Software Review: Vidify for iPhone

Vidify for iPhone is wonderfully useful automatic video editor for iPhone. At the heart of Vidify is the ability to take several different short video clips and edit them into one professional looking video. Instead of editing the selected clips in your photo library into one continues movie, Vidify uses a proprietary algorithm to take the selected video clips and spread them randomly into one final video.

Vidify_logoThe App’s settings allow for some user input in how the video is put together. The user is able to choose the length of the video, how fast the editing process takes, the inclusion of fades & cross dissolves and the video resolution. The user has the ability to choose color filter effects which include B&W, Sepia, and Warming Filter.  The user can choose from the stock music library or from music residing on the iPhone.  Note that the stock music library is limited to 7 songs that are a 1:30 in length.  Once finished the final video can be emailed, sent to YouTube or shared on Facebook.

What I like about Vidify is I can attend an event and take a lot of short video clips of the event, say a birthday party. Then select the clips I want to include in the video, Vidify then creates one high quality video memory of the event.  The process of editing the video depends on the user settings and the length.  For example I use the high resolution and slowest editing process in the settings, which adds some time to the process.

I like that the user can include songs from my music library, but you always run the risk that if you post the video to YouTube that it could be taken down by the copyright holder of the song.  I attempted upload the finished video to Facebook, via the app’s Share feature, but was denied as the video was deemed to have copyright music.  With that said  the finished video is simply saved to the iPhone’s camera roll allowing the user the ability to further edit the final product in iMovie, which can then be shared to several different services.

The App has a few drawbacks, sometimes the random editing can be not to the user’s liking and my experience has been to “vidify” the group of selected clips several times to get a better finished product.  The sharing sources are limited as noted, I wished there were a share to Vimeo, Twitter and Google+ options.  Lastly, though I know the key to Vidify is its algorithm to produce the final product, I wished the user had the ability to place certain clips in certain spots.

The Vidify App is available in the App Store for $1.99, but as of this post the App is currently free, follow this direct link

Below are three videos I created with Vidify.

Software Review: Yahoo’s iOS Weather App

yahooweatherToday Yahoo introduced its new Yahoo Weather App for iOS. Now this is not an update to the stock Weather App found in iOS that is powered by Yahoo, but an App found in the iTunes App Store. The App is free and for the price it is amazing. The App uses flickr photos as the background and provides flickr link that the user can click to view the photo in full detail. This was great integration of flickr into the App, which appears to be part of Yahoo’s mobile App strategy since it revamped its flickr App on iOS.

In addition to giving the current temperature and weather conditions it provides expected high and low for the day. Swiping upward on the app reveals the forecast for the day and the next five days. Scrolling further reveals details for the the day’s weather, a map for allowing access for tracking temps, wind and precipitation. Finally users are treated to a forecast of precipitation, wind & pressure and the position of the sun at the moment, with sunrise and sunset times.

There a setting to switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit, for me it defaulted to Fahrenheit so I am not sure if that the unit of measurement is country specific. The only thing at this point that the App is missing is social media share buttons. I think it would add to the App to show off the weather and integrate flickr photos into the post. The app has been reliable all day long and did not crash once. I was able to add all the cities I wanted. What I like most about the app is the ability to track weather via the map feature and to see the current day’s forecast and of course the 5 day forecast.

My hope is that Apple will take a look at what Yahoo has done with this App and apply that to the stock weather App. For its first try, Yahoo, in my opinion hit a home run. Take a look at the app in action below and give it a try by downloading it from the iTunes App Store. The App is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Software Review: Mailbox App “Sorry to Say (It) Probably Won’t Work for You”

MailboxAppCountdownAfter months of build up for the iOS Mailbox App I was ready to use Mailbox as an alternative to the built in Mail App of iOS. Mailbox touted some nice features that would “put email in its place”.  The day came that I was sent an email for my reservation to use the Mailbox App.  My place in line was 49450 and on February 7th the app was made available in the App Store.  Upon downloading the app I was prompted to enter my number and a special code that was provided in the email.  On the first day I moved up some 300 spots.  It  became clear that access to this app was going to take a while.  This caused quite the conversation on Twitter and various blogs.  Finally, on Sunday February 10th, sometime in the evening, I gained access to Mailbox App.

The app at the moment  is designed around Gmail.  As a Gmail user this on the outside appeared perfect.  I had to tweak some of my personal Gmail settings to allow for Mailbox to work with my Gmail account, but within moments I had access to my Gmail mail via the app.  The app lived up to the promise of what it could do.  I seamed very natural to swipe to the left an right archiving, trashing and listing mail, but there was one glaring problem.  To my amazement the app did not allow for access to Gmail labels and below is a tweet to my question regarding labels.

The one thing in Gmail that I love is labels. Its an easy way to organize incoming email and allows you to filter the email to where you want it to be. For instance if I don’t want to look at my iTunes receipts on a daily basis I can simply set up a filter and send those emails to a label to look at it later.

It was at this point the app simply became unusable for me. There was the suggestion to create “lists” in the Mailbox App, but I didn’t particularly care to have to manage emails that Gmail can automatically filter for me for which I can look at later. Also moving labels to the lists within Gmail didn’t pull in previous email.

I had several back an forth conversations via twitter with who I assume was a Mailbox App employee. I know that the app is a work in process and it could change, but for me the use of labels is critical.  I don’t think labels will ever be something the folks at Mailbox App will include as noted in the below twitter interaction.

After several months of hype and anticipation Mailbox App failed to deliver for a certain group of users. The lack of using labels from Gmail is certainly an issue. The app itself out of the box is designed around Gmail, so those using iCloud, Outlook, Yahoo Mail or other services this app will not work for you. The other glaring downfall is as one moves back and forth from an iPhone or iPod Touch with other devices such as an iPad, Mac or PC the mail has not been organized as it has with the app. This simply does not work for most users who use multiple devices. Future development of an iPad, Mac or PC app will be essential to accomplish the goal of putting email in its place.

As this app grows my hope is that its designers will look at those of us that want Mailbox App’s functionality without having giving up functionality from an email service. With that I am “all done” with Mailbox App.

Setup MobileMe Alias on your iPhone

A few weeks back my I completed a restore on my iPhone 3GS. In doing so I restored it to the factory default, which results in a loss of installed apps, music, email and other defaults. As a result the ability to choose from a list of MobileMe aliases was lost.

I am not sure why this was the case. My web search resulted in little information that was useful in getting this “feature” back. Short of restoring my iPhone from the last known backup, I was now without the ability to use aliases within MobileMe account setup on my iPhone. In my searches I discovered a work around that in the end I found to be not only a fix but also a better way of managing aliases.

I also discovered after implementing the change I didn’t have to fumble around to make sure the email was originating from the correct alias account.  This of course being the main reason I set up the alias in the first place.

The steps to set up a separate MobileMe alias on an iPhone are quite easy.

Step 1: Go To Settings on your iOS device and choose Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

Step 2: Select Add Account…

Step 3: Select “Other”

Step 4: Enter the alias account information in the “Address” and “Password” Fields

Step 5: Select “IMAP” and enter in the alias MobileMe account address and password. This is needed to get MobileMe to respond correctly to the alias.

In the “Incoming Server” area type in for the Host Name, followed by your main MobileMe Username and Password.

In the outgoing server enter in the host field, followed by your main MobileMe Username and Password.

Update: With the change to iCloud, Apple has made a change to the IMAP and SMTP servers. You can find them

The iOS device will now ask you to turn Mail and Notes on or off. Since you have come this far I suggest leaving Mail on, while leaving Notes on or off is up to you. After few moments your MobileMe alias will be up and running. No more choosing which email address you to reply with, now you can open any email and know it is coming from the alias you want it to.