiana Jones type of cover, because of how it mixes masculinity and old fashion. Well here it is and I recommend it:

There is one protective case, which seems to beat them all. It's made by Urban Armor Gear and it successfully protected its iPhone6 all the way from Earth up to 101,000 ft height and back. Read about it here.

Net neutrality sounds pretty good doesn't it? You know, the Internet treating all data the same, regardless of what it is. Well, having read this I'm not at all sure it's a good principle anymore. 

To round this off I'd like to say that I'm very, very happy about my iPhone6. It takes excellent pictures and apart from all the other functionality it has, it even does voice calls :-) I think it's the best smartphone ever. Only the next iPhone will be able to beat it.